Including this excellent discussion, I attended over a dozen webinars recently focusing on the Korean Peninsula. They have convinced me that the Korean agenda has profoundly global implications. First, North Korea’s nuclear weapons’ program would seriously undermine the world’s security system based on the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.
Second, three decades after the so-called end of the Cold War, the world is still unable to get rid of the specter which first haunted Europe in the middle of the 19th century. On the contrary, having lived for a long time in the Middle East, I harbor a growing concern that this thought system, which advocates struggles for development based on materialism, might agitate many young people in the Middle East, which has been rather free from this atheism-based political ideology.
Thus, with a view to tackling these issues and many more, UPF is currently inviting experts worldwide to address these issues. In this process, I have realized some critical advantages which European experts may contribute. First, Europe, except for Russia, is obviously a geographical outsider from North East Asia. As several experts have noted, however, this outsider status could help Europeans take a proactive, neutral, and fair perspective. Besides, European diplomacy could exert its genuine soft power stemming from its clear and strong value perspectives and rational debates.
Furthermore, the majority of European countries have established diplomatic relations with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. We listened to some outstanding experts on their candid experiences and observations on the DPRK. Amid the fairly one-sided views prevalent in the world media about or against North Korea, as a career media professional myself, the situation seems to be pushing North Korea into a corner, with little chance of rational or peaceful ways out.
But more than anything else, the European Union stands as the shining model and inspiration for peace, harmony and union among sovereign states. Having undergone the two world wars in the early half of the 20th century, west Europe innovated a drastic security mechanism through the Steel and Coal Alliance, opening the path for eventual integration. Then, after the latter half of the same century under the Cold War regime, the EU was able to extend its union towards the eastern half. This patient diplomacy, sustained by wisdom and a spirit of reconciliation, is indeed remarkable and respectable, especially compared to the lingering grudges and tensions we observe in North East Asia, stemming from nationalism, ideology and history.
The European Union, while still facing many daunting challenges ahead, has become the living testimony of its heritage of reason and the spirit of forgiveness, the two elements needed to advance toward a hopeful future of peace and freedom. According to my understanding, it has in effect practiced the Christian dictum encouraging us to "love the sinner but hate the sin".
Exactly 30 years ago, UPF’s co-founders, Dr. and Mrs. Moon, who had led a worldwide anti-communism movement, paid a bold visit to Pyongyang. Dr. Moon openly admonished North Korea’s high officials for the wrongs of communism, and yet embraced late President Kim Il Sung. They agreed on several measures towards a peaceful future on the peninsula. Mrs. Moon herself is spearheading a national and even international drive for Korea’s peaceful re-unification and beyond in the same spirit.
Last century was no doubt the century of world wars, primarily initiated out of Europe where so much blood, sweat, and tears were sacrificed. Let us make this century the century of world peace enhanced by this European legacy. Thank you very much.