The Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) is the only place in the world which has been preserved for the past 60 years due to the Korean War. As South Korea has been vigorously working toward achieving unification with the North, it is the time for the world to mend the broken ties. The DMZ has special potential to better promote the unification between the South and North, and promote the world¡¯s peace and security. Thus, the world should support a significant push to house the 5th United Nations Office in the DMZ.
There are currently 54 Asian countries that are part of the UN out of the total 193 participating countries. Asian populations have been growing dramatically, accounting for approximately 60% of the total population of the world.Asia also account for over a third of the World GDP and should reach 50% of the World GDP by 2050. The Asia-Pacific region will continue to grow rapidly; therefore, it is the time for the world to put more emphasis on diplomatic issues that may arise in the near future.
However at present, there is not a UN Office to serve this purpose in Asia.There is the need of a UN Office in Asia to maintain international peace and security, promote sustainable development, protect human rights, uphold international law and deliver humanitarian aid. Perhaps the DMZ might be best designated to establish a UN Peace Complex due to its historical value. This plan could be a key unification policy without using military force. In addition, South Korea would be able to play a vital role, being a middle power to balance the foreign policies of US and China, as well as helping the big 4 (US, China, Russia and Japan) to balance the strategic power in Asia.
President Park, Geun-Hye made a campaign promise that she will turn the DMZ into an internationally-neutral place which symbolizes peace.She has requested aide to build the World¡¯s Eco Park in the DMZ during her speeches at the US Congress in 2013 and at the United Nations General Assembly in 2014. While the Park administration has been seeking viable options for the Peace Park, it was Chairwomen Kim, Eul-Dong who recently began endorsing the 5th UN Office in the DMZ. Kim currently serves as the Chairwomen of the State Affairs Committee at Saenuri Party in South Korea.
A few months ago, Kim strongly urged the members of the National Assembly of Korea to uphold this special cause and also sent letters to President Obama, Secretary General Ban, Ki-Moon and President Xi Jinping, informing them of the importance of establishing the 5th UN Office in the DMZ. In the meanwhile, the Korean government has yet to publicly comment on this subject.
Although the suggestion of the 5th UN Office in the DMZ may seem reasonable, it will pose a few problems. Most importantly, it will be extremely difficult to persuade North Korea, as North Korea¡¯s leader Kim Jong-Un, already has expressed disapproval of President Park¡¯s World¡¯s Eco Park idea.Further, China can be problematic; they may interpret this plan as a containment strategy for the US to consistently monitor China. Hence, this significant proposal to host the UN Office in the DMZ has to bring about a concerted effort from the international society.
- Jimmy Youn serves as Research Fellow at the Indo-Korea Business and Policy Forum.