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Litmus test for Jeju Forum for Peace and Prosperity
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승인 2013.05.29  19:54:22
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▲ Freda Miriklis, BPW International President, at Special Session I. Photo by Kim Seonyeong

Jeju Forum for Peace and Prosperity 2013 opened on May 29 at Haevichi Hotel and Resort, Pyoseon. This is the 8th Jeju Forum and features the key speakers, Mahathir Mohamad, former Prime Minister of Malaysia; Hatoyama Yukio, former Prime Minister of Japan; Hakubun Shimomura - Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan; Jim Rogers - investment expert; Freda Miriklis, International President of BPW International; and Han Seung-soo, former Prime Minister of Korea.

Freda Miriklis, the president of the International Federation of Business and Professional Women (BPW) was the opening speaker for Special Session 1: ‘21st Century : ‘Asian Century’, Women’s Century’ - Achieving Full Economic Potential Through Gender Equality”.

She expressed her joy at being on Jeju: “It’s a great joy to be back here, in the beautiful island of Jeju, island of women, and of course, one of the world’s true seven wonders of nature. A home to legends... and Kim Mandeok, a woman who lived her life with courage, conviction and commitment to both society and commerce in ways women had not done before. And a home to the diving women, haenyeo, an idol and...of course an indigenous women’s empowerment driving economic force in Jeju for centuries.” She closed her speech in Korean, saying “gamsahamnida,” meaning “thank you.”

This forum is billed as an important platform for addressing the unstable and complicated political situation between Japan and South Korea, South Korea and North Korea, and Japan and China.

An example of the problems were the recent remarks by Hashimoto Doru, Osaka City mayor, who stated “It was necessary to have enforced sex slaves” in reference to the “comfort women” - enforced sex slaves - raped by Japanese servicemen during World War II. This caused repercussions within Japan and in neighboring countries and the US State Department expressed displeasure about these words: the Forum provides a venue to seek avenues of reconciliation.

The threat of nuclear war with North Korea and the expulsion of South Korean workers from Gaeseong over the last few months will also be on the agenda, as will lingering territorial disputes between Korea, China and Japan.

As many inspiring talks and ideas are shared at the Jeju Forum for Peace and Prosperity, it remains to be seen whether it can provide realizeable solutions for Asia’s peaceful future.

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