Grassroots Movement Says KoreanReunification Offers Best Hope for Regional Peace and Global Security
A grassroots movement to advance the peaceful reunification of the Korean peninsula gained momentum in Washington, DC on August 14, 2015, with Korea specialists, diplomats, veterans, journalists and leaders from the Korean diaspora lending support at a gala banquet on Capitol Hill hosted as part of the One Dream One Korea campaign, organized by the One Korea Coalition.
One Korea Foundation founder Dr. Jai Ryu, emeritus professor of sociology at Loyola University, told the gathered dignitaries that the “Korea will be united again” and that there was unprecedented interest and consensus today in support of reunification. In his remarks he recognized his friend, Professor Chang Min Shinn, who presented an analysis that reunification would be a “bonanza” for the South, a view later publically affirmed by South Korean President Park Geun-hye.
Dr. Ryu said that popular interest in One Korea has since grown dramatically, with new polls showing 83 percent of South Koreans now have a favorable view of reunification. “There is no longer talk about ‘we can’t afford it, or ‘it is out of our power,’” Dr. Ryu said.
He also stressed the importance of seizing the time to advance this issue as a political priority. “In South Korea’s 70 history never was there a discussion of reunification,” he said. “That was a sure way to lose an election. But next year’s election every candidate must state a position on reunification.”
Turning to the U.S. elections, he urged journalists and scholars to raise the priority of Korean reunification as an issue that every presidential candidate must address. “Those who have been paying attention have concluded that there is no other solution to the nuclear threat, to human rights abuses, than reunification.”
The evening program included a video broadcast of a landmark speech by South Korean President Park Geun-hye in the former East German city of Dresden in 2014, the so-called Dresden Declaration. The Dresden Declaration offered specific proposals to prepare for Korean reunification in areas of humanitarianism, economic co-prosperity, and integration between the people of the two Koreas.
Dr. Ryu also introduced the Declaration for One United Korea, the result of more than five months of careful drafting and a statement of the ideals and values that can inform both the reunification process and a reunified Korean nation.
The Declaration affirmed that “for the first time in modern history,”
Following the presentation of the Declaration, noted composer Hyung Suk Kim introduced a new unification song, still being completed as a studio recording featuring some of Korea’s best-known K Pop recording artists and likened to the USA for Africa “We Are the World” recording of the 1980s. K Pop recording artists Yangpa and Na Yoon Kwon joined Kim for a duet, and as an encore presented an impromptu arrangement of the new unification song.
The One Korea Coalition is comprised of more than 1000 organizations working to raise awareness and promote policies that can end the division of the Korean peninsula. A rally for reunification will follow at the Lincoln Memorial on August 15, the seventieth anniversary of the liberation and subsequent division of the Korean peninsula at the 38th parallel. Events planned in Korea include a Declaration signature campaign, refugee education and scholarship program, a 160-mile walk/run/ride campaign (the length of the 38th Parallel dividing the two Koreas) and the Power of 1K Won donation initiative.
The One Dream One Korea campaign is an initiative of the One Korea Foundation, the Global Peace Foundation, Action for Korea United, and JW Marriott Hotel. The One Dream One Korea commemoration has been organized in conjunction with the New Era Unification Song Campaign Organizing Committee, with special sponsorship by the Ministry of Unification of the Republic of Korea and additional sponsorship by the Presidential Committee for Unification Preparation and the Committee for the 70th Anniversary of Liberation.
For more information on the One Korea Coalition, visit 1dream1korea.com.