Over 200 organizations and individuals call for maximum engagement in Korea
With this week’s tremendous diplomatic breakthrough between North and South Korea, the Korea Peace Network, a grassroots coalition of peace activists, scholars and Korean-American leaders, sent an Open Letter on March 8 to President Donald Trump urging his support for peace and diplomacy. The letter was signed by representatives of 58 organizations, and by 143 other Korean-American, peace, faith and academic leaders.
Specifically, the letter asks Trump to again postpone the massive U.S.-South Korea military exercises as a gesture of good faith, as North Korea has stated it will not conduct any further nuclear or missile tests while negotiating with South Korea. The military exercises were scheduled to be held in February, but were postponed until after the Winter Olympics and Paralympics when Trump agreed to South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s request to do so.
Kevin Martin, President of Peace Action and convener of the Korea Peace Network, said, “The United States has a rare opportunity to help resolve longstanding tensions on the Korean Peninsula, and this chance must not be missed. Further postponement or cancellation of the massive war exercises, which North Korea understandably loathes and fears, makes all the sense in the world at this time when South and North Korea are negotiating on so many crucial issues.”
Commenting on the letter to Trump, signed by dozens of Korean-American organizations and individuals, Martin noted, “It is great to see so many Korean-Americans speaking out for peace and diplomacy and against war. We need to follow their leadership and amplify their voices.”
As the Korean War ended with the signing of an armistice agreement rather than a peace treaty, the two Koreas technically remain in a state of war. Many hope this budding diplomatic engagement can be the first step to finally signing a peace treaty to formally end the war.
Simone Chun, who serves on the steering committee of the Alliance of Scholars Concerned About Korea, remarked, “The recent dramatic breakthrough in North-South relations reverses a dangerous pattern of animosity and aggression that has driven the two Koreas further apart and brought the peninsula dangerously to the brink of war. We now have a historic opportunity to begin to put an end to the longest-running war in modern history.”