“The escalation in the Korean Peninsula is an opportunity for the Korean people to unite, to share the blessings of a democracy and to eliminate all nuclear weapons, serving as an example for the rest of the world to follow,” said Dr. William J. Parker III, Chief Operating Officer of the EastWest Institute (EWI), delivering a keynote at the International Forum on One Korea 2017: Solutions to the Korean Peninsula Crisis, in Seoul on December 7-8.
EWI co-organized the event, along with the Global Peace Foundation, Action for Korea United, and One Korea Foundation in partnership with the National Unification Advisory Council of the Republic of Korea. The Seoul event was an extension of a previous conference held in Washington D.C. on November 14-15. This set of fora provided a multi-track platform for leading global experts to address and discuss solutions to the Korean peninsula crisis, and build global cooperation with civil society and national stakeholders.
Warning of the dire consequences associated with the security of fissile material should North Korea's nuclear program continue unchecked, Dr. Parker singled out China as particularly vulnerable to consequences of war breaking out on the Korean peninsula, saying the crisis presented China with an opportunity to exercise its options as a growing influence in the region.
“If North Korea is allowed to continue its nuclear weapons program, Japan and South Korea will very likely build advanced nuclear weapons systems,” remarked Dr. Parker. “And it does not stop there. China will undoubtedly feel a need to expand its weapon systems. Other nations will watch and we may well see a proliferation of Gulf States and others building their own systems.”
"The opportunity for a stable, prosperous, self-reliant and unified Korea is within our grasp," added Dr. Parker.
Other forum speakers included Dr. Sue Mi Terry, Senior Fellow for Korea at the Center for Strategic and International Studies; Greg Scarlatoiu, Executive Director of the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea; Rev. Kenneth Bae, President of the Nehemiah Global Initiative and the longest-held American prisoner in North Korea; Dr. Tarja Cronberg, former European Union Parliamentarian and Distinguished Associate Fellow with the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute; Dr. Jai Poong Ryu, President of the One Korea Foundation, and scholars, economists and human rights advocates from Korea, Japan, Russia, China, Mongolia and the United States.