We, undersigned peace-loving people around the world, are deeply concerned about the current escalating tension in Northeast Asia and urge governments to have peaceful dialogues among each other rather than taking military actions.
The state of affairs on the Korean Peninsula is more volatile than ever, now that President Park has been impeached and new government is to be constituted through an early presidential election in South Korea. The Trump administration, in the meantime, is fueling the escalating tension even further with messages that it will not rule out a preemptive strike on North Korea, and that it will redeploy strategic nuclear warheads to South Korea if necessary. The situation is further destabilized by the Trump administration’s decision to send an aircraft carrier to waters near the Korean Peninsula. The latest military stance and strategy of Washington, however, completely overlooks the desire of Koreans for peace. The Kim Jong-un government in Pyongyang meanwhile has warned of another upcoming nuclear test it intends to conduct, poised as it is to show off its growing nuclear capabilities. An existing crisis is already escalating in Northeast Asia over the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system that the South Korean and U.S. governments have decided to deploy in South Korea. All these acts of military bravado, taking hostage the lives and peace of Koreans, must cease now. It is time for policymakers to be responsible and return to dialogue and negotiations and stop fueling the growing tensions.
Therefore, we exhort the US administration and political leaders of North and South Korea.
Withdraw the decision to deploy the THAAD system, part of the U.S.-South Korea-Japan Missile Defense system, in South Korea.
The South Korean and U.S. governments have decided heavy-handedly, without the consent of the Korean legislatures and despite strong public objections, to deploy the THAAD system to Seongju, South Korea. The two governments claim that such a decision is necessary to protect South Koreans against possible nuclear strikes by North Korea, but the claim is backed by little realistic evidence. South Korea is too close to North Korea for THAAD to be effective. The North only needs low-altitude missiles, to hit and destroy the South in a matter of a few minutes, and these missiles could not be intercepted by THAAD. Moreover, the THAAD system has never been proven effective in actual battle. The deployment of THAAD by the U.S. Army in South Korea represents the South Korea-U.S.-Japan alliance against China and effectively symbolizes South Korea siding with the Americans over the Chinese. The presence of such an openly hostile missile defense system gravely disrupts the prospects for peace in Northeast Asia. Beijing and Moscow have already warned that they would take “corresponding measures” in response to the deployment, with the Chinese government and businesses now engaged in unofficial but retaliatory economic sanctions against South Korea. The growing instability and arms race in Northeast Asia will only undermine international efforts for a peaceful resolution of the nuclear crisis on the Korean peninsula.
What we need now is to resume dialogue towards denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and a genuine end to the Korean War.
Pyongyang must desist from further testing of its missiles and nuclear capabilities. We cannot support the development of weapons that directly contradict international efforts for nuclear disarmament and that hold the lives and safety of innocent people hostage. It is critical to resume dialogue and negotiations to root out the nuclear threats to the entire region and to achieve the much-needed transition from the Armistice’s ceasefire to a peace regime on the Korean Peninsula. In doing so, we ought to admit the failure of the past sanction- and neglect-centered policies that insisted, unrealistically, that the government in Pyongyang either renounce its nuclear program prior to negotiations or collapse. With the end of nuclear diplomacy, the Kim government did nothing but augment its nuclear and missile capabilities, complicating the situation still further. We realize that countless military drills and the acquisition of cutting-edge weapon systems no longer guarantee peace and security. The perpetual political tension and military hostility can end only through dialogue and negotiation. Honest talks hold the only wise solution to the current predicament.
The Korean Peninsula can no longer afford to exist as a powder keg waiting to be ignited by the chronic military tensions and the constant arms race. This is among the first and foremost place where international efforts to tackle the nuclear problem and overcome the old Cold War legacy should begin. We need to start making serious efforts for peace, not only for the two Koreas, but also for Northeast Asia and the world at large. We urge the Trump administration, the Kim government, and the presidential candidates in South Korea to listen to the desire of people worldwide for peace and resist the temptation to ratchet up military tensions on the Korean Peninsula for political gain.
Akiko Yoshizawa (The Association for military base free peaceful Okinawa in Japan, Co-chair), Akira Asada (Sinsyu University, Professor Emeritus), Alfred L. Marder (US Peace Council, President), Alice Slater (Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, New York Representative), Ann Wright (Veterans for Peace, Colonel), Arnie Saiki (Moana Nui Alliance, Coordinator), Ayumi Temlock (Member of New Jersey Peace Action), Bruce K. Gagnon (Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space, Coordinator), Bruce Kent (Pax Christi UK, Vice President), Changsoon Chang(Musician), Chiaki Lee (The citizens of Matsue in Japan), Christine Ahn (Women Cross DMZ, International Coordinator), Colin Archer (International Peace Bureau, Retired Secretary-General), Corazon Valdez Fabros (International Peace Bureau, Co-Vice President), Daisuke Yamaguchi (Peace Depot Japan, Researcher), David McReynolds (War Resisters International, Former Chair), David Otieno (The Global Campaign on Military Spending Africa, Convener), David Swanson (World Beyond War, Director), Dave Webb (Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, Chair), Dieter Deiseroth (IALANA Germany, Member of the Academic Council), Ellen-Rae Cachola (Women’s Voices Women Speak, Organizer), Harumi Ishino (Osaka International University, Professor Emeritus), Hiroki Tanaka (Blue Legion), Hiroko Suzuki (Montreal Save Article 9), Hiromichi Umebayashi (Peace Depot Inc, Special Advisor), Hitomi Taniguch (Anti-War Committee of Yawata), Ichiro Yuasa (Peace-Depot, Vice-President), IWAKAWA Yasuhisa (Interpreter/translator), Iwase Hiroko, J. Enkhsaikhan (Blue Banner, Chairman), Jacqueline Cabasso (Western States Legal Foundation, Executive Director), Janis Alton (Canadian Voice of Women for Peace, Co-Chair), Jim Albertini (Malu ‘Aina Center for Non-violent Education & Action), Julia Matsui Estrella (Pacific Asian Center for Theologies and Strategies(PACTS)), Juliane Drechsel-Grau (IALANA Germany, Board Member), Jun Tisaka (Japan Peace Committee, Secretary General), Kataoka Akira (Peace Committee of Kyoto, Chair of the board), Kawasaki Akira (Peace Boat, Executive Committee Member), Kazuhiro Furuoya, Kazuyuki Yamada (The Wind from Yonaguni Island), Kenji Ago (Seinan Gakuin University / Japanese and Korean Citizens’ Peace Solidarity against Nukes, Professor Emeritus), Kevin Zeese (Popular Resistance, Co-Director), Kip Goodwin (Kauai Alliance for Peace and Social Justice, Communications Director), Kitamura Megumi (Hiroshima religious peace council affiliation), Kiyoko Takahashi (Article9 Association group in Hadano/Peace Depot), Koji Sugihara (Network Against Japan Arms Trade, representative), Koohan Paik (International Forum on Globalization, Asia-Pacific Program Director), Kouitirou Toyosima, Kristine Karch (International Network No to War – No to NATO, Co-Chair), Kuni Nagatomo (Japanese Constitution Article９), Kyle Kajihiro (Hawai’i Peace and Justice, Board member), Leah Bolger (World Beyond War, Chair Coordinating Committee), Lucas Wirl (International Association of Lawyers against Nuclear Arms(IALANA) Germany, Executive Director), Lynette Cruz (Hui Aloha Aina o Ka Lei Maile Alii, President), Maki Sasaki, Makoto Yanagida (No-Nukes Plaza Tanpopo-sya, Co-Representative), Margaret Flowers (Popular Resistance, Co-Director), Masako Watanabe, Masami Ono (Retired Teachers), Meri Joyce (Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict, (GPPAC), Northeast Asia Regional Liaison Officer), Michael Pulham (Christian Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament), Michie Ichihara (Gallery of Life, President), Mitsumasa Ohta (Wind of Citizens toward Uniting for Peace), Monique Salhab (Veterans For Peace, Secretary, National Board of Directors), Muto, Ichiyo (People’s Plan Study Group), Nagase Riei (Board Member, Board Member), Nami Morita (KAFTI, Director), Naomi Klein (Author), Noam Chomsky (MIT, Retired Instituted Professor), Nomura Osami, Noriko Kuju (Peace-Life-Ignatio-A9), Otto Jaeckel (IALANA Germany, Chair), Patricia Pulham (Christian Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament), Pete Shimazaki Doktor (Hawai`i Okinawa Alliance, Co-Founder), Peter Becker (International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms (IALANA), Co-President), Phyllis Creighton (Hiroshima/Nagasaki Day Coalition, Board member), Reiner Braun (International Peace Bureau, Co-President), Ronald Fujiyoshi (Ohana Ho`opakele, Treasurer), Sachiko Mikami, Sato Daisuke (No Nukes Asia Forum Japan, General Secretary), Shigehiro Terajima (Labornet-TV), Shigeru Nakamura (Article9 Association group in Hadano), Shimazu Rumi (The One Thousand Against War Committee), Shin Chiba (International Christian University, Professor), Shizue Tomoda, Suda Minoru (Ritsumeikan University, Professor Emeritus), Sukla Sen (EKTA (Committee for Communal Amity), Activist), Sumi Hasegawa (McGill University, Retired Faculty), Taikei Kokubu (Shinshuu Ōtani-ha Ansenji Priesthood, Shinshuu Ōtani-ha), Takeda Takao (NIPPONZANMYOHOJI), Tarak Kauff (Veterans for Peace, Board of Directors), Taro Abe (Nagoya Gakuin University, Professor), Tutihashi Ryoko, Wataru Mikami, Will Griffin (The Peace Report), Wolfgang Alban (IALANA Germany, Board Member), Yasunari Fujimoto (Forum for Peace, Human Rights and Environment (Peace Forum), Co-President), Yasuo Takagi, Yayoi Tsuchida (Japan Council against A and H Bombs (Gensuikyo), Assistant General Secretary), Yoshinobu Toyoda, Yoshioka Tatsuya (Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict, Northeast Asia Regional Representative), Yoshiyuki Ishino (Anti-War Committee of Yawata Kyoto)