By Jung Joo-ri and Lee Jihae
President Moon Jae-in, in New York to attend the United Nations (U.N.) General Assembly, on Sept. 24 said the teachings of Indian pro-independence activist Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948) have served as a “compass” for peace on the Korean Peninsula.
In an event commemorating the 150th anniversary of Gandhi’s birthday at U.N. headquarters, the president said, “There is no path to peace. Peace is the path.”
He said Gandhi’s teachings embody the principles of the U.N., adding, “Gandhi is a great mentor who offers wisdom and courage for Koreans who are opening an era of eternal peace.”
President Moon said this year not only marks the 150th anniversary of Gandhi’s birth but also the centenary of Korea’s March First Independence Movement.
The president quoted Gandhi’s message to Korea sent on Jan 15, 1927, that said, “Joseon (Korea’s name at the time) would come to fully belong to Joseon through absolutely and genuinely nonviolent means.”
“India and Korea, both of which underwent the tribulations of colonialism, were companions of liberation that gave inspiration and courage to each other,” the president added.
On bilateral ties, President Moon said, “Based on the common values of democracy and mutual prosperity, India and Korea are enhancing their relationship as special strategic partners.”
About 300 dignitaries attended the event including Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.