Diplomacy, Not Bombs – An Emergency Appeal from Veterans For Peace

8/17/2017

The governments of the United States and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) have recently escalated the threat of nuclear attacks. Especially this week, the danger has become still greater, to the point of threatening to trigger World War III.

Veterans For Peace pledges to do everything we can to prevent the beginning of this new conflict and strongly urges the U.S. government to open a dialogue with the DPRK without any preconditions, and call on all countries to promote the same.

In the 1950s during the Korean War, both President Harry Truman and General Douglas MacArthur, who was commander of U.S. forces in Korea, openly discussed the possibility of using nuclear weapons against the DPRK.  That threat was especially terrifying coming from the only country ever to use nuclear weapons in war, and at that time still under the very president who had ordered the Hiroshima and Nagasaki attacks. 

The DPRK has remained under the U.S. nuclear threat from that day to the present.

In recent years, the DPRK has developed its nuclear weapons and missile capability in hopes of deterring such an attack by the U.S.

Frequent overtures for dialogue by the DPRK to the U.S. have been turned down. Instead, the U.S. has carried out large-scale, joint military exercises with the Republic of Korea(ROK) in and around the Korean Peninsula, flown B-1B strategic bombers into ROK airspace along the DMZ, and sailed the nuclear aircraft carrier Carl Vinson into Northeast Asia, in addition to the carrier Ronald Reagan,which is stationed in Japan.

On August 9, in reaction to President Trump’s threat to rain “fire and fury” on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the DPRK military announced that it was going to draft a plan to launch four intermediate missiles into the waters around Guam, subject to Chairman Kim’s approval. Japan’s Defense Minister Onodera then announced that if an attack against the U.S. bases on Guam were carried out, this would constitute an immediate threat, which would enable the Japanese Self-Defense Forces, for the first time in the postwar period, to engage in collective military operations with the U.S. military. This would in effect spell the end to Article 9 of Japan’s constitution, which renounces Japan’s right to participate in war.

Members of Veterans For Peace know that opening negotiations with the DPRK to prevent the beginning of this war will require political courage. According to the U.S. government and the mass media, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is a country, with whom negotiation is impossible. However, the DPRK has diplomatic relations with 166 countries around the world, and had frozen its nuclear weapon program, under the 1994 Agreed Framework, until the Bush administration discarded the agreement in 2002.

The DPRK’s Foreign Minister has stated that if the U.S. stops its joint military exercises with the Republic of Korea, the DPRK would be willing to stop its nuclear weapons tests and missile launches. The Foreign Minister also stated that the DPRK would be willing to engage in negotiations as long as the U.S. and South Korea do not demand that the DPRK dismantle its nuclear program as a precondition for the talks.

On the U.S. side, President Trump, speaking of the DPRK leader Kim Jong Un, said, “If it would be appropriate for me to meet him, I would absolutely. I would be honored to do it.”

To create a positive environment for the negotiations, Veterans For Peace calls upon the U.S. government to suspend the upcoming U.S.-ROK joint war drill, 8/21-31, and begin the negotiations with DPRK now.

 

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