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IAPP Assembly: Parliamentarians’ Assembly Addresses National and Regional Critical Issues

Korea-2020-02-05-Parliamentarians’ Assembly Addresses National and Regional Critical Issues

Seoul, Korea—Of the many significant events held at World Summit 2020, a key feature was the Global Assembly of the International Association of Parliamentarians for Peace (IAPP), which highlighted the central role played by parliamentarians throughout the world.

Since its founding in 2016 at the National Assembly in Korea, IAPP has launched chapters around the world.

The IAPP Assembly convened three times during World Summit 2020, on February 4 and 5. The speakers addressed the general theme of realizing world peace from their own unique perspectives and detailed national and regional issues of urgent concern.

The moderators were Hon. Ek Nath Dhakal, a minister in the Government of Nepal (2012-2013) and the Asia-Pacific regional chair of UPF; Hon. John T. Doolittle, U.S. congressman (1991-2009); and Hon. David Clarke, a member of Parliament, Australia (2003-2019).

Opening remarks were given by Hon. Lee Ju Young, vice president, Korean National Assembly – “The Cold War still continues on the Korea Peninsula. If you wish to establish peace there, the world’s global concern and support is needed. I firmly believe that if world leaders work together, their cooperation will be a valuable engine for peace on the Korean Peninsula.”

Hon. Yun Sang-hyung, chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and Unification of the Korean National Assembly – “In order to realize the ideal of a world of peace it is necessary to have a place of discussion where leaders and actors from all fields including politics, finance, religion, society, culture and art can work together to resolve the problems of international conflicts and hostilities.”

 

Hon. Dan Burton, U.S. congressman (1983-2013), said a global body of parliamentarians has never existed before. “In an era of instantaneous communication, [parliamentarians] can do so much to promote peace around the world,” he said. He spoke about the threat that a nuclear North Korea poses and called for a resumption of the six-party talks. Other themes were “the value of marital fidelity [which] must be protected as a foundation for lasting world peace,” the fight against terrorism, and support for sustainable development. 

Hon. Yoshinori Ohno, Japanese minister of defense (2004-2005) and president of IAPP-Japan, identified the themes of this conference as the core teachings of UPF co-founder Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon. “We must pursue peace through the expression of a different kind of power,” he said. “There is a much stronger power than diplomacy. That is human relationship power, a real peace power. Let’s promote an exchange of people at all levels, beginning with students, who can be called ambassadors for peace for the future across national borders.”

Hon. Elena Drapeko, a member of the State Duma of Russia, pointed out that Russia lost 27 million lives during World War II to Nazism. “It is the duty of politicians and statesmen to protect citizens,” she said. “This year is the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II. After that war, our states were governed by people who had lived during those years, but now countries are governed by the grandchildren with no personal experience.” She also said: “Finding compromises to our problems is a long and complicated way, but it is the only way to find solutions. … General solidarity should be based on traditional values. We must promote partnership of cultures.”

Rt. Hon. Martin Ngoga, speaker, East African Legislative Assembly, Tanzania, contributed a paper outlining some of the pressures on today’s society—including migration flows, increasing inequality, religious intolerance, and terrorism—which “threaten to overrun the development we have achieved.” To resolve these challenges, he called for greater strengthening of ties between nations based on common principles. “Tolerance of diversity is important,” he said. He highlighted trade as a means to fuel growth and Internet communication to “foster collaboration and mutual prosperity.”

Hon. Caleb J. Desrasmeaux, vice president, House of Representatives, National Assembly, Haiti, explained that Haiti was the first established black nation in world. He observed that “we tend to make peace a political matter, but it is essentially a human quest. Human beings can be civilized through society. Men are controlled by laws of society and exist for the benefit of others. Man has his own responsibility. Human development is a personal responsibility.”

Hon. Loretta Sanchez, U.S. congresswoman (1997-2017), declared that despite the daily news about strife and bad news, in fact, “the world today is more peaceful, prosperous, and safe than it has ever been since the Garden of Eden.” Congresswoman Sanchez called for (1) strong moral leadership, (2) diplomacy and economic engagement over military power, (3) spreading positive news about current affairs, and (4) reaching across the “deep religious and political gulfs [to] be builders of optimism.”

Hon. Hilik Bar, a member of the Knesset of Israel, lauded the World Summit. “This forum has an amazing power not only to bring representatives from 170 countries but also people from enemy countries. I don’t know of any other organization except the UN that has this power,” he said. Hon. Bar called on UPF to promote peace with an emphasis on “bringing together people who are considered enemies.” Understanding will come once both parties are willing to respect one another, he said. He underscored the need to include the Palestinians in all peace discussions. “Courageous leadership is needed,” he said. “That means a willingness to sit down with the enemy.”

Hon. Khuon Sudary, second vice president of the National Assembly of Cambodia, noted that “the world is undergoing massive transformations” and mentioned “the division of political blocs via strategic alliances for the sake of their divergent interest rather than common interest.” She cited the win-win strategy of Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen for peaceful reconciliation. Bold determination and wise leadership are needed to attain peace, she said. The role and duties of parliamentarians are to “work alongside the governments, private sector, and civil society to not only end violence [and] social injustice but also to abolish causes of wars, civil wars, hatred, and all manmade calamities at all costs and by all means.”

Hon. Veronica Rosca, member of parliament, Moldova, noted that “since the absence of war is the first condition of peace, one of the major concerns of all political leaders has been to follow the principles for securing this objective. Today the need to secure peace continues to be a primary goal of the international community.” She praised the importance of democracies, but said that “democracies have and continue to have a lot of enemies. Democracies have become vulnerable. Democracies die in the dark. This is why it needs to be protected. As parliamentarians, we must have the wisdom, the courage, to rise above the interests of the political parties we belong to, above the personal interests, above the interests of dubious, artificially raised leaders, and to be guided by only the highest interest of humankind.”

Hon. Faustina Rehuher-Marugg, minister of state, Palau, spoke on behalf of President Tommy E. Remengesau Jr. She said, “As global citizens, it is our responsibility to unite our efforts to secure peace and mutual prosperity in our respective regions to promote human development and growth in all aspects of life. We must collaborate, extend cooperation and work in harmony in order to achieve our common goals.” She outlined some of the challenges and priorities, particularly environmental protection and sustainability, and called on the participants to “use this opportunity and this occasion to network, build strong partnerships and solidarity, as we continue to champion good causes in our respective regions for the good of our world.”

Hon. Otim David Okot, chair, Standing Committee for Federal Affairs and member of parliament, South Sudan, conveyed best wishes from President Salva Kiir Mayardit and reaffirmed his country’s commitment to build an inclusive and democratic society grounded in the rule of law. “Achieving enduring peace and stability demands concerted efforts and support from the region, international development partners and friends,” he said. Hon. Okot called upon UPF and the international community to assist South Sudan “to promote a culture of peace, tolerance and coexistence of one another.”

Hon. Dr. Chanawongse Krasae, former minister of foreign affairs, minister to the Office of the Prime Minister, Thailand, offered his views “toward peace, security, human development, which is quite compatible with the three pillars of the UN’s mandate – human rights, peace and security, and development.” Dr. Krasae cited his four life lessons: (1) Continuous change is the natural order of the universe and, thus, is inevitable; (2) change presents both risks and opportunities; (3) responding to the threats and opportunities presented by change requires new thinking and applying new approaches; and (4) one must be prepared to accept change and plan for its potential consequences as a new challenging opportunity for progress.

Hon. John Mica, U.S. congressman (1993-2017), expressed optimism that a better world can be achieved through parliamentary cooperation: “Working together, we must continue our mutual efforts to combat terrorism, international drug trafficking and challenges that destabilize the well-being of people across the planet.” He called on the nations to join together “to resolve the major obstacles we currently face.” Leaders have an obligation “to ensure that all people have an opportunity for a good and peaceful life,” he said. Hon. Mica expressed deep concern over the current health crisis. “In the past the world came together and met similar challenges. I am optimistic that, with cooperation and nations working together, we can and will tackle this and any future problems,” he said.

Hon. Dana Rohrabacher, U.S. congressman (1989-2019), said: “It is an honor to participate in a world summit of activists who are dedicated to values that transcend politics and are a bulwark against tyranny and corruption. What brings us here is a shared faith in family, a respect in God, a commitment to truth, and a love and concern for our fellow human beings, whoever they are.” He said our strategy should be to support the enemy of our enemy. “Let us help friends who are suppressed by their own governments, rather than deploying troops and making war,” he said. “With courage and God’s help, we can make it a better world.”

Hon. Margarett Best, cabinet minister, Government of Ontario, and a member of Parliament, Canada (2007-2013), acknowledged UPF co-founder Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon for achieving all three dimensions of life, in accordance with the blueprint laid out by Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.: to care for and love ourselves, reach out to love others, and reach up to love God. Hon. Best said the coronavirus outbreak demonstrates that we are “a common humanity, inextricably linked as humans in a global world.” The virus is a global issue “requiring immediate attention, cooperation and collaboration as one race, the human race.”

Hon. Vasily Vlasov, a deputy of the State Duma of Russia and first deputy chair of the Natural Resources Committee, addressed the crises of environmental issues including pollution, environmental degradation, and resource depletion. Hon. Vlasov called for the use of new technology to clean the air and water. “We should not live for short-term profit; we have to think about the future,” he said. He also spoke about education for all children, preserving cultural sites and historical monuments, and ethical questions surrounding artificial intelligence. He concluded with a plea to help one another: “If you see a man whose situation is worse than yours, help him. Everybody has to have such a life motto.”

Hon. Yves Nidegger, member of Parliament, Switzerland, recalled that in 1985, the Professors World Peace Academy (an organization that is affiliated with UPF) held a conference in Geneva and prophetically announced “The Fall of the Soviet Empire.” Although seemingly unlikely, by 1991 this pronouncement had come true. Similarly, Hon. Nidegger said the reunification of Korea may not seem likely, but it too may come true. However, he predicted that “China will not allow the reunification of the peninsula as long as U.S. troops are there.” China sees North Korea as a buffer zone between U.S. and Chinese troops, he said. If the United States withdraws from this part of the world, China no longer will need North Korea as a buffer zone. Reunification might be on the model of one nation, two systems, he said, and after a while South Korea could become another Hong Kong in the framework of Chinese dominion over both Southeast and Northeast Asia. “There would be Chinese values rather than universal values.”

Hon. Luis Roberto da Silva, vice president, National Parliament, Timor-Leste, spoke about his country’s role in promoting peace and security in the world. Timor-Leste is one of the founding members of g7+, an intergovernmental organization established in 2010, currently consisting of 20 member countries. “Timor-Leste believes that genuine dialogue between the parties involved can contribute to enhancing mutual trust, thereby decreasing the tension and thus paving the way for a peaceful solution,” he said.

Hon. Barbara Cubin, U.S. congresswoman (1995-2009), spoke about her experience as a congresswoman for 14 years. She said, “I learned women do not always solve problems the same way men do, but they solve a lot of them,” and that “women’s intuition and emotions can be strong forms in solving big problems.” When first asked to speak, the first things that came to mind were: “Without respect there is no peace. Without honesty there is no peace. Without trust there is no peace. Without love there can be no peace.” She urged parliamentarians to remember these concepts as we look to how we personally can contribute to peace. Hon. Cubin called on the parliamentarians to work for peace through “the power of the purse” and urged them “to influence our government at all levels.”

Hon. Matt Salmon, U.S. congressman (2013-2017), said the IAPP “was established to accomplish something that has eluded civilization since literally the beginning of time. Ever since Cain killed Abel, as related in the Bible, lasting peace has not been accomplished on this planet. Our call is not to talk about lasting global peace; it is to accomplish lasting global peace.” Hon. Salmon quoted UPF co-founder Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon: “If we have not achieved peace, it is because people forget its most fundamental aspect. Before we talk about peace with nations, we must settle our peace with God!” Hon. Salmon called on parliamentarians to “make peace with God through forgiveness!”

Other speakers and attendees included: Hon. Kimmo Kalevi Sasi, minister of foreign trade (1999- 2002) and minister of transport and communications (2002-2003), Finland; Hon. Allal Amraoui, member of parliament, Morocco; Hon. Iro Sani, vice president, National Assembly, Niger; Hon. Sam P. Teo, speaker of the Parliament, Tuvalu; and Hon. Boriy Alikhanov, deputy speaker, Parliament, Uzbekistan.

 

Conclusion: Of the proposals for peace in Northeast Asia, parliamentarians discussed the merits of an international peace park in the DMZ, which was first proposed by Rev. and Mrs. Moon in 2000 along with the idea of creating an interreligious council at the UN. 

Rev. Moon called for the entire demilitarized zone along the 155-mile military demarcation line that crosses the Korean Peninsula be turned into a peace zone under UN jurisdiction. There was also discussion about the proposal made by Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon in 2015 to establish a major East Asian headquarters office of the United Nations.

World Summit participants agreed that peace on the Korean Peninsula must include a developmental and business investment component. This was heartily endorsed and expounded on by billionaire investor, James Rogers. The chairman of Rogers Holdings said, “Korea is poised to become the hottest region in the world once inter-Korean relations improve and reunification occurs, as capital pours in from around the world thanks to the Korean Peninsula’s geopolitical position.” Rogers gave a very optimistic perspective, “With abundant resources, low debt, and a population of 600 million people, ASEAN is set to emerge as a new leader joining East Asia in driving global prosperity.” 

There was wide-spread agreement with the approach advocated by Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon which envisions creating a committee to explore the formation of an Asia Pacific Union.

 

To view the World Summit 2020 IAPP Schedule Page, click here.

To read the executive summary of the World Summit 2020, click here.

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