PSPD in English Peace/Disarmament 2024-04-22   1487

2024 GDAMS : Military spending threaten everyone! Disarmament now for humans and the planet!

April 22, 2024 GDAMS Campaign photo by GDAMS campaign team

Amidst the clouds of war that have engulfed the world, militarism, which advocates “peace through strength,” is on the rise. The war that broke out with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been three years with no sign of a ceasefire. According to the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine (HRMMU), there have been at least 30,457 civilian casualties over the past two years, 1,885 of which are children. As the war has become more protracted and entrenched, the pain of the people in the war is growing. Israel’s genocide against Palestinians, which intensified last October, is even more devastating. Israel’s indiscriminate bombardment on Gaza has left 33,899 dead and 76,664 injured (as of April 17). Of these, 70% are women and children. Countless people are suffering from war and armed conflict. This tragedy must not continue or escalate any longer.

These wars which were waged by humans not only cause human suffering but impose devastating effects on all existences on the earth, accelerating the climate crisis. According to a report by the Initiative on GHG Accounting of War, the Russian-Ukrainian war generated 150 million tons of greenhouse gases in the roughly 18 months from the end of February 2022, when it broke out, to the end of August 2023. That’s more greenhouse gas emissions than that of Belgium in an entire year, and when its cost is counted, it is $9.6 billion. In the roughly 60 days since October 7th of last year, when the Israeli-Hamas armed conflict escalated, 281,315 tons of greenhouse gases were emitted – more than the annual emissions of 20 countries. The greenhouse gas emissions from the destruction of buildings and industrial facilities, fires caused by the war are also significant, and the resulting environmental pollution cannot be ignored. The massive greenhouse gas emissions would not have occurred if the war had not been started.

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) released today the Trends in World Military Expenditure 2023. According to the trends, the world spent $2.43 trillion on military expenditures last year, a 6.8% increase from the previous year. This translates to KRW 6.4 billion spent every minute and KRW 100 million spent every second. South Korea ranks 11th in the world in military spending, spent 2.8% of its gross domestic product (GDP), the fifth highest after Ukraine, Saudi Arabia, Russia, and the U.S. While the world is preoccupied with military buildup and increased militarism, it does nothing to prevent wars or resolve conflicts. Instead, it only accelerates the vicious cycle of mutual threats, arms races, military operations and armed conflicts.

The situation on the Korean Peninsula is no different. The government of Yoon Seok-yul, which has emphasized “peace through strength,” has declared the DPRK as its “main enemy” and is moving toward an escalating military confrontation. All channels of dialogue between South and North Korea, including those between the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea(DPRK) and the United States(U.S.), have been cut off, and even the inter-Korean military agreement has been suspended. A large-scale ROK-U.S. combined military exercise and outdoor manoeuvres, including landing operation training, have resumed, and U.S. nuclear strategic assets are deployed on the Korean Peninsula at all times. The DPRK has also labelled the ROK as its “primary antagonist” and “unchanging enemy,” emphasizing the need to cut off and prepare for war. This uncompromising confrontation between the two Koreas is endlessly escalating the crisis. The reality we face now is such a dangerous situation that it would not be surprising if war broke out at any moment.

In 2024, the ROK’s defense budget is KRW 59.24 trillion, a 4.2% increase from the previous year, with KRW 17.6 trillion for defense improvements for weapons acquisition. The ROK’s defense budget is 1.6 times the DPRK gross domestic product (GDP). In the name of counting the DPRK’s nuclear and missile threats, the ROK is investing vast amounts of money in the South Korean ‘Three-Axis System’, including securing preemptive strike capabilities such as Kill Chain. It is engaged in aggressive military strategies and military buildup plans, such as the early qualification of the ‘South Korean Iron Dome’, the introduction of additional F-35A stealth fighter jets, the acquisition of independent surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities, the construction of AI-based unmanned and robotic combat systems, and the strengthening of the ROK-US. Extended Deterrence. According to the ROK’s <2024-2028 Defense Midterm Plan>, the government plans to invest 348.7 trillion won in the defense budget over the next five years. Meanwhile, the “two wars” pushed arms sales by defense companies to a record high last year, and one of the biggest profiteers of the “death business” was the ROK.

It’s time to prioritize our limited budgets and resources to address the climate crisis, reduce social inequality, and build peace, not military spending. The money the world has spent on war and war preparations is money that could have been used to save people and the planet. The ROK emits the thirteenth largest amount of greenhouse gases in the world but ranks 64th out of 67 in the Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI), which is the lowest of the low. Its budget for carbon neutrality for 2024 is only KRW 14.5181 trillion. According to the 2024 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Progress Report, the ROK has the least renewable energy costs and the lowest biodiversity index among OECD countries. It also ranks lowest in gender equality indicators.

The average temperature in the world has been observed to have exceeded 1.5℃. This year, the second hand of the “doomsday clock” is at “90 seconds to midnight”, meaning the fall of the world, which is very anxious. If we don’t act now, we will face ‘irreversible risks’ – real crises that threaten our lives and daily routines are the inescapable reality we face. We need to reprioritize the use of our budgets and resources towards ‘human security’, not ‘military security’, towards the coexistence of all life, not war and destruction.

On the Global Days of Action on Disarmament in 2024, we demand.

Let’s make every diplomatic effort to achieve an “immediate ceasefire” in Ukraine and Gaza.

Let’s cease all military actions and hostilities that threaten each other on the Korean Peninsula and restore channels of communication for crisis management. Both South and North Korea should return to the spirit of the September 19 inter-Korean Military Agreement and cease all military actions and threats that could lead to an accidental conflict, and establish minimum channels of dialogue to prevent armed conflict.

Let’s stop the arms race and military operation, and make peace through dialogue, cooperation, and peaceful means. Let’s work to improve relations through phased disarmament and resumption of dialogue, not through more weapons and military exercises.

Let’s stop arms exports to conflict countries to stop wars. Especially stop military cooperation and arms trade with Israel, which is committing genocide.

Let’s use our limited resources, human resources, and technology to solve problems that threaten lives and everyday lives, not to prepare for war. Let’s dramatically cut military spending to address social inequality, prevent disasters, build social safety nets, and address the climate crisis.

April 22, 2024
2024 Global Days of Action on Disarmament Campaign in South Korea

BDS Korea
Catholic Extinction Rebellion
Civilian Military Watch
Climate Christian Solidarity
Daejeon Women’s Association for Peace
End Ecocide Korea
Energy Justice Actions
Geumjunggul Humanright & Peace Foundation
Green Korea United
Green Party Korea
Jeju Peace Human Rights Institute WHAT
Jesuit Research Center for Advocacy and Solidarity
Korea Association of Christian Women for Women Minjung(Gidok-Yominhoe)
Korea Youth Corps
Korea-Vietnam Peace Foundation
Korean House for International Solidarity
National Council of Churches in Korea
Pax Christi Korea (PCK)
Peace Ground
Peace Network
People’s Solidarity Participatory Democracy(PSPD)
Pyeongtaek Peace Center
The Korean Council for Justice and Remembrance for the Issues of Military Sexual Slavery by Japan
Women Making Peace
World Without War

Translation : PEACEMOMO

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