October 11, 2000
Rev. Moon, North Korea & the Bushes
While Bush was hosting Pruden in the White House, Pruden’s boss was opening his financial and business channels to North Korea. According to the DIA, Moon’s North Korean deal was ambitious and expensive.
“There was an agreement regarding economic cooperation for the reconstruction of KN's [North Korea's] economy which included establishment of a joint venture to develop tourism at Kimkangsan, KN [North Korea]; investment in the Tumangang River Development; and investment to construct the light industry base at Wonsan, KN. It is believed that during their meeting Mun [Moon] donated 450 billion yen to KN,” one DIA report said.
In late 1991, the Japanese yen traded at about 130 yen to the U.S. dollar, meaning Moon's investment would have been about $3.5 billion, if the DIA information is correct.
Moon's aide Pak denied that Moon’s investments ever approached that size. Though Pak did not give an overall figure, he 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. 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 Korea granted Moon some smaller favors, too. Four months after Moon's meeting with Kim Il Sung, editors from The Washington Times were allowed to interview the reclusive North Korean communist in what the Times called “the first interview he has granted to an American newspaper in many years.”
Later in 1992, the Times was again rallying to President Bush’s defense. The newspaper stepped up attacks against Iran-contra special prosecutor Lawrence Walsh as his investigation homed in on Bush and his inner circle. Walsh considered the Times’ relentless criticism a distraction to the criminal investigation, according to his book, Firewall.
That fall, in the 1992 campaign, the Times turned its editorial guns on Bush’s new rival, Bill Clinton. Some of the anti-Clinton articles raised questions about Clinton’s patriotism, even suggesting that the Rhodes scholar might have been recruited as a KGB agent during a collegiate trip to Moscow.
A Bush Salute
Bush’s loss of the White House did not end his relationship with Moon’s organization. Out of office, Bush agreed to give paid speeches to Moon-supported groups in the United States, Asia and South America. In some cases, Barbara Bush joined in the events.
During this period, Moon grew increasingly hateful about the United States and many of its ideals.
In a speech to his followers on Aug. 4, 1996, Moon vowed to liquidate American individuality, declaring that his movement would “swallow entire America.” Moon said Americans who insisted on “their privacy and extreme individualism … will be digested.”
Nevertheless, former President Bush continued to work for Moon’s organization. In November 1996, the former U.S. president spoke at a dinner in Buenos Aires, Argentina, launching Moon’s South American newspaper, Tiempos del Mundo.
“I want to salute Reverend Moon,” Bush declared, according to a transcript of the speech published in The Unification News, an internal church newsletter.
“A lot of my friends in South America don’t know about The Washington Times, but it is an independent voice,” Bush said. “The editors of The Washington Times tell me that never once has the man with the vision interfered with the running of the paper, a paper that in my view brings sanity to Washington, D.C.”
Contrary to Bush’s claim, a number of senior editors and correspondents have resigned in protest of editorial interference from Moon’s operatives. Bush has refused to say how much he was paid for the speech in Buenos Aires or others in Asia and the United States.