The fourth plenary session of the World Summit 2022 for Peace on the Korean Peninsula took place on February 11, 2022, at the Jamsil Lotte Hotel in Seoul, South Korea, under the title of “Peace on the Korean Peninsula: Analysis and Recommendations.” The speakers of this session, mainly journalists, parliamentarians, and ministers from various nations, gave in-person as well as virtual speeches and brought complementary perspectives on the subject.
The moderator of the fourth plenary session was Mr. Thomas McDevitt, chairman of The Washington Times. He opened the session by explaining the role of the media for peace on the Korean peninsula.
He then introduced Hon. Kim Hyon Hwan, Vice Minister of Culture, Sport & Tourism in the Republic of Korea, who described the Korean peninsula as being the interest of worldwide journalists for decades, and that peace between the two Koreas will not only be beneficial to the Korean people or to the Northeast Asian region, but will bring peace to the whole world. Furthermore, the fact of having at the World Summit 2022, the presence of journalists from the 157 countries that have diplomatic ties with North and South Korea, is of great importance. Indeed, the role of journalism is critical and pivotal, and this journey for peace, should rather be one of hope than of disappointment.
Mr. Charlie Hurt, opinion editor of The Washington Times in the United States, expressed words of gratitude for being back at the World Summit, and shared how seeing the devotion of all the participants truly humbles him and will allow him to go home with “renewed admiration for these tremendous efforts.” He stated that, as Vice-President Pence and Newt Gingrich mentioned, “our world is a much better place when America is strong,” and it is then that peace has a greater opportunity to strive. He further spoke of the importance of fact-based newspapers that seek the truth and do not censor opinions, such as The Washington Times, which are vital for a free republic. Indeed, in the United States Constitution, the founders highlighted the importance of a “free, vibrant and open exchange of ideas and debate.” Hence, the free press is essential for the well-functioning of a democracy.
Ms. Trish Regan, formerly with FOX Business and current host of The Trish Regan Show, shared that despite the many challenges the world is facing, notably with the pandemic, but also with inflation, conflicts, breakdown of families, refugee crisis and so forth, there is hope for peace, and “a unified Korea could show the world that anything is possible.” Furthermore, she highlighted the importance of family values, which are essential for success and peace. In the case of the Korean peninsula, having families from both side of the 38th parallel reunited can be an economic powerhouse, in Ms. Regan’s opinion. Moreover, she shared that the success story of South Korea’s economy is all thanks to strong family values and that the peninsula’s unity will boost the economy further. She concluded saying that diplomatic channels as well as the commitment of the global community are essential to reunify the Korean peninsula, which will allow the economy to prosper on both sides and will spread to all of Asia.
Rt. Hon. Ganesh Prasad Timilsina, Chairman of the National Assembly of Nepal, through a recorded speech, shared his vision of a new path towards world peace that will be opened through the reunification of Korea. This will “enhance the mutual prosperity of the human race, interdependency, and common universal values,” as well as economic, cultural, educational, and environmental development. Furthermore, he stated that it is our human responsibility to heal the wounds of others and “remove the past distrusts and conflicts and help open the path for prosperity.” In the case of the Korean issue, the problems are common ones, and to solve these, North and South Korea must work closely together in the sectors of economy, society, and culture. And for that, neighboring powers need to play a greater role in supporting and accompanying the peace process for the reunification of Korea.
Ms. Kyra Philips, formerly with CNN and currently an ABC correspondent, shared her memories of the 50th anniversary of the Korean War, as veterans gathered at war memorials and people paid tribute to those who lost their lives during the conflict. Some veterans then had described the last time they saw Seoul as being without electricity and with few buildings left standing, compared to today’s South Korean capital, rebuilt and wonderfully different from then. She continued saying that we have to find the political system that can reunify the two Koreas, and that can bring the same economic benefits to North Korea, which perhaps would require an initial stage of a hybrid format, with different systems per provinces or with two systems, two states. Ms. Philips furthermore emphasized the importance of involving representatives of North and South Korea in the table of negotiations, as well as the United States and China.
Hon. Yoshinori Ohno, former minister of the Environment in Japan, spoke of the importance of the topic of the Summit, and the extent to which it also concerns Japan. Indeed, the two Koreas are neighboring countries of Japan, but they have very different relations with one another. Japan and South Korea share values and interests, whereas there are no diplomatic relations with North Korea, and concerns are great due to the abduction of Japanese citizens in the past, as well as with the development and launching of nuclear missiles. Therefore, it is essential for Japan to promote peace and stability on the Korean peninsula, through interdependence, mutual prosperity, and universal values—three principles developed by Dr. Moon. He further shared about the example Dr. and Mrs. Moon set by going to North Korea to visit Chairman Kim. They indeed became models of mutual trust and human relations, which are essential to advance peace.
Mr. Michael Breen, founder of Insight Communications based in Seoul, former journalist with The Guardian, The Times of London and The Washington Times, stated that reunification requires a strategy that either will be quick like in the case of Germany, or slow like the European Union. What truly matters however, is to “ask what type of State reunified Koreans want to live in?” One clear point is that our vision for a reunified Korea has to be based on democratic views, which could also allow China to become democratic. However, we must address North Korea’s fears, which are notably the absorption by the South, and we should focus on creating bonds and building trust. Mr. Breen said that the “first step is to move from being enemies to being neighbors,” and this process requires, notably, the use of culture and sports. Thus, he recommended that South Korea allow its artists to freely deal with North Korea. Furthermore, he suggested that we let modern culture from the whole world influence the DPRK. Finally, Mr. Breen recommended that UPF hold its next World Summit in Pyeongyang and to make a declaration there regarding the end of the North Korean system, just like Rev. Moon recommended to affirm the end of Soviet communism in 1985.
The fourth plenary session ended with a performance by Kim Jae Bin.