De Venecia pushes peace mission to North Korea


FORMER House Speaker Jose de Venecia believes that two major international summits can be good opportunities for world leaders to come up with a new approach to address the Korean peninsula crisis.

De Venecia, a special envoy for Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and Inter-Cultural Dialogue, said leaders of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) and the 21-member APEC could explore the possibility of forming a small team to lead negotiations with North Korea.

He noted that the APEC meeting in Vietnam to be held on November 8 to 11 and the Asean summit in the
Philippines on November 10 to 14 are opportunities for the leaders to explore the idea of sending a joint peace mission to Pyongyang.

President Rodrigo Duterte in a recent speech said someone should talk to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to convince him nobody is out to remove him or destroy his country.

De Venecia said a joint peace mission could help ease tensions in the Korean peninsula and pave the way for an enduring peace in the area.

He said the inter-Korean talks could be at senior or mid-levels, representing not more than seven parties including key APEC members like the United States, China, Russia, Japan, South Korea, a representative of Asean, and North Korea.

“Progress could be publicized or unpublicized with a recess on the eve of the Christmas holidays, and the talks could target preliminary understanding by early next year,” de Venecia said in a statement.

The former speaker noted that a meeting of the two Koreas, with the participation of APEC and Asean representatives, could even lead to the inclusion of North Korea in the Asean Plus 3 nations.

“This would add North Korea to the current Asean Plus 3, which includes the 10 Asean nations plus China,
Japan, and South Korea. In the future, perhaps the two Koreas could consider a “unification” or “confederation,” he added.

De Venecia, the founding chairman of the International Conference of Asian Political Parties (ICAPP), counts Pyongyang’s Korean Workers Party as one of ICAPP’s more than 300 ruling, opposition and independent parties as members.

Also, as co-chairman of the International Association of Parliamentarians for Peace (IAPP), he plans to invite the North Korean Parliament to nominate delegates to the IAPP.

The unification of Korea, de Venecia said, is not impossible, citing the cases of Germany and Vietnam.

“Unforeseen, unnegotiated geo-political circumstances eventually proved everyone wrong, resulting finally in a strong, prosperous united Germany and a flourishing united Vietnam,” he pointed out.

De Venecia is on a visit to Iran to promote Inter-Cultural Dialogue and to pursue a project for a petrochemicals complex in Pangasinan and Northern Luzon.


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