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Speeches

K. Nailatikau: Address to World Summit 2022, Session VII

Address to World Summit
February 11-13, 2022

 

Madam Moon and the Moon family,

Dr. Thomas Walsh,

Fellow speakers,

Universal Peace Federation members, family and friends,

It is indeed an honor to join you all again this year from my island home, Fiji. With the preparation towards today’s virtual World Summit 2022, I have been reflecting on all the UPF summits I have been fortunate to attend since my very first in Seoul in 2013.

Unification of the Korean Peninsula has been at the forefront of the agenda of these meetings every year. 

And every year from my own experience and feelings, I have felt the strength, faith and belief of everyone participating in each Summit that unification is possible and will happen in our lifetimes. Rev. and Madam Moon understood that at the heart of Korea, a once unified Korea, there is a spiritual heritage as well as a common culture, tradition and language and one people. It is such a beautiful sentiment, and it is what the foundation of reunification will be—a reminder of what once was and what can be. 

We, Fiji and the Pacific, are small, humble island nations surrounded by the world’s greatest ocean. Both land and ocean are part and parcel of our everyday lives—they both give us sustenance and strength, shelter, clothing, the air we breathe, the food we eat. They protect us, teach us to be strong, smart and aware of our surroundings, and even tell us when bad weather is brewing. 

Also, our land and ocean teach us of unity and harmony. We are dependent on them for survival, and they in turn depend on us to be sustainable with our practices and allow them to replenish as they should. Our sisters and brothers in Palau put it so beautifully in their declaration: “It is the fabric of unity upon which we have woven individual and collective relationships and agreements on sustainable development, now and into the future. [It] is our Life and our Future.”

We learnt that with our scattered islands we are stronger as one people. Though we have our cultural differences, our islands and our ocean tie us together as different cultures but one Pacific people.

For Korea, you only need to look back at what nature intended from the beginning—the very ground you walk on is part of one peninsula gifted to all Korean people.  

It is people that create divisions, but the land and the seas will be the first to remind you of what you share together, of what you have in common. A key challenge for the Korean Peninsula, which is a challenge in nearly all countries and regions in achieving peace and positive development, is how to allow the many different voices that come together, to come together in harmony. It is in harmony that different pitches and notes are brought and sung together, and it is through respect of differences and making those differences work together that people can move forward as one.

Rev. and Madam Moon knew and practiced their belief that unification would happen peacefully for all Korean people and by setting up peace zones and soft power diplomacy, though a long and patient process, they have made more successful advancements in peace and interaction of North and South then most governments put together have.

They understood that peace is a process—it will not come simply, and it will take years of consistent nurturing and love, which is what they envisioned 30 years ago. This is why every year we speak of unification—it is stronger than the year before and much more so than when the idea first came about.

Following the leadership of UPF, it is up to the leaders of both North and South to start providing more inclusive peace zones for their people, as well as incentives and motivations for all Korean people towards [fostering] peace. 

For many Koreans—I am sure beyond the politics, laws and national interests—each individual wants to live in peace and know that those they love are at peace and safe too.

Those who own land and have access to resources will naturally want those interests safeguarded, those who don’t will want opportunity, and those who were separated from their homes and families will want to be reunited. It will not be easy answering to the needs of all the Korean people, and they may not all get exactly what they want, but consistent two-way dialogue and providing assurance and understanding is key to everyone getting what they need. 

One thing that cannot be overlooked in these processes is the family unit and the strength of the church and her people. Faith-based institutions will always lead their people to peace with values of respect for oneself and to value human life. The family unit is what people will fight for to protect, nurture and ensure a safe future. 

Economic incentives towards peace should begin with families by securing family units and ensuring employment, education, shelter, food and water, to start with. Where possible, they should also allow the people to be at the center of this exchange to ensure interaction, inclusivity, diversity, kinship and harmony.

In saying that, I truly believe that the reunification process should be Korean-led. Other countries should support where necessary, but the Korean people are the Peninsula’s greatest resource. It is the Korean people who lived, survived and rebuilt after the war. It is the Korean people who will be directly affected by [reunification] the most, and I wholeheartedly believe that it is they who will achieve it and keep the peace for hundreds of years to come. 

It is also important for us, the international community, to support the process as much as we can, especially the powerful neighbors of China, Japan, Russia and the U.S. who have supported dialogue, and who I am adamant will continue to do so but following the lead of Korea.

Additionally, one cannot overlook the rich culture of the Asian continent surrounding the Peninsula. Major religions were born here hundreds of years ago before they spread to other parts of the world—religions that have different backgrounds but the same values of respect, respect for family, value of human life and living a peaceful harmonious life with oneself, your brethren, your environment and your God. There is much in the natural world and geography that is already promoting peace, and a rich history with her regional brothers and sisters that will maintain long-term stability, unity, security and prosperity.

All stakeholders, governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), civil society organizations and rights movements have a part to play. Like the international community, the support offered by these organizations is immeasurable. But I reiterate—at the essence of it, Koreans should lead their reunification process with guidance and support from us all.

Considering the population of the Korean Peninsula is just over 75 million, these organizations will be vital in ensuring that no one gets left behind—that all voices are heard and all lives are taken care of. In the grand scheme of things, it is our brothers and sisters in minorities that often get overlooked and forgotten. Many NGOs and other organizations have dedicated years of work to identifying cracks in plans and policies and knowing how to safeguard them for the better of all.

To conclude, I take you back to the Pacific. This year, on Saturday, January 16, the Hunga Tonga, Hunga Ha-apai underwater volcano erupted in the Kingdom of Tonga with a force that caused tidal waves, ash fall and acid rain in the Pacific region. It affected Peru and Santa Cruz, and even communities in Alaska heard the explosion and felt part of the aftershock. 

A nuclear test organization in Antarctica picked up the blast on all of its 53 detectors. It declared the eruption as the biggest and loudest its radars have measured that has caused shockwaves around the earth even days after the initial eruption. An eruption like that has left many wondering how the Kingdom of Tonga has survived. Three lives were lost, may they rest in peace. They have lost much of their infrastructure, but Tongans are a people who have always counted their blessings and been resilient beyond belief. King George Tupou VI said, and I quote, “It is not how much we have financially or the monetary assistance from overseas, but it is the willpower of the people and our belief in God so that we show love, help one another and be compassionate. The people that can withstand difficulties are those that stand together.”

The volcanic eruption that caused shockwaves around the world, the coronavirus that brought the world to a standstill, reminds us that we share the same atmosphere, that we are all human at the end of the day. Looking past our ambitions and power struggles, we know what is important, that we have our needs and vulnerabilities. It is each other and our environment that we must respect and depend on to survive. May we strive to remember that as we move forward together in our peace processes and in supporting a united Korean Peninsula.

Kamsahamnida. Thank you. Vinaka vakalevu.

 

 


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