PSPD in English Newsletter 2023-11-30   230

This Month at PSPD, November 2023

206,629 Signatures Delivered!

In the United States, the Korea Peace Appeal Campaign has entered the final phase of its three-year-long journey, which began in 2020. Globally, 206,629 people have signed the Korea Peace Appeal since its inception. The campaign delegation arrived in the United States to deliver the signatures to the 78th UN General Assembly. Here are the main campaign activities in the United States.

Action 1: The echoes of peace resonate in New York and Washington D.C.

During their visit to the United States, people gathered for a peace rally and march at Dag Hjalmar Plaza near the UN headquarters in New York and Lafayette Plaza near the White House in Washington D.C. Koreans, Americans, Chinese, Japanese, and individuals from other nationalities all united in shouting, “Arms down! Peace, Now!”

Action 2: Deliver the voices of about 200,000 people who want peace for the Korean Peninsula.

The delegation delivered the signatures to the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Korea and the UN Secretariat. They also met with the Permanent Missions of Sweden and Switzerland, which are members of the Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission (NNSC). In addition, various meetings and workshops were held with Korean Americans and civil society groups.

Action 3: Deliver the voices of peace for the Korean Peninsula to the U.S. government and Congress.

The aforementioned signatures were also delivered to the U.S. State Department. We urge the U.S. government to abandon the “peace through strength” approach and cease the military pressure; it is time for the U.S. to actively work toward preventing military conflict and nurturing the groundwork for talks. Conversations have taken place with the U.S. Congress to emphasize its role in promoting peace on the Korean Peninsula and to encourage those who have not participated in the H.R.1369 Peace on the Korean Peninsula Act to join the effort.

The Korea Peace Appeal Campaign, through its various activities and efforts, has contributed to raising awareness of the issues and conflicts on the Korean Peninsula. It has emphasized that the true solution lies in a peace treaty. Now that the three-year race is over, our mission will continue. We express our deepest gratitude to our members who participated in the signatures, peace rallies, and meetings.

We have filed a complaint against President Yoon Suk-yeol.

The PSPD and MINBYUN-Lawyers for a Democratic Society have jointly filed a complaint against President Yoon and five others, including National Security Adviser Cho Tae-yong, and former Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup, over suspicions of exerting pressure on an investigation into the death of a young marine. President Yoon is suspected of interfering in the investigation.

The former marine investigation chief testified that he received reprimands from President Yoon through the Marine commander. According to his testimony, President Yoon became angry and asked, ‘Who would be the division chief in Korea if he gets in trouble over such a matter’ after receiving a report that Chief Im Sung-keun and eight others had been transferred to the police on charges of occupational negligence. President Yoon’s alleged remark and order would be an illegal use of authority. Therefore, it is important to check the records of the presidential office meetings.

Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup allegedly convened an emergency meeting and changed his investigative results over a day after the President’s reprimand. Then, he is alleged to have ordered the Marine investigation team not to identify anyone specifically and to withhold any transfer to the police. To find out what conversations and orders were exchanged between the President and the Minister of Defense, it is necessary to investigate the Minister of Defense and the Vice Minister, the Office of Legal Affairs, and the Commandant of the Marine Corps.

Will rallies be an eyesore for President Yoon?

At the Cabinet meeting (10/10), the Enforcement Decree Amendment to the Assembly and Demonstration Act, which includes Itaewon-ro in front of the presidential office, was approved. This will allow the police to ban rallies near the presidential office under the pretext of “smooth traffic. President Yoon has once again proved himself wrong when he said that he would listen to the people. Moreover, it is outrageous that they used an executive order against the constitutional right of people to assemble. Please join us!

Is the arms industry not responsible for Israel’s bombing of Gaza and the resulting loss of life?

As the armed conflict between Israel and Hamas continues, the death toll of innocent civilians continues to rise. At the same time, South Korea was hosting Asia’s largest defense industry exhibition, ADEX (Seoul Defense Industry Exhibition). The network of peace organizations opposing ADEX, known as ‘ADEX Resistance Action’, criticizes the South Korean government for exhibiting deadly weapons that are killing innocent people even now as if they were part of the “export industry like home appliances or automobiles. They have engaged in various resistance actions, including sending petitions calling for the suspension of ADEX, protesting the VIP welcome dinner, staging surprise demonstrations at the arms exhibition, and organizing an exhibition on the truth of the arms trade.

Demand Public Aduit for Special Bogeumjari Loan Disaster.

Special Bogeumjari Loan is a policy loan designed for low-income individuals and housing demand. However, the majority of the beneficiaries by August turned out to be in the middle and upper-income brackets. In addition, commercial banks introduced 50-year long-term mortgage loans in an attempt to circumvent government loan regulations. Although the conditions were initially “34 years or younger” or “newly married”, some elderly people managed to secure loans by exploiting the “newly married” criterion. Household debt, which had been declining slightly, eventually increased again. Together with financial consumer organizations, we called for a public interest audit of the Financial Services Commission, the Financial Supervisory Service, and the Housing Finance Corporation for their illegal and unfair business practices that led to policy failures.

Translated by a PSPD Volunteer

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