Oceania: Inauguration of IAAP, Peace Talks Webinar

Prepared by UPF Oceania

There were three important events organized by UPF Oceania last July 18, 2020, Saturday, 2pm Sydney/Melbourne Time. The inauguration of the International Association of Academicians for Peace (IAAP) one of the Projects of UPF, the Peace talks webinar IAAP on the theme, “US-China Relations- Implications for Oceania Interdependence, Mutual Prosperity and Universally shared Values” with a panel of distinguished scholars and academicians from six different time zones — US, Europe, Asia and Oceania and the Ambassador for Peace Awards were given to distinguished individuals. These events drew attention of 84 registered participants from different countries around the world with 300 Facebook views.

Prof. Christopher Hill, Currently Chief Adviser to Chancellor for Global Engagement, Professor of the Practice in Diplomacy, University of Denver, said that US and China have had problems especially during election time and this election year is more serious. There are perceptions of US to China– China has taken advantage of US, China has its own domestic problems such as human rights violations, Hongkong or taking advantage of weaker populations and China not only mismanaged but also willingly exported this COVID-19 crisis. America believes that China is out to displace America from the world leadership. From his own opinion, US and China has much more in common and need to find the pattern of cooperation to work together not against each other. There is also problem in communication so the solution is more dialogue not less dialogue between US and China.There needs to calming down and effort to bring these 2 countries together to work with common goals. US as a Pacific power is very much engaged and has great tradition of working with its partners in the Pacific. US and Australia works together to tell that this is not only US-China problem but also a China problem with the world. Lastly, he emphasised that US and China must talk and listen to each other.

Prof. Biman Chand Prasad, expressed his gratitude as being one of the distinguished panelists. He started by saying that the Pacific, Northern and South Western Pacific historically aligned with Western powers. These Pacific Island countries have had a long history of democratic government influenced by the colonial rules, democratic institutions, respect for media freedom and human rights . At the same time these countries also have economic, cultural and diplomatic ties with China even before 2013 Pres. Xi’s presidency. For long time, Australia and New Zealand are undisputed power in the Pacific and China is challenging that hegemony through soft power, hard power, aid, grant or what is also called Cheque book policy. There were also news that China is about to build its naval base in Vanuatu which was both denied by China and Vanuatu. Solomon Islands severed its diplomatic ties from Taiwan to China. The increase of China’s presence in the Pacific proceeded the increase engagement of western power in the region. Second, there is a climate change commitment from western powers. Lastly, Chinese death threat is a risk that may happened in the future. Concern about the One China policy, China is becoming sensitive with this countries having relationship with Taiwan, e.g. Kiribati and Solomon Islands, on the other hand Australia, New Zealand, US, EU has close economic ties with Taiwan. China must understand that most Pacific Islands grassroots like democratic government, accountable, transparent, respect media freedom and for human rights. There must be a recognition of China and its sensitivity to Pacific countries with relation to Taiwan, a close ally of western powers, and recognition of US that China does have positive influence to support Pacific Islands so that mutually beneficial relationship can develop.

Prof. (Dr.) Anoop Swarup, Vice Chancellor, Jagran Lakecity University, Commissioner at the Government of India, complimented UPF Oceania for having a webinar on a very important topic to Oceania as well as to the world in this challenging time.He stated the UNESCO quote that since aggression started in the minds of men, this kind of activity–webinar helps to build bridges. He said that what’s happening in the South China Sea, South Pacific and the Quad (US, Australia, Japan & India) is the intimidation of China. Peace implies creative approaches that have the following pillars mutual respect, mutual coexistence, sustainable development and shared prosperity. Second point, there must be a balancing act , mutual movement, Pacific Islands must come together form a creative approach and fulfilling to all parties and address global issues like energy security, good governance, global warming and development. The Center for Non-killing believes that positive peace is possible, an affirmative and non-killing peace through building institutions focus on peace and empowering these institutions. Instead of mutually assured destruction (mad) , there must be mutually assured peace and prosperity (mapp). He ended with a quote from Gandhi, “If we do not fight the darkness with light then the whole world will become dark.”

Prof. Osman Softic, Senior Research Fellow with the Islamic Renaissance Front, Coordinator for Foreign Relations Council, Bosnia and Herzegovina, an Ambassador for Peace, expressed his gratitude for being part of this webinar. He has lived in Australia for 20 years in fact all his children were born and are residing in Australia. China has human rights violations against a large group of Muslim population in China’s western Xinjiang province, Muslims are concern about peace and the well being of humanity. There is US-China competition and impact of China’s economic, political, military rise in East Asia. In the past, China has dominated this region and a scholar predicts China will again dominate this region. Often the international relations perspective do not recognize the China disguise its moves and use of diplomatic language like Belt and Road Initiatives (BRI), Maritime Silk Routes, are great things that China presents to the world especially to the third world countries. China needs to be look at from a more realistic perspective not idealizing China like some scholars do, no doubt China has done great work in uplifting 600M people from poverty. In the Pacific, China finds it way to the Melanesian countries that are unstable and have grudges to the west coining the term “Melanesian Socialism–an ideological similarity that is sympathetic to China. There is also a significant interference of China to Australia, a small country of 25M people. If China continue to rise then it will dominate the region and expel the US. There is no better alternative to diplomacy, building bridges, reconciliation, find the best way of coexistence and discussions to find solutions. Different civilizations must find common ground, universal values of peace, freedom and dignity. We should not abandoned our religious values because economic, development, infrastructure alone cannot sustain our society. There must be a deeper meaning and more significant values to compliment these economic development.

Dr. John Bellavance, Vice-President, UPF Australia, discussed the role of academic in fostering universal values, interdependence and mutual prosperity and the UPF Founders, Rev. Moon and Dr. Moon since 1974 has emphasized these values in some academic conferences. We global challenges that needs global response. First, lack of values perspective with respect to guiding the scientific, technological, economic and political development which means adhering to scientific neutrality excluded from values, materialist values perspective or selfish individualism and lack of global identity or consciousness. UPF IAAP has a global mindset, not against any nations, but a friend of both US and China

Ambassador For Peace Awards

UPF Oceania awarded and congratulated, Prof. (Dr.) Anoop Swarup and Mr. Roland Jabbour OAM for receiving the Ambassadors for Peace Awards. Mr. Roland Jabbour OAM Esq. JP, President and National Chairman of Australia Arab Chamber of Commerce and Industry (AACCI) and the Honorary Consul General of the Kingdom of Morocco in the State of Victoria.

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