“Stop all wars!” A message of peace that will resonate throughout the international community rang out from Jeju.
The 17th Jeju Forum for Peace and Prosperity (hereinafter Jeju Forum), which is jointly organized by Jeju Special Self-governing Province and the International Peace Foundation and jointly hosted by the East Asia Foundation (EAF) and the Jeju Peace Institute (JPI), took place at International Convention Center Jeju on the 15th of last month.
This year’s Jeju Forum is taking place under the overarching theme of “Beyond Conflict, Towards Peace: Coexistence and Cooperation” from the 14th to the 16th, with around 30 organizations from Korea and overseas participating in more than 60 sessions.
At the opening ceremony on the day, Jeju Governor Oh Young-hoon delivered opening remarks in which he commented, “COVID-19 swept across the entire world, taking many more lives than most wars, regardless of nationality, religion, and race,” and added, “The lesson taught to humanity by this virus is that we must ‘abandon greed and seek to survive together.’ It is our goal and responsibility to recognize the wonders of nature and its self-healing ecosystems and restore a new global collective to secure humanity’s right to survive while also respecting nature.”
Furthermore, he stated, “This year’s Jeju Forum will become the starting point for opening a new future of restoring a global eco-collective,” and added, “We have to share the seriousness of this crisis that threatens peace on earth and the international order, while jointly exploring ways to create a community of humanity that aims towards peace and prosperity.”
Attending the opening ceremony by video call, President Jose Ramos Horta of East Timor stated in a keynote speech, “East Timor is overcoming conflict and recovering from the wounds of past wars. The best way to pay commemorate the victims of the past is to build a better country by creating a safe and peaceful society,” and added, “This year, East Timor and Korea marks the 20th anniversary of our diplomatic relations, through which the two countries have proactively maintained friendly relations. We hope that Korea will continue to stand by East Timor’s side.”
He asserted, “The war between Russia and Ukraine has yet to end, while conflicts continue to abound in the Strait of Taiwan, the Middle East, and the South China Sea,” and stressed, “Through the Jeju Forum, we will shout together to ‘stop all wars.’ This message of peace that originates from Jeju must echo throughout the world.”
He then added, “The Jeju Forum must allow countries to form a solidarity and unite to devote themselves to lasting peace. I believe that the light of peace will shine ever so brightly amid the beauty of Jeju, and that light will guide world leaders to a path of peace.”
Former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also delivered a keynote speech and remarked, “In addition to peace and security issues such as Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, the U.S.-China tensions, and North Korea’s nuclear threat, the proliferation of COVID-19 is continuing to threaten humanity. Since global crises are becoming interconnected, we need global solutions,” and added, “The climate crisis and infectious diseases are like two sides of the same coin. We have no second earth to turn to. In order to overcome the multifaceted crises of our times, we need a future-oriented attitude while cooperating to observe an inclusive form of multilateralism.
ⓒ Jeju Weekly 2009 (http://www.jejuweekly.net)
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