'Moonies' launch political party in S Korea

AFP/March 10, 2003

Seoul -- The Unification Church, whose followers are commonly referred to as Moonies, launched its own political party in South Korea on Monday, church officials said.

The religious sect said its leader, Reverend Moon Sun-Myung, and his followers held a convention at the Little Angels Hall in Seoul to kick off the Party for God, Peace, Unification and Home.

In an inauguration declaration, the new party said it would focus on preparing for the reunification of the two Koreas by educating the public about God and peace.

Church officals said the party would not seek political power and would not field candidates in general elections next year.

"The party is aiming not to take political power but to secure peace in the world, including the Korean peninsula," a top church official said after the party convention attended by about 2 500 people.

He said the church would seek to create similar parties in Japan and the United States.

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