In a joint effort, peace activists in the U.S. and South Korea are calling on people of both countries to demand their presidents call off Ulchi-Freedom Guardian, the upcoming US-South Korean war exercise, and work towards a peaceful solution to the current crisis with North Korea. Authored by former U.S. presidential candidate Jill Stein of the Green Party and South Korean anti-war activists, their online petition urges a “freeze for a freeze” — a freeze on North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs in exchange for a freeze on U.S. military exercises in Korea.
The petition can be signed here: “Urgent Petition to Presidents Trump & Moon: Negotiate Don’t Escalate”
On Tuesday of this week, U.S. President Donald Trump threatened North Korea with “fire and fury like the world has never seen.” Shortly following Trump’s war threat, North Korea revealed plans to launch missiles into the sea surrounding the island of Guam, which hosts the U.S. Andersen Air Force Base and B-1 bombers that are frequently used to threaten North Korea.
Tensions could rise even more when the U.S. conducts its annual joint military exercises with South Korea — Ulchi Freedom Guardian — starting on August 21. For many years, these military exercises have simulated the invasion of North Korea and the destruction of its leadership. What is different this year is that North Korea now has nuclear weapons capable of reaching the United States.
Peace activists, civil society groups, and members of the U.S. congress have issued multiple statements and online petitions this week to call for restraint and de-escalation:
- “Send Tillerson to Pyongyang” — CODEPINK released this petition to hold Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to his word about visiting North Korea to engage in diplomacy. Tillerson had stated, “We would like to sit down and have a dialogue with them.” The petition also states, “U.S. military and economic pressure on North Korea — sanctions, provocative war games, and deployment of the THAAD missile system in South Korea — have not and will not work.”
- “Stop the insanity. Don’t provoke war with North Korea” — MoveOn’s petition, when it reaches 100,000 signatures, will be delivered to the Trump administration and the U.S. congress. It calls for diplomacy as threats of war only exacerbate “a dangerous situation, putting the people of Guam — and everyone around the world — in grave danger.”
- “Diplomacy, Not Threats, Toward North Korea” — RootsAction is calling on 10,000 people to send a message to their respective Representatives and Senators to speak out against Trump’s threats of war.
- Congressman John Conyers also sent a letter signed by over 60 members of the House of Representatives to State Secretary Tillerson to urge him to engage in talks with North Korea.
Various peace organizations in the U.S. have also put out calls for rapid response mobilizations across the country in the coming week. (See ZoominKorea’s Facebook page for updates and announcements.)
Calls for Peace in the Media
Here’s a partial roundup of media interviews this week. For more, check out ZoominKorea’s Facebook page.
- Korea expert Juyeon Rhee recently spoke with Brian Becker on Loud & Clear about the U.S. war threat and the State Department’s travel ban, which would prevent U.S. citizens from traveling to North Korea. Click here to listen.
- Gregory Elich also joined Loud & Clear and noted the U.S. erroneously refers to the sanctions against North Korea as a form of diplomacy rather than a form of economic warfare. Click here to listen.
- Christine Ahn of Women Cross DMZ talked about the people of Guam becoming frontline targets in a U.S.-provoked war in Korea.
(Video Source: The Real News)
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