Is the ROK-US alliance unconditionally good? A new book raises radical questions about the ROK-US alliance on the 70th anniversary of the two countries’ mutual defense treaty, which was signed on Oct. 1, 1953. The book is “The Naked ROK-US Alliance,” written by Daegu University professor Kim Sung-hae, who completed a master’s in international affairs at the University of Georgia and a doctorate in journalism at the University of Pennsylvania. As the book’s subtitle suggests, this book lists the “reasons for resolving to break up with America” while urging us to imagine what South Korea would be like without the US or their alliance.
This year is incredibly important to me and the Korean people. Next Wednesday, July 27th is the 70th anniversary of the armistice of Korean War, the longest war in American history. I turn 34 this year, almost half of that number. And my grandmother, who left a memoir that I finally found in 2015, was aged 70 years when she published these words, translated by me: I only understood what that war was, felt it against my flesh only after I came down from the mountains. Nobody was whole after the war. It spared no one. People either lost their lives, lost their families, lost their legs or arms, or were irrevocably scarred in their hearts. People who survived the war were like people who had already lost their lives once and came back from the dead.
The knives are out again for those advocating for peace on the Korean Peninsula. Almost eight years to the day, I wrote “The Knives are Out For Those Who Challenge Militarization of the Korean Peninsula,” about Washington Beltway pundits and those on the payroll of organizations and corporations that make money out of the U.S. bureaucracy’s need for an enemy. These groups had focused their outrage and diatribes at Women Cross DMZ for organizing the 2015 trip to North and South Korea and daring to challenge the status quo of U.S. policy toward North Korea. Eight years later as Women Cross DMZ and other Korea peace advocacy groups are organizing a National Mobilization to End the Korean War July 26-28, 2023 in Washington, DC, the knives are out again.
The United States and South Korea have been stirring up the situation on the Korean peninsula to an “extremely dangerous level,” with threatening rhetoric and a military demonstration targeting the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK or North Korea), DPRK’s Vice Foreign Minister Kim Son-gyong said. In a statement published on the website of the national media aggregator KCNA, the senior official drew attention to the aerial exercises carried out by Washington and Seoul in the Yellow Sea on March 3, which included equipment such as the B-1B strategic bomber and the MQ-9 Reaper unmanned attack aircraft.
On December 13, 2022, Women Cross DMZ Executive Director Christine Ahn received the Peace Summit Medal for Social Activism at the 18th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates in Pyeongchang, South Korea, but not without controversy. As we all well know, not everyone — mostly politicians in the U.S. and South Korea — want peace with North Korea. In fact, Jin-tae Kim, the right-wing, conservative, hawkish governor of the province of Pyeongchang, where the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates was held, declined to attend the conference, a conference about peace-making. South Korean news media sources stated that the governor reportedly believed that Christine Ahn was a North Korea apologist because seven years ago, in 2015, she led a 30-woman international delegation, including two Nobel Peace Laureates, to North Korea for meetings with North Korean women, not North Korean government officials.
Hyun was a tireless advocate for peace on the Korean Peninsula. Every generation has its leaders who build powerful movements; she was among the giants of our time. Beginning in 2018, Hyun served as the U.S. National Organizer and then the Campaign Strategist for Women Cross DMZ and our Korea Peace Now! campaign. Her ability to move an organizing and advocacy agenda was instrumental to building the Korea Peace Now! Grassroots Network, which consists of more than a dozen chapters across the country. This multi-generational, grassroots, people-powered movement that Hyun helped create is what led to the first Congressional resolution calling for an end to the Korean War with a peace agreement.
Despite its devastating destructive toll, the Korean War has been dubbed the “Forgotten War,” for the lack of public awareness or understanding in the US. Many Americans might be surprised to hear calls for peace on the Korean Peninsula, because we’re rarely made aware that the conflict there is ongoing, much less the US role in it. And, then again, we don’t very often hear the phrase “Korean Peninsula.” We’re more accustomed to seeing North and South Korea presented as natural antagonists, and North Korea as a virtual cartoon of an official enemy, about whom no claim is too grandiose. Into this context of myth and missing information comes a new call for a peace agreement to officially end the war. The report, called Path to Peace, was compiled by the Korea Peace Now! coalition, and we’re joined now by Hyun Lee, US national organizer for Women Cross DMZ, part of Korea Peace Now!.
More than 40 Korean as well as international peace organizations have sent an open interrogatory to UN Secretary-General indicating that the use of the UN flag by the so-called “United Nations Command” based in South Korea and Japan is not appropriate. The so-called “UN Command” based in Korea since the Korean War which started in 1950 is a ‘camouflage’ organization made by the United States by distorting the resolutions of the UN Security Council. In addition, the right to authorize the use of the UN flag by the UN Security Council is also in violation of the UN Flag Code.
There is hope for some real progress in U.S.-North Korean relations after Sunday morning’s unscheduled meeting between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, largely because Russia and China seem more determined than ever to facilitate forward movement. Sitting down before the talks began, Kim underlined the importance of the meeting.“I hope it can be the foundation for better things that people will not be expecting,” he said. “Our great relationship will provide the magical power with which to overcome hardships and obstacles in the tasks that need to be done from now on.”
A good starting point for understanding the ongoing conflict between North and South Korea is the agreement between the United States and Japan in 1905, known as the Taft-Katsura Memorandum, which was signed as Japan was defeating Russia in the 1904-05 Russo-Japanese War. In that document the U.S. agreed to the Japanese colonization of Korea in trade for the American occupation of Hawaii (which the U.S. had annexed in 1898) and the Philippines (which the U.S. had acquired as booty in 1898 at the conclusion of the Spanish-American War). Koreans were not consulted about this arrangement.
North and South Korea began a mutual on-site verification of the trial withdrawal and disarmament of 22 guard posts (GPs) along the demilitarized zone (DMZ) on Wednesday, the ROK Ministry of National Defense (MND) announced the same day. The verification process follows the completed demolition by November 30 of 10 GPs on either side of the DMZ as part of the two Koreas’ implementation of September’s joint military agreement. Seoul and Pyongyang originally agreed to destroy a total of 22 GPs from the area, but after withdrawing firearms, equipment, and all personnel decided to leave two standing for historic purposes.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in delivered a message on December 1 urging North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to pay a reciprocal visit to Seoul within the year for the promised summit meeting in the capital city of South Korea, which will be historic first for a North Korean leader. “I am certain that if denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and inter-Korean peace are achieved through a reciprocal visit by Chairman Kim Jong-un, all South Koreans will truly welcome that with open arms,” Moon said.
The UN Command, headed by the United States, refused to allow a South Korean train to travel to North Korea for a joint North-South inspection of railway conditions for the planned inter-Korean railway. The two Koreas had planned for a South Korean train to depart from Seoul Station and travel to Sinuiju at the far northern end of the Gyeongui (Seoul-Sinuiju) railway line in North Korea, with South and North Korea conducting a joint inspection on the North Korean stretch of the line between Kaesong and Sinuiju.
Seoul, South Korea - South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in marked the anniversary of Korea’s independence from Japanese colonialism with a robust call for the economic integration of North and South Korea as a means to achieve “survival and development” as well as “true liberation” for the long-divided nation. The announcement – which focused on the creation of various joint projects including inter-Korean railway, energy, and economic links – sharply diverges from the United States’ insistence that all pursue a “maximum pressure” strategy to denuclearize the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
South Korean peace and justice activists have been writing to us complaining that the United States is not responding to the positive steps being taken by North Korea before and after the meeting between President Trump and Chairman Kim. Their views show a great divide between the United States and the calls for a permanent peace which includes removal of US troops as just last week the Congress passed a National Defense Authorization Act which forbids removal of US troops from Korea. The activists argue that the temporary halt in war games which practice nuclear and other military attacks on North Korea are insufficient. They want to see movement toward a real peace treaty and, they want US military forces out of Korea, permanently.