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December 2022
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SLC2022: Session VII-A - IAAP Conference

Section 1: Vision for Heavenly Unified Korea

Chairman: Mr. Jaques Marion, Secretary-General, UPF Europe and the Middle East (France), presented the founders’ vision of a peaceful reunification of the Korean Peninsula, but, as the setup for the session, asked how this could come about.

Presenter 1: Dr. Keun-Sik Kim, Department of Political Science and International Relations, Kyungnam University, Korea, spoke on “Northeast Asian Order and the Peaceful Reunification of the Korean Peninsula: Situations and Strategies.” He observed that Northeast Asia is currently in the center of a paradigm shift. After outlining a brief history of the peninsula from WWII, he suggested that three leaders played key roles in clarifying the way forward: 1. First President of the ROK, Syngman Rhee, who foresaw the ideological conflict unfolding on the peninsula; 2. Rev. Sun Myung Moon who met Gorbachev and Kim Il Sung in an effort to convince them of the value of religion in the political sphere; and 3. Kim Dae-Jung who initiated the Inter-Korean Summit in 2000.

He suggested that the Sino-USA relationship is critical since it influences North Korea, and spoke of the Thucydides Trap, a political theory that claims that when a great power’s hegemony is threatened by an emerging power, at a certain threshold war is inevitable.

He concluded that since North Korea rejects any aid from South Korea, and that it will never abandon its nuclear policy, that reunification by absorption is the only possibility. Favoring “peaceful absorption,” he suggested that China should be democratized as a precondition for Korean reunification.

Presenter 2: Dr. Alexandre Mansourov, Adjunct Professor Security Studies, Edmund Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University, USA, spoke on “Alternative Futures of the DPRK.” Stressing the reality of the regime in North Korea as a “70-plus year old one-family business” which has as its core strategy regime survival, absolute maintenance of nuclear capability and ultimate communization of the peninsula, Mansourov identified four key drivers for the future of the Korean peninsula. These drivers interact with each other to form a complex system of possible scenarios on several axes involving China, the USA, ROK and the DPRK and the level of aggressivity of each party in relation to the others. He presented a fascinating look at possible outcomes with an emphasis on finding the right balance among parties whose policies are subject to abrupt political shifts.

Commentator: Dr. Bartholomew Courmont, Institute of International and Strategic Relations, France, recalled that as a professor teaching at a South Korean university, he sought his students’ reactions in a class on the reunification of the peninsula. He shared that the responses were diverse, from complete disinterest in the subject to the view that the Kim regime should be completely absorbed into the ROK. He said that the issue has great import for the entire world, and that we need more sustainable dialogue to ascertain the internal rationality of the North Korean regime.

Section 2: Vision for a Heavenly Unified World

Presenter 3: Dr. Thomas J. Ward, President, Unification Theological Seminary (2019-2022); Professor of Peace and Development Studies, USA, spoke on “CAUSA and Father and Mother Moon’s Role in Global Peacebuilding: Commemorating the 10th Anniversary of Father Moon’s Ascension.” He began with a brief history of the CAUSA movement, which was born to solve the first of the three headaches of God, as described by Rev. Moon: the problem of Communism, the decline of Christianity and the immorality among youth.

Ward went on to describe Father Moon’s strategy to deal with the Communist ideology and its work:

  • Build a core membership globally, even in the Communist world
  • Build an economic foundation to support the work
  • Conduct rallies globally in support of “Headwing” or “Godism” ideology
  • Create a media network that can connect the globe to God-centered values, and
  • Create a Victory over Communism movement that can expose communism’s true philosophical underpinnings and offer a more profound vision of a better world.

He described how the CAUSA movement spread throughout Central and South America, then through the USA, with astounding program attendance. The work spread to Japan and Korea. In creating a media foundation in Japan, Korea, the US and Latin America, Rev. Moon was able to counter the univocal viewpoints in the major media in those areas, thus limiting the complete freedom of the communist-inspired voices and presenting an alternative. These initiatives became the foundation upon which he could reach the leaders in the most significant communist countries of the Soviet Union and North Korea in the cause of peace.

Presenter 4: Dr. Chheng Kimlong, Vice President, Asian Vision Institute, Cambodia, spoke on “Hun Sen’s Peace Philosophy: On Cambodia and the Korean Peninsula.” He said that the world remembers Cambodia in the 1970s, but much has changed. After many difficulties, the Peace Palace, the Office of the Prime Minister, was created in 2010.

Hun Sen tried to create a thriving democracy using three principles: “In, Out and About.” By this reckoning, the first goal was to create a sustainable democracy within Cambodia, after the trauma of the Khmer Rouge era and the deal with the armed guerrillas still fighting in the country. The second, “Out,” was to settle the country’s status in the international community. The third, “About,” was to settle disputes and relations with close neighbors.

Dr. Kimlong mentioned Hun Sen’s triangle strategy of (a) political and social reformation and justice, (b) poverty reduction and human development, and (c) regional and global integration.

Presenter 5: Dr. Vladimir Petrovskiy, Chief Researcher, Russia-China Center, Institute of Far Eastern Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences, Russia, spoke of assessing the efforts of UPF against aspects of inter-Korean dialogue such as political/security issues, possibility of a new Sunshine Policy, economic cooperation and so forth. In relation to UPF’s Northeast Asia Peace Initiative, he noted that past efforts had focussed on reconciliation, not reunification, as exemplified by arts and cultural exchanges, our Peace Embassy in Pyeongyang, and investments in North Korea. He pointed to the imbalance in the military and GDP numbers between the ROK and the DPRK: military numbers are much higher in the North while GDP numbers are higher in the South. Petrovskiy suggested that denuclearization should not be a prerequisite for discussion with the North. Regarding sanctions, they have had no effect on the denuclearization process.

Suggesting that now would be a good time to negotiate reduction in sanctions for more cross-border engagement in fields of tourism, industrial cooperation and the like, he drew attention to China-North Korea projects such as those at the port of Rajin on the Japan Sea and the Rajin-Hunchun road, as well as Russia-North Korea projects like the Khasan-Rajin rail line and other joint projects.

Lesson learned: he called for a more comprehensive approach:

  • expansion of existing projects
  • finalize Korean War
  • civil diplomacy on North Korean nuclear program
  • development assistance and humanitarian relief
  • a civil society G7 or G8 forum, parallel to the political version for discussions on solutions.

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