The “International Association of Parliamentarians for Peace” (IAPP) was launched at the National Assembly of the Republic of Korea on February 15, 2016, as a worldwide association of parliamentarians which provides a forum to bring their experience and wisdom to bear on the search for solutions to our world’s problems. Parliamentarians play a central role in nations throughout the world, representing the people, respecting the rule of law, and upholding human rights and dignity. They work to build safe, secure, peaceful and prosperous societies.
IAPP in Europe was inaugurated in September 2016 in the Houses of Parliament in London, UK during a conference entitled “Interregional Dialogue Addressing Critical Challenges: Europe, Eurasia, the Middle East and North Africa”. Since then, several conferences have been held in different parliament buildings in Europe, in the UN in Vienna and in the European parliament.
But our topic today is Korea. Following World War II, the Korean people, who share a common history, culture, and language, were divided by the Cold War struggle between superpowers. 70 years later, considering its potential impact on global peace and development, the peaceful reunification of the Korean Peninsula is a central focus of the IAPP, along with peace among all the nations of North East Asia.
Our founders Dr. Sun Myung Moon and Hak Ja Han Moon come from Korea; they were both born in what is now the DPRK (Democratic People‘s Republic of Korea). Their lifelong dream has been to see Korea united again. They visited North Korea in 1991 and met President Kim Il Sung, which started a process of reconciliation. For 50 years Korea was occupied by Japan; for 70 years since the war it has been a divided nation. Korea deserves the firm support of the international community so that it can come together and be united again. In many ways it was the international community which inflicted the pain of the unfortunate division on this innocent country during the final weeks of the 2nd World War in the Far East.
What role is there for Europe in its relationship with both North and South Korea? What role can be played by Russia, which connects Europe and North East Asia? Can parliamentary diplomacy help move forward the long-awaited peace process in this conflicting region?