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Rene Wadlow - President, Association of World Citizens - 4-19-13
As the professor of economics Milton Friedman wrote Only a crisis actual or perceived produces real change. When the crisis occurs, the actions that are taken depend on the ideas that are lying around. That, I believe, is our basic function: to develop alternatives to existing policies, and to keep them alive and available until the politically impossible becomes the politically inevitable.
The current tension around the two Korean States, the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (DPRK) and the Republic of Korea (ROK) is such a crisis. For the moment, it is not clear that Governments are willing to take the diplomatic measures necessary to reverse the tensions on the Korean Peninsula. Thus it is important that non-governmental voices be raised and that their proposals are taken seriously. Non-governmental organizations can present policy choices that can help to resolve the multidimensional Korean security challenge.
Therefore, the Association of World Citizens has proposed a two-track approach to the current Korean tensions. In a 14 March 2013 message to the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Rene Wadlow, President of the Association of World Citizens, stressed that a crisis can also be an opportunity for strong initiatives and action. The United Nations with historic responsibility for Korea should take the lead in organizing an UN-sponsored Korean Peace Settlement Conference, now that all the States which participated in the 1950-1953 Korean War are members of the UN. The UN-led Korean Peace Settlement Conference should be organized during 2013 the 60th anniversary of the 1953 Armistice.
Such a Peace Settlement Conference is of concern not only to Governments but is one in which the voices of civil society are legitimate and should be heard.
In the past, there have been a series of dangerous but ultimately resolvable crises concerning the two Korean States. However, there are always dangers of miscalculations and unnecessary escalations of threats. Past crises have led to partial measures of threat reduction.
Partial measures of cooperation between the two Korean States, the Six-Party talks on nuclear issues and a number of Track II-civil society diplomatic efforts have shown the possibilities but also the limits of partial measures.
In the past decade, world attention has
been focused on two Korean issues