World leaders, Trump administration officials congregate in Seoul at international summit

China bears the blame for the immeasurable suffering from the COVID-19 pandemic over the past two years and the entire world must speak with a loud, unified voice in condemning Beijing’s human rights abuses and disdain for faith and freedom, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said at an international rally over the weekend.

Speaking to world leaders and international dignitaries at the World Summit 2022, Mr. Pompeo offered a harsh critique of China’s leadership and the lengths to which it went to hide the COVID-19 outbreak, which subsequently spread around the globe, killing millions.

The former top U.S. diplomat sought to draw a link between Beijing’s handling of the health crisis and its fundamental opposition to the concepts of peace and freedom that eventually may lead to the reunification of North and South Korea.

“This virus was foisted upon the world by a Communist Party that refused to do the divinely right thing in the moment. It put its own citizens on planes knowing that they were contagious. … What conception of humanity finds this remotely decent or acceptable?” Mr. Pompeo asked.

“What vision of a higher power justifies such wanton diminution of the value of each human life? This is, ladies and gentlemen, not about the Chinese people. It’s about this entity and its leaders, the challenges it presents to those of us who seek peace and harmony in our world,” he said.

“This Communist Party can’t tolerate why we’re here today,” Mr. Pompeo said.

Mr. Pompeo delivered his powerful speech at an event created to promote world peace and mobilize hope behind efforts to end the North Korean nuclear crisis and the decades-old conflict between North and South Korea.

World Summit 2022 was organized by the Universal Peace Federation (UPF) and brought participants from every continent together, both virtually and at an in-person program in Seoul. Mr. Pompeo, former Vice President Mike Pence, former Defense Secretary Mark Esper and a host of other high-profile former officials were among the featured speakers.

‘Seeds of peace’

Former President Donald Trump delivered a recorded video message. He said his diplomacy with North Korea, including his three in-person meetings with the country’s leader, Kim Jong-un, helped lay the groundwork for eventual reunification.

“We have planted the seeds of peace and cooperation, and now we must let them bloom and grow just like a giant tree,” Mr. Trump said. “To waste that chance would be a profound tragedy.”

Mr. Trump blasted the Biden administration for its handling of North Korea. He said Pyongyang’s spate of major missile tests underscores its lack of respect for current leaders in Washington.

In his remarks in Seoul, Mr. Pence did not mention the Biden administration by name.

Still, he suggested that Washington is not responding aggressively enough to North Korea’s missile tests and said the Trump administration’s diplomatic breakthrough with North Korea proved that “peace follows strength.”

“Weakness arouses evil, and a resurgence of missile tests and provocations from Pyongyang, [including] this week’s promises to shake ‘the world,’ are a testament to this truth,” said Mr. Pence. He was referring to North Korea’s claim in recent days to be confronting the U.S. by “shaking the world” with missile tests.

The Trump administration’s historic diplomacy, however, ultimately failed to achieve a breakthrough denuclearization deal.

Mr. Trump walked away from a second summit with Mr. Kim in 2019. He said the North Korean side demanded sweeping sanctions relief in exchange for only a limited commitment to destroy part of the nuclear arsenal it had been building for decades in violation of repeated U.N. Security Council resolutions.

Attempts at diplomacy with the North Koreans have gone nowhere during the years since, and the Kim regime engages in increasingly brazen missile tests.

‘That day will come’

Hope for the reunification of the Korean Peninsula was a dominant theme at the World Summit. In his keynote address, Mr. Pompeo said China could play a constructive role in that effort but its leaders have chosen a different path.

“North Korea takes its cues from the [Chinese Communist Party]. We talk about Chinese conflict with Tibet, with Mongolia, with the people of Hong Kong and their efforts in Taiwan,” Mr. Pompeo said. “We should not forget the long border and the conflict between the Chinese Communist Party and the Korean people of the North.”

Mr. Pompeo made the sobering remarks during speeches from a range of prominent international figures. The World Summit was hosted by Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, a co-founder of UPF, and co-hosted by Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and former U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Mrs. Moon, the widow of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, is the leader of the Unification movement, which grew from the Unification Church that Rev. Moon founded in 1954 — a year after a U.S.-backed armistice froze a war between North and South Korea.

She and her husband devoted their lives to the reunification of the Korean Peninsula and to the promotion of world peace. They founded The Washington Times in 1982.

A range of prominent political figures and current world leaders participated in the weekend summit, including Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, Albanian President Ilir Meta, Senegalese President Macky Sall and former European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso.

Mr. Pence and other speakers praised the work of Mrs. Moon on Friday.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who also addressed the gathering in Seoul, praised participants for coming together in the name of peace for the world and for the Korean Peninsula.

“The human race will move forward to safety, to prosperity and to freedom only if good people take the time, show the courage and get involved,” Mr. Gingrich said.

“The human race is at one of those amazing turning points when the technology that brings us together can also be the technology that destroys us, and I think these efforts, this commitment to talk together, to bring together the kind of really remarkable groups that come from all over the world to this kind of conference, to make friendships, to go back home realizing that you have things in common that allow you to build a better future, I think all this is very, very vital,” he said.

Mr. Pence and Mr. Pompeo expressed optimism for the Korean Peninsula.

“Based on the progress that I saw under the Trump-Pence administration, I remain supremely confident that a brighter future is on the horizon for the United States, for the people of the Korean Peninsula, the Asia-Pacific and the world,” Mr. Pence said.

“No oppressive regime can last forever,” he said. “For inside every human heart is an unquenchable fire that burns to be free. Inside every human soul is an insatiable desire for freedom.”

A unified Korea, Mr. Pompeo said, is within reach.

“The moment for reunification will happen,” he said. “That day will come.”

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