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December 2021
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UPF North America Convenes International Leadership Conference

North America-2021-08-21-ILC

North America—From August 5th to the 21st, UPF North America held a virtual International Leadership Conference that brought dozens of leaders and experts in their fields to speak on a variety of topics.

Thursday, August 5, 2021

Why We Need the International Peace Highway & the Bering Strait Tunnel

UPF North America and EUME partnership

  • Michael Jenkins (moderator), President, Universal Peace Federation International
  • Thomas Walsh, Chairman, Universal Peace Federation International
  • Vladimir Petrovskiy, Chief Researcher, Institute of Far Eastern Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences
  • Rick, Minnich, Producer-Director, “The Strait Guys,” documentary film
  • Don Young (video), U.S. House of Representatives (1973-present; Alaska-At Large)

Session Report

Dr. Thomas Walsh introduced Universal Peace Federation and the vision for the International Peace Highway, which was introduced by Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon at the International Conference on the Unity of the Sciences in 1981 in Seoul, Korea.

The project, when completed, will physically unite the U.S and Russia, as well as the entire world. The addition of the Korea-Japan tunnel will make it possible to drive from Tokyo to New York, circumnavigating the world.

He outlined the long history of proposals for global communication, including the Silk Road and the Roman Empire system of roads, the Achaemenid Empire of ancient Persia and Mesopotamia, the Inca Empire of 1400 years ago and Marco Polo’s caravan. The desire for humankind to travel and interact with every other person in the world is truly ancient. The 17,000-mile PanAmerican Highway System, except for the currently impassable Darien Gap (between Panama and Colombia), is the longest land connection today.

Mobility and communication are among the bare essentials required for human development. The benefits of such cross-pollination include trade and commerce, shared technological advances and co-prosperity. Obstacles to this include lack of trust and cooperation, dysfunctional and corrupt governments, war and terrorism, lack of resources and technology, etc.

Mr. Rick Minnich is creating a film, “The Strait Guys,” on a proposed tunnel under the Bering Strait to connect the U.S. and Russia. Issues that need to be dealt with include relations with the indigenous peoples of Canada and Alaska. The Intercontinental Railway of 5,000-plus miles will be needed to link the U.S. with the tunnel, across Canada, and into Russia and China. Mr. Minnich showed a trailer for the film he is working on, due to be completed in 2021.

He also showed a clip from the film that illustrates the political barriers that need to be overcome. This clip focused on the transportation advisor to President Putin. The clip illustrates how important the project is to the leading Russians who are studying it. He said Russia is ready, and is waiting for the U.S. to take the first step.

Their website, thestraitguys.com, will be online soon.

Dr. Vladimir Petrovsky is a Russian scholar and strong advocate of the tunnel, which he calls “the most auspicious and inspiring project of our time.” However, all resources for this have been frozen since 2011 due to the economic situation and deteriorating relations with the U.S. He as always looked at this project as a way to empower and further democracy in Russia. “But now it looks like the Cold War is coming back.”

We have to deal with strategic stability issues. We need to elevate our level of mutual trust and political dialogue. Some things that were possible ten years ago, are not possible today. Many are reluctant to invest at the moment because the payoff seems to be in the distance.

We need to restart the Bering Strait project, considering all economic and political implications in effect today. For example, China’s “One Belt, One Road” project needs to be factored in. China’s belt and road include two components: (1) Silk Road economic belt, of highways and railroads, and (2) the maritime silk road of the 21st century. China is focusing most of their resources on sea route communications.

The global shift to a “green economy” also affects the project. This is a shift from carbon emissions to renewable energy, and has a direct effect on the highway. Russian territory is 65% permafrost, which is beginning to melt.

We have to invest money, not on launching new wars, but on launching inspiring projects like this.

We need to reconsider the entire political and economic framework for the project. Launch a joint Russian and American taskforce to discuss how to relaunch the project under the new realities.

Hon. Don Young (video) spoke briefly in support of the value of the Bering Strait tunnel, and the required media effort it will require to illustrate the many economic, social and political advantages of this project. He has no illusions about how difficult it will be.

Friday, August 13, 2021  

Why We Need the International Peace Highway & Bering Strait Tunnel II

UPF North America and EUME partnership

  • Joe Henri, Co-founder of the Inter-hemispheric Bering Strait Tunnel and Railroad Group
  • Scott Spencer, Chief Project Advisor, InterContinental Railway
  • Lou Cerny, International Railroad Consultant and Engineer
  • Vladimir Petrovsky, Chief Researcher, Institute for Far Eastern Studies (IFES), Russian Academy of the Sciences, Moscow

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Session 2: Perspectives on North and South Korea Reunification (IAPD)

  • Moderator: Ray Lipowcan, Coordinator, UPF Pittsburgh, PA
  • Thomas Ward, President, Unification Theological Seminary
  • Moonshik Kim, Chairman, UPF Canada
  • Joseph Yi, Associate Professor of Political Science, Hanyang University

Session Report (submitted by Ray Lipowcan, Coordinator, UPF Pennsylvania)

I had the privilege of moderating Session 2 of the ILC which was titled “Perspectives on North and South Korea Reunification”. The 3 speakers were Professor Joseph Yi, Associate Professor of Political Science at Hanyang University South Korea, Dr. Moonshik Kim, Chairman UPF Canada, and Dr. Thomas Ward, President and Professor of Peace and Development at the Unification Theological Seminary in New York.

Professor Joseph Yi spoke first, his topic being “Faith Based Organizations in North Korea”. He said that the evangelical organizations responded 2 different ways to the restrictions imposed with the 2017-2018 sanctions and the 2020-2021 pandemic. Some left to go to work in other countries while others are preparing to reenter North Korea to continue their work. One activity he highlighted was the introduction of surfing to North Korean youth as a way to break down barriers. Professor Yi concluded by saying that “faith based organizations have a lot offer” and hoped that this would be implemented in U.S. policy regarding the peaceful redevelopment of North Korea.

Dr. Moonshik Kim was the second speaker and opened with the topic “Why North and South Korea reunification is so difficult even though both Koreas want reunification”. He said that ideology was the number one deterrent. North Korea abides by the Juche ideology, an offshoot of Marxism, while the South has a free democratic system of governance. He spoke of how Rev. Moon invested to create an ideology that would defeat Communism even declaring in his 1991 visit to North Korea that the Juche ideology cannot bring unification to the Korean Peninsula. Another challenge the South faces is the leftist student movements of the 80’s which gave rise to the leftist thinking that today has developed into an Anti-American and Anti-Japanese sentiment. Dr. Kim said the we can “Liberate North Korea with truth and love” and once the suppressed people of the North see the freedoms of the South, change will come. He concluded saying that NGO’s such as UPF will help facilitate this transformation.

Dr. Thomas Ward was the third speaker stating that he would focus on ideological issues. He spoke of Juche thought in the context of Marxism speaking of Lenin’s and Mao’s contribution to the development of today’s Communism and Juche thought. Dr. Ward based his findings on official DPRK statements found in recorded documents and conferences where they outlined the Juche ideology. He said that the lineage of the Kim family is very important in continuing this legacy. Also saying that religion is banned but the Kim family is looked upon and treated as almost being God-like. He also emphasized the importance of the work of UPF in bringing reconciliation to the Korean Peninsula.

We concluded with a question and answer session. Questions were posed and comments made on such topics as: The position or relationship of Kim Jung Un with China, and a follow up of can China permit a unified Korea to exist on Democratic principles, North Korea’s animosity towards religion and tensions involved with spiritual and humanitarian missions to North Korea, and the perceived eventual collapse of North Korea and how China and America will respond.

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Session 3: Asian Lynchpin: Addressing Technical, Societal and Political Challenges of the Korea-Japan Undersea Tunnel (IAAP)
Partnership with Japan & Korea UPF

  • Larry Moffitt (moderator), Secretary General, UPF USA
  • Katsumi Otsuka, Chairman, Universal Peace Federation Europe/Middle East
  • Seung-yeul Park, President, Universal Peace Federation, Busan, ROK
  • Tae-ik Chung (VIDEO), Advisor, Korean Council on Foreign Relations; former Korean Ambassador to Russia and to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade
  • D Hirofumi Sato, Director, Japan-Korea Tunnel Project
    • Translation, Yoko DeGroot

Session Report

Dr. Katsumi Otsuka gave a very broad, all-inclusive presentation of the vision of Rev. Sun Myung and Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon regarding global connectivity through building projects such as the Korea-Japan (K-J) tunnel, the Bering Strait tunnel, the International Peace Highway, and Peace Road’s annual activities that serve as a global awareness-raising activity for the tunnels and highway. Father and Mother Moon said that prospects for peaceful co-existence and trade increase greatly when the world is connected nation-to-nation.

In addition to the K-J tunnel, he introduced their vision for a tunnel or bridge that would span the relatively short distance between the Eurasian and North American continents.

He briefly went into the history of such projects, that go all the way back to a tunnel under the Euphrates River, built 4,000 years ago. The current longest tunnel in the world is the Gotthard Base Tunnel in Switzerland (57.09 km), completed in 2016.

Dr. Otsuka emphasized that the greatest challenge to tunneling between two countries is whether or not the people of both countries want the tunnel. Relations between Korea and Japan are currently at a low point, so widespread enthusiasm for a tunnel is lacking. Promotional organizations in Korea and Japan are actively working to try to generate support for the tunnel. In Busan, where the tunnel would enter Korea, the topic was a major campaign issue in the recent mayoral election. Conservatives favored it; liberals opposed.

The Peace Road movement encourages the International Peace Highway as a means to combat economic, cultural and racial separations. The symbol of the Peace Road has been the bicycle. It began with a Korean living in Japan who decided to honor the idea of the K-J tunnel by riding a bicycle with some friends from east to west across Japan in 2013. Inspired by the vision of Father and Mother Moon, he began the ride on the first anniversary of the passing of Rev. Moon. He called it “peace bike,” and it was gradually embraced by many leading public officials. Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon renamed the activity “Peace Road,” and it has been celebrated with bike rides and hikes in nearly every country in the world since then, including a half-marathon run in Pyongyang, North Korea in 2019 by Russian students.

Dr. Otsuka’s presentation concluded with a brief history of the peace-building efforts of Rev. Sun Myung Moon and his wife Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon that began in the 1950s and continue today under the leadership of Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon after the passing of her husband.

Dr. Seung-yeul Park emphasized the great value the K-J tunnel would have for international trade, economics and peace building.

Unlike France and Germany, which have managed to put the anger of World War II  behind them, Korea and Japan have not been able to do the same. He strongly stressed the importance of U.S. involvement in helping Korea and Japan set aside their differences in order to construct the tunnel.

Amb. Tae-ik Chung is a retired career foreign service officer in Korea who serves as an advisor to the Korea-Japan Tunnel Project and the International Peace highway. He was not present in person, but spoke eloquently in a pre-recorded video statement that emphasized the geopolitically strategic importance of the Korea-Japan tunnel as a strengthening pillar of the trilateral alliance between Korea, Japan and the U.S. -- an alliance that is now very fragile due to the hostile relationship between Japan and Korea that has its roots in centuries of historical resentments.

He underscored the complexity of the K-J tunnel that is interwoven with issues of international politics, diplomacy, security, history and culture. The successful completion of the tunnel requires the sympathy and emotional buy-in of the people of Korea and Japan, along with strong political will of the leaders of both counties. Fortunately, contemporary Korean and Japanese leaders have gone on record favoring the tunnel. He mentioned that Korean President Roh Tae-woo visited Japan in May 1990 and emphasized the necessity of the K-J tunnel in a joint address to the Japanese Diet. The idea has been followed up on in specific addresses by Japanese Prime Ministers Yoshirō Mori and Yukio Hatoyama, and subsequent Korean Presidents Kim Dae-jung and Ro Moo-hyun. He reminded that Korean President Moon Jae-in, in his 2020 Independence Day address, proposed a railroad connection between all of East Asia, including Russia, China, Mongolia, both Koreas and Japan.

Amb. Chung stressed the importance of the U.S. in the process citing that Japan and South Korea have maintained democratic, market economies and good relations with the United States. He seemed to be saying that, despite historical resentments between Korea and Japan, the bedrock foundation of the trilateral alliance remains intact.

Dr. Hirofumi Sato provided glimpses of test work already done on the tunnel in Japan and Korea. He showed concept drawings of the train and automobile uses of the tunnel. He invited international investor Jim Rogers, based in Singapore, to come to Japan for a presentation on the tunnel. Mr. Rogers immediately saw the potential for trade and opening up the world’s markets, including creating an economic thaw in the hostile standoff between North Korea and the rest of the world. He also underscored the need for the U.S. media and public opinion to be felt in favor of the tunnel.

Dr. Sato described some of the technical difficulties involved in digging what what would be, by far, the longest tunnel in the world. One of the problems is that the land under the seabed is soft. This part of Asia is also seismically active.

Session 4: Will Differing Economic Interests in the Indo-Pacific Region Aid or Hinder Progress Toward a Reunification of Korea?  (IAPP & IAED)

  • Alan Jessen (moderator), Coordinator, International Association for Peace and Economic Development, UPF North America
  • Franco Famularo, President, UPF Canada
  • Purnima Voria, Founder & CEO, National US India Chamber of Commerce
  • Shihoko Goto, Deputy Director of Geoeconomics & Senior Northeast Asia Associate, Wilson Center

Session Report (submitted by Alan Jessen, Coordinator, IAED - UPF North America)

Dr. Franco Famularo gave an eloquent overview of the question posed by the title of this session: Will the differing economic interest aid or hinder progress?  It’s complicated.   The Indo-Pacific Region is a massive area covering 44% of the earth’s land mass. Three of the top ten regional trading blocs exist in this area. He noted that the economic trading blocs in both Europe and North America benefit from a similar Judeo-Christian cultural outlook.  When trust exists between peoples it fosters a spirit of cooperation and innovation.  He wondered if there is enough cultural cohesion among the Indo-Pacific nations.  He then described the five Universally Shared Values that underlie the vision of UPF for a more harmonious world.  He sees these values as key to a future where greater trust will increase cooperation and lead toward economic development, stability and peace.

Purnima Voria focused her comments on a recent visit to India by U.S. Secretary of State Blinken and the role that India is playing in the region through the QUAD Alliance for security.  Security concerns and acknowledging the special relationship between India and the US. as the world’s two largest democracies were at the center of the talks.

Regarding trade, India seems to prefer staying somewhat unencumbered by the regional blocs favoring bi-lateral partnerships and agreements.  Ms. Voria suggested that India should take the lead to involve others in the QUAD alliance which would strengthen regional security against China, a key for further economic development in the region.  As for Korea, India is already a major trading partner, but Ms. Voria would like to see India’s leadership engaged more fully.

Shihoko Goto gave a wide-ranging discussion of issues.  Before looking forward, she took a look back describing what has been important to the Asian countries and their economic rise.  Most significant was an environment of security and stability allowing for growth from the grassroots upward.  This approach represented the “Asian Tiger” model that was pre-eminent up through the mid 90’s based on free markets and democracy.  Today China has brought an alternate vision of development based on authoritarianism, characterized by the Belt and Road Initiative.  China has been pushing BRI especially in the developing countries of Africa and South America.  China’s ascendancy has forced the “middle powers” into the arena of a great power competition between the US and China.  In response, while they remain leery of China, they are united by a commitment to stable growth.

In this regard, the Asian countries primary concern for the Korean situation is a common desire for an orderly transition that does not lead to a mass exodus, as is happening in Afghanistan.  Thus the need for strengthened regional cooperation, planning and integration for any transition that would unfold on the peninsula.  The COVID pandemic, consequently, has made cooperation more difficult as countries were forced to concentrate on domestic issues.   The panelists agreed that in the end, countries need to take charge of their own future.

Thursday, August 19, 2021

UPF North America and EUME partnership

Session 5C: The Bering Strait Undersea Tunnel Project (3 PM European Time)

  • Maria Nazarova (moderator), UPF Russia Secretary General
  • Victor Razbegin, Co-Founder, Intercontinental Railway
  • Lou Cerny, Consultant & Engineer, International Railroad
  • Peter Stockdale, Policy Analyst specializing in Environment, Indigenous and Intergovernmental Affairs, (Canada)

Session Report

Dr. Victor Razbegin, Mr. Lou Cerny, Dr. Peter Stockdale

The session was very ably moderated by Mrs. Maria Nazarova, Secretary General of UPF Russia.

The three panelists Dr. Victor Razbegin from Russia, Mr. Lou Cerny from the United States and Dr. Peter Stockdale Canada gave well-informed insights into the various dimensions and issues relating to the realization of the Project.

First, Dr. Victor Razbegin, Co-Founder of the Intercontinental Railway drew attention to the concentration of the global population in coastal areas of the world, leaving the interior regions relatively underdeveloped in terms of minerals and other goods. He explained that rail infrastructure would be the issue, as road networks are not as efficient as rail or sea networks.

The key element in the project is the rail link between Yakutsk and Fort Nelson, a 6,000 km stretch of terrain, much of it over permafrost in addition to the undersea tunnel. The geology around the Bering Strait tunnel area is suitable for the building of a tunnel which would connect all the world’s rail systems and bring power transmission lines into contact with each other.

Total investment of  the project would be around 75-90 billion dollars, with a return on investment over a 25-year period. Benefits would include moving over 100 million tons of cargo per year through the system, overcoming the extreme isolation of related areas.

Finally, he noted that the Alaska-to-Alberta Railway has received a Presidential Permit, and that Russia also plans to continue to develop its rail network toward the Bering Strait.

Mr. Lou Cerny, Rail Consultant and Engineer, and past Executive Director of the American Railway Engineering Association, emphasized that the conversion from sea shipping to rail shipping is environmentally positive. For instance, it would relieve the environmental pressure on ports throughout the world, lowering gas and oil consumption for shipping cargo. He added that the tunnel and the railway links which already exist in some places over permafrost, are technologically feasible and would add huge additional capacity for cargo – 7600 Metric tonnes per day.

Finally, he compared the potential and significance of the Alaska/N-E Russia corridor’s tonnage capacity with that of the Suez Canal.

Dr. Peter Stockdale, a Canadian Policy Analyst specializing in Environment, Indigenous and Intergovernmental Affairs, spoke about his main concern – the environmental impact of the project. Noting the global melting of ice, the softening of permafrost and the flooding of coastal areas, Stockdale wondered whether the global carbon footprint would increase as a result of the project. Considering the potential negative effects of this scale of development on polar and subpolar regions, he nevertheless noted that the current Governor-General of Canada is Inuit and might have a strong interest in this project.

Friday, August 20, 2021

Session 6: Dueling Worldviews on the Korean Peninsula Conflict and Unification (IAAP)

UPF North America and EUME partnership

  • Kaeleigh Moffitt (moderator), Congressional Liaison, Universal Peace Federation
  • Michael Breen, CEO, Insight Communications Consultants, author and Korea Times columnist based in South Korea
  • Dr. Yevgeny Kim (Kim Yong Woon), Leading Research Fellow, Center for Korean Studies, Institute of the Far East, Russian Academy of Sciences, Russia
  • Torbjørn Færøvik, China historian, journalist and author, specialist on East Asia, Norway
  • Bruce Klingner, Senior Research Fellow on Northeast Asia, Asian Studies Center, The Heritage Foundation
  • Thomas Ward, President, Unification Theological Seminary

Session Report

Mr. Michael Breen sees Korean Peninsula reunification as being highly unlikely at this time because the fundamental “national values” that guide North and South are in opposition to one another. Unification to the North puts Kim Jong-un in a position of unquestioned leadership. Unification to the South is posited on democratic principles of human rights, free elections and a market-driven economy.

The idea of a hybrid government system is a fantasy. We need to continue discussion, to include all of Northeast Asia in discussion and be patient.

He said, “there has to be a Gorbachev moment for North Korea.” In the meantime, we can keep the dialogue open with one another.

He said we often use “reunification” and “reconciliation” in the same sentence, but those two things may not be able to exist together. When one side speaks of unification, the other side starts seeing that their side will be expected to disappear and be absorbed by the other. But with reconciliation, I would like to be able to drive up to Pyongyang and have dinner in an atmosphere of co-existence.

Hon. Dr. Yevgeny Kim said North Korea will not collapse until it’s own “Gorbachev” appears there. The DPRK regime will not fall. There will be no reunification within the next 10 or 15 years because there is no agreed-upon strategy for unification. The South and North worldviews are ideological antipoles and there is no common ground for unification.

Unification strategy of the ROK is the absorption of the North by the South. There is room for the South and North to co-exist for some time.

For the North unification is seen as a two-system confederation. It’s an approach to unification, but is not unification itself.

There is no common language in societal culture, religion or human rights. They are viewed very differently between North and South.

Mr. Torbjørn Færøvik said that after Chairman Mao's death in 1976, China was forced to look at the Korean problem with new eyes. It was all too clear that South Korea was an economic success, while North Korea was a failure. In 1992 Beijing and Seoul established normal diplomatic relations.

Today, China is South Korea's most important trading partner, and that continues in spite of occasional political problems. There is no doubt that the Chinese leaders are impressed by South Korea's economic success.

Although Xi and Kim Jong Un spoke highly of each other and toasted eternal friendship, China's relations with North Korea are essentially dictated by military considerations, geopolitics and historical ties.

Keeping North Korea afloat is a burden for Beijing, but the Chinese leaders feel they have no choice. A North Korean collapse could also pave the way for a unified country leaning towards the U.S. China wants a peaceful solution in Korea, but more important for them is to keep North Korea's economy alive, to slow down or at best to halt the country’s nuclear program, and to moderate Kim Jong Un and his close colleagues.

In the last two decades, China has become a far stronger player in the international arena. China's island-building in the South China Sea is worrisome to the international community. Mr. Færøvik thinks that, at some point China will have to adjust its course to reduce tensions in Korea, in the South China Sea and elsewhere.

Mr. Bruce Klingner The “trilateral alliance” between U.S., Korea and Japan is a relationship, not a formal treaty. It’s triangular, with two strong legs between the U.S. and Korea and the U.S. and Japan, and weak between Korea and Japan. Relations between Korea and Japan are the worst I have seen in 28 years. Korea and Japan are both suffering a “fatigue” with each other.

Reality is that the U.S. cannot defend South Korea without Japanese support and bases in Japan. It is possible Japan could refuse to allow the U.S. to use Japan as a staging area to defend Korea.

Meanwhile, North Korea has done war-gaming scenarios against Japan, practicing (on paper) air-burst attacks over Japan.

We have yet to see if the Biden Administration will pick up relations with our two allies, where the Obama Administration left off.

Dr. Thomas Ward said that in any conflict it it is possible for one or both parties to simply decide not to pursue the conflict -- i.e. Anwar Sadat with Israel, and also the emergence of Gorbachev in the USSR. In Mozambique, the two warring factions, Frelimo and Renamo, both decided to put the peace negotiation process into the hands of a religious organization, Sant'egidio.

Dr. Ward plotted the “curve of conflict” from initial peace to durable peace. As an example, he traced relations between France and Germany, from World War II to today, where they have achieved a durable peace. Japan and Korea have not been able to move through the curve of conflict toward durable peace. He feels supporting this movement toward peace is one area where UPF can be helpful. He cited the sisterhood bridge-crossing ceremonies put on by UPF (between Japan and the U.S. and between Japan and Korea), and also many marriages between Korean and Japanese people.

Rev. Moon met Kim Il-sung in 1991 and they met on friendly terms without either of them renouncing their own values. When Rev. Moon died in 2012, North Korea praised him as a “hero of reunification.”

UPF is an important partner in the process of improving relations among the nations of Northeast Asia.

Session 8: Closing: Summary and Recommendations

  • Moderator: Rev. Zagery Oliver, Executive VP, UPF USA
  • Michael Jenkins, President, UPF International
  • Summary Reports
    • Larry Moffitt
    • Ray Lipowcan
    • Alan Jessen
    • Franco Famularo
    • Kaeleigh Moffitt
  • Dan Burton, U.S. House of Representatives (1983-2013); Global Co-Chairman, IAPP
  • Naokimi Ushiroda, President, Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, USA

Saturday, August 21, 2021

Session 7: The Role of the Media in contributing to Peace on the Korean Peninsula

UPF North America and EUME partnership

  • Moderator: Mr. Peter Zoehrer, Coordinator, IMAP Europe & Middle East
  • Tom McDevitt, Chairman, The Washington Times, USA
  • Hwang Jung-Mi, Vice President, The Segye Times, South Korea
  • Guy Taylor, National Security Foreign Policy Reporter, The Washington Times, USA
  • Andrew Salmon, Northeast Asia Correspondent, Asia Times

Session Report

Mr. Tom McDevitt discussed the roles appropriate for the mass communication media to facilitate the reunification of the Korean Peninsula. He sees “the emergence of a civilization-level movement based on an enlightened grand strategy that is rooted in the ideals of interdependence, mutual prosperity and universally shared values,” this in accord with a vision set forth by Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon. He encouraged all to get involved with UPF’s development of this vision. He sees the Korean Peninsula as the staging area for a geopolitical fork in the road, with China acting as a catalyst, that can plunge the two Koreas into an era of unprecedented cooperation and prosperity -- or that will result in a coming dark age of war and struggle. Numerous other events, from COVID to Afghanistan, and great upheavals caused by the global shift from the Atlantic-centric world to the Pacific-centric world, affect the outcome. As journalists viewing these challenges, he said, “it’s vital to seek what is most essential in order to report the news with accuracy, fairness and relevance.”

He called the effect on our era of the work of Rev. Sun Myung Moon and Dr. Hak Han Moon “singularly profound,” adding that Rev. Moon predicted the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1985, long before anyone else. He also cited their establishment of numerous organizations and associations as playing significant roles in track-two diplomacy and the exercise of “soft power.” As Rev. and Dr. Moon were both born in North Korea, and are respected by the North, the global and multi-faceted movement they have created, fully supports peaceful reunification.

He recalled an address Dr. Moon made in the Russell Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill in 2016, before 80 U.S. Senators and Congressmen. Dr. Moon challenged them, saying, “We look at this world seeing unspeakable misery happening around the Globe. This is impossible with mere human power. What should we do going forward? We need to start a movement that once again attends God as the original owner of the universe, in our families, countries and the world. However, the reality is that although our hearts are eager to attend God, it’s hard to practice in real life.” Mr. McDevitt acknowledged that these are very interesting words to share with such a highly politically-oriented body.

He concluded, saying “In the face of so many critical challenges around the world, in our nations, communities and homes, and in our personal lives, I believe we’re witnessing the phenomenon of a new, global Great Awakening, and that this requires a new mindset that an enlightened grand strategy and new leadership, especially that of women”

He added, “When the world seems so dark, the emerging light of a new view of life centered on the highest ideals of true love that transcends the barriers of race, religion, culture and national boundaries, is now becoming more evident with each passing day. This is the new view of reality that is beginning to take root and generate culture. That’s the stuff that we, as journalists, need to be watching for, to tell the world that we can find real hope and opportunity.”     

Mr. Andrew Salmon argued that the most primary of journalism roles belongs to the reporter whose job is to record the facts on the ground. The role of reporter does not include being a diplomat or policy-maker or warrior. What gives our work value is we share the consciousness of humanity, something that literature also does. Journalism is the most immediate form of this.  “We need to report human stories, stories that have immediacy,” he said. He said the special problem of doing this in Korea is the “black hole” of trying to get information from North Korea. For the past two years, Covid has made North Korea even more isolated than before. Seeing the faces and hearing the voices of the average North Korean is more difficult than it has ever been. As much as Pyongyang, a fertile location for encountering North Korea is on the border between China and North Korea, an area he called “the modern Casa Blanca,” because of it being a busy hub for activity, trade and interaction. Meaningful reporting on the China-DPRK border is much more tense and difficult than it used to be, he said. But if you want to do more than reporting by engaging in the analysis function of journalism, he said that it is best done in Seoul.

Ms. Hwang Jung-Mi visited North Korea in 2000 as a reporter for The Segye Times in Seoul. She shared her impressions of interacting with DPRK professionals and the great differences between their cultures and norms. Her perception of the North Korean culture was strict control and great caution about what one could do or say. South Korean missionaries send balloons floating from South Korea to the North carrying baskets filled with anti-regime leaflets, radios, Bibles, rice, medicine, cash and USB sticks containing South Korea TV dramas, movies and songs. The missionaries have done this for years and feel their work has opened peoples’ eyes to the reality of the outside world. The North Korean government protested the balloons, and the ROK National Assembly passed a bill prohibiting the balloons. She said the appropriate role of the free press outside North Korea is to speak to the ordinary people of the North and provide information about the DPRK government and the outside world, so the receivers can choose how they want to act based on the information. The Segye Times newspaper feels the responsibility of this mission.

Mr. Guy Taylor believes the key pillars of media responsibility, both within and outside the Korean Peninsula, include the need to promote the awareness that democratic societies should tolerate and not be intimidated by a free media space that is full of political opposition, debate and criticism of government leadership. Healthy free-market democracies should be promoting a diverse mix of independent opinions and schools of thought across the multimedia landscape. Free media has the responsibility to promote how different the media spaces are from China and North Korea -- how tightly controlled they are by the authoritarian apparatus. The free, non-government media in the democratic nations of Northeast Asia must retain the right of private ownership. The free press also needs to call out political propaganda that permeates the international information space, often masquerading as news generated by authoritarian, government-controlled media -- most notably from China, North Korea and Russia. The pillar of media freedom is what separates freedom-appreciating societies of the Asia Pacific from authoritarian societies. The implications of this are big because they reach well beyond the news media, into the cultural, artistic and religious space. This applies increasingly to new media spaces. Talk to your journalist colleagues in their 20s and 30s, especially social media. Over the past decade we’ve seen collective consciousness expressed through social media spaces in a totally unprecedented way.

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