Marking the anniversary of the 1980 pro-democracy uprising in Gwangju, President Moon Jae-in said Saturday the uprising was aimed at protecting freedom and democracy.
He said there can be no division among conservatives and liberals regarding the truth of the May 18th movement and that only heirs of a dictator would see it differently.
Moon spoke at a ceremony held Saturday morning at the May 18th National Cemetery in Gwangju City to mark the 39th anniversary of the pro-democracy uprising.
He said the uprising was defined as a democratic movement and May 18th designated a national day of commemoration during the Roh Tae-woo and Kim Young-sam administrations. He said a national consensus was reached on the historical significance and nature of the uprising and relevant legal matters came to a close 20 years ago.
Moon said no more controversies are necessary. He said the job now is to be grateful for the movement which contributed to advancing democracy and further developing democracy in South Korea.
He said not a single step forward can be taken with a political mindset fixated on the past authoritarian era.
The president also lamented remarks made by some politicians and scholars denying and insulting the historic event. He said that as a Korean, he is ashamed by such remarks still being voiced out loud.
He also apologized for the brutal violence and killings perpetrated by the state during the Gwangju movement.