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A. Nailatikau: Address to UPF Webinar

 Address to UPF-Oceania Webinar “Towards Peaceful Unification of the Korean Peninsula – A New Approach,” March 6, 2021

In preparing for today’s webinar I was posed with the question: “If we cannot clearly proclaim victory and if we’re unwilling to accept defeat—how and when does a war or conflict end?”

In my small island nation of Fiji, this question has been brought up many times: How does conflict truly end? Having lived through four coups—three military and one civilian, I do know that it does not end or end well by force.

When we force a conflict to end with arms, human loss and devastation, without properly taking into account the needs and wants of all the people on both sides, we lay an unsteady and weak foundation for the future.

We must look at all angles of the situation and the events in the years [leading up to] the Korean War from 1950 to 1953. The roots of the problems were growing long before then, and that is important knowledge to take into consideration.

In wars and conflicts, it is said that brute force and armed weapons is the only power and way forward. Therefore, it is rightly assumed that in order to gain the opposite of conflict and war—a true peace and a prosperous nation—the opposite of that type of power [is needed]. It is not guns or armies that will bring true peace, but knowledge, understanding and love—that is the power for moving forward. That is, knowledge of the conflict in its entirety, understanding of both sides and what they really want and a love of humanity, a people, a nation and its history of being one Korea. This may seem difficult considering where both sides are at—a standoff and long-standing armistice. However, to quote the late Rev. Sun Myung Moon: “Remember that the Unification Church rose, not in freedom, but from a prison, the pit of suffering.”

If we can fathom and understand that, much can be achieved, even from the darkest of places, and [we will] not lose hope and can bring about true change and a lasting and true peace. It is often asked: “Should religious organizations be involved in politics and political conflicts at that?” Absolutely. Because, at the very crux of it all, all religions desire the end goal of peace and the preservation of the greatest gift given to us by God: the gift of human life. Where states value economic gain and gain of territory and power, it is through religion and the understanding of and desire for peace as the absence of war where we will succeed.

Knowledge and understanding will allow us to penetrate where armed weapons cannot, and there is no better way to do this than through soft diplomacy tactics.

In 2013, Pope Francis spoke of the victims of historical divisions and concluded: “It is difficult for them to accept our invitation to forgiveness and reconciliation since they think we are ignoring their pain and asking them to give up their memory and ideals. But if they see the witness of authentically fraternal and reconciled communities they will find that witness luminous and attractive.”

We cannot force either [the North or South] to see and appreciate the beauty of unification, but we can show them this, and this was wonderfully illustrated by Rev. and Mrs. Moon.

By introducing a united church and family, and with their dedication to the reunification of Korea beginning over 30 years ago, they planted a seed of hope that has fostered engagement with the North which many others were incapable of doing.

Rev. and Mrs. Moon have understood that at the heart of Korea is a spiritual heritage as well as a common culture, tradition, language and one people.

Through their creation of peace zones with opportunities in the sporting, cultural, humanitarian and political sectors, Rev. and Mrs. Moon formed a depth of engagement and mutual trust that will be the foundation for change and unification in the years to come.

We must also take note that when barriers come down and there is peace and unity, there is also a void of a life that once was.

It is therefore crucial that this void be filled with a unified Korea founded in a source of freedom, rights and values for all its citizens to ensure a lasting peace and true movement forward.

We, as an international family, must always support and guide the peninsula to unite. Whereas in the past the international influence was part of the cause of division, in the present and future we must stand united as a cause of unification.

And, we must always keep faith. “Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things unseen.”

However, in this case, we have seen a unified Korea before, wars end, countries return to a peace they once knew and families and people reunited. I truly believe this can happen again.

If there is one thing we have learned from this post-COVID world, it is that the unthinkable can happen. States agreed to shut down days [after the pandemic emerged], bringing the world to a standstill for a greater good, and with that, a new global precedent has been set.

New opportunities unfold for all nations, and I believe that one of those opportunities we will see come to fruition is a united, independent and free Korea.

Kam-sa-ham-ni-da, vinaka vakalevu, thank you.