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S.J. Kwon: Address to International Leadership Conference 2018

Address to International Leadership Conference 2018, Seoul, Korea, February 18 to 22, 2018

Remarks at the National Assembly of Korea

First, I would like to congratulate you for having the 2018 International Leadership Conference in Korea on the topic of the role of parliamentarians in building peace on the Korean Peninsula and in the world. I want to send a warm appreciation and welcome to all 150 parliamentarians and guests from 70 different countries. Also, I want to send an appreciation to members of the International Association of Parliamentarians for Peace (IAPP) and Hon. Lim for preparing this event at the National Assembly of Korea. 

Respected Parliamentarians,

Currently Korea is hosting the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeong Chang, which is about 60 miles away from South and North Korea’s Military Demarcation Line (MDL) region, where there is the highest military escalation in the world and groundbreaking things are happening. Now North and South Korea have resumed dialogue after severing diplomatic relations. 

Also, North Korean Olympics participants, a cheering squad, an orchestra, and a high-level delegation came down to South Korea across the 38th parallel. Especially, Kim Jong-un, supreme leader of North Korea, and his sister, Kim, Yo-jong, came to South Korea and attended the Olympics. In addition, Kim’s sister asked President, Moon to visit North Korea. Significantly, our first step toward North–South dialogue, peace in the Korean Peninsula, has started. 

Respected Worldwide Leaders,

Despite the world’s sanctions imposed against North Korea, it has been expanding its nuclear and missile powers. Specialists and government-related officials say that North Korea has been expanding its nuclear power to defend its survival and governmental system. 

However, we cannot approve North Korea having nuclear power in any way. We definitely need to impose sanctions against North Korea. However, we also have learned that just imposing sanctions doesn’t work out very well. In fact, it doesn’t seem like it’s going to bring down North Korea’s government or make it surrender. Also, we can’t impose sanctions that can lead to the ultimate surrender of North Korea because the United States is in rivalry with China and Russia, which have significant historical and geographical relationships with North Korea. And some North Korean specialists say that we should also review using military attacks as an option to bring the denuclearization of North Korea. 

Respected Ladies and Gentlemen,

We should never again have war on the Korean Peninsula. Attacking North Korea has a high chance of bringing World War III; this would be a disaster not just for the Korean Peninsula, but for Northeast Asia and the whole world. Now we have to find a third way; that is, peaceful means, such as coming to an agreement to bring the denuclearization of North Korea. We still keep the door open for dialogue. Even though we have different conditions to resolve, the United States and even North Korea want to resolve issues through dialogue. I believe we can open the door of dialogue if North and South try hard to find a central point regarding nuclear issues through dialogue. 

President Moon started this dialogue with the suggestion of stopping nuclear activities in North Korea, and he further suggested a frame of dialogue that pushes the line to the denuclearization of North Korea through dialogue between North and South Koreans. Also, we need to make international and institutional strategies that can help maintain North Korea’s system and survival following its denuclearization. Even though we are starting the dialogue with the topic of stopping nuclear activities, we know that we can bring results in the end only with a sound strategy. 

Distinguished Parliamentarians,

In order to build peace in the Korean Peninsula, Northeast Asia, and the world, we must make denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula a common international goal. We must bring about the denuclearization of North Korea. 

Also, we have to show a clear and firm response to North Korea’s nuclear testing and missile shooting. Also, all nations must closely cooperate to support the UN Security Council’s sanctions against North Korea’s military provocations. 

I say again that there should never be another war on the Korean Peninsula. All nations must work together to find a peaceful way to denuclearize North Korea. 

Through the 2018 Olympics, dialogue between North and South Korea is leading to dialogue between North Korea and the United States Therefore, now the Korean Peninsula needs international support and encouragement so we can bring peace between the North and South. 

I earnestly ask all distinguished guests here to encourage every effort in settling peace between North and South Korea. In addition, when you go back to your country, I sincerely ask you to hold conferences about the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, about dialogue between North and South, and about dialogue between North Korea and the United States, as well as between countries in the proximity of the Korean Peninsula, such as China, Russia, and Japan. 

We can make this time a historical moment in international diplomacy, depending on how much we here present put our attention and effort into the issues of the Korean Peninsula. I earnestly request each one of you as representatives of your country to please take an active role in bringing peace to the Korean Peninsula and the world. 

As chairperson of the Foreign Affairs and Unification Committee of the Korean National Assembly, I promise that I will actively work for bringing world peace to humankind. 

Lastly, I hope great happiness and wealth will always remain with all people attending this precious event. Thank you for listening.



To go to the International Leadership Conference Schedule 2018, click here.