Pastor Lee’s response to the pro-North Korean pastor

Pastor Lee’s response to the pro-North Korean pastor

Last week after the Yeonpyunjg Island attack from the North Korea, I wrote an article, “Repent!” and pro-North Korean pastor criticize my article and send many news articles and questions. Here is my response to those.

1.       President Jimmy Carter’s article in the Washington Post

I forward this article in The Washington Post to you. Our former President Jimmy Carter has pointed out very important issues related to the Korean peninsula. Hope this could shed some insight to understand the US Policy on Korea. The original title in the print version of The Washington Post was:

“Listen to North Korea: Pyongyang has told the U.S. what it wants.”


My Response: Talk is cheap and the action speaks louder! Jimmy Carter should listen to the bombing sound at the Yeonpung island. Sungho Lee, pastor CUMC

2.       Series of questions.

After I reply to the President Jimmy Carter’s article, which basically says that we have to listen to the North Korea who wants to have a one-to-one bilateral talk with USA (excluding South Korea) he sent series of questions.  Here are my replies to the questions.

Do you really take truly what the so-called talbukja talk about the nk brutality on their people?

Yes, I do take truly what the talbukja talk about the nk brutality on their people.
It is not just one person or one incidents but so many people and it is hard to disregard them all.
It is like to ignore all the evidences from Kwangjoo or Nogenri or Vietnam or Tienmoon.
Have you ever tried to read between the lines of those malicious talks ablut “nk human right violations”?

Even when I read between the lines of those “malicious” talks, it reflects basic facts what is happening in the North Korea.
Do you really think what the mass media except very few write and broadcast and pronounce are true reality?

If that is not true reality, why does the North Korea hide their reality? Why do they not open their doors and windows to the mass media all over the world? Why do they keep the reputation of the country behind a veil?
Do you know what the economic embargo means and the consequences of such embargo to the helpless children and women?

So, when we put a domestic violence criminal in a prison, it is inhumane law for the wife and the children of the criminal?
Have you ever requested US and even SK to repent for their wrongs?

Yes, that is what we do at the every annual conference and every time when we are making resolutions against the Iraq war, Guantanamo, Vietnam, etc. Don’t you recognize that we have been constantly challenging our own government and SK? Have you heard any resolution from the NK people against their government inside the country?

We as pastors when we will have a troubled person to come to see us, do we try to impose our own values to others and tell them what they should do or try to provide a safe environment so that the client could speak out and share her/his own burden and eventually she/he could come to realize the issue?


So, have you done that to the North Korean friends and did they come to realize the issue?

Don’t you think that we could apply such principles in to the international relations and in diplomatic work-out?

So, you are strategically becoming a friend to the North Koreans? Was it working so far?
Don’t you think that now a candid and assertive speaking the truth will wake them up to see their true reality?

Do you know the US Nuclear Posture after 9/11? Do you ignore the annual military exercises/invasion war games carried on by us-sk alliance year after year even when the global Cold War is over, even when nk has requested to end the korean war and to have peace treaty? Under such threat of the US Foreign Policy and Korean Policy to Strnagulate NK, don’t you think any sovereign nation would try to defend their own right? Aren’t we protected here lawfully/legally in the US with the self-defense when we are threatened by others? Suppose if finally nk would collapse as us-sk admistrations have wished!? Can you think about the chaotic, blood-shedings? This is the reason why I do believe what Kim Dae-Jung and Roh Moo-Hyunhve done are more peaceful and conciliatory approach to solve our national problems.

I do not want them to be destroyed. I want them to be saved and thrive. Even though US and SK have done many “war games” I have not heard that any one civilian died because of their war games. See the real facts!

I read the Jajuminbo and the writer said that it was the conflict over territory. So, did any one was killed by the territory conflict over Dokdo between Japan and Korea?

There are many ways to resolve conflicts and express your opinions. Once you kill others, you lose your grounding. If you want to rule over South and North, you should not kill the civilian of the other party.


You mention the article written by Dr. Ho Suk Han and I read it. He provides thorough analysis of the event and detailed information. However, he lacks basic balance in his stance. Let me ask simple questions to the Dr. Han:
1)  When the North Korea test its missiles couple time at the East Sea, did USA or SK attack any of the civilian villages or military bases? Those missiles are designed to deliver nuclear weapons. It was a serious threat to Japan, SK, and USA. But nobody fired bombs against those “war game.”
2) Do you know any one person who has been killed by the “war game” of the SK and USA? So far, all the conflicts produces dead bodies of the South Korean citizens and USA citizens.  Yeonpyung Island, Cheon An Navy ship explosion, Ms. Wang Ja Park at the Keum Kang Mt. Tour, KAL explosion, Panmoonjum Attack with Ax, every case demonstrated aggressive nature of the NK regime. Who has been dead among North Korean civilians by the attack from SK or USA? They are all died because of the NK regime.

3.       Another article by Dr. Leon Sigal

After I sent my responses, he sent me another article written by Dr. Leon Sigal. Here are the article and my response.

Leon Sigal, Arms Control Today, Nov 2010

A good analysis including Sigal’s critique of “strategic patience” as disengagement, SK obstructionism in 6-party talks, analysis of recent maritime conflicts and next steps for engagement.

Author bio:
Leon V. Sigal is director of the Northeast Asia Cooperative Security Project at the Social Science Research Council and author of Disarming Strangers: Nuclear Diplomacy with North Korea (1998). He has served as special assistant to the director of the Bureau of Politico-Military Affairs in the U.S. Department of State and a member of the editorial board of The New York Times.

My Response:

The problem with Leon Sigal’s article is that he cannot change the culture of US, SK, and NK.
He can analyze past and current events but not the emotions and values of SK and NK.

What works here in the international relations are not “rational” analysis and “rational” negotiations as the US would function. As far as the SK and NK are concerned, we are predictably irrational. We act more on emotions and pride because we have “face saving” culture.

For example, if NK wants to normalize the relationship with US, they should just say it to US if we apply the US way. However, we are like Gabdol & Gabsoon, two male and female traditional lovers who could not say their real hearts and regretted later after they married to other persons.

Even though NK desperately wants nomalization of the relationships with US and SK, they want to be treated as winner and prince! They want just a gesture from the US that makes them feel superior to US. However, US do not have such culture. Even a son can call his father’s first name in US, which is not imaginable in NK. How about SK? Same culture! We have to be treated as a better one before we even start talking. Now, all those who are now used to the Western culture miss that part.

So, drop all those rational analysis if you want progress in negotiation with NK or SK.
Study how to earn the hearts of the people! If you mess with the emotion with people (of SK and NK), they are willing to take risks of losing benefits and profits. So, for example, I don’t care how rightful and justifiable your position is when you kill my people, innocent civilians, I am angry. I do not want to have any engagement with you. Even though I am a reasonable person with Ph. D., I do not calculate what I would gain and what I would lose. We call this culture, “You-die-and-I-die” Way. We Koreans do not calculate and act according to the outcomes. We do not care whether we all die if the others die, too.

So, negotiation is impossible on rational basis, especially when the NK wants to be the winner.
That should be the starting point for any strategy for the US to face the challenges from the NK.

4.       Information Leak

After I sent my response to the article written by Dr. Leon Sigal, he sent me information leaked from the classified source. Here are the information and my response.

“…The leaked North Korea dispatches detail how:
South Korea‘s vice-foreign minister said he was told by two named senior Chinese officials that they believed Korea should be reunified under Seoul’s control, and that this view was gaining ground with the leadership in Beijing.

In highly sensitive discussions in February this year, the-then South Korean vice-foreign minister, Chun Yung-woo, told a US ambassador, Kathleen Stephens, that younger generation Chinese Communist party leaders no longer regarded North Korea as a useful or reliable ally and would not risk renewed armed conflict on the peninsula, according to a secret cable to Washington.

“The two officials, Chun said, were ready to ‘face the new reality’ that the DPRK [North Korea] now had little value to China as a buffer state – a view that, since North Korea’s first nuclear test in 2006, had reportedly gained traction among senior PRC [People’s Republic of China] leaders. Chun argued that in the event of a North Korean collapse, China would clearly ‘not welcome’ any US military presence north of the DMZ [demilitarised zone]. Again citing his conversations with [the officials], Chun said the PRC would be comfortable with a reunified Korea controlled by Seoul and anchored to the US in a ‘benign alliance’ – as long as Korea was not hostile towards China. Tremendous trade and labour-export opportunities for Chinese companies, Chun said, would also help ‘salve’ PRC concerns about … a reunified Korea.
“Chun dismissed the prospect of a possible PRC military intervention in the event of a DPRK collapse, noting that China’s strategic economic interests now lie with the United States, Japan and South Korea – not North Korea.” ..

My Response:

That is right. It is better for the NK to give up nuclear power and receive economic aids from Japan as a package deal for the compensation for the Japanese rule over the Korean peninsula during the time 1910-1945, and from SK as a package deal for commonwealth Korean prosperity, and from US as a package deal for being the bumper against the China. Right now, the only viable way for the NK to survive is to accept the packages deals and to give up the nuclear power and seek alliance with SK. Sungho Lee, pastor CUMC


As a conclusion, I can tell that the only way that the North Korea can survive as a nation is for them to repent and open their door to the international society to become one of the members of it. Now, its closest ally, China, is going to abandon NK because of their economic calculation.

However, it is really hard for them to say sorry because of their “face saving” culture. They rather want to die than to lose their pride. At this point, they can be irrational.

If they remain as irrational and keep military attacks, they would eventually be destroyed by stronger military attack and it will be the end of the NK even though SK would have also serious damage. The Korea, as a whole, would have to spend many decades for recovery and growth.

Theoretically speaking, we have to find ways to save their faces so that they can come to the negotiation table and pretend that they win the game (or war) if we want to save them. However, SK and USA are not saints. So, it would not happen in our real world.

My only hope is that prayer should work. God would intervene in history and put a mysterious spell upon the NK to give up their military strategies and atomic bombs. It can include sudden death of the leaders of the NK and the collapse of the military government of the NK. I will pray for the peace in the Korean peninsula. Would you also pray for the Korean people with me in this season of Advent, waiting for the Prince of Peace?

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