The following article was written by reporter Hong-Keun Song for Korea-based Magazine Shindonga, featuring Dr. Hyun Jin P. Moon, author of Korean Dream: A Vision for a Unified Korea. Calling on the United States administration and policymakers to look toward the goal of unification of the peninsula instead of the narrow goal of denuclearization, Dr. Moon presents the Korean Dream as a way forward to bring peace and stability not only in Korea but also the entire region and world.

 Dr. Hyun Jin Moon, Founder and Chairman of the Global Peace Foundation, was a History major in Columbia University and graduated from Harvard Business School with an MBA. He also received a Master’s in religious studies. He is mostly active in the United States. He has close connections to people in the DC circles both in and out of the government, including individuals like Edwin Feulner, Founder of the Heritage Foundation. He was a member of the Korean national equestrian team at the Olympics (1988, 1992). And he has been developing a citizen-led movement for unification with more than 950 civil and social organizations. He is calling for peace and unification centered on the Hongik Ingan ideal of “living for the benefit of all humankind.” His view can be summarized as follows.

Nation that patriots dreamed of during the March 1st movement

“The unification process should start by recovering the Han people’s identity which was formed by a unique and historic tradition. The Hongik Ingan spirit—that is, the spirit to live for the benefit of and in service of humanity—is our people’s founding principle. Humankind’s universal values are contained within the Hongik Ingan ideal. We have to establish a vision for unification based upon the Hongik Ingan ideal which is shared by both North and South Korea. The starting point to pioneer our own destiny is the construction of a self-reliant unified nation. Unification will be a stepping stone for Korea to contribute to the prosperity and peace of East Asia and the world.”

In his keynote address at the 2019 Global Peace Convention on February 28, he stated, “The Hongik Ingan spirit was a motivating ideal for the Independence Movement 100 years ago. The March 1st Movement inspired other national movements for independence and civil rights movements throughout the 20th century.”

“The philosophical ideal of Hongik Ingan is shared by all Koreans, North and South. It is our historical and cultural DNA running through our 5,000 years of history. This DNA allowed Koreans of every generation to connect to our heritage and define our future legacy. The most important strategic question for the Korean people is, ‘What sort of country will the new unified Korea be?’ There should be a transparent process where the Korean people in the South and North are participating in the debate for unification on the peninsula with the support of the international community. A new approach is needed to break out of the Cold War framework and that can appeal to both sides, by focusing on our unique shared history and culture.”

He added:

“The names of both nations is, or ends with, the ‘Republic of Korea,’ which harkens back to the independence movement, reflecting their common root. While the military stalemate remains, the two Koreas developed in very different directions. ‘The Miracle on the Han’ has transformed South Korea while North Korea developed ‘nukes and its missile system.’ North Korea’s nuclear program is an expression of its autonomy and a symbol of the regime’s stability. That is the reason the DPRK will not give up their nukes. North Korea is an inter-generational dictatorship that has not abandoned the dream of a united peninsula dominated by the North and its ideology. They are trying to advance their strategy for unification by gaining economic benefits utilizing the might of their nuclear weapons capability. They will apply pressure to the US to remove its military presence from the peninsula.”

Appalled by Korea’s exclusion

I met with him on February 27th, the first day of the US-North Korea summit in Hanoi, Vietnam.

“At this moment, Korea is excluded from the events in Vietnam. The US and North Korea are holding bilateral talks in Hanoi at this very moment. But where is (South) Korea? In the big picture, where is Korea? Korea is not there. Korea has been excluded. People should be appalled by Korea’s exclusion from the talks considering that 50 million of the 75 million people that populate this peninsula live in the South.”

Dr. Moon predicted that the US-North Korea talks would result in “No Deal.” The Hanoi Summit ended in a similar line to what he predicted.

“When Americans learn that they were tricked by North Korea, the talks will end with no deal. There is no point in talking of a ‘Big Deal’ or a ‘Small Deal’ because there will be no negotiation to begin with. The people of Korea have to seriously question what Moon Jae-In’s government has done. In the past, the United States worked through its ally, Korea. And Korea participated in the discussions regarding the issue of the Korean peninsula. That is the proper way. The current structure of the bilateral talks is very disconcerting.”

He asked, “How many people think Kim Jong-un will give up his nukes through negotiations?”

“I want to ask Koreans if they think North Korea will give up its nuclear program. I do not believe that Kim Jong-un will give up nukes through a bilateral agreement. The United States has to revise its strategy towards the Korean peninsula. They should put unification on the table when building their strategy, rather than focusing on the narrow goal of denuclearization. For the last 30 years, ever since George H.W. Bush’s government, the US has advanced a policy centered on the fragmentary and narrow issue of denuclearization. The United States should provide a strategic framework that can bring about geopolitical change, as it did when it advanced the Marshall Plan for the reconstruction of Europe after World War II or similar to Douglas MacArthur’s reconstruction of Japan.”

He wrote the following in a February 22, Newsweek publication:

“With the second summit between President Donald Trump and Chairman Kim Jong-un of North Korea happening at the end of the month, it is time to consider whether narrow bilateral negotiations on denuclearization are likely to produce results. If recent revelations are indicators of the North’s intent, the prospects are not hopeful. The only reason for this summit is the lack of substantial progress on denuclearization from the first meeting in Singapore last June, whose sole result was to relieve the global pressure that the Trump administration was able to put on Kim Jong Un.

There are two fundamental assumptions in the current U.S. approach. First, it assumes that denuclearization could be narrowly negotiated with Kim Jung Un. To the Kim regime, its nuclear weapons program is not only a guarantee to its survival, but a source of national pride and achievement. The North’s only globally recognizable achievement, although untenable, is its nuclear program. Like past agreements, the North will offer marginal concessions while maintaining its nuclear store.”

He states, “If the U.S. was to remove its troops as part of its narrow bi-lateral deal with North Korea, it will seal the deal for the North to make moves to secure its ultimate prize—South Korea.”

Appeal to the anti-Americanism and anti-Japanese elements

“North Korea has not abandoned the dream of Kim Jong-un’s grandfather, ‘Eternal President’ Kim Il Sung, of a united peninsula under the ideology of the North. They have a larger strategic view that wants to reap the benefits of the South Korean economy married with their nuclear power. And what they can no longer achieve by force they will seek to achieve by geopolitical maneuvers and exploiting the hyper-divisive ideological divide in South Korea. They will appeal to the anti-Americanism and anti-Japanese elements of the progressive Left in the current South Korean administration under the banner of ‘Korean self-determination.’ This will slowly erode the fragile alliance in Northeast Asia between the U.S., Japan and South Korea.”

His view is that, “It is alarming that the US has expressed willingness to provide financial support for North Korea and for the survival of Kim Jong-un’s regime.”

“To protect Kim Jong-un’s regime goes against American values of freedom and human rights. Yet, the US has expressed its intention to give up such values for the denuclearization of North Korea. By focusing on the impossible goal of a complete and verifiable denuclearization policy, the US is overlooking a much larger issue. These developments have the potential for grave geopolitical consequences. I am sure that some of what is being offered to North Korea includes ending the Korean War and the withdrawal of US troops. What does it mean for the US nuclear umbrella to not protect Korea? Koreans should focus their attention on US-North Korea negotiations.”

Dr. Moon is the author of “Korean Dream: A Vision for a Unified Korea.” In his book he provides a “path to unification” based upon the Korean peninsula’s destiny and identity. His thesis is that if Korea can recover its nation’s identity based on the Hongik Ingan ideal and achieve unification, then it will become a substantial example towards peace in the world.

A Vision for a Unified Korea

“I repeatedly emphasize that the most important question is, ‘What kind of unification should we have?’ What I’m saying is that asking, ‘What kind of nation the unified Korea will be?’ is the most important question. The new unified nation should become a nation that fulfills the dreams our ancestors were not able to achieve. It is necessary to utilize the leadership of the United States to ensure that the process of unification proceeds smoothly. We have to help the United States recognize that the unification of the Korean peninsula is part of a strategy that lead to peace and stability in Northeast Asia. The United States should reflect our emerging reality into its policies. The framework for negotiation with North Korea and the ultimate goal of a policy for the Korean peninsula should be that the unified Korea has to become a nation that upholds universal values of humanity and human rights.”

He often quotes Genghis Khan saying, “If one person has a dream, it is but a dream. But if everyone shares that dream, it becomes reality.”

“Genghis Khan’s tribe was one of the weakest tribes in Mongolia, but their dream of ‘one world under one heaven’ was profound. Everyone shared that dream and built the largest empire in human history. The same is true of the American Revolution. Poor farmers and a few small shopkeepers rebelled against the British Empire. The dream of building a nation that guarantees our God-given human rights led to the founding of a nation which today is a superpower. The ideal revealed through the Hongik Ingan spirit is the same as the dream of the Mongol empire, and the same as the aspiration that led to the making of the United States. The patriots of the March 1st Movement had the desire to build a ‘unified, independent, free’ state. The unification of Korea should be peaceful and in accordance with the ideals and principles declared by our ancestors. Our patriot ancestors wanted to build a new nation based on the culture, history, and values shared by Koreans.”

To conclude, he said:

“If the process of unification led by Korea proceeds within a new paradigm rooted in our historical aspirations and identity, then no country will question it. The future of the Korean people is very bright. Most economic research results are positive. A unified Korea will become one of the world’s top 5 economic powerhouses. “