SEOUL/JEJU -- An annual international peace forum is set to kick off on the southern resort island of Jeju on Wednesday, with a focus on ways to promote global cooperation amid North Korea's continued saber-rattling, growing US-China rivalry, the Ukrainian crisis and the coronavirus pandemic.
The three-day Jeju Forum for Peace and Prosperity comes especially as the Russia-Ukraine war poses new challenges to the global security environment, accelerated by intensifying Washington-Beijing standoffs and growing nuclear threats from North Korea.
Under the main theme of "Beyond Conflict, Towards Peace: Coexistence and Cooperation," the forum will bring together experts and prominent figures, such as President of East Timor Jose Ramos-Horta, recipient of the 1996 Nobel Peace Prize, and former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, at the Jeju International Convention Center.
In Thursday's opening ceremony, Prime Minister Han Duck-soo will deliver his congratulatory message via video, followed by opening remarks from Oh Young-hun, governor of Jeju. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a potential Republic Party presidential candidate, is to deliver a keynote speech.
Foreign Minister Park Jin plans to hold a luncheon meeting with the governor on the sidelines to discuss ways to boost cooperation with the state of Maryland, as well as the US Inflation Reduction Act that excludes electric vehicles assembled outside North America from tax credits.
Japanese Ambassador to Seoul Koichi Aiboshi is scheduled to present his congratulatory remarks at a special session centered on ways to forge a "future-oriented relationship" between Seoul and Tokyo.
The forum is to consist of various sessions on the changing geopolitical dynamics in Northeast Asia, the Ukrainian war, the ongoing global health crisis and climate change, according to its organizer, the Jeju Peace Institute.
Since its launch in 2001, the event, formerly known as the Jeju Peace Forum, has grown into a regional multilateral dialogue platform for promoting sustainable peace and prosperity on the peninsula and beyond. It has been held annually since 2011 after it started as a biennial forum. (Yonhap)