As Tensions Explode on Korean Peninsula, US Peace Delegation Calls for Immediate Response to North Korea’s Offer to Freeze Its Nuclear Program

For IMMEDIATE Release: July 31, 2017

Contact: Ramsay Liem, 617-777-5672 no-thaad@mail.com

The Solidarity Peace Delegation, concluding their July 23-28 visit to South Korea, calls for immediate US-South Korean action to de-escalate growing military tensions on the Korean Peninsula. The delegation was composed of Medea Benjamin of CODEPINK, Reece Chenault of US Labor Against the War, Will Griffin of Veterans for Peace, and recent Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein. It was sponsored by The Channing and Popai Liem Education Foundation and the Task Force to Stop THAAD in Korea and Militarism in Asia (STIK).

The delegation issued the following statement:

The Korean Peninsula is rapidly approaching the boiling point. On the last day of our visit, July 28, North Korea conducted a missile test, and the US-South Korean governments launched another set of warning missiles. South Korean President Moon announced he would allow the United States to deploy  four additional launchers to complete the controversial THAAD anti-missile system unit, reversing his previous position. In light of these escalations and the likelihood of more aggressive measures, urgent actions are needed in order to de-escalate tensions.

North Korea has repeatedly offered to suspend its nuclear weapons development in exchange for a freeze in US-South Korean joint war exercises. It’s time for the US and South Korea to respond to this offer as a jumping off point for definitive negotiations towards a peaceful, sovereign, nuclear-free Korean peninsula, free from the conflicts of competing global powers that have been so harmful to the region.

North and South Korea have lived in a perpetual wartime mobilization for decades, with the presence in the South of 83 US bases and nearly 30,000 US troops. Provocations are being made with increasing frequency by both North Korea and the United States. Each time North Korea conducts an additional nuclear or missile test, the potential severity of hostilities escalates, and the more difficult it becomes to defuse tensions and avert the outbreak of conflict on the Peninsula.

Given the proximity of North Korea to Seoul, a metropolitan area of 25 million people, any outbreak of hostilities would be devastating. In a North Korean attack with conventional weapons, it’s estimated that 64,000 South Koreans would be killed in the first day alone. Even a limited exchange using nuclear weapons risks causing “nuclear winter”, a disruption of the climate due to the reduction of sunlight from airborne dust and debris. This, in turn, could drastically reduce global agricultural production, leading to worldwide famine and hundreds of millions of deaths.

Since Seoul would be caught in the crossfire of any hostilities, it is essential that the conflict be handled through diplomacy. The sooner diplomatic action is launched, the more likely it will succeed.

Therefore, we call for immediate diplomatic action to reduce threats that push North Korea towards the development of nuclear weapons. Foremost among these threats are the US-South Korean joint war exercises against North Korea, which include dropping mock nuclear bombs on North Korea. In addition, the United States has long held a “ nuclear first strike” policy towards North Korea. This frightening threat of a pre-emptive US nuclear attack gives North Korea good reason to want a nuclear arsenal as the sole means for deterring such an attack.  

Fortunately, tensions can be defused through actions that are diplomatic, strategic, just and long overdue.  Specifically, the Peace Delegation calls for the following actions:      

  • Declare an end to the unethical and hyper-aggressive, nuclear first strike position held by the US towards North Korea.  

  • Declare an immediate moratorium on US-South Korean war games, including the dropping of mock nuclear bombs on North Korea. This would be a first step towards a formal agreement ending US-South Korean war games in exchange for North Korea freezing its weapons and nuclear program. The US and government should respond to North Korea’s long-standing offer by inviting North Korea to begin serious negotiations for such an agreement now.  

  • Withdraw THAAD, the misnamed missile “defense” system recently installed by the US in Seongju, South Korea despite vigorous and ongoing protests by local residents. THAAD is not actually capable of defending against incoming missiles under real world conditions with multiple missiles and decoys. Its powerful radar system is widely believed to have been deployed for the purpose of spying on China, provoking dangerous tensions in the region.

  • Begin negotiating a peace treaty to finally bring closure to the Korean War. The Korean War, in which nearly 20% of North Korea’s population was killed, has never been formally ended with a peace treaty.

  • The South Korean government should lift travel bans on peace activists, like the ban that prevented our Korean-American trip leader Juyeon Rhee from accompanying our tour.

Delegates also call for more peace delegations so that the US peace movement can build stronger solidarity with their counterparts in the South, and learn firsthand about the negative consequences of U.S. military bases on Korean soil.

In the coming weeks, the coalition will help launch a campaign to mobilize citizen pressure for a peaceful resolution of the volatile conflict on the Korean peninsula.

Delegation contact information:

Jill Stein, Green Party 2016 presidential candidate, 323-447-2702, press@jill2016.com    ,

Reece Chenault, US Labor Against War, 504-383-4746, reece.chenault@uslaboragainstwar.org

Medea Benjamin, CODEPINK, 415-235-6517, medea@codepink.org

Will Griffin, Veterans for Peace, 912-441-8665, williambgriffin@gmail.com

Comments

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.
  • commented 2017-08-14 08:06:39 -0400
    KUDOSCONGRATULATIONS — The Solidarity Peace Delegation (SPD) has created the protocol for defusing all future conflicts!
    The SPD efforts are exactly what is needed on a grand scale to lead to world peace! I believe the key to the success of the delegation is at the end of the article – a “campaign to mobilize citizen pressure” – a PEOPLE MOVEMENT. What if there was an “army of nonviolent soldiers” to back it up? There is an army of nonviolent soldiers — the women of the world and the Women’s March on Washington “set the stage!” Medea Benjamin and Jill Stein can bring them to the fore.
    The delegation that went to North Korea has the tools at their fingertips for the next attempt, to create the largest movement the world has ever seen.
    The North Korean crisis has proven that people of the world do not want violence and war. Gandhi and King would begin a Global Movement of Nonviolence, For the Children (GMofNV). The children and nonviolence are the uniting elements that will enlist the masses.
    It is time to reach out to the masses, to “Reach into Every Household,” to promote nonviolence. The mechanisms are in place and a catalyst to begin the movement is prepared. Medea Benjamin and Jill Stein can bring together the women that crossed the DMZ, all the women NOBEL PEACE LAUREATES (and men peace laureates), the women leaders from the 2007 Women’s Global Summit, and the leaders of the Women’s March on Washington to set a GMofNV in motion!
    It is time to enlist WOMEN everywhere.
    The NEXT STEP is for women leaders to issue a CALL to WOMEN, a World-wide Unity Campaign to ask women to rise-up and unite as the peacemakers! There is an initiative that CODEPINK began a long time ago that must be rejuvenated and promoted. It is called WOMEN SAY NO TO WAR. HERE IS THE STRENGTH!
    A GMofNV is not just for women, but it is women that must take the lead to set an example and a precedent. Once it begins, everyone will join!
    What the people will be saying is we don’t want war and violence! Here is an example of a new PROCLAMATION: With respect, we, the women of the world, together with men, are proclaiming that we will not allow war in the world and we will intervene with every NONVIOLENT means possible to prevent or stop war and violence! We do this “For the Children.

    The key is to do it everywhere. A plan is prepared and steps are underway to set a GMofNV in motion. The last step needed is the leadership. Please contact me to strategize finalizing the last step.
    The Solidarity Peace Delegation was a superior effort, brilliant idea, but lacks backing and strength of a people movement – there was no clout! The time to create the clout is here to pave the way for the next delegations and when they don’t work, the masses of women, and men, will implement Gandhi tactics of nonviolent direct action everywhere in a coordinated effort.
    The SPD should have been reported in every news media outlet – IT SHOULD HAVE GONE VIRAL! The next time it will. A GMofNV and a CALL to WOMEN are the plans for a new global peace movement, led by women! Steps are planned for the peace movement to dominate the news! The goal of a GMofNV is to have a delegation presenting the requests and goals – as did the Solidarity Peace Delegation, not just when there is a crisis, but as the strategy to do it proactively.
    Why will it work, because the people of the world will be advocating “world peace” which will entice people everywhere to participate.
    In conclusion, the movement will not happen without women leaders. Medea Benjamin and Jill Stein are the personification of leadership calling for an end to the hostilities. When they enlist leaders, all types of elements will occur. There were benefactors that sponsored the SPD. If the women leaders unite and take the concept to the next level and enlist women everywhere, the wealthy everywhere will contribute! Now it is time to put power behind the women!
    SPD has created a new opportunity – the people in every country – especially where there has been conflict, could rise up and unite to support their own delegations to their own government– to once and for all, RENOUNCE WAR, show respect for the other, and begin working together for a commonality, beginning with the children! The key will be to develop a “campaign to mobilize citizen pressure,” as mentioned in the article, that has enormous clout.
    The people can create a World Beyond War! People can create a way to illustrate love via a Charter for Compassion, the governments can all contribute via a Global Marshall Plan, and save the environment via a Global Climate Convergence – ALL by promoting a GMofNV.
    Mary Robinson said we NEED “momentum from people around the world to say we want action now, we want to change course, we want a safe world for future generations, a safe world for our children and our grandchildren, and we’re all in this together.”
    Jill Stein, Presidential Candidate of the Green Party said, “The challenge of our era is to bring our movements together so we’re working with a common agenda and to some extent a common strategy.”
    Oprah Winfrey Quote in People Magazine “What I’m looking for is some kind of leadership to come out of this to say, ‘This is what we want. This is what has to change, and these are the steps
    that we need to take to make these changes, and this is what we’re willing to do to get it.’ ”
    Declaration: We come in peace, we offer the olive branch, we are not a threat, we are all part of the family of the human race, we are not enemies, we have common bonds, we apologize for our misdeeds, we need to heal the wounds, we can work together, and we need to start a GLOBAL ACTION to “break down borders.”

    Peace and Love,
    Andre

    Andre Sheldon
    Director, Global Strategy of Nonviolence, For the Children
    Facilitator, CALL to WOMEN, a World-Wide Unity Campaign
    Cell number: +1-617-413-9064, Home number: +1-617- 964-5267
    Email: Andre (at) GlobalStrategyofNonviolence.org
    Rose Lord Email: Facilitator (at) GlobalStrategyofNonviolence.org
    Website: www.GlobalStrategyofNonviolence.org
    Facebook: Global Movement of Nonviolence