Ahead of Donald Trump’s visit to South Korea on November 7, Koreans in South Korea and overseas organized a series of protests in multiple cities to denounce the U.S. government’s continued military provocations and war threats directed at North Korea.
In South Korea, anti-war and civil society groups mobilized for a “No Trump No War National Rally” on the evening of Saturday, November 4. In Seoul, thousands gathered in the Jongno District and marched to the U.S. Embassy to demand the Trump administration stop its war threats and provocative military exercises that escalate tensions on the Korean Peninsula. Similar protests also took place in eight other cities across the country.
Trump arrived in Japan late Saturday November 4 as part of his thirteen-day tour of Asia and is scheduled to arrive in South Korea on November 7. North Korea and the rising tensions on the Korean Peninsula will be at the top of his agenda for much of the trip. The White House announced just days ago that Trump could decide whether to re-list North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism during his tour.
“With Trump’s visit coming up, a nuclear aircraft carrier has been deployed near the Korean Peninsula, and the Moon Jae-in administration has been talking about imposing its own sanctions against North Korea as a welcome gift to Trump,” said Kim Chang-han of the newly-formed Minjung Party. “The current U.S.-South Korea alliance is based on South Korea’s subordination and is a war alliance that is far too dangerous.”
In Japan, Zainichi Koreans protested in front of the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo on November 3. Among the groups protesting were Zainichi Koreans United for Democracy and Reunification (Han Tong Ryun) and the Zainichi Korean People’s National Solidarity Network. “Last month, the U.S. not only simulated the dropping of nuclear bombs but also flew B-1B strategic bombers in the air space of the Korean Peninsula,” noted Son Hyung-geun of Han Tong Ryun. He urged, “Let us abandon denial of the possibility of war and raise our voices with a sense of urgency against war, U.S. invasion of North Korea and Trump.”
In the United States, Korean Americans were joined by other peace/anti-war organizations at solidarity rallies in four cities — New York, Chicago, Washington DC, and Los Angeles. The protests kicked off with a rally in New York’s Koreatown on Friday, November 3. Protesters denounced Trump for his policy of military threats and economic sanctions against North Korea as well as the military industrial complex for using the crisis in Korea to sell more weapons of destruction to countries in the region. Similar rallies took place outside the White House in Washington DC and in Chicago and Los Angeles on November 4.
During his visit, Trump will reportedly discuss intensifying pressure on North Korea as well as increasing South Korea’s defense spending to support the U.S. troops and strategic military assets stationed in South Korea.
More than twenty-seven Korean American and peace/anti-war organizations in the United States issued a joint statement, which states, in part:
In addition to Koreans’ demands, we the people in the United States oppose the Trump administration’s ill-informed escalation of tensions with North Korea, call for a peace treaty between the United States and North Korea to finally end the Korean War after 64 long years… and stand in solidarity with all people — Koreans, Americans, and others throughout the world — unconditionally committed to preventing a disastrous rekindling of the Korean War.
Military conflict on the Korean peninsula will inevitably result in the deaths of those not only on the Korean peninsula, but in nearby countries who will be subject to an influx of US military personnel via the web of existing US military bases throughout the Asian Pacific region.
Civil society groups in Japan, South Korea, and the U.S. also issued a joint statement, which denounced the Trump, Moon and Abe administrations for aggravating military tensions in the region and called for a bold shift in policy toward peace:
Even as President Trump calls his predecessor’s policy of “strategic patience” on North Korea a failure, he continues the same policy, i.e., intensifying U.N. and unilateral sanctions and military threats… The Abe government, seizing on the crisis in Korea, has quickened the pace of remilitarization and revision of Article 9 of its constitution. South Korean President Moon Jae-in meanwhile, despite an unambiguous mandate from the South Korean people, who ousted his hawkish predecessor in hopes of a radical transition to harmonious North-South relations, instead continues to do the bidding of the United States as he assumes a hostile posture vis-a-vis North Korea.
When Trump arrives in Seoul on November 7, the “No Trump Joint Action Task Force” a coalition of 220 civil society organizations, plans to mobilize another mass protest in Gwanghwamun Plaza. And while Trump addresses South Korea’s lawmakers the following day on November 8, protesters will rally in front of the National Assembly building.
By ZoominKorea staff