VIENNA–(BUSINESS WIRE)–#ThinkTank2022–World leaders and experts renewed their calls for peaceful reconciliation on the Korean Peninsula during the virtual Rally of Hope September 12 (KST). The event, broadcasted live from South Korea and attended by millions of online participants from around the world, featured the Universal Peace Federation’s (UPF) new initiative, Think Tank 2022, which seeks to build a global strategy for a major breakthrough for peace by the end of 2022.
“I truly believe that an extraordinary future awaits the people of North Korea — and I have faith that if they pursue the path of denuclearization, they will make that future a magnificent reality,” former U.S. President Donald Trump said in remarks prepared for the event. “Until that blessed day comes, the indispensable force for peace on the Korean Peninsula remains a strong America. As we have seen recently in other parts of the world, weakness only invites more violence and chaos.”
The rally, the seventh such event since August 2020, is among the growing efforts of UPF Co-Founder Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon to address worldwide challenges, including poverty, equality, and environmental degradation, as well as the peaceful reunification of the Korean Peninsula. “Now the time has come for Korea to fulfill its responsibility,” Dr. Moon said at the event. “[T]he prospects for peace on the Korean Peninsula are excellent. This will happen.”
Dr. Moon and her late husband, the Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon, are both natives of what is now North Korea and dedicated their lives toward reunifying their homeland and building a more peaceful world. The online rally, which was live-streamed in the U.S. on September 11, included a solemn prayer engaging the global audience in honor of the thousands of lives lost in the 2001 terror attacks.
Other rally speakers included Samdech Hun Sen, prime minister of Cambodia; José Manuel Barroso, former president of the European Commission; Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, former president of The Philippines; H.D. Deve Gowda, former Indian prime minister; Anthony Thomas Aquinas Carmona, former president of Trinidad and Tobago; and Nataša Mićić, former Serbian president.
“As a country placing priceless value upon peace, Cambodia highly appreciates the organization of this rally to strengthen the culture of peace and mutual trust under the framework of international cooperation in the Asia-Pacific area,” said Prime Minister Sen, whose Asian Vision Institute will serve as the Asia-Pacific Secretariat of Think Tank 2022. He recalled when Phnom Penh was captured by the Khmer Rouge in 1975 during the Cambodian Civil War, saying, “We remember the tragedy and are determined to prevent such a similar event from happening again… We vividly understand that peace and nation-building can only be achieved by the local stakeholders in the conflicting country.”
Four governors of South Korean provinces, as well as newly elected Seoul Mayor Oh See-hoon, Gwangju Mayor Lee Yong-sup, and Busan Mayor Park Heong-joon, congratulated Dr. Moon and UPF for the work to advance reconciliation and cooperation on the peninsula. Mr. Barroso, speaking from his longtime experience leading the European Commission, said he strongly supports Korean reunification. “What the global community can do, and I believe it should do even more, is to show strong support to facilitate [and] create the best external conditions for the Koreans themselves to find a way for true reconciliation and peace,” he said.
In her remarks, Mrs. Arroyo said, “With leaders Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in exchanging letters since April and announcing the restoration of several communication channels in July — including a military link demolished by the North last year — let Korea’s example teach the world that peace can thrive if humanity can dream together.”
Mr. Carmona said, “Collaborative goodwill is the engine of any successful peace process. Reunification and reconciliation require genuine maturity rather than filibustering, a meeting of the minds and hearts, celebrating the common good — not revisiting the painful past, but rather connecting to the intergenerational and intragenerational hope, ambition, and vision of a united Korean people.”
Think Tank 2022, which is developing Expert Working Groups (EWGs) linked to UPF’s seven international associations, will spearhead peacebuilding projects such as a UN Peace Park on the DMZ, building a Korea-Japan undersea tunnel, boosting Geumgang Mountain tourism development, helping separated Korean families find their relatives, and a call for the UN to establish an office in Korea. Think Tank 2022 has already hosted numerous webinars and will also carry out fact-finding consultations, international leadership conferences, and a major World Summit in South Korea implementing a “One Million People’s Relief Association.”
The work of UPF globally aims at promoting constructive dialogue among leaders from all sectors and with diversity of political, philosophical and ideological points of view. In a world characterized too often by polarization and an unwillingness to respectfully engage with those who represent “the other side,” UPF seeks to foster a wider dialogue — a political ecumenism that breaks down barriers and charts a path to mutual respect and understanding. Nowhere is such an approach more desperately needed than that of the Korean Peninsula. For this reason, UPF is engaging with leaders of nations and political parties that are allied with both North and South Korea and are guided by principles of respect, civility, and a commitment to reconciliation.
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EUROPE & THE MIDDLE EAST: Peter Zoehrer