Women of South Korea call for a peaceful world and the Korean peninsula free of war
Gyung-Lan Jung from "Women Making Peace" sent us the following statement from the Korean women's movement, July 27, 2006, the 53rd year of the Korean armistice agreement.
The Korean peninsula faces a serious crisis after the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) tested missiles. There were a series of events following this incident including Japan's reviewing the possibility of a preemptive strike against the DPRK, the UN Security Council adopting the resolution calling the DPRK to immediately suspend their ballistic missile program, the suspension of ministerial meetings between DPRK and Republic of Korea (ROK) and the DPRK calling off family reunions between families estranged by Korea's division. These events made the situation in the Korean peninsula ever more uncertain and unstable. They also clearly show how heightened tensions impact the Korean peninsula and could easily break down, particularly at a time when the armistice agreement has not yet become a peace agreement.
Tragic experiences caused by the Korean War such as family separation, unbearable suffering of the people, and the destruction of natural resources have reminded us of the preciousness of peace. Even today we can still see the atrocities caused by war in such countries as Iraq and Lebanon. We also remember the fact that it is the children, elderly people and women who are the biggest victims of war and military tension. Because of this, we strongly emphasize that war or any possibility of war should be eliminated as an option no matter the situation.
We are deeply disappointed with the attitudes shown by the countries involved in this issue, including the DPRK which tested the missiles, the ROK, the US, Japan, Russia and China. Peace is not possible through the use of force whether in the form of armed responses, sanctions, penalties, punishment, or isolation tactics. We cannot agree with the idea of achieving peace through non-peaceful means. The missile crisis must be resolved peacefully through peaceful methods.
Countries surrounding the Korean peninsula are trying to use this missile crisis as an opportunity for their benefits and political gain. We need to realize that forceful measures towards the current situation in Northeast Asia only increase tension and will not bring about peace. The only way to ease tension and overcome problems in the region is to pursue solution with mutual benefits rather than utilizing a "zero-sum" method where one country's gain is another's loss.
We, as women of South Korea, insist that the current missile crisis be resolved peacefully and request the following from each government:
That the ROK government, first, on the basis of racial and human solidarity, send rice and fertilizer to North Korea. This type of aid is an issue of humanity and should not be linked to a political agenda. This should be done quickly and unconditionally, especially in response to the urgent need of those North Koreans suffering from recent flooding. It is important to remember past failed attempts to link humanitarian aid to improving the political relationship between North Korea and South Korea. These attempts only caused the relationship to worsen. Second, we request that the ROK government actively work to restore the relationship between the two Koreas by continuing to maintain a policy of reconciliation and cooperation with DPRK. In the current situation, amidst the deterioration of the relationship between the US and DPRK and the implementation of sanctions against DPRK, suspending talks with DPRK will only increase tension and invent further forceful responses to the situation on the Korean peninsula. As the situation becomes worse, the ROK government must send a consistent message to DPRK while maintaining its policy of reconciliation and cooperation. Third, in order to resolve the current tension, we request that the ROK government work to convince the DPRK government that implementing measures to aggravate the situation will never provide any benefit to North Korea.
That the DPRK government, first, recognize the fact that peace cannot occur (in the) Korean peninsular through military means. Second, we request that the DPRK government, working in a spirit of dialogue and cooperation, seriously consider the international concern following the recent missile tests, and refrain from any action such as additional missile tests or nuclear tests, or other action that might further jeopardize the situation. Third, we ask that the DPRK government to cooperate with the ROK government to discuss the current issues related to economy and security, including the issues of family reunions, economic cooperation, and missile/nuclear weapons.
That both the DPRK and ROK governments never forget that all people living in the Korean peninsula share a common need for peace with mutual benefits founded on mutual understanding and trust.
That the United States government, first, stop pressuring DPRK and resolve the missile issue through dialogue and negotiations rather than sanctions and building tension. Second, we request that it cease construction of the missile defense system which promotes military competition and tension in Northeast Asia, rather than working for peace.
That the Japanese government, first, stop using the nuclear weapon issue and missile crisis as an excuse to revise its Peace Constitution, build up military and strengthen anti-North Korea sentiment. The ninth clause of Japan's Peace Constitution is truly an asset in Asia. Second, we request that the Japanese government cease the discussion of economic sanctions and pre-emptive strike towards North Korea, and instead, resolve the kidnapping issue and normalize relationships with North Korea through dialogues.
That all governments and people involved in the six-party talks should find various methods and approaches to dialogue and negotiation in order to reduce confrontation between the US and DPRK, whose relationship has much deteriorated after the US imposed financial sanctions, provoking DPRK to begin the missile testing.
Finally, in this time following the recent missile crisis, we, as women of South Korea, want to emphasize again the great suffering and serious threat that war poses to the Korean peninsula, currently in a state of armistice. We commit ourselves to active involvement as "peacemakers" and "reconciliators" working to resolve the current situation peacefully and seeking sustainable peace on the Korean peninsula.
July 27, 2006
Association for Democracy, Korea Church Women United,