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Youth creating the road to one world of peace
①Distinguished leaders, ladies and gentlemen, youth and students, it is my great honor to participate in this International Leaders’ Conference, co-organized by UPF and IAYSP Europe and Middle East, and address you all.
②This is my second time coming to Berlin. The first time was in 1987, when the World CARP Convention and Rally was held to break down the Berlin wall. At that time, I was a college student and cannot forget the experience I had. Tomorrow, during the rally, I will share more on my experience.
③ Today, I would like to introduce the International Peace Highway proposed by the founder of UPF and IAYSP, Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon; whom we call Mother Moon. Her late husband and founder of UPF, Dr. Sun Myung Moon, announced at the International Conference on the Unity of the Sciences in 1981 the construction of an international peace highway to link the entire globe. On the day of its completion, our world will become one village interconnected by one road system. The process of constructing the highway itself provides a common purpose for the governments and people of the world. Opening transnational lines of commerce and recreation will stimulate exchange of culture and goods, and encourage living together in harmony as neighbors.
The highway would pass through a tunnel connecting South Korea and Japan, from Busan city in South Korea and Karatsu, a small port city, on the southern Japanese island of Kyushu. In 1986, a pilot tunnel construction was already commenced. Until now, 500 meters has been excavated.
④ In 2016, Mother Moon visited Karatsu where she renewed UPF’s commitment to realizing the peace highway. She believes that people around the world are ready for this and that the time is ripe for launching the project globally.
➄ In order to promote this vision around the world, from the streets to senate buildings, UPF initiated "Peace Road." It consists of public activism publicizing the international highway, and has become recognized as a global movement for peace. IAYSP has been supporting this Peace Road project by encouraging youth to participate in more than 50 nations around the world.
⑥ Regarding construction, the biggest challenges are those of crossing the spans of ocean that separate Alaska from Russia and Korea from Japan. The divides between these territories are both physical and historical in nature, and the joint commitment to building a road uniting them will represent important steps toward peace for humankind. Of course, it is not an easy task. However, we believe that it is possible and that this undertaking represents the ultimate task that must be accomplished in our era – in other words, the harmonious cooperation of all people and governments.
Attitudes that persist based on the tormented history between Korea and Japan remains a huge obstacle, and give rise to opposition towards the tunnel. An undersea tunnel connecting Busan in Korea to Karatsu in Japan, will boost our respective abilities to contribute to the global economy. The cities of Karatsu and Busan will become hubs for global trade, linking the Eurasian continent to the Pacific region. The tunnel will unite these two nations' cultural assets, both traditional and cutting-edge, for global tourism. Most importantly, its construction will plant the roots of peace in Asia. And cooperation between these two countries will serve as a model of healing the conflict and hostility felt in nations and among people throughout the world. The reality is, however, that these two nations pursue their own interests. We encourage leaders in Korea and Japan to think about England and France, who waged wars against each other for a century, yet joined hands to build the Channel Tunnel that connects them together today. If the Korean and Japanese people open their hearts and accomplish genuine forgiveness and reconciliation, we will see the Korea-Japan Peace Tunnel built in our time. This tunnel will not just symbolize, but realize, humanity's future based not on fear but on hope. Father Moon and Mother Moon prayed that constructing this tunnel, as part of the peace highway, would create a low-pressure area on the Korean Peninsula into which the high-pressure areas surrounding the peninsula to the east and west would converge to bring unity on the peninsula.
⑦ The second major challenge for the International Peace Highway is that of crossing the Bering Strait between Russia and the United States. That location will prove to be even more challenging than the Korea Strait. The Bering Strait once represented the ideological divide between the democratic and communist camps, as the United States and Russia grappled with each other. Connecting these two nations is a vital step toward global peace and unification. Mother Moon aspires that everyone will be able to travel the International Peace Highway by car or even bicycle from Cape Town to Santiago, from London to New York. Through this highway, you can imagine the possibilities of taking a trip with your family through any country around the world as being as easy as visiting your hometown. One end of the highway will be the Cape of Good Hope at the southern tip of Africa; the other end will be Cape Horn at the southern tip of South America. It will cross the Bering Strait to link the African continent and Eurasia with the Americas.
⑧ The third major challenge posed is that of wars and conflicts between Ukraine and Russia and between North and South Korea. We should avoid the possible outcome of Ukraine being divided similar to the Korean Peninsula. If Ukraine becomes divided and war persists between these nations, we cannot build the International Highway from Europe to East Asia and North and South America. That is why we firstly call for an immediate stop to military aggression. Secondly, our leaders should pursue peace, security, and co-prosperity for everyone in Europe rather than satisfying narrow self-interests. Lastly, is “No New Walls in Europe” and the peaceful reunification of the Korean Peninsula. It is difficult to build the highway between North Korea and South Korea if the situation between these two nations continues.
⑨ Many people question how we can accomplish such a formidable task. Yet history shows that all great achievements have come amid difficulties. If it is the will of God, there must be a way. We already have the engineering prowess to construct a bridge-tunnel complex spanning the Bering Strait. Concerning the cost, we need to put things in perspective. Compared to the money that the world is throwing at wars that do nothing but destroy nations and their people, the cost of a bridge-tunnel constructed for the sake of peace is insignificant. Nations and movements sacrifice lives and resources following the logic of power – a foolish and ineffective way to resolve perceived injustice or settle disputes. We need to seek the path of true peace.
As the Book of Isaiah says, now is the time to beat our swords into plowshares. The Peace Road project consists of events in which people of all ages and nationalities, wearing Peace Road tee shirts and carrying Peace Road flags, ride bicycles or walk to show their support for our proposed International Peace Highway. This project was started by Japanese youth and they rode bicycles from the north to the south of Japan, followed by, the south of Korea to the DMZ of the Korean Peninsula. Their path ends at local government centers where officials and social and religious leaders speak at rallies, publicly announcing their support for the initiative and stimulating publicity in local media. Leaders and citizens of many countries, including members of the International Association of Parliamentarians for Peace, have welcomed the Peace Road movement. Recently, people in more than 120 countries participated. In total, peace riders symbolically traversed the world in the timespan of three months.
⑩ Mother Moon mentions in her autobiography that the passion of youth transcends borders and breaks down walls. Young people of true passion have the spirit to challenge themselves and the world around them. I encourage the youth attending this conference to stand and participate in the Peace Road whilst upholding the dream of world peace and hoping to end the conflict between Ukraine and Russia, South Korea and North Korea. ⑪ I believe young people can open the gate to stop conflicts and create the road to one peaceful world.
I remember when the Berlin wall collapsed 2 years after the youth rally of international students. We will do our best to make this program of peace road Berlin a historical event with our commitment and prayer to create peace in Ukraine and the Korean Peninsula, and extend our hope and positive thoughts for people who are facing difficulties in Ukraine and North Korea.
May God bless you all. Thank you so much.