Dr. Thomas G. Walsh, the chair of UPF International, addresses the opening dinner.
Opening Plenary (left to right): Rev. Joo Jin-tae, a vice president of FFWPU-Korea; Mr. Masayoshi Kajikuri, the chair of UPF-Japan; Vice Admiral (Ret....
Session III (left to right): Mr. Thomas P. McDevitt, chair of The Washington Times; Hon. Park Won-soon, the mayor of Seoul; Mr. James Rogers, a busine...
Session IV (left to right): Vice Admiral (Ret.) Fumio Ota, former director of Japan’s Defense Intelligence Headquarters; Mr. Bill Gertz, a journalist ...
Session V (left to right): Dr. Michael W. Jenkins, president, UPF International; Professor Kim Hyung-suk, former ROK vice minister of unification; Mr....
Session VI (left to right): Dr. Barbara Finkelstein, professor emeritus, University of Maryland; Dr. Tadashi Kimiya, professor, University of Tokyo; H...
Dr. Alexander Vorontsov, Head of the Department for Korean and Mongolian Studies, Institute of Oriental Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences
Dr. Alexander Zhebin, Director, Center for Korean Studies, Institute of Far Eastern Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences
Mr. Humphrey Hawksley, World Affairs Correspondent, BBC of London; former BBC Beijing Bureau Chief, United Kingdom
The International Leadership Conference was held at the Lotte Hotel, Seoul, Korea on May 15-17, 2019
Closing dinner
The participants attended a rally calling for the peaceful reunification of the Korean peninsula at the Korea International Exhibition Center (KINTEX)...

Seoul, Korea—UPF’s International Leadership Conference convened on the theme “Toward Peace and Security in Northeast Asia: Interdependence, Mutual Prosperity and Universal Values.”

The conference, which was held in the Lotte Hotel in Seoul from May 15 to 17, 2019, was attended by 80 senior experts in Northeast Asian and Korean affairs from Japan, the United States, the United Kingdom and Russia, and more than 200 distinguished local guests, including the mayor of Seoul and members of South Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The International Leadership Conference, a series of programs that offer a framework for peacebuilding and development grounded in core values and universal principles, was co-sponsored by The Washington Times, Segye Ilbo and Sekai Nippo newspapers.

Conference highlights included: (1) a discussion relating to peace and security in Northeast Asia; (2) a proposal for North and South Korea to jointly host the 2032 Summer Olympic Games; (3) an update on the International Peace Highway; and (4) support for a rally calling for the peaceful reunification of the peninsula, featuring UPF co-founder Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon.

At the opening dinner on May 15, Dr. Thomas Walsh, the chair of UPF International, gave a brief overview of the vision of the founders and UPF activities, particularly the ILC and World Summit series.

Welcoming remarks were given by Rev. Joo Jin-tae, a vice president of the Korean chapter of Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU), an organization that is affiliated with UPF. Rev. Joo described the need to strengthen trilateral relations between Japan, the Republic of Korea (ROK) and the United States to bring peace to Northeast Asia. “We can take the crisis on the peninsula as an opportunity. Peaceful reunification on the peninsula will be a prototype for world peace,” he said.

Mr. Thomas P. McDevitt, the chair of The Washington Times, highlighted the fact-finding tour which met with government officials in Seoul. This is the ninth fact-finding tour over four years. “People are worried about world events and the situation in Korea. Our work is important, because it offers a vision for world peace based on a higher level of thinking. We call upon God to guide us,” he said.

Hon. Kim Gyo-hwan, a member of the ROK National Assembly, testified about meeting UPF founder Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon in the early 1970s. Reverend Moon prophesied that Hon. Kim would become a famous person. Many years later, when they met again and Reverend Moon asked what he had done with his life, Hon. Kim explained that he had become a successful congressman. Reverend Moon said, “My prediction was correct!”

After-dinner speakers included: Hon. Dan Burton, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives (1983-2013), who recalled an experience early in his career of meeting an elderly man who had escaped from a communist-controlled country in Eastern Europe. This man and his family fled their country and walked a thousand miles to escape a tyrannical system of government. When he met Reverend Moon years later, Hon. Burton said he was immediately receptive to his message because “Reverend Moon and his wife are fighting for freedom around the world. They understand freedom, democracy and human rights.”

Ambassador Chung Tae-ik, the honorary president of the Korean Council on Foreign Relations (2014-2016), called for a step-by-step implementation toward the denuclearization of the peninsula. “North Korea, the U.S. and South Korea need to negotiate and agree on a roadmap of step-by-step implementation,” he said. This requires close consultation between the three countries, he said.

Hon. Yoshinori Ohno, the Japanese minister of defense (2004-2005), called for not only North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons but all of Northeast Asia and all the world. He said nations of the world should be open to helping one another through student exchange programs and an open-door policy that emphasizes interdependence, mutual prosperity, and cooperation.

Mr. Charles Hurt, opinion editor and columnist, The Washington Times, United States, offered some personal insights into President Donald Trump. The president likes people who like him, he said. Mr. Trump has a different and unique style, which is contrary to that of a typical politician. In his inaugural address Mr. Trump declared that he would dedicate his term to fulfilling his campaign promises, unlike most politicians who promise everything but with no serious intentions to carry them out. The president is a good listener, Mr. Hurt said. He’s hungry for information and wants to know the views of those around him. He’s comfortable with competing opinions. Mr. Hurt sees President Trump and his administration as transparent and focused not on getting re-elected but on fulfilling his promises to the American people.

The Opening Plenary dealt with the theme “Toward Peace and Security in Northeast Asia” and featured welcoming remarks from Mr. Jung Hee-taeg, the president and CEO of the Segye Times newspaper, who said the situation on the Korean Peninsula is a pivotal point for the security of all Northeast Asia. North Korea has provoked the region by firing missiles. It is meaningful that at this time UPF gathered together the leaders of Japan, South Korea and the United States, he said. This year marks the 30th anniversary of Segye Times and the 100th anniversary of Korea’s March 1st Independence Movement. Mr. Jung said that the role of the media is very important at this juncture, and that Segye Times is working hard to fulfill the mission to unify the Korean Peninsula.

Hon. Joo Seung-yong, the vice speaker of the ROK National Assembly, described the situation in the Korean Peninsula as a critical crossroads. North Korea competed in the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, and in the inter-Korean summits. The leaders from North and South Korea have met multiple times; nevertheless there are still challenges to be dealt with. The issue comes down to either immediate and complete nuclear disarmament or gradual denuclearization.

Hon. Yoon Sang-hyun, the chair of the Foreign Affairs and Unification Committee of the ROK National Assembly, said North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is attempting to gain the help of Chinese President Xi Jinping in inducing U.S. President Trump to lift sanctions against North Korea. Hon. Yoon believes Kim “is manipulating the U.S.” He said: “The ROK and the U.S. should not be fooled by the North. North Korea wants to drive a wedge between the ROK and the U.S. The goal of North Korea is to leave the Korean Peninsula under the control of the totalitarian regime after the collapse of the Korea-U.S. alliance and the withdrawal of the U.S. forces. … We should not be fooled by the North. Stay focused on the goal. Our goal is the complete dismantlement of nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction (WMD). The only way to achieve this goal is to keep a strong ROK-U.S. alliance,” Hon. Yoon said.

Hon. Suh Choo-suk, the ROK vice minister of national defense, said that North Korea is a threat to the international community. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is playing an important role in regional cooperation, he said. Lasting peace requires close cooperation of the regional countries. We need to continue dialogue and cooperation on security, Hon. Suh said. South Korea will play an important role in turning this crisis into an opportunity for peace. We hope peace in the Korean Peninsula will spread to all of Northeast Asia and the world, he said.

Other speakers included Ambassador Joseph DeTrani, special envoy for the Six-Party Talks with North Korea (2003-2006), U.S. Department of State, who said we are at an important reflection point. Ambassador DeTrani gave an overview of the different agreements, including the Agreed Framework in 1994 and the six-party talks from 2003 to 2007. Then in 2011, the North Koreans launched a long-range rocket. There was significant progress in 2017 when Kim said he was open to improved relations. That propelled things, and 2018 was very encouraging. It was extremely significant that President Trump agreed to meet President Kim. This represented the first time that a sitting U.S. president has sat down with a North Korean leader. In Hanoi there was movement with possible normalization of relations, setting up offices, but nothing on the denuclearization. There are opportunities for North Korea to engage, but it can’t be on their own terms, he said. We don’t want a nuclear arms race in the region, he said.

Mr. Fred Fleitz, the president and CEO of the Center for Security Policy, United States, said that President Trump’s personal relationship with the North Korean leader is very important. The president is determined to use his personal relationship to find peace, Mr. Fleitz said. He has “thrown out the diplomatic rulebook.” President Trump believes that previous negotiations with North Korea (with former administrations) resulted in North Korea agreeing but with no serious intention to abide. President Trump has used tough rhetoric and successfully pressured other nations to support the sanctions. We need to acknowledge this strategy, Mr. Fleitz said. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is working to resume lower-level negotiations. President Trump will not agree to partial denuclearization. Mr. Fleitz said he is hopeful. “We have to build on the personal relations and support bilateral relations between the U.S. and North Korea.”

Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Noboru Yamaguchi, professor and vice president, International University of Japan, spoke about the current challenges facing Northeast Asia and the need for better relations between Japan, South Korea and the United States. No one wants to see armed conflict, he said, so the focus should be on our common interests, which include diplomacy, trade as well as security. He expressed concern about the growth of the Chinese military expenditure, which doubles every five years.

Dr. Son Gi-woong, the president of the Korea Association of DMZ Studies, Korea, spoke about the policy direction that South Korea should follow. First, freedom and democracy, human rights and welfare should be emphasized. Second, the three superpowers—South Korea, Japan and the United States—should simultaneously give one voice to North Korea. Third, there should be an effort to involve the North Korean people. Fourth, the North should not be dealt with in the same manner as in the past—for example, giving large amounts of cash; instead, expectations should be clearly spelled out. Fifth, the issue of human rights for South Koreans is an obligation, according to the constitutional spirit of the country.

Dr. Alexander Zhebin, the director of the Center for Korean Studies at the Institute of Far Eastern Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences, gave the Russian perspective, which welcomes inter-Korean cooperation because of two major considerations. As Dr. Zhebin explained: “Moscow hopes that the inter-Korean reconciliation, firstly, will remove a threat of military conflict right next to her Eastern border, and secondly, will promote a more favorable environment for both development of Russia’s bilateral economic ties with the two Korean states as well as for the implementation of multilateral economic projects with Russia’s participation in Northeast Asia.”

In Session II, “Korea, Japan and USA: Strengthening an Alliance for Peace,” the moderator was Mr. Masayoshi Kajikuri, the chair of UPF-Japan.

Panelists included Ambassador Cho Tae-yong, the ROK vice minister of foreign affairs (2014-2015), who said there are significant hurdles to security cooperation between the three countries. First, the worsening relationship between South Korea and Japan. Second, neither South Korea nor Japan seems to be earnest about security cooperation, for different reasons. South Korea continues to focus on the past, including Japan’s colonial rule. Third, there is a difference in the perspectives of Japan and South Korea on the regional security threat and the rise of China’s influence. South Korea sees cooperation with China as necessary, while Japan regards China as a threat. Fourth, South Korea, Japan and the United States should take a more proactive approach to the issue of trilateral security cooperation. There needs to be trilateral brainstorming, and they should consider holding Track 1.5 meetings with government officials and non-state actors.

Mr. Humphrey Hawksley, world affairs correspondent, BBC of London and the former BBC Beijing bureau chief, United Kingdom, offered his thoughts about security and peace in Northeast Asia. Excluding North Korea, he said, Northeast Asia is faced with two levels of threat. One is the failure of Japan and South Korea to forge a substantive defense agreement, despite both being formal U.S. allies. This leads into the second threat, in that the absence of such a security mechanism makes it easier for China to exploit the United States’ allies and pitch a narrative about its global expansion in terms of it being America against China. Mr. Hawksley said the countries must act together, “sign a comprehensive security agreement, show a vision that will soon bring in Thailand, the Philippines and other Western allies to a regional institution that can balance the rise of China and to some extent Russia, and bring them in on Asia’s terms forged together by the countries of Asia.”

Mr. Kevin Maher, a senior advisor, NMV Consulting, and director of the Office of Japanese Affairs, U.S. Department of State (2009-2011), spoke about the alliance for peace. Peace is maintained through strength, he said. The facts are clear: North Korea is a brutal dictatorship. China is trying to expand its hegemony. We shouldn’t ignore history, but we need to overcome and move on. Relations between Japan and South Korea seemed to be going well, but historical issues continue to resurface, including “comfort women” as well as more recent events, such as last year’s radar incident when, according to Japan, a South Korean vessel “locked on” to Japanese aircraft with its weapons-control radar. These issues are obstacles to forging a Japan-ROK strategy to deal with the defense of the area. Threats to these countries cannot be dealt with individually, Mr. Maher said. “We must cooperate,” he said.

Hon. Hirohisa Takagi, a member of Japan’s House of Representatives, National Diet (2012-2017), spoke about the trilateral alliance — the United States, Japan and the Republic of Korea. At the past summit, the North Korean leader committed to denuclearization, but no timeline was laid out. Hon. Takagi expressed concern over President Trump’s assertion that the U.S. military deployment in South Korea is too costly, as well as the president’s vow to pull U.S. forces from South Korea and Japan if those nations refuse to pay more of the costs. Hon. Takagi said he is concerned that Japan-South Korea relations are deteriorating, primarily due to disputes over wartime history. The trilateral alliance is needed to present a united front against China and North Korea. President Trump views South Korea-U.S. relations and Japan-U.S. relations separately, Hon. Takagi said, urging that the trilateral alliance be strongly maintained.

Hon. Tae Young-ho, former North Korean deputy ambassador to the United Kingdom, who defected to the Republic of Korea in 2016, said he believes relations between the United States, Japan and South Korea are developing in favor of North Korea. Russian President Vladimir Putin met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and confirmed that North Korea is willing to give up its nuclear weapons, but relief of sanctions should come first before denuclearization. Ambassador Tae said there is “no captain on this ship” that includes the United States, Japan and South Korea. Japan has removed from the discussion table the issue of Japanese citizens abducted by North Korea. “It’s time for the allies to work together and agree on a united plan of action. Without a captain, the ship will go nowhere,” he cautioned.

In Session III, “Special Keynote Speakers,” the speakers included Hon. Park Won-soon, the mayor of Seoul, Korea. Hon. Park thanked UPF and congratulated The Washington Times, Segye Ilbo and Sekai Nippo for organizing the conference. Peace has been the hope of humanity since the beginning of time, he said. The world sees events unfolding on the Korean Peninsula as the compass for peace. The inter-Korean summit talks and the North Korea-U.S. talks have brought hope for lasting peace on the peninsula. The Korean Peninsula is the last point of the Cold War. The mayor said there may be obstacles and disappointments, but he is optimistic. He spoke about two important projects focusing on culture and people-to-people diplomacy, which he said can bring the nations together. First, Beijing, Seoul and Tokyo are organizing a joint youth orchestra. Second, it has been proposed that South Korea co-host the 2032 Summer Olympic Games with North Korea.

Mr. James Rogers, a businessman and financial commentator, Singapore, spoke about peacebuilding and bringing peoples and nations together. He praised South Korea and said we should be thinking about the day when the 38th parallel division disappears. “There will be no other country like it. A whole new frontier will open up,” he said. He envisions thriving trade and communications from coast to coast. Russia’s gigantic railroad system along with China’s Belt and Road Initiatives and the International Peace Highway someday will make it possible to travel from Pusan to Siberia to Berlin and around the world. “Think about the staggering sums of money being spent on defense,” he said. Although unification of the countries will cost a lot of money, Mr. Rogers said there will be a return on investments that will make it all financially worthwhile.

Session IV, “Security Briefings: Threats and Opportunities,” was moderated by Dr. Michael W. Jenkins, the president of UPF International. Speakers included Professor Cho Myung-chul, a professor at Sun Moon University, South Korea, and a former professor at Kim Il Sung University, DPRK, who expressed concern about the economic downturn in the South Korean economy. Because of the Sino-U.S. trade disputes, South Korea’s exports of intermediary goods to China have dropped sharply. South Korea is facing intensifying trade pressure from the United States, and its low birth rate and aging are creating serious economic and social problems. If North Korea were free of nuclear weapons and had a free economic environment, it would give unimaginable economic consequences to the regional nations and especially to South Korea, according to Professor Cho.

Mr. Bill Gertz, a journalist at The Washington Times and The Washington Free Beacon, United States, spoke about the China threat. In the past, he said, U.S. policy was based on conciliation and business. The idea that if we engage and trade with China, it would turn from a dictatorship to a benign power was challenged by President Trump. The new approach links economics and national security. In the United States there is a growing consensus on the question “Did we get China wrong?” Mr. Gertz recommended that we declare emphatically, “China is not competing with us; they want to destroy us!” He brought up an interesting point about information power. China invests billions in its United Front Work Department, an agency of the Communist Party, designed to influence public opinion. He called for a NATO-like agency that would bring together nations to deal with this threat from China. Allies are needed in this existential crisis, he said.

Vice Admiral (Ret.) Fumio Ota, the director of Japan’s Defense Intelligence Headquarters (2001-2005), made the point that current tensions offer opportunities for cooperation between the ROK and Japan, for example, regarding China's ongoing military buildup on islands in the South China Sea and shipping security in the Tsushima Strait. Since the ROK and Japan have poor national resources, the Sea Lines of Communications (SLOCs) are crucially important for importing and exporting materials, as well as energy resources coming from the Middle East mainly through the South China Sea. “China wants to drive a wedge between the ROK and Japan, as well as between the ROK and the U.S. We must counter this Chinese strategy,” according to Admiral Ota.

Ambassador R. James Woolsey Jr., the director of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (1993-1995), spoke about a serious threat to the United States — the vulnerability of its electric grid to electromagnetic pulse (EMP). The capability of U.S. technology to deal with this kind of threat is very limited, particularly when EMP is used intentionally by an enemy nation. An EMP attack could devastate Internet servers, cell phones, satellites, banks, water supplies, and basically every device that uses electricity to operate. During the Cold War we understood the identity of the enemy, but today an EMP attack could come from any number of nations, including Russia and China but also Iran or North Korea. If we don’t know who is the enemy, he said, it’s very difficult to know how to respond. You can’t deter someone from attacking if you don’t know who is attacking. Ambassador Woolsey said the United States must continue to develop good offensive and defensive measures.

In Session V, “Exploring the Path to Peaceful Re-Unification of the Korean Peninsula,” Mr. Larry Moffitt, executive vice president of The Washington Times Holdings LLC, served as moderator.

Speakers included Professor Kim Hyung-suk, the vice minister of unification at the ROK Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2016-2017) and a professor at Daejin University, South Korea, who explained the need to foster inter-Korean relations. He gave as examples the possibility someday to travel between Seoul and Pyongyang and the mutual benefits of bilateral economic cooperation. Professor Kim said the way to break the current deadlock is “to lower each other’s expectations a bit … rather than to enforce impractical proposals.” Through inter-Korea and U.S.-North Korea talks, the two sides should focus on drawing a roadmap which includes the guarantee of denuclearization, as well as economic aid. Possible initial steps could be the dismantling of the North’s Yongbyon nuclear facility, lifting some of the sanctions, and tourism at Paektu Mountain. To resolve the current situation, it is essential to continue humanitarian aid and non-political, non-economic exchanges and cooperation, Professor Kim said.

Dr. Atsushi Ijuin, the lead economist at the Japan Center for Economic Research, introduced the Japanese perspective regarding the Korean Peninsula. Interest in the Korean Peninsula is not so high among the Japanese nor are they optimistic about reunification. Only 1 percent believe that complete denuclearization can be reached. They believe negotiations will fail. From the Korean side, more than 60 percent of the people have a positive view. There is great skepticism in Japan. The Japanese people feel that if the Korean Peninsula is unified, an anti-Japanese movement will be born. Dr. Ijuin said a unified Korea should cooperate with the neighboring nations based on universal values. Before there is unification, there must be denuclearization, he said. A unified Korea must overcome the logic of siding only with one camp. A unified community must have a place for China as well. Dr. Ijuin says it’s imperative the countries coordinate their policies for the sake of regional development.

Mr. Bruce Klingner, senior research fellow on Northeast Asia at the Heritage Foundation’s Asian Studies Center, United States, described North Korea as the biggest obstacle to peace. There have been eight agreements and all have failed, he said. We should try again, but we must not repeat the mistakes of the past, he said. Do not offer incentives before they respond with concrete actions. Sanctions are working. Kim Jong-un is interested only in removing sanctions not denuclearization. There is an uncertain diplomatic path. Mr. Klingner made several suggestions: (1) The United States should not sign a peace declaration. It would be a feel-good gesture but would not reduce the problem; instead it would further undermine international resolve; (2) We should push for a roadmap. Any agreement should include the clearly defined goal of complete denuclearization; (3) Enhance implementation of sanctions; (4) Should not cancel joint military exercises. The United States has received nothing in return; and (5) human rights violations must be addressed.

Dr. Alexander Mansourov, a professor of security studies at Georgetown University, United States, said the status quo in Northeast Asia has been shaken thanks to President Trump. We are in a new era, he said. The policy of denuclearization has failed. Despite the best efforts of the United States, the weapons remain. President Trump has created a new window toward the desired end state. The reality is that, whether we like it or not, we may be moving to replace the idealistic goal of removing all weapons to a more realistic goal, which is to put a ceiling on their nuclear arsenal. Dr. Mansourov called for a middle solution that includes a freeze that would stop production of fissile material for nuclear weapons, cap the arsenal and assure International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspection and safeguards. A third summit is needed, Dr. Mansourov stated. President Trump will travel to South Korea in June to meet with South Korean President Moon Jae-in for talks on the North Korean nuclear program in conjunction with his trip to Japan to attend a G20 summit in Osaka. It will pave the way for the next summit. We must continue diplomatic engagement at the highest level, Dr. Mansourov said, but if it fails, then deterrence and containment are realistic strategies for the United States and its allies.

In Session VI: “Where Do We Go from Here?” the speakers included Professor Yoshimitsu Nishikawa of the Faculty of Regional Development Studies, Toyo University, Japan. He gave an update on the International Peace Highway and the Japan-Korea Tunnel Project, which was presented in 1981 by UPF co-founders Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon and Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon. The project since has been adopted by the two governments as one of their joint research projects.

Dr. Alexander Vorontsov, head of the Department for Korean and Mongolian Studies at the Institute of Oriental Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences, called for an approach “based on the logic of the Russian-Chinese roadmap for a settlement,” which calls on the United States to end the sanctions as a precondition for talks before North Korea takes steps to halt its nuclear weapons and ballistic testing.

Dr. Tadashi Kimiya, a professor at the University of Tokyo, Japan, said, “Denuclearization of North Korea must be realized by all means.” North Korea wants gradual denuclearization and to receive sanctions relief, while the United States wants immediate denuclearization. South Korea needs to be more serious to convince the political and international experts of its position. South Korean President Moon Jae-in is not reaching out to Japan to develop better relations, Dr. Kimiya said. There should be an emphasis on their mutual interests, but it seems that South Korea has given up on Japan. There is an assumption that Japan will just follow whatever South Korea and the United States decide. Historical issues such as “comfort women” and the colonial era continue to cloud relations. The most realistic desire is to work for peaceful coexistence based on the Korea-U.S. alliance, but the Japan-Korea relationship is equally important, according to Dr. Kimiya.

Dr. Barbara Finkelstein, professor emeritus, University of Maryland, United States, thanked Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon for her commitment to peace and reconciliation. Dr. Finkelstein spoke about the “weight of tradition” that people carry with them. Tradition informs every feature of interaction, not just on an individual level but on the world level, such as how alliances, treaties and policies are discussed and worked out. Past memories do not fade away; they endure and impact current discussions, for example in the case of the “comfort women.” It is important that these transcultural encounters receive more exposure and attention. Cultural knowledge and awareness are as important as political issues, she said. A greater degree of understanding and humility is the underpinning of any relationship. Openness and willingness to look at the traditions from a point of view other than one’s own are needed to negotiate such complicated issues as the reunification of the Korean Peninsula, Dr. Finkelstein said.

Hon. Ek Nath Dhakal, minister of peace and reconstruction (2015-2016), Nepal, spoke about a visit to North Korea in 2017. Referring to the theme of this session, “Where do we go from here?” Hon. Dhakal said the answer is “from isolation and confrontation to reconciliation, peace and prosperity.” In the summer of 2017, when tension between the United States and North Korea was high—President Trump threatened “fire and fury” against North Korea if it endangered the United States, and North Korea revealed a plan to strike Guam—Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon asked H.E. Madhav K. Nepal, the former prime minister and leader of the Nepal Communist Party, to lead a high-level delegation of parliamentarians to DPRK. With the support of North Korea’s ambassador in Nepal, a delegation traveled to Pyongyang from Aug. 12 to 18, 2017, and met many high-level leaders, including at the Supreme People’s Assembly. Hon. Dhakal described the visit as very substantial and having contributed to improved relationships between the two nations.

After lunch, the participants attended a rally calling for the peaceful reunification of the Korean Peninsula. The event was held at the Korea International Exhibition Center (KINTEX) in the suburbs of Seoul. The keynote speaker was UPF co-founder Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon and included congratulatory remarks from former U.S. Congressman Dan Burton and former CIA Director Ambassador R. James Woolsey Jr.


Once again, the world is watching the Korean Peninsula. Despite recent missile launches by North Korea and continued sanctions by the UN Security Council, the gathered experts said they believe the best strategy is a low-key stance which hopefully will lead to the resumption of denuclearization negotiations and greater inter-Korean cooperation.

Track II diplomacy, which is unofficial and informal, may be the more effective means to get the Koreas to the negotiating table, for example, through the promotion of tourism, medical relief, food and humanitarian aid, economic projects, student exchange, arts, sports, etc.

One interesting topic examined, in terms of soft diplomacy, is that North and South Korea have agreed to pursue a joint bid to host the Summer Olympic Games in 2032. The mayor of Seoul, Park Won-soon, a strong advocate for the joint Olympics, described the effort as “an opportunity to change the fate of the Korean Peninsula.”

Although the experts said they are optimistic that U.S. President Donald Trump and the North Korean leader will have another summit, full support was expressed for a fourth inter-Korean summit between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim, along with an ongoing emphasis on increased dialogue and "soft power" activities.

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