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  • English
  • 2003.12.16
  • 340
Call for peace in Korea

by KOREAN PEACE COMMITTEE

We, the undersigned citizens of New Zealand, join with Americans of goodwill in calling on the US government to engage in meaningful negotiations with North Korea to

· resolve the present crisis on the basis of non-aggression and removal of sanctions in exchange for the verifiable ending of the nuclear weapons programme and,

· to transform the armistice agreement into a peace treaty to bring sustained peace to the Korean people.

We further call on the New Zealand government to endorse these moves to produce a peaceful resolution of the crisis and to support progress towards a secure, de-nuclearised, prosperous and eventually peacefully re-unified Korea on the basis of sovereignty and security from aggression, as enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations. We propose also that the NZ Government initiate or combine with like-minded Member States of the UN to promote a resolution at the UN General Assembly embodying the moves outlined in this statement.

Background to current crisis

The present crisis was sparked by George W. Bush’s abandonment of Bill Clinton’s Agreed Framework of 1994 and by his invasion of Iraq. This has led to the reactivation of the Yongbyon research reactor that is capable of producing plutonium, and a statement that North Korea is now building a ‘nuclear deterrent force for self-defence.’ These dangerous developments can only be averted through sincere negotiations, with both sides being willing to compromise. To say, as the US does, that it will only talk after North Korea unilaterally disarms is to refuse to negotiate, and can only deepen the crisis. We urge all parties to negotiate with a commitment to finding a peaceful and sustainable resolution. We further urge that no party take steps which will exacerbate the situation, including arms buildup, weapons testing, and provocative military exercises. In particular we call upon the United States and its allies to refrain from interdiction in international waters and airspace which would violate both international law and the Korean armistice.

China, Russia, and especially South Korea, have made it clear that peaceful negotiation is the only acceptable solution. Pyongyang has repeatedly denied US charges that it is engaged in the export of drugs, counterfeit money, or the sale of nuclear materials and missiles to terrorists. These issues could in any case only be laid to rest in negotiations.

Relations between the two Koreas are developing positively, with continued family reunions, the reconnection of the railways and the recent ground-breaking for the large South Korean industrial park to be built in the North’s border city of Kaesong.

The peaceful way forward

Republican Congressman Curt Weldon on his return from Pyongyang in June 2003 reiterated the position that North Korea has conveyed on previous occasions. It will give up nuclear programmes and weapons, and allow full verification, if the US will sign a non-aggression pact, move towards normalisation of relations, and cease interfering in its economic relations with South Korea and Japan. This is basically what President Clinton promised in the Agreed Framework.

We support the statement of Korean and US religious leaders at a meeting in Washington in June 2003 sponsored by National Council of Churches USA and Church World Service. They called for:

· Prompt reconvening of talks with North Korea.

· The conclusion of a non-aggression pact between North Korea and the United States, renouncement of pre-emptive attack, and negotiation of a peace treaty, replacing the present Armistice Treaty of 1953.

· The establishment and exchange of liaison offices between the United States and North Korea as a sign of good faith.

· Immediate action to address the grave humanitarian needs of the North Korean people, whose very lives depend on external food aid.

We also endorse the Charter of the United Nations which seeks to develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples and the settlement of international disputes in conformity with the principles of justice and international law.

SIGNATORIES

Name Occupation/Organisation

Wolf Rosenberg Retired academic

Bill Rosenberg President, Association of University Staff(private capacity)

Alyn Ware for Peace Foundation Disarmament Committee

Stephen Epstein Director, Asian Studies Institute, Victoria University of

Wellington

Dame Laurie Salas United Nations Association of New Zealand

Dr Tim Beal Academic, Victoria University of Wellington

Dr Christine Dann Writer, Researcher

Rev Don Borrie Presbyterian Minister; Chairman, NZ-DPRK Society

Rev Stuart Vogel Presbyterian Minister

Kim Hakmook Korean National Congress for Reunification

Organising Committee

Name Occupation/Organisation

Dame Laurie Salas United Nations Association of New Zealand

Dr Tim Beal Academic, Victoria University of Wellington

Dr Christine Dann Writer, Researcher

Rev Don Borrie Presbyterian Minister; Chairman, NZ-DPRK Society

Rev Stuart Vogel Presbyterian Minister

Kim Hakmook Korean National Congress for Reunification

Alyn Ware New Zealand Peace Foundation

INTERNATIONAL SUPPORT

Messages of support and endorsement have been received from

Professor Kim ki-hang Alabama State University

Dr Pang Zhongying International studies scholar, Beijing

KOREAN PEACE COMMITTEE is

A New Zealand-based campaign to promote peace on the Korean peninsula and to advocate resolution of issues between the United States and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea on the basis of peaceful negotiation between states in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations.
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