Dr. Roland B. Wilson, Program Coordinator and professor at Mason’s Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution, and Co-Director of the Peace and Conflict Studies Center Asia (PACSC Asia), was invited to speak at the 16th public forum for peace and prosperity held on Jeju island. The Jeju Peace Forum serves as a venue for policy discourse to seek peace and co-prosperity on the Korean Peninsula and in East Asia. The yearly forum brings together scholars, practitioners, and politicians from all around the world, including ambassadors, UN officials, EU representatives, and former presidents.
This year’s session entitled “The Choice of the Korean Peninsula in the Process of World Order Reorganization,” was sponsored by the Korea Institute for National Unification (KINU), and experts from various fields discussed ways to overcome the divisional system and devise a new Korean Peninsula system for peaceful coexistence, sustainable development, and potential unification.
Dr. Wilson, the first presenter at the forum, remarked on the significance of June 25th—the day after the forum—marking the 71st anniversary of the Korean War. He also praised Korea's economic growth, having developed from an OECD beneficiary country to a donor country. “The COVID-19 pandemic is deepening regionalism and nationalism, and increasing the risk of nuclear weapons proliferation and conflict,” stressed Dr. Wilson, adding, “inter-Korean relations may worsen and be beyond the point of rapprochement within three to five years if there are no new efforts of positive engagement.”
Participants in the forum agreed that the disconnected and varied opinions on the Korean Peninsula need to be resolved immediately and that efforts towards active engagement are needed for positive peace to occur.
Conflict Analysis and Resolution scholars and students at the Carter School and PACSC Asia are closely monitoring the changing dynamics of the Korean Peninsula amid the COVID-19 crisis. They are also committed to continuing to urge the two Koreas to restore dialogue and advance the peace process.
July 14, 2021