July 23, 2018, 12:02 am
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Historical reality In East Asia

NEARLY 200 delegates from 11 countries recently gathered at the AG New World Manila Bay Hotel and this is their Statement:

“We, the delegates meeting in Manila at the International Conference of NGOs on Historical Justice and Peaceful Community in East Asia from 06-09 July 2018 welcome and strongly support the April 2018 inter-Korean Summit and the April 2018 Panmunjom Declaration that promises a long-awaited peace and genuine security for the peoples of the Korean peninsula and the East Asian region. 

“This historic development signifies the end of the Cold War in one region of East Asia. On behalf of all the peoples of East Asia, Southeast Asia and the larger Asia-Pacific region, we sincerely urge all state parties to the Korean War to bring an end to this war by replacing the Korean Armistice Agreement with a comprehensive peace treaty that will guarantee genuine peace, security, prosperity and development for all East Asian peoples. 

“The long struggle of the South Korean people for democratic development and the realization of popular sovereignty culminated in the 2016-2017 Candlelight Revolution, which brought about significant political development in South Korea. Because of this historic and extremely meaningful event, we believe that there now exists the real possibility for Japan to re-examine its historical past without being burdened by any Cold War considerations. We also believe that the Candlelight Revolution can inspire others caught up in internecine ethnic and religious conflicts to overcome their differences, forge peace and build a new social consensus based on understanding, mutual co-existence, respect for human rights and an appreciation of our human diversity. 

“This reorganization of the old Cold War international order in East Asia also allows all countries and peoples of the region to forge a new framework of international relations; one that is relevant to the 21st Century. We therefore call upon all countries of East Asia, Southeast Asia and the Asia- Pacific region to forge new, non-aligned foreign policy positions that confront the destabilizing geo-political hegemony, rivalry and contests of big powers in the region. Central to this new path is a complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and of all other countries and seas in this region. Denuclearization will ensure our common future and will also guarantee Asean’s commitment to Southeast Asia remaining a Zone of Peace, Freedom and Neutrality.

“Asia-Pacific governments owe it to their citizens and to future generations to chart an independent foreign policy path that encourages understanding, strengthens inter-cultural communication, deepens mutual respect, supports civil liberties and promotes people-to-people exchanges that ultimately strengthens international solidarity and peace across our countries.

“With the end of this Cold War framework in East Asia, we the delegates of the 2018 International NGO Conference on Historical Justice and Peace Community hereby commit ourselves to build this new framework that we so dearly desire so as to bring genuine peace, security and development to all our countries and its peoples. We invite all East, Southeast and Asia-Pacific governments and peoples to commit to do likewise. ”

At this Conference, Eduardo C. Tadem (retired Professor of Asian Studies at the University of the Philippines Diliman) described: “In many cases, manifestations of chauvinism, jingoism and right-wing ultrapatriotism have surfaced. Such an atmosphere makes almost impossible the peaceful resolution of territorial conflicts.” 

Meanwhile, Vu Ngoc Binh (Senior Adviser, Institute for Population, Family and Children Studies under the Viet Nam Union of Science and Technology Associations) stressed: “Asean Community by 2015 – the magic spell of the governments. Unfortunately, common people in Asean are not well informed that very soon they will be placed in a giant community with people from their neighboring countries. Without a genuine involvement of Asean’s men and women in this process, the main challenge is about the capability of future Asean Community to finally free its people from exploitation and marginalization.”

Another panel on historical issues in this Conference featured Vanessa L. Ilustrisimo-Fajardo (Court Attorney V in the Supreme Court of the Philippines) who reviewed judicial cases on the so-called Yamashita gold and concluded that: “One, plundering matters, which included quests for hidden treasures, are discussed, explicitly or at times, implicitly in jurisprudence; two, treasure hunting has been significant in Philippine culture and the interest to it captivated numerous people, who, interestingly, included public officials and employees.”

On sustainable development, Alma V. Labro (research associate at the University of the Philippines Manila) interviewed Korean entrepreneurs who highly recommended that foreign businessmen try to understand local laws and culture as well as customs and Filipino habits .

At this 2018 Manila International Conference of NGOs on History and Peace , Edgar Karganilla (Regina Pacis Mundi Catholic Renewal Ministry ) shared A Terrible Warning Ignored: “On October 13, 1973—the very anniversary of the ‘Miracle of the Sun at Fatima’—the most Holy Virgin this time appeared on the other side of the Globe in Akita, Japan to warn of a double chastisement—of the Church and of the whole world. ”

The cadres of the Philippine World War II Memorial Foundation and the Hunters-ROTC Historical Society had sat down with their counterparts from the History NGO Forum for Peace in East Asia, The European Association of History Educators, and Camp Asia Inc., among others, to tackle the comfort women issue, territorial issues and peace building, World War II and Plundering, and sustainable peace.

In addition, Juback Sin (Research Professor, Yonsei University, Korea), Pham Van Thuy (Vice-Head of Department of International History, University of Social Sciences and Humanities-Hanoi), Andrew Aeria (Professor, Malaysia) and Bernard Karganilla (University of the Philippines-Manila) had a whole-day “Dialogue between Korea and Southeast Asia for Development of a History Textbook.”

The 2018 International NGO Conference sought contributions for historical reconciliation and peace-building in East Asia for the future. Time will tell if it shall succeed.
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