Han. S. Park (University of Georgia) * Beginning in the March issue of Compassion, we will publish excerpts from the English version of 『An Arduous Journey to Peace - A Memoir』 (working title) written by Han. S. Park and scheduled to be published by the end of the year.Professor Park taught peace to thousands of young people for 45 years, mainly at the University of Georgia Department of International Relations and the Institute for International Affairs (GLOBIS), and has worked in various fields to see such peace realized. Professor Park's memoir, 『An Arduous Journey to Peace』, provides a look back on Korea’s modern history, from the Japanese colonial period to the present time in 2022.Additionally, this book examines basic political concepts, such as human rights, democracy, and socialism, and in that basis evaluates the United States, South Korea, and North Korea, as well as the long unresolved conflicts on the Korean Peninsula and with the United States. The memoir provides important historical perspectives and an in-depth examination of current issues. * In this article, 'North Korea' is denoted as 'Joseon'. Jimmy Carter does not look so bright, who has become uncomfortable with Bill Clinton, after announcing the Agreed Framework. ©한겨례 On June 16, 1994, Carter met with Kim Il-sung in Pyongyang. They agreed to ‘freeze the North Korean nuclear program’. Carter was supposed to report it to Clinton first. However, he called Robert Gallucci at the White House from Pyongyang to convey the details of the agreement that same day (15th Washington time), notifying unilaterally that he would disclose the details ahead via CNN. And he went on CNN to do what he said. He feared that if the contents of the agreement were not immediately disclosed to the world, the US plan to destroy Yongbyon, already in a matured preparation, could be put into action. It was true that the relation between Clinton and Carter went into cold for a while because Clinton was discommending this move by Carter. The Clinton administration was planning to actually bomb the Yongbyon complex if Carter, after meeting with Kim Il-sung, could not reach an agreement with him to freeze the North Korean nuclear program. Even today, there are quite a few South Koreans who believe that if the US had bombed Yongbyon back then, the nuclear issue would have been resolved. That is a dangerous idea based solely on hatred without knowing much about the reality of Joseon. The Clinton administration had often peppered me with questions, and my responses went something like this: ‘How will Joseon respond when the US bombs Yongbyon?’‘If the US bombs Yongbyon, Joseon will inevitably launch a retaliatory attack.’‘How do you think Joseon will retaliate?’‘They will bomb the US bases stationed in Korea, Japan, and Guam.’‘Aren’t there a lot of civilians living around the US military base?’‘Yes. Therefore, hundreds of thousands of lives will be lost if Joseon bombs the US bases. And then, the US will have to take severe moral responsibility for the damage in the international community.’ In 1950, Pyongyang had a population of roughly one million people. During the Korean War, the US Air Force dropped about 10,000 bombs on Pyongyang. That is one bomb for every 100 people. In those days, extended families commonly lived together in a single house. If 10 people made up each family, we can estimate that there were 100,000 households in Pyongyang. The US bombardment turned everything to ashes. Countless people in Joseon lost their lives. This became the historical backdrop of Joseon's intense hostility toward the United States. Having witnessed the power the US Air Force during the War, Kim Il-sung spurred on the work of digging tunnels and building shelters as soon as the war was over. Some claim the country became the best tunnel-digging country in the world. Also remarkable, Pyongyang's subway operates at a depth of 100 meters underground, running under the riverbed of the Daedong River. There is also a vast safety area inside the subway, which means the subway itself is a huge air-raid shelter. In case of emergency, the siren goes off and the citizens of Pyongyang hide in these underground shelters like a swarm of ants. On the other hand, what is the situation in the United States' allied nation of South Korea. There, everything is exposed on the ground. There are millions of cars in Seoul alone. All vehicles are equipped with tanks full of fuels such as gasoline, diesel and liquefied natural gas. If Joseon bombs Korea, the cars will become bombs. Also, in Korea, almost every house uses city gas. Therefore, the houses will also turn into bombs if attacked. I explained this to Carter, and repeated warnings through influential media, including CNN, that if the US bombed Yongbyon, millions of South Koreans, American allies, would be killed in retaliation, but people in the North would not suffer greatly. Beyond a shadow of a doubt, if war broke, Joseon would have an advantage over Korea, possibly even the United States. It was even possible Joseon should have an advantage over the United States. Many progressives listened to and agreed with me. On the other hand, South Korea’s Kim Young-sam government didn’t appear to have much interest in preventing war. While devoting himself to preventing the catastrophe of the war was the least he should do, he publicly opposed Carter’s visit to Joseon. On July 8, less than a month after Carter’s visit to Joseon, President Kim Il-sung suddenly died Carter wanted to go back to Pyongyang to pay his condolences. The letter he wrote with great care was read by a Joseon councilor, well known for his excellence to the state, causing him to weep. However, Joseon refused Carter’s condolence call by broadcasting the “principle of no condolence calls by foreigners” to participate in the Kim Il-sung’s funeral. (I later introduced that Joseon councilor who wept after reading the letter to Carter, so that he had an opportunity to give Carter a respectful return.) I was in Rome on the day of Kim Il-sung’s death. CNN asked me for an interview. CNN had a hotline to communicate with Joseon, so I asked the Joseon side if there was anything I could do if I went to Joseon right away? The reply was that there was nothing to do there but to weep. The first North Korean nuclear crisis, which could have been escalated into a war if not for Carter’s visit in 1994, ended with the Geneva Agreement on October 21st. The international community agreed to provide two light-water reactors(LWRs) to Joseon, a country that had suffered a severe and extended power shortage, as incentive for freezing its nuclear development. The international community agreed to provide two light-water reactors(LWRs) to Joseon. ©한겨례 However, the Geneva agreement, concluded in the death-bed will of Kim Il-sung, was actually an agreement that lost its vitality even before it was born. The Kim Young-sam government was convinced that ‘Joseon without Kim Il-sung would collapse within three months.’ The United States, for their part, didn’t allocate a budget for implementing the Agreement. At the same time, the entire installation expenses tagged to the LWRs were handed over to Korea. South Korea also failed to implement the Geneva Agreement. All the US did was wait for the day Joseon would collapse. The Obama administration’s “strategic patience” was an extension of that thinking. They thought that time was on their side, as they watched socialist countries in Eastern Europe collapse one after another after the Soviet Union was dismantled. However, Joseon has still not collapsed. Rather, it appears to be more stable as time goes by. The reason why Joseon did not collapse can roughly be summarized as follows:Firstly, while the socialist countries of Eastern Europe remained largely dependent on the Soviet Union in each of the political, economic, social and cultural areas, Joseon took a route to consciously exclude the influence of the Soviet Union ideologically while advocating the Juche ideology. Therefore, while the socialist countries in Eastern Europe were directly affected by the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Joseon was able to avoid the shock. * Juche ideology is the state ideology of North Korea. It postulates that "man is the master of his destiny", that the masses are to act as the "masters of the revolution and construction", and that by becoming self-reliant and strong, a nation can achieve true socialism. Juche incorporates the historical materialist ideas of Marxism–Leninism but also strongly emphasizes the individual, the nation state and its sovereignty. Secondly, in general, when a political system collapses, a so-called “legitimacy crisis” occurs during which public support is withdrawn. However, the legitimacy of the Joseon system is not based on the economy, but on the ideology of the ‘Juche idea’. Therefore, even when the economy tumbled into severe recession, the crisis of legitimacy of the system was not immediately generated. On the contrary, what took place was an even more consolidated unity centered around the Juche idea. Thirdly, in order for a coup d’état to arise due to which the political system would collapse, the forces opposing the government must be able to share secret information among themselves. However, Joseon is a country where information is thoroughly controlled, and all information is distributed transparently. It is impossible to conduct a coup d’état through sharing secret information from the beginning. Fourthly, Joseon secures the legitimacy of its system by waging a legitimacy competition with South Korea. Without Korea, it would be difficult for Joseon to maintain its legitimacy. This strategy, denying the other (Korea) to build and maintain one's own legitimacy is unique to Joseon, not found in other socialist countries.This strategy, denying the other (Korea) to build and maintain one's own legitimacy is unique to Joseon, not found in other socialist countries. Lastly, as is well known, East Germany was reunified through absorption by West Germany, but it is extremely unlikely that Joseon would be reunified the same way by Korea. This is because the situations in East Germany and in Joseon are very different, as are the ones in West Germany and in Korea. The East-West Germany and inter-Korean relations are very different, too. For example, West Germany and East Germany both have a strong sense of pride as being German. However, while Joseon is based on strong nationalism, Korea has grown into having a strong rejection or hostility towards nationalism. In short, it is my judgment that, unless the requirements or circumstances exemplified above change significantly, it would be difficult to expect the collapse of Joseon in the near future. Former President Jimmy Carter, left, talks with South Korean President Kim Young-sam at the presidential palace on June 14, 1994, in Seoul. ©AP In order to understand Joseon’s ‘secret’ of successfully maintaining its system against all kinds of adversity, one must accurately understand the so-called ‘Military-First Politics’. People often understand this military-first politics as a structure through which the military exploits the people. If military-first policy had really been such a system, Joseon would have collapsed decades ago. During the ‘Arduous March’ in the 1990s, when the Cold War ended and economic support from socialist allies was almost cut off while the US economic sanctions were strangling its neck, Joseon had no other way than to choose this politics as its survival strategy. It was a time of life or death for Joseon, when it could find support from nowhere and was completely isolated. In Joseon, when people faced severe economic difficulties, the military stepped forward to solve them. 90% of the people who worked on farmland were soldiers. There is also an office where soldiers are stationed to help the people in each neighborhood. So, if a faucet breaks down in a neighbor’s house, they call this military office for help. Soldiers have the expertise to solve various problems the people are faced with. When soldiers help the people in this way, the people come to develop loyalty to the military. All sons and daughters are required to serve 10 years in the military. The military-first politics in which the soldiers are positioned at the forefront to help the people will naturally unite the soldiers and the people with one heart. If war broke out in Korea and the US, soldiers on leave must immediately return to their military bases. In Joseon however, the soldier should return to his family and take charge of the family-protecting duties. The purpose of their participation in war is not to occupy the battlefield, but to defend their home town and their families who live there. If you fight for your family, you can’t help fighting with your life. Loyalty will come right from the heart. That was the Kim Il-sung’s legacy.