Moon proposes turning DMZ into global peace zone

Sep 25, 2019, 08:42 am

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President Moon Jae-in delivers his keynote speech at the UN General Assembly in New York on Sept. 24, 2019./ Source: Yonhap News

By New York correspondent Ha Man-joo & AsiaToday reporter Lee Seok-jong

President Moon Jae-in has resumed the process of denuclearization and the building of a peace regime on the Korean Peninsula through his keynote speech at the UN General Assembly and a summit with US President Donald Trump, raising hopes for substantial progress.

The president on Tuesday proposed transforming the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) into an “international peace zone” at the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly. Under his plan, South Korea will push ahead to inscribe the DMZ on UNESCO’s World Heritage List jointly with North Korea, UN organizations would be set up within the DMZ, and land mines in the DMZ would be removed with the help of international community.

In the 9th Seoul-Washington summit, Moon and Trump agreed to make substantial progress so that the next round of working-level denuclearization talks could lead to the third US-North Korea summit. 

Meanwhile, Seoul’s spy agency hinted at the National Assembly that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un could visit South Korea for a special ASEAN summit in November, rapidly changing the political situation on the Korean Peninsula once again. 

“I propose making the DMZ that cuts the Korean Peninsula across the middle into an international peace zone based on three principles,” Moon said, highlighting that the idea is based on his three principles for resolving Korean Peninsula issues. The principles are preventing war, mutual security guarantees between the two Koreas, and the two sides achieving prosperity together.

“The DMZ is a tragic space created by 70 years of military confrontation, but paradoxically, it has become a pristine ecological treasure trove. It has also become a symbolic space steeped in history, which embraces both the tragedy of division and the yearning for peace,” Moon said. “Once peace between the two Koreas is established, I will push for listing the DMZ as a UNESCO World Heritage jointly with North Korea.”

Moon hopes to designate the area connecting the truce village of Panmunjom and Kaesong as a peace cooperation district. He proposed to attract UN offices, which are already stationed in the two Koreas, as well as organizations concerned with peace, ecosystems and culture into the DMZ

Moon also called for international cooperation in removing land mines from the DMZ. “Cooperation with the international community, including the United Nations Mine Action Service, will not only guarantee the transparency and stability of demining operations, but also instantly turn the DMZ into an area of international cooperation,” he said.

Earlier, Moon and Trump reaffirmed that they would cooperate with North Korea’s denuclearization and firmly establish a US-ROK alliance in their summit at the InterContinental Barclay hotel in New York on Monday.

“The two leaders positively assessed North Korea’s willingness to resume working-level negotiations with the United States, and agreed that working-level negotiations should be held at an early stage to make substantial progress,” an official of Cheong Wa Dae said. “The two leaders reaffirmed their previous promises on North Korea that it can have a bright future if it takes visible and concrete steps toward denuclearization,” the official said. The two leaders also closely discussed issues involving maintenance of sanctions on North Korea, as well as economic cooperation and defense costs. However, they did not discuss the GSOMIA issue.

#Moon Jae-in #DMZ #peace zone #demilitarized zone #Donald Trump 
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