Restoration of Peace and Unification of Korean Peninsula is inevitable

(Photo : Nasir Aijaz)

(Photo : Nasir Aijaz)

Standing at the observatory atop a hill in demilitarized zone (DMZ) between South and North Korea, I gazed towards northern part of Korean peninsula, covered with thick mist making it invisible. I recalled the reports of recent nuclear tests by the North Korean regime that proves the old saying that ‘man, not weapons, makes the war’. And, I thought, “The mist has enveloped not only the beautiful landscape but also the hearts and minds of rulers of North Korea and certain other ‘forces’ hindering the process of peace and unification of a divided country,”
I was among the 80 delegates from over 50 countries representing the world media, visiting the DMZ during the ‘Journalists Forum for World Peace 2016 (JFWP 2016)’ organized by Journalists Association of Korea (JAK).

Journalists from all around the world witnessed the artificial borders of a divided nation, and unanimously passed a resolution reaffirming the importance of world peace and denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Korea remains the world’s only divided country since the truce after the Korean War in 1953. Despite ceasefire, a tense situation has prevailed over the Korean Peninsula for over six decades.

After summit talks in 2000 and 2007 and various dialogue channels, the South and North Koreas did agree to pursue peaceful co-existence and shared prosperity. This raised the hopes of reconciliation and easing the tension between them besides reunion of divided families. North Korea gravely undermined the hopes for peaceful reunification of the Korean Peninsula by continuing its nuclear program. The recent nuclear test, fourth in its series, is not only a threat to world peace but a threat to the détente that had developed after untiring diplomatic efforts at the global level.

The world media representatives, hailing from different nations, gender, religions and ideologies made a pledge on the occasion of JFWP 2016: to create a free and peaceful community and fulfill their responsibility as journalists to bring out the truth.

While returning from DMZ, I hoped the resolution passed by the journalists would prove to be a strong message to the world for accelerating the efforts aimed at restoring peace and paving the way for unification of divided Korean nation.

(Photo : Nasir Aijaz)

(Photo : Nasir Aijaz)

I had first visited DMZ in 2008 on the invitation of Asia Journalists Association (AJA). Many of us were several signatories of the ‘Peace Declaration’ passed at the stairs of observatory atop the PAJU hill. Almost eight years have passed but the situation remains unchanged. During my earlier two visits to South Korea in 2007 and 2008, I had observed an intense desire of the people for peace and unification. I was highly impressed when I saw the 50 meter long ‘Wall of Hope’ and a 6x10ft piece of ‘Berlin Wall’ erected near Chunggye Stream in Seoul. There was a hope that the day will come when the artificial borders dividing one country, one nation and their families, will be abolished forever, like the Berlin Wall. The piece of Berlin Wall was brought from Germany after it was demolished in 1989 for unification of East and West Germany.

In my third journey to South Korea organized by JAK, I had the great opportunity to visit different historical places, royal palaces and tourist spots besides interacting with a large number of people from cross sections of South Korean society. This included dignitaries like Mr. Kim Kwan-yong, Governor and Mr. Kim Hyun-ki, Vice Governor of Gyeongsangbuk-do province, Mr. Nam Kyung-pil, Governor of Gyeonggi province, Mr. Yeom Tae-Young, Mayor of Suwan, Mr. Kweon Young-Sae, Mayor of Andong, Mr. Suh Byung – Soo, Mayor of Busan, Mr. Park Won Soon, Mayor of Seoul, and Deputy Mayor of Daegu, officials of tourism department and others. The conference on the very first day of ‘Journalists Forum for World Peace 2016’ also provided an opportunity to listen to the views of Mr. Lim Sungnam, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs and Mr. Jung Kyu Sung, President of JAK. Mr. Lim Sungnam spoke in detail on efforts for peace and unification of Korean Peninsula and described it a ‘history of breakthroughs and breakdowns’.

All the delegates of JFWP 2016 had feelings of admiration for South Korean people and their leadership relentlessly striving for peace, unification and a shared prosperity with their North Korean brethren. This was manifest in the heartfelt words of Mr. Park Won Soon, Mayor of Seoul, while addressing a farewell dinner. He said: “Seoul will play its part in opening up a peaceful future. Seoul and Pyongyang are only 240 kilometers apart from each other. We will pursue city diplomacy with Pyongyang and build mutual trust and respect. We will strive for exchanges with Pyongyang in areas such as culture, arts and sports. This will pave the way for broader and more practical exchanges with Pyongyang, including transportation, environment, energy, city planning, city-regeneration and so on.”

(Photo : Nasir Aijaz)

(Photo : Nasir Aijaz)

The Pen’s role in defending peace
He had high hopes for the ‘Declaration of World Journalists for Global Peace and Denuclearization of Korean Peninsula’ adopted at JFWP 2016 and said, “It’s true that the pen is mightier than the sword in defending peace. I am sure that journalists can play a crucial role in the denuclearization and reunification of the Korean Peninsula. If you can go out into the world and write about easing tensions and restoring peace, we can open up a new peaceful chapter in the history of the world together.”

Listening to the address of the Seoul Mayor, I sincerely wished restoration of peace and reunification of divided nation. I also recalled the words of my Pakistani friend, Yossouf Shaheen, a renowned poet, historian and author of several books and author of a book ‘Artificial Borders of the World’, which also mentions the Korean Peninsula. In a meeting few years ago, he had predicted that ‘one day, two Koreas will become one’. Adding, “The reunification of North and South Korea is inevitable…Korea is one nation and a big crime has been committed by killing hundreds of thousands of innocent people and dividing a nation.”

“I had always supported reunification of Korea and wrote on it in my books like I supported reunification of Vietnam,” Shaheen had concluded.

I visualized the peace-loving people of the world exerting pressure for reunification of Korea as depicted in a symbol placed at the venue of 3rd Tunnel in DMZ, where Korean people are pushing two parts of their country for reunification.

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