* In the March 2022 issue of Compassion, we began publishing 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 the long unresolved conflict on the Korean Peninsula and with the United States, explores basic political concepts, such as human rights, democracy, and socialism, and evaluates the United States, South Korea, and North Korea on that basis. The memoir provides important historical perspectives and an in-depth examination of current issues. * In this article, 'North Korea' is denoted as 'Joseon'. Kim Il-sung (left) and Mao Zedong (right) observe a military parade in Beijing Square on the 5th anniversary of the establishment of the People's Republic of China on October 1, 1954. Photo Ⓒ BEIJING TIMES “Juche ideology plagiarises Mao Zedong ideology.” This is the argument one often encounters in the literature on Juche ideology circulating in the United States. There are even doctoral dissertations written on this argument. Whenever I encountered it, I was thrown into confusion, becoming lost in deep contemplation. I personally rate Mao Zedong the greatest politician in human history, because he managed to feed 60 million hungry Chinese people. Mao Zedong said: “There are three big problems in this world. The first problem is to feed the people, the second problem is to feed the people, and the third problem is to feed the people.” Furthermore, Mao Zedong rescued 20 million Chinese who had been addicted to opium.In my view, Mao Zedong wore four hats: that of a revolutionary leader, a politician, a scholar, and a guerrilla commander. Playing such a variety of roles, Mao Zedong managed to build an independent state that guaranteed the material conditions and spiritual freedom of the Chinese people. So I always kept a picture of Mao Zedong hanging in my office at the University of Georgia. I also taught graduate level seminars on Mao Zedong thought for several years. For me, when comparing Mao Zedong’s thought, which I have studied as a professor, with Juche ideology, which I researched traveling to and from Joseon, I cannot accept the claim that the latter is a plagiarism of the former. Of course, I admit that there are similarities between the two ideas. However, most of these similarities stem from the fact that the existential life conditions of Mao Zedong and Kim Il-sung are substantially similar. After all, both of them devoted their lives to building an independent state while fighting foreign powers. Still, aren‘t the political and social realities of China and Korea completely different? If Juche ideology had copied Mao Zedong thought, it could not be successfully implemented in the political and social reality of Joseon, which was vastly different from that of China. Mao Zedong thought is an ideology that matured in the political and social reality of China, whereas the Juche idea inevitably came of its own in Joseon. The fact that Joseon, having chosen the Juche idea as ideology for its regime, has survived for more than 70 years means that Juche ideology has been successfully rooted in a political and social reality unique to Joseon. As is well known, Mao Zedong carried out a popular revolution by inheriting the ideas of Li DaZhao(李大釗) who modified Marx’s theory of revolution to fit the reality of China. Li could not apply the revolutionary theory that Marx proposed, about the class struggle between the bourgeoisie and proletariat derived from industrialization of a society, at face value to the realities of China. This is because China was still a rural society without the division between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. According to Li Dazhao’s perspective, related to China, the Chinese peasants being invaded by imperialist powers were in a similar situation to the proletariat that Marx noted. Therefore, Li Dazhao emphasized a type of People’s Revolution in which the Chinese peasants were the main players. That People’s Revolution was realized through Mao Zedong, leading the way to a modern China. This was why, in 1982, Peking University graduates raised a donation and erected a statue of Li Dazhao on the campus.Like Li Dazhao and Mao Zedong, Kim Il-Sung had an accurate view of how dangerous ideas could be when separated from reality. Kim Il-sung’s way of thinking was embodied in a spirit consistent with the entire Juche idea. For example, Kim Jong-il's On the Juche Idea emphasizes: “In revolution and construction, there cannot be a prescription that is suitable for every era and every country. Therefore, we must always start from reality and solve all problems creatively, responsive to the actual situation.” After examining the similarities Mao Zedong and Kim Il-sung faced in more detail, I will examine the differences between Mao Zedong thought and Juche ideology. Born in 1893, Mao Zedong was forced to live in the midst of China’s “Century of Humiliation” that began in 1840 with the Opium War. The Chinese military was fractured by wrangling warlords, and the people were in a state of chaos. Mao Zedong saw two conflicts in China. One was the conflict from outside, against foreign aggression, and the other was the conflict inside, problems caused by the wealth gap, regional sentiments, and minority issues. Mao Zedong adopted the the theory of a two-stage revolution as a means of overcoming these two conflicts. In Mao’s view, external conflict could not be resolved peacefully, but only through war. In addition, he thoroughly eradicated traitors, pro-American and pro-Japanese sects in China that welcomed foreign powers. On the other hand, he judged that internal conflict could be resolved peacefully. Mao Zedong, therefore, adopted a policy of educating and leading a revolutionary vanguard, land reform, and preferential policies for minorities. Kim Il-sung served in the 88th Separate Rifle Brigade, which belonged to the Soviet Red Army(October 5, 1943) bottom row, fourth from left. Photo Ⓒ library material in jilin province, china Kim Il-sung also faced the double task of defeating foreign powers and resolving the gap between the rich and the poor. Kim Il-sung nurtured the people, the subjects of the revolution, through Juche education capable of eradicating flunkyism and partisanship, to lead them through the anti-Japanese war in Manchuria, the Korean War (Liberation War), and other conflicts. He eradicated the internal pro-Japanese and pro-American sects, and also tried to narrow the wealth gap between the rich and the poor by implementing land reform and other policies. Mao Zedong and Kim Il-sung’s similar life experiences can be especially seen in their guerrilla activities. Mao Zedong and Kim Il-sung had no choice but to engage in guerrilla warfare in situations where the available equipment and manpower was insufficient to the task. Mao Zedong’s Chinese Civil War and the Great March, and Kim Il-sung’s Manchurian guerrilla activities are good examples. The guerrillas activities of Mao Zedong and Kim Il-sung have great political significance. Having passed through life and death experiences together, colleagues who engaged in guerrilla activities with Mao Zedong and Kim Il-sung shared close comradeship. Their bonds were so strong that they could not break under any circumstances. The spirit of the guerrillas thus became the founding spirit in Mao Zedong’s China and in Kim Il-sung’s Joseon. As is well known, Khrushchev, who became the general secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union after Stalin’s death, launched a campaign to downgrade Stalin. However, Deng Xiaoping, elected chairman of the Central Military Commission of the People’s Republic of China in 1983, never launched a campaign to downgrade Mao Zedong because Deng Xiaoping participated in the guerrilla campaign with Mao Zedong. Even after Deng Xiaoping, the picture of Mao Zedong in Tiananmen Square has not been removed. Deng Xiaoping (left), who seized power in China in 1981, visits Pyongyang in April of the following year and observes a welcome ceremony with Kim Il-sung (right). photo Ⓒ The Hankyoreh Similarly, in Joseon, those of Kim Il-sung’s colleagues who engaged in guerrilla activities with him became leading figures in nation’s founding. For this reason, Joseon can be called a guerrilla country. In 2012, my wife and I attended an event in Kim Il-sung Square to commemorate Kim Il-sung’s 100th birthday. Many soldiers paraded, but soldiers in guerrilla uniforms led the march. I felt that the spirit of Joseon’s guerrilla fighters was still alive. To solve China’s problem of extreme poverty, Mao Zedong decided it was necessary to share the scarce food evenly. So, instead of capitalism, which competitively pursues human desires, he adopted socialism as an alternative that pursues equal distribution of needs essential for human survival. Kim Il-sung adopted socialism for the same reason. Currently, Joseon implements the principle of socialist equality far more thoroughly than China, which has adopted a capitalist market economy. From my point of view, Joseon is the most egalitarian country on the planet. On April 15, 2012, Professor Han. S. Park visited Pyongyang with his wife and watched the “Ceremony of the 100th Anniversary of the Birth of Kim Il-sung” at the site. (About halfway through the fourth line, Han. S. Park and his wife) Photo Ⓒ Han. S. Park It is true that Joseon struggles economically, but that does not undermine the principle of equality of socialism. As I mentioned before, between the highest paying wage and the lowest, the wage gap in Joseon was not wider than double. Additionally, Joseon reflects not only economic equality but also social equality. An important norm governing Joseon society is the collectivist spirit of “one for all, all for one.” Therefore, there is no such thing as bullying. Also, since a form of socialism which pursues the sharing of the means of production was adopted, class itself, determined by ownership of a means of production, cannot exist. Without class, class consciousness cannot be created and things like ‘gapjil(going on a power trip over others)’ are unimaginable. During Joseon’s so-called “Arduous March,” everyone starved regardless of social status. Even people in leadership, such as party cadres, were sacrificed. Since the parade on April 15, 2012, the Day of the Sun (the day commemorating the birth of Kim Il-sung), the Joseon dynasty has made a reenactment of the anti-Japanese guerrillas appear at every national commemorative event, making it a symbol of the spirit of the national foundation. A view of the guerrillas during the Day of the Sun parade in 2017. photo Ⓒ Tongshinmang When trying to distinguish the difference between Mao Zedong thought and Juche ideology, we should pay attention to the concept of “the people.” China’s official name is the People’s Republic of China, and Korea’s official name is the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. “The People” is such an important concept that they are used as keywords in the national names of both countries. However, the meaning of the people in the two countries reveals a big difference. In China, “the people" is the concept of the “members of the nation,” encompassing both the Han Chinese and 54 ethnic minorities. On the other hand, in Joseon, “the people” refers to the concept of “a nation,” or an ethnic group, based on the same blood ties. Therefore, Chinese nationalism is inclusive, whereas Joseon’s concept is exclusive. Also, while Mao Zedong thought has a thoroughly political character, Juche ideology adds to that a religious character. The similarities and differences between Mao Zedong thought and the Juche idea contributed decisively to the formation of a “special relationship”between China and Joseon. In international politics, a special relationship refers to a close political, diplomatic, military, economic, historical, and/or cultural alliance, such as the special bond maintained between Britain and the United States. We should keep in mind the relationship between China and North Korea is no less a special relationship than that of Britain and the United States. The special relationship between China and Korea is easy to understand by examining the shared experiences combatting the anti-Japanese guerrillas that Mao Zedong and Kim Il-sung shared in Manchuria. On February 27, 1936, Kim Il-sung reported as follows at the Namhodu Congress(南湖頭會議): As you all know, Joseon People’s Revolutionary Army units are the main forces within the DPRK-China anti-Japanese militias operational in Manchuria. Not only that, but many Korean communists play a key role as political and military officials in the Chinese army. Under such circumstances, if the DPRK-China anti-Japanese armed forces were divided into Joseon units and Chinese units, the capacity of the anti-Japanese fraternal Chinese struggle would be weakened, and eventually, the development of the DPRK people’s anti-Japanese armed struggle would be at a loss. […] Until some future when we lay a solid foundation for the armed struggle in our own land, we must continue to conduct military and political activities in southeast Manchuria’s large forests and advantageous terrain. Under these conditions, the Joseon People’s Units and the Chinese People’s Units should jointly organize and develop as Anti-Japanese Allied Forces, rather than forming separate units to carry out their respective activities. A reproduction of Kim Il-sung's proposal to form the Anti-Japanese Allied Forces between the Joseon People and Chinese units at a meeting held in Namhodu, Yeongan-hyeon, Manchuria in February 1936. Photo Ⓒ <Between our people우리민족끼리> Mao Zedong’s military victories in Manchuria allowed him to take military control of all of China. The Korea-Chinese Anti-Japanese Armed Forces were the main players who provided a foothold for Mao Zedong. In Harbin, China photos and names of those who died in Manchurian battles are displayed at the Northeast Martyrs Memorial. I visited there and counted the number of Joseon people, recording them each in a notebook. There are roughly 230 people exhibited in the Memorial Hall; nearly 100 of them are Koreans. On October 12, 1962, in Pyongyang, Zhou Enlai(周恩来) and Kim Il-sung signed the “North Korean-Chinese Border Treaty(中朝边界条约),” a treaty between the two countries on either side of Mt. Baekdu. Zhou Enlai agreed to sign the treaty with very favorable terms for Joseon. Joseon occupied 54.5 percent of Cheonji Lake of Baekdu and 264 of the islands and sandbars of the Yalu and Tumen Rivers, while China occupied 45.5 percent of Cheonji and only 187 islands and sandbars. Zhou Enlai died in 1976. On an official visit to China in April 1975, Kim Il-sung visited Zhou Enlai at the hospital where he was hospitalized. Zhou Enlai got up from his sick bed, put on a suit, and greeted Kim Il-sung. Deng Xiaoping was also there. Zhou Enlai told Kim Il-sung, “If anything happens in Joseon in the future, please visit Deng Xiaoping.” In May 1979, Kim Il-sung erected a statue of Zhou Enlai inside the Heungnam Fertilizer Factory. He personally participated in the unveiling ceremony.