Crisis - Open Forum > Next Story

 Stop War Planning and Start Peace Talks
 Forum of the June, Green Korea United, et al, Korea
 August 1, 2003

For the past five decades, the horrors of war have constantly dominated Korea, instilling mistrust, hatred and confrontation in the people living in North or South Korea alike. This quasi war-state has also frustrated the efforts they have made to develop a peaceful Korea and a peaceful world. The era of confrontation must end now. As we mark the 50th anniversary of the armistice of the Korean War, we invite you to proclaim with us a Jubilee of Peace, a year marking the start of a new epoch of peace and reconciliation, coexistence and prosperity in Northeast Asia. The peoples of Korea and the world demand that the armistice be replaced with a peace treaty as a way to end the current confrontation and build a cooperative relationship.

The peoples' wishes notwithstanding, the danger of war looms large over the Korean Peninsula at the moment. The conflict is between the US administrationís demand for the unconditional dismantling of North Korea's nuclear program and the North Korean government's refusal to do this without a security guarantee. Attempts to resolve this issue by threats and sanctions have only escalated the tension, leading to the de facto annulment of the 1994 Geneva agreement that had sustained the hope for a peaceful settlement of the nuclear issue. This year the tension between the two sides has ascended to an unprecedented level, making war a real possibility.

Military means cannot be a solution to the current dispute. The nuclear and security issues between North Korea and the US should and can be resolved by peaceful means. The forthcoming six-nation talks on the issue, once deemed impossible by many, can be a starting point for a new direction. We NGOs and peace groups in South Korea and around the world make the following appeals to everyone who denounces war as a way to peace:

-The dispute between the US and North Korean governments must be resolved only by peaceful means. For this the US, North Korea and all other parties involved in the forthcoming multilateral talk should engage in a dialogue with a genuine commitment to peace. Threats of containment or the use of force should be excluded from the negotiating table, as such threats have only obstructed meaningful talks in the past.

-We oppose the development, deployment or use of nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula. On the basis of this non-nuclear principle, we oppose North Korea's nuclear weapons programs as well as the US deployment and use of nuclear weapons on the Korean peninsula. The denuclearization agreement of the two Koreas must be respected by all states, and the US must clearly renounce its nuclear first-strike policy.

-The current crisis should be resolved by a package deal where the U.S. provides for a security guarantee and the lifting of economic sanctions on North Korea in return for the North's freeze of all nuclear weapons programs. South Korea and neighbouring countries need to support and guarantee the commitments made in the package deal while North Korea is required to conduct earnest dialogues with her neighbours. Only by replacing the armistice with a peace treaty can the sources of the continued military confrontation as well as the sources of future conflict be removed once and for all.

-We believe that any policy regarding the Korean future must take into consideration the Korean people's views and hopes. It should be clearly noted that Koreans desire not war but reconciliation, cooperation, peace building and reunification between the two Koreas. We welcome the proposed six-party talk, hoping it will be a diplomatic success jointly achieved by the governments of North Korea, the US, China and others. Such a framework should serve as a way to resolve the prolonged conflict by fulfilling the peace wishes of the Koreans.

A deadly arms race is on the horizon in Northeast Asia. The US has adopted a nuclear first-strike posture, is promoting high-tech weapons systems and is increasing its military presence in the region. Using the North Korean crisis as a justification, Japan is bolstering its military capability while dismantling legal constraints on its military activities. China and South Korea continue with their military modernization programs. This trend should be stopped now. Otherwise it will soon create an insane arms race that will doom the prospect of peace in the region and the world. We urge the governments in the region to realize the danger of this trend and to start immediately working together towards security cooperation and disarmament.

Recognising the tremendous positive effect that the peace-loving peoples of the world have made in preventing war, we are determined to continue to cooperate with them to bring about a peaceful resolution to the current crisis not only as a way to bring peace to the Korean peninsula but also as a way to contribute to building a peaceful world. We appeal to everyone to work together for a world where peace and co-prosperity prevail over the threats of war.

Forum of the June
Green Korea United
Korean Federation of Environmental Movement
Korean Federation of Trade Union
Korea Progressive Academy Council
Korean Professors Union
Korean Women's Associations United
National Council for Peace on the Korean Peninsula
Peoples Solidarity for Participatory Democracy
Solidarity for Peace and Reunification of Korea
Women Making Peace

This appeal is being circulated by the Peace and Economic Security Program at the American Friends Service Committee.