[Open Letter] The Peace Process on the Korean Peninsula should proceed without interruption
- 2019.06.27 (13:27:56)
Open Letter to President Donald J. Trump
The Peace Process on the Korean Peninsula should proceed without interruption
27 June 2019
Dear President Donald J. Trump
May this letter find you at peace.
We are 27 Civil society organizations in the ROK that strive to achieve peace on the Korean Peninsula. We are concerned with the deadlock between the DPRK and the U.S. that has been ongoing since the 2nd summit between the two countries’ leaders ended without result. We are nonetheless thankful that the two leaders still harbor a strong desire to hold a third summit and to solve the problem through dialogue. In the strong hopes that Washington and Pyongyang would resume their peace-building process, which began with the rare and historic first-ever summit, we would like to urge President Trump to take note of the following, please.
The agreement reached at Singapore must be implemented
Recall that, at the first historic the DPRK-the U.S. Summit held in Singapore on June 12 last year, you and Chairman Kim Jong Un agreed (1) to establish new U.S.–DPRK relations (2) to build a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula, and (3) to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. You, President Trump, committed to provide security guarantees to the DPRK, and Chairman Kim reaffirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. These promises led the rest of us spectators worldwide to build our hopes up for a major transition to take place in the state of affairs on the Korean Peninsula toward peace. Yet there has not been progress in the relationship between the two countries. With all the dialogue and negotiations ground to a halt, there is only a growing talk on “denuclearization first.”
The current situation reminds us of the history of repeated failures of that “denuclearization first” demand to end the nuclear crisis on the Korean Peninsula. Neither will that insistence provide any chances for either side to break through the current deadlock. It is nearly impossible for two countries that have considered each other enemies for nearly seven decades to trust each other completely on the first try. Mutual, phased and simultaneous actions toward meeting each other at least half way are necessary for trust to develop. Once you start building trust in the process, you will be able to agree on larger issues.
‘Denuclearization as Peacemaking Process’ must be observed as a principle
The nuclear conflict on the Korean Peninsula is inherent in the long-standing, unstable armistice regime on the Korean Peninsula. The DPRK’s missile and nuclear development program stem from the decades-long military conflict and arms race on the Korean Peninsula. Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula is closely connected to building a peace regime on the Korean Peninsula with normalizing relations between the DPRK and the U.S. Peace on the Peninsula cannot be achieved only through denuclearization. Efforts to build a permanent peace regime here, such as signing a peace treaty or a non-aggression agreement, and normalizing relations between the DPRK and the U.S. must be paralleled.
The kind of complete denuclearization that the Korean people want to achieve is a state where all nuclear threats surrounding the Korean Peninsula are removed. This cannot be achieved by a “Complete, Verifiable, Irreversible Denuclearization” of the DPRK alone. It is also necessary for the U.S., ROK, and Japan to drop their “extended nuclear deterrence” policy on which they base their military strategy in Northeast Asia. This is the only way for a nuclear-weapon-free Korean Peninsula can also serve as a stepping stone towards the creation of a Northeast Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone and Nuclear-Weapon-Free world.
The sanctions against the DPRK that are related to humanitarian aid must be lifted
Reports from the UN and other international organizations emphasize the urgency of the need for humanitarian aid for North Koreans. As the UN Security Council’s Resolution stresses, sanctions ought neither to harm the lives of the DPRK people nor to hamper humanitarian activities for them. The sanctions from the UN and the U.S., however, have made it almost impossible to deliver humanitarian aid to those most in need in the DPRK. FIDA International, a Finnish NGO has decided to end its humanitarian projects in the DPRK despite more than two decades of operation.
They said that the reason for this exceptional situation is the tightening of international sanctions imposed by the U.S. over the last few months. Thankfully, the 1718 committee granted 22 exemptions including medical aid, food, and facility and welfare support, for the first six months of this year. We request that the U.S. government side with the universal spirit and lift the sanctions against the DPRK that are related to humanitarian aid.
Inter-Korean exchange and cooperation are indispensable catalysts for peace-building on the Korean Peninsula. South Korean NGOs’ visits to, and projects for, North Korea, however, have all been stopped this year. The second the DPRK-the U.S. Summit, in particular, has led all subnational governments in the ROK, including Seoul, to suspend their programs of cooperation with the DPRK. The cessation of the dialogue between the U.S. and the DPRK leaders and ongoing sanctions have obstructed inter-Korean relations as well. We request that the U.S. government recognize the importance of inter-Korean exchange and cooperation including resuming Mount Kumgang tour and Kaesong Industrial Complex and support it by lifting all the related sanctions.
There is no other way to achieve peace but through peaceful means
Sixty-nine years have passed since the Korean War broke out. The vast majority of Koreans on either side of the 38th Parallel today yearn for a peaceful peninsula completely free of threats of another war. We are now worried that the hard-earned chance at peace might get frustrated again amid the conflicting interests and political reasoning of countries other than the two Koreas. The peace-building process on the Korean Peninsula must be led first and foremost by the governments and peoples of the two Koreas, with respect and cooperation from other countries with stakes in the matter.
We have witnessed that peace can be achieved through peaceful means and that problems can be solved through dialogue and negotiation. Under no circumstances can we return to the past, which was riddled with heightened military tension and repeated threats of nuclear war. The path we are taking may be long and winding, but we affirm, once again, that we cannot achieve peace through means other than peace itself.
Civil society in the ROK is united in its wish for the peace-building process to progress, with the DPRK-the U.S. dialogue, on the Korean Peninsula. We trust President Trump to hear the desperate voice of the ROK citizens for peace.
June 27, 2019
80 Millions' Movement for One Korea (K.P.R.)
Civil Peace Forum
Civilian Military Watch
Committee to Support Imprisoned Workers
Eco Horizon Institute
Goyang Civil Solidarity Conference (24's unit)
Korea Women's Associations United
Korea Women's Hot Line
Korean Sharing Movement
MINBYUN Committee on U.S. Military Issues
Movement for One Korea
National Council of YMCA'S of Korea (NCYK)
Networks for Greentransport
One Korea Tree
Peace Sharing Association
People's Solidarity for Participatory Democracy (PSPD)
Reconciliation and Reunification Committee, NCCK (The National Council of Churches in Korea)
The Corea Peace 3000
The Headquarters of National Unification Movement of Young Korean Academy
The Righteous People for Korean Unification(RPKU)
Women Making Peace
Won-Buddhism Diocese of Pyongyang