Starting April 4, the U.S.-based Task Force to Stop THAAD in Korea and Militarism in Asia and the Pacific will launch its national speaking tour on the South Korean people’s fight against the deployment of the U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system. It is collaborating with dozens of local peace and justice organizations in cities across the United States to educate people about the dangers of U.S. missile defense.
The speaking tour will feature Reverend Sounghey Kim, Co-chair of the Seongju Struggle Committee to Stop THAAD Deployment in South Korea. She has been at the forefront of the fight against the THAAD deployment since July 2016, when the U.S. and South Korean governments first announced the deployment plan. She has been a part of the daily candlelight protests in Seongju and the recent overnight prayer sit-in’s on Jinbat Bridge, which leads to the site selected for the THAAD deployment.
Ramsay Liem, a member of the Task Force organizing the speaking tour, spoke about the importance of highlighting the South Korean people’s anti-THAAD struggle:
We will convey our solidarity with the citizens of Seongju County, South Korea and protest the THAAD deployment to officials in Washington D.C. We also want to take advantage of the tour to build stronger relations with the Boston-area peace movement and to ensure that Korea and Northeast Asia are squarely on the agenda of anti-war activists.
For most Americans, Korea is a problem ‘over there.’ The deployment of THAAD in Seongju is just the latest example of U.S. intrusion into Korean affairs to further its own geopolitical interests. The national tour will inform Americans about escalating U.S. militarism in Northeast Asia, its threat to the health and safety of local residents, and the daily actions of a broad coalition of citizens groups to ‘stop THAAD.’
Juyeon Rhee, also a member of the Task Force and the New York-based Nodutdol for Korean Community Development, says people in the U.S. should also be concerned about the consequences of the THAAD deployment:
The fight against the THAAD deployment is still an obscure issue to many peace activists in the U.S. And while the THAAD deployment will most directly impact the people of South Korea, it is also a piece of a larger puzzle that will only expand the network of U.S. missile systems around the world. Eventually, these provocations of U.S. militarism will lead to war that could come to the shores of North America. And our tax dollars are being used without our consent to feed these military enterprises.
Rhee says increasing military build-up will not lead to genuine peace or security:
Rather than trying to reduce the weapons that could trigger a nuclear warfare and focus on working towards peace with North Korea, the U.S. is going in the opposite direction. And just as the U.S. military is not considering the negative impact of the THAAD deployment on the livelihood of South Korean people, it is also dehumanizing the lives of North Korean people by designating the country as a target of military invasion.
In addition to deploying troops and weapons like the THAAD system, the U.S. frequently conducts military exercises in South Korea, rehearsing the invasion of North Korea and the “decapitation” of its leadership to provoke regime collapse. This provocation in the name of “defense” and “security” have only led to greater war tensions on the Korean Peninsula and the Northeast Asia region.
The Task Force to Stop THAAD in Korea and Militarism in Asia and the Pacific seeks to use the upcoming speaking tour as an opportunity to build greater solidarity between anti-war/peace movements in the United States and South Korea.
The tour will cover nine cities from April 4 to 16:
April 4, 2017 (Tuesday), 7:00pm – Berkeley/Oakland
University Lutheran Chapel, 2425 College Ave., Berkeley, CA
April 6, 2017 (Thursday), 7:00pm – Los Angeles
LA Won Buddhist Temple, 401 Shatto Pl. #200, Los Angeles, CA
April 8, 2017 (Saturday) – Huntsville
Springhill Suites Hotel, 745 Constellation Place Dr, Huntsville, AL
April 10, 2017 (Monday), 7:00pm – Boston
Boston College, Devlin Hall 101, Chestnut Hill, MA
April 11, 2017 (Tuesday), 7:00pm – Philadelphia
Calvary Church (Basement), 801 S 48th St, Philadelphia, PA
April 12, 2017 (Wednesday), 7:00pm – Rutgers
Rutgers University–New Brunswick, Frelinghuysen Hall Room B4, 611 George St, New Brunswick, NJ
April 13, 2017 (Thursday), 6:30pm – New York
New York University, King Juan Carlos I of Spain Center (KJCC), 53 Washington Square South, NYC
April 15, 2017 (Saturday), 2:00pm – Washington DC
Justice Center, 617 Florida Ave NW, Washington, DC
April 16, 2017 (Sunday), 6:00pm – Fairfax
William Cho Peace Center, 3883 Plaza Dr., Fairfax, VA
For more information on the “Stop the U.S. THAAD Deployment in South Korea” National Speaking Tour, visit: stopthaad.org
The Task Force to Stop THAAD in Korea and Militarism in Asia and the Pacific consists of the following organizations:
ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) Coalition
Solidarity Committee for Democracy and Peace in Korea
Korea Policy Institute
Philadelphia Committee for Peace and Justice in Asia
Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
Veterans for Peace, National Office