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Asia Pacific ILC Focuses on Reunification of Korea

Thailand-2020-11-29-Asia Pacific ILC Focuses on Reunification of Korea

Bangkok, Thailand—War veterans, diplomats, a government minister, women leaders, a nuclear physicist, army officers, a mayor, media representatives, and academicians along with 1,600 participants from 30 nations gathered virtually on November 29, 2020 for an International Leadership Conference (ILC) for the Asia Pacific region to share insights on the 70th anniversary of the Korean War and strategize about reunification of the divided peninsula. Similar conferences are being held in regions around the world.

Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, the co-founder of UPF, which sponsored the ILC, announced a week earlier the construction of Korean War memorials in all 63 nations that gave troops, military supplies, medical support or humanitarian aid to Korea at the time of the conflict 70 years ago. Many nations have memorials already, but not all. She also said she would establish a registry of all the “brave young heroes” who served or sacrificed in any way to support Korea during its darkest hour.

Dr. Robert S. Kittel, director of education of UPF-Asia Pacific, moderated the first session, whose theme was “Peaceful Reunification of the Korean Peninsula: Korean War 70th Anniversary.”

Mr. Masaichi Hori, president of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU), Asia Pacific Region 2, an affiliated organization, delivered the welcome remarks in which he spoke about the importance of commending the people who sacrificed so much during the Korean War and made efforts to create lasting peace on the Korean peninsula.

Hon. Ek Nath Dhakal, chairman of UPF-Asia Pacific, said in his Chairman’s Address that although it is important to look back and reflect on the suffering of the past, it is more important to look to the future when peace is attained on the divided peninsula. UPF, guided by the principles of interdependence, mutual prosperity and universal values, has been spearheading such global efforts.

Gen. Terdsak Marrome, a member of the Korean War Veterans Organization of Thailand, reminded us that it is important to remember that despite a ceasefire agreement (the Korean Armistice Agreement) bringing an end of hostilities of the Korean War in 1953, the war might erupt again at any time. He commended the initiative of UPF’s founders in the promotion of peace and unity around the world.

Dr. Adrian Buzo, a former Australian diplomat to North Korea, university lecturer and author from Australia, gave an in-depth analysis of the recent diplomacy between the U.S., North Korea and South Korea as well as other regional players such as China and Japan. He felt that it was not very effective and added that unless a new factor entered into the situation, there would not be much change to the current situation.

Gen. Leopoldo Bataoil, mayor of Lingayen municipality in the Philippines, said that as part of the military and police force himself, he is well aware of the significance of the use of force to attain and maintain peace and order in a given jurisdiction. “But, as one of those sent to the frontline in the most critical parts of our country, I learned that every fight, every war aims only at one thing—peace.” He said that it is high time to finally put an end to the long-running Korean War. “The process will not be easy; nonetheless, it will be worth it.”

Dato Muhammad Nasir Hamzah, the deputy chairman of Karangkraf Media Group, Malaysia, expressed his high hopes that the unification of the Korean peninsula is always possible as long as both North and South Korea are sincere, honest and committed. He emphasized that North and South Korea belong to one and the same family and ethnic group. “They share almost everything: They speak the same language, have the same culture, same family names, same food and same behavior; the only thing that differs [between them] is [their] ideology which can always be adjusted.”

The second session, “Peaceful Reunification of the Korean Peninsula and Unified World of Peace, focused on the UPF founder’s understanding that the peaceful reunification of Korea will be the foundation for a unified world of peace.

Mrs. Ursula McLackland, secretary general of UPF-Asia Pacific, was the moderator of this session.

Pres. Demian Dunkley, president of Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, Asia Pacific Region 1, commended the efforts and dedication of UPF’s founders for the reunification of Korea. Notably, he said that the unification of Korea will be a huge stepping stone for world peace and it will change the map of the world.

Dr. Chaiyong Satjipanon, former Thai ambassador to Washington D.C. and Seoul, acknowledged UPF’s aim for a “peaceful reunification” and suggested to redouble efforts with continued engagement, negotiations and cultivation of constructive cooperation. He encouraged Thailand; the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN); and other nations to look for a diplomatic opening to convince the North to acclimatize their leadership to the viewpoint that its future is inseparable from the regional and global society.

H.E. Lt. Gen. Nem Sowathey, adviser to Samdech Pichey Sena Tea Banh, deputy prime minister and minister of national defense of Cambodia, stressed that peace is a precious public property that must be protected. Highlighting Cambodia’s efforts for peace through a “win-win policy,” she advocated the Asia Pacific Union as a way to bring peace to the Korean Peninsula through cooperation between civil society and government. She commended Dr. Moon and said, “It is true that once we lose our family values, everything will fall apart.”

Dr. Sudhakar Vaddi, assistant professor at the Centre for East Asian Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, India, explained the reasons causing difficulties in the reunification of North and South Korea. He suggested easing the sanctions on North Korea, the conversion of the Korean Armistice Agreement into a peace agreement, the suspension of provocative joint military exercises and consistency in South Korea’s policy towards North Korea.

Hon. Chhaya Sharma, a member of the Constituent Assembly and member of the Parliament (2014-2018) of India, highlighted UPF’s ever striving work and contribution to world peace and harmony. She strongly believes that the key to the peace process on the Korean Peninsula depends on the support of its powerful neighbors: China, Russia, Japan and the U.S. However, the key stakeholders are the Korean people themselves. She suggested to ease travel restrictions between the two countries to meet friends and family, start commercial trade and allow the economies of both countries to grow on their own.

Prof. Emeritus Dr. Shamsher Ali, founder vice-chancellor of Bangladesh Open University and Southeast University, Bangladesh, highlighted how the Koreans are a unified people and matter to the world. He explained about the fusion energy that is present in every matter in the universe. This also holds true for the reunification of North and South Korea.

A lively question and answer session followed each session, which brought into light the importance of efforts built on mutual trust and cooperation be made by both North and South Korea to achieve peaceful reunification. The speakers also called for a united diplomatic approach by the international community towards both countries, North and South Korea.

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