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[UN일반] 2차관, '평화구축과 분쟁예방에 관한 아시아 컨퍼런스' 개회사
Opening Remarks by H.E. Mr. Cho Hyun
Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs
Republic of Korea
The Asian Conference on Peacebuilding and Conflict Prevention
Seoul, 6 November 2017
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
On behalf of the Korean government, I would like to welcome each and every one of you to this conference. My particular welcome goes to those who have come from abroad. I see some Korean students as well, and I particularly welcome them because your participation represents strong support for and keen interest in the United Nations of the Korean community. I also thank the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation and the United Nations Peacebuilding Support Office for co-hosting this event.
The topic of this conference is sustaining peace. I must confess that it was very difficult to understand the concept. I googled it, and I looked into even Wikipedia but the definition was in neither place. Nevertheless, I believe it was a well-chosen topic, and a very relevant one given the fact that conflicts nowadays, both internal and international, are becoming very complicated, complex, and protracted. That’s why we need a holistic approach towards these conflicts. How to prevent these conflicts, how to cure the wounds of them, and how to restore the economy after the conflicts are all intertwined with each other, and we need to return to the three pillars of the United Nations, that is of course, peace and security, human rights, and development.
Well because of this need for developing the concept of sustaining peace, there has been some progress in recent years. The Security Council and the General Assembly adopted resolutions on it last year. And the new Secretary-General Mr. Guterres is placing great emphasis on mainstreaming this concept into the UN Peacebuilding Architecture.
Against this backdrop, I would like to have my own reflections on it.
Three points, first, sustaining peace is another significant step towards a global village that is peaceful and prosperous.
As you are well aware, the UN has been striving to advance multilateralism by restricting sovereignty of member states. Some criticize it as encroachment of sovereignty, while some others argue that we need it because it is a voluntary concession of sovereignty. Anyway, the UN has achieved remarkable results particularly since the end of the Cold War in introducing new concepts. That is, the MDGs in 2000, R2P in 2005, and finally, the SDGs in 2015.
All of these concepts, however, were regarded as somewhat experimental at the beginning. Member states were cautious, if not skeptical, at the early stages of new concepts. The international community, however, eventually embraced the MDGs, the SDGs, and R2P because they are crucial for peace and prosperity of the world.
Likewise, although the concept of sustaining peace might be rather unfamiliar for the time being, I am confident that it will prove to become a significant element in building a peaceful and prosperous world. I hope that this Conference today will contribute to this end.
Second, the discussion on sustaining peace has particular relevance in Asia, because unfortunately, peace in Asia has been fragile, and even elusive in some parts of the region.
Remnants of the Cold War still linger in the region and geopolitical tensions, as well as historical disputes, are posing a challenge to regional stability. For instance, former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon rightly described Northeast Asia as a crucial missing link in the UN system, due to its lack of regional cooperation mechanisms.
In this sense, sustaining peace, which seeks to take a holistic approach to tackling conflicts, is deeply relevant to Asia. As Chair of the UN Peacebuilding Commission, the Republic of Korea is pleased to note that many projects of the Peacebuilding Commission and the Peacebuilding Fund are being carried out successfully in countries like Kyrgyzstan and Sri Lanka.
But more importantly, I will be remiss if I didn’t recognize Ambassador Cho Tae-yul, who is sitting in the front row. He is the Korean Ambassador to the United Nations and currently Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission. We joined the Foreign Ministry in the same class and he has been excellent, excelling me for almost the past 40 years. He was in my job some years ago. So the contribution that he has been making as Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission, I believe, will be far greater than the budgetary contribution of my country.
Last but not least, I feel that my remarks would not be complete without touching upon the issue of North Korean nuclear threat.
For us, the North Korean nuclear threat is the most imminent and serious challenge, and we are continuing concerted efforts with the international community and the United Nations for the denuclearization of North Korea. I would like to underline, however, that denuclearization at the expense of peace is meaningless and, in the same vein, accepting North Korea as a nuclear weapon state is not an option because peace in such a state cannot be genuine.
This is why the Korean Government, together with the international community, is pursuing a “peaceful pressure campaign” on North Korea. For instance, the Security Council resolutions should be fully implemented to pull North Korea to a meaningful dialogue table. I am confident that these efforts will eventually bring about a meaningful dialogue for denuclearization of North Korea.
This position of the Korean government was well-explained by President Moon Jae-in himself. In his speech to the General Assembly this year, President Moon Jae-in stressed that the Korean government does not seek the collapse of North Korea nor unification by absorption or artificial means. Rather he said, I quote, “what we seek is permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula and denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in a peaceful manner,” unquote. This is exactly the sustaining peace on the Korean Peninsula.
Therefore, I look forward to your valuable contributions based on your experience and insights. And I look forward to a successful conference today.
Before I close my remarks, although it was announced that my Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha is not available today, let me pass on her best regards to you. She personally asked it to me because having worked for the United Nations for more than 10 years, she has strong attachment to the United Nations. Whenever somebody from the UN comes to Seoul, she is the one to receive, and yet because of the schedule with the National Assembly, she was not able to come and join you today.
Again, I wish you all the best for this conference. Thank you very much. /END/
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