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G. Son: Address to International Leadership Conference 2019

Address to International Leadership Conference 2019, Seoul, Korea, May 15-17, 2019


In early 2019, Chairman Kim Jong-un refrained from developing the ICBM and SLBM, which can attack the U.S. mainland, and also from spreading nuclear power to third-world countries, while at the same time consolidating other nuclear weapons. Managing the economic difficulties and securing a Muddling Through policy is the immediate goal. He opposes the nuclear disarmament demand. On the other hand, he intends to create a foundation for federalist unification through exchanges and cooperation in inter-Korean relations.

In this consideration, what is the policy direction that South Korea should pursue?

First, freedom and democracy, human rights and welfare should be emphasized and practiced throughout the Korean Peninsula. For us, unification on the Korean peninsula is a necessary condition for national growth and recovery of broken peace. However, it is questionable whether unification will also mean peace for neighboring countries. The maintenance of the status quo with two political systems on the Korean Peninsula without war could better fit their national interests. After the launch of the Trump Administration, the United States, a military ally of Korea, made it clear that their goal of North Korea policy was not the replacement or collapse of the regime, nor the acceleration of the unification of the Korean peninsula.

In this situation, it is desirable that South Korea should endeavor to realize freedom and democracy, human rights and welfare, which are the constitutional values of South Korea and the universal values of humanity, on the Korean peninsula, and to call for international support for it. In order for these values to be realized on the Korean Peninsula, changes in the present North Korean regime must be premised. What country and people can oppose joining forces in that direction?

Domestically, unification cannot be overemphasized. However, externally the realization of freedom and democracy, human rights and welfare, which are values to be implemented through unification, should be emphasized. That is the way to actually gain international support for unification.

Second, the external necessary condition for resolving the North Korean nuclear problem is that the three superpowers should simultaneously give one voice to North Korea. To this end, the Four-Party Summit should be held.

A key to the dismantlement of the North Korean nuclear program is that the three countries, US, China and Russia which are the nuclear superpowers, permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, the parties to the Six-Party Talks, and the central nations of the NPT, should simultaneously pressure North Korea with one voice. Since the North Korean nuclear problem in 1993, the three countries have opposed North Korea’s nuclear development. However, there was a difference between the three countries as to when and by what process and method to practice it, and North Korea took advantage of the gap and brought it to the present serious situation. As long as the three superpowers cannot make one voice, it is impossible to dismantle the North Korean nuclear weapons.

South Korea, which is the most directly threatened by the North Korean nuclear weapons, should invite the leaders of these three countries to South Korea and hold a Four-Party summit to discuss the solution to the problem. As the greatest victim of the North Korean nuclear crisis, South Korea should also be the central axis of the solution.

Third, the internal sufficient condition for resolving the North Korean nuclear problem must be created by the North Korean people. It is difficult for the Kim Family to dismantle nuclear weapons by external pressure alone because nuclear weapons are the foundation of their survival. We need to make North Koreans understand the truth through exchanges and cooperation.

As a reason for the development of nuclear weapons, the Kim Family has been brainwashing North Koreans by implementing defensive measures to prepare for an invasion from the outside. Is there anyone among the South Koreans who wants war, who wants to preemptively attack North Korea? South Korea, as well as China and Russia, are opposed to it. While the US is talking about military options for denuclearization, is it possible to launch a preemptive strike against North Korea? The United States could not attack a North Korea that did not have nuclear weapons. But is it possible for the United States to attack North Korea with nuclear weapons now?

This should be made known to the North Korean people. North Koreans must realize that their lives are made harder by the sanctions imposed by the nuclear weapons which they cheered and were proud of, and that external aggression is not a threat. North Koreans should be aware that nuclear weapons can only help maintain the current Kim’s regime. North Koreans must realize that nuclear weapons themselves are not their happiness but their misfortune, and that they can prosper together without nuclear weapons.

Fourth, it is not desirable that exchanges and cooperation between the two Koreas should be carried out in the same manner as in the past, given the situation that North Korea’s nuclear crisis and North Korea’s military provocation possibilities exist. It should be pursued in such a way that large amounts of cash are not transferred to North Korea. Exchanges and cooperation should be promoted throughout North Korea, with more opportunities to meet North Koreans.

Rather than discussing directly the resumption of specific projects such as the Kaesong Industrial Complex or the Mt. Geumgang tour, it is desirable that an agreement, in particular, a new consensus on the DMZ, be reached to establish a new peace on the Korean peninsula among the two Koreas, the United States and China, and then at the same time these projects should be resumed.

Fifth, raising the issue of human rights in North Korea is an obligation for South Korea according to the constitutional spirit of South Korea. In order to grasp the human rights situation of North Koreans and to improve human rights, cooperation and solidarity should be developed consistently. Human rights are universal values, and they are the most powerful weapon of peace that will force the current North Korean regime to change its policies.



To go to the May 2019 ILC Schedule page, click here.