The U.S. Solidarity Peace Delegation, in South Korea this week to support the fight against the U.S. THAAD deployment, met with Democratic National Assemblyman Shim Jae Kwon, who chairs the Foreign Affairs and Unification Committee of the National Assembly, on July 24. The following report is based on a summary of the meeting by Medea Benjamin of CODEPINK, who is part of the delegation:

The U.S. delegation–Jill Stein of the Green Party, Reece Chenault of U.S. Labor against War, Will Griffin of Veterans for Peace, and Medea Benjamin of CODEPINK–met with Assemblyman Shim and raised the need to reverse the controversial U.S. THAAD deployment. Shim acknowledged the opinion of missile defense experts who question the military effectiveness of THAAD and discussed his own doubts about the THAAD system’s ability to defend South Korea. He discussed his commitment to creating an environment that removes the need for weapon systems like the THAAD. He discussed the tensions the THAAD deployment has caused with its neighboring countries and its impact on South Korea’s economic relations with China. He also acknowledged the grievances of the residents of Seongju, where the THAAD battery is being deployed.

On the other hand, Shim emphasized the importance of the US-South Korea alliance and said he is also considering the viewpoints of those who favor the THAAD system, both in the U.S. and South Korea. At the moment, Shim and other members of the Foreign Affairs and Unification Committee of the National Assembly are focusing their efforts to ensure that the THAAD deployment is put through a democratic process before any further movement forward– in other words, making sure that the environmental impact assessment is properly conducted and calling for a vote on the matter in the National Assembly. Shim thanked the delegation for inspiring him and expressed his commitment to seeking alternative solutions for security and peace that do not rely on destructive weapon systems.

The U.S. Solidarity Peace Delegation is organized by the Task Force to Stop THAAD in Korea and Militarism in Asia and the Pacific (STIK) and the Channing and Popai Liem Education Foundation (CPLEF).

 

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