FORMER PRESIDENT Anthony Carmona joined a number of high-profile former and current political and religious leaders to call for an end to the inactive war on the Korean peninsula, and reunification between the two nations.
The message, transmitted from Korea and streamed worldwide, was heard by millions on Saturday night.
Carmona spoke in a prerecorded address, following keynote speakers including ex-President of Japan Shinzo Abe and even the polarising figure of former US president Donald Trump.
Carmona, a member of the Universal Peace Federation (UPF), which hosted the Think Tank 2022 Rally of Hope event, applauded the initiative and described it as “visionary and transformational,” in uniting the two nations, which have been at conflict since the start of the Korean War in 1950.
“The Think Tank,” Carmona said, “is independent, solution-oriented and very inclusive, and is not an incursion from outside or any attempt to manipulate the politics within.
“In the context of the conversations on reunification, reconciliation, denuclearisation, and the peace process, we cannot be indifferent to human and the economic crises in North Korea.”
He said there is a view among international observers of a “need to link the denuclearisation negotiations on humanitarian grounds.
“Collaborative goodwill is the engine of any successful peace process.
“I need to reiterate the importance and effect of the concept of the Kaesong Industrial Complex (located inside North Korea), a joint inter-Korean project, closed in 2016 as a conduit of the peace economy,” he said.
Peace economics refers to conflict economics which focuses on societies’ institutions with the goal of preventing, or resolving violent conflict within and between the societies.
“The reunification and pacification of the Korean Peninsula have the capacity of realising and achieving goal number 16 of the UN's 17 sustainable goals; peace, justice and strong institutions for North and South Korea.
He called on the media to share the reality of the issue.
“Effective dissemination of information can ensure our young people globally are made aware and sensitised of the complexities of the Korean Peninsula so they, too, can become empowering advocates of peace and be seated at the table of the reconciliation, reunification and peace for a united Korea,” Carmona said.
“I am inspired by Rev Dr Moon’s youth initiative and visionary rapprochement some 30 years ago when he organised a youth ballet contingent, the Little Angels Dance Troupe, to perform in North Korea with a view to utilising the force of youth culture to bring the family of a united Korea together, North and South.
“We in the UPF must continue to be relentless in our mission to culture peace by becoming gatekeepers and sentinels of peace, globally.”
The UPF was founded by Sun Myung Moon and Ja Han Moon and was designed to mobilise global support for an end to the inactive war on the Korean peninsula, among other issues. Sun Myung Moon is a former prominent South Korean businessman and founder of the Unification Church, whose members are sometimes referred to as Moonies.
Ja Han Moon, 78, remains involved in the Unification Movement.
The organisation describes its members as ambassadors for peace. It was established in 2001, and now includes some 100,000 “ambassadors” from around 160 countries, transcending religious and cultural backgrounds.
At the event, Trump was credited by a presenter for his efforts to denuclearise North Korea during his presidency and for engaging in an unprecedented three meetings with North Korea leader Kim Jong Un.
The controversial figure gave a prerecorded feature address, during which he lauded his own perceived achievements. He came just short of acknowledging his use of aggressive rhetoric in response to the North Korean leader, now immortalised in the phrase “fire and fury.”
“As you all know, the UShas a pivotal role to play in forging lasting peace in Korea,” Trump said.
“One of my proudest accomplishments as president was to help create a new path toward a brighter future for all Koreans, North and South, a path by which the divisions and hardships of the past might one day be healed and really healed to a level nobody thought might be possible before.”
Abe, whose term, like Trump's, ended in 2020, delivered an impassioned address, calling for uncompelled peace from both sides of the Korean Peninsula.
“Human bonds can never be formed by force,” said Abe. “Inspiration and sympathy must be voluntary and the bond between people should be based on freedom and democracy.
“Some countries, including totalitarian and hegemonic regimes, are attempting to bring about change by force. Political manoeuvring of this type should stop. Thanks to my advocacy for a free and open Indo-Pacific, this strategy has been adopted by the US, Europe, and the world at large.”