PSPD in English Archive 2002-08-24   61757

Statement Announced by Korean NGOs 1

War on the Korean Peninsula Absolutely Must be Prevented!

The U.S., having achieved a one-sided victory in the war in Afghanistan following the September 11 event, has effectively declared 2002 as the “year of war.” As if intoxicated by war, it has gone on to name North Korea, Iraq and Iran as an “axis of evil” and even to imply the concrete possibility of military attack against Iraq. Now the sole remaining world superpower, the U.S. is throwing around an oppressive and weighty policy of hegemony thereby emerging as the major threat to world peace.

This threat by the U.S. is directly influencing the Korean peninsula. President Bush has made it clear without a word of consultation with the Korean Government that the U.S. can start a war on the Korean peninsula. We who live on the Korean peninsula feel a combination of shock due to this affront and extreme anger over the arrogant and unjust attitude of the Bush Administration.

One day before U.S. President George Bush’s visit to Korea, we solemnly declare–in the name of regional and world peace–that there must not be another war on the Korean peninsula under any circumstances.. Therefore, we sincerely make the following appeal to U.S. President Bush, the political leaders of North Korea and South Korea, the 70 million Korean people and all people around the world who want peace.

1. Does the US Intend to Start War on the Korean Peninsula?

In his New Year’s address on January 29, 2002, President Bush called Iran, Iraq and North Korea an “axis of evil.” He declared that “the U.S. will not allow the most dangerous countries in the world to threaten us with the most dangerous weapons in the world,” and “will not wait until the danger approaches.” Such a strong speech by President Bush implying the possibility of preemptive military action by the U.S. is shocking.

We know that North Korea has frozen its nuclear program as laid out in the 1994 “North Korea-U.S. Agreed Framework (Geneva Agreement)” and has suspended its missile launches since 1999 for the sake of negotiations with the U.S. We are also aware that there is no evidence that North Korea has participated in any terrorist activity since 1987, and we know they subscribe to the International Anti-Terrorism Conventions. Even the U.S. Ambassador to Korea, Thomas Hubbard, recently admitted, “there is no evidence that North Korea supports terrorism.” This means that the U.S. threat to attack North Korea cannot be justified even based on its own standards of “the War against Terror.”

The European Union — an ally of the U.S.– and most other countries of the world including China and Russia, as well as international civic orgaanizations, have expressed concern over the possibility of war arising due to unilateral U.S. military action. They have warned that world problems including terrorism cannot be solved through war. The claims of President Bush and his administration are simply based on poor reasoning.

We therefore declare that the U.S. has no justification for expanding the war against terrorism to the Korean peninsula, and we urge the Bush Administration to change its Korea policy in the direction of peace.

2. The United States Must Immediately Stop Its Ultra Hard-line Policy of Bringing War to the Korean Peninsula and Faithfully Fulfill Its Agreements with North Korea!

The U.S. and North Korea have agreed upon the North’s freeze of nuclear development and cessation of missile launches, improvement of North Korea-U.S. relations, easing of sanctions, and continued dialogues for these purposes. This has been set out in the North Korea-U.S. Agreed Framework of 1994 and the North Korea-U.S. Joint Communiqu of October 12, 2000. Up to the present, there has been no evidence that North Korea has fallen back on such agreements, and the U.S. cannot deny this reality. On the other hand, the evidence is clear that the U.S. has breached the agreements by not carrying through on its promise to lift economic sanctions against North Korea.

Nevertheless, U.S. President Bush has set up new conditions for renewed dialogue, such as the removal of conventional weapons from the front lines and a ban on missile exports, bringing one-way pressure to bear on North Korea. Demanding only that North Korea yield, without presenting North Korea-U.S. or North-South armament reduction plans, as far as North Korea is concerned is demanding that the North “surrender unconditionally.” This is one-sided tyranny that goes against the spirit of the North Korea-U.S. Agreed Framework and the October 12 North Korea-U.S. Joint Communiqu , which promised improvement of relations through dialogue.

This is fundamentally a dangerous policy that will forestall peace on the Korean peninsula and drive our people toward a war of mass slaughter and destruction. It is a policy that disregards the responsibility of a powerful nation to play a leading role in guarding international agreements and accords.

The Korean people, having personally experienced the horrible tragedy of the Korean War 50 years ago, and most recently having witnessed the disastrous war in Afghanistan, by no means want another war, which would bring about the extinction of the Korean people as a whole, North and South.

Thus, we strongly urge President Bush and the U.S. Government to alter their obstinate, ultra hard-line North Korea policy. Such policy only elevates the possibility of war on the Korean peninsula. The U.S. must return to the spirit of the North Korea-U.S. Agreed Framework and the October 12 North Korea-U.S. Joint Communiqu concluded by the Clinton Administration. It must move in favor of peace and an end to the cold war and thoroughly fulfill the agreements made with North Korea.

3. The U.S. Must Stop Its Unjust Intervention in the Implementation of the June 15 Joint Accord and Must Support and Cooperate with the Efforts of North Korea and South Korea to Establish a Peaceful Structure and a Foundation for Reunification on the Korean Peninsula!

The Korean Peninsula of the 21st century is taking hopeful steps toward peace and reunification, breaking the chains of division forced upon it by the powerful nations of the 20th century. Through the first North-South Summit, following 55 years of division, and the June 15 Joint Accord, the two Koreas have solemnly declared to all Koreans and to the world a determination to heal their previously hostile relations and open a new chapter in history for reconciliation, cooperation, peace and reunification.

We hear that during his visit to Korea, President Bush intends to demand that President Kim Dae Jung purchase U.S. weapons, including F-15K fighters for a sum of billions of dollars. In addition, the U.S. persists in trying to include South Korea in its MD system, based on its perception of the “North Korean threat.” This policy is stirring up tension and confrontation between South and North, which increases the danger of war, damages the spirit and the fruits of the June 15 Joint Accord, and fundamentally threatens peace in Northeast Asia and the world in the 21st century.

We cannot but question the logic and grounds of the idea of demanding that North Korea–with annual war expenditures of less than 1.5 billion dollars–reduce its conventional arms while pushing South Korea to purrchase billions of dollars worth of deadly weapons. Furthermore, the plan by the most powerful nation in the world, with a military budget of 380 billion dollars, to use hundreds of billions of dollars to establish a missile defense system against North Korea, which spends less than 1.5 billion dollars on the military, is seen as absurd even by the world’s youngest citizens, the children.

All this occurs when so many Koreans are suffering due to the trampling of our economic sovereignty and the threat to our people’s right of survival caused by the U.S.A.’s neo-liberalist globalization policy. The accumulated unresolved issues facing Korea and the U.S. including dealing with the Nogun-ri massacre of innocent people, the Yongsan U.S. base issue, and the enforcement of the R.O.K.-U.S. Investment Agreement -the latter unfavorable to Korea- all hang heavy in the balance. Impending U.S. pressure on the one hand and U.S. inaction on the other will lead to strong opposition by the Korean people.

President Bush and the U.S. Government must stop their unjust intervention in the Korean government process. Rather they must instead support and cooperate with the independent efforts of South Korea and North Korea as they head in the direction of peaceful reunification. This is the historical and ethical obligation of a nation that is responsible for the division of the Korean peninsula.

4. The Kim Dae Jung Administration Must Forcefully Represent the Korean People’s Strong Opposition to War and Their Determination to Act for Peace, and Government Officials of the South and the North Must Make Joint Efforts for War-Prevention and for Peace on the Korean Peninsula!

The Kim Dae Jung Administration must not ignore the gravity of the hard-line speech against North Korea by U.S. President Bush and his administration nor be swayed by empty claims that “there is no change in U.S. support of the Sunshine Policy and its will to dialogue with North Korea.” Such a stance would weaken the people’s will and capacity to deal with the crisis by misleading them and blinding them to reality.

At the summit, President Kim must firmly state his position to President Bush that there must never be another war on the Korean peninsula and that the WMD issue with North Korea must be solved through dialogue and negotiation within an international framework of discussion.

The Kim Dae Jung Administration must first make a no-war declaration stating that there must not be war on the Korean peninsula under any pretext. Second, the Korean Government must–together with civil organizations–immediately form a special structure to prevent war and organize national resources to prrevent such a disaster. Thirdly, it must call for an emergency meeting of North Korea and South Korea for the purpose of issuing of a joint no-war statement.

The North Korean authorities also must squarely face the change in the international order that has taken place since September 11. Given the dangerous situation on the Korean peninsula, they too must block the possibility of war. They must take a more active role in dialogue and cooperation to build a structure of trust between the South and the North so that Korea can proceed steadily along the path toward peace and reunification. They must bear in mind that, under the present circumstances, it is all the more essential for the North and the South to establish and carry out realistic and concrete plans based on the principle that “issues of the Korean peninsula must primarily be solved among our people.”

Furthermore, we urge all political leaders of the Republic of Korea to transcend factional interests and political views in order to gather the strength and wisdom of all Korean people and to take a leading and responsible role in preventing war and maintaining peace.

5. “No War! Make Peace!” “Fulfill the June 15 Joint Accord Now and Achieve Peaceful Reunification!”

Finally, we appeal to the 70 million Korean people, who stand at the crossroads between war and peace. We experienced shock and relief upon learning after the fact in 1994 that the Korean peninsula had been on the verge of war according to U.S. war strategists. Nevertheless, an “insensitivity to war” is still prevalent among some of our people. This must be rectified immediately. We cannot take the chance of the Korean peninsula’s being suddenly hit with the lightning bolt of war and the people of North and South dying by the masses after thinking, “There won’t be any war.”

The Korean people must stand as one. We must demonstrate to President Bush and the U.S. Government our strong will and determination to prevent any war on the Korean peninsula. President Bush and the U.S. must cooperate with the Korean people’s historical march toward peace and reunification. Bush and the United States cannot thwart a united Korean people.

There must not be another war in our precious land, the Korean peninsula. No one can be allowed to block the Korean people’s procession in history nor can anyone subvert our determination to contribute to world peace through the realization of peace and reunification on the Korean peninsula. We expect President Bush and the U.S. Government to accept our demands and to move toward a peace-oriented Korea policy. We truly hope that during this visit President Bush will understand the importance of peace on the Korean peninsula and learn how much the Korean people desire peace.

In conclusion, we solemnly pledge to all Koreans and to all the people of the world that we will move forward unwaveringly under the banner of peace, toward fulfillment of the June 15 Joint Accord, and to the achievement of peaceful reunification.

February 18, 2002

by 700 Persons in Korean Civil Society

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