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UN Passes Resolution Supporting Inter-Korean Summit
Document A/62/L4 entitled 'Peace, security and reunification on the Korean peninsula'
Ronda Hauben (netizen2)     Print Article 
Published 2007-11-01 14:56 (KST)   
Ban Ki-moon addressing the General Assembly, Oct. 31.
©2007 R. Hauben
Just a little over a year ago I began covering the United Nations as a featured writer for OhmyNews International. My first day was when Ban Ki-moon's nomination for Secretary General of the UN was approved by the General Assembly. For South Korea this was an exciting event.

The next day, however, the Security Council imposed sanctions against North Korea. (1) The dilemma of a Korea divided North and South was a glaring contradiction facing the international community with the appointment of a Secretary General from the Korean peninsula. Similarly, however, this was a challenge to the international community to support unification on the Korean peninsula.

A little more than one year later, the General Assembly held an event to provide needed support for Korean reunification. In the General Assembly on Wednesday, Oct. 31, the international community approved a resolution supporting the motion toward reunification of the two Koreas and applauding the 2nd Inter-Korean Summit held October 2-4 2007 and the joint Declaration issued by the presidents of the two Koreas.(2)

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The event was held during the afternoon session of the UN's General Assembly. The UN delegate from North Korea, Pak Gil Yon introduced the resolution, saying "Mr. President, I have the honor to introduce a draft resolution contained in document A/62/L4 entitled 'Peace, security and reunification on the Korean peninsula."

He described the Oct. 2-4 summit and the declaration that resulted, explaining that the UN resolution being proposed "welcomes and supports the inter-Korean summit including the Declaration and encourages the both sides to implement it faithfully and in good faith, inviting member States to support and assist the current positive process."

The UN delegate from South Korea, Kim Hyun Chong was the next speaker. As joint sponsor of the resolution with the delegate from North Korea, Kim described several aspects of the peace accord that the two parties agreed to in their declaration ending the Inter-Korean Summit. "Through its various provisions," he explained, "the Declaration points the way forward for common prosperity, eventual peaceful reunification on the Korean peninsula, and the resolution of longstanding regional concerns."

Among those speaking in support of the resolution were Portugal on behalf of the European Union, China, Vietnam, Japan, the U.S., New Zealand, Yemen, Germany, Indonesia, Thailand, Canada, Guatemala, Belarus, Russia, Chile, Poland, Mongolia, Mynmar, Benin, Brazil, Italy, Bangladesh, Egypt, and Cuba.

Yemen and Germany spoke about the difficulties they had experienced as divided nations, and offered whatever support they could provide to the Korean reunification efforts. The German ambassador said that "what we have learned from our own experience is: the separation of a nation is not irreversible. The two Koreas will have to find their own way of tackling these issues, but Germany stands ready, upon request, to share its own experience from the years of German-German relations."

The ambassador of Yemen said that they had had a long history of division, which was changed with the unification in May 1990. He explained that the unification was difficult and not without defects. He understood the suffering of the divided families and duplication of resources that the division represented and said that his country would do what it could to support the efforts of the two Koreas to implement fully the declaration they had issued.

The ambassador from Vietnam noted that the Summit and the resulting Declaration were of "great historic significance." He said that Vietnam "welcomes and highly appreciates the encouraging outcomes of these developments." He noted that the events of Oct. 2-4 represented an important milestone in the process of the improvement and development of relations between the two Koreans which would bring them "closer to their long-held dreams of national reunification and prosperity." The ambassador from Vietnam noted that his country had good relations with the two Koreas.

The ambassador from Thailand also noted the historic nature of the recent Summit and concluded that "this historic resolution has called for many countries to readjust the attitude and the policy toward the situation in the Korean peninsula."

Indonesia's UN ambassador similarly noted that his country has had close ties with both North and South Korea. He, too, saw the Summit of October 2007 as a "major milestone in inter-Korean relations." He called for support from member nations to the process of "inter-Korean dialogue, reconciliation and reunification."

The UN ambassador from Portugal said that the EU stands ready to contribute to the efforts.

Several nations spoke about having been part of KEDO, the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization in 1996 and wanting to continue to help in the ways they could. The ambassador from Italy said that his country had worked to support Inter-Korean dialogue. Also Italy was offering to provide the help it could, and had established a way to provide aid to North Korea shortly before the Summit. Italy had been a supporter of KEDO, as had Chile.

Benin's UN ambassador explained that his country, too, had friendly relations with the two sister republics on the Korean Peninsula. He described how Benin had been working to promote peaceful reunification of the Koreas for a number of decades. He endorsed the current developments and said that reunification would "put an end to one of the most painful relics of the Second World War."

Brazil expressed his support for the resolution and reminded those in the General Assembly that Brazil had been a co-sponsor for the General Assembly Resolution 55/11 seven years earlier supporting the first Inter-Korean Summit of June 15, 2000.

The U.S. ambassador to the UN said that the U.S. was pleased with the draft resolution being discussed by the General Assembly. He stressed that dialogue between the two Koreas was essential for better relations. He explained that this dialogue process was supportive to and complementary to the six-party talks going on.

The Japanese ambassador also expressed his nation's strong support for the draft resolution. In his talk he referred to some of the specifics of the six-party talks.

The ambassador to the UN from Chile expressed his sentiments that Korea had one past and one destiny. The declaration from the Inter-Korean Summit was the outcome of a difficult and sensitive process. He explained that no state should fail to join the noble effort to support the Korean people's desire to become one nation.

The ambassador from Cuba to the UN was the final speaker in the discussion before action was to be taken on the resolution. He explained that "Cuba has always supported and will continue to support the peaceful reunification of the Korean peninsula." Also he explained that the Summit Conference of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) held last year in Havana stressed the importance of peace on the Korean peninsula. Similarly the NAM Summit "expressed its support toward efforts to reunify the Korean peninsula through the genuine aspirations and concerted efforts of the Korean peoples themselves."

The resolution was approved by acclamation. Ban Ki-moon was present in the General Assembly during the discussion of the resolution. After it was approved, he made a statement congratulating the representatives of the two Koreas.

"Today's date," he explained, "coincides exactly with the date seven years ago when the General Assembly adopted resolution 55/11, following the June 2000 summit of the DPRK and the ROK. I welcome this coincidence. In my homeland of Korea, it is an ancient custom to choose an auspicious day for any celebration or new endeavor."

"Today," he continued, "I feel a personal obligation to do all I can to encourage and facilitate the continuing work for peace, security and reunification on the Korean peninsula. I am convinced that the historic inter-Korean summit will pave the way for a permanent peace regime and eventual reunification."

"As Secretary-General, I stand ready to provide every assistance required, in close cooperation with the international community," he said, concluding his statement.

During the press encounter he had outside of the General Assembly, Ban was asked, "[Y]ou just said that you would like to do everything to support peace on the Korean peninsula. Do you have any special plan in mind, as head of the United Nations, and if so, can you please give me the details?"

In response, Ban said, "At this time I do not have any detailed or specific plans, but in principle, as Secretary-General, I have a broad mandate and duty to assist any parties to the problems for smooth and harmonious resolution. For that matter, since I served as Foreign Minister of the Republic of Korea in the past, and I have expertise and knowledge and experience, whenever I am needed, I will do whatever I can."

The UN resolution supporting the movement toward reunification of the two Koreas, passed on the last day of October 2007 by the General Assembly, may not seem particularly significant, but it is actually an important event. It reflects the support of the international community for the peaceful reunification of the Korean peninsula, which is one of the important outstanding problems of our times. As the ambassador from Benin profoundly noted, the reunification of the two Koreas would "put an end to one of the most painful relics of the Second World War."

The UN was created to facilitate such events. Passing this resolution supporting the recent Inter-Korean Summit is a fitting way for the UN to mark the one year anniversary since the General Assembly appointed a new Secretary General. The challenge is now for the people of the two Koreas, the Secretary General and the member nations to do what is needed to support the continuing motion toward peaceful reconciliation and Korean reunification.
1)Ronda Hauben, "The Problem Facing the U.N. Can Ban Ki-moon help solve the problem with the Security Council?", OhmyNews International, October 17, 2006.

2) The Resolution reads:
United Nations A/62/L.4
General Assembly

Sixty-second session
Agenda item 167
Peace, security and reunification on the Korean peninsula
Democratic People's Republic of Korea and Republic of Korea:
draft resolution

Peace, security and reunification on the Korean peninsula

The General Assembly, Recalling its resolution 55/11 of 31 October 2000, in which it welcomed and supported the inter-Korean summit and the joint declaration adopted on 15 June 2000 by the two leaders of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and the Republic of Korea,

Reaffirming the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations regarding the maintenance of international peace and security,

Convinced that inter-Korean dialogue and cooperation are essential for consolidating peace and security on the Korean peninsula and also contribute to peace and stability in the region and beyond, in conformity with the purposes and principles of the Charter,

Recognizing that the summit meeting held in Pyongyang from 2 to 4 October 2007 between the two leaders of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and the Republic of Korea and their Declaration on the Advancement of North-South Korean Relations, Peace and Prosperity represent a major milestone in improving inter-Korean relations and in advancing peace and common prosperity on the Korean peninsula and in the wider region as well,

Recalling the statements welcoming the inter-Korean summit made on 1 October 2007 by the Secretary-General and the President of the General Assembly, and recalling also the statement welcoming the adoption of the Declaration made on 4 October 2007 by the Secretary-General,

1. Welcomes and supports the inter-Korean summit held from 2 to 4 October 2007 and the Declaration on the Advancement of North-South Korean Relations, Peace and Prosperity adopted on 4 October 2007 by the two leaders of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and the Republic of Korea;
2 07-55752

2. Encourages the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and the Republic of Korea to implement the Declaration fully and in good faith, thereby consolidating peace on the Korean peninsula and laying a solid foundation for peaceful reunification;

3. Invites Member States to continue to support and assist, as appropriate, the process of inter-Korean dialogue, reconciliation and reunification so that it may contribute to peace and security not only on the Korean peninsula but also in northeast Asia and the world as a whole.

3) Ban's statement .
©2007 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Ronda Hauben

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