Turning DMZ into peace zone to serve as guarantee of security for Koreas: FM

SEOUL--- Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha said Thursday that turning the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) that bisects the two Koreas into a global peace zone will serve as a "physical guarantee of security" and solidify peace in the region.

She made the remark as Seoul was marking the 74th anniversary of the establishment of the United Nations, referring to President Moon Jae-in's proposal to the U.N. General Assembly in New York last month.

"When the DMZ is turned into such a peace zone with the participation of the international community, it will surely serve as a physical guarantee of security of both Koreas, cement the foundation for lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula and contribute to greater peace and stability in Northeast Asia," Kang told a U.N. Day ceremony held in Seoul.

The DMZ is a strip of land, roughly 250 kilometers long and 4 km wide, that runs between the two Koreas. It has served as a buffer zone since it was formed under an armistice agreement signed between North Korea, China and the United Nations Command after the 1950-53 Korean War, which ended in a truce, not a peace treaty.

Moon said transforming the DMZ into a peace zone will provide "an institutional and realistic guarantee to North Korea's security."

To that end, Kang highlighted the importance of the U.N.'s assistance in efforts to further promote the peace process.

"The support of the United Nations and the international community has been crucial in advancing dialogue on the Korean Peninsula, and will remain essential in making our vision of permanent peace on our homeland come true."

Kang, known for her extensive career at the U.N., also expressed concerns over growing signs around the world that undermine multilateralism, the spirit under which the U.N. is based.

"There is also an erosion of trust in multilateralism itself, at a time when global challenges and new threats to peace and security require a more concerted and integrated international response than ever before."

She called for extended efforts to strengthen its presence by embracing key challenges and agendas, from humanitarian assistance and peacekeeping to security, human rights and development issues.

"It's hard to imagine a world without the U.N. But it's not so hard to imagine the dire consequences of its weakening for the rule-based international order and peaceful relations among nations and the wellbeing of humanity," Kang noted.

"The government of the Republic of Korea will be sparing no efforts to shore up trust in multilateralism and its preeminent organization," she added.

South Korea, along with the North, joined the U.N. in 1991. According to the foreign ministry, South Korea is the 11th-largest contributor and has dispatched 17,000 military personnel to peacekeeping operations around the world to date.

Marking U.N. Day, a separate ceremony was also held in the southern port city of Busan to commemorate the U.N. founding, as well as the soldiers from the member states who fought in the Korean War. The city is hosting a series of memorial and peace-related events over the next two weeks.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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