▲ Governor calls for ‘energy peace’ at anniversary event. Photo courtesy Jeju Special Self-Governing Province
Politicians, provincial officials, local activists and people of arts and culture came together on Wednesday, Jan 27, to mark the 11th anniversary of Jeju as an Island of World Peace.
Jeju received its designation back in 2005 as the island sought a more prominent role in East Asian peace inspired by its geographic location and history of hosting summits.
The most notable of these summits was held in 1991 between Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev and Korean president Rho Tae Woo. The summit helped establish post-Cold War ties between the Soviet Union and South Korea.
Five years later, in April 1996, a summit was held between South Korean President Kim Young-Sam and US President Bill Clinton, and then in June by a meeting between Kim and Japanese Prime Minister Hashimoto Ryutaro.
While fewer high-level diplomatic summits are held on Jeju nowadays, there is still plenty of political capital in pursuing global peace.
Governor Won Hee-ryong reminded the audience in Tamna Hall at the Jeju Welcome Center that a peaceful future is a carbon-free future, and Jeju’s green energy model can be an inspiration for the world.
“The Jeju peace industry will extend worldwide... to contribute to global energy peace and produce future value for Korea,” said Won. “I think Jeju needs to extend peace as a life-enhancing economic peace... beyond international politics.”
The reconceptualization of Jeju’s peace role from diplomacy to regional cultural exchange and new and renewable energy promotion has been a feature of Won’s governorship.
Won also wants to increase exchanges with North Korea and the event also included a seminar on the repercussions of Pyongyang’s recent nuclear test for North-South relations.
The official title of the event was "North Korea's Fourth Nuclear Test and South-North Relations, and Peace Island Jeju," and a keynote speech was given by Lee Yong-jung, director of the Joongang Ilbo Unification Culture Research Institute.
To end the proceedings, a roundtable discussion on further implementation of peace island policies was held.
ⓒ Jeju Weekly 2009 (http://www.jejuweekly.com)
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