President Moon Jae-in of South Korea has spoken before the General Assembly of the United Nations in an impassioned call for peace.
He began by stating that his country has only recently come to embrace democracy, but that it has done so peacefully.
The South Korean President made multiple references to the so-called “Candlelight Revolution” which transpired between 2016 and early 2017. The peaceful demonstrations against the corrupt and militant leadership of Park Geun-hye, helped bring about the impeachment of the former President which paved the way for Moon’s election victory in May of this year.
When Moon previously ran for President in 2012, the South Korean intelligence services illegally meddled the election effectively rigging it in favour of Park. Several investigations into this are ongoing.
Moon went onto quote his political philosophy, restating his slogan that “people come first”. He then turned to the painful legacy of the Korean war which raged between 1950 and 1953 and told of how his father was separated from the rest of his family due to the conflict.
He then stated,
“Though the Cold War has ended…the war remains ongoing in the form of an uneasy ceasefire on the peninsula, the last residual Cold War conflict in East Asia”.
Turning to North Korea, Moon said that “peace is calling”. He urged North Korea to choose peace of its own volition and to give up its nuclear weapons on a voluntary basis.
He further stated that Seoul “does not desire the collapse of North Korea”, nor does his country seek to re-unify the peninsula though the use of force or intimidation. Moon further said that his country is ready to assist North Korea.
In fact, earlier today it was confirmed that South Korea has pledged $8 million in aid to Pyongyang.
Moon Jae-in then turned to the prospect of an East Asian economic and cooperative union in order to foster peace, prosperity and trust in the region.
Such a initiative was recently proposed by Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok which was attended by President Moon as well as a delegation from North Korea.
In a further rebuff to Trump’s threat to “destroy” North Korea while mocking its leader by referencing the Elton John song “Rocket Man”, Moon not only appeared to endorse Vladimir Putin’s proposals for peace in East Asia, but proceeded to quote Ronald Reagan on the subject of peace. Reagan is considered something of a standard-bearer of Donald Trump’s Republican party and by quoting Reagan on the matter of peace, Moon’s statement served to be a subtle but unambitious rejection of Trump’s militarism.
The quote from former US President Reagan reads as follows,
“Peace is not absence of conflict, it is the ability to handle conflict by peaceful means”.
This comes as Donald Trump threatened further sanctions on North Korea, just before the South Korean President approached the podium of the General Assembly.
Moon concluded his speech by praising the Olympics, which South Korea is set to host next year, as an opportunity to promote greater peace and understanding between nations and cultures. He cordially invited people from all nations to his country to celebrate the Olympic games.