SEOUL - South Korean Vice Foreign Minister Cho Tae-yul has said that political and security environment in the Korean Peninsula is highly challenging but reunification of Korea, if achieved, will not only be a jackpot for Seoul but also for the rest of the world.

Expressing his views on the Changing Geopolitical Dynamics in Northeast Asia and the Future of the Korean Peninsula on Monday, he said that Germany, a divided nation until 25 years ago, had not only achieved reunification but is also now taking the lead in the European integration process.

Vice Minister Cho was addressing the inaugural ceremony of the World Journalists Conference 2015 being held in the capital of the Republic of Korea (South Korea) and hosted by Journalists Association of Korea. The conference, which will run through Saturday (April 18), aims for worldwide journalists to discuss peaceful unification on the 70th anniversary of the division of the Korean Peninsula. Over 100 delegates representing 70 countries drawn from five continents are attending the moot.

The vice minister referred to new geopolitical challenges to Seoul’s foreign policy in pursuing unification but stressed that despite 70 years of the painful history of national division, distrust, conflict and present high tension between the two Koreas, the unification goal is highly promising for the Korean Peninsula as well as the rest of the world.

“The political and security environment surrounding the Korean Peninsula has never been so challenging since the end of the Cold War. Today, not a single security or foreign policy issue in Korea can be addressed through a simple equation. As such, the foreign policy of the Republic of Korea faces multi-layered and multi-dimensional challenges,” he observed.

He said the Korea-US alliance and Korea-China relations are not a zero-sum relationship. “They are not only compatible, but also carry the potential even to develop into mutually complementary and reinforcing relationships depending on Korea’s role therein.

Cho Tae-yul said that Chinese Dream that President Xi Jinping declared in his inaugural speech in 2013 is now being implemented one by one with concrete policies and actions. During his first summit meeting with President Obama in June 2013 in Sunnylands, President Xi presented the so-called New Type of Great Power Relationship as the vision of the US-China relationship.

“At the CICA summit meeting last May, he came up with a concept of a New Asian Security and at the Boao Forum this past month, he announced a detailed implementation plan for the One Belt One Road initiative and proposed to build an East Asian Economic Community by 2020 with Asean, China, Japan and Korea as its members. And, with many countries expressing their willingness to join the AIIB, a financial platform for the One Belt One Road initiative, the China-led regional multilateral development bank is soon expected to come into existence”, the minister recalled.

He said the rise of China provided new challenges to Korea’s foreign policy, the backbone of which is the Korea-US alliance. The Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) incident in the East China Sea in November 2013 and the recent controversy over the issue of joining the AIIB are only a few of the cases that symbolically illustrate the magnitude of such challenges, he argued.

North Korea has also become a subject of serious concern in the international community for its human rights situation, the vice minister said and went on to say that last year was a special year in terms of bringing this issue forward under international scrutiny. North Korea, however, has been refusing to accept our proposal by insisting on preconditions, such as the suspension of the annual joint Korea-US military exercises and anti-North Korean NGO’s sending of propaganda leaflets into the North, he remarked.

Concluding his speech, the minister said the theme of the discussion, Korea’s reunification, is not a mere dream, but a future that the Korean people are committed to realising. He quoted Pope John Paul II who stated that “the future starts today, not tomorrow”.