December 2023
26 27 28 29 30 1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30
31 1 2 3 4 5 6

ILC2021 Asia Pacific, August 19-20: Executive Summary

Asia Pacific—UPF-Asia Pacific held its third virtual International Leadership Conference 2021 (ILC2021) and Think Tank 2022 Global Forum this summer from August 19 to 20, on the theme, “Toward Peaceful Reunification of the Korean Peninsula: Prospects for Economic Development and Peace.”

The first ILC, which took place from July 7 to 8, focused on the peace and security aspect of Korean reunification and the second one, convened from July 28 to 29, examined the role of Track II diplomacy in it.

In total, 2,581 people from 39 countries participated in the regional program via Zoom and an estimated 312,000 people have viewed it on YouTube and other social media platforms. Among the 38 speakers were government ministers, former ambassadors, parliamentarians, media and civil society leaders, and scholars. The event was conducted in English with simultaneous translation available in seven languages.

The Opening Session began with remarks given by Rev. Demian Dunkley, president of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU) Asia Pacific 1, in which he highlighted the importance of forgiving the unforgivable and loving the unlovable, as UPF founders Rev. Sun Myung Moon and Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon did when they visited North Korea.

In his chairman’s remarks, Hon. Ek Nath Dhakal, chair of UPF-Asia Pacific, recalled his visits to North and South Korea and stated: “We should encourage people-to-people relations to create an environment for government-to-government reconciliation.”

Hon. Sher Dhan Rai, chief minister of Province No. 1 in Nepal, expressed his gratitude to UPF’s founders and underlined the significance of initiatives such as Think Tank 2022 and the ILC’s in rediscovering the potential possibilities of reunifying the Korean Peninsula.

Amb. Luis T. Cruz, former ambassador of the Philippines to South Korea (2008-2014), cited the establishment of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as an example of how a regional organization could still be formed despite political conflicts. Amb. Cruz also said that any regional economic arrangement in Northeast Asia should include engagement with North Korea.

In his keynote address, Dr. Thomas Walsh, chairman of UPF International, said that despite the challenges the world faces, applying the principles that UPF upholds can help establish a paradigm of peace in the world.

In Session Two, whose theme was “Re-imagining Asian Century: Connectivity and Economic Integration for Sustainable Peace,” the speakers discussed various connectivity and peace projects.

UPF International president, Dr. Michael Jenkins, and UPF-Japan chair, Mr. Masayoshi Kajikuri, introduced the Bering Strait, Peace Road and Japan-Korea Undersea Tunnel projects, initiatives started by UPF’s founders that promote connectivity and peace towards the Asian Century.

Hon. Mushaid Hussain, a senator from Pakistan, spoke about China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) (“One Belt One Road” initiative) for economic integration.      

Another distinguished speaker, Hon. Dr. Vijay Jolly, a senior leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of India, clarified how the Indo-Pacific strategy contributes to sustainable peace in the Asia Pacific.

All the speakers expressed their belief that the rise of Asia is inevitable. The question is: How will it lead the world?

In Session Three, five speakers presented their perspectives on the theme, “A Northeast Asian Economic Union - Game Changer in the Search for Peace?” Amb. KV Rajan, former secretary of the Ministry of External Affairs of India, who served as the moderator of the event, expressed his optimism that a Northeast Asian Economic Union that includes North Korea could be formed.

Prof. Bo Zhiyue, founder and president of the Bo Zhiyue China Institute, New Zealand, explored the prospects of such an economic union taking shape and agreed that it could be a game changer in the search for peace in the region.

Dr. Songchit Pullarp, a professor emeritus and chairman of Juche Idea Studies, Thailand, gave different perspectives of North Korea as a disciplined society based on his experiences during the 25 visits he has made to the country. He urged the international community not to misunderstand North Korea. Prof. Narender Kumar, a professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University, India, spoke on the topic from an Indian perspective.

Dr. Arnel Rodelas, national president of Passage-2-ASEAN (P2A), Philippines, highlighted truth, justice, love, freedom and humanity as the five pillars of peace. 

Hon. Ross Robertson, four-time assistant speaker of the House of Representatives and a 27-year serving member of the New Zealand Parliament, encouraged UPF to take the lead in establishing a Northeast Asian Economic Union and proposed Russia, Mongolia, Japan, both Koreas and China as well as the five Central Asian countries come together for its formation.

Session Four brought together leaders from the government, education, business and legal sectors to address the topic, “Expanding Intra-Korean Trade - International Role and Opportunities.” The The panelists examined how a unified Korea can accelerate regional integration, peace and prosperity by becoming a major basis and source of political and economic cooperation. They also stated that Northeast Asia will be a very different place after the two Korea’s reunify.

Ms. Sophie York, a barrister and law lecturer from Australia, opined that Koreans themselves should lead the reunification process and the international community should play a supporting role. She emphasized that “Peace is possible if goals are aligned." She also said: “This is the Koreans’ moment for national unity and sovereignty. They could show the entire world that peace matters more than political regimes. It can be done, and with the support of enough good people, it will be, but preparation is vital.”

Hon. Udaya Nepali Shrestha, a member of the Constituent Assembly of Nepal, sees tremendous potential within UPF to play a leading role in expanding intra-Korean trade, which will not only benefit the two Koreas but also the entire region. He highlighted that a unified Korean Peninsula and peaceful Korean people could be an example of economic development in the new world. Presently, it is equally important for intra-Korean trade to be expanded which can bring about international opportunities.

Mr. Gayrat Baudonov, founder of Choco Design Company, Uzbekistan, spoke based on his own experiences and encouraged the integration of economic activities for the achievement of lasting peace. He also expressed his hope for a second "Korean economic miracle" which will develop the prosperity of the entire peninsula.

Session Five, whose theme was “Culture as Dynamic Bridge towards Reunification: Analyzing Korean Culture, Civilization and Worldview,” featured four scholars and the founder of a global education company as speakers. 

Dr. Sung Bae Jin, president of the Unification Thought Institute International, South Korea, spoke about Korea’s long history and delineated some basic principles for reunification.

Dr. Sirjana Thapa, an assistant professor at Namseoul University, Korea, highlighted culture as a bridge for reunification and peace and that it could be a good approach for the reconciliation between the two Koreas.

Prof. Dr. Sombat Benjasimongkol, chairman of the Thai-Korean Friendship Association, Thailand, encouraged everyone to positively support Korean reunification as both Koreas share the same culture, history and aspirations. He quoted “What grows together, goes together” to describe how the two Koreas can further their relations with each other.

Mr. Khem Reaksmey, founder and CEO of Dewey International Co., Ltd., Cambodia, introduced the win-win policy of Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen which brought about peace and reconciliation in Cambodia. He is confident that wise leadership in both Koreas can aid both countries in finding peaceful solutions.

Session Six was focused on the theme, “Toward Peaceful Reunification of the Korean Peninsula: Revisiting Political Economy for a Post Covid-19 World.”

Prof. Mahendra P. Lama, founding vice chancellor of Sikkim Central University and senior professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University, India, compared hard power with soft power and endorsed the soft power approach to peace and security. Music, culture, food and sports can all contribute as soft power approaches to peace, he said. Prof. Lama also recognized UPF as a champion of soft power for peace, gradually but consciously moving towards the reunification of the Korean Peninsula.

Mr. Mohammad Tauqir Khan QSM JP, executive director of TravelPOINTS, New Zealand, who visited North and South Koreas advised that both Koreas be positively motivated to reunify and suggested the international community develop ideas that can help North Korea and inspire the North Korean people. If the two Koreas unite, they will be one of the biggest economies in the world, he also said.

Mr. Navruz Odinaev, founder and CEO of Himoya Legal Co., Tajikistan, spoke from his own nation’s experience of conflict and economic development and underlined that investment- friendly laws are necessary for developing the economy of a nation.

Dr. Pirom Chantaworn, an associate professor in the Faculty of Economics at Thammasat University and a faculty member of the College of Social Innovation at Rangsit University, Thailand, examined the two World Wars, Vietnam War and Korean War and linked the role of political economy in the post-war situation of countries. He encouraged stakeholders in the Korean reunification process to be more responsible.

Session Seven had as its theme, “Role of the Media” in Korean reunification.

Mr. Thomas McDevitt, chairman of The Washington Times, USA, introduced the grand strategy of UPF co-founder Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, which could be a good approach to realize the peaceful reunification of the Korean Peninsula.

Other distinguished speakers in this session included Padma Sri Alok Mehta, former president of the Editors Guild of India; Mr. Barbie Atienza, president of the United Print Media Group and head of external affairs of the Manila Bulletin Publishing Corporation, Philippines; Mr. Vasilii Fokin, president of the Eurasia New Media Group, Kyrgyzstan; and Mr. Chanchai Pratheepwatanawong, chief reporter of The Nation Thailand.

In the Closing Session, a summary of and recommendations that were made during the ILC2021 were presented. Mr. Masaichi Hori, president of FFWPU Asia Pacific 2, congratulated UPF on the success of this ILC and expressed his hope that the conference contributed to creating awareness of the importance of Korean reunification. Mrs. Shova Gyawali, founder and publisher of Nepal Republic Media, and Hon. Dr. Ly Chheng, a member of Parliament and chairman of Beltei International University, Cambodia, extended their congratulations and affirmed their solidarity for the cause of peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula. 

Hon. Ek Nath Dhakal, chair of UPF-Asia Pacific, gave a summary of the conference and highlighted some of the recommendations various speakers made. A congratulatory dance performance called “Hwageom” was presented by The Little Angels Korean Children’s Folk Ballet.

Speakers in the three ILC’s that were convened this summer advised North and South Korea and the international community to take a peaceful approach in addressing all issues and problems existing between the two Koreas. They also recommended the use of Track II diplomacy and cultural values for negotiations. One-hundred and thirty-one (131) experts from diverse sectors of the Asian society presented at and over half a million people viewed the conferences.

The sessions were moderated by former Indian ambassador KV Rajan (Session 3) and UPF-Asia Pacific leaders Dr. Venus Agustin (Opening Session); Dr. Lek Thaveetermsakul (Session Two); Rev. Yutaka Yamada (Session Four); Mr. Santosh Neupane (Session Five); Rev. Greg Stone (Session Six); Dr. Robert S. Kittel (Session Seven); and Mrs. Ursula McLackland (Session Eight).  

To view videos of all the sessions, click here:

Individual reports for each session:

Session 1: Opening Session: Toward Peaceful Reunification of the Korean Peninsula: Prospects for Economic Development and Peace

Session 2: Re-Imagining Asian Century: Connectivity and Economic Integration for Sustainable Peace

Session 3: A Northeast Asian Economic Union – Game Changer in the Search for Peace?

Session 4: Expanding Intra-Korean Trade – International Role and Opportunities

Session 5: Culture as Dynamic Bridge towards Reunification: Analyzing Korean Culture, Civilization and Worldview

Session 6: Revisiting Political Economy for a Post Covid-19 World

Session 7: The Role of the Media

Session 8: Closing Session: Summary and Recommendations

If you find this page helpful and informative please consider making donation. Your donation will help Universal Peace Federation (UPF) provide new and improved reports, analysis and publications to you and everyone around the world.

UPF is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization and all donations are tax deductible in the United States. Receipts are automatically provided for donations of or above $250.00.

Donate to the Universal Peace Federation: Your donation to support the general programs of UPF.

Donate to the Religious Youth Service (RYS): Your donation will be used for service projects around the world.

Donate to UPF's Africa Projects: Your donation will be used for projects in Africa.