Address by Justice Anthony Thomas Aquinas Carmona O.R.T.T., S.C, Fifth/Former President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago (2013-2018), at an International Leadership Conference 2020, Hosted by the Universal Peace Federation (UPF), Commemorating the 70th Anniversary of the Korea War
(28 November, 2020) — There is a dearth, a veritable lack of robust international mobilization to bring conclusion to the uneasy and inactive state of war subsisting between the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) and the Republic of Korea (South Korea). It is made even more alarming that the 1953 Korean War Armistice, ending hostilities in the Korean War, has been signed by North Korea with a foreign power USA and there is no such signed Armistice between North and South Korea.
The international mobilization, I seek is grounded in a concern that this troubling state of unease is seen by many of us in Latin America and the Caribbean, as far off and distant. It only warrants our concern when there is precipitate sabre rattling between the brothers and sisters of Korea, North and South and/or when the United Nations (UN) Security Council wakes up from its slumber at the behest of axis members. This is simply not good enough. The Caribbean Region has been designated as a Zone of Peace and we can therefore be a facilitator to bring final conclusion to this state of war between North and South Korea by bringing brothers and sisters to a table of humanity in the Caribbean Region, based on mutual respect and consideration.
We must all without exception, advance denuclearization to arrest this existential threat to humanity. We all therefore must engage in a fruitful World Agenda and Dialogue. We therefore have a vested interest in supporting and encouraging the reconciliation and reunification of North and South Korea and the pacification of the Korean Peninsula. Such must not be at the behest and approval of countries which may not always have the best interest of the Korean people at heart. The power of a Sovereign Nation to solve its problems, goes without saying, as, in like manner to effect resolution and cement unity, it is recognized that sometimes an environment of facilitation is required to assist the peace process, especially if there have been so much toxic water under the proverbial bridge. It requires maturity rather than vain posturing, forward thinking with the common good in mind rather than obsession with the egregious sores of the past and most of all an appreciation of the value of intergenerational and intra-generational hope and ambition for a United Korea, whatever the nomenclature, to describe that historical bond, not to be broken again. We cannot and must not countenance continued division, sometimes manipulated arguably from the outside, as a mechanism to achieving peace and reconciliation. With unadulterated peace, neither country, North or South Korea would lose its soul. With the coming down of the Berlin Wall, a united Germany has prospered bringing a high quality of life to all and a society where everyone is part of an indivisible whole. Historically we have also seen what the reunification of Italy has accomplished for this now great Nation.
This Conference is timely and very strategic in the context of shaping a better, greater and more peaceful world. In the spirit of multilateralism, it is visionary for the Universal Peace Federation (UPF) under the inspiring leadership of Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, Central America and the Caribbean Chapter with Dr. Charles S. Yang as Chairman taking the lead, outside the boundaries of geographic and orbital spheres of influence and engagement, to harness its civil society’s persona and capacity to enhance mobilization and to further bolster international support for reconciliation, reunification and denuclearization initiatives in the Korean Peninsula, though the power of moral suasion and entreaty. The process for a viable and workable solution, must be rooted in advancing the real benefits of formulating and establishing a culture of peace. A signed Declaration of the unconditional cessation of war, must become an immediate imperative for a United Korea to realize its fullest potential. Korea must-be no one’s “bobollee”, no one’s pariah and certainly, no one’s mendicant.
What are some of the benefits that await a United Korea, apart from warm acceptance by the Community of Nations? The economics of peace must not and is not lost upon us, and the psyche of every Korean. It is my humble suggestion, that the powers that be, consider reopening the Kaesong Industrial Complex, that joint inter-Korean economic project which closed in 2016, made more critical by way of the economic ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic… at closure that Industrial Estate housed 124 tenant companies, 80 business offices employing some 55 thousand North Korean workers. Its efficacy is undeniable providing Korean companies with cheaper labour costs, bringing forex to North Korea and helping reform its economy. It represents a win-win situation. It will create confidence building throughout Korea. Interestingly enough, it has been referred to as the Peace Economy by Dr. Jin-Hyang Kim, the former head of the Kaesong Industrial Estate (2008-2011) and the present President of the Kaesong Industrial Complex Foundation with its advocacy mandate to have the Complex reopened. The Peace Economy is a remarkable proposition and a real beacon of hope for economic sustainability, social and human development and peace in the Korean Peninsula. Dr. Jin-Hyang Kim defined the Peace Economy as, “The enhancement and expansion of inter-Korean economic cooperation…it means that the South and the North will achieve peace and economic prosperity through economic cooperation…opposite of the divided economy of the past 70 years.” He continued mapping out the conjoint effect and impact of this Peace Economy as, “A key pillar of the Northeast Asian Peace Economy… in terms of energy, resources and logistics.”