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Citizens of the World Call for a UN-led Korean Peace Settlement Conference

In Asia, Conflict Resolution, The Search for Peace, United Nations on March 13, 2013 at 8:35 PM

CITIZENS OF THE WORLD CALL FOR A UN-LED KOREAN PEACE SETTLEMENT CONFERENCE

By René Wadlow

Tensions on the Korean Peninsula have recently increased, highlighted by the nuclear weapon test of North Korea and the subsequent reactions. In a message to the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Prof. René Wadlow, President of the Association of World Citizens (AWC), stressed that a crisis also can be an opportunity for strong initiatives and action and that the UN with historic responsibilities for Korea should take the lead.

The 1950-1953 Korean War was undertaken by UN Security Council Resolutions 82, 83, and 84. Subsequently, 21 UN Member States (16 combatants and 5 humanitarian) joined to support the UN Command.

The July 27, 1953 Armistice was signed by the UN Command Delegation and by Delegations of the Korean People’s Army and the Chinese People’s Volunteer Army.

The 1950-1953 Korean War set the stage for later Cold War tensions in Asia, tensions which have prevented an Asia-wide organization of security and cooperation as was possible in Europe with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

"The Americans drew the 38th parallel across the peninsula to prevent the Soviet army from invading towards South, and the barrier continues until today."(C) Mount Holyoke College

“The Americans drew the 38th parallel across the peninsula to prevent the Soviet army from invading towards South, and the barrier continues until today.”
(C) Mount Holyoke College

Today, with the entry of the two Korean States to the UN in 1991, all the States involved in the Korean War are members of the UN.

Partial measures of cooperation between the two Korean States, the 6-Party talks on nuclear issues and a number of Track II diplomatic efforts have shown the possibilities but also the limits of partial measures.

With conditions of insecurity growing and also threatening Korea’s neighbors, the Korean situation is a “matter which may threaten international peace and security.” Therefore, the Citizens of the World call for a UN-led Korean Peace Settlement Conference to be organized during 2013 — the 60th anniversary of the 1953 Armistice.

The UN which once went to war over Korea is now headed by a national of South Korea, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Hopefully, his own experience of the suffering of the Korean people stuck in a never-ending Cold War will help to prevent the longtime standoff from turning into all-out war.

The UN which once went to war over Korea is now headed by a South Korean, Ban Ki-moon, who has been the World organization’s Secretary-General since 2007. Could this be a positive sign for the prompt conclusion of a UN-brokered peace settlement?

Such a UN-sponsored Korean Peace Settlement Conference can build upon past partial measures and especially meet the new challenges of security and cooperation in Asia. The Association of World Citizens also stresses that such a Peace Settlement Conference is of concern not only of Governments but is one in which the voices of civil society are legitimate and should be heard.

Prof. René Wadlow is President of the Association of World Citizens.

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