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Session IV: Peace on the Korean Peninsula: Analysis and Recommendations

Korea-2022-02-11-Session IV: Peace on the Korean Peninsula: Analysis and Recommendations

Seoul, South Korea—The fourth plenary session of the World Summit 2022 for Peace on the Korean Peninsula took place on February 11, 2022, at the Lotte Hotel World in Seoul, South Korea, under the title of “Peace on the Korean Peninsula: Analysis and Recommendations.” The speakers of this session, mainly journalists, parliamentarians, and government ministers from various nations, gave in-person as well as virtual speeches and brought complementary perspectives on the subject.

Report

Prior to the session, Dr. Thomas G. Walsh, the chairman of UPF International, explained that the two sessions on the afternoon of February 11 and three on the afternoon of February 12 comprised the Think Tank 2022 Forum Series in which experts from various fields would give their analysis, ideas, and recommendations for steps forward for peace on the Korean Peninsula.

The moderator of the fourth plenary session was Mr. Thomas McDevitt, Chairman of The Washington Times. He opened the session by explaining the role of the media in bringing peace to the Korean Peninsula.

Hon. Kim Hyon Hwan, First Vice Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism in the Republic of Korea, described the Korean Peninsula as being the interest of worldwide journalists for decades. Hon. Kim said that peace between the two Koreas not only will be beneficial to the Korean people and the Northeast Asian region but also will bring peace to the whole world. Furthermore, the presence at the Summit of journalists from the 157 countries that have diplomatic ties with North and South Korea is of great importance, he said. Indeed, the role of journalism is critical and pivotal, and this journey for peace should be one of hope rather than disappointment.

Mr. Charlie Hurt, opinion editor of The Washington Times in the United States, expressed gratitude for being back at the World Summit. Seeing the devotion of all the participants truly humbled him, he said, and will allow him to go home with “renewed admiration for these tremendous efforts.” As former U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and former Speaker Newt Gingrich mentioned, “Our world is a much better place when America is strong,” and it is then that peace has a greater opportunity to thrive, Mr. Hurt said. He spoke of the importance of fact-based newspapers that seek the truth and do not censor opinions, such as The Washington Times, which are vital for a free republic. Indeed, in the United States Constitution, the founders highlighted the importance of a “free, vibrant and open exchange of ideas and debate.” Hence, the free press is essential for a well-functioning democracy, he said.

Ms. Trish Regan, formerly with the Fox Business news channel and current host of the online Trish Regan Show, said that despite the many challenges the world is facing—notably with the pandemic but also with inflation, conflicts, breakdown of families, the refugee crisis and so forth—there is hope for peace. “A unified Korea could show the world that anything is possible,” she said. She highlighted the importance of family values, which she called essential for success and peace. In the case of the Korean Peninsula, having families from both sides of the 38th parallel reunited can be an economic powerhouse, she said. Moreover, the success story of the ROK’s economy is due to the prevalence of strong family values, she said, predicting that the peninsula’s unity will boost the economy further. She concluded by saying that diplomatic channels as well as the commitment of the global community are essential to reunify the Korean Peninsula, which will allow the economy to prosper on both sides and spread to all of Asia.

Rt. Hon. Ganesh Prasad Timilsina, Chairman of the National Assembly of Nepal, offered his vision of a new path toward world peace that will open through the reunification of Korea. This will “enhance the mutual prosperity of the human race, interdependency, and common universal values,” as well as economic, cultural, educational, and environmental development. Furthermore, he said, it is our human responsibility to heal the wounds of others and “remove the past distrusts and conflicts and help open the path for prosperity.” As for the Korean issue, the problems are common ones, he said, and to solve these, North and South Korea must work together closely in the sectors of economy, society, and culture. And for that, neighboring powers need to play a greater role in supporting and accompanying the peace process for the reunification of Korea, he said.

Ms. Kyra Phillips, formerly with CNN and currently an ABC correspondent, recalled her memories of the 50th anniversary of the Korean War, as veterans gathered at war memorials and people paid tribute to those who lost their lives during the conflict. Some veterans told her that they recalled Seoul in wartime as being without electricity and with few buildings left standing, compared to today’s rebuilt South Korean capital. Ms. Phillips said we have to find the political system that can reunify the two Koreas and bring the same economic benefits to the DPRK. This may require an initial stage of a hybrid format, with different systems per provinces or with two systems, two states. Ms. Phillips emphasized the importance of involving representatives of North and South Korea in negotiations, as well as the United States and China.

Hon. Yoshinori Ohno, Minister of Defense (2004-2005) of Japan, spoke of the importance of the topic of the Summit, and the extent to which it also concerns Japan. Indeed, the two Koreas are neighbors of Japan, but they have very different relations with Japan. Japan and the ROK share values and interests, whereas there are no diplomatic relations with the DPRK. There are great concerns due to North Korea’s abduction of Japanese citizens in the past, as well as with the development and launching of nuclear missiles. Therefore, it is essential for Japan to promote peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula through interdependence, mutual prosperity, and universal values—three principles developed by Dr. Moon. He further spoke about the example that Dr. and Mrs. Moon set in 1991 by going to the DPRK to visit Chairman Kim. With this heroic measure, they indeed became models of mutual trust and human relations, which are essential to advancing peace.

Mr. Michael Breen, founder of Insight Communications based in Seoul, and a former journalist with The Guardian, The Times of London, and The Washington Times, stated that reunification requires a strategy that either will be quick as in the case of Germany, or slow like the European Union. What truly matters, however, is to “ask what type of state reunified Koreans want to live in.” One clear point, he said, is that our vision for a reunified Korea has to be based on democratic views, which also could allow China to become democratic. However, we must address the DPRK’s fears, which are notably absorption by the South, and we should focus on creating bonds and building trust. Mr. Breen said that the “first step is to move from being enemies to being neighbors,” and this process requires, particularly, the use of culture and sports. Thus, he recommended that the ROK allow its artists to freely deal with the DPRK. Furthermore, he suggested that we let modern culture from the whole world influence the DPRK. Finally, Mr. Breen recommended that UPF hold its next World Summit in Pyongyang and make a declaration there regarding the end of the North Korean system, just as in 1985 Reverend Moon recommended to affirm the end of Soviet communism.

Mr. Steve Killelea from Australia, the founder and executive chairman of the Institute for Economics & Peace, spoke about “the connection between peace and economic prosperity,” especially in reference to North and South Korea. “Many benefits to the economy come from peace, and stronger economies tend to generate more peace as well,” he said. Mr. Killelea called on the 157 nations that have diplomatic relations with both North and South Korea to work together with the Koreas to help them to have a better integrated economy. “It doesn’t have to be great leaps and bounds,” he said. “Small starts are always good. Even small starts will come with an economic windfall for both nations.”

Mr. Hexilon G. Alvarez from the Philippines, the president and CEO of Intercontinental Broadcasting Corp., said: “I have confidence that media has a vital role to play in our common vision of a peaceful, healthy and sustainable world. … Education is the most effective weapon that can be used to change the world. Media is a creative global-values lifelong learning medium to teach as a mirror, to see our foibles and seize our strengths and armor against social ills.”

Professor Paul Teng, an expert in food security at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore, gave a presentation titled “The Economic and Social Benefits from Investing in Food Security.”

Ms. Cecilia Luchía-Puig from Argentina, a journalist, editor of Mañana Profesional SA and director of the Líderes TV media company, said, “We are going through difficult times, and we need to seek human values, be respectful of other cultures and different religions, have empathy with people in need, foster inclusion and seek equality.”

Professor Sergio de Azevedo Redo from Brazil, a journalist and the head of the São Paulo Press Association, said, “I call upon my fellow journalists from all over the world to disseminate and even promote the good contents of this World Summit 2022 in Seoul.”

Ms. Lilian Schiavo from Brazil, president of the Brazilian Organization of Women Entrepreneurs, referred to herself as a bridge-builder. To build a bridge implies breaking down barriers, she said, laying differences aside and learning from them. “It is to practice empathy, understanding that each person’s behavior is unique, a different way of thinking and reacting. We must think less about ‘me’ and more about ‘us.’ That is, to understand that we can unite with sisterhood, supporting each other, promoting greater international communication.”

Dr. Ángel Sánchez Dueñas, president of the Federation of Journalists of Peru and secretary general for Peru of UPF’s International Media Association for Peace (IMAP), said: “There is no equality if there is no respect for differences. There is no unity without cooperation. There is no life without peace.”

Mr. Segundo Valentin Valladares Melgar, secretary general for Peru of UPF’s International Association for Peace and Economic Development (IAED), said, “Peace in the two Koreas is more than a possibility—it is an extremely urgent fact, and it’s a cry from all around the world: Peace, Korea wants peace.”

Mr. Humphrey Hawksley from the United Kingdom, a former BBC foreign affairs correspondent and author, gave a realistic view of the difficulties of Korean reunification. “The North and the South might share a language, but it will take a long time to mesh the two current mindsets, as the South has found when resettling those who have escaped,” he said. “My suggestion: I'm an author and a reporter. I would say: Give it time. Don't think that you can unify like Germany, in months or years. Look at a fifty-year plan. … The South and the North must merge in the unification so that on both sides of the border, the day that it happens, everybody is going to wake up and go to work as if nothing much has changed,” Mr. Hawksley said.

H.E. Anthony Carmona, President (2013-2018) of Trinidad and Tobago made the point that “Korean reunification and inter-Korean relations must not be perceived as being at the behest of foreign influence and intervention but rather emanating from the altruistic and pragmatic hopes of the Korean people themselves.” H.E. Carmona recommended the Treaty of Tlatelolco, which prohibits nuclear weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean, could be a roadmap for a world ban on nuclear weapons.

The fourth plenary session ended with a performance by “popera” singer Kim Jaebin.

 

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