Journalist Forum for World Peace kicks off in South Korea with concerns over nuclear-crazy North Ko

Tuesday, 19 April 2016 00:03 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

By Nisthar Cassim in Seoul, South Korea

The Journalist Forum for World Peace kicked off yesterday in Seoul in a bid to strengthen the role of media towards global security with special focus on denuclearisation on the Korean Peninsula.

Hosted by Journalists Association of Korea, the five-day gathering has invited 80 editors and senior journalists from 50 countries including the Daily FT from Sri Lanka. 

The initiative comes hot on the heels of North Korea continuing to push ahead with an aggressive nuclear weapons program, threatening peace in Asia and the world. Action by North Korea led by its maverick head Kim Jong-un is despite successive resolutions passed and sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council and worldwide condemnation.

On Friday, North Korea fired its first medium range ballistic missile though it was reported that the mission failed. In January and February, North Korea proved its nuclear arsenal by testing and launching a long-range rocket which prompted UN-led sanctions in March. Korea at present remains the world’s only divided country, a development that sparked 70 years ago. 

Relations between North and South have deteriorated with multiple global efforts spearheaded by South Korea, US, China, Japan and Russia, have either stalled or failed thus far to produce desired results largely on account of North Korea’s actions. South Korea has warned that North Korea can now at any time conduct a nuclear test.

This week’s Forum in Seoul with senior journalists drawn from world over will discuss the role of media for world peace and step up pressure on North Korea to denuclearise. Through the Journalist Forum for World Peace, organisers plan to adopt the ‘Declaration of Peace on the Korean Peninsula’.

“Twenty-seven years have passed since the collapse of the Berlin Wall but the wall of national division grows stronger and higher on the Korean Peninsula for over 70 years,” declared Seoul’s Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Kim Jongdeok after inaugurating the Forum yesterday.

“The international community must send an effective message to North Korea that there is no way out but a path to denuclearise,” emphasised South Korea’s Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs Lim Sungnam, who expressed the hope that a collective global effort could bring Pyongyang and its young leader Kim Jong-un to the right side of history.

The South Korean Government representatives and other experts who spoke at the inauguration warned that nuclear tensions in Korean Peninsula would endanger rest of Asia, the world’s economic powerhouse and thereby global prosperity. Despite its own challenges, South Korea has advanced itself to become world’s 10th largest economy.

“A nuclear-minded North Korea is a greater threat to not only South Korea but to rest of Asia and the world,” Seoul’s Vice Foreign Minister warned, adding that North Korea was on a self-destructive path too at present.

The Forum drove home the point that every journalist must be a peacemaker and that when an informed public speaks, the Government listens.

The 52-year old Journalists Association of Korea is a member of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ).