- Excellency Heads of State and Government, Honorable Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, Co-Founder of the Universal Peace Federation,
- Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
- It has been 72 years since the Korean War started and 69 years since the signing of the armistice agreement between the two Koreas. Throughout all these past decades, peace efforts have been promoted at various levels and on different platforms, unfortunately to no avail. Peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula remain elusive and fragile as previous approaches were not successful. That is why we need to be bolder now and explore innovative ways that can yield positive outcomes.
- In my view, peace and security in the Asia Pacific region and the world at large cannot be decoupled from the peace and security in the Korean Peninsula and vice versa, for the mere reason that our world is so interconnected and intertwined. We need to acknowledge that mutual prosperity and greater interdependence are the foundations of peace and security and that our socio-economic lifelines are bound to co-exist through this all-inclusive and open international order, which embraces the two Koreas.
- Geographically speaking, the Korean Peninsula is a key gateway to Asia, not just in terms of great civilization but also in terms of economic opportunities. Rather than viewed it as merely a “buffer zone” in great power politics, it should be appreciated as a bridge of trust and a land of opportunities for all. The Korean people are innovative, dynamic, hard working and they can contribute greatly to the world’s economy. Once peace prevails, all these potentials are there for the region and the world to grasp.
- To this end, the responsibility falls upon the international community to work together to get the two Koreas out of the remnant of the Cold War. We all know that a divided Korean Peninsula is the legacy of the Cold War and Koreans are the victims of great power politics. Unfortunately, great powers selfishly use the Korean Peninsula as their buffer zone in their power competition and projection.
- To seek peace on the Korean Peninsula, we need to be mindful of the followings:
. First, overcoming seventy years of animosity and distrust will require many years of negotiations and confidence-building measures, and of course a gradual reconciliation process. Similarly, the denuclearisation process will have to unfold in phases. Strategic patience, therefore, is of utmost importance.
Second, pressure alone would not effectively address the deeply rooted causes of conflict, nor would it resolve decades long of complex issues. A robust and comprehensive diplomatic engagement is a prerequisite. A positive engagement with Pyongyang would reduce the risk of further isolation, which in turn lead to a de-escalation of the vicious cycle of military tensions and ultimately a toning down of its nuclear ambitions.
. Third, building the trust momentum necessitates constant pragmatic engagement from the peace negotiators, who should focus on targeting low-hanging-fruit efforts that are less controversial, less sensitive, and more practical.
- Distinguished Delegates, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
- The Cambodian people have felt the pain of war as we went through three decades of civil war, instigated mainly by foreign interventions. We too are the victims of the Cold War and great power politics. Learning from our past experiences, we can only rely on ourselves to protect our national interests, and to seek peace for our people. National reconciliation must first come from within with national ownership the determining and defining factor. We have learned that nothing is more valuable than independence and self-determination.
- Based on our hard-earned experiences and lessons learnt in peace-building and national reconciliation, I would like to propose the “Two States Toward One Nation: One Peninsula, One People, One Culture” initiative for your consideration. It is not a totally new concept; it is based on the vision and mission of the Universal Peace Federation.
- Why Two States? The political system and governance systems in North Korea and South Korea are completely different. It is impossible to integrate the two political systems in the foreseeable future. Therefore, we need to accept the fact that the two political systems will have to continue to co-exist in parallel. Peaceful co-existence between the two political regimes must be encouraged and promoted.
- Why One Nation? Korea can be divided by land but not people. Korea has a unified bloodline. A Cambodian adage goes like this “We cannot cut the bloodline; We cannot cut the water”. The people are like water- they cannot be cut. In the same vein, culture is a critical source for peace and reunification. The Korean desire for reunification is based on a long and proud history of unity that saw Korea develop into a culturally and ethnically homogenous country with a deep sense of national identity and unity.
- I believe the “Two States Toward One Nation: One Peninsula, One People, One Culture” initiative is practical and achievable because it is aimed at promoting cultural exchanges and people-to-people ties between the two Koreas. It is a low-hanging fruit that we can easily pick. This initiative was inspired by the UPF’s mission of promoting shared values, mutual prosperity, and interdependence as well as the shared principle of fostering mutual respect, mutual understanding, mutual trust, and mutual interest for peace and prosperity (M4P2).
- To that effect, I would like to propose some practical steps for your consideration as follows:
. First, we should transform the Demilitarized Zone into a safe and open cultural corridor connecting the two peoples. The DMZ can offer platforms for joint cultural performances, art exhibitions, and other cultural exchanges.
. Second, the two Koreas should further cooperate under the framework of UNESCO to create the necessary conditions for dialogue based upon the respect for commonly shared values. The Preamble to the Constitution of UNESCO should inspire us and I quote “Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defences of peace must be constructed”.
. Third, the two Koreas should work together to advance the Korean culture, connect the Korean civilisation with other civilisations, and jointly develop a culture-based tourism and innovation. Food diplomacy, for instance, can be jointly promoted by the two Koreas.
- To conclude, I call upon leaders from different sectors to give inputs on the “Two States Toward One Nation: One Peninsula, One People, One Culture” initiative so that we can translate this concept into practical, achievable, and concrete actions. Trust can only be built based on actions, not on empty promises.
- While praying for a long-lasting peace and stability for the Korean Peninsula, I wish to all the distinguished delegates, here present today at this World Summit 2022, good health, happiness, and all the success in your respective endeavours.
I truly thank you for your kind attention.