Following is the text of UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ video message to the 2021 Korea Global Forum for Peace — International Community and United Nations Roles for Permanent Peace on the Korean Peninsula, held today:
I am honoured to once again send my greetings to the Korea Global Forum for Peace. The forum arrives as we mark an important milestone — 30 years since the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the Republic of Korea were admitted to the United Nations. And I applaud the Republic of Korea for being a strong and active voice of peace and security — globally through the United Nations — and on the Korean Peninsula.
This year also marks the thirtieth anniversary of the landmark reconciliation and non-aggression agreement between the North and South. But, this agreement — forged in hope — has never lived up to its promise. This anniversary is a painful reminder of the lack of peace on the Peninsula. Which is why this Forum’s theme of peace is so vital.
Challenges like COVID-19 and climate change, for example, do not respect borders. Addressing these challenges demands peace, dialogue and collaboration.
President Moon-Jae-in’s proposal to transform the Demilitarized Zone into an international peace zone is an inspired idea — a sign of hope in a relationship that has seen too little over the last 30 years.
The [Demilitarized Zone] is a unique and biodiverse natural sanctuary for the Peninsula, which is deeply vulnerable to climate change. Creating a protected international peace zone would be a welcome opportunity for the two Koreas to focus on a project of mutual benefit. For people. For our planet. And ultimately, for peace on the Peninsula.
For too long, North and South Koreans have looked to one another with mistrust and fear. This cannot continue.
The United Nations stands ready to support initiatives that can bring people together, across the border, in dialogue, collaboration and common interest. And take steps towards forging a lasting peace for people across the Peninsula. I wish you a successful Forum.