After 70 Years, Peace Treaty Needed to End Korean War

Note: This article is being re-posted from May 4, 2013, due to its continuing relevance today. Although some events cited in the article are a decade old, we see a repetition of events in 2023, only at a more dangerous level. Some experts concur that the threat of nuclear war over the Korean Peninsula never has been greater. Nonetheless, only this article’s title has been changed to “After 70 Years” rather than “After 60 Years.”

By Mark P. Barry

“The Korean peninsula was divided into north and south, not because our people wanted it, but because of the influence of the surrounding powerful nations….We have to transform the existing situation, where the United States, [Russia], China, and Japan play a leading role in the international order as they keep our nation divided….[W]e should develop the proactive influence of our people and of Korea so the neighboring superpowers can cooperate in the reunification of the Korean peninsula instead of obstructing it.”

— Sun Myung Moon, Cheon Seong Gyeong, 231-8, 1992.5.11

While Korea is the fatherland of our faith, Unificationists should remember that the peninsula continues to live under an uneasy truce signed [70] years ago this year. It’s also easy to forget that for 35 (in effect 40) years, it lived under oppressive Japanese colonialism, and that from 1895, two wars (Sino-Japanese and Russo-Japanese) were largely fought over it. We overlook that Korea has experienced [128] years of turbulence, captivity, division, and conflict.

With the 24-hour news cycle, Americans understandably fixate on North Korea’s latest threats, but the underlying cause of the problem of North Korea is the absence of a peace treaty following the 1953 Armistice that halted the Korean War.

Because there has been no permanent peace, the Korean Peninsula is inherently unstable in a neighborhood, as Rev. Moon’s words above attest, where the interests converge of four major powers: China, Russia, Japan, and the United States.

The world media’s obsession with North Korea’s bizarre behavior and larger-than-life threats ignores the fact the North has remained a festering problem in international relations for decades. Since 1990, the almost exclusive focus has been on Pyongyang’s nuclear program. The North’s nuclear capability is extremely important and cannot be ignored, but the nuclear issue won’t be solved by focusing on it alone.

The only lasting way to solve the problems presented by North Korea is to bring about a permanent peace agreement for a peninsula still in a state of war that will also lay the basis for eventual reunification. In the process, the nuclear issue will be resolved as part of comprehensive mutual security arrangements.

The absence of permanent peace in Korea not only gets short shrift in the media, it is a reality shunned by policymakers, who merely recalibrate U.S. policy toward the “Norks,” as former Obama Asia official Kurt Campbell dubbed the North, and excuse the lack of wise use of American power and diplomacy on Korea being the “land of lousy options.” But as analyst John Delury said, “everything that Washington and Seoul are doing is reactive….We need to break that cycle and essentially…go on the offensive, not with weaponry, but with diplomacy.”

Continue reading “After 70 Years, Peace Treaty Needed to End Korean War”

Enlarged Freedom for a Safer World: A Unificationist Approach toward Human Security

By Laurent Ladouce and Carolyn Handschin-Moser

After the end of the Cold War, many hoped the 21st century would be one of lasting peace. It actually started well with the International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World.

During this period, Rev. and Mrs. Sun Myung Moon launched the Universal Peace Federation (UPF). With its network of Ambassadors for Peace worldwide, it has an impressive record of peace initiatives. Hopefully, the emergence of a graduate school for peace and public leadership in the Unification movement will also bring innovative and creative ideas to the philosophy of peace studies.

Regrettably, peace studies often stop at conflict resolution or conflict transformation. We need more “positive peace studies.” We keep viewing peace as pacification, the return of tranquility after a period of conflict. According to Heraclitus, the founder of dialectics, “Polemos (war) is both the king and father of all.” We still live in a culture where there is only a truce between two wars. The term “irenology” (from the Greek irene, meaning peace) exists, but is rarely used.

The Genesis of Human Security

Peace is more than the absence of war, we say. But what should be present when war is absent? The revolution of Satyagraha, launched by Gandhi, went far beyond the Home Rule movement which had blossomed in India in 1916-18 and was to end the British colonial occupation. Satyagraha literally means that truth has an element of love and an element of energy within itself. Gandhi added:

“Truth (satya) implies love, and firmness (agraha) engenders and therefore serves as a synonym for force. I thus began to call the Indian movement Satyagraha, i.e., the Force which is born of Truth and Love, and gave up the use of the phrase “passive resistance” in connection with it.”

Gandhi wanted to make Indians the actors of their own destiny, free to build a peaceful and good society. He noted:

“I would like to see India free and strong so that she may offer herself as a willing, pure sacrifice for the betterment of the world. The self, being pure, sacrifices himself for the family, the latter for the village, the village for the district, the district for the province, the province for the nation, the nation for all.”

We often chant “study war no more” (see Isaiah Wall photo below), but study what, then? Indeed, we accumulate valuable knowledge to gradually change from a very violent to a less violent world, and ultimately to a world with zero violence. But what stands above the zero? Unificationism states that Cain and Abel should reconcile and settle their disputes, then live together. In practice, most Unificationists still seek a roadmap for a feasible universal concord. The Unificationist community, not unlike most religious organizations, believes in some form of utopian universal concord. A proper understanding of human security may be an eye-opener to arrive at something more concrete.

Continue reading “Enlarged Freedom for a Safer World: A Unificationist Approach toward Human Security”

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