Messiah - My Testimony to Rev. Sun Myung Moon Volume II - Bo Hi Pak
Chapter 20 - The Summit Between Sun Myung Moon and Kim Il Sung [Part 1 of 5]
"Is This a Joke?"
On December 1, 1991, the headline in Segye Ilbo, a Korean daily newspaper, startled the people of Seoul out of their morning drowsiness. Printed in huge letters, it introduced a front-page feature story: "Reverend Moon Visits Pyongyang." No one could believe their eyes.
The whole idea was preposterous. There might conceivably be a way to mix fire and water, but a meeting between Rev. Sun Myung Moon and North Korean President Kim Il Sung was patently impossible. And yet, the impossible had happened.
Before I go on, let me quote a few passages from a book written by Dr. Nohuyuki Fukuda (1921-1996), onetime president of Tsukuba University in Japan, a political adviser to the Japanese Liberal Democratic Party, a prominent physicist and educator, and a leading figure in his time. He founded and developed Tsukuba University with the aim of establishing a powerful academic research and education system. Dr. Fukuda's book, from which these quotes are taken, is entitled Reverend Sun Myung Moon and President Kim Il Sung.
On November 30, 1991, at 1:15 in the afternoon, Reverend Sun Myung Moon left Beijing Airport on Flight JS-21512, a special charter aircraft provided from the Air Koryo fleet by the government of North Korea. He was headed for Pyongyang. The news was reported across the globe by the team of Korean, Japanese, and American reporters originally slated to enter North Korea with Reverend Moon's entourage. Thus began Reverend Moon's eight-day visit to North Korea, during which the world watched with bated breath until the Moon group later returned to Beijing on December 7.
The news of Reverend Moon's visit to Pyongyang shocked the world. Not only was Reverend Moon a religious leader who had publicly censured the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), but as the president of the International Federation for Victory Over Communism, he also promoted a worldwide movement that both criticized and sought to overcome communism. From very early on, he had clearly and unequivocally prophesied the fall of communism and was known as a prototypical leader of the conservative anti-communist forces, having proposed a vision for the deliverance of the communist world. This was the same man who visited North Korea. And North Korea was a nation that still clung to an authoritarian communist system based on the Juche ideology despite the recent collapse of the Cold War power structure and despite the worldwide trend toward democratization. But if he went to the DPRK, which the United States had designated a "terrorist nation," would he actually return safely? What could be his reason for visiting the North? Naturally, the whole affair elicited a great sense of interest.
However, what attracted even more attention was the question of the DPRK's motive. North Korea had invited Reverend Moon to visit as founder of the Unification Church, and yet the DPRK had always suppressed religion thoroughly and denounced it as an "opiate." For them to invite Reverend Moon as founder of the Unification Church was a substantial contradiction of regular policy.
It is still uncertain just exactly what North Korea aimed to achieve in inviting Reverend Moon and giving him the kind of reception that should be exceptional even for a state-level guest. However, shortly after his trip, on December 13, just six days after Reverend Moon returned from Pyongyang, North Korea and South Korea signed the "Agreement on Reconciliation and Exchanges and Cooperation between South and North." This agreement is recognized as the most significant agreement between the two nations since the 1972 North-South Joint Declaration. This was then followed by the December 30 signing of the Joint Declaration on the Denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, an agreement that addressed the pressing issue of Korean nuclear policies. This in turn was succeeded by the signing of an agreement (January 30, 1992) on the guidelines put forth by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for inspection of nuclear facilities. Given that Reverend Moon's visit to the North took place directly prior to this series of dramatic changes in the North's behavior, one can only conclude that the visit and the talks held with President Kim Il Sung triggered some very substantial changes in the North."
(Rev. Sun Myung Moon, 21 -- 22)
Reverend Moon was born in 1920 during the period of Japanese occupation in Chongju, Pyongan Pukdo, in what is now North Korea. After the liberation of Korea, he did missionary work in South Korea, but shortly thereafter moved to North Korea, which was under communist rule. While he was doing mission work in Pyongyang, he was arrested, thrown into prison and tortured until almost dead. In the midst of the confusion of the Korean War in 1950, he miraculously escaped from the Hungnam ammonium sulfate fertilizer factory -- then a concentration camp -- and crossed the 38th parallel to make his way back into South Korea. In Pusan, he established the first Unification Church, then moved to Seoul shortly afterward. Both his parents and indeed almost all his relatives were in the North, and when Reverend Moon began anti-communist activities in addition to his religious work, they received persecution from the North Korean regime. With this sort of background, Reverend Moon must have held a good number of grievances against Kim Il Sung. In short, the relationship between Reverend Sun Myung Moon and President Kim Il Sung was archetypically on bad terms: they were sworn enemies that even Heaven would have difficulty in bringing together.
Nevertheless, the two of them smiled, chatted and exchanged toasts, then held hands like reunited brothers when photographs were taken. It would be unreasonable to expect anyone to not be surprised and amazed at this development. Even I feel that way, and I am reasonably familiar with Reverend Moon compared with most Japanese people (excluding Unification Church members, of course.) The average person probably has little or no chance of understanding what on earth the whole thing was about.
However, when one thinks about it, this visit to North Korea by Reverend Moon and the talks he held with President Kim Il Sung are incredibly significant, historically speaking. Any attempt to dismiss them as a publicity stunt or a simple visit by Moon, a native of the North, to his hometown, would result in missing the true significance and motive behind the visit completely.
(Rev. Sun Myung Moon, 8 -- 9)
Dr. Fukuda's book does a good job in explaining the essence of Reverend Moon's visit to the North. Dr. Fukuda points out that the main role in the North Korean visit was played by the then chairman of the Segye Ilbo newspaper in Korea, a certain Bo Hi Pak. That, of course, is me. (At the time of Reverend Moon's visit to the North, I had resigned as chairman of the Washington Times and was chairman of the Segye Ilbo.) And what Dr. Fukuda writes is true. From start to finish, at the behest of Reverend Moon, I put all my effort into seeing this historical meeting accomplished. Naturally, I know better than anyone the true nature of the talks and Reverend Moon's meeting with Kim Il Sung. It is my intention in this book to reveal clearly the significance of the "Moon-Kim Conference" and to describe all the related facts. You could almost say that is the reason I am writing this book: to make sure there is an accurate account of this event, a milestone in Korean history and a landmark in world history.
The Motive Behind Reverend Moon's Visit to North Korea
Reverend Moon is a devoted supporter of peaceful reunification of the Korean peninsula. In today's language, we call that a "soft landing." Neither unification by invading Pyongyang militarily nor a unification that transforms Seoul into a bloody war zone is an acceptable option. We cannot allow the tragedy of the internecine Korean War to be repeated. Reunification must be accomplished without shedding the blood of one single person, even if that means it takes a bit more time.
This has been Reverend Moon's basic stance and philosophy. Consequently, he has been shedding blood, sweat, and tears to get a grip on both North and South and to bring them together in the direction of reconciliation and cooperation. In these affairs, it was my part to unite completely with his purpose and direction and work to bring about this goal.
As I explained in the previous chapter, Reverend Moon met with President Gorbachev in Moscow on April 11, 1990. On our way out of the Kremlin after that historical meeting, I received a startling instruction from Reverend Moon.
Bo Hi, the Soviet Union will have met its end within a year or two. Just wait and see. Now is the time for me to meet with President Kim Il Sung, so that war doesn't break out on the Korean peninsula.
Apart from myself, the only person to hear these words was Mrs. Hak Ja Han Moon. Thus, even at that early time, I received a special mission to prepare the way for the visit to North Korea.
Why did I receive this special instruction just then, directly after his talks with President Gorbachev? The reason is that Reverend Moon is extremely sensitive spiritually, and he has a kind of sixth sense. He felt clearly that he had succeeded in persuading President Gorbachev, and his intuition told him that it would not be long before the Soviet empire met its end. Once the core nation of the Soviet Union collapsed, the entire communist camp was liable to disintegrate with all the speed of an avalanche falling from the highest peak. Reverend Moon was immediately concerned about the situation on the Korean peninsula. If the downfall of the Soviet Union triggered an overreaction in North Korea and the North acted upon misjudgment or a miscalculation, in the midst of international isolation, war could well break out on the Korean peninsula once again. Already at this early stage, Reverend Moon perceived this possibility, and that was the source of his concern. To prevent that happening, he decided that very day that he must take action himself and go to Pyongyang.
"Yes sir" I replied, even though I knew very well that this task would be extremely difficult. It would, in fact, be more difficult to accomplish than the meeting with Gorbachev. Then, just before I got out of the car, Reverend Moon added his final words: "The meeting with President Kim Il Sung has to take place before the end of 1991, no matter what. You've got to understand. There isn't much time."
"Yes sir," I repeated. "I understand. I'm sure we can accomplish it."
This exchange points to Reverend Moon's first motive in making the visit to North Korea: to prevent another Korean War. In my understanding, however, there was another important motive for Reverend Moon's visit to the North, and it had been foreshadowed a long time beforehand in words he often repeated. Reverend Moon would have to visit the North and point out the fallacy of its Juche (self-reliance, self-determination) ideology. This long-held intention was Reverend Moon's second motive in visiting the North.
In 1945, after the liberation of Korea from the Japanese, when the communist regime was establishing itself in the northern part of Korea, Reverend Moon lived in the South. Although he was able to pursue religious activity as much as he wanted in the South, he went to North Korea, where religion was being resolutely suppressed, where the regime loudly proclaimed the non-existence of God. Risking his life, he determined to enter the North to bring them to realize just how false their atheistic ideology was. It was a theme that Reverend Moon would often speak about.
"You can't bring reunification with the Juche ideology," Reverend Moon would say. "In Juche thought, humans are the center of everything, but how can humans be the Creator? Human beings are created beings. God exists above and beyond human beings. The true ideology for uniting our homeland can only be derived on the basis of understanding the purpose behind God's creation of humanity. Whether they listen to me or not, I still feel the responsibility to go there [North Korea] and try at least once to wake them from their ignorance."
Reverend Moon had decided that he must go to the North.
In the same way that he met with President Gorbachev, he was determined to testify about God's existence before the leadership of North Korea. He would wake them to the fact that Juche thought, which they worshipped like it was life itself, was far from the real truth. In the end, Reverend Moon accomplished both of his aims when he visited the North in 1991.
Reverend Moon, foreseeing that the wave of collapse beginning in the Soviet Union would stretch all the way to North Korea, believed it was his mission to take care of the situation. The first thing was to open up communication between North Korea and other nations. There is nothing so frightful as isolation, which results in misunderstanding and miscalculation. These, in turn, bring about war.
I have pointed out the importance of the Korean peninsula. All of the world's problems can be found in concentrated form there. What this means is that peace on the Korean peninsula can be the starting point for peace worldwide, and at the same time would indicate its culmination. Korea is the frontline of the conflict between God and Satan, and the final, decisive battle between them is to be fought there. When the Korean peninsula is united, the unified Korea will become a father nation to humanity, a holy ground for all humankind, and the hometown of heart for humanity's collective consciousness.
The conditions that exist on the Korean peninsula today are a microcosm of the global situation. If blood is shed in Korea, then blood will be shed around the world. If reconciliation comes to the Korean peninsula, then reconciliation will prevail throughout the world. If the Korean peninsula is unified, the world will be unified. Such a unified Korea, and indeed a unified world, cannot be achieved with the leftist ideology of the communists, nor can it be won with the right-wing philosophy of capitalism and democracy. The ideology to do this can be neither left wing nor right wing, but must be Headwing. The only ideology that can truly unify is Godism, because Godism is the ideal of God's creation.
Regrettably, however, signs and indications of war began to gradually appear around the Korean peninsula. In such a situation, could Reverend Moon do anything else but pour all his attention and efforts into the matter? From the second half of the 1980s, North Korea showed signs of restlessness and started to pursue its ambition to become a nuclear power. Meanwhile, the Western nations, starting with the United States, began contemplating a preemptive strike to block that very situation. That idea, however, was extremely dangerous. It was clear to Reverend Moon that if the two sides continued this kind of face-off, it would not be long before the Korean peninsula once again plunged into war.
North Korea's Ambition to Be a Nuclear Power
Reverend Moon's foremost concern was North Korea's ambition to obtain nuclear weapons. When the Cold War began to change, North Korea started to get nervous. Up until that time, the Soviet Union had always played the role of absolute leader. Now, however, it was throwing off the East European satellite states like shabby old shoes. Even when the Berlin Wall collapsed, the Soviet Union didn't utter so much as a word. In the face of this reality and such foreboding developments as the ghastly end met by Romania's President Nicolae Ceausescu, himself a longtime dictator, North Korea found that far from looking to the Soviet Union as a leader, it could hardly even consider the communist giant as an ally.
China, which shares a border with North Korea, had always been an ally of the North. During the Korean War, when it became clear that the North Korean army was destined for destruction, Chinese leader Mao Zedong (1893-1976) supported the North by unleashing an army of one million Chinese troops and turned the tide of war. From that time on, North Korea and China were the closest of allies.
However, at the end of the 1970s, as China began to emerge from the darkness of the Mao era, a new trend emerged with the rise of Deng Xiaoping (1904-1997). Together with a thawing of East-West relations, China began a desperate struggle to overcome abject economic poverty.
Deng called for China to learn the positive aspects of the capitalist system. This was the so-called Chinese-style socialism. The Chinese economy shifted from a centrally controlled, planned economy to a market economy. Chinese-style socialism actually meant maintaining the dictatorship of the Communist Party politically while adopting the free-market system for the economy. Eventually, China overcame its economic crisis and began to walk the path of economic growth.
Deng returned land to the farmers and established a system that recognized both autonomous production and a free market. The system stimulated the farmers' desire to work; agricultural workers invested themselves, stimulated by the prospect of increasing their own turnover. As a result, agricultural production was increased several-fold, and the food problem was rapidly resolved.
Once the food problem had been solved, China set about industrialization and focused on becoming the top exporter in Asia. Whether one considers its enormous population, vast tracts of land, or incredible economic growth rate, any of these factors seem destined to make China an economic superpower in the twenty-first century.
It was only natural for China to start thinking differently from North Korea, which was still struggling simply to stay alive. At one time, North Korea had been their "blood ally," absolutely necessary for the sake of common security and defense. But now, what China needed was export markets: the United States, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan. Thus, all the international conditions surrounding North Korea began to change. The time when North Korea could rely on China for its survival had passed.
Having lost both its "leader" and "blood ally," North Korea had no choice but to search for a new way to maintain national dignity and prestige. One solution presented itself: the procurement of nuclear weapons. Then none of the major powers would be able to disregard Pyongyang, especially if it also had the missiles to deliver them. Let's take a look at how events unfolded, following the description in Dr. Fukuda's book of the various suspicions surrounding North Korea's nuclear activities.
Within the free world, the first hint that North Korea was developing nuclear weapons came to the surface in 1989. The Wall Street Journal learned from a Korean military expert that the U.S. government possessed certain satellite photographs.
The Journal reported that the photographs showed that North Korea was building some kind of nuclear facility near Yongbyeon, approximately ninety kilometers northwest of Pyongyang, and that the nuclear facility was capable of producing and refining the plutonium necessary for the construction of nuclear bombs. Successive reports reinforced these suspicions that the North was pursuing weapons development.
Jane's International Review, the British military intelligence magazine, reported on the issue of the North Korean nuclear development program in its August 1991 edition. After analyzing the data from American reconnaissance satellites, Jane's came to a conclusion: There was an extremely high probability that, in the Yongbyeon area, some two thousand technicians were conducting research, and that research would allow construction of plutonium-based atomic weapons without the support of overseas cooperation.
In addition, Joseph Bermudez, an American expert on the North Korean military, stated: "North Korea continues to expand its nuclear weapon development facilities in Yongbyeon. Already, the North Koreans are capable of producing a small uranium bomb (an atomic bomb) the size of the one dropped on Hiroshima, Japan."
There was another report that North Korea became extremely tense directly after the failed coup by conservative hardliners in the Soviet Union. In an effort to have neighboring China align itself with it, it notified its neighbor of its intentions, saying, "We have decided to obtain nuclear weapons in order to preserve our system. Please understand our position and cooperate with us in this effort."
(Rev. Sun Myung Moon, 39)
As North Korea's intention to develop nuclear arms became clearer, developments in the United States began to move apace. Dr. Fukuda writes,
On October 30, 1991, Carl W. Ford, Jr., U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, testified before the Subcommittee on East Asian and Pacific Affairs concerning suspicions about North Korea's nuclear weapons development. Ford stated that America's policy on the issue was not limited to seeking North Korea's acceptance of inspections by atomic agencies, but required the complete eradication of North Korea's ability to develop nuclear weapons in the first place.
By the time November came around, the situation was steadily deteriorating while tensions increased. On November 17, an official at Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed that Japan had received a report from U.S. intelligence saying that there is "a possibility that North Korea will have its first nuclear weapon within a few months." According to a different official, the Japanese government had received information that North Korea was developing the Nodong I missile, an improved-model Scud missile with a range of approximately 1,000 kilometers, a range that put Osaka well within its grasp.
(Rev. Sun Myung Moon, 39 -- 40)
Soon not only the United States but many other nations in Asian also harbored strong doubts and concerns. Within the United States, hard-line views came to the fore, and the idea of a defensive preemptive strike quickly gained popularity.
The Emergence of the Preemptive Strike Option
Defensive preemptive strike was the term used to refer to a strategic bombardment of North Korea's nuclear facilities. The assertion was that if North Korea completed development of its facilities (which could reprocess used nuclear fuel) and could actually produce plutonium, then a strategic strike would be required, similar to the Israel's surprise attack that destroyed Iraq's Osirak nuclear plant. The rationale was that if the nuclear reprocessing plant started operations, it would be simply a matter of time until the plutonium that it produced were used to build bombs.
The North Korea problem was discussed publicly by a November 21 meeting of the East Asia and the Pacific Subcommittee of the House Committee, chaired by Stephen Solarz, a Democrat. Richard Perle, former assistant secretary of defense for international security policy, appeared as a witness. He strongly advocated such a strike, saying, "The only effective response available to the United States is military action. I assert that it is necessary to destroy North Korea's nuclear facility by stealth attack."
Avowing that the threat of North Korea's nuclear capability would not be limited to South Korea, Perle's testimony drew attention to two potential dangers: (1) North Korea could use nuclear devices for international terrorist activities and (2) North Korea could sell nuclear weapons materials and technology to other terrorist nations, such as Libya or Iraq.
After pointing out the threat of such possibilities, Perle went on to say, "The concept of using inspections by the IAEA to block North Korea's development of nuclear weapons has already been discredited. North Korea's nuclear development plans have already progressed too far to be stopped in this way."
(Rev. Sun Myung Moon, 40–41)
On the very same day, in Seoul, Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Colin Powell announced the United States–South Korea Joint Communique after the annual U.S.-ROK consultative meeting. The contents of the declaration were profoundly serious.
Both South Korea and the United States jointly demand that North Korea unconditionally comply with inspections of all nuclear-related facilities and materials, including nuclear material reprocessing plants.
While all avenues and options available in cooperation with the IAEA and the UN will be pursued, South Korea and the United States will together block North Korea's nuclear development.
The United States will continue to guarantee protection of South Korea under the U.S. nuclear umbrella. Moreover, the United States' commitment to defend South Korea is absolutely firm and will not change.
The second withdrawal of U.S. troops from South Korea shall he postponed until such time as the threat of North Korea's nuclear development and related suspicions are removed, and the security of the surrounding region is wholly assured.
Pre-deployment of advanced weaponry (Patriot or cruise missiles) and the speedy deployment of military force by the United States in times of emergency is jointly agreed upon.
The fact that the United States deployed Patriot missiles (mid-range ground-to-air missiles, used in the Gulf War) in South Korea indicates, in short, that it was prepared to face war. The United States concluded that North Korea would fire Scud missiles at the South and intended the Patriots to be used for defense. This shows just how much the situation on the Korean peninsula had deteriorated.
Even before United States–North Korea relations had gone this far, however, Reverend Moon's concern for the situation was great. His concern really began when the preemptive strike idea first surfaced.
The words "preemptive strike" sound good, but in reality they are virtually equivalent to a declaration of war. Half a century earlier, Japan declared war against the United States by a preemptive strike on Pearl Harbor. It was obvious now, too, that a preemptive strike would quickly escalate into all-out conflict. It would mean another Korean War, although this time there would be no truce between sides. It would be a fight to the finish. Once war broke out, North Korea's objective would he Pusan, and the United States–South Korean objective would be Pyongyang. For these goals, all stops would be removed. All the cruel techniques of war would be employed to achieve the final end.
Even if North Korea did not have nuclear weapons at that point, it would still possess the "poor man's nuclear bomb" in vast quantities: biological and chemical weapons, germ warfare, and poison gas. That North Korea was stockpiling such weapons had been common knowledge since 1976. Defectors from North Korea included military personnel once responsible for chemical weapons research. According to the intelligence reports of certain military experts, North Korea possessed at least two thousand tons of bacterial and poison gas weaponry -- enough to kill the entire population of South Korea four times over and still have some left. Thus, the idea that Seoul's twelve million people could in one night be removed silently from the earth's surface is not something we can only relegate to the fiction of paperback novels. Bacterial bombs could be delivered using simple air balloons.
Apart from the issue of these weapons, another frightening consideration was North Korea's development of Scud missiles, which had a range that put the entire peninsula within reach. A missile attack by the North Koreans on the fifteen nuclear energy plants located throughout South Korea might well result in a repeat of the Chernobyl incident in ten or so different locations. The Chernobyl nuclear plant accident in the Soviet Union caused millions of casualties through radioactive contamination. What would he the result of Chernobyl times ten? American military experts have stated that North Korea possesses at least three hundred Scud missiles, aimed at South Korea's military bases and nuclear energy plants.
Reverend Moon was aware of these facts. "War is not an option," he said. "Of course, there is no doubt that North Korea would be destroyed in the end and America and South Korea would win. Unification would also be a certainty. At the same time, we don't know how many thousands and millions of Koreans from both North and South would be wounded and killed. Nobody can tell that. What use would unification be if it were won by such a shedding of Korean blood?"
On another occasion, Reverend Moon said, "No way! War is out of the question. America's talk of a preemptive strike may well suit America's national interests, but no consideration is being made of South Korea or the Korean people."
Reverend Moon felt a kind of anger toward America. What right did America have to bring about the slaughter of the Korean people? Reverend Moon could only scold such rashness and thoughtlessness.
On the other hand, there was one corner of public opinion that advocated caution and criticized the maneuverings of the hard-liners. They asserted that "military action against North Korea might trigger retaliation," and "we have to prevent North Korea's nuclear weapons development using methods other than military strikes, such as economic pressure." They saw a preemptive strike on North Korea as being quite unreasonable. Those who thought in this way were reasonably knowledgeable about North Korea. They included, among others, Dr. Jeremy Stone, chairman of the Federation of American Scientists; Dr. Gary Mulhollin of the Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control; and Senior Research Associate Leonard Spector of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
Nevertheless, the voices of these and others were completely ignored. The hard-line stance quickly gained support: "This is dangerous. We have to hurry up and make a preemptive strike. The threat from North Korea is increasing almost every day, and if we do not move now, we will lose the opportunity." The situation was getting increasingly volatile.
At the time, Americans were elated by the success of the Gulf War. America had chastised Iraq and restored itself from the humiliation of the failure of Vietnam. However, this sense of victory developed into a kind of arrogance. The notion that a military solution was the best solution regardless of the problem in hand had gained prominence in American society.
If America's interests are in question, everyone had better listen. Otherwise, we'll have to show some muscle. This was the prevailing atmosphere in the U.S. Congress at the time.
After founding the Washington Times, Reverend Moon was always in touch with the latest information concerning the United States through the media. Moreover, he had connections that enabled him to receive up-to-date information from the White House, the Department of Defense, the Department of State, the CIA, and so forth. Reverend Moon knew very well that once a decision was made, the United States would act on it. If necessary, it would launch an attack without any declaration of war.
The image that "America will never be the first to start a war" is a myth. The United States is capable of anything as long as there is public support and a reasonable justification. From the air raid on Libya (targeted at Libyan dictator Qaddafi) to the assault on Panama (intended to capture Panamanian General Noriega) or the military action undertaken to liberate the Central American nation of Grenada, these operations claimed a military victory. Thus, it was clear to Reverend Moon that, once public support reached a peak, the United States would attack North Korea.
There was one big U.S. miscalculation, however. North Korea was not Iraq. I quote again from Dr. Fukuda's book.
North Korea may hang the "socialist" shingle above its door, but the power structure is actually more akin to the theocratic national ideal of the ancient orient. It is a nation with a state religion, where 25 million citizens swear absolute loyalty with all the religious passion of the fanatical, to the god of the nation, the so-called "Party center," Kim Il Sung and his son Kim Jong Il. North Korea's goal is the "liberation" of the Choson [Korean] peninsula, and together with the struggle to unify the Korean fatherland under the Juche ideology, this constitutes an earthly "holy war" or jihad. There are thousands and millions of Kim Hyon Hui's who consider it the supreme joy to participate in this holy war to unify the Korean fatherland. However, there is a lack of an awareness concerning this characteristic of the North Korean nation in the echelons of the United States government.
(Rev. Sun Myung Moon, 43)
[Editor's note: Kim Hyon Hui was a North Korean spy who in 1997 planted a bomb aboard a Korean Air Lines plane. The plane exploded in flight, killing all passengers.]
America's assessment of how another Korean War would end was accurate. Without a doubt, North Korea would be smashed. However, there is no way that North Korea would simply sit and take it. North Korea would not be defeated without a fight. In order to overthrow the North, the United States and any other participants would first have to permit reducing Korea to a desolate field. Just as Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 thoroughly consolidated American public sentiment, a preemptive attack by the United States would fuse together the "fierce enmity toward the American imperialists" and totally unite North Koreans in opposition to the United States. What can frighten an army of one million who are determined to die for their cause? North Korea would take the opportunity of a preemptive strike to label the United States as "invaders" and plunge into the South like a raging flood under the flag of reunification for the Korean fatherland. After this, all-out war would be inevitable, and none could reasonably estimate just how high the toll would be. Deaths would occur on both sides, and could easily mount up to ten or even a hundred times the body count for the Korean War in the 1950s. How could Reverend Moon permit such a thing? He could not.
The Path Away From War
Reverend Moon developed a two-part strategy to deal with the situation. The first part was to meet President Kim Il Sung and persuade him to abandon any ambition to develop nuclear weapons. This was, of course, the ultimate solution. Developing nuclear weapons would eventually lead to the destruction of North Korea, and Reverend Moon's idea was to convince the North Korean leader of this fact. If this could be done, it would solve the whole dilemma. He would also explain to Kim just how close North Korea was to war with the United States and what kind of power the United States actually possessed. President Kim had to understand that in a war on the Korean peninsula, North Korea's opponent would the United States, not South Korea, and that North Korea could not survive and win such a war.
The second part of the strategy was to dissuade the United States from a first strike. Reverend Moon understood only too well that, as far as this matter was concerned, the national interests of the United States were not the same as the national interests of South Korea. Any military plans put in place by the United States without considering the view of the South Korean government or the sacrifices that such plans would force upon the South Korean people were tantamount to a desecration of South Korea's sovereignty and a threat to the safety of forty million South Koreans. Reverend Moon's goal was to convince the United States of this fact. He also aimed to persuade the United States that a solution to the North Korean nuclear problem could only he achieved by America entering into direct talks with North Korea.
The problem was that the United States at that time had no real North Korea policy. I came to understand this fact during my time as chairman of the Washington Times, which spanned the terms of both the Reagan and first Bush administrations. In the view of the U.S. government, everything was solved by having thirty-seven thousand U.S. troops stationed in South Korea. Apart from this limited view, it is also fair to say that the American position was not without arrogance.
The typical attitude was, "How can you expect a great super-power to hold discussions with that arrogant terrorist nation?" Public opinion across the United States was represented by a simple concept: "That scummy little punk of a nation! We should give them a bit of a beating and then see how they like it."
This view, however, was a superpower's luxury, and the tense situation in Northeast Asia could not permit such luxuries. The Korean peninsula was gradually becoming a global tinderbox. It was home to two separate countries, both members of the United Nations. One of the countries was the sovereign nation of South Korea, which had a population of forty million. If the fate of seventy million people (the combined populations of North and South Korea) did not qualify as cause for consideration, then what else could that be called but arrogance? Whatever else came into play, Reverend Moon was determined to prevent a preemptive strike by the United States under any circumstances.
From that point on, Reverend Moon's activities in the United States were focused on achieving that objective. (To cut to the chase, he achieved all his objectives in the matter; until today, peace has been maintained on the Korean peninsula, thanks largely to Reverend Moon's efforts. But I will go into detail in the next chapter.)
Reverend Moon's strategy to solve the crisis was twofold. First, he would visit North Korea, hold talks with President Kim Il Sung, and get him to drop the goal of developing nuclear weapons. Second, he would convince the United States to abandon a preemptive strike, an option that was unreasonable at best.
The direction to carry out this strategy fell to none other than myself, and that was how I received my instructions. I had to successfully arrange, in utmost secrecy, a visit to North Korea and execute it before the close of 1991.