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Northeast Asia Peace Initiative

A Visit to North Korea Seeks to Defuse Tensions

To commemorate the 20th anniversary of the historic meeting between his parents, Rev. and Mrs. Sun Myung Moon, and Kim Il-sung, the father of Kim Jong-il, UPF Chairman Rev. Hyung Jin Moon visited North Korea from December 9 to 16, 2011. After his return to Seoul, it was reported that Kim Jong-il had passed away on December 17 at the age of 69. The UPF Chairman returned to Pyongyang to pay his respects, laying a memorial wreath at the main mourning site in Kim Il-sung Square in front of a portrait of the late Kim Jong-il on December 24.

Rev. Hyung Jin Moon and his wife, Yeon An Lee, first arrived in Pyongyang on December 9. According to a report from Sang Gwon Park, president of Pyung Hwa Motors in North Korea, they were escorted from the airport to the Moranbong Presidential Guest House for a welcoming dinner banquet with representatives of the Korean Asia Pacific Peace Committee. “Many things were said at the welcoming banquet and the atmosphere was truly congenial,” Park reported, mentioning references to the elder Rev. Moon's remarks during his visit 20 years ago.

According to Park, Mr. Dong Yeon Won, vice chairman of the Korean Asian Pacific Peace Committee, said, “National Security Chairman Kim Jong-il arranged for every [aspect of the visit] and made available the national welcoming hall as well as the government’s automobiles. I could never forget President Sun Myung Moon. I send my respects to him in consideration of his continuous efforts to bring about the unification of the Korean fatherland and world peace, especially through sending his beloved son to North Korea on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of his visit.”

Rev. Hyung Jin Moon and his wife traveled north of Pyongyang to visit the birthplace of his father in Jungjoo City and the tomb of his parents, Kyung Gye Kim and Kyung Woo Moon. They also visited the birthplace of his mother, Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, in Anjoo.

On December 15, Kim Yong Nam, president of the Presidium of the DPRK Supreme People's Assembly and North Korea’s ceremonial head of state, had a cordial talk with the delegation at the Mansudae Assembly Hall. Television News in Pyongyang showed Hyung Jin Moon speaking with Kim Yong Nam.

This visit also followed up on a donation of wheat flour the previous month by the Ambassadors for Peace Association of South Korea. Six hundred tons of wheat flour had been sent to North Korea to be delivered to the people of Jungjoo, where starvation has been an enduring problem. The Yonhap News Agency, South Korea’s largest News Agency, had reported on November 30 that “There have been widespread allegations that the North could divert outside food aid to its elite and military, a key backbone of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il’s rule. …The North has relied on foreign handouts since the late 1990s when it suffered a massive famine that was estimated to have killed 2 million people.” However, South Korean Ministry of Unification spokeswoman Soo Jin Park said that the distribution of flour was going well and that “the government plans to make efforts to ensure it can consistently monitor” aid to the North.

In his meeting with Kim Yong Nam, Rev. Hyung Jin Moon received confirmation that the flour had been duly distributed to the appropriate recipients.

Rev. Hyung Jin Moon asked people around the world to join him in offering devotion and prayer for the peaceful reunification of the Korean peninsula.

With contributions by Ariana Moon and Tossa Cromwell

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