By FORMER SPEAKER JOSE C. DE VENECIA JR.
At the Manila Rotary Club, Asia’s oldest Rotary organization before the end of last year, we raised the possibility of increasing worldwide Rotary’s Four-Way Test of the things we Rotarians think, say or do to Five. Every Rotarian or would-be Rotarian is asked at the start of weekly meetings to insure he is bona-fide and true-blue.
“Is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build goodwill and better friendship? Will it be beneficial to all concerned?”
We then proposed a 5th query for possible consideration by Philippine and Rotarians around the world: “Will it please the Lord, our God?”
It is our earnest hope that the leaders of the premier Filipino Rotary organization led by President Zosing Pineda, leaders Amado Valdez, Rudy Bediones, Frank Evaristo, Teddy Ocampo, Oscar del Rosario, et al, who all journeyed to our hometown, Dagupan City, to confer with Education Secretary Leonor Briones and Mayor Belen Fernandez and to witness the Manila Centennial Choral competition, could push this simple truth for consideration by the Rotary founders in the USA and by the countless Rotarians around the world.
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We are off to Seoul, South Korea late next week to deliver a speech before the Universal Peace Federation (UPF) World Summit 2019, together with UPF President Thomas Walsh, Madame Hak Ja Han Moon, widow of UPF founder Rev. Sun Myung Moon, and our co-chairman of the International Association of Parliamentarians for Peace (IAPP), former senior US Congressman Dan Burton.
It is our hope to contribute even small efforts to peace and unification in the Korean peninsula, which now have the beginnings and potential to lead to a breakthrough long awaited by Asia and the global community.
We reiterate our old proposals which remain relevant, some of which we presented to the founder and first president of North Korea (DPRK: Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) Kim Il-Sung (father of his immediate successor, his son Kim Jong-Il, and grandfather to today’s leader 33-year-old Kim Jong-Un) when we journeyed to Pyongyang in 1990, and which immediately led to Philippines-North Korea diplomatic relations.
Our effort was at the time supported by then President Corazon Aquino and then Foreign Affairs Secretary Raul Manglapus. That year, we were a younger acting chairman of the House Foreign Relations Committee, and accompanied to the North Korean capital by Congressman Mike Romero (now deceased), Len Oreta, Cory’s brother-in-law, Education Undersecretary Nestor Kalaw, and Japanese journalist Kiyoshi Wakamiya.
We believe that over and above the giving up of its nuclear weapons, it would be realpolitik to expect that North Korea would hope for an iron-clad Omnibus Agreement leading to a Permanent Peace Treaty, with the South and the US that could likely include the following, as we pointed out in previous articles:
1. North Korea (The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, DPRK) and South Korea (Republic of Korea, ROK), as separate independent Republics, but perhaps connected together by a loose Confederation, until at some point in the near or distant future, they can consider uniting like the two Vietnams or the two Germanys.
2. Withdrawal of US troops from South Korea.
3. Withdrawal of large North Korean and South Korean troops from the areas of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) in the 38th Parallel to make the DMZ really demilitarized.
4. Development of a concrete formula for South-North Confederation where the two Koreas will be separate and independent but develop common inter-dependent synergies until they can set-up a union or what the Greeks call “Enosis” in 15 to 25 years or earlier.
5. Develop inter-Korea commercial flights, highways, and a common railway system for the two Koreas from Pusan at the end of the Korean South facing Japan to North Korea’s Yalu border with China, which, it is hoped, will interlink with the Trans-Siberian Railway to Russia and to Europe.
6. Develop close political and economic relations between North and South and with China, Japan, the US, Russia, and ASEAN and work with the UN system and the global community.
7. Develop and industrialize the North Korean economy and agriculture, put an end to the recurring causes of famine, expand the education system, and immediately open the region to active tourism.
8. North Korea to immediately join ASEAN Plus 3 (Japan, China, South Korea) to become ASEAN Plus 4.
9. Immediately organize an adequate Development Fund for compensating North Korea for terminating its nuclear weapons and delivery system, which fund shall be used for the North’s economic and social development and augmentation of its national budget.
10. Consider a state of Nneutrality for the two independent Koreas which shall actively interact with the regional and global economy so that the North, with its hydrocarbons potential, mining, and hydro-electric resources, etc., can join the South, which has already developed much earlier into a credible major economic power.
These are the possibilities for peace in the Korean Peninsula. As we discussed with former US Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in Seoul late last year, who is now in the forefront of private sector efforts in the campaign against climate change, this related effort would also be of interest of Pyongyang as part of the process of normalization.
We had pointed out before that the successful dynamics of North Korea’s nuclear development could be channeled to economic mobilization.
We added that the “long-suspended Six-Nation Talks could have a business-focused auxiliary to develop economic joint ventures for deployment in the Korean north.”
We believe that the potential of the two Koreas in cooperating together or united in peace could eventually lead to a prosperous second- or first-world nation in the third decade of the 21st Century.
Since our last 1990 visit to Pyongyang where we conferred with North Korea’s founding President Kim Il-Sung, we hope that at some point the long crisis and twilight struggle in the Korean peninsula will come to an end.