Joint Statement: U.S., South Korean, and Japanese civil society organizations call for a bold shift in policy for peace in Korea and Northeast Asia

The following statement was issued by hundreds of progressive and anti-war organizations in South Korea, Japan and the United States to coincide with Donald Trump's trip to Asia.

trump_asia.jpgAs U.S. President Trump travels to Asia, we civil society groups from the United States, South Korea, and Japan call for a diplomatic solution to the dangerous conflict between the United States and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea). As those who would be directly impacted by the outbreak of such a conflict, we call on our leaders to take bold steps to ensure lasting peace. Recent events have set the stage for a possible catastrophe on the Korean Peninsula and even throughout the greater Northeast Asian region. Any further escalation of tensions could rapidly degenerate into violence. In its 27 October 2017 report, the U.S. Congressional Research Service estimates that over 300,000 people would die in the opening days of a military conflict on the Korean Peninsula, even without nuclear weapons, and would ultimately claim 25 million lives.

Even as President Trump calls his predecessor’s policy of “strategic patience” on North Korea a failure, he continues the same policy, i.e., intensifying U.N. and unilateral sanctions and military threats. Meanwhile, North Korea continues to escalate the pace and scale of its nuclear and missile tests. The Abe government, seizing on the crisis in Korea, has quickened the pace of remilitarization and revision of Article 9 of its constitution. South Korean President Moon Jae-in meanwhile, despite an unambiguous mandate from the South Korean people, who ousted his hawkish predecessor in hopes of a radical transition to harmonious North-South relations, instead continues to do the bidding of the United States as he assumes a hostile posture vis-à-vis North Korea. We therefore demand that: 

1. The Trump administration boldly shift to a policy of peace by:

  • Ending its policy of sanctions and military threats against North Korea;
  • Ceasing the deployment of more weapons of mass destruction on the Korean peninsula and in the region, and withdrawing the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system from South Korea as it only exacerbates tensions in the region
  • Halting large-scale military exercises that impede dialogue with North Korea

2. The administration of President Moon Jae-in of South Korea honor the spirit of past North-South joint declarations for peace and reconciliation by:

  • Assertively pursuing inter-Korean dialogue and cooperation;
  • Halting future large-scale U.S.-South Korea combined military exercises to minimize the risk of confrontation ahead of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyongchang, South Korea
  • No longer cooperating with investments in costly weapon systems with the United States and Japan, including spending on missile defense, which only exacerbates tensions in the region and diverts precious resources away from human needs.

3. The government of Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe immediately cease all further moves toward military buildup and instead contribute to regional peace by:

  • Abolishing the controversial "Conspiracy Law" and "State Secrecy Law," as well as the 2015 "Peace and Security Legislation" or war bills which permit the use of the so-called right to collective self-defense;
  • Pursuing the normalization of relations between Japan and North Korea based upon the principles of the Pyongyang Declaration and the Stockholm Agreement
  • Ceasing moves to change Article 9, the peace clause in its constitution.

These are among the hundreds of civil society organizations who have signed on:

Japan

  • Citizens Association against Constitutional Revision (許すな!憲法改悪・市民
  • 連絡会)
  • Femin Women's Democratic Club (ふぇみん婦人民主クラブ)
  • Japan-Korea People’s Solidarity Network (日韓民衆連帯全国ネットワーク)
  • Kyoto/Kinki Association against the U.S. X-band Radar Base (米軍Xバンドレーダ
  • ー基地反対・京都/近畿連絡)
  • Network of Religious Persons Making Peace (平和を作る宗教者ネット)
  • Nipponzan-Myōhōji (日本山妙法寺)
  • Peace Boat (ピースボート)
  • Veterans for Peace Japan (ベテランズ・フォー・ピース・ジャパン)

South Korea

  • Federation of Korean Trade Unions (한국노동조합총연맹)
  • Korean Alliance of Progressive Movements (한국진보연대)
  • Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (전국민주노동조합총연맹)
  • Korean Peasants League (전국농민회총연맹)
  • Korean Street Vendors Confederation (전국노점상연합)
  • Korean Women’s Alliance (전국여성연대)
  • Korean Women Peasants Alliance (전국여성농민회총연합)
  • Korean Youth Solidarity (한국청년연대)
  • National Alliance of Squatters and Evictees (전국철거민연합)

United States

  • Campaign for Peace, Disarmament and Common Security
  • International Forum on Globalization
  • Peace Action
  • Task Force to Stop THAAD in Korea and Militarism in Asia and the Pacific
  • United for Peace and Justice
  • Veterans for Peace National
  • Western States Legal Foundation
  • Women Cross DMZ

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