OPENING REMARKS BY H.E. MR. D.TSOGTBAATAR MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF MONGOLIA AT THE FIFTH INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE OF THE ULAANBAATAR DIALOGUE ON NORTHEAST ASIA
Ladies and gentlemen,
These days demonstrate anew the critical importance of diplomacy. Just two days ago US President Donald Trump and the DPRK leader Kim Jong Un met face-to-face for the first time and signed a joint statement committing to build a lasting and robust peace regime on the Korean Peninsula and to work towards its complete denuclearization. Mongolia welcomes this historic summit.
The Ulaanbaatar Dialogue represents a good cause for celebrating diplomacy since we are the ones who kept on having a dialogue even when despair, tensions and confrontation were swallowing everything. Hence, I wish to congratulate you all, the UB Dialogue community, for your continued commitment to this process.
Some four-five months ago it was impossible to foresee the direct talks between the leaders of the US and the DPRK, or the Inter-Korean Summit, held in April and May this year. However, despite all the odds the talks have taken place. It shows that dialogue and communication are always possible, that we never should give up hope. When we want peace nothing is impossible. This is the beginning of the end to the Cold War, which faded into history in the rest of the world some 30 years ago, but remained frozen in our part of the globe. Talking about the Cold War I would suggest that the scholars convened here do a research as to the cost of the Cold War and the cost of lost opportunities due to the Cold War. This would help us prevent the recurrence of the Cold War, or the suppression of it in case it is already knocking on our doors.
The Ulaanbaatar Dialogue vividly demonstrates that talks are the only option. Mongolia has been firm in its belief that there is no solution other than talks and engagement.
Hence, since early 2000s we have been pursuing the policy of engaging and avoiding the isolation of North Korea. The continuation of this policy in context of failed 6 party talks and absence of channels of communication in Northeast Asia led to the Ulaanbaatar Dialogue in 2014. The dialogue has enjoyed broad support among the countries in the region. The number of participating countries has increased and their level has upgraded half step from Track II.
This year the Ulaanbaatar Dialogue will focus on ways forward to solidify the recent positive developments and share views on the short and long-term prospects of the security environment in the region.
As peace and prosperity go hand in hand, the agenda of the Ulaanbaatar Dialogue covers not only peace and security but also energy, infrastructure, environment and humanitarian cooperation issues.
We should realize that prosperity of nations and lives of millions of ordinary people are hanging on what we call talks. Thus, talks are a life sustaining and life promoting art and it is the most serious business one could ever think of.
Resolution of the outstanding issues of and around the Korean Peninsula, including its complete denuclearization will require tireless effort of all the concerned. While we are celebrating the outcome of the recent summits, we should not forget that there are hard days ahead. Hard is no reason for quitting. The harder it gets the stronger we have to hang on to talks. Even when there is a breakup we should take it as another form of talks to resume the next round. We should not forget that there could be a “Silent” stage and form of talks. This may not be a preparation for aggression. Hence, without losing guard we should not rush into resorting back to swords or shields. We do believe that talks walk further than nukes. Therefore, we should be guided fervently by the appeal “Give Peace a Chance” pronounced by John Lennon decades ago. Indeed, we should just give Peace a Chance.
As a country with 2 decades-old nuclear-weapon-free-status, Mongolia views the decision by the DPRK to suspend its nuclear and missile tests and dismantlement of its Punggye-ri nuclear test site as an important step towards the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
To conclude my remarks, I would like to share with you a few lines that came across my mind after my meeting with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last month in Washington DC.
Nukes or missiles – no more we want
Neither are welcome in our East
New solutions ought to be sought
Never to have them in our nest.
(May 23, 2018)
I thank you for your kind attention.