The invididual videos of the speakers are available by clicking on the links below.
The fifth plenary session of the World Summit 2022 took place on February 11, 2022, at the Jamsil Lotte Hotel in Seoul, South Korea, under the title of “Peace on the Korean Peninsula: Perspectives from Europe and the Middle East.” The speakers of this session, mainly heads of state, parliamentarians and ministers from Europe, gave in person as well as virtual speeches and brought complementary perspectives on the topic of Europe’s role on the Korean Peninsula, in between China and the United States.
The moderator of the fifth plenary session on the topic of “Peace on the Korean Peninsula: Perspectives from Europe,” was Mr. Jacques Marion, regional co-chair of UPF Europe and the Middle East. He specified that due to time constraints, only excerpts of speeches were shown. However, the full speeches can be found online.
Dr. Claude Béglé, president and CEO of Symbioswiss and former Member of the Swiss Parliament, who went through the quarantine to be present, shared that we may often compare the DPRK’s economic situation to that of the Soviet Union before its collapse. However, Dr. Béglé did not find that to be the case when he traveled to North Korea. Indeed, despite the sanctions, the population was doing its best to produce what was needed, and investment in knowledge, education, and science was important. Furthermore, he stated that propaganda is present on both sides of the 38th parallel and that we should go against that trend by planting seeds that lead to mutual respect. Concerning North Korea’s nuclear program, Dr. Béglé said he believes the true intentions behind it aren’t just military. The DPRK may develop its military and heavy industry, but it also invests in light industry and consumer goods. Therefore, the economy may be a key component to the solution to go against fear and misunderstanding. Furthermore, there is potential for synergy between the two economies and opening the country would provide advantages. Institutionally, the North and the South could form a federal state. However, what should be remembered in the process is that it is “not about one winning and the other being defeated, but about finding a solution together with two winners,” he stated.
H.E. Dominique de Villepin, Prime Minister of France (2005-2007), stated that we are living in a defining moment, with the South Korean presidential elections in March, and the U.S. midterm elections and the 20th Chinese Party Congress taking place this year. In this context, he said, “The Korean Peninsula could be the basis of an exemplary pathway to peace.” To have a fruitful dialogue between the two sides, he suggested that the focus should be on political, cultural, and social interactions, which respond to the aspirations of both people and regimes. It is therefore essential to accept “the principle of no regime change” and to offer a vision of a denuclearized Korean Peninsula, free of foreign troops. Regarding negotiations, H.E. Villepin suggested that strong economic and security incentives are to be put forward, such as “a progressive lift of sanctions and a double freeze of nuclear development and military exercises before any process of denuclearization.” He further encouraged the mobilization of the international community and of institutions, to “accompany, mediate, and guarantee the commitments.” He concluded with these words: “Each one of us can and may contribute. This could be the starting point of a peaceful revolution, a renewed awareness of the global community finally taking its destiny into its own hands.”
H.E. José María Aznar, Prime Minister of Spain (1996-2004), first highlighted the importance of contributions by organizations such as UPF for peacebuilding and dialogue. He shared from his own experience during his mandate, that all instruments for dialogue and peace must be used and that peace can be pursued not only through Track I diplomacy, but also “civil society, trade and commerce, humanitarian relief, interfaith dialogue, cultural exchange, and tourism.” In this manner, we can work towards building trust, mutual respect, reconciliation, and cooperation. He furthermore shared that we can enhance dialogue between North and South Korea using several strategies: First, to improve relations between the two Koreas, North Korea should denuclearize, and sustainable dialogue should be maintained. In this manner, security concerns of the two Koreas would be addressed, and the great powers of the region can contribute to this constructively. Second, to gain popular support for future negotiations, cooperation with civil society is necessary. In addition, the governments of the two Koreas should facilitate family reunions. Third, if there is willingness to establish peace and prosperity with mutual respect, important agreements will be reached.
H.E. Ilir Meta, President of Albania, gave a message of peace, first affirming that “a breakthrough of peace on the Korean peninsula would reflect globally.” He continued by highlighting the importance of preserving and protecting peace, which history has taught us can be fragile and often under threat. Peace should never be taken for granted, and it is our responsibility to seriously work and invest our efforts for peace. H.E. Meta furthermore quoted the Albanian Saint, Mother Teresa: “What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family” and stated that “if all leaders loved their people as their family, humankind will be at peace without conflicts and divisions.” Moreover, President Meta sees the youth and education as the foundation of all societies and the future, and religious leaders as guides for social justice and peace, who can offer their mediation skills. As a conclusion, he recommended governments and civil society to work together by not only speaking the same language of peace, but also by truly believing in peace, which must “be the mission of every leader and the aspiration of every nation.” In this manner, the 38th parallel will become “a symbol of peace rather than division.”
H.E. Filip Vujanovic, President of Montenegro (2003-2018), expressed his appreciation towards UPF for establishing a platform to discuss the perspectives for peace in the Balkans. Indeed, Montenegro and all of Former Yugoslavia have experienced terrible wars in the 20th century. H.E. Vujanovic shared that the suffering and the devastation of war experienced by the people of the region has allowed them to understand “the importance of peace, dialogue, and resolving disputes in a peaceful manner,” and that if we want to live with love, happiness, understanding, pluralism, respect, democracy, and prosperity, we must see peace as “the first and foremost value to preserve.” Moreover, he shared that at a future conference organized by UPF, speakers from the Balkans and from Korea could exchange ideas on the topic of peace in both regions. Despite their differences in terms of politics, culture, and geography, they share the same objective: “to reconcile and build lasting peace.” It is through continuous dialogue that we can come to understand “each other’s way of thinking, culture, challenges, and politics,” and in this manner accomplish this goal of peace, which will allow us to deepen the cooperation in economy, trade, technology, green energy, and to fight against diseases and natural disasters. H.E. Vujanovic concluded that through this, we will build “a sustainable future for our future generations.”
H.E. Albin Kurti, Prime Minister of Kosovo, affirmed that a similar path of suffering is shared by the people of Kosovo and the Korean Peninsula, due to numerous experiences of invasions and occupations. Furthermore, he stated that ideology is what divided not only our world but also the Korean people. It separated families and friends became enemies. However, “what remains true throughout history is that the longing for freedoms stirs in every human heart,” stated H.E. Kurti. Indeed, it is essential to speak our opinion freely, which impacts how we are governed and live. However, despite this desire for freedom being shared by all of humankind, some people still haven’t let go of the dark ideas of the past. Nevertheless, we cannot let ourselves “succumb to autocrats and dictators who suppress freedoms and oppress the people.” Instead, we must aim at lasting peace on the Korean and Balkan Peninsulas. For that, responsibility must be taken to work for peace, as history has proven that “conflicts do not resolve on their own.” Dr. Moon has taught us that “peace flourishes where there is justice, and justice requires repentance, which must be accompanied by restitution.” H.E. Kurti concluded with these words: “Freedom seeks to attain lasting peace. All of us must do our part wherever we are.”
H.E. Mladen Ivanic, President of Bosnia and Herzegovina (2014-2018), stated that the main causes for conflict in Korea were the relations between the great powers, for which ordinary people had to pay the price. Based on Bosnia-Herzegovina’s experience, a major “precondition for peace is the consensus of the great powers,” stated H.E. Ivanic. Therefore, we should persuade them to see beyond their interests by hearing local people’s voices. Hence, besides political leaders, the religious and civil sectors play an important role in peacebuilding, reconciliation, and achieving a sustainable progress. Furthermore, H.E. Ivanic shared his conviction that it is time for Korea to go from a symbol of conflict to a peaceful example for the world. Moreover, peace on the Korean Peninsula concerns the whole world. Bosnia-Herzegovina has experienced war and conflict, and he testified that it wasn’t easy to reach a compromise. However, once it was reached, it affected positively all other conflicts in the world. Therefore, such development on one side of the world impacts all of humanity, notably through positive news spread around the globe. To conclude, he suggested that, since “contact between people is necessary to remove prejudices, and build a sustainable and prosperous region,” it is essential to open borders and enable tourism, trade, and cultural exchanges, which will contribute to ease relations.
H.E. Ahmet Davutoglu, Prime Minister of Turkey (2014-2018), stated that the global experience of the pandemic has proven that we all share a common destiny, which therefore implies cooperation for the future of humanity. H.E. Davutoglu shared that in his last book, the terms “systemic earthquake” and “world order” were used to explain that we are facing systemic crisis and that all regions of the world must cooperate for peace, and the resolution of the Korean question has a symbolic meaning for all of us. Moreover, all the countries that were divided during the Cold War—Germany, Yemen, Vietnam—are again one, except Korea. Nevertheless, despite the many challenges on the Korean Peninsula, “it is now time for a new era on Korean peninsula,” said H.E. Davutoglu, because challenges also mean new opportunities, and the German people faced these same challenges before they united. Furthermore, peace on the Korean peninsula after decades of armistice, will bring a strong message to humankind that a new era of peace has begun. Thus, it is time for Korea to unite, and for all families to be brought back together “as one entity of common destiny.” He further affirmed that this conference will therefore have a historic significance. H.E. Davutoglu concluded with these words: “The destiny of Korea is our common destiny.”
Several other important VIPs from Europe and the Middle East also spoke in a prolongation of session V.
See below for their bios and videos.
This is the video of sessions IV and V
Additional speakers from Europe and the Middle East
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