Thu06212018

LAST_UPDATEThu, 21 Jun 2018 12pm

Column: Malaysia A Partner On The Korean Road To Peace

KUALA LUMPUR – The eyes of the world, which were on the Korean Peninsula with the splendid opening of the PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games in February 2018, are now shiftingfocus to Panmunjom with the Inter-Korean Summit set to be held tomorrow, April 27.

It will mark the first inter-Korean summit in eleven years. The whole world is closely watching the developments on the Korean Peninsula. The world wants to see whether the upcoming summit will indeed pave the way for improvements in inter-Korean relations, the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and establishment of solid peace on the Korean Peninsula.

Malaysia is no exception. Major Malaysian media including Bernama are covering Korean Peninsula-related news on an almost daily basis.

Moreover, anyone that I meet, not only in the political and academic fields but including the general public, the query will be on the preparations for the summit and the prospects for the outcomes from the summit.

On the Korean Peninsula, South-North division and confrontation have lasted for more than 70 years. So the journey to the firm peace settlement will be long and arduous. Yet, just as encapsulated in the famous proverb “If you want to go fast, go alone.

If you want to go far, go with a friend,” it would be excellent if we can embark on a journey to the firm establishment of peace on the Korean Peninsula together with Malaysia. Indeed, Malaysia experienced ideological conflicts following independence as Korea did, and as a multiracial country which has religious diversity, Malaysia knows the value of peace more than any other country.

President Moon Jae-in knows very well the importance of ASEAN’s support and encouragement on the road to establishing firm peace on the Korean Peninsula.

Indeed, that is why he included ‘Peace’ along with ‘People’ and ‘Prosperity’ as one of the three main pillars of the New Southern Policy, a new policy launched to upgrade ties with ASEAN.

The New Southern Policy is a demonstration of the Korean Government’s firm stand in laying the groundwork gradually along with the international community for the denuclearization and bringing solid peace on the Korean Peninsula while talking with North Korea.

Fortunately for me, the Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Malaysia, the Malaysian Government understands the Korean government’s position very well. Indeed, soon after the agreement to hold the Inter-Korean summit was announced, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Malaysia released an official statement welcoming the Inter-Korean Summit and U.S.-North Korean Summit.

As one of ASEAN’s five founding members and a country that plays an active part in various international peace movements including the Global Movement of Moderates, Malaysia’s support is very meaningful. We are delighted to note that Malaysia is willing to be our reliable partner on our road to peace.

Looking back, it was only a few months ago that the tensions on the Korean Peninsula increased with North Korea conducting nuclear and missile tests. However, in spite of these heightened tensions, the Korean government strived to turn and bring the situation into a full-fledged dialogue while maintaining iron will to denuclearize and realize peace on the Korean Peninsula.

In particular, through the exchange of special envoys on the occasion of the PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games, the two Koreas agreed to hold the inter-Korean Summit and the US-North Korea Summit and laid out a historical foundation for resolving the North Korean nuclear issue and establishing peace on the Korean peninsula.

Certainly, there will be many critical moments ahead on the path to achieving the goal of denuclearization and the firm establishment of peace on Korean Peninsula. And it is true that there are those who have voiced concerns based on the past experiences.

However, Korea will maintain its cool-headed and prudent attitude to fully embrace this hard-earned opportunity, and concentrate all our efforts to successfully hold the inter-Korean Summit and US-North Korea Summit.

Taking this opportunity, we will take the first important step towards substantive progress in the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, the establishment of lasting peace, and the improvement of inter-Korean relations.

I strongly believe that ASEAN countries, including Malaysia will gladly be trusted partners of this journey to peace on the Korean Peninsula.

-- BERNAMA

This article is written by the Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Malaysia, his excellency the honourable Toh Kyung Hwan.