Northeast Asia Peace Initiative

Oceania Webinar Explores Paths to Korean Reunification

Australia-2021-03-06-Oceania Webinar Explores ‘New Approach’ to Korean Reunification

Sydney, Australia—UPF and the Interreligious Association for Peace and Development (IAPD) in Oceania held a webinar on the theme of “Towards Peaceful Unification of the Korean Peninsula - A New Approach” on March 6, 2021 with 40 participants.

One of the central themes of the life work for world peace of UPF co-founders Rev. Sun Myung Moon and Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon has been to bring about the peaceful reunification of their homeland, the Korean peninsula. Their approach to this has a distinctive spiritual element.

In his opening remarks, UPF-Oceania chairman, Rev. Yutaka Yamada, spoke about two remarkable meetings that took place between Rev. and Mrs. Moon and Mikhail Gorbachev and Kim Il Sung in 1990 and 1991, respectively. At that time, Gorbachev was the leader of the Soviet Union and Kim, the supreme leader of North Korea. A rapport and trust was established between what could only be described then as arch enemies. The friendship that was formed in those meetings lasted for decades and even became intergenerational in the case of the son and grandson of Kim Il Sung, both of whom have honored and respected Rev. and Mrs. Moon. Rev. Yamada explained that that was the reason that the webinar theme included the words “A New Approach”—a unique component of winning the trust and friendship of a former enemy through love, good timing and wisdom.

To explore this “new approach,” the webinar featured an unusual combination of pragmatic political analysis and a religious perspective. The webinar sought to look at how this “new approach” might be applied to the peaceful reunification of the Korean peninsula and have ramifications for achieving peace more broadly in the world.

Each of the five panellists contributed something special based on their experience. The former first lady of Fiji, Madam Adi Koila Mara Nailatikau, moved everyone as she spoke about the four coups she had lived through in Fiji. Rev. Jenny Chalmers, vicar of St. Andrew’s Church in Taupo, New Zealand, gave a profound reflection on Christian pacifism and love of neighbor based on the Sermon on the Mount. Amb. Adrian Buzo, a former Australian diplomat to both North and South Korea, gave a sobering but very clear, insightful and realistic overview of the situation on the Korean peninsula. Dr. Thomas Ward, president of the Unification Theological Seminary, presented profound and thought-provoking content, condensing decades of history into just seven minutes.  UPF International chairman, Dr. Thomas Walsh, spoke at the end to present a broad ranging and powerful overview of the seminar’s theme and bring the event to a stimulating conclusion.

Overall, the webinar highlighted a promising approach to the problem of the peaceful reunification of the Korean peninsula. The impression of the attendees can be summed up in the reflection of Rev. Chalmers, who said: “Thank you so much for inviting me to be part of this extraordinarily stimulating webinar. What an unexpected gift on a Saturday morning. Thank you so much.” 

To read Madam Adi Koila Mara Nailatikau’s speech, click here.

To view a recording of the webinar, click here.

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