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Diplomacy not War with North Korea

 

 

The South Korean village of Seongju,a Buddhist pilgrimage site for those seeking peace and enlightenment, now has become a center of protest, with people coming from all over South Korea to demand the removal of the THAAD system and US forces. That appeared on the golf course without notice or consultation with local residents. CodePink as part of a U.S. delegation traveled to Seongju  to join thousands of South Koreans to voice their opposition to THAAD and called for the removal of the U.S. THAAD missile defense system from South Korea, an end to the U.S.-South Korea War Games in exchange for a freeze of North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missile programs, the replacement of the Korean War Armistice with a peace treaty, and the peaceful reunification of Korea.

Delegation coordinator Juyeon Rhee of the was blocked from boarding a plane at LaGuardia Airport in New York City

the delegation will share its message of solidarity with villagers of Seongju, Soseongri and Gimcheon where the THAAD interceptors are deployed, and with a broad spectrum of peace activists in Seoul.”

Many are in favor of dialogue with North Korea, and believe the presence of U.S. troops and weapons could put South Koreans in danger.

Delegation coordinator Juyeon Rhee of the Task Force to Stop THAAD in Korea and End Militarism in Asia and the Pacific was blocked from boarding a plane at LaGuardia Airport in New York City

 

Buddhist monks have set up a shrine and hold vigil right next to an access road to the golf course, alongside a squadron of policemen on guard. Citizens are not permitted to get closer.

“It’s not only a regional issue,” says Choi Sung-hee, a former art teacher who traveled to Seongju to camp out and protest. “It’s about peace, and how we Koreans can stop war and future weapons together.”

South Korea’s former president, Park Geun-hye, who was ousted in March, agreed in 2012 to host THAAD after a nuclear test by North Korea. But now Park is on trial for corruption, and there’s an election next week to replace her.

In TV debates, the liberal front-runner, Moon Jae-in, has said he wants to rethink THAAD and objects to how the U.S. appears to have rushed its installation before the election.

China objects to more U.S. weaponry in the Asia-Pacific region, and has called for a boycott of South Korea and its products. That’s a worry for businesses catering to the lucrative Chinese market.

Children dance and sing anti-THAAD slogans at a protest camp near the new U.S. missile defense system in southeast Korea. Residents oppose THAAD, as do about half of all South Koreans.

Lauren Frayer/NPR

In a touristy shopping district of Seoul, cosmetics vendors yell out what’s on sale — in Mandarin. Chinese tourists are their biggest clients.

“But THAAD is hurting our sales, here and in China,” says store manager Cho Ah-jin. “There’s a boycott of Korean cosmetics, and Chinese tourists have stopped coming.”

Tourist arrivals from China dropped by nearly half this past March compared to the previous year.

Banks in Seoul have started to offer special loans to businesses hurt by the Chinese boycott. A recent report by a Korean think tank estimates the Chinese boycott will cost South Korea some $7.5 billion this year — amounting to half a point of GDP.

In rural Seongju, THAAD is already operational. But as Chinese pressure on South Korea continues, whoever is elected president next week may find THAAD at the top of his or her agenda.

2017[3] describes a U.S. delegation “[C]alling for the removal of the U.S. THAAD missile defense system from South Korea, an end to the U.S.-South Korea War Games in exchange for a freeze of North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missile programs, the replacement of the Korean War Armistice with a peace treaty, and the peaceful reunification of Korea, the delegation will share its message of solidarity with villagers of Seongju, Soseongri and Gimcheon where the THAAD interceptors are deployed, and with a broad spectrum of peace activists in Seoul.”

Medea Benjamin, CODEPINK; Reece Chenault, U.S. Labor Against the War; Will Griffin, Veterans for Peace; and Jill Stein, 2016 presidential candidate, Green Party U.S.A.

“The delegates are Medea BenjaminCODEPINKReece ChenaultU.S. Labor Against the WarWill GriffinVeterans for Peace; and Jill Stein, 2016 presidential candidate, Green Party U.S.A.
“Delegation coordinator Juyeon Rhee of the Task Force to Stop THAAD in Korea and End Militarism in Asia and the Pacific was blocked from boarding a plane at LaGuardia Airport in New York City on the morning of June 22 [2017]. A protest campaign to demand that her travel ban be lifted is currently underway, with hundreds of organizations and individuals sending letters of protest to Moon Jae-In and the Blue House, including prominent peace activists like Nobel Peace Laureate, Mairead Maguire; Academy Award-winning director, Oliver Stone; and American author and Pulitzer Prize winner, Alice Walker. To add your voice, see www.StopTHAAD.org.
“The delegation is sponsored by the Task Force to Stop THAAD in Korea and End Militarism in Asia and the Pacific and the Channing and Popai Liem Education Foundation.
“The delegation will be hosted in South Korea by the National People’s Action to Stop the Deployment of THAAD in South Korea (NPA), a coalition of 100 civil society organizations. The NPA was formed August 2016 (expanding an earlier formation) with the goal of achieving the repeal of the decision to deploy THAAD in South Korea.
“The solidarity statement of the delegation, “No to THAAD in Korea, Yes to Peace through Dialogue,” has the support of over 270 individuals and nearly 90 organizations, including well-known U.S. peace activists and educators Noam Chomsky, MIT; Daniel EllsbergNuclear Age Peace FoundationChris Hedges, author/activist; Gwyn KirkWomen for Genuine SecurityOliver Stone, Academy Award-winning director; Cornel West, author/activist; and Ann Wright, former U.S. State Department official, Army colonel, and member of CODEPINK. The organizational endorsements are also worldwide, reflecting a recognition that peace in Korea serves not only local and regional but also global interests.
“Returning to the United States on July 28, 2017, the delegates have pledged to build solidarity in the U.S. for the struggle against the stationing of THAAD in South Korea and the escalation of militarism in Asia. The delegates further call on peace-loving people in the United States and globally to join in this effort.”

Nodutdol for Korean Community Development July 27, 2016;

Statement of the Solidarity Committee for Democracy and Peace in Korea on the Park Geun-hye Government’s Deportation of Its Members

On July 26, 2016, the South Korean government blocked the entry of two Korean American peace activists, Juyeon Rhee and Hyun Lee, into South Korea. The two are representatives of the U.S.-based Solidarity Committee for Democracy and Peace in Korea. They had traveled to South Korea to participate in the annual Jeju Peace March as well as join protests against the recent U.S.-South Korean decision to deploy the controversial Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system in South Korea.

After being detained by immigration officers at Incheon International Airport, Rhee and Lee were deported pursuant to Articles 11 and 12 of the Korea Immigration Control Act, which prohibits the entry of foreigners who, among other things, are “deemed likely to commit any act detrimental to national interests of the Republic of Korea or public safety.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The South Korean village of Seongju,a Buddhist pilgrimage site for those seeking peace and enlightenment, now has become a center of protest, with people coming from all over South Korea to demand the removal of the THAAD system and US forces. That appeared on the golf course without notice or consultation with local residents.

It targets and destroys incoming missiles and will give the United States the strategic edge in any potential conflict with North Korea.

But many South Koreans do not want it and believe it will actually lead to war, and are mounting a campaign to remove the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) system and American forces from South Korea.

The sleepy village of Seongju was once a Buddhist pilgrimage site for those seeking peace and enlightenment. It sits in the lush agricultural lands of central South Korea.

But now it has become a centre of protest, with people coming from all over South Korea to demand the removal of the THAAD system and US forces.

 

 

 Tensions between the Trump administration and the North Korean government have reached a boiling point. We must avoid, at all costs, a direct military confrontation with North Korea. Any military action by the United States, even limited, could instantly kill millions on the Korean peninsula and threaten nuclear and regional war that could draw in  Japan, China and Russia. CODEPINK has been working for the past two years with Women Cross DMZ, an international women’s group that collaborates with women from both North and South Korea to come up with diplomatic solutions to the crisis. Women Cross DMZ calls for a freeze of North Korea’s nuclear and long-range ballistic missile program in exchange for a U.S. security guarantee that would include suspending U.S.-South Korea military exercises; a binding peace treaty to replace the 1953 Armistice Agreement; and support for citizen diplomacy with liaison offices in Washington DC and Pyongyang to reunite families and heal the legacies of the Korean War.  For us, the ONLY solution is dialogue, starting with a freeze for a freeze! 

 Please join us in contacting our nation’s top UN diplomat, Nikki Haley, and urge her to start acting like a diplomat. Stop threatening war with North Korea and starting negotiating.

 

Every president before Trump considered a pre-emptive strike, but they were quickly sobered by the reality that a military option would trigger a counter-reaction from Pyongyang. Presidents Obama, Bush and Clinton Administrations could not justify military action that would instantly kill millions of South Koreans and endanger the 28,500 U.S. soldiers and 230,000 U.S. citizens residing there.

As Christine Ahn, the international coordinator of Women Cross DMZ, said, “President Trump must avoid at all costs a direct military confrontation with North Korea, which has a long history of engaging in brinksmanship. The United States has been successful in defusing past crises by working in partnership with our allies in the region. Today, China calls for restraint, and South Korea is urging a diplomatic solution. President Trump could demonstrate his art of deal making by advancing what will and has only ever worked: diplomacy and engagement.”

Share the image at the top of this email on Facebook and Twitter!

In peace.

Call your two Senators now! Tell them there’s no military solution to the North Korean Crisis! Demand diplomacy! Capitol switchboard: (202) 224-3121

Add your name to the open letter to the Trump administration from Women Cross DMZ!

As an immigrant from South Korea who has traveled to both South and North Korea to visit friends and families, the current crisis makes me profoundly sad and anxious. North Korea is not just one man, Kim Jong Un, but 25 million people who are at risk of annihilation, just like 50 million people are at risk in South Korea. About 100,000 of us in the Korean-American community have family members in North Korea.We worry about our family members on both sides of the border.

For us, the ONLY solution is dialogue, starting with a freeze for a freeze: North Korea would freeze its nuclear and missile testing in return for the United States and South Korea freezing their military exercises. Please join me in contacting our nation’s top UN diplomat, Nikki Haley, and urge her to start acting like a diplomat. Stop threatening war with North Korea and starting negotiating.

As US Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley has been a disaster. Her statement that Kim Jung Un’s “abusive use of missiles and his nuclear threats show that he is begging for war” is appalling. North Korea has been saying over and over again that it might put its nuclear weapons and missiles on the negotiating table if the United States would end its own threatening posture. This fact has been completely obscured by US officials, as well as the mainstream media. I encourage you to read Tim Shorrock’s excellent historical summary in The NationDiplomacy With North Korea Has Worked Before, and Can Work Again.

 

The U.S and South Korea just completed provocating war games simulating an attack that would “decapitate” the North Korean leadership. So it is logical that the North would respond with more weapons tests. This cycle must be broken. The next round of US-South Korean military exercises are not scheduled until March. This would give the US government six months to ratchet down the tensions.

Nikki Haley is being paid by us, the US taxpayers, to find peaceful solutions to global conflicts. Instead, she said that North Korea’s actions are “quickly closing off the possibility of a diplomatic solution.” The Trump administration has never even tried a diplomatic solution—it has only tried sanctions that hurt the lives of ordinary Koreans, war games, deployment of the THAAD missile system in South Korea and threats of a catastrophic war. These have not and will not work; they only embolden the North Korean leadership.

Can I count on you to act and show compassion for our friends and relatives on the Korean peninsula? Please send an email to Ambassador Haley telling her to stop escalating for war and start negotiating for peace.And share this message on Facebook and Twitter.

Peace,
Juyeon Rhee

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CodePink is a women's grassroots-initiated, worldwide organization of women and men working for peace, social justice and a green economy. CodePink SF serves the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond.


 

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