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PSPD    People's Solidarity for Participatory Democracy

  • Archive
  • 2002.01.31
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Background and Objective of CNPK

After a half century of division, reunification of the two Koreas still seems far away due to hostility and conflict on the Korean peninsula. Although many Koreans regard reunification a legitimate and emotionally overwhelming issue, the young generation who are expected to actually make it happen in the future are more or less indifferent or even against the idea. While the anti-communism and anti-North Korea sentiment among the older generation has considerably evaporated with enhanced democracy and the end of the Cold War, younger people are becoming more resentful about North Korea. Several factors are attributed to this cynical attitude of the young generation. The first is the conservative media that stubbornly maintains its Cold War perspective. The second is the absence of alternative education on reunification appropriate for today's post-Cold War era. They continue to fix negative images of North Korea in the minds of young people. The third is the factionalism of unification movement groups in South Korea, and their negligence about encouraging participation from citizens and students.

Based on such concerns, we believe that the most important task for now is to build a framework where citizens and students can freely exchange opinions on North Korea, peace, and unification. We put foremost emphasis on public involvement, the process of exchanging different ideas and forming a general opinion, rather than unilateral announcements to the public about directions and strategies toward North Korea. In this regard, we will make continued efforts to establish the CNPK as a public-based and socially acceptable organization with our long-term programs.

The CNPK will monitor media reports concerning the Korean peninsula to check if there are false, exaggerated, or distorted ones. This is because the media takes a critical role in forming the international agenda regarding North Korea and reunification. Results of regular media monitoring will be on our Internet site for everyone. Also we intend to expand the current narrow scope of North Korean issues by actively publicizing an agenda needed for peace and the reunification of the two Koreas. We hope to encourage an active exchange of opinions among people as well as the formation of a peace-oriented public consensus. Furthermore, we hope to contribute to the dismantling of the Cold War mentality of the people, so that we can create a genuinely free and equal community of shared values and interests.

Major Activities

1. Movement against Missile Defense Deployment Plan. The CNPK has devoted its effort to raising public awareness of the danger of the United States’ MD plan. Based on the achievement gained through the endeavor, the CNPK was able to take an important role in policy and education for “the Korean Committee against MD and for Peace”. The CNPK will continue with its mission until the Bush Administration abandons its MD plan.

2. Peace Mail. Since July 27, to commemorate the armistice, Peace Mail, which has been mailed irregularly, is now a weekly e-newsletter. It provides keen criticism and updated news on the international situation surrounding Korean Peninsula. Subscription is free.

3. Monitoring Military Security Issues. One of the most non-democratic parts in our society is the military and security. The CNPK was established to get involved for democracy of these areas. For this purpose, the CNPK will build solidarity with other organizations to monitor the military budget, arms trade, security policy, etc.

4. Approach to U.S. Army Stationing in Korea. Last year, we published a series “Let us Prepare for Korea without the U.S. Army”. We are planning to raise public awareness on the U.S. Army stationed in Korea from the military and security viewpoint to search for an appropriate scheme for solve the current problem.

5. 6+6 Internship Program. Human Resources are the most important resources for peace movement to constantly develop and have bear fruit. The CNPK is developing a program for our activists to work six month at the CNPK and six months in a peace organization abroad as an internship.

6. Seminars and Educational Programs for Activists, students and the public. The CNPK opens seminars on various themes for activists, students and the public to fulfill their needs. In addition, for contemporary issues, experts of the area will be invited for dialogue.

Other than the activities described above, the CNPK is putting its efforts into raising arms reduction issues. Arms reduction still remains off the agenda, despite recent thawing movements toward reconciliation on the Korean peninsula. The alliance among South Korea, the U.S., and Japan seems firmly based on the strong security stance. The Kim Dae-jung administration's "strong security" policy, the U.S. emphasis on the "strong military deterrence capability", and Japan's movement toward military expansion well illustrate this. Moreover, these policies are now gaining momentum through the governments' closer relationship with public opinion and domestic political structures. Such a military build-up will not only provoke North Korea, which remains an enemy state both in political and military terms, but also will pose a serious threat to China and Russia, thus leading to a large-scale arms race in Northeast Asia.

However, amidst these potentially dangerous developments, neither the South Korean government nor civic groups are bringing up the issue of arms reduction, let alone taking appropriate actions about it. What we need is an international alliance for appropriate arms reduction programs with full commitment from each country.

The CNPK's Peace Issues Society will provide a long-term program for arms reduction, activate public discussion on the issue, and also bring about tangible results through alliances with peace movement groups at home and abroad. The first step in this direction will be an International Cyber Conference on "Arms Reduction for Peaceful Korean Peninsula" starting November 1. The conference will first deal with general ideas, including the necessity for arms reduction on the Korean peninsula. More specific issues may include arms reduction on the Korean peninsula, the U.S. policy toward East Asia, Japan's military expansion, remaining anti-personnel grenades, the U.S. troops stationed in South Korea, and an international alliance for arms reduction. We will make the best advantage of our Internet homepages to conduct public polls and theme discussions. We are also committed to building an English site so as to encourage the participation of the international community.

Peacekeepers

Representative

Chung Wook-sik (B.A. in Political Science and International Relations, Korea University)

Full-time Activists

Park Jeeho (Politics and Foreign Policy, Sogang University)

Peace Issues Society

Soe Bohyok (Graduated School for International Relations, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies)

As of November 10, 2001, the CNPK has 102 supporting members and 2856 subscribers of e-Peace Mail.

Civil Network for a Peaceful Korea

Jongnogu Susongdong 38-3 # 202

Telephone: (02)722-3504

E-mail: civil@peacekorea.org

Website: http://www.peacekorea.org
Cheong Wooksik(Representative, CNPK)
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