The International Peace Bureau welcomes the commitment of President Donald Trump and Chairman Kim Jung-un to meet at the June 12 summit in Singapore. Even as many issues related to military, human and political rights, and regional tensions will not be addressed in the summit, it holds the promise of ending nearly 70 years of disastrous war and preparations for war that have disproportionally impacted North and South Korea.
This summit would not have been possible without President Moon Jae-in’s inspired “Olympic Diplomacy” which brought the United States and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea back from the brink of President Trump’s threatened “Fire and Fury” war and Chairman Kim’s threat to reciprocate in kind. The Trump-Kim summit would not have been possible without the ground-breaking April 27 Kim-Moon summit at Panmunjom, during which the two Korean leaders declared that “there will be no more war on the Korean Peninsula and thus a new era of peace has begun”, and resolved to begin the processes of Korean denuclearization and peaceful reunification.
The Korean people have long suffered colonization by Japan, military occupations by the United States and the Soviet Union, dictatorships, the devastation of the Korean War, repeated U.S. threats and preparations to initiate first strike attacks against North Korea, simulated U.S. nuclear attacks, and North Korea’s consequent development of its nuclear arsenal. We note as well that in the past South Korea had a nuclear weapons program, and that some in South Korea continue to call for either the return of U.S. nuclear weapons deployments in their country or the development of an independent South Korean nuclear arsenal.
The diplomatic process initiated by President Moon, which we trust will be advanced by Presidents Trump and Moon hold the promise of ending this tragic history.
After having raised expectations that the summit would quickly result in the immediate, verifiable and irreversible elimination of North Korea’s nuclear arsenal, more realistic expectations for what has been described by some as a “get to know you” meeting now prevail.
The summitry has thankfully brought us back from the brink of what would have been a catastrophic, potentially nuclear, a “Fire and Fury” war. The Singapore summit can now open the way for future diplomacy:
– Institutionalizing the functional “Freeze-for-Freeze” arrangement that has prevailed since the Seoul Olympics: halting North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missile testing, curtailing provocative U.S. and allied military exercises which threaten North Korea, and the elimination of nuclear-related sanctions. Additional elements could include: removing the DPRK from the list of state sponsors of terrorism, unfreezing North Korean assets, and allowing for recovery of the remains of U.S. servicemen and for family reunifications.
– Negotiating a Peace Treaty to replace the 1953 Armistice Agreement, formally ending the Korean War. In addition to ruling out future aggression, it would provide for normalization of relations. This was earlier described in the 2000 Joint Communique that the U.S. and DPRK in which the two countries reaffirmed “principles of respect for each other’s sovereignty and non-interference in each other’s affairs…” and “commit to make every effort in the future to build a new relationship free from past enmity”.
– South and North Korean pursuit of national self-determination on their own terms. The international community should support the development in North Korea economically. We call for an end of the international sanctions.
– We stress the need to end the U.S. travel ban and sanctions that seriously reduce the ability to deliver humanitarian assistance including addressing massive food insecurity, the need for life-saving medicines, etc. and noting that humanitarian assistance and encouraging family reunions can facilitate. We call for “people to people diplomacy” which can reinforce peaceful relations.
– Serious negotiations for the phased fulfilment of all of the commitments made in Singapore, including halting the military exercises and moving toward normalization of relations.
– Negotiations for denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and the creation of a Northeast Asian Nuclear Weapons Free Zone. Foundations for such negotiations were created with the 1992 joint ‘declaration of South and North Korea on the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, the 1994 Agreed Framework between US and DPRK, the 2000 comprehensive agreement negotiated by U.S. Sec. Defense Perry and Kim Jung-il (and sabotaged by President G.W.Bush) and the 2005 Joint Statement of the Fourth Round of the Six Party Talks. The April 27 North and South Korean Panmunjom Declaration, “confirmed the common goal of realizing, thorough complete denuclearization, a nuclear -free Korean Peninsula.
Nuclear disarmament negotiations will, of necessity, be prolonged and difficult and will require continuing international support. In addition to achieving the complete, verifiable and irreversible elimination of nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula, as well as the means to produce such weapons, of necessity it must also include the creation of a Northeast Asia Nuclear-Weapons Free Zone.
Finally, we decry the reality that nuclear apartheid threatens not only peace and survival in Northeast Asia, but of the world’s peoples. There can be no long-term guarantee of peace in Northeast Asia or human survival until the US and other nuclear weapons states eliminate their nuclear arsenals, as they are required to do by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. To support The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear weapons is a most urgent first step.