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Participants in Jeju forum urge global cooperation in tackling pending challenges

All News 16:28 September 15, 2022

By Yi Wonju

JEJU, South Korea, Sept. 15 (Yonhap) -- Government officials, former U.N. chief and other world leaders joining an annual forum here Thursday called for the strengthening of multilateral cooperation in tackling geopolitical instability and the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic in an "unprecedented era of overlapping crises."

During the opening ceremony of the Jeju Forum for Peace and Prosperity, the participants took note of growing geopolitical tensions from the Russia-Ukraine war and escalating U.S.-China rivalry while the international community struggles to rein in other challenges, including the continued spread of the coronavirus.

They included South Korean Prime Minister Han Duck-soo, President of East Timor Jose Ramos-Horta, former U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, former Indonesian President Megawati Soekarnoputri and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan.

"We need to adopt a prudent strategy based on close discussions and coordination as the environment of the global society we currently face is very serious and complicated," Han said in a video message.

Ramos-Horta also joined the forum virtually, calling for worldwide efforts to put an end to global conflicts.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan delivers a keynote speech during the Jeju Forum for Peace and Prosperity at the Jeju International Convention Center on Jeju Island on Sept. 15, 2022. (Yonhap)

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan delivers a keynote speech during the Jeju Forum for Peace and Prosperity at the Jeju International Convention Center on Jeju Island on Sept. 15, 2022. (Yonhap)

Gov. Hogan urged the world to "stand united behind the enduring value of freedom and democracy" at such a "pivotal moment" in history.

"Many of the other great leaders, like (former President) Reagan, that brought about the peaceful end of the Cold War are no longer with us, and the task of ensuring peace and prosperity in our time now falls to the world leaders here today at the Jeju Forum," he said in a keynote speech.

Hogan, a potential Republic Party presidential candidate, was visiting Jeju with his Korean-American wife, Yumi, in his first trip to South Korea in seven years. Some members of the local media have given him the nickname "son-in-law of South Korea."

Touching on North Korea's hardening of its nuclear doctrine, former U.N. chief Ban appealed to the international community to take "firm measures" against Pyongyang. Last week, the North adopted a new law on an "automatic" launch of a nuclear strike if its regime security is endangered.

Ban highlighted the need for a "future-oriented" approach in an "unprecedented era of overlapping crises and elevating uncertainty," noting security challenges, such as the growing rivalry between Washington and Beijing, and the Ukraine war, as well as the coronavirus pandemic and climate change.

In his opening remarks, Jeju Gov. Oh Young-hun said the international competition for hegemony is "exploding across the world" with neglected efforts to learn lessons from the COVID-19 crisis on the importance of multilateral cooperation.

Since its launch in 2001, the event, formerly known as the Jeju Peace Forum, has grown into a regional multilateral dialogue platform for promoting sustainable peace and prosperity on the peninsula and beyond. This year's forum is to run through Friday.

Former U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon delivers a keynote speech during the Jeju Forum for Peace and Prosperity at the Jeju International Convention Center on Jeju Island on Sept. 15, 2022. (Yonhap)

Former U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon delivers a keynote speech during the Jeju Forum for Peace and Prosperity at the Jeju International Convention Center on Jeju Island on Sept. 15, 2022. (Yonhap)

julesyi@yna.co.kr
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