Intent Matters: 70th anniversary of the Korean War and Peace Policy in the Korean Peninsula

For long I have been hearing intent matters. Intent is the seed with which spiritualists manifest healing and change into their lives. Intent is power of thought to make the much-needed change. But even though I do manage to make the change, somewhere a question lingers: was the power to make an intentional change an illusion or did I really make the change because I intended it?

There have been studies on this. Among the most popular in recent times is a living book called The Intention Experiment by Lynne McTaggart. “Lynne carried out exhaustive investigations, including interviews with scientists around the world, and collated the most impressive data yet on intention, or the power of thought. Working with a consortium of scientists, Lynne periodically invites her worldwide audience to take part in online ‘Intention Experiments’ examining the power of group intention to effect measurable targets under scientifically controlled targets,” as explained on https://lynnemctaggart.com/the-intention-experiment-book/

Peace on the Korean Peninsula

During my trip to Seoul in 2015, the Journalists Association of Korea (South Korea) took us for a day’s tour to the famous DMZ or the DeMilitarized Zone which has been called the most dangerous place on the planet by some. This is a zone where borders between the two Koreas are guarded by armies. In between is no man’s land where a village flourishes. This has amazing wildlife and this stretch is a Nature lover’s delight. But there is the veil of suspicion and eyes watch both the sides. Weapons, land mines, soldiers guard their borders.

It’s been 70 years since the Korean war and attempts at peace have been many. The last session of the three-day World Journalists Conference 2020 focused on the measures taken and some thoughts by journalists across the word. This conference is an annual ritual since the first one in 2013. And the country calls almost 100 journalists from across the world to showcase their culture and talk about the peace efforts. The intent to remain peaceful and avoid conflict is very clear. As the pandemic has brought travel to a halt, this year the conference was held via Zoom for three days — September 14–16.

In his welcome speech, Prime Minister Chung Sye-Kyun said, “This year marks the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of the Korean War. The two Koreas joined hands two decades ago for the June 15th South-North Joint Declaration, and again, two years ago, for the April 27th Panmunjom Declaration, but we have seen no further progress recently. Nevertheless, our belief remains firm that permanent peace on the Korean peninsula is a noble goal and mission that South and North Korea must achieve. In fact, the COVID-19 crisis has laid bare the reality that the two Koreas constitute not only a shared community of fates but a shared community of life in terms of public health.”

In fact, Dong Hoon Kim, President, Journalists Association of Korea, highlighted the importance of peace as “‘Koreas are the only separated nation on Earth. Thus, this reminds journalists of the importance of peace”.

Measures of Peace

Many of us who have seen war in our countries understand the importance of peace. My father was born in Peshawar in 1938, now in Pakistan. My grandfather was a station master in the Indian Railways and came with his big brood to India when the Partition of 1947 happened. More recently, during the Covid-19 lockdown, we saw migrant workers walking in heat, thousands of kilometers to reach home. Tales of death, hunger, starvation, bravery flashed daily on our screens in India, and commentators compared this to the devastation of 1947. War is never the solution.

Journalist colleagues from Lebanon, Iran, Cambodia have seen such times too and they highlighted these in their presentations. Professor at Institute for Far Eastern Studies(IFES), Kyungnam Universtiy, Korea, Eul-chul Lim, gave us some key points to ponder over:

- The division brought by the hands of men has long sustained the grief of the separated families on the other side of the border.

- The three Inter-Korean Summits in 2018 have facilitated many agreements that can advance the goals of denuclearization, peace, and cooperation. Still, the lack of progress in the relationship between North Korea and the United States has subsequently stalled inter-Korean relations.

- The Korean government has underlined the following three principles to facilitate the resumption of talks with North Korea and provide a peaceful resolution in the Korean Peninsula: a firm stance against war, a mutual guarantee of security, and a call to co-prosperity.

- It continues its efforts to discuss its strategies with the United States should talk on denuclearization progress. Such discussions include ideas on denuclearization, a virtuous cycle of inter-Korean and North Korea–United States relations, and the establishment of a peace regime.

- Moreover, the Korean government plans to continue its commitment toward denuclearization and the peace regime across the peninsula, while, at the same time, strengthening its diplomatic efforts to implement the existing agreements made as a part of the previous inter-Korean summits.

- It is clear that there is no other solution for North Korea’s nuclear problem aside from diplomacy. For North Korea and the United States to establish a new relationship and achieve the goals of the Singapore Joint Statement, which include the denuclearization and the establishment of a permanent peace regime, both North Korea and the United States must implement clear and concrete measures toward the next stage. Both leaders have agreed to “establish new US–DPRK relations” in the Joint Statement.

- Above all, North Korea and the United States must exchange proactive measures that will build trust between the two states. For example, the United States can implement a permanent channel of communication between Pyongyang and Washington, expand exemptions in the entry of humanitarian assistance toward North Korea, and rescind travel limitations to North Korea. Meanwhile, North Korea should implement measures, such as the official continuation of its suspension on nuclear and ballistic missile testing, its cooperation with the extradition of prisoner-of-war and veteran remains from the Korean War, as well as its cooperation with the United States for a family reunion event.

- I would like to emphasize that peace in the Korean Peninsula will serve as a significant opportunity for greater peace and co-prosperity in Northeast Asia and around the world.

Son Taek Wang, Research Associate, Yeosijae, Korea, was a journalist for over 26 at YTN, a cable TV news channel in Korea. Now he is part of the think tank — Yeosijae. Some highlights from his presentation:

- Koreans want peace regime because the division of the single nation and the military hostility in Korean peninsula for decades is too much painful and costly. The Korean War in 1950 separated millions of family members.

- Unlike the South, North Korea experienced major setbacks in economic development especially after the end of the cold war. So, the quality of life of North Korean people plunged and the poverty became a source of humanitarian tragedies.

- The division was originated by an agreement between the superpower countries in 1945, the US and the then Soviet Union.

- The hostile relation between the two Koreas has extended the sense of insecurity around the North East Asia. And it became a military or economic burden to the neighbor countries including the US, China, Japan, Russia.

- The North has argued that they need the nuclear weapons because their enemy, the US is a superpower nation with the formidable nuclear weapons. However, this is a clear provocation against a non-proliferation regime. It should be resolved, and the peace building efforts should go together.

- The military tensions have limited opportunities for the more prosperity around the North East Asia. So, there are various kinds of agonies and shackles from the division. And Koreans are the major victim of it. Therefore, they crave for a peace regime in the Peninsula.

- There were some major progresses in the year of 2018. However, the efforts were violently halted since the collapse of Hanoi summit in February last year.

- The South Korean government should secure the bipartisan support on the peace policies from the domestic political arena. Without resolving this issue, the efforts for the peace would repeat the one step forward and one step back.

- North Korea should show the clearer willingness and cooperation for the denuclearization and peace regime.

- Support from the international society is critical. The South Koreans including myself are responsible for the first issue of the bipartisan domestic support. For the North Korean cooperation, Chairman Kim Jong Un is the only leader who can make a historic decision. For the supports from the international society, it is up to the political leaders and the public opinion leaders around the world.

Yes, INTENT MATTERS. Despite failed attempts and many shadows lurking in the peace process, South Korea continues to walk the path.

These are some excerpts, you can see the full conference here

India-based journalist, photographer and videographer, worked with Outlook Traveller, Swagat and written for patriot.in. Mail: ambicagulati@gmail.com

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