Reasons For Taking the Initiative in Peace Community Activities
-Confronting tasks and our long-term objectives
Sung Joe Hahn (Co-Representative)
Confronting Tasks of Removing Immediate Obstacles to Peace
World peace should be the hope for every humsn beings. However, peace will not just come according to the wish of people. The world peace is particularly the case.. If any one wish to enjoy real peace, he must first eliminate the obstacles that have been deterring our hope . This is not likely easy things at all., we cannot expect any peace however before eliminating these obstacles,
What are the existing factors in Korea that make it difficult to maintain peace in and out of this country? As far as the republic of Korea is concerned, it is the Communism of North Korea and the Kim Jong-Il regime that rule the country.. In addition, the left wing groups in South Korea which have been assisting the enemies exerting much influences upon the politics of our country. Furthermore, China Asia’s super-power have been protecting and aiding North Korea against South Korea.
External obstacles that disrupt the regional peace
Outside the Korean territory the main obstacles to world peace are the militant Islam countries in the Middle East, hostile to the United States and Western world. Many of these countries have seemingly been under the influemce of radical Islamic groups, standing against Christian Civilization of the West. Some scholars raised their concern about the possibility that the anti-Americanism of Islam world may some day side with the cause of China’s communism come to the result of threatening the security of the U.S. and western powers.
Under these circumstances, how should the Republic of Korea maintain the national security and the peace and stability of the region? First, Kim Jong-il’s nuclear arms and the military threat against South Korea should be constrained by all means. Second, China should not be allowed to support North Korea’s military aggression against the Republic of Korea and to continue their inhumane accomplice behavior related to North Korean refugees captured in China. Third, we should not give up the efforts of reconciling the hostility between Chritian and Islamic civilization. These are the current interests of our organization, that is the part of Religious and Social Group Federation for World Peae.
How to Build the main body of governing in the regional community
For the succesful functioing of The Asia-Pacific regional community, the establishment of the governing body should be no less important than the tasks of removing the hindrances in the way of progress. There is an urgent need to establish the main institutions, capable of governing and maintaining the peace in the Asia Pacific region.
So far, North Korea’s nuclear threats and military provocations against South Korea have been deterred by virtue of the ROK-U.S.defense alliance. In view of the declining trend of the U.S. supremacy as the world super-power, however, it may be increasingly difficult for the Republic of Korea to rely upon the protection of the United States. Because of their increasing financial deficits. the United States seems extremely afraid of getting involved in another military conflict. After the United States step down from the positiion of sole world power of hegemony, it is expected that China may replace the U.S. position of power hegemony. Under these circumstances, shall China be concerned about the safety and security of the Republic of Korea, protecting south Korea from North Korea's aggression toward South Korea?
The day will comes sooner or later a day when China will enforce the peace and security of the Korean peninsula in a way most convenient to China herself. We are afraid that the outcome should be very different from what the R.O.K. has been pursuing. Can we trust and depend on China that the new super-powerit will protect South Korea’s security against North Korea's wild ambition?
In my opinion. the Asia Pacific Regional Community should be founded in order to warrant the absolute freedom and autonomy of the member states of the Community. The peace community is borne in order to protect the rights of member states, freed from the threats and pressures coming from the super powers or bigger nation states. This means there will be no fear and no dependency toward the superpowers regardless of the United States or China. The Asia-Pacific Regional Community will take over the power position of the regional Community. This is the very reason why the Regional Community has come into existence.
Of course, the four super powers such as the United States. Russia, China and Japan are very much alive and remain very active within the Community. Still, they have no rights of abusing power, the conducts of arrogation are ruthlessly penalized. Therefore, there will be a new culture under which big powers must behave very cautious and sensitive toward smaller or weaker nations.
Two Different approaches to the Asia Pacific Regional Community
Since the 1990s, there was much talks whether or not there should be an international(regional) organization in East Asia equivalent such as Europe’s EU. . However, the first official proposal of a regional community plan was made during the ASEAN +3 conference. President Kim Dae-jung gave such proposal in 2001, but there were no reaction. The lack of response can be attributed to the difficulty invelved . In 2005, former President Roh Mu-hyun brought up the subject once more in the Asia Regional Forum.
In 2009, Japan’s new prime minister, Hatoyama Yukio proposed a very specific and concrete East Asia Community plan. Although he resigned his prime minister position, his successor, Naoto Kan succeeded the argument and is currently working to persuade South Korea and China. Although Japanese, South Korean and Chinese governmental officials are having regularly meeting. the prospects of an Asia Community Agreement however don’t seem too bright considering the current regional situation.
First, the current East Asia’s International relations is very unstable. North Korea-South Korea relation is stumbling and tension is higher than ever before between the United States and China. Second, a North Korea-South Korea relation is also very tense and insecure. China continuously insists on the continuation of the 6 party talks in response to the international condemnation of North Korea but China’s intention is suspicious since the 6 party talks has never had any productive results. Third, with China showing imperialistic traits in many aspects, why would anyone want to leave one’s country’s sovereignty and future to a regional community?
Two ways of Approaching to the Regional Community
We can think out two ways of founding the regional Community. First is East Asia Community plan which has been carried forward by former President Kim Dae-jung, This is an East Asia Community proposal which was formed on the basic structure of ASEAN + 3. There Three countries like China, Japan and the R.O.K. are bound to compete and will mutually be aware of each other. The United States may be invited but it will not serve as something more than an observer since it is a country outside of Asia. In this situation, will the United States which is not a regular member state, have a right to speak or influence in determining the fate of the organization?
Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is another international organization that can serve as the basis of establishing a community along with ASEAN + 3 or + 6. Asian and Pacific Council (ASPAC) was established by the United States in 1966 and its headquarters was built in Seoul. After China became a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council, ASPAC was dissolved due to China’s veto and in 1989, it was re-formed as APEC by the United States’ .
The organization was reformed in 1989 with the focus on the development of Asia’s economy. Owing to the new environment of the ending of the cold war between the U.S.A and the U.S.S.R, the the main concern of the time was the problems of Asian economy such as U.S.-Japan trade conflicts, etc Therefopre Conference did not pay due attentions upon the security issues. Still, the United States, Russia, a few South American countries, Australia and New Zealand are all members of APEC and since 2000, it became increasingly active with high expectations which also came from the success of ASEAN + 3. Right after the 2010 G-20 meeting held in Seoul, the 18thAPEC meetingwas held in Yokohama,
Japan and Japan’s prime minister Naoto Kan showed enthusiasm in launching a regional community. even though the idea of regional integration was not expressed.. The 19th APEC Conference shall be held in Washington D.C. in 2011. In the following, we shall explain why we should expand and reform APEC into an Asia Pacific Community. and I would also like to suggest to the Korean government that Either the R.O.K. or Japan should propose the new plan of the Asia Pacific Regional Community.at the 19th APEC conference in Washington.
The Reasons for the R.O.K choosing for the Asia Pacific Community
We may have to choose either one of the following two choices; one, the East Asia Community plan, primarily led by ASEAN = China, Japan and two Koreas; THE the other, the Asia Pacific Community plan perhaps managed by the U.S., Japan and Republic of Korea. In this choice, why should the R.O.K. prefer the latter choice? We can enumerate several reasons for favoring the latter plan, that is Asia Pacific Regional Community plan which are as follows:
Firstly, North Korea has been consistently maneuvering for the downfall of the R.O.K .since the early 50's. This means that North Korea has been, plotting for the absorption of South Korea into ther Communist regime streneusly even after the Korean War. On the other hand, China has consistently been protecting and supporting the North Korea's political advantures as her blood ally relationship against the Republic of Korea. Provided that China ascends some day on the top position of the sole world power, the position of the Republic oif Korea will become willy-nilly precarious. For the government of South Korea will be treated as if some illegal child in the Korean peninsula, On the other hand, it will not be surpring to see North Korea show off their triumphant and arrogant attitude toward the south.
Secondly, ther Republic of Korea will be constantly exposed to the North Korea's threat, when the protection and assistance from the United States weaken due to the loss of hegemonic power in Asia. South Korea may feel depressed in sight of the gigantic power in front and overwhelminh threat originating from the aggressive pressures of the hwgemonic China. South Korea may feel rueful or even sore, in view of the technological superiority of Japan. in absence of the comfort and ready protections by the United States which used to alleviate the strains owing to the inferiority complex toward the advanced nations.
Thirdly, Korea used to feel more or less comfortable in view of the envious and respectful attitude shown by the Southeast Asian people toward the Republic of Korea for achieving rapid eocnomic growth owing to successful industrialization. It will be doubtful, however, whether or not the Korean people will continue to enjoy the envy and respect from those late developing countries in Asia in the changed atmosphere and environment where the Republic of Korea looks small under the new environment where North Korea predominates under support of China, a new hegemonic power in the Asian region.
Fourthly, it is safe to speculate that China's attitude toward the nighboring states are no less influenced by the self-image concerning the gigantic size of their own territory and overwhelming weight of the nation within the regional community. In case.when the territorial size of China occupies more than one half of the East Asian Community, their attitude toward other members of the regional Communitiesing states shall be unwittingly arrogant and haughty. This kind of territorial consideration remained under ground while the influence of the United States predominated in the position of sole hegemonic power of the world. But the Situations become quite different when the East Asian Community emrges along with the power of China felt all over the world.
on the Methods of founding the the Asia-Pacific Community
The Asia-Pacific Community ought to be founded, in principle, in compliance with the public opinion among the representatives of member states of the region after their long deliberations.. But it is l;ikely a very time-consuming job, particularly when there are conflict of interest among the member-states and all the more so in case the member-states are quite sensitive about their own standing within the regional Community.; Their arguments may not arrive at any conclusions after many years' deliberations. As a rule, it is not easy to find any solutions in the situations of international conflicts. particularly when the problems are on the hanging owing to the conflict between the ideal thought and actual realities, between important principles and the temporary expedience, More often than not , many people tend to prefer the choosing the principle of expediences at sacrifice of important principles, in order to obtain their desirabe ends. accomplish what they desire in difficult circumstances. I will present several concrete measures in order to approach closer to the objective of the Asia-Pacific Community under the circumstances of inadequacy.
(1) We will have to found the institutions of the Asia-Pacific Conmunity by means of greater expansion and modifications of existing APEC's institutional apparatus. This means that a greater number of new ad hoc institutions dealing with the problems such as national security, diplomatic gatherings, environment, culture and education, religious proplems are expected. Conequently these new insittutional apparatus shall be supplemented to the existing insatitutional appratus.
(2) Neverthless, the newly supplemented institutions may be mostly more or less temporary, in absence of international agreements because all the member states may have not yet prepared for their policies and governmental delegations. Consequently, we can see three types of organiations within the APRC ; ① formal instituins under the the APRC; ② newly created institutions in the forms lf governance; ③ temporary insternational gatherings of NGOs.
(3) The number of states comprising the Asia-Pacific Regional Community is estimated some more than 30 states. We do not expect every states in this region be enthusiastic in participating the regional community activities. Accordingly, the number of NGO participating in this Community activities may well be very limited in the initial stage. Consequently we must understand that the Community activities may have to be carried out by the agreements of the participating NGOs of limited number.
(4) We should expect that the relative degree of intimacy will influence the partnership among the 30 member states. For example the Korean NGOs will be very comfortable in dealing with the NGOs from the United States and Japan. On the other hand, North Korean group arre happier in their association with the NGOs from China and Russia. Furthermore, there may emerge some factional grouping, each attempting to increase their own grouping by attracting other members.into their onw rank. We will not worry about a plurarity of NGO grouping, because the regional community is by its nature peace community, addressed itself mutually working for harmony and cooperation.
(5) The reason for the Republic of Korea initiating to found the Asia-Pacific Community is ascribed to the national will for contributing to the world peace..For this purpose, the 7 million Korean residents abroad can become a great assets for the cause of the Repblic of Korea. The Korean residents living and working in the Asia-Pacific area may well facilitate the objectives of regional community movment more enthusiastically than any other region. We should explore the method of initiating the activities of internaitonal exchanges and cooperations by means of selecting the tasks of international cooperations for the purpose of founding regional community through NGO group activities.
Conclusion :The ultimate objectives of founding the peace Community lies in the uplifting the personality and the cultivation of spritualization
The world peace remain an unattainable dream and/or ideal unless the universal improvement of human morality and uplifting of the spiritualization level are made to a significant degree. By the same token, The peace of human society is liable to be broken easily whenever and wherever humanity is not freed from the beastly and demonic nature.
Should we evaluate inidividual states in terms of lower, middle and higher eschelon in their spiritualization level ? Then, which level the Republic of Korea will stand? Suppose, the lower level of people predominate in the late developed countrries., while the high and middle level constitute the majority in advanced countries. Then, where the people of Korea will stand?
Should the Republic of Korea intend to initiate the founding the APRCommunity, at least the majority of the nation should be higher than the middle and the upper level of national morality, in order to achieve the national objectives, Can you believe in this statement? The over half of the nation may doubt the plausibility of this statement.
Some one may be sarcastic how the people incapable of defend their own country can expec to establish the reional community. But it is the attribute of human being that the majority of the national can accomplish something which was considered normally impossible when swayed by some social environmental atmosphere. There is saying in Korea. One goes as fas as to Kangnam, following the suiit of his companions.. If determined to achieve the objectives of founding the Asia-Pacific regional community, the personaity level of the average Koreans will go long much higher than the ordinary time and the national statue will go higher, while the international leadership become stronger, if propretly assisted by the neighbouring peoples..
The Korean people appear to possess a high aptitude for a full scale personality change, particularly when supported by the idea of karma retribution and the way of realizing long cherished entreaty of nation. Buddhism teaches people the ultimate virtues of personal perfection of the masses after accomplishing the self-realization of individuals. The masses of people can also enjoy the opportnity of self-perfection through the process of full involvement in the citizens' movement addressed to world peace.. This can be the intermediate objectives, attainable through the creation of peace community, named the Asia-Pacific Regional Community. (1/8/2011)