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Speeches

S. Yara: Address to World Summit 2022, Session VII

Address to World Summit
February 11-13, 2022

 

Excellencies,

Distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen,

I am indeed grateful to UPF for the excellent hospitality extended to our delegation. I truly believe that parliamentary diplomacy is a powerful platform to advance the culture of peace through its contribution to peacemaking and peacebuilding processes.

As Samdech Decho Prime Minister Hun Sen mentioned in his speech, it has been more than seven decades since the Korean War started. Although the war did end in July 1953 with the signing of the armistice at Panmunjom, a peace treaty has yet to be realized. Seven decades is a very long time to wait for peace, and it is in this spirit that I appeal to the international community, especially the governments of the two Koreas, to work hard so that a peace treaty can be reached at some point. The Korean people on both sides have longed for this lasting peace for a very long time already. They deserve this peace.

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

In my view, the Korean Peninsula is a unique case where parliamentarians from both sides can help promote humanitarian dialogue, greater interdependence and shared values based on a shared civilization between the two Koreas. There is no doubt that shared prosperity will follow as a matter of due course once the foundations of sustainable peace that bind the two Koreas are realized.

Distinguished delegates!

We need new imagination and innovative solutions to tackle the outstanding issues and challenges. This will require a paradigm shift in both mindset and engagement approach. The business-as-usual routine of past decades does not work. What we need is a safe and open space for innovative ideas to blossom and connect. By connecting different stakeholders, connecting knowledge and innovation, and connecting actions, there is greater hope to better address issues relating to the Korean Peninsula.

Moving forward, I would like to share three policy proposals here.

First, a peace treaty between the two Koreas should be reached as soon as possible. Of course, it is all in the hands of the Korean people themselves. The international community can only create a conducive environment for negotiation. With a peace treaty secured, a long-lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula can be assured, thus giving renewed hope and confidence for the Korean

people.

Second, along this line, and on a more practical level, we should explore the possibility of transforming the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) into a zone of peace and prosperity. The deployment of non-military personnel in the DMZ should be encouraged, as well as the simultaneous development of cultural corridors, tourist attractions, industrial clusters and a free trade zone in the DMZ. By creating more opportunities for the people, we can promote greater interdependence, which in turn will lead to sustainable peace and prosperity.

Third, we should further promote cultural cooperation and people-to-people ties. The PyeongChang Winter Olympics in 2018 was a case in point, illustrating the significance of sports diplomacy in promoting mutual understanding and cooperation. I hope the spirit of those Olympic Games will prevail and inspire other cultural exchanges between the two Koreas. Shared cultural roots and heritage can serve as the unbreakable bridge connecting North and South Korea under the framework of “Two States Toward One Nation: One Peninsula, One People, One Culture.”

Lastly, I wish to stress a very important human factor—that is, family values and ties between the two Koreas. A family reunion, for instance, is of utmost importance in promoting family bonding and heart-to-heart relations between the two Koreas. By putting people, humanism and humanitarianism at the front and center of an inter-Korea dialogue and reconciliation, we could harvest more low-hanging fruits, which, in my humble view, is a critical step towards reaching a higher level of dialogue and reconciliation in other areas.

Importantly, peace solutions must be approached from a humanity factor. That is, peace on earth can prevail and be sustained by protecting humanity from the devastations caused by climate change and manmade destructions such as nuclear tests that could lead to great wars. To echo UPF co-founder Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon’s own words, peace must start with realistic action such that heaven and earth converge to nurture peace for humanity!

To conclude, I wish the people of the two Koreas peace and prosperity.

Thank you for your kind attention.

 

 


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