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D. Burton: Address to World Summit 2020

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


Thank you very much for that kind introduction. And special thanks to my fellow Co-Chair of the International Association of Parliamentarians for Peace, the Honorable Jose de Venecia, who, for many years, was Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Philippines.

I also want to greet the conference leadership, including Dr. Ki-hoon Kim, Dr. Thomas Walsh, Dr. Michael Jenkins and Mr. Tom McDevitt, whom you have already met and thank them for their untiring efforts to make this new global association of parliamentarians effective and relevant.

Above all, I want to thank and wish happy birthday to Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, and honor the 100th anniversary of the birth of Reverend Sun Myung Moon, and thank them for creating the Universal Peace Federation. In 2016 in the U.S. Senate Dirksen Building, Mother Moon, together with 120 members of Congress, hosted by Senator Orrin Hatch, founded the International Association of Parliamentarians for Peace, imbuing it with a powerful vision and total investment of heart to achieve peace, freedom, and prosperity throughout the world.

It was just over three years ago that we established the IAPP, and a number of us have put forth some suggestions of issues that impact every person on earth, and that might be worthy concerns for this organization to consider during the coming decade.

Pillars of IAPP

I would like to offer to my fellow parliamentarians gathered here five issues, or pillars of concern, we may wish to take on as a global effort.

One issue that was pivotal behind the establishment of the IAPP, was the danger a divided Korea poses for the rest of the world, now that nuclear weapons are part of the equation. This year will mark 67 years since the Korean War ceased without ever being declared to be over, and if anything, the situation has grown worse. Therefore, I propose that the IAPP call for all nations to emphasize that the path for peace on the Korean Peninsula requires cooperative engagement between China, Russia, the U.S., Japan, North Korea, and the Republic of Korea to find a peaceful resolution of the conflict. That can be through a commitment to denuclearization of the North, and economic and cultural engagement that will ensure prosperity and peace for all of the people of the Korean Peninsula. In the Nuclear Age, it is essential that we work together to find solutions that will solve our problems in a peaceful way – we really have no choice. A war that gets started always runs the risk of turning nuclear, and we know what could happen then. As Parliamentarians for Peace, solving the issue of nuclear nonproliferation is extremely important.

The next issue I propose is the preservation of religious freedom for all people. No government should be put in charge of telling us how to relate with our God and our community of believers. And all believers should allow the other communities of believers to practice their faith in peace.

The next pillar on the short list of most of our members is the protection of the noblest, time-honored practices found to be essential to the health of societies worldwide. I refer to values that promote marital fidelity and happiness, and the stability that such marriages create. Out of families that are internally secure and emotionally healthy, grows a spirit of respect for all faiths, races, and nationalities. Healthy, happy families teach us how to respect and care for others.

Another issue that would be good for IAPP to adopt as one of our pillars, is our unity against terrorism. Terrorism is war waged on innocents, on civilians and the most defenseless among us. The universal support of our second and third pillars of freedom of religion and family values, is a barrier to the adoption of terrorism as a means of political action.

The final pillar is to strive for sustainable economic development and good governance which helps create a stable society. Respect for an individual’s rights, which include property rights, and the right to conduct business, is essential. Freedom to develop and freedom from fear of one’s own government, fosters an environment of sustainability.

These are just some thoughts, some suggestions – and there are others. A global body of experienced, professional parliamentarians like this has never existed in this modern era of instant global communications. There is so much we can accomplish. Parliamentarians for peace are, by nature, optimistic. Our expectations always include a large measure of hope. Let us act on our hopes, and thus offer hope to the world.



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