1. On March 28, chiefs of Korea’s overseas diplomatic missions had vibrant discussions on how to shift the course of North Korea diplomatically and to achieve complete denuclearization of North Korea and sustainable peace on the Korean Peninsula, amid the rapidly changing international environment. It was chaired by Special Representative for Korean Peninsula Peace and Security Affairs Kim Gunn.
o The discussion consisted of two sessions: Session 1 on international cooperation in dealing with North Korea based on the Audacious Initiative and session 2 on pursuing diplomacy on North Korean human rights and on a unification vision.
2. In his opening remarks, Special Representative Kim Gunn explained that North Korea, despite its severe economic difficulties and food shortage, continues an unprecedented level of provocations that escalate tensions in the region. He requested that the overseas missions step up their diplomatic efforts to create a strategic environment that leaves North Korea no choice but to return to denuclearization negotiations and to improve the human rights situation of its own people.
3. The mission chiefs shared their experiences and insights that they thought would be valuable in further implementing the Audacious Initiative at the diplomatic forefront. They also exchanged their views on policy directions for the diplomatic missions to take in order to induce North Korea onto the path of peace and prosperity.
o In the first session, the mission chiefs reiterated Korea’s holistic approach of deterring North Korea’s nuclear threats, dissuading Pyongyang from nuclear development, and pursuing dialogue and diplomacy. They committed to working with their host governments and the international community to reaffirm the shared goal of denuclearizing North Korea and to strengthen efforts to fully implement sanctions on North Korea, including cutting off its illicit revenue streams abroad.
o In the second session, the mission chiefs shared their views on the importance of bringing the human rights situation in North Korea to light and strengthening international cooperation on this issue. They pledged to work on diplomacy for achieving the unification vision in order to enlarge the international support base for peaceful unification of the Korean Peninsula. Ambassador for International Cooperation on North Korean Human Rights Lee Shinhwa explained international cooperation activities that she has carried out to promote North Korean human rights since her appointment in July last year.
4. The discussion on the Korean Peninsula by the mission heads, which was held for the first time in four years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, served as a valuable opportunity to enhance understanding of the mission chiefs regarding policies on North Korea’s denuclearization under the Audacious Initiative as well as diplomacy on North Korean human rights and on the unification vision that goes in line with Korea’s new role as a Global Pivotal State (GPS). Their opinions will likely be reflected in the Korean government’s policy making process.
o The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will continue to make every effort to realize sustainable peace on the Korean Peninsula by further developing various ideas explored in the discussion.