Korea should look further afield in talks to denuclearize NK: former UN undersecretary-general
Published : May 10, 2022 - 14:36
Updated : May 10, 2022 - 14:36
Former UN Undersecretary-General Kim Won-soo delivers a lecture on “Changing world affairs and Korea’s future” at Korea CQ Forum in Myeong-dong, Seoul, on May 3. (Sanjay Kumar/The Korea Herald)
 South Korea needs to look beyond the major powers in its bid to denuclearize North Korea, former UN Undersecretary-General Kim Won-soo told the Korea CQ Forum in Seoul last week.

Citing the EU’s role in Iran’s denuclearization talks, South Korea can bring India, Mexico, Indonesia, or other countries who share similar interests and have a significant international presence without being strongly aligned with the US and China, Kim said, stressing there are functional approaches that can be taken instead of political ones.

Other than the US, China, Russia and Japan that surround the Korean Peninsula, other powers, such as the EU, could help bring back North Korea to the negotiating table to end its nuclear weapons programs, Kim said.

Kim was speaking at the forum on May 3 hosted by the Corea Image Communication Institute, this time in cooperation with the Liszt Institute. The forum, moderated by CICI President Choi Jung-wha who founded the organization in 2003, gathers ambassadors, journalists, business representatives and opinion leaders from Korea to discuss topical social issues.

The remarks come as North Korea has been ramping up missile launches this year, conducting 15 weapons tests, including the launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile. 
Attendees pose for group photo during the closing session of the Korea CQ Forum at the Hungarian Cultural Center located in UNESCO Building, Myeong-dong, Seoul, May 3. From left in the back row are Hungarian Cultural Center Director Istvan Medvigy, Mint Tour CEO Park Youn-jung, Hungarian Culture Institute Deputy Director Andras Szuts, and Spoqa CEO Richard Choi. From left in the front row are Hungary Honorary Consul Ryu Kwon-ha, The Korea Herald journalist Sanjay Kumar, International Advisory Board of the Future Consensus Institute Chair Kim Won-Soo, CICI President Choi Jung-wha, Hungarian Ambassador Mozes Csoma and his wife Nam Sun-mi, NAS Communication President Na Eun-gyung, Cs President Didier Beltoise, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies professor Crystal Park; and the Korea Times journalist Dong Sun-hwa. (Corea Image Communication Institute)
According to Kim, South Korea’s security environment is at its worst point since the Korean War. On top of issues such as freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, South Korea is also facing problems domestically -- intensified social division, regional rivalry and the widening gap between rich and poor due to COVID-19.

Hungarian Ambassador to Korea Mozes Csoma interacts with former UN Undersecretary-General Kim Won-soo at Korea CQ Forum. (Sanjay Kumar/The Korea Herald)
That is why the incoming administration should “get back to basics” in mapping out its foreign and security policies, he said, stressing the need for national consensus.

In doing so, Korea should “aim for the best, but prepare for worst” by developing contingency plans, thinking ahead and coordinating with allies and partners.

“If another world war happens, both Koreas are in a difficult situation,” Kim warned, pointing to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. “If such case happens with Korea what we are going to do?”

“There is no magic solution,” Kim said, as whatever choice Korea makes will come with downsides and costs.

Should Korea choose a closer alliance with the US, it will inevitably impact relations with China, Korea’s biggest trading partner, he said, adding that “alliance comes with reciprocity.”

Liszt Institute Director Istvan Medvigy delivers a short presentation on Hungarian wine culture and its diversities at the Korea CQ Forum on May 3. (Sanjay Kumar/The Korea Herald)
Meanwhile, Hungarian Ambassador to Korea Mozes Csoma, as well as Istvan Medvigy, director of the Liszt Institute, a Hungarian culture center, presented the forum’s participants with Hungarian delicacies and a special selection of Hungarian wines.

Medvigy, a wine expert, delivered a short presentation on the cultural background of Hungarian wines and wine culture.
He also spoke about the mission of the Liszt Institute, which aims to promote Hungarian culture in Korea and strengthen relations and public diplomacy on a wide spectrum through art exhibitions, movies, classical, folk and pop music, arts and crafts, culinary events, sports, education, design and street art.

By Sanjay Kumar (