By Xu Aiying and Yoon Sojung
President Moon Jae-in on Sept. 22 emphasized an end-of-war declaration by both Koreas, saying, "Peace on the Korean Peninsula will guarantee peace in Northeast Asia as a whole and, going one step further, bring positive changes to the world."
In a videoconference of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, he said in a keynote speech, "I believe it (inter-Korean peace) begins with declaring an end to the (Korean) War, an act that can affirm mutual commitments to peace."
"The end-of-war declaration will, indeed, open the door to complete denuclearization and permanent peace regime on the Korean Peninsula."
Mentioning the incomplete peace talks on the peninsula, he said, "However, peace on the Korean Peninsula is still in the making and changes that used to brimming with hopes have stalled," adding, "My belief remains unchanged that we can achieve denuclearization and bring lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula with international community’s continued support and cooperation."
On his administration's response to COVID-19, President Moon expressed his intent to extend inter-Korean quarantine cooperation that he proposed to respond to COVID-19 earlier as a multilateral safety guarantee structure that transcends borders.
"At the end of the day, the South and the North are bound by a single community of life, intertwined by mountains, rivers and seas stretching across the two sides," he said.
"When one is exposed to infectious diseases or natural disasters, so is the other, requiring the two to cooperate to overcome these challenges."
Proposing the launch of the Northeast Asia Cooperation Initiative for Infectious Disease Control and Public Health comprising both Koreas, China, Japan and Mongolia, the president said, "A cooperative architecture that guarantees collective protection of life and safety will lay the groundwork for North Korea to have its security guaranteed by engaging with the international community."
On the U.N.’s role in responding to COVID-19, he said, "It lies in returning to the spirit of the UN Charter, that is believing in universal values of humankind, and it lies in marching toward a more inclusive world through multilateral action."
"In the post-COVID-19 era, the UN should be tasked with spreading these universal values even further to resolve complex global challenges such as cooperation in healthcare, economic cooperation for sustainable development and climate action."