FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

End Endless War and Bring Peace to Korea

July 27 marked the 66th anniversary of the signing of the Korean War armistice, which brought an end to hostilities that killed nearly five million people, including almost 40,000 U.S. service members.

The war ended in a temporary cease-fire, which is why the United States still maintains 28,500 troops in South Korea. Nuclear missiles ring the region and threaten the people living there. North and South remain divided, separating thousands of families.

To this day, a formal peace treaty has not been signed.

There has been no official end to the war.

As a servant of God for civil rights and economic justice at home, and peace and human rights abroad, I believe we must take the path to peace, reconciliation and eventual reunification of the Korean Peninsula.

Last year to commemorate the anniversary of the armistice, I led a prayer vigil near the Demilitarized Zone that cuts across the Korean Peninsula. I prayed: “It is healing time — a time to turn our pain into power. A power to bring about family reunification.

A power to end this decades-long conflict and bring peace to Korea. It’s due time to step away from the brink of war and talks of nuclear strikes and seize this opportunity to push for talk of peace.

The current peace process in Korea has both historic potential and challenges.

At first President Donald Trump threatened to unleash “fire and fury.” This rhetoric has been replaced with dialogue between North Korean Chairman Kim Jong-Un and Trump, although fundamental differences persist and a permanent solution remains elusive.

Peace is a process, not a single act.

I believe it’s time to turn the armistice into a formal, lasting peace agreement. This could be the catalyst to a phased approach to denuclearization whereby the United States and North Korea take mutual steps to eliminate their nuclear weapons in and around the Korean Peninsula and move toward normalization.

Kim has halted nuclear weapons testing and offered to close the country’s nuclear test site. Last summer, North Korea returned 55 boxes of remains believed to be of U.S. troops killed during the Korean War.

In a resolution following his speech to the North Korean ruling party’s Central Committee in April, Kim pledged North Korea would never “use nuclear weapons nor transfer nuclear weapons or nuclear technology under any circumstances unless there are nuclear threats and nuclear provocations against the DPRK.”

It’s appropriate and desirable, in honor of the Panmunjom Declaration signed by South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean Chairman Kim Jong-un in 2018, to have, as the agreement states, “trilateral meetings involving the two Koreas and the United States, or quadrilateral meetings involving the two Koreas, the United States and China” to complete their unfinished business of “declaring an end to the War, turning the armistice into a peace treaty, and establishing a permanent and solid peace regime.”

Many in South Korea, including President Moon, see this as the key to all other issues, including the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, normalization of relations and North-South reconciliation.

I believe the current process can lead to a fundamental resolution of the U.S.-North Korean conflict. It should not be thwarted by hawkish pundits who seek to keep the Cold War hot.

Congressional leaders on both sides cast aspersions on the Trump-Kim summits and insist that North Korean denuclearization must be the first — if not the only — objective in U.S.-North Korean negotiations. Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, a war hawk who has argued for “regime change” — has said North Korea should follow the “Libya model” in denuclearizing.

And we must be ever-mindful of Trump, whose meeting with Kim holds promise and possibility but who has a propensity for head-spinning reversals of direction.

Now the U.S.-South Korean military exercises scheduled for next month threaten to derail plans for working-level talks between the U.S. and North Korea. Last week, the North Korean Foreign Ministry warned that North Korea may resume nuclear and long- range missile testing if the United States goes ahead with the exercise.

By now, we should know there are no winners in war. Military exercises only increase the possibility of conflict and make progress toward peace more challenging. For the talks between the U.S. and North Korea to succeed, we must maintain the “freeze for freeze” — a halt to both North Korea’s nuclear and missile tests, as well as the U.S.-South Korea joint military exercises.

And declaring an end to the nearly 70-year-old Korean War should be a priority for both sides.

According to James Laney, former U.S. ambassador to South Korea, “A Peace Treaty would provide a baseline for relationships, eliminating the question of the other’s legitimacy and its right to exist.”

A reconciled and reconnected Korea would represent a new hope in the world. But it will require that we use all the tools at our disposal: moral persuasion, rational arguments, nonviolent direct action and protests, economic, political and diplomatic leverage, education and revival of hope among people of the world.

In the 66th year of the armistice, I renew my prayer for an end to the Korean War. Let us have the courage, conviction and conscience to talk it out and not fight it out, and choose mutual co-existence over co-annihilation.

Let us reunite families.

Let us have peace, co-prosperity and a world without war.

 

More articles by:

Jesse Jackson is the founder of Rainbow/PUSH.

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
Weekend Edition
September 20, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh
Unipolar Governance of the Multipolar World
Rob Urie
Strike for the Environment, Strike for Social Justice, Strike!
Miguel Gutierrez
El Desmadre: The Colonial Roots of Anti-Mexican Violence
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Pompeo and Circumstance
Andrew Levine
Why Democrats Really Should Not All Get Along But Sometimes Must Anyway
Louis Proyect
A Rebellion for the Wild West
T.J. Coles
A Taste of Their Own Medicine: the Politicians Who Robbed Iranians and Libyans Fear the Same for Brexit Britain
H. Bruce Franklin
How We Launched Our Forever War in the Middle East
Lee Hall
Mayor Obedience Training, From the Pet Products Industry
Louis Yako
Working in America: Paychecks for Silence
Michael D. Yates
Radical Education
Jonathan Cook
Israelis Have Shown Netanyahu the Door. Can He Inflict More Damage Before He Exits?
Valerie Reynoso
The Rising Monopoly of Monsanto-Bayer
John Steppling
American Psychopathy
Ralph Nader
25 Ways the Canadian Health Care System is Better than Obamacare for the 2020 Elections
Ramzy Baroud
Apartheid Made Official: Deal of the Century is a Ploy and Annexation is the New Reality
Vincent Emanuele
Small Town Values
John Feffer
The Threat of Bolton Has Retreated, But Not the Threat of War
David Rosen
Evangelicals, Abstinence, Abortion and the Mainstreaming of Sex
Judy Rohrer
“Make ‘America’ White Again”: White Resentment Under the Obama & Trump Presidencies
John W. Whitehead
The Police State’s Language of Force
Kathleen Wallace
Noblesse the Sleaze
Farzana Versey
Why Should Kashmiris be Indian?
Nyla Ali Khan
Why Are Modi and His Cohort Paranoid About Diversity?
Shawn Fremstad
The Official U.S. Poverty Rate is Based on a Hopelessly Out-of-Date Metric
Mel Gurtov
No War for Saudi Oil!
Robert Koehler
‘I’m Afraid You Have Humans’
David Swanson
Every Peace Group and Activist Should Join Strike DC for the Earth’s Climate
Scott Owen
In Defense of Non-violent Actions in Revolutionary Times
Jesse Jackson
Can America Break Its Gun Addiction?
Priti Gulati Cox
Sidewalk Museum of Congress: Who Says Kansas is Flat?
Mohamad Shaaf
The Current Political Crisis: Its Roots in Concentrated Capital with the Resulting Concentrated Political Power
Max Moran
Revolving Door Project Probes Thiel’s White House Connection
Arshad Khan
Unhappy India
Nick Pemberton
Norman Fucking Rockwell! and 24 Other Favorite Albums
Nicky Reid
The Bigotry of ‘Hate Speech’ and Facebook Fascism
Paul Armentano
To Make Vaping Safer, Legalize Cannabis
Jill Richardson
Punching Through Bad Headlines
Jessicah Pierre
What the Felicity Huffman Scandal Says About America
John Kendall Hawkins
Draining the Swamp, From the Beginning of Time
Julian Rose
Four Funerals and a Wedding: A Brief History of the War on Humanity
Victor Grossman
Film, Music and Elections in Germany
Charles R. Larson
Review: Ahmet Altan’s “I Will Never See the World Again”
David Yearsley
Jazz is Activism
Elliot Sperber
Captains of Industry 
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail