By Kim Minji
President Moon Jae-in on Sept. 24 in New York proposed transforming the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) separating the two Koreas into an international peace zone at the 74th United Nations (U.N.) General Assembly.
In his keynote speech, the president talked about developing the DMZ into a peace zone based on the three principles of zero tolerance for war, mutual security guarantees and co-prosperity, adding that these principles are also completely aligned with the U.N.’s values.
President Moon is the first Korean leader to give a keynote speech at the U.N. General Assembly for three years in a row.
He also suggested making the DMZ a UNESCO World Heritage Site, presenting the designation of the area connecting the U.N. truce village of Panmunjeom and the North Korean border city of Gaeseong as a “peace and cooperation district” and removal of mines in the DMZ as concrete ways to implement his proposal.
President Moon said he and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un agreed on the peaceful use of the DMZ and that a groundbreaking ceremony for connecting and modernizing railroads and roads in the two Koreas was conducted. “All of these efforts constitute a process that will help solidify the foundation for peace on the Korean Peninsula and also contribute to peace and stability in Northeast Asia,” he added.
“When the DMZ that cuts across the midriff of the Korean Peninsula is turned into a peace zone, the peninsula will evolve into a bridging nation that connects the continent and the ocean and facilitates peace and prosperity.”
President Moon also stressed the world’s role in the peacemaking process on the peninsula, saying, “If North Korea makes sincere efforts to implement denuclearization, the international community should also reciprocate.”