Business for Peace DECLARATION on North Korea North Korea
If the geo-political situation allows, can business play a role for peace?
Prepared by H.E. Philip McDonagh, former Irish Ambassador to India, Holy See, Finland, Russia, OSCE, and represented Ireland in the Northern Ireland Peace Process; also, senior fellow, Princeton University
Business initiatives in support of rapprochement on the Korean peninsula (Kaesong Industrial Zone, Kumgangsan tourism) are suspended as a result of North Korea’s weapons programme and international sanctions including those imposed by the UN Security Council.
The current ‘Olympic Truce’ appears to have been accompanied by an indirect indication from Pyongyang that it is willing to halt for now the further development of its missile and nuclear programme: this can be inferred from announcements that the deterrent is now in place.
International precedent suggests that the peaceful resolution of any situation of crisis requires three conditions to be fulfilled:
- — recognition of the need and the opportunity;
- — a step-by-step process accompanied by confidence-building measures;
- — a vision of the ‘peace dividend’ that could follow once the crisis is overcome
Business is an essential part of any multi-stakeholder approach to peacebuilding and can play a role in relation to each these points.
First, business actors can lobby the UN and individual governments to support every effort at dialogue on the Korean peninsula, in order to find new ways of overcoming the current danger.
Second, business can contribute to the policy debate about the shape and content of a future step-by-step process. For example, business operates across borders and can advocate for (i) a strong regional and international dimension to any peace process; (ii) economic confidence-building measures such as respecting different social systems in the context of economic cooperation: and (iii) a comprehensive approach to future peacebuilding taking economic and environmental issues into account.
Third, business can help to make the ‘peace dividend’ more real in people’s minds by beginning to envisage projects and investments that might come on stream under improved geopolitical conditions.
The draft declaration annexed below follows the example of the 1991 Agreement between South and North and a number of leading contemporary commentators in applying ‘lessons learned’ in the CSCE (‘Helsinki’) process of the 1970s.
We the participants in the Global Business & Interfaith Peace Symposium:
- — fully respecting the legal framework established by the relevant UN Security Council resolutions
- — welcoming the Olympic Truce between Seoul and Pyongyang and the opportunity for contact across the demarcation line
- — recalling previous frameworks for dialogue including the Six-Party Talks and the Agreement on Reconciliation, Non-Aggression, and Exchanges and Cooperation
- — conscious of the current danger and the responsibility that falls on all actors to avoid conflict and sow seeds of hope and progress
Agree as follows:
- 1. We will use our influence in support of every effort at dialogue aimed at discerning new ways of overcoming the current disputes
- 2. We will advocate for a common peace in Asia in the form of a step-by-step, inclusive, and comprehensive process based, first, on agreed principles; and second, on measured, parallel progress on security and arms control, humanitarian issues, and economic development
- 3. We commit to a peace dividend and will work towards projects of high value and visibility to come on stream on the Korean peninsula once the necessary security guarantees are in place
- 4. We stand ready to support a new Asia-Pacific Initiative – a team of experts to reach out to policymakers, parliamentarians, and academic institutions with a view to developing policy ideas within a fixed time-frame for a possible future conference on security and cooperation in East Asia