CALENDAR OF EVENTS
Press Release - Call for a Fifth UN Office in Korea at the National Assembly
Written by Robert Kittel, director of education, UPF Asia
Monday, February 15, 2016
“Addressing the Critical Challenges of Our Time:
The Role of Governments, Civil Society and Faith-Based Organizations”
February 12-16, 2016 Seoul, Korea
Press Release - Feb. 15, 2016
Call for a Fifth UN Office in Korea
Against a background of strained ties and escalating tension between North and South Korea, parliamentarians from around the world who were in Seoul to attend an International Leadership Conference (ILC) joined approximately 20 Korean lawmakers at the National Assembly to call for the United Nations to establish a fifth office on the Korean Peninsulato ease tension on the peninsula and reduce fears in Northeast Asia.
Over 140 members of parliament, including six cabinet ministers, attended a program on February 15, 2016, at the National Assembly Members’ Hall in Seoul. There were also more than 40 international journalists in the audience.
The parliamentarians had been attending a conference titled “Addressing the Critical Challenges of Our Time: The Role of Governments, Civil Society and Faith-Based Organizations,” organized by the Universal Peace Federation (UPF) from February 12 to 16, 2016, in the Lotte Hotel World.
In her Keynote Speech at the conference, UPF International Chair Dr. Sun Jin Moon called for the UN to consider an Asian office. “Whereas there are UN headquarters offices in New York, Geneva, Vienna and Nairobi, there is no such office in Asia, even though we are living increasingly in an Asia Pacific age,” she said. “In many ways, the geopolitical, economic and social center of gravity of our world is shifting toward Asia.”
Dr. Moon is the daughter of the UPF co-founders, the late Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon and his wife, Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon. In her address, Dr. Moon was speaking on behalf of her mother.
The program at the National Assembly initially was focused on the formation of the International Parliamentarians Peace Association. But against the backdrop of mounting pressures on the Korean Peninsula the event took on a sense of political urgency.
“We cannot borrow an umbrella from a neighbor every time it rains,” Hon. Won Yoo-Cheol of the ruling Saenuri Party said at the February 15 National Assembly meeting. “We need to have a raincoat and wear it ourselves," Parliamentarian Won said, as quoted by the Yonhap news agency.
Hon. Chung Ui-hwa, speaker of the National Assembly of Korea, thanked fellow lawmakers for their support. He said this kind of careless behavior from North Korea could be addressed effectively by demonstrating a united will and collaboration of parliamentarians from all over the world.
Earlier, Parliamentarian Hon. Kim Eui-dong also called for the UN to establish a fifth office in Korea. She said the UPF program was a “very significant event” that could help bring about a unified Korean nation that has been divided for 70 years.
In a video message sent from the United States, Congressman Ed Royce of California said he had submitted a bill in Washington calling for more and stronger sanctions against North Korea. Other speakers included members of parliament from Liberia, Jordan the Czech Republic and Malaysia.
Rounding out the list of MPs from abroad who spoke on the occasion was Hon. Ek Nath Dhakal, the minister of Peace and Reconstruction for the Government of Nepal. He said Nepal recently promulgated a new, democratic and inclusive constitution and was now poised to move into a new era of socioeconomic transformation. Then, deviating from his prepared speech, he said his government also would support the establishment in Korea of a fifth UN office and offered the audience the best wishes from Nepal’s Prime Minister K.P. Oli.
Despite repeated international warnings and sanctions, on February 7 North Korea launched an earth observation satellite which was seen internationally as an illegal cover to test missile technology. On February 15, the North Korean government promised more to come. Last month Pyongyang detonated its fourth nuclear test.
In the South, ruling party officials called for their government to develop its own nuclear deterrent to address the growing nuclear threat from the North.
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