JoongAng Ilbo-CSIS Forum Opening Remarks
May 6, 2015
This is the fifth year we are hosting the JoongAng Ilbo-CSIS Forum and each year, we are seeing an increasing level of interest from not just opinion leaders in the academia and government but the younger generation with a genuine interest in the geopolitics surrounding the Korean Peninsula. From the first conference in 2011, this forum has embodied our effort to bring together the foremost in diverse perspectives and insights, so that we may contribute to strengthening peace and trust and building prosperity in the region and beyond.
That said, allow me to share with you my concerns regarding the world today. We are in the midst of a major transformation which is fueling global anxiety to a palpable level. From regional conflicts to political upheaval, cruel acts of terrorism, economic instability and devastating natural disasters, there is turmoil in just about every corner of the world. East Asia is no stranger to turmoil. The 'Big Four' powers, namely the United States, China, Japan, and Russia all have vested interests in East Asia but solutions to ongoing issues cannot be reached by the 'Big Four' alone. The Middle Powers including Korea, Indonesia, Singapore, and Malaysia can and should play crucial roles in securing peace and prosperity in the region. Asian nations need to take on a more proactive role because it is obvious they are becoming more economically interdependent than ever before, with cross-border business reaching new highs with each passing year. From the geopolitical standpoint, it has become evident over the past 70 years since the Second World War that no one nation can go it alone now. It is time to map out the next 70 years.