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June 2022
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Speeches

S. Harper: Address to World Summit 2022, Session 1

Address to World Summit
February 11-13, 2022

 

Honorable high office holders, past and present, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen. It is my honor to address this World Summit 2022 sponsored by the Universal Peace Federation. My thanks to the summit co-chairs, His Excellency Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen of the Kingdom of Cambodia, and my old friend, His Excellency, Ban Ki-moon, former Secretary General of the United Nations. I thank them for jointly convening this important conference at this critical juncture, because the themes of reconciliation and peaceful reunification of the Korean peninsula are not only important for northeast Asia, they are important for the entire world.

I’ve had the opportunity to speak to previous World Summits here in 2019 and 2020. In fact, my speech here, almost exactly two years ago, was against the backdrop of growing reports of a very serious pandemic emanating from the People’s Republic of China. Soon after, I would not have the opportunity to speak in public again for almost a year and a half. But, while much of the world shut down or stood still, the work of the Universal Peace Federation continued full throttle. In the depths of the pandemic, the UPF held Rallies of Hope, in August 2020, and again, in November 2020 on the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of the Korean War. The UPF also held a number of global webcasts to discuss pressing geo-political issues. One, in particular, focused     on the Middle East Peace Initiative, and the impact of the Abraham Accords, brought about through the efforts of many, including the then American administration. We are honored to have Vice President Pence and Secretary Pompeo here today, and we congratulate them for their roles in this historic achievement! And, so, the Universal Peace Federation has continued its work, without pause or fatigue. I salute the organizers of this important World Summit for forging ahead, and for bringing us together, despite the tremendous logistical challenges you have faced.

These UPF online events and conferences are notable not only for their relentless pursuit of humanity’s most important missions, but also for their uniqueness in assembling world political leaders, spiritual leaders, business leaders, women’s leaders, media leaders, leading academics, and leading artists, all dedicated to continuously exploring the routes to peace and reconciliation on the Korean peninsula and elsewhere. This gathering is no exception, with confirmed participation—in person and online—people from 157 countries, including 45 current and former heads of state, government and national legislatures, along with accomplished experts from every field of human endeavor.

I want to sincerely congratulate Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon for her leadership and commitment to peace in Korea and throughout the world. Her family escaped from North Korea when she was just five years old, fleeing with her Christian mother and grandmother after the communist takeover in 1948.

A dozen years later, she met her husband, the late Reverend Dr. Moon, and with him jointly pursued peace for all Koreans—work she has continued since his passing in 2012. Together they co-founded numerous organizations, including the UPF and The Washington Times, to strengthen the family, to promote faith, and to encourage interreligious cooperation, as well as, of course, to support the greatest of causes: freedom and peace.

Dr. Moon, we all thank you! We thank you, among other things, for inviting us to be here, in the Republic of Korea. I’ve been here many, many times, but I can never come here often enough.

Whenever we have cause to despair at the state of the world, we must take a moment to reflect on what South Korea has achieved. It was only during the shared sacrifices of the Korean War that most Canadians became broadly knowledgeable about this country. It was then a poor and desperate place, with its hopes for freedom and prosperity on the verge of being extinguished. From that time, it has risen to become one of the most prosperous, most peaceful, and most progressive countries in the world. As I’ve said many times, this country is one of humanity’s greatest success stories. Few nations have ever achieved so much in so short a period of time. I hold out a similar hope for the North.

In Canada, the Korean community has likewise grown and prospered, and is now some 200,000 strong, a critical part of a relationship continuously broadened by the exchanges of teachers, students, tourists and businesspeople. And, of course, I will forever be proud of the enormous step forward my government took in relations with the Republic of Korea when we concluded the Canada-Korea free trade agreement in 2014. Under it, we’ve witnessed the continual growth of our commercial relationship, making South Korea today Canada’s seventh largest trade partner.

None of this is to deny the enormity and persistence of the problem that the DPRK in the north continues to present, and for which, in the days to come I and many others will explore the options. But it is to say, that, for good reason, we have hope, we have faith, and we have a great love for this country—all of which will keep us, and your many other friends and allies, by your side through the challenges and opportunities that await the Korean nation.

Thank you again for this chance to be here, to speak to the Universal Peace Federation, and to once again be part of your efforts to reconcile the peoples of the world, and to bring about peace

between the nations.

Merci beaucoup.

 

 


To go to the World Summit 2022 Schedule page, click here.