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R. Prodi: Address to World Summit 2022, Session III

Address to World Summit
February 11-13, 2022


I’m happy to be with you at the World Summit of the Universal Peace Federation. I want to start my conversation with you by giving a deep, deep, deep thanks to the founder of UPF, Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, and to the Co-chairmen, H.E. Samdech Hun Sen, Prime Minister of Cambodia, and H.E. Ban Ki-moon, former Secretary General of the United Nations, with whom I worked so happily for such a long time. You are doing a great job, making every effort to unify Korea, while respecting human rights, and having the sense of history that drives you to this effort for reunification.

Clearly we must understand that the Korean case is absolutely absurd. It is the only divided country in the world after almost 70 years. More than 30 years ago German unification happened. This is because of a combination of internal and external problems. First of all, clearly, the world’s political tensions never helped unification because Korea remained split. Korean division was instrumental to the increase of power in the world or achieved some sort of political goal.

The first message is that this is a win-win process. Nobody will be damaged by Korean reunification. We have only positive outcomes: trade, increase of GDP, wealth, and scientific progress.

Clearly, this is a precondition to a second message that starts with cooperation, internal cooperation, between North Korea and South Korea. There are two governments, but there is a desire and effort for deeper and deeper cooperation. I know how it feels, starting from small experiments in the field of sports, culture, exchange of students, music, and tourism. We must create a positive atmosphere because these are the steps to the unification effort that we have to take. Of course, somebody could think that I am dreaming, but please, I have been the President of the European Commission, and the effort to unify Europe, though we are halfway there, is not easy. You are one country, with one language, with one common history. In Europe we are 27 countries with 22 languages, and every day there is some sort of differentiation or split. But, when you have continuous dialogue, you understand that time is working in your favor. So, this is not a short-term engagement, but also not too long, because people understand the advantage of dialogue. Clearly, we have to start with the idea that this is different from German unification, in which one country prevailed over the other one because of international changes to the power setting. This is not the case. We must have cooperation that is on an equal footing, in which people understand the value of sticking together.

So, I repeat that this is not a dream. Cooperation is like an infection, like COVID-19, that is spreading around, and if we cooperate we are spreading virtue around. My wish is that this stronger link between people of the North and South will be a precondition for unification. The pandemic of division will end.

Thank you so much for your patience.



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