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ILC2021-7 Session 7 - Intervention of Mrs. Jeong Hye Hassinen

Ladies and gentleman, dear friends, I am grateful and honoured for the opportunity to talk at this event today, especially since it is concerning the situation and hope of my homeland, Korea. I would like to start by sharing my own story.

I was born and lived in Korea almost my whole life. My father is Korean and my mother is Japanese. Many people know Korea and Japan as enemies, but, to me, Korea is my father's country and Japan is my mother's country. My husband's parents are from Finland and Germany in Europe, and now I also consider Finland and Germany as my country. And my husband and I now live in Austria, so Austria is also a home country for me. The present era is a global era, where not only one's own country but the whole world is living together as a community, and now for me, differences or boundaries between races and borders have disappeared as we live together, work together and grow together. Even so, it hurts my heart to know that there is still a country that has not yet been reunified and that even a border runs through this country, preventing its people from coming and going or even communicating with their own family.

Not only on the Korean Peninsula, but in any country and any race, what everyone has longed for is peace. Of course, the world is still struggling due to national self-interest and wars on larger and smaller levels. If we think about it realistically, the cost of economic unification, the cost of maintaining division, political solutions, etc., it will be difficult to talk about it all in one day and opinions will be divided if we all focus on our own personal or national benefits. However, in the long run, everyone knows that unification is beneficial both nationally and globally.

The reason all the wars, fights, and conflicts have occurred so far is because people have only thought about and focused on how to benefit oneself and one’s country more than anything else. So, what I want to focus on today is how we can help each other and achieve peace together, rather than thinking primarily of our own profit. Isn't that something we can do? Of the two people who spoke before me today, one is volunteering as a student in Korea without being a person with fame, wealth, or position, and the other is doing service work as a foreigner who has a deep love for Korea.

Historically, the ones leading a change, when their environment was in trouble, were the young people and ordinary citizens who had a vision for Peace and unification. I think that if our global citizens take the lead one by one and prepare for unification, we can surely achieve it. Furthermore, I am convinced that each one of us taking interest and action, will surely lead to a peaceful world. It has already been 70 years since two opposing ideologies divided a country and caused its people to suffer. We cannot wait any longer. Reunification must be achieved as soon as possible by stepping beyond differences and ideologies and seeing each other as one people, one family.

I would like to shortly touch upon why Korean unification is not just a matter of Koreans but the whole world. It is natural for Koreans to have an interest in such big matters of their own country, but why should others also have an interest? The reason is simple. The division of Korea did not happen by the will of Koreans, so reunification also does not depend only on Korea. In the Korean war, there were soldiers of 18 other countries involved in the fighting in addition to Koreans. Even now, the interests of foreign powers keep Korea apart. Therefore, we need international action to align these interests about the Korean peninsula. The first step is, thus, to raise awareness of the value of every country’s, every individual’s cooperation and support.

In conclusion I would like to invite you to listen to the speech given by the Korean President in the movie “Steel Rain Two – The Summit”.

My fellow Koreans,

Over the past few years, many people asked me, 'Can unification really happen?'

I always gave a vague answer and said, 'It'll work out.'

But today, I can answer with complete conviction.

Unification can't be achieved by the will or power of one President, nor by determination and power just of politicians and officials. --

It may take a few more decades to build peace and for South and North Korea to trust and understand each other.

The path to unification will require tremendous effort.

Beloved citizens,

I can say one thing with certainty that without your efforts, nothing will happen.

So, I ask you now. Are you willing to realize unification in our time?

Until today we still don’t have a single holiday which is observed throughout the whole world and is celebrated by every people.

When the day comes on which Korea unites peacefully as one country again, this will not just be a day of celebration for Korea. This will be a day of celebration for the whole world. I envision it to be such a Global Holiday of unity which would create the momentum for other countries and peoples to lay aside their differences and unite like brothers and sisters in mutual respect, appreciation, and love. This dream, this vision is what I want to spread to the world. Let a united Korea be the starting point of a different kind of world.

Thank you.

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