Established in 1931, Shin Dong-a is Korea’s oldest and most prestigious monthly news magazine, popular for its in-depth reporting. In late 2023, Shin Dong-a featured a special three-part section on Dr. Hyun Jin Preston Moon’s Korean Dream work.

The following is an unofficial translation of excerpts from the special, which was written by Hye-Yeon Jung. This section was focused on the 2023 International Forum on One Korea held in Seoul, Korea.

North Korea’s nuclear tests and the possibility of a new Cold War have raised tensions on the Korean Peninsula to an unprecedented level. The hegemonic rivalry between the U.S. and China continues with the Trump Administration’s March 2018 trade war with China, which began with the Trump Administration in March 2018. Still, the policies have continued to impact relations well into the Biden Administration.

In the meantime, North Korea and Russia held a summit on September 12th and began close military cooperation. The Russian-Ukrainian war, which broke out in February 2022, only added to the geopolitical divides. This has resulted in the stance that “The fervor for the reunification of the Korean Peninsula, both domestically and internationally, has stalled.”

In response, the Global Peace Foundation (GFP), Action for Korea United (AKU), and the One Korea Foundation held the 2023 One Korea International Forum on One Korea on October 2nd, 2023.  The AKU Professors Association, Alliance for Korea United USA, Blue Banner, and the Asia Research Institute supported and participated in the forum. The International Forum on One Korea was founded in July 2016 at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. The first forum was held in July 2016 as an international forum on trade and the Korean Peninsula, and it has since been held for eight consecutive years, a total of 15 times.

The forum has also continued to make policy recommendations, including arguing that the top priority for policy on the Korean Peninsula should be revised to prioritize peaceful reunification over a singular focus on denuclearization. The forum was held in the Fairmont Ambassador Hotel Grand Ballroom in Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul, where experts convened to discuss these and other opinions.

The experts focused mainly on the Camp David Summit. This Summit was attended by President Seok Yul Yoon, U.S. President Joe Biden, and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on August 18, 2023, at Camp David, the U.S. presidential residence near Washington, DC. During the Summit, they declared, “We support a free, peaceful, and unified Korean Peninsula.” Forum participants highlighted the significance of this declaration and the need for a strategic roadmap for a unified Korean Peninsula. They also covered issues related to the reunification of the Korean Peninsula, such as peace, security, and a unified economy. An event organizer noted, “It is significant that this forum was held after the Camp David Summit.”

In the first session, the GPF Chairman, Dr. Hyun Jin Moon, the GPF International President, Jim Flynn, National Assembly Speaker Jin Pyo Kim, National Assembly Member Myoung Su Lee, and National Assembly Member Dong Su Seok delivered opening remarks.

Others at the forum included Mr. Jin Pyo Kim, Speaker of the National Assembly; Mr. Myoung Su Lee, Member of the National Assembly; Mr. Dong Hyeon Seok, Secretary General of the ROK Peaceful Unification Advisory Council; Mr. Edwin Feulner, founder and former president of Heritage Foundation; Seung Ju Paik, Chairman of the War Memorial Association (former Deputy Secretary of Defense); Four-star General (Ret.) John Harold Tilelli Jr. (Chairman of the Korean War Veterans Memorial Foundation), and more than 100 others. The five-hour forum was highlighted by notable and keynote speeches. You can watch the event on YouTube’s “Action for Korea United” channel.

The forum was held under the theme “Free and Unified Korea: A Catalyst for Regional and Global Peace and Development.”

Realizing Korean Identity: A Providential Mandate

In his opening remarks, Chairman Chung Hwan Kim observed, “We must discuss a new direction for peace in Northeast Asia and the world based on the peaceful reunification of the Korean Peninsula. President Jim Flynn emphasized, “This forum is held amid this incredibly complex international situation, including the North Korean nuclear issue, which points to the critical importance of this forum.”

In his congratulatory remarks, Chairman Jin Pyo Kim noted, “In the past, President Dae-Jung Kim emphasized that our destiny depends on diplomacy and international cooperation so that peace can be established on the Korean Peninsula.”

Representative Myoung Su Lee said, “I hope that through discussions at this forum, we can solve our international security challenges while simultaneously creating the opportunity to advance a new flow of history.” He said, “The Korean Dream is the only alternative to achieving both peace on the Korean Peninsula and global peace.”

Mr. Dong Hyeon Seok, Secretary General of the Peaceful Unification Advisory Council, declared, “To realize the peaceful reunification of the Korean Peninsula, we need the support and cooperation of not only the governments of North and South Korea but also the international community. In the private sector, we also require the efforts and enthusiasm of scholars, experts, and civil society activists.”

In his video congratulatory remarks, Edwin Feulner, founder of the Heritage Foundation, said, “In an increasingly turbulent international political situation, this forum is very significant.”

Following the opening ceremony, in the Plenary Session, Mr. Seung Ju Baek, Chairman of the War Memorial Association of Korea, observed, “We need to be wary of discussing the obstacles to unification,” he said. “There are some who raise concerns that: “If unification happens, we will be worse off” or “it will lead to instability,” “Unification will be difficult because neighboring countries oppose it” And, “It will cost a lot of money in the process of unification.” These ideas have led to an anti-unification sentiment. We must and can overcome this focus on the obstacles to unification,” he said. “This forum and the AKU Movement will play a crucial role in dispelling this narrative.”

‘Korean Dream’ is the Key to Realizing Korean Unification

Next, GPF Chairman Dr. Hyun Jin Moon delivered the keynote speech. In it, he said, “Koreans today have two major, interconnected challenges. One is the re-unification of our traditional homeland. The second challenge is for free Koreans to rediscover their Korean identity and reconnect with the destiny we are called to achieve.” He explained that the second challenge was the “precondition for overcoming the first challenge.” [Noting that Koreans are part of one family,] he asked, “How can we enjoy the blessings of prosperity when our brothers and sisters suffer?”

Dr. Moon also spoke about how he came to start the Korean Dream Movement. He shared,

I launched the Korean Dream movement to offer a vision for the present age that connects with Korea’s founding ideals, manifested in the noble aspirations and sacrifice of the Sam Il Independence movement.

Reunification based on the Korean Dream framework will restore basic human rights and freedoms to the DPRK and bring peace and security to the Peninsula. In addition, it will create long-term economic benefits. A dream needs a movement of committed, united people to become a reality. Action for Korea United is where such people are gathered together.

This forum and tomorrow’s public rally are the first stages of a campaign to spread the Korean Dream among the Korean people everywhere. It will culminate in 2025, on they of Korea’s independence from Japanese colonial rule, when our people—for the first time— 80th anniversarcould fulfill the Sam Il aspirations of creating an ideal nation in line with Hong-Ik Ingan.

The Korean Dream can unite all Koreans. It is where we will find and fulfill the unique national destiny to which we are all called as a people. This goal needs the support of dedicated activists and thought leaders such as yourselves. I urge you to become the true owners of the Korean Dream.