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Speeches

J. de Venecia: Address to World Summit 2022, Session VII

Address to World Summit
February 11-13, 2022

 

Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, co-founder of the Universal Peace Federation (UPF) and a tireless global peace advocate; H.E. former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon; H.E. Prime Minister Hun Sen; UPF President Dr. Thomas Walsh;

Excellencies, dear friends:

A lingering flashpoint in the world

Tensions have escalated once again in the Korean Peninsula following the series of missile tests conducted by North Korea since the start of the year. 

The peninsula is one of the lingering flashpoints in Asia and the global community with wide-ranging catastrophic consequences.

The Korean War

As we know, the Korean War, between 1950 and 1953, was relatively short but exceptionally bloody. Nearly five million people were killed. More than half of these—about 10 percent of Korea’s prewar population—were civilians. This rate of civilian casualties was higher than those of World War II and Vietnam.

A meeting with Kim Il-sung in Pyongyang

In 1990, as congressman and acting chairman of the foreign relations committee of the Philippine House of Representatives, I had the privilege of conferring with the legendary North Korean leader, President Kim Il-sung, at his mountain villa north of Pyongyang.

Our visit and talks with North Korea’s founding President Kim Il-sung resulted in a return visit to Manila by then North Korean Vice Premier Kim Dahl-hyun and the rapid establishment of diplomatic relations between the Philippines and North Korea (DPRK), with the active support of then President Corazon Aquino and Foreign Secretary Raul Manglapus.

Despite his forbidding reputation, we found the legendary Kim Il-sung widely and keenly interested in the outside world. Our appointment stretched to more than one hour as we exchanged views on many issues.

When we inquired into the possibility of another war on the Korean Peninsula, he dismissed the liability outright. Conflict would be foolish, he said emphatically; it would only cause mutual destruction in both North and South Korea that neither side could afford to suffer. He told us: “If we attack the South, the South will be destroyed. But we in the North will also be destroyed.”

Towards Confederation and into a united Republic

During my time as chairman of the International Conference of Asian Political Parties (ICAPP), we have been mobilizing the Asian political parties in hopes that we can help bridge the gap between the two Koreas by helping promote the feasibility of establishing the Korean Confederation for the two Koreas, until at some point in the future, they can become a united Republic with alternating presidency. It is a difficult but not an impossible dream because the two Vietnams and the two Germanys eventually reunited after many years of division and conflict.

We envisioned that the South and North would keep their independent countries separate but in peace and join in a loose confederation, normally trading and doing business; engaging in cross-trade and tourism; developing their agriculture, industries, fisheries, highways, airways and railways system; and connecting from Pusan in the deep south (gateway to Japan) all the way to the north in a Trans-Siberia Railway leading to Russia and Europe.

This is possible and probable if there is common will with the support of the U.S., China, Russia and Japan, with ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), the European Union, and the UN providing guidance and active support.

A difficult but achievable ‘win-win’ solution

It is not fair to ask North Korea now to give up its nuclear weapons. It will not, but the relations between the two Koreas can and should develop normally if they start preparing for it now.

In earlier days, atomic powers like Kazakhstan, which is almost as large as Western Europe, also voluntarily demilitarized and gave up its nuclear weapons and today is a leader in Eurasia.

Indeed, North Korea could leverage and give up its nuclear weapons in exchange for large-scale cash and economic assistance and rapidly build up its economy to be equal in status as a sovereignty with South Korea.

We in Asia and the global community must build on the historic direct talks between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, and between Kim Jong-un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in, which we hope will eventually lead to a roadmap to eventual unification and lasting peace in the Korean Peninsula.

Modest contribution to encourage Seoul-Pyongyang talks

Earlier in 2006, as our humble contribution in helping encourage direct talks between Seoul and Pyongyang, we transferred from Manila to Seoul the Secretariat of ICAPP, which we founded and established in Manila in September 2000, and of which we are privileged to serve as founding chairman and chairman of the standing committee up to now. The ICAPP Secretariat is now most active in Seoul.

The International Conference of Asian Political Parties represents some 350 ruling and opposition parties from 52 countries in Asia, including the major political parties of South Korea and North Korea’s Korean Workers Party.

Conclusion

Excellencies, dear friends:

Students of realpolitik will say that maybe our hopes and proposals on the Korean Peninsula represent wishful thinking, but that is how all impossible initiatives begin.

Thank you and good day.

 

 


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