Inter-Korean Border Management Committee Establishment and Other Policies Proposed at DMZ International Forum

Createdd 2019-09-23 Hit 74


○ Plenary sessions held on six themes including DMZ history and ecology, border area development, tourism, peace and reconciliation held on September 19
○ Panels joined by approximately 60 Korean and foreign pundits; each session was led by 1 chairperson with the participation of 2 to 3 speakers and 3 debaters
○ Forum results shared and policy proposals discussed during the roundtable meeting held on September 20 under the moderation of the Gyeonggi Vice Governor of Peace

During the 2019 DMZ International Forum held at KINTEX in Goyang City from September 19 to 20, the Gyeonggi Research Institute (Director Lee Han-ju) hosted plenary sessions on six themes with the aim of launching a new era of peace and cooperation beyond the division of the Korean Peninsula.

The plenary sessions were held following the opening ceremony with keynote speeches organized by the Gyeonggi Research Institute. Reflecting the diverse values of and various policy agendas for the DMZ, the sessions covered the following six themes: peace platform, sustainable ecosystem, joint border development, DMZ adventure tourism, women’s peace movement, and peace based on shared memories and reconciliation.

The forum was attended by approximately 60 Korean and foreign pundits with each session featuring six to eight Korean and foreign participants (1 chairperson, 2 to 3 speakers, and 3 debaters).

Among the renowned foreign experts who attended the plenary sessions as speakers and debaters were: Scott Snyder, senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR); Alex Attwood, former Minister for Social Affairs and Environment in the Northern Ireland Executive; Nial Moores, president of Birds Korea; Robert Biwer, senior vice-president of the Committee of the Regions of the European Union; Haiyan Song, professor at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University; Gloria Steinem, an American social and political activist; and Kan Kimura, professor at Kobe University.

Korean participants included: Yang Bo-gyeong, president of Sungshin Women’s University; Jeong Geun-sik, professor at Seoul National University; Kwon Hyeok-su, senior researcher at the National Institute of Ecology; Park Yeon-hee, president of ICLEI Korea; Lim Eul-chul, professor at Kyungnam University; Nam Jeong-ho, researcher at the Korea Maritime Institute; Shin Jang-seop, president of the Korea Institute for Ecology and Culture; Jeon Hyo-jae, director of the Tourism Industry Research Division of the Korea Culture & Tourism Institute; Cho Young-mi, executive director of Korean Women’s Movement for Peace; Kim Do-hyeong, president of the Northeast Asian History Foundation; Nam Gi-jeong, professor at Seoul National University; and Jang Bu-seung, professor at Kansai Gaidai University.

During the Peace Platform Session (Theme 1), Scott Snyder, senior fellow at CFR, insisted that “to change the DMZ into a peace zone, we need to take more proactive steps, such as transferring the responsibility for managing border areas including the DMZ to the private sector.”

Cho Han-beom, senior fellow of the Korea Institute for National Unification, made the following proposal: “It is necessary to establish an inner boundary management office to systematically manage the great brand values of the DMZ and the border areas. It is also necessary to introduce a cooperative system for resolving issues such as forests, water resources and infectious diseases and to organize an inter-Korean border area management committee to prepare for an era of unification by referring to Germany’s experiences with internal border management.”

During the Sustainable Ecosystem Session (Theme 2), Nial Moores, president of Birds Korea, expressed concern over the ecological impact of development projects unilaterally proposed by South Korea on the border areas; he proposed joint projects that share ecological initiatives between the two Koreas through the purchase of ecologically important lands and support of sustainable agriculture in the DMZ area.

During the Joint Border Development Session (Theme 3), Park Se-yeong, former professor at Yanbian University of Science and Technology, made the following assertion: “We should open a new era for the Korean Peninsula with the concept of an inter-Korean border city. The development plan of such a city needs to involve other Northeast Asian countries as well as the two Koreas so that it can lead the future of the region.” He added, “The concept of a mobile and moving city should be introduced to preserve and utilize the ecology of the DMZ.”

Lim Eul-chul, professor at Kyungnam University, suggested the establishment of a space for inter-Korean cooperation, saying, “The creation of a peace belt in the border areas, which is propelled by the South Korean government as a key policy for the new economy of the Korean Peninsula, should enable the peoples of the two Koreas to share the benefits of the project, and the establishment of a peace zone and an inter-Korean exchange and cooperation space that will serve as a center for the promotion of related policies is necessary.”

He also suggested that “the development of the peace zone be centered on tourism that can be easily approached in the early stages of exchange, and then on high value-added service industries such as education, medical care, and finance to cultivate the area as a center of cooperation in these sectors.”

During the DMZ Adventure Tourism Session (Theme 4), Kim Jae-ho, professor at Inha Technical College, proposed the introduction of the concept of an ecological museum as a DMZ tourism development model under the principle of “development without development” so as to revitalize DMZ and inter-Korean tourism.

“It is necessary to designate major bases for development, including Imjingak, and link them with DMZ tourism resources in Gyeonggi Province, ultimately expanding the concept of the ‘Gyeonggi DMZ Eco Museum’ to Incheon and Gangwon Province so as to establish an open model for DMZ tourism across Korea,” added Kim.

During the session, titled “Peace on the Korean Peninsula and Women Crossing Borders: From the DMZ to the women’s peace movement” (Theme 5), two Gyeonggi provincial women’s movement leaders, Kim Jeong-su (president of Women Making Peace) and Lee Jeong-su (president of Kyunggi Women’s Group Associations United) underlined the role of women in promoting the peace of the DMZ and Korean Peninsula, saying: “Women should break the existing male-centered frameworks of war and peace, security and men, and become the subjects of activities for promoting peace.”

The last session, titled “Peace Based on Shared Memories and Reconciliation,” was highlighted by the proposition of the establishment of “a shared memory center” by Kim Min-cheol, professor at Kyung Hee University, who said: “For the two Koreas to jointly repair the past, they need to establish a ‘shared memory center’ in the DMZ and carry out a joint investigation of damage inflicted by the Japanese occupation, including the forced mobilization of Korean workers.”

The discussions held on the six themes during the 11 plenary sessions were shared at the roundtable meeting held on September 20 under the moderation of the Gyeonggi Vice Governor of Peace and with the participation of representatives of the theme sessions. The results of the discussions will be reflected in Gyeonggi Province’s DMZ and peace policy tasks, which will be implemented in close consultation with the central government.