[Statement] Peace Declaration Marking the 60th Anniversary of the Korean War Armistice
Peace Statement Declaration
As We Conclude Our Peace Tour
Marking the 60th Anniversary of the Korean War Armistice
On this, our final day of the Peace Tour, as we stand with the people of Gangjeong Village, we are reminded of how the Korean War remains unended. On the 60th anniversary of the armistice, the “peaceful solution” called for in Article 60, Section 4 of the Armistice Agreement has yet to be realized. Instead, without a peaceful resolution, the physical and psychological pains from the war persist to this day.
The war on the Korean peninsula continues to reproduce and augment conflicts in the Asia Pacific, with Korea as the clash point between continental and oceanic powers. The wounds from the war have not healed, and this unending war continues to create yet more suffering.
We, the participants of the Peace Tour, as scholars, artists, and activists based overseas and in Korea, seek deeper historical knowledge and understanding so that through our actions we may contribute to justice and peace in Korea and in the region. For four days from June 28th to July 1st, we visited sites that reverberate with stories of death and suffering from state violence, war-making, and the unending Korean War.
We started our journey at the former site of the National Security Planning Agency in Namsan, recalling the history of that site as the original seat of Japanese colonial power to more recent times when dictatorships tried to suppress the democracy movement through torture and intimidation.
We travelled along the DMZ that cuts across the Korean peninsula and through our consciousness. We visited Daechuri, Pyeongtaek, where from a greatly expanding U.S. military base American forces can be deployed to conflicts in other regions. We went to Nogunri, where U.S. troops killed hundreds of civilians during the Korean War. These experiences prompted us to reflect on not just the past and present of the Korean War, but also the past and present of the U.S.-ROK alliance.
In Geochang and Jeju Island, we visited the sites of extreme state violence not just in wartime, but also in the years leading up to and after the Korean War; and in Gwangju, we saw that similar violence was repeated under the Armistice system. Witnessing the construction of a new naval base in Gangjeong, we were reminded of how the state of war between North Korea and the U.S., and between the two Koreas, provides justification for future conflicts, with islands in the Asia Pacific, including Jeju, serving not as bridges of cooperation, but as frontline bases.
This Peace Tour confirmed for us that the Armistice system does not guarantee peace and stability. Bilateral and multilateral dialogues to end the Korean War and establish a peace regime have been cut off, thus perpetuating a vicious cycle with the U.S. flexing its nuclear might and buttressing its missile defense, and Pyongyang further developing its nuclear weapons program.
On this Peace Tour we have come to understand how the continuation of war perpetuates the pain and enmity that deeply affect all in Korea and the Asia Pacific. The long armistice without a peace treaty has exacted a heavy toll on life and resources and has compromised human security. It is not only Koreans but also everyone residing in the Asia Pacific who has suffered from war preparations, intermittent clashes, and belligerent politics.
Now we must replace politico-military hostilities and the arms race with enduring peace. The Korean peninsula should no longer be a point of conflict and dispute, but a place for cooperation in which all residents in Korea and the Asia Pacific work together to realize a vision of peaceful coexistence. Let us make the year 2013, the 60th year of the Armistice, a year of progress by formally ending the Korean War with the signing of a peace treaty.
We, the participants of the Peace Tour, therefore make the following resolutions:
1. We will continue to reflect on the suffering and pain afflicted on people by this unending war. We will remember their voices and bear witness to their experiences;
2. We will seek ways to contribute to breaking down the walls of division and ending the enmity that are replicated in military confrontations, in social relations, and across public and private discourse;
3. We will pursue dialogue and solidarity to promote peace and cooperation in the Korean peninsula and the Asia Pacific.
To the residents and governments in the Asia Pacific:
1. We call upon the governments of the two Koreas, the United States, and China to immediately start a dialogue to ease the tension in the Korean Peninsula.
2. We call upon concerned governments to work toward signing a peace treaty, removing threats of war and nuclear weapons from the Korean peninsula and the Asia Pacific, and building a lasting peace.
3. We appeal to the residents of Korea and the Asia Pacific to rise above distrust and enmity, engage in exchanges, and build cooperation and solidarity in order to realize peaceful coexistence.
July 1, 2013
Peace Tour Participants
<PEACE TOUR: Making the 60th Anniversary of the Korean War Armistice>
Date : 28th June – 1st July 2013
28th June – Namsan former KCIA site /Enemies’ Cemetery /Observation Deck/Story Range
29th June – Pyongtaek Peace Center & Daechu-ri /Nogun-ri Massacre Site /Nogun-ri Peace Park
3oth June – Geochang Massacre Site /Gwangju Democratization Movement Site(Mangweol-dong)
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