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JustPeace Campaign Page
Speak Out Against Human Rights Abuses in Iraq
was Keith Locke’s call to the NZ Government on 24 July. Responding to the
damning report by Amnesty International
released that day, Keith said it was clear that the coalition forces were mistreating Iraqi prisoners and beating and killing unarmed Iraqis. NZ troops now in Iraq risk being seen as complicit in these abuses, and once again Keith urged the Government to withdraw them and replace them with a civilian reconstruction team. Read
Peaceful Democracy in Fiji
should be supported actively by New Zealand, with the NZ government encouraging the Fijian government to abide by the Fijian Supreme Court decision that the Labour Party is entitled to be part of the Qarase government, said Keith Locke on 18 July. Read
Ending The World’s Longest War
. Fifty years ago, on July 27 1953, an armistice was signed in Panmunjom, Korea, which ended the combat phase of the Korean war. This weekend, many leaders of nations that fought in that war (including NZ Prime Minister Helen Clark, accompanied by some 50 NZ Korean War veterans) will be returning to Panmunjom to commemorate the signing of the armistice. The ceremony will take place in the so-called Demilitarized Zone — an area where there are over a million troops facing each other across the artificial North/South Korea divide. Some of these will be American — there are 37,000 American troops stationed in S.Korea on nearly 100 bases, making the Korean peninsula one of the most militarised regions in the world.
What are the prospects of ending the war with a proper peace treaty — or even beginning the real de-militarisation (and de-nuclearisation) of Korea?
In the USA, Korean Americans, churches, scholars, peace groups and others are active in pushing for a peace treaty — details and links can be found at
July 27th Armistice to Peace Campaign page
. They are also organising a series of actions in Washington this weekend, including a public forum in Congress, and a peace rally.
In New Zealand a newly-formed Korea Peace Committee is being co-ordinated by Dr Tim Beal, of Victoria University, whose book ”North Korea’s Arduous March” will be published by
Pluto Press early next year. The Committee is drafting a call for support for peace negotiations for community sign on, and presentation to the NZ government. Dr Beal and the Rev. Don Borrie also
publish regular information on N. Korea and the unstable security situation
Back in the US a bipartisan delegation of six members of the House of Representatives, led by senior Republican Congressman Curt Weldon, went to N. Korea in June, and came back with a
two step proposal for ending tensions on the Korean Peninsula
, starting with a one year non-aggression pact.
Unfortunately the Bush administration has so far resisted calls for negotiation and has instead ratcheted up pressure with plans for a huge military buildup in Korea, provocations, and harassments, as outlined in
Operations Plan 5030
plus moves to interdict North Korean ships on the high seas in undisputed violation of international law.
For a recent analysis of the situation, see below.
Fearful Symmetry: Washington And Pyongyang
by John Feffer explores the dangerous game of nuclear chicken that N. Korea and the US appear to be playing, what led up to this, and the obstacles to moving forward. Excerpts below:
”…The streets of the capital are broad and the buildings monumental. Inside the grand state offices, a power struggle rages among the political elite, and the side that seems to have the upper hand is insulated, single-minded, and shamelessly belligerent. This clique supports a military-first policy that doesn’t shrink from the first use of nuclear weapons, a stance that strikes fear into allies and adversaries alike. Nor are these fears soothed by the actions or rhetoric of the leader, a former playboy who owes his position to an irregular political process and the legacy of a more statesmanlike father.
Choose your capital: Pyongyang or Washington? …
…. In the fall of 2000, when the presidency of George W. Bush was just a glint in the eye of Florida’s secretary of state, the U.S. and North Korea nearly ended their 50-year war. Madeleine Albright visited Pyongyang in October and found Kim Jong Il “very decisive and practical and serious.” Bill Clinton was slated to meet the North Korean leader to conclude a grand deal that would have traded economic incentives and security assurances for an end to North Korea’s missile programs. This deal would have built on the 1994 Agreed Framework, also negotiated by the Clinton administration, which froze the country’s nuclear program in exchange for two light-water reactors, shipments of heavy fuel oil, and steps toward diplomatic normalization.
Clinton didn’t go to Pyongyang, and the grand deal didn’t materialize. Instead, the Bush administration took over with a determination to upend what it considered Clinton’s policy of “appeasement.” It was aided in this quest by a piece of intelligence inherited from its predecessor, namely that North Korea had taken out a nuclear insurance policy. Although its plutonium processing facility remained frozen, North Korea was exploring a second route to the bomb through uranium enrichment. The Bush team thus had the perfect weapon to attack U.S.-North Korean reconciliation: the perfidy of the North Koreans themselves.
But the U.S. had also backtracked on promises. It never fully lifted economic sanctions against North Korea and didn’t take other steps toward the normalization of diplomatic relations suggested by the Agreed Framework. The Clinton administration persuaded Congress to accept the construction of two light-water reactors in North Korea by arguing, quietly, that the regime in Pyongyang would not likely be around in 2003 when the reactors were supposed to go online. Instead, the regime is still around, and the reactors are only one-third complete.
Although North Korea pursued its enriched uranium program in the latter days of the Clinton administration, analysts Joel Wit and James Laney suggest that the program accelerated only when the Bush administration cranked up its hostile rhetoric–suspending diplomatic contact, criticizing Kim Dae Jung’s engagement policy, and ultimately including Pyongyang in its infamous “axis of evil.” Whatever doubts remained in Pyongyang about U.S. intentions were dispelled by the war in Iraq, which led North Korean leaders to draw three conclusions. A nonaggression agreement with the U.S. was pointless. No inspections regime would ever be good enough for Washington. And only a nuclear weapon would deter a U.S. Intervention…”
JustPeace was produced by Christine Dann, Tim Hannah and Keith Locke, MP
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