World Peace Forum 2017
June 24-25, 2017
On June 24-25, 2017, Tsinghua University hosted the Sixth World Peace Forum in Beijing, China. With the overarching theme of “On Challenges to International Security: Joint Efforts, Responsibility, and Reform,” the forum covered a wide range of topics related to international and regional security, security governance, and the future ahead. Korea Foundation for Advanced Studies and Tsinghua University co-hosted a special session on “ROK-PRC Relations and Regional Security” to address diverse issues ranging from North Korea’s nuclear weapons program to the recent controversy over the deployment of the THAAD system in South Korea.
The opening ceremony took place on the morning of June 24, hosted by President Qiu Ying of Tsinghua University. Chairman Tang Jiaxuan of the World Peace Forum delivered congratulatory remarks, followed by an opening speech by Vice Chairman Arken Imirbaki of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress of China. Mr. Imirbaki stated that, while today’s world enjoys historical wealth, it is also faced with unprecedented challenges such as inequality, terrorism, and climate change. He suggested that the concept of security be redefined, and that countries each fulfill their responsibilities and make joint efforts to address problem and reform the global security governance.
The subsequent plenary session was hosted by President Wu Hailong of the Chinese People’s Institute of Foreign Affairs, who addressed the theme of “Challenges to International Security.” In his speech, former President of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai pointed out how U.S. military actions in his country have destroyed the lives of its people, and urged cooperation between countries for a constructive solution, expressing high hopes for the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and China’s One Belt One Road Initiative. Former Prime Minister of Australia Kevin Rudd called for countries in the Asia-Pacific to make a more active use of regional institutions. The region must overcome the age-old mistrust between its members, so that regional institutions can become legally binding instruments to provide flexibility in setting forward-looking agenda for the region. To such end, key stakeholders like the U.S., China, and South Korea must all participate in such institutions.
In the afternoon, the “ROK-PRC Relations and Regional Security” session co-organized by Korea Foundation for Advanced Studies (KFAS) and Tsinghua University took place. Moderated by President Park In-kook of KFAS, the session brought together five experts to discuss a variety of critical issues. First, Professor Thomas J. Christensen of Princeton University (former U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs) argued that North Korea has cost China dearly in many ways. Punishing South Korea, the victim of North Korean nuclear missile programs, for the deployment of THAAD when North Korea is the fundamental reason behind the missile system in South Korea would help with neither regional security nor China’s own national security interests, he said. Professor Li Bin of Tsinghua University suggested that related countries should take a two-step approach to the North Korean problem, in which its nuclear and missile programs are first frozen, then gradually dismantled toward zero weapons. For this, he argued for facilitating exchanges between scientists from different countries, limiting U.S.-ROK joint military exercises, and powering off the radar on THAAD.
Professor Yoon Young-kwan, South Korea’s former Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, emphasized that the radar on the THAAD system is a forward-mode radar, which cannot survey Chinese territory. He called for international cooperation to freeze North Korean nuclear and missile programs. Former General Yao Yunzhu of the People’s Liberation Amy (PLA) contended that the North Korean nuclear issue must be dealt with via dialogue, and suggested that the U.S. and South Korea suspend their joint military exercises in exchange for a suspension of the North Korean nuclear developments. Lastly, Professor Chung Jae-ho of Seoul National University pointed out that the personal rapport between the leaders of China and South Korea failed the test of North Korean missile tests and THAAD, and called for improvements in strategic trust and perceptions between China and South Korea.