As A Peace-Loving Global Citizen: Episode 52
As A Peace-Loving Global Citizen: An Autobiography by Rev. Sun Myung Moon
Chapter 6: Love Will Bring Unification
Korea's Unification Will Bring World Unification, pg 185-188I
Korea’s Unification Will Bring World Unification
As I was leaving the Kremlin after meeting President Gorbachev, I turned to Bo Hi Pak, who had accompanied me, and gave him a special instruction.
“I need to meet President Kim Il Sung before the end of 1991,” I told him. “There’s no time. The Soviet Union is going to end in the next year or two. Our country is now the problem. Somehow, I need to meet President Kim and prevent war from occurring on the Korean peninsula.”
I knew that when the Soviet Union collapsed, most other communist regimes in the world would also fall. North Korea would find itself forced into a corner, and there was no telling what provocation it might commit. North Korea’s obsession with nuclear weapons made the situation even more worrisome. To prevent a war with North Korea, we needed a channel to talk to its leadership, but we had no such channel at that point. Somehow, I needed to meet President Kim and receive his commitment not to strike first against South Korea.
The Korean peninsula is a microcosm of the world. If blood were shed on the Korean peninsula, it would be shed worldwide. If reconciliation occurred on the peninsula, there would be reconciliation worldwide. If the peninsula were unified, this would bring about unification in the world. Beginning in the late 1980s, however, North Korea had been working hard to become a country possessing nuclear weapons. Western countries were saying they would stage a first strike against North Korea, if necessary. If the situation continued to the extreme, there was no telling what desperate move North Korea might attempt. I knew I needed to open a channel of communication with North Korea somehow.
It was no easy task. Bo Hi Pak communicated with North Korean Vice Premier Kim Dal Hyun, but Pyongyang’s response was firmly negative.
“The people of North Korea know President Moon only as the ringleader of the international movement for victory over communism,” the vice premier said. “Why would we welcome the leader of a conservative, anticommunist group? A visit to North Korea by Chairman Moon absolutely cannot be permitted.”
Bo Hi Pak did not give up. “President Nixon of the United States was a strong anticommunist,” he reminded the North Korean official. “But he visited China, met Chairman Mao Zedong, and opened diplomatic relations between the United States and China. It was China that profited from this. Until then, China had been branded an aggressor nation, but it is now rising as the central country on the world stage. For North Korea to have international credibility, it should establish a friendship with a worldwide anticommunist such as Chairman Moon.”
Finally, President Kim Il Sung invited my wife and me on November 30, 1991. We were in Hawaii at the time, so we quickly flew to Beijing. While we were waiting in the VIP lounge of Beijing Capital International Airport, which the government of China had arranged for us to use, a representative of the North Korean government came and handed us the official invitation. The official stamp of the Pyongyang government was clearly visible on the document.
“The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea extends an invitation to Chairman Moon Sun Myung of the Federation for World Peace, his wife, and entourage to enter the Republic. Their safety is guaranteed during the period of their stay in the North.” It was signed “Kim Dal Hyun, Vice Premier, Cabinet of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. November 30, 1991.”
Our group boarded a special flight, Air Koryo 215, arranged for us by President Kim. A special flight from President Kim had never been arranged for any foreign head of state, so this was very exceptional and special treatment.
The aircraft flew over the Yellow Sea, up to Sineuiju, over my hometown of Jeongju, and on to Pyongyang. I was informed that the special route had been charted to let me see my hometown. My heart began to pound as I looked down at my hometown, dyed red by the light of the setting sun, and I felt numb deep in my being. I wondered, “Can this really be my hometown?” I wanted to jump out right away and start running around the hills and valleys.
At Pyongyang’s Sunan International Airport, family members whom I had not seen for forty-eight years were there to greet me. My younger sisters, who used to be as beautiful as flowers, had become grandmothers entering their senior years. They grasped my hands, creased their eyebrows, and began to cry wildly. My older sister, now more than seventy, grabbed me by the shoulder and cried. I, however, did not cry.
“Please,” I said, “don’t do this. It’s important for me to meet my family, but I came to do God’s work. Please don’t do this. Get hold of yourselves.”
Inside my heart I was shedding tears like a waterfall. I was seeing my sisters for the first time in more than forty years, but I could not embrace them and cry with them. I maintained control of my heart, and made my way to our place of lodging.
The next morning, as had been my custom throughout my life, I awoke early in the morning and began to pray. If there were any surveillance apparatus in the guesthouse, my tearful prayer for the unification of the Korean peninsula would have been recorded in its entirety. That day, we toured the city of Pyongyang. The city was well fortified with the red slogans of Kim Il Sung’s Juche ideology.
On the third day of our visit, we boarded an aircraft to tour Mount Kumgang. Though it was the winter season, the Kuryong Falls had not frozen and still spouted a strong flow of water. After touring all the different areas of Mount Kumgang, we boarded a helicopter on our sixth day, to be transported to my hometown.
In my dreams, I had felt such a strong yearning for my childhood home that I felt as though I could run to it in one bound. And now, there it was, appearing before me. I could hardly believe my eyes. Was this real, or was I dreaming? For what seemed like the longest time, I could only stand there, like a statue, in front of my home. After several minutes, I stepped inside.
It used to be in the shape of a hollow square, with the main wing, guest wing, storehouse, and barn built around a central courtyard. Now, only the main wing remained. I went into the main room, where I had been born, and sat on the floor with my legs crossed. Memories of what it had been like in my childhood came back to me as clearly as if it were only yesterday.
I opened the small door that led from the main room to the kitchen and looked out at the backyard. The chestnut tree I used to climb had been cut down and was gone. It seemed as though I could hear my mother calling to me sweetly. “Is my little tiny-eyes hungry?” The cotton cloth of her traditional dress passed quickly before my eyes.
I visited my parents’ gravesite and offered a bouquet of flowers. The last time I saw my mother was when she came to visit me in prison in Heungnam and cried out loud. Her grave was thinly covered by the snow that had fallen the night before. I brushed it away with the palm of my hand and gently caressed the grass that had grown over her grave. The rough touch of grass reminded me of the roughness of my mother’s skin on the back of her hand.