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Speeches

A. Bagbin: Address to World Summit 2022, Session VIII

Address to World Summit
February 11-13, 2022

 

Distinguished invited guests, fellow participants: It is always a pleasure to be part of global efforts to find a peaceful solution to any war-torn area in the world. I totally endorse the theme of the conference, which is "courage and vision: building new bridges and opportunities for the Korean Peninsula." I think that is the way to go. In my presentation I will touch on the intro, which is the problem, and the efforts made so far. I also will respond to the new call for a new peace regime, and then give some recommendations and a conclusive word.

Honorable participants: You all know that since the end of the Korean War in 1953, a series of efforts have been made to achieve a comprehensive peace on the Korean Peninsula. Some achievements have been made, but there is a lot yet to be done. Rightly so, today there is an urgent call for a peace regime for the Korean Peninsula: a regime that draws on the setbacks of the past and focuses on an incremental roadmap toward a comprehensive peace on the Korean Peninsula. A roadmap of a durable, sustainable and lasting mutually beneficial peace is the solution to the conflict in the peninsula.

We all know the origins of the division of the Korean Peninsula and the major factors that have sustained North-South Korean confrontation based on the Cold War nuclear deterrent system. Obviously, given their catastrophic destruction power, the existence and use of nuclear weapons have found validity primarily in the concept of deterrence. Far from its basic aim of war prevention, however, nuclear deterrence has involved, in theory and in practice, many risks of war fighter.

What efforts have been made so far? The resolution of the issues in the Korean Peninsula seems to be taking forever. There have been several diplomatic efforts to resolve the issue of security on the Korean Peninsula. I can mention only a few here. The six-party talks attended by China, Japan, North Korea, Russia, South Korea and the United States for the purpose of dismantling North Korea's nuclear program. And we all know it got botched in 2009.

The growing distrust between the two countries and, in particular, increased US use of coercive policy to resolve security dilemmas have filled North Korea with considerable doubt about abandoning its nuclear and strategic capabilities. Meanwhile, new developments in regional and international order cannot turn such an option into a rational choice for North Korea. In the absence of strong security guarantees, it's not possible. Meanwhile, the tendency of the leaders to harden their stance is a source of worry to both North and South Korea, and to the entire region, if not the whole world.

The call for a new peace regime is a call in the right direction. Today the colossal negotiations threaten to further strain US-North Korean relations and increase tensions on the Korean Peninsula. A more earnest and sober discussion about how to build mutual confidence, enhance stability and strengthen peace is all the more important. It is the very basis for why this gathering is extremely important. It is also a basis for why I am calling for a more comprehensive and inclusive peace regime. I am optimistic that the fight for peace in the Korean Peninsula can be won.

What we need is to have all hands on deck. Let me repeat. What we must issue is a roadmap for the leaders in the process to handle their strife. Negotiations of this nature can't be counterproductive. Both South and North Korea must go with open hearts, minds and hands. I encourage both countries to undertake deep introspection for the sake of their respective citizens and families in the peninsula and push for a peace accord that saves their mutual interest.

Every country, every sub-region and every continent is faced with its own unique problems. Thus, global focus appears to be temporarily giving way to national focus when it comes to resolving the issues that confront us globally. International interest in the Korean Peninsula might soon recede if we do not take advantage of the current desire and commitments.

This is an era of dialogue and consensus building, and all antagonistic maneuvers must cease. The historic Mutual Defense Treaty signed by South Korea and the United States, which was concluded after the armistice with North Korea in1953, was the main pillar in deterring North Korean aggression. I am convinced that the issue of a peace regime to replace the armistice agreement is a cornerstone in building a new non-confrontational system of relations in Korea that will ensure security for all parties involved and their equal cooperation. I'm aware that the South-North communiqué on July 4, 1972, under which the two Koreas agreed to reduce tensions in the Korean Peninsula and work for peaceful reunification, still remains a basis for inter-Korean relations.

As we have seen during the global COVID-19 pandemic, business as usual is not an option for decision makers in finding solutions to the multiple challenges and crises around us. This is the reason why I will continue to applaud the Universal Peace Federation for its philosophy and concept of striving toward global peace. As well, I want to put forward these recommendations for your kind consideration. In order for us to be able to stop conflict, build peace and sustain that peace, we have to do the following:

  1. We have to adopt a new comprehensive peace approach of innovation and inclusiveness at a joint conference of political, traditional, religious think tanks and civil society leaders of both North and South Korea approved by a clear mandate through a referendum under the concept of one nation, one people, one destiny. The United States, Russia, Japan and the United Nations must act as active collaborators and moderators in this respect.
  2. There must be active goodwill of support and financing by the US, Russia, Japan and the United Nations in the actualization of these proposals. Savings from mad nuclear proliferation as sources could also underwrite and sponsor these initiatives.
  3. There should be meaningful investment in the private sector, industry and human resource development to create viable job opportunities to give hope and assurance of peace, happiness and well-being to the people in the peninsula.

These initiatives should be implemented under the auspices of the United Nations and other relevant regional blocs.

To conclude, therefore, I want to assure you, distinguished invited guests, ladies and gentlemen, that I am very optimistic that the fight for peace in the Korean Peninsula can be won. I am convinced that the United States of America and Russia will play a key role in resolving it.

There is an urgent need for a serious re-examination for the happiness in the Korean Peninsula. South and North Koreans are one and the same people. They should not allow themselves to be divided by others. South Korea should not allow its birth by the US-held general elections of August 15, 1948, to prevent it from uniting with its brother, North Korea, which was born with the backing of the Soviet Union on September 9, 1948.

My plea is for South Korea to let the hate and pain of North Korea's invasion on June 25, 1950, be a bad dream and let bygones be bygones. The statement that in unity lies strength is a truism. Korea must not lose out on the unique opportunity to work, as one people with a common destiny, toward peace and security. A policy of innovation and inclusiveness is a commendable step toward lasting peace. And to achieve lasting peace, you need courage and vision to build new bridges and opportunities for the Korean Peninsula.

I know Koreans have courage and vision, and I trust they will apply the courage and vision constructively to bring lasting peace and not destructively to create conflict and to intend war.

Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, fellow participants, Africa, and for that matter Ghana, will always be willing to be part of any agenda that is driven toward world peace. It ought not be lost on Koreans that during the bloody war of 1953, which reduced the peninsula to ashes, Ethiopia, an African country, sent 6,037 soldiers to fight in the war. May there be lasting peace in the Korean Peninsula and in the world in general. I want to take this opportunity once again to thank all of you for your attention and for this rare opportunity to be part of this global conference.

I thank you all.

 

 


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