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Geir Helgesen participates in “Time for Peace in Korea”
February 17, 2019 - 09:31
As a research and information center on Asia, NIAS often engages in activities outside the strict academic confines. One such activity was our participation at the conference Time for Peace in Korea, organized by the Dag Hammarskjöld Program at Voksenåsen, outside Oslo. Among the presenters were academics and peace activists from South Korea, representatives from Norwegian peace research institutions, representatives from international Christian organizations, and NIAS. The audience included students of conflict and peace, representatives from the foreign ministries in Norway and Sweden and diplomats.
The message from the conference is to clearly underline that there is one way forward to reach this lofty goal: Peace in Korea, and that is to engage, to keep the dialogue between the parties open, to create new channels, to avoid demonization of one of the parties, (obviously North Korea) and to find ways to develop trust.
In his presentation Geir Helgesen stressed, that a main hindrance for a positive development to gain speed is the double isolation of the country and its people. The one established by the authorities in Pyongyang, as a measure of defense against what they see as an unfriendly world, further strengthened by the imposed isolation used by the outside world, led by the USA, used as a punishment for what is characterized by the West as “bad behavior”. This vicious circle can potentially push the enmity into a state of conflict, a situation no one in the region want.