Days before the Trump-Kim summit in Singapore, scholars, parliamentarians and prominent civil society figures convened at a conference in Mongolia to explore Mongolia’s role in resolving the ongoing Korean crisis. The conference called for the launch of a process that leads to the peaceful reunification of the Korean people thereby addressing the root issues of the 70-year division between North and South that had led to war and continuing tensions.

Republic of Korea National Assembly member, Hon. JK Lee (left) with Mongolian Parliamentarian

Dr. Hyun Jin Preston Moon has been making the case for Mongolia’s engagement in Korean reunification and Northeast Asian peace since the Global Peace Leadership Conference held in Ulaanbaatar in 2011. “The Mongolian people have a rich and proud history, a strong spiritual heritage, and deep family traditions. Mongolia is now poised to play a unique role as a leader for global peace,” Dr. Moon told the conference. He highlighted the legacy of the Mongol people. Pax Mongolica, was one of the longest eras of peace where trade and culture flourished throughout the Mongol empire. The empire was sustained by the vision that Genghis Khan articulated, to unite “One People under One Heaven.” During his reign, his empire was governed by the principles of respect for religious freedom, cultural diversity and individual merit. In addition, Mongolia’s modern day story provides important lessons for North Korea and South Korea as they move towards reunification. Dr. Moon has encouraged the study of the Mongolian model both for its remarkable Pax Mongolica legacy as well as for the country’s peaceful transition from communism to democracy in the 1990s. He explores both of these in his 2014 book, Korean Dream: A Vision for a Unified Korea. In it, he also observes that Mongolia has maintained diplomatic relations with all major international and regional powers, including North and South Korea. This unique position can be an asset in resuming the Six Party Talks in a way that can engage the entire region. At the most recent forum, speakers noted that Mongolia and North Korea started in similar situations when the Soviet Union collapsed and ended their subsidies. But the two nations have gone down “markedly different” paths.

President Donald Trump shakes hands with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on June 12 at Singapore’s Capella Hotel in what is the first meeting between a sitting U.S. president and a North Korean leader. Photo by Shealah Craighead/UPI

Mongolia’s peaceful transition to a thriving democratically governed state and a booming market-oriented economy sheds some light on the road that can be taken by North Korea and its leadership. Conference organizer, Dr. J. Enkhsaikhan, former Mongolian Ambassador to the United Nations and chairman of the Blue Banner NGO of remarked, “[Mongolia is] a state with internationally recognized nuclear-weapon-free status that benefits from the political assurances of the five recognized nuclear-weapon states. Hence Mongolia is well positioned to play a unique role as provider of international good offices, of political space and venue for international meetings and consultations.” In this way, Mongolia offers a friendly platform for both sides to dialogue and engage in steps towards reunification. In its closing statement, forum participants committed to supporting a unified Korea that would be “a nation that promotes the welfare and prosperity of all its citizens, that enjoys the benefits of responsible and responsive government, and that upholds the principles and values of the United Nations Charter and basic human rights and freedoms.” Koreans are taking the lead towards reconciliation of the Korean people, but the process is enhanced when non-traditional players such as Mongolia brings its experience and voice to support Korean-led efforts towards a peaceful and thriving One Korea.
This post is based of a report of the recent forum posted on the Global Peace Foundation. Dr. Hyun Jin Preston Moon is founder and chairman of the Global Peace Foundation. The Mongolian conference was the first of a series of Asian events to bring regional attention and support to the centenary. Further conferences will be held in Japan, Uganda and India in the run-up to a Global Peace Convention and One Korea concert on March 1, 2019 celebrating the centennial of the Korean independence movement as a catalyst for peaceful unification. The conference was organized by Global Peace Foundation, EastWest Institute, and One Korea Foundation, all based in the USA; Action for Korea United, based in South Korea; and Blue Banner, and the Mongolian Forum for Korean Unification, based in Mongolia. It was supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia and included scholars from Korea, Russia, China, Mongolia and the United States.