Asian Political parties commit to Green Growth
n the last two weeks we had fastmoving speaking engagements in Moscow at the 10th General Assembly of the International Conference of Asian Political Parties (ICAPP), which we presided, with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev as keynote speaker on the eve of his flight to China. He has been alternating as president or premier with current President Vladimir Putin, the senior leader.
We then flew from Moscow to Seoul for a meeting with former United Nations secretary general Ban Ki-moon on the ICAPP Special Workshop on Green Cities with the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI), now headed by Ban Ki-moon as chairman and Director-General Frank Rijsberman, a Dutchman. GGGI is now a network of 30 nations and rapidly expanding, devoted to the movement on the expansion of Green Growth and the epic struggle against worsening climate change.
At the signing of the cooperation agreement between ICAPP and the GGGI, we said we should not stop until the crucial green growth movement enlarges into a network of 100 nations and we hope that by then the rest of the world’s 95 other nations would follow and not allow themselves to be left behind as the global struggle against the worsening dangers of climate change intensify.
Our ICAPP Secretary General Park Ro-byug, a career diplomat and an able former Korean ambassador to Moscow, signed the agreement on behalf of ICAPP in Seoul with GGGI Director General Rijsberman. At the signing we said it is our hope to try to bring into the Green Growth movement our existing cooperation agreements with the Latin American political parties under COPPPAL and the Council of African Political Parties (CAPP).
In 2016, we in ICAPP also established a working partnership with the European political parties through the creation of the Asia-Europe Political Forum (AEPF), starting in Seoul, followed by a larger second meeting in London last May this year, and we are scheduling a third Asia-Europe conference in Sri Lanka in April next year.
When we founded ICAPP in Manila in September, 2000, we began with some 40 Asian political parties and today, it is our hope to celebrate ICAPP’s 20th anniversary in Manila in mid-2020 as we try to complete bringing into the fold some 350 of Asia’s ruling, opposition, and independent political parties after having completed cooperation agreements with the parties of Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean.
To complete the global network, it is our fondest hope to work eventually with the North American political parties of the US and Canada. We are proud of our ICAPP secretariat in Seoul, which we transferred from Manila to South Korea in 2009 to help contribute to South Korea’s increasing liaison with North Korea (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, DPRK), anticipating that in the foreseeable future, a working confederation between the two Korean states might emerge with a connected train system from Pusan in the South across the 38th Parallel to Pyongyang and beyond the Yalu river in the North, and hope that in the fullness of time, the two Koreas could perhaps unite together like the two Vietnams and the two Germanys.
We had mentioned before that we had a “breakthrough” relationship with North Korea’s founding President Kim Il Sung in Pyongyang in 1990, when we journeyed to Pyongyang, as acting chairman of the House Foreign Relations Committee, which immediately led to Philippine-North Korean formal diplomatic relations. Following our invitation to visit Manila, then North Korean Vice-Premier Kim Dahl Hyun was warmly received by then Foreign Minister Raul Manglapus. As a result, then President Corazon Aquino, authorized formal diplomatic relations with DPRK, which continue up until today, with our Ambassador to Beijing Jose Santiago “Chito” Sta. Romana accredited to Pyongyang, and the North Korean Ambassador in Bangkok accredited to Manila.
Vice Premier Kim was well-received in Manila and he and we, after a helicopter trip to Corregidor, had to rush back to Manila with the eruption of Mount Pinatubo on June 15, 1991, in Central Luzon, at the time the second biggest volcanic eruption of the 20th century. The North Koreans and we had traces of fallen ash on our hair and clothes when we journeyed back to Manila and we escorted him to his plane for the flight back to Beijing and Pyongyang.
In Seoul, we also conferred with our old friend, Korean Speaker Moon Heesang of the Korean National Assembly, who remembered our old well-appreciated proposal for the establishment of a Philippines-Korea University in Metro Manila, Clark Field, or Pangasinan. Moon called it a “noteworthy project,” worth reviving today, since it has been reported that as many as 200,000 South Korean tourists visited the Philippines last year, and some 63,000 Filipinos work today in South Korea.
Many Koreans also visit the Philippines and stay for months to learn English. Many Filipino students or graduates destined to work in Korea could also learn Hangul (Korean language) and be more effective in their work and help foster the increasing “special” ties with Korea. (To be continued)