January 3, 2001
Rev. Moon, the Bushes & Donald Rumsfeld
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Contacted in Seoul, South Korea, Bo Hi Pak, a former publisher of The Washington Times, acknowledged that Moon met with North Korean officials and negotiated business deals with them in the early 1990s.
But Bo Hi Pak denied that payments were made to individual North Korean leaders and called “absolutely untrue” the DIA's description of the $3 million land sale benefiting Kim Jong Il. Bo Hi Pak also said the North Korean business investments were structured through South Korean entities.
“Rev. Moon is not doing this in his own name,” said Pak.
Pak said he did go to North Korea in 1994, after Kim Il Sung’s death, but only to express “condolences” to Kim Jong Il on behalf of Moon and his wife. Pak denied that another purpose of the trip was to pass money to Kim Jong Il or to his associates.
In the phone interview, Bo Hi Pak also denied that Moon’s investments ever approached $3.5 billion. Pak did not give a total figure for the investments, but said the initial phase of an automobile factory was in the range of $3 million to $6 million.
The DIA depicted Moon's business plans in North Korea as much grander, however. The DIA valued the agreement for hotels in Pyongyang and the resort in Kumgang-san, alone, at $500 million. The plans also called for creation of a kind of Vatican City covering Moon's birthplace.
“In consideration of Mun's [Moon's] economic cooperation, Kim [Il Sung] granted Mun a 99-year lease on a 9 square kilometer parcel of land located in Chongchu, Pyonganpukto, KN. Chongchu is Mun's birthplace and the property will be used as a center for the Unification Church. It is being referred to as the Holy Land by Unification Church believers and Mun [h]as been granted extraterritoriality during the life of the lease.”
North Korean officials clearly valued their relationship with Moon, granting him small but symbolic favors. Four months after Moon's 1991 meeting with Kim Il Sung, the communist dictator granted a rare interview to editors from Moon's Washington Times.
In February 2000, on Moon's 80th birthday, Kim Jong Il sent Moon a gift of rare wild ginseng, an aromatic root used medicinally, Reuters reported.
Because of the long-term U.S. embargo against North Korea – eased only last year – Moon’s alleged payments to the communist leaders raise potential legal issues for Moon, a South Korean citizen who is a U.S. permanent resident alien.
“Nobody in the United States was supposed to be providing funding to anybody in North Korea, period, under the Treasury (Department's) sanction regime,” said Jonathan Winer, former deputy assistant secretary of state handling international crime.
The U.S. embargo of North Korea dates back to the Korean War. With a few exceptions for humanitarian goods, the embargo barred trade and financial dealings between North Korea and “all U.S. citizens and permanent residents wherever they are located, … and all branches, subsidiaries and controlled affiliates of U.S. organizations throughout the world.”
Moon became a permanent resident of the United States in 1973, according to Justice Department records. Bo Hi Pak said Moon has kept his “green card” status. Moon maintains a residence near Tarrytown, north of New York City, and controls dozens of affiliated U.S. companies.
Direct payments to foreign leaders in connection with business deals also could prompt questions about possible violations of the U.S. Corrupt Practices Act, a prohibition against overseas bribery.
Today, however, the potential political fallout might be a greater concern than any legal action, especially once George W. Bush assumes the presidency.
For the past two years, Republicans have used Rumsfeld's report to club President Clinton and Vice President Gore for alleged softness toward a recalcitrant communist enemy.
In 1999, a House Republican task force followed up the work of Rumsfeld's commission and declared that North Korea and its missile program had emerged as a nuclear threat to Japan and possibly the Pacific Northwest of the United States.
"This threat has advanced considerably over the past five years, particularly with the enhancement of North Korea's missile capabilities," said the Republican task force. "Unlike five years ago, North Korea can now strike the United States with a missile that could deliver high explosive, chemical, biological, or possibly nuclear weapons."
Ironically, Moon's newspaper joined in laying the blame for North Korea's progress at the feet of the Clinton-Gore administration.
"To its list of missed opportunities, the Clinton-Gore administration can now add the abdication of responsibility for national security," a Washington Times editorial stated on Sept. 5, 2000.
Not surprisingly the Times did not mention that its founder and financial backer, Sun Myung Moon, had lent a hand to North Korea by agreeing to multi-million-dollar business deals and allegedly putting millions of dollars in the personal accounts of the leaders masterminding the strategic weapons development.
Equally unsurprising, former President George H.W. Bush and his about-to-be-president son have never explained the family's financial involvement with Rev. Moon, a messianic leader who has vowed to build a movement powerful enough to eliminate all individuality and freedom in the United States.
Those questions also aren't likely to come up at the confirmation hearings for Donald Rumsfeld, who believes that the United States must now pursue an expensive missile shield to counter the threat posed by North Korea.
Robert Parry is a veteran investigative reporter, who broke many of the Iran-contra stories in the 1980s for The Associated Press and Newsweek.
To see two of the DIA documents, click here.