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R. James Woolsey: Address to Interreligious Leadership Conference 2017

Address to Interreligious Leadership Conference 2017
Seoul, Korea, November 10 to 14, 2017

Good afternoon,

Greetings to Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon who brought us all together to seek peace in Korea and to pray for God to heal the conflict that has festered here for nearly 70 years. Greetings to the active legislators, members of the International Association of Parliamentarians for Peace who have journeyed here from more than 100 countries. Greetings also to the hundreds of leaders of worldwide Christianity, Judaism and Islam who have come from scores of countries to join hands with one another and with their Korean brothers and sisters, who represent Buddhism, Confucianism and myriad other faith traditions.

And especially, a most heartfelt greeting to the people of the Republic of Korea, the thousands of you who have come today representing the private and public spheres of life in this great and beautiful country. Also, I want to commend Dr. Moon and her beloved husband for founding The Washington Times in Washington, D.C. I’m here in part because the Washington Times’ hard hitting views and commentary is strengthening the resolve of America’s leaders to achieve peace and, God willing, in time, freedom for the entire Korean Peninsula.

We never forget that what divides the North and South in this country is an artificial and arbitrary political wall of tyranny. All the men, women and children of the Korean Peninsula are one people, and have been for 4,000 years. You have existed as one family since the dawn of recorded history, and you will continue as one family for millennia to come. The thousands of families that were torn apart by the North-South division along the 48th parallel in the 1950s feel a pain and longing for reunion and freedom on both sides of the divide that remains as intense as it has been for more than half a century.

Religious people, men and women who affirm a relationship with God, have always been on the front line to save Korea. Western evangelists have long recognized and said that Christianity in Korea blazes with a fire unequaled anywhere in the world. The churches of Korea have a strong tradition of fasting and praying through the night. Christians prayed at the Han River in the dead of winter, asking God that the river would not freeze with ice solid and thick enough to allow invading tanks from North Korea to cross over. This has been a nation guided and sustained by faith, and once again, that faith is being tested. God is checking us to see if men and women of God have the strength of faith to pull together, to unite as one, to rally together—not for ourselves or what we will get out of it—but unselfishly for the peace, prosperity and freedom of both South and North Korea. And for the family that Korea is, supported by its American and other friends.

There is a great deal of hostile dialogue back and forth between the parties involved in Korea, particularly between North Korea and the U.S. The danger of harsh talk slipping suddenly into all-out war is much greater today than it has ever been. The reason for this is that the speed at which information, misunderstandings and events move in the world of advanced technology is unprecedented. Where we are sitting right now is well within artillery range of North Korea. Half of the 40 million people of the ROK are in Seoul. Now that the North has successfully put satellites into orbit and tested nuclear weapons, they have the technology needed to launch an electromagnetic pulse attack against the South, Japan or the U.S. Such an attack would destroy the attacked area’s electric grid, putting us instantly back into the 19th century, and leaving our cities with no way to communicate or to get food or water.

Rev. and Dr. Moon went to North Korea in 1992 on a mission of peace. The current leader’s grandfather, Kim Il Sung, was president at that time. Rev. Moon was one of the most famous, relentless and successful critics of communism in the 1970s, 80s and 90s. His critique and counterproposal to Marxism-Leninism was so effective that Kim Il Sung once was planning to send a squad of his elite forces into South Korea with instructions to assassinate Sun Myung Moon. Well aware of the dangers they faced in going to visit Kim Il Sung in the North, Rev. and Mrs. Moon did so anyway. They went to give Kim Il Sung a message of great urgency and sincerity. They told him that if he would allow freedom of religion in his country, and other human rights, and would seek a more open and good-faith relationship with the South, his efforts would be met with peace and generosity from the international community. They told Kim Il Sung that God would then bless North Korea.

Those of us gathered here today are being called by God to finish the work of building peace and freedom that was begun by Rev. and Dr. Moon. Altogether it is right and fitting that we undertake this task. Our two countries have a bond of heart that was forged in the fires of the Korean War. The shared blood of Korea, the United States and the 15 other nations that was spilled into the soil of Korea in the fight against tyranny makes us brothers and sisters forever. The world came to Korea at one time to protect this country, and the world has once again gathered together on this sacred ground.

May God bless all of us and fulfill the dream of a unified and free Korean Peninsula.

Thank you very much.


To go to the Interreligious Leadership Conference Schedule 2017, click here.