On April 24, Oh Joon, the former South Korean Ambassador to the UN, delivered a lecture entitled “Unification on the Korean Peninsula from the UN's Perspective."
According to Mr. Oh, the DPRK nuclear issue is the most important thing to resolve in order to achieve unification. The toughest sanctions until now were put in place last year including imposing an arms embargo; the ban of North Korean sales of copper, nickel, silver, and zinc; targed financial sanctions and the freezing of assets freeze. Mr. Oh predicted that North Korea would not be able to withstand all these sanctions any longer. He used the famous proverb "the last straw that breaks the camel’s back" to describe the effects of sanctions. As one light straw breaks a camel's back at one point, sanctions against North Korea will have a gradual impact on North Korea's behavior. Finally, Mr. Oh stressed that being interested in unification, is essential to achieving unification for the Korean people who share the same ethnicity.
"For South Koreans, people in North Korea are not just anybodies. Millions of South Koreans still have our family members and relatives living in the North. We only hope that one day in the future when we look back on what we did today we will be able to say that we did the right thing for the people of North Korea."
This speech was given by Mr. Oh when the UN Security Council addressed the North Korean human rights issue for the first time in its history. According to a survey by the Institute for Peace and Unification Studies at Seoul National University, 60% of South Koreans in their 50s answered that unification should be achieved. On the other hand only 40% of people in their 20s favoured unification. Mr. Oh stressed that even though the ROK's economy has developed significantly, the Korean peninsula is still separated and the North Korean people's human rights are violated, and that more people should be invested in achieving unification.
Next week, on May 1, the former director of the Ministry of Unification's Inter-Korean Exchanges and Co-operation Bureau Mr. Jung-tae Kim, will speak about “the Role of Policy and Diplomacy in the ROK's Efforts for Unification”.