Recognizing the impasse in efforts to achieve a stable and secure peace on the Korean peninsula, Global Peace Foundation (GPF) Chairman Dr. Hyun Jin Moon on August 18 called for “a concerted, collaborative grass-roots effort, in conjunction with state and global support,” to advance the process of reunification of North and South Korea.
Addressing the Global Peace Leadership Conference in Seoul, the GPF Chairman said this broad coalition “must make the case that the act and outcome of unification is the safest and most effective means to peace and prosperity for the Korean people and the world.”
The conference, “The Vision for the Reunification of the Korean Peninsula and Building a World of Peace,” drew scholars, parliamentarians, and leaders from business, nongovernmental organizations and the religious community from more than 25 countries.
Dr. Moon stated it is vital that the process for reunification begin with a healthy debate on what kind of nation a new united Korea should be. “This current situation cannot continue,” he said. “The Korean people must come together centered upon a common vision for a united Korea. What will that vision be? This is the question that we, as Koreans, must address if we are to find a path to reconciliation and eventual reunification.”
He said any sustainable resolution ultimately must address root causes and thus must include the “intrinsic spiritual dimension” of the human experience. “A shared spiritual vision for humanity based upon universal principles and values,” Dr. Moon declared, is expressed “in the simple but profound idea that all human beings, regardless of ethnicity, nationality, faith, or class, are part of One Family under God.”
In his address the chairman cited many GPF initiatives to bridge political and social divisions between the two Koreas, including partnerships with over 400 different civic organizations. GPF’s Korea United, a nation-wide campaign for reunification, significantly avoids framing the division as a confrontation between democracy and communism, but instead proposes a new approach based on the spiritual principles and values expressed in Korea’s own historic philosophy of living for the benefit of mankind.
Hyun Jin Moon, who was raised in the United States, drew striking parallels between his Korean homeland and the nation of his citizenship. “In Gochosun, the original Korean nation,” he said, “our ancestors’ lives were already guided by the philosophy of Hong Ik In Gan, to live ‘for the greater benefit of mankind.’” This and three other principles—Jae Se I Hwa, I Do Yuh Chi, and GwangMyung I Se—“are the basis for the traditional Korean ideals of respecting life and nature, living for others, and honoring the transcendent Creator, Haneunim.”
“We need a new framework for peace rooted in our shared spiritual aspirations, principles and values that can form the common ground for cohesion within society. The guiding vision that we develop for a united Korea can be a model for transcending the forces of division and conflict worldwide.”
Growing up in America, he said he came to understand that the American democratic political process and free market economic system “would have been empty shells without the vitality of spiritual principles and values that motivated the American experiment and were poured into the structures of the new nation.”
He called the Declaration of Independence “the vision statement of the United States of America,” and said that both Korean tradition and America’s foundational document “understand that the rights and dignity of every human being are rooted in the source from which we all come.”
The Global Peace Leadership Conference, which opened on August 17, includes sessions on “The Future Vision for a Reunified Korean Peninsula,” “Building Cultural Cohesion for a Reunified Korea,” “Strategies for Citizens’ Participation in a Reunification Movement,” and “Women Leadership and the Reunification of the Korean Peninsula.”
The conference concluded on August 19 with the presentation of the Declaration of Unification before the international delegates.