글쓴이 : 관리자 작성일 : 2021-06-25
|(LEAD) Yonhap News holds annual peace forum|
(ATTN: UPDATES story as forum began; ADDS participants' remarks, photo)
SEOUL, June 25 (Yonhap) -- Yonhap News Agency hosted an annual peace forum Friday to explore ways to build lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula and improve inter-Korean relations amid the growing rivalry between the United States and China.
Under the main theme of "The future of the Korean Peninsula in the Biden era and intensifying U.S.-China competition for hegemony," the forum featured renowned scholars and lawmakers from Washington and Seoul, including National Assembly Speaker Park Byeong-seug and ruling Democratic Party leader Song Young-gil.
The forum, co-hosted by the unification ministry, comes amid rising uncertainty on the peninsula as the North has recently released statements that could be seen as unfavorable signs for the early resumption of dialogue with Seoul and Washington, and an impasse in nuclear talks between the U.S. and the North.
"The heightening tension between the U.S. and China is a big diplomatic dilemma for South Korea, which maintains close relations with the two countries in regional security, business, trade and others," Cho Sung-boo, president and CEO of Yonhap, said in opening remarks.
"Yonhap News Agency, as a representative news agency, promises again to make efforts to bring lasting peace not only to the Korean Peninsula but also in the Asia-Pacific region," he said.
Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum, who presented a congratulatory message via a video clip, said positive conditions have been set recently for the resumption of the Korean peace process.
"We will push ahead with inter-Korean exchanges and cooperation against COVID-19, including vaccines, and begin with small but trust-building tasks, such as the video reunions of separated families," he said in the speech.
"South Korea will further strengthen its comprehensive strategic alliance with the U.S. that advances democratic human rights and multilateralism, and make efforts to elevate the strategic cooperative partnership with China to a new level," he added.
The forum is divided into two comprehensive sessions.
In the first session, participants explored ways for peace and coexistence in the Asia-Pacific region. Lee Kwang-jae, a lawmaker of the ruling Democratic Party, and Rep. Park Jin of the People Power Party joined the session to discuss strategies South Korea should take amid the heightened Sino-U.S. rivalry
U.S. lawmakers, including Korean American congressman Andy Kim (D-NJ) and Rep. Ami Bera (D-CA), also discussed the importance of the South Korea-U.S. alliance in the age of growing competition between Washington and Beijing.
Bera stressed the importance of working through multilateral coalitions that can ultimately lead to China's participation, noting South Korea's participation in the recent Group of Seven summit.
"If we can create those types of multilateral coalitions, I think we can create a framework by which it is not about China, but it is about the values we share as similar countries," he said. "My hope would be that at some time China would want to be part of coalitions like that."
Unification Minister Lee In-young is set to deliver a keynote speech at the forum to take place at the Lotte Hotel.
The second session will address ways for Seoul to cooperate with Pyongyang and Beijing, as well as the trilateral cooperation among South Korea, the U.S. and Japan.
Cheong Seong-chang, director of the Center for North Korean Studies at the Sejong Institute, will deliver a presentation on possible diplomatic moves South Korea could take to drive inter-Korean relations forward.
The session will also be attended by other scholars, including Kim Han-kwon, a professor of the foreign ministry-affiliated Korea National Diplomatic Academy, and Park Won-gon, a professor of North Korean studies at Ewha Womans University.
Due to the new coronavirus, organizers have kept the number of participants to a minimum. The forum is being streamed live at its website (https://www.onekorea2021.co.kr).