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G20 speakers urge anti-terrorism cooperation

International coordination to fight terrorism was on top of the agenda at the meeting of parliamentary representatives from the Group of 20 major economies in Seoul Thursday.

Assembly speakers and delegates from 26 countries gathered for the two-day G20 Seoul Speakers’ Consultation to seek parliamentary solutions to global issues such as terrorism and natural disasters.

Sixteen of the participants were from G20 states, six from non-G20 countries such as Algeria, Equatorial Guinea, Singapore and Spain (Upper and Lower Chambers) as well as the European Union and the Inter-parliamentary Union.
The first session of the G20 Seoul Speakers’ Consultation is held at the National Assembly in Yeouido on Thursday morning. (National Assembly photo press corps)
The first session of the G20 Seoul Speakers’ Consultation is held at the National Assembly in Yeouido on Thursday morning. (National Assembly photo press corps)

The first session of the G20 speakers’ meeting, held under the main theme “Development and Growth for Common Prosperity,” was on world peace and counterterrorism.

A number of participants in the first session voiced the need for closer international cooperation for counterterrorism, mentioning the recent killing of al-Qaida leader Osama Bin Laden.

“Today, world peace cannot be achieved by a single country. We need international cooperation,” Rep. Park Sun-young of the ruling Grand National Party said.

“Bin Laden was shot to death 10 years after the Sept. 11 terrorist attack, but there still are threats of terrorists. The Korean Peninsula faces North Korea’s physical provocation as well.”

While fighting terrorism that comes from religious or ideological differences is relatively more complicated and difficult, non-religious acts of terrorism such as the rampant piracy off the coast of Somalia are easier to resolve, she said.

“Countries must build a network to share data on pirates and form a safety net,” she said.

“It would be more efficient if we can establish an international court for pirates.”

Mehmet Ali Sahin, Speaker of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, emphasized that the international community must separate Islam from terrorism.

“Al-Qaida’s terrorist activities hurt the Islamic bloc, and the anti-Islamic sentiment and the conflict between civilizations have led to more acts of terrorism,” Sahin said.

“The killing of bin Laden was a major progress (in the fight against terrorism).”

Meira Kumar, Speaker of India’s House of the People, called for adopting an international treaty for counterterrorism, saying “we have to deal with many countries that try to protect or hide terrorists.”

Rep. Kim Sung-kon of the Democratic Party called on the G20 states to give the 180 non-G20 nations more political and economic consideration.

“We should really start from thinking about the fundamental reasons of terrorism,” Kim said.

“There are various factors that foment terrorism such as an unfair economic system, growing income gaps and so on.”

Stressing that countries must improve the social, political environment that foment terrorism, Kim noted that “resistance” was different from terrorism.

“Terrorism should be rooted out,” Kim said.

“We (Korea) were a small and weak nation 50 years ago and there were times when we were a colony. We used physical force as a means of resistance (against Japan), but that was not terrorism.”

Adding that Korea has now become a donor country, Kim asked the other parliamentary representatives to have more regard for the lesser powers in the international community.

Alexander Torshin, vice chairman of the Federation Council of Russia, made a point of the need to adopt international regulations and share legal experiences on counterterrorism.

John Stanley, a member of the U.K. House of Commons, said countries should coordinate policies to adopt international regulations on exports of weapons and military technologies, mentioning how NATO and the parliaments of its 28 member states are already doing it.

As the moderator of the first session, the Korean National Assembly Speaker Park Hee-tae stressed that building a culture that respects diversity through good governance, protection of human rights and cooperation with the civic society was an essential role of the parliament.

By Kim So-hyun (