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The Significance of the Seoul Resolution

Good morning!

I am sorry I could not be with you in person for this precious opportunity, owing to my other engagements.

Even three decades after the end of the cold war, Korea's state of division and tension is not eased. Not limited to the Korean Peninsula, however, we hear talks of a new cold war. What has really happened?

In science or any rational methodology, if a theory which is built on a certain hypothesis did not produce a theoretically anticipated outcome, we need to evaluate, revise or abandon the hypothesis. As communism, which was built on the philosophical assumption of atheism and materialism, did not produce its advocated outcomes, its premises should be at least reviewed in order to identify an alternative philosophical perception and future vision.

Surprisingly, however, very few attempts have been made in this direction. It was a serious failure in both the west and east camps of the cold war regime! The world missed a historical opportunity to renew our world views, which would have been conducive to creating what was said to be a new world order.

Without the fundamental ideological shifts, an isolated North Korea felt little pressure to alter its ideology of atheism, materialism and the Juche Ideology. China, Vietnam, and Cuba maintained communism in their constitutions, officially endorsing atheism. The core of the cold war, namely the nuclear equilibrium, has been more or less sustained, even with new nuclear powers joining in the games. In this respect, Europe was the only theatre to witness a genuine ending of the cold war.

While the new world view or value perception was not adapted by both sides of the past confrontation, many east European countries tried to adopt the western paradigms of democracy and free market economy, even joining the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, trying to share some common dreams of Europe.

In the meantime, Russia did abolish communism, but tried to adopt democratic system and the free market economy, but when its dreams and missions were not well coordinated with the west in the new world order, the west's expansion to its borders posed a threat to its sovereignty and integrity.

On the other hand, China's economic success was so drastic that its communist legacy and hegemony are felt as a threat to the western powers. Hence, the new cold war between the USA and China. The world has become more nervous about nuclear threats, backed by complicated ideological frictions and complex geopolitical interests. Through successive crises including Climate Change, the Corona Pandemic and the current energy and food shortages, we are realizing that our world does not have a cohesive vision for the near future. In other words, the world did not have a viable peace strategy following the 1989 excitement, did it?

Aspiration for heaven-guided world

In 1972, an academic forum called the International Conference for the Unity of the Sciences was launched. Every year, hundreds of world academics, including some Nobel laureates, joined these eye-opening and free debates on Absolute Values, Absolute Being, universal values and scientific contributions to peace. For the founders, Dr and Mrs. Moon, the Absolute Being, in whichever names it may be called, is not only an object of religious faith, but also an object of academic, even scientific research. Rev. Moon declared his identity as a scientist in one session.

Moreover in 1973, they set up the Unification Thought Institute, developing rational discourses on the Absolute Being, humanity and the world, as well as comprehensive critiques of world philosophies, including many western ideas. Within half a century, this institute has produced numerous publications in an attempt to establish a bridge between our inspirational understandings of life and the world, on the one hand, and rational scientific discourses, on the other hand.      

Backed by these rich intellectual resources, they encouraged a worldwide campaign, first to stop the communism's global expansion, then to counter atheism, and finally to replace it with new philosophical perspectives and a future vision. Thanks to its radical and rational critiques of communism and counterproposals, the campaign was adopted by many nations struggling with domestic or international communism in the 1970s and 80s, including South Korea, Japan, the Americas and western Europe. In my early 20s, I was one of its humble activists in Japan.

One important highlight in that global campaign was an international academic conference held in Vienna, Austria, in 1985. It declared 'the end of communism', when the communist movement was still boasting its global hegemony. But as we all know, a few years later, that historic chain of events took place, effectively ending the cold war regime, at least in Europe.

Amid that historic transition, Rev. and Mrs. Moon visited Moscow in 1990 and Pyongyang in 1991, advising two towering communists, Michael Gorbachev and Kim Il Sung, on how to practically carry out their nations' soft-landing beyond communism. In both capitals, the couple also admonished the leaders to renounce atheism and embrace Heaven, in order to make their people happy, prosperous and peaceful.

In retrospect, through these bold, life-risking trips to the top of the former enemy nations, they tried to manifest a major paradigm shift required after the decades of global strives, that is to say; from a paradigm of confrontation to a paradigm of collaboration beyond ideological, national boundaries. They called their philosophy “Head-wing”, meaning beyond the rightwing - leftwing dichotomy, or Godism, encouraging us to keep a mental space to hear voices from heaven or from our own conscience in determining human affairs.

As a journalist in the Middle East and a think tank researcher in Japan, I have witnessed the world applying a paradigm of almost endless confrontation, rather than an ultimate collaboration. The Seoul Resolution is a bold attempt to change the modus operandi, in order to encourage collaboration in many diverse manners and reduce the level of confrontation in Korea, Asia and beyond.

Use collaboration as the principle

Back in 2008 as a journalist, I was able to attend a Group of Eight (G8) summit hosted by Japan in Hokkaido Island. I had a profound impression of a new era of international cooperation when I saw Russia's President Medvedev, together with G7 leaders. As you know, however, G8 was terminated in 2014 following Russia's Crimea annexation.

Incidentally that same year, I happened to attend a UPF-hosted conference in Vladivostok, Russia, on Korea and Northeast Asia. I could see Russian TV news showing their side of the story. Right or left, even right or wrong, both sides have their own truth and narratives on the same event. I learned this truth from my study of war-time Japan, through my career as a journalist in the Middle East, as well as my own conjugal life!

Allow me to express my very radical hindsight! What if the world could have applied a head-wing approach with no more conflicts even with past enemies, or Godism, in trusting Heaven's guidance in a situation of extreme human tension?

What if Russia, by applying such an approach, despite all the reasonable human justifications against it, had remained in the G8 and the west remained on talking terms with Russia? Perhaps they could have found new wisdom and dynamism and a more collaborative and constructive approach in the aftermath of the Crimea incident.

The two main signatories on the Seoul Resolution are the testimony to such a possibility. Prime Minister Hun Sen of Cambodia led his people and nation out of the dreadful past of the civil war and is now attempting to contribute to peace and prosperity, not only in his own country, but also in the ASEAN region through the Mekong Peace Initiative. Dr. Ban Ki Moon, former Secretary General of the United Nations, concluded the seemingly impossible Paris Agreement on Climate Change. With the guidance of these leaders, let us hope that the coming ILC will advance the cause of peace in Korea, Asia and beyond. Thank you for your attention.

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