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Session III: Toward Peace on the Korean Peninsula: Keynote Addresses

Korea-2022-02-11-Session III: Toward Peace on the Korean Peninsula: Keynote Addresses

Seoul, South Korea—H.E. Macky Sall, Chair of the African Union and President of Senegal, thanked Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon and the UPF for the time and efforts they devote to the safeguarding of our common humanity. “You do this,” he said, “by helping to cultivate the values of tolerance and respect for our differences, to overcome suspicions and appease resentments, to foster mutual trust and to establish peaceful co-existence between peoples, cultures and civilizations.” As a laureate of the Sunhak Peace Prize, he shares with the UPF the ethical and moral values, according to which the cost of war is always higher than the price of peace. However, freedom does not come easily and is not to be taken for granted; it is cultivated in the Garden of Courage, Trust and Dialogue. This is where it flourishes to bear the fruits of mutual understanding.

H.E. Romano Prodi, Prime Minister (2006-2008) of Italy, European Union Commission President (1999-2004), and UN Special Envoy for the Sahel, said that the situation on the Korean Peninsula is absolutely absurd, after almost 70 years. This is due to a combination of internal and external problems. First, political tension obviously has never helped unification, and the division on the peninsula has been used to strengthen power positions or to achieve political goals. He clarified that, “unification is a win-win process in which nobody will be damaged.” A prerequisite is that North and South Korea should start to cooperate. After all, there are two governments that desire deeper cooperation. They would be well advised to start small experiments in the fields of, amongst others, sports, culture and tourism, which will create a positive atmosphere. “Of course, one might think that I am dreaming,” he said, “but I have been the President of the European Commission, and the effort to unify Europe is not easy. Korea is one country, with one language, with one common history. In Europe we are 27 countries with 22 languages, and every day there is some difference of opinion or disagreement. However, when you are constantly in dialogue, you understand that time is working in your favor. It should be clear that Korean unification is a completely different story from German unification, in which one country prevailed over the other. There must be cooperation on an equal footing, in which people understand the value of sticking together. Cooperation can be compared to an infection, such as COVID-19, that is spreading around. If we cooperate, we spread virtue.”

H.E. Michel Temer, President (2016-18) of Brazil, especially thanked Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, whose vision and work for peace has extended beyond her country and spread throughout the world. He said that when he visited South Korea as the president of Brazil, he was very impressed with the education system there. In fact, His Excellency used the South Korean model for reforming Brazil’s secondary education system, which resulted in hiring thousands of full-time teachers.

The session closed with a stirring performance by Nam Sang Il, a Korean traditional musician, followed by lunch.

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