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Speeches

M. Pompeo: Address to World Summit, Think Tank 2022, Session 6

Address to World Summit
February 11-13, 2022

 

It is glorious to be with you today, a true honor to be with you. It’s always better to be on this side of the border today because this is a people who understand the love of their fellow man. I had a chance to meet with a handful of people who left North Korea. Those people love each other as well as they love you. We have this incredible opportunity today to communicate directly to them as well that we love them, that in spite of the actions of their leadership, this world can be mutually prosperous and more successful and more loving together.

Last October I had the chance to be with the same group. I spoke about religious freedom, about security and peace in Northeast Asia, and I discussed the fundamental importance of faith reunification efforts on the peninsula in confronting authoritarian regimes.

Today I want to focus on a particular challenge presented by the Chinese Communist Party, not only to reunification of the peninsula, but in confronting all of mankind. Dr. Moon, thank you so much for putting this together for all of us. May the Lord bless you for it. Thank you to the co-chairmen, people online, the people in the room who remind me of all the work that our team did to try to deliver on this glorious outcome.

As we stand here today, hotels all across the world are shut down to prevent contagion. Truckers are sitting on the US-Canadian border. Kids are missing school, kids are missing their education.

Businesses are shuttered, many destroyed, never to re-open. Indeed, as many have spoken before, the entire way that we live today has been altered now for at least two years, and continuing.

Why is this so? This virus was foisted upon the world by a Communist Party that refused to do the divinely right thing in the moment. It put its own citizens on planes, knowing that they were contagious and had them travel to Milan, Italy and all across the world to infect the world. At the same time, they denied the world access to the very information that it needed to protect each of us and our families from this very virus.

What conception of humanity finds this remotely decent or acceptable? What vision of a higher power justifies such wanton diminution of the value of each human life? Ladies and gentlemen, it is not about the Chinese people. It is about this entity and its leaders, the challenge it presents to those of us who seek peace and harmony in our world. The Chinese Communist Party today is possessed by the same lust for power that Mao had embodied.

At home they have managed to channel this into sophisticated systems of repression which are designed to also utterly crush the very freedom we are enjoying here today, [that we] support. We’ve all seen this. It has been on full display during these Olympics, though the CCP may use the Olympic fanfare and celebration to ensure that we ignore the staggering ongoing persecution of anyone that the government, the Chinese Communist Party can easily control, especially religious believers across the country.

Every time a communist regime seeks to extol its accomplishments for the world to see, we in this room should point to the concentration camps they have filled, the genocidal attacks they have undertaken. Their brutal treatment of Falun Gong and Buddhist practitioners is unacceptable. We should amplify reports of CCP officials recruiting children to become informants against their Christian church-going parents.

The Communist Party can’t tolerate the idea that we are here today, that these same people would find their identity and meaning in life in God. They could never conceive of anything of greater authority than even themselves, the state. Party leaders believe that the party alone should command the loyalties of the human heart.

Dr. Moon, what UPF stands for is in strong opposition to that. Little do they know that their oppression of faith is bound to backfire. God calls to every human heart, and we need to heed his calling. 

Try as they might to crush religious freedom, the communist regime in Beijing forgets that no scheme of man can hinder the work of the divine. North Korea takes its cues from the CCP. We talk about the Chinese conflict with Tibet, with Mongolia, the people of Hong Kong and their efforts in Taiwan. We should not forget the long border between the Chinese Communist Party and the Korean people in the North. I saw this firsthand when I was able to free three brave Americans who had been held by the totalitarian state in the North. I traveled back in April of 2018 on Easter weekend, three of the Christian faith’s holiest days.

The president wanted to meet with Chairman Kim, as he said earlier today, to create the opportunity for Chairman Kim to make the right decision for his own people, and for himself and for the world and for the people of this peninsula. I repeated the president’s request for North Korea to de-nuclearize and the request for the North Koreans to point their missiles away from the city in which we stand today. And I repeated his request to allow the return of Kim Dong Chul, Tony Kim and Kim Hak Song, who were held, at least in part, for themselves being men of faith, desirous of the very same outcomes that we all are gathered here today to support. Thank the good Lord I was able to return with these three men and they were in good condition.

We speak about the threat from the Chinese Communist Party, not because of hatred, not because of any animosity, but out of a deep love for humanity, the humanity of the 1.2 billion Chinese people who are desirous of the lifting of the Chinese communist yoke from upon their backs, and because of my love for the people of all of Korea, and your goal and your love for your fellow man.

These communist efforts work against any understanding of a higher calling or a higher deity. They are efforts to disrupt peace and are part of a broader, troubling trend, moving to a world where, to quote Thucydides, the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must. That’s why we make efforts in diplomacy, and it should always be our first tool to resolve crises. Indeed, I am encouraged that the UPF urges personal connections to try to make progress towards that very peace and reunification.

The historic meeting between President Trump and Chairman Kim that followed in June shows the power of a personal connection in the deepest fundamental way. We reduced risk for the moment—risk of an accident, risk of a mistake, risk of a very, very tragic outcome, and for the collateral damage that would have flowed all around the world.

We created the necessary conditions for the eventual reunification of the Korean people on the peninsula. And we were clear too this wasn’t about wishful thinking. We come today with great hope in our hearts, but it must be based on a reality and a fact.

If there’s one thing I am most proud of, President Trump and Vice President Pence and our entire leadership team understood we can’t pretend away our problems. We must build success upon foundations of facts and science. As a matter of human nature, it’s a whole heck of a lot harder to fire a weapon of mass destruction at someone with whom you’ve met and spent time. We tried to help Chairman Kim come to know the world in a larger way.

I know the people of power in Beijing would not enjoy hearing the words that I have spoken today, but I believe that they know in their hearts that this is the truth, this is the reality. And that most of the rest of the world outside of their party understands that there is a better way, a path forward that is deeply different, and that permitting to reunify with South Korea is something that they can have great effect on. They could permit the sanctions to be enforced, permit the North Korean people to travel. They can permit an understanding of hope and faith that permeates across their border.

I’m counting on each and every one of you today, those of you here physically and those of you here remotely, counting on you never to give up hope, hope for peace and hope for reunification. I had the chance to meet with one of those three Americans that I freed, just a few months ago in Los Angeles. He asked to see me to let me know that even in his darkest moments while he was being held in North Korea, he never lost hope, he never lost faith. He prayed every single day.

In the darkest night for him he would not permit gloom because he knew that one day he would be united with his family because all of us so much desire peace. When we reunited after I first saw him in North Korea, we were at Andrews Air Force Base. It was the middle of the night. It was 3 in the morning. It was an incredible moment. The president and first lady were there to greet them. And amid all the drama of the moment, one of those three Americans slipped a note to me. It was on a 3 by 5 card, a note that he had written while he was traveling back to the United States. If you look at the video, I slipped it into my pocket that morning.

When I got home at a very late hour, I said to my wife Susan, “We need to read this,” and we grabbed the card. It was Psalm 126, “The Lord has done great things for us. We are all filled with joy.” I’ve kept that card, it’s framed in my office. It reminded me every day of my remaining moments as Secretary of State that indeed we have all done great things and we should have our hearts filled with joy.

But there is much work left to do. The moment for reunification will happen. That day will come. As a Christian, I think it’s because the idea of reconciliation and reunification is at the core of the Gospel, as God welcomes us to himself. There is a divine authorship of even the simplest emotion. That night on the tarmac was so joyful, but it was just a foretaste of the joy that two whole nations will experience when the peninsula is reunified.

God bless you. Thank you. Continue your efforts. The Lord is at our back and he will welcome the unification of the peninsula.

Thank you all so very, very much.

 

 


To go to the World Summit 2022 Schedule page, click here.