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K. Sasi: Address to World Summit 2020

Address to World Summit 2020, Seoul, Korea, February 3-8, 2020


Our common goal is peace, security and human development. Our means are interdependence, mutual prosperity and universal values. Our work starts at home. We have to strengthen democracy, which is inclusive of everyone and teaches cooperation. It guarantees evolution instead of revolution and violence.

Finland experienced civil war 100 years ago. The best way to heal wounds rapidly was through local democracy where most citizens were involved for the common good. Democratic responsibility effectively reduces aggressive behavior against other nations. Respecting human rights in democracy strengthens human value and reduces violence.

Countries led by a strong elite have to seek justification for their power. The source is often extreme nationalism and imagined outside threat. This means a risk of conflict. We learned from the cruelties of WWII and we established a UN system and a treaty-based international system. It is not perfect but it has strengthened common values and established a forum for negotiations.

But let me present you a solution worthy of a Nobel Peace Prize – the European Union. No one can imagine that France and Germany would go into a war. When you continuously sit at the same table and find common interests, you don’t even think of war as a solution. Four freedoms, freedom of goods, labor, capital and services, are such a benefit for citizens that people do not want high borders anymore.

All continents could have an effective Union. We see the benefits of economic cooperation in Africa.

We can create mutual prosperity through global trade. Comparative advantage and larger scale improve our well-being. A country with aggressive behavior easily loses the benefits of trade, and the pressure the citizens put on those in power increases. Ultimately, how people think is decisive. We all look for a better life. That is why the most successful countries are examples for the people in the world. That is why the message of Ronald Reagan led to the collapse of communism.

Peace also needs two important elements: 1) Religions have formed our thinking for centuries. They have given most of us moral values and taught us to be fair and bear responsibility. We have to emphasize the peaceful message of all religions. 2) Family is the core of society. There we learn how much better lives we can find together. The harmony of the family should be spread to the whole society.

North Korea is our challenge. The Republic of Korea can demonstrate how much better life a democracy with a market economy can provide. History taught us that the change in North Korea must be made inside that country. The people living in misery and without hope must understand that change is necessary.

When we gather, it is good to exchange ideas. But we should be more operational. We should think how through our contacts we could deliver to the people of North Korea the message that there is a better alternative. I ask what we can do for the unification of Korean families.

It is time for change in North Korea. Let’s work to spread universal values to the people.



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