President Moon Jae-in on Tuesday (US time) proposed transforming the Demilitarized Zone that divides the two Koreas into an “international peace zone.”
The idea was put forward in Moon’s keynote speech at the UN General Assembly in New York.
“Today I propose making the DMZ that cuts the Korean Peninsula across the middle into an ‘international peace zone’ based on these three principles,” Moon said, highlighting that the idea is based on his three principles for resolving Korean Peninsula issues.
The principles are preventing war, mutual security guarantees between the two Koreas, and the two sides achieving prosperity together.
“The DMZ is a common heritage of mankind, the value of which should be shared by the world. Once peace between the two Koreas is established, I will push for listing (the DMZ) as a UNESCO World Heritage jointly with North Korea.”
Under Moon’s vision, the area between Panmunjom and Kaesong in North Korea will be established as a “peace cooperation zone,” and UN organizations as well as organizations concerned with peace, ecosystems and culture would be set up within the DMZ.
In his speech, Moon also called for international cooperation in removing land mines from the DMZ.
“If North Korea carries out denuclearization, the international community should take corresponding measures. Establishing an international peace zone will provide a systematic and practical security guarantee for North Korea.”
According to Cheong Wa Dae officials, Moon’s proposal stems from the need to give North Korea tangible security guarantees, while at the same time reducing the threat of war for the South.
Moon also highlighted the roles the UN and US President Donald Trump have played in bringing North Korea to the negotiating table, and put forward his vision for inter-Korean economic cooperation.
“South Korea plans to create a virtuous circle where peace leads to economic cooperation, and economic cooperation in turn further consolidates peace,” Moon said.
Saying that peace on the Korean Peninsula is inseparable from world peace, Moon added that he would continue to seek cooperation with UN members in the process of establishing peace on the peninsula and achieving the denuclearization of North Korea.
The South Korean president also took the opportunity to stress the value of free trade, in an apparent jab at Japan.
“East Asia has achieved growth unprecedented in history through exchange, and economic division of labor and cooperation. The order of fair competition of free trade was the foundation,” Moon said.
“We could achieve further development when the value of fair and free trade is defended from the foundations of serious reflections on the past.”