International Peace Symposium
The Occasion of 60th Anniversary of Armistice Agreement
To Call for a Peace Treaty in Korean Peninsula
August 1, 2013
Dr. Kiyul Chung, Visiting Professor
School of Journalism and Communication, Tsinghua University
Editor in Chief, The 4th Media
Distinguished guests, friends, supporters, ladies and gentlemen, it’s such an honor and a special joy to join some of the internationally-recognized distinguished friends from Korea, Japan, US and Canada at this very historic Tokyo Int’l Peace Symposium on the Occasion of 60th Anniversary of Armistice Agreement.
This symposium is the last but not the least one as part of the 2013 Global Campaign to Call for a Peace Treaty in Korean Peninsula. The 2013 Global Campaign has been organized by Koreans from all walks of life in north, south and overseas, together with hundreds of thousands of peace-loving peoples around the globe, i.e., the people like you who joined us today at this last “relay” symposium in Tokyo.
Within a limited given time, I’d like to share and present a position of this global campaign, hopefully representing the collective spirits and yearnings of over 80 million Korean populations from north, south and overseas wherever they may reside including Japan right here.
On July 27, 1953, the Korean War hostilities were ceased ONLY TEMPORATILY by introducing the fragile Armistice Agreement which was signed by DRPK-China and USA who then already willfully falsified its role as if it represented the United Nations.
Before I talk about the Peace Treaty issue, I’d like to call upon all of us to pay a special attention to another hidden issue for 60 years which is the ILLEGALITY of using the name, “UN Command” in Korea ever since the US has falsely justified its military and strategic agenda both in Korean peninsula and the Northeast Asia region by wearing the “United Nations Command” hat.
The offices of two former UN Secretary Generals Boutros Boutros-Gahli and Kofi Annan, and the present sitting Secretary General Ban Ki Moon all have categorically pointed out the illegality of the US military presence in the name of the “UN Command” in Korea:
“The United States, without any authority from the United Nations, changed the name of the ‘Unified Command’ it was to direct, to the name the ‘UN Command.’ This change falsifies the nature of the US role in the Korean War and in the Armistice, making it appear that the US is acting under the authority of the United Nations.”(1)
However, “the decision made by what is called the “UN Command” is made by the US. The US is not acting as a subsidiary or representative of the UN when it acts under the name of the “UN Command.” Yet the false appearance given is that the US is acting under the authority of the UN.”(2)
Therefore the UN as a whole has even asked US to resolve the issue of illegally- and falsely-used name, the UN Command. “In November 1975, Resolution 3390 (XXX) B was passed by the UN General Assembly calling for negotiations between the relevant parties so that the US would no longer use the misleading designation ‘UN Command’ to represent the US military role. [However,] the US has not fulfilled on the obligation to carry out these negotiations.”(3)
“At the June 21 noon press briefing by the Deputy Spokesman for UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, a question was raised asking for Ban’s views on the issue:
“But the United Nations has never had any role in the command of any armed forces deployed in the Korean peninsula. In particular, the United Nations did not at any time have any role in the command of the forces that operated in Korea under the Unified Command between 1950 and 1953.” “This is a matter for the parties to the Agreement. The United Nations is not party to the Armistice Agreement.”(4)
Taking this opportunity, I’d like to call upon the entire global community to demand, press and request the UN General Assembly, UN Security Council and UN Secretary General to revisit this unresolved, very much hidden to many, UN Command issue in Korea which has been thoroughly neglected by most global mainstream medias or has not been brought to international attention for more than half a century.
Let’s go back to the Peace Treaty question, the above-mentioned 1953 “temporary cessation” of one of the deadliest military conflicts which caused millions of innocent lives from all sides, particularly up to 4 million Korean population, has not been accordingly transformed or materialized to a permanent peace regime as it was supposed to and as was clearly stated as its intent in the 1953 Agreement.
Instead the self-determined peaceful reunification of Korean peninsula has been systematically derailed and constantly obstructed by both outside and inside “anti-North and anti-reunification” forces, undisputedly mostly by the United States of America.
With regard to the Peace Treaty, the DPRK (also known as, “North Korea”) has been the lone voice for several decades, while other responsible parties seem have not been much interested in, if they haven’t tried to deliberately avoid or choose the status-quo, meaning the “DIVIDED Korea” instead the “Reunited One.”
As a result, on the one hand, the DPRK has been forcibly put under continual siege by almost nonstop war threats which have been unilaterally and repeatedly imposed by the 60 years of ongoing US-led “joint military drills,” while US has maintained their tens of thousands of “occupying military forces” in an unknown number of military bases throughout South Korea, now even in Gang Jeong, Jeju Island where US is building another major naval strategic base, even if both national and international strong oppositions to the further militarization of already one of the most heavily militarized region in the world.
Of course, the US hasn’t forgotten to threaten the North with a criminal strategy of “preemptive nuclear first strike” in an attempt to force DPRK surrender. However, those very provocative military drills together with those on-and-off nuclear war threats, as it did not work out when US first threatened to drop the nuclear bombs during the Korean War, starting in November, 1950, have never worked out against DPRK.(5)
However, for no matter what the reasons were, it simply didn’t work in the case of “North Korea.” It could mean the US didn’t know who they dealt with, while the other end seems to have known exactly “the enemy” they had to defeat against:
“The destruction within North Korean cities and towns ranged from 40 percent to nearly 100 percent. War commander General Ridgway wanted to ‘wipe out all life‘ in tactical sites, sites which became, in the merciless momentum of air war, every city, town and village. North Korea’s large dams, which provided irrigation water and generated electricity, were bombed, some at the onset of the rice-growing season. General MacArthur had boasted of a plan to win the war in 10 days: Drop 30 atomic bombs across the neck of Korea from sea to sea, leaving a belt of radioactivity between China and North Korea.”(6)
On the other hand, as well-documented throughout the Korea’s division history, the unimaginably cruel human costs, i.e., the human suffering, for example, as in the case of “10 million divided family members for over half a century” from that forcibly imposed division by outside foreign forces, can’t be even easily measured or described.
Indeed the human suffering caused by the division has been unimaginable. It’s beyond description! A claim one argues the division itself is a “crime against humanity” is not groundless.
This is the very and most fundamental reason why the Korea’s division must end immediately, no matter what that cost would be. There is no greater suffering than that of the forcibly-divided family members for decades and decades, no matter what their nationalities are. I am not talking about only Korean suffering. I am talking about the human suffering of the world. Wherever human-made suffering exists, no matter what the reasons may be, the human suffering must come to an end once for all.
However, last 60 some years, the surrounding environments in Northeast Asian region and the Eurasian continent have not been necessarily in favor of Korea’s self-determined peaceful reunification. Ongoing conflicts in the area of competing “national interests” among major powers surrounding Korean peninsula have not been able to provide a favorable environment either. As a result, Korean peoples’ sufferings, particularly in the North and the Korean communities in Japan, have not been sufficiently dwindled down. It still exists and continues!
It must be highlighted neither any nation nor any outside force, for whatever their rational may be, has any right to argue, dispute, question or even suspect when Koreans from both ends come and genuinely engage in dialogues for their own national reconciliation, unity and self-determined peaceful reunification as the late Presidents Kim Dae Jung and Roh Moo Hyun, together with the late Chairman Kim Jong Il, did in 2000 and 2007.
What is genuinely required from the neighboring countries surrounding Korean peninsula is to first and foremost do RESPECT and DO support, instead hinder or oppose, but GENUINELY SUPPORT the 80 million Koreans’ never-dying dreams and efforts to REUNITE their divided homeland through peaceful means and, most importantly, through the mutually-respectful ongoing dialogues, negotiations and symbiotic cooperation.
There is no doubt that the peacefully reunited Korea will be the blessing for ALL, not only for the Koreans but also for the region and the whole world. The opposite scenario, i.e., the forcibly-imposed division as it’s been the case for more than 60 years now is for sure the DISASTER for everybody. If this disastrous status quo ever continues, not only the region but also the world will have to bear with the unimaginable consequences that might be originated from the constant threats of the Nuclear War.
This is something we don’t even need to talk about what it could mean to the whole humanity.
For close to 70 years under the forcibly-imposed division, the whole nation’s both human and natural resources in both north and south have been severely diverted from social development and human wellbeing into the military and constant war preparations. The structurally all-time dangerous and confrontational thereby terribly unstable and insecure situation at all times has been forcibly continued against the will of great majority Korean populations in north, south and overseas.
As many in the world have persuasively argued, the hostilities, past, present and intended for the future have been purposefully maintained on the Korean peninsula for the following major reasons: The US–based global military-industrial-complex; The prevention of the self-determined peaceful reunification of Korea under the terms and conditions not dictated by the US; The use of Korean peninsula for military bases and staging grounds for the imperial adventures with specific targets in mind such as China, Russia, etc.; And probably but most importantly the warning message to any future nations seeking independence and self-determination from the US imperial agendas; and so on.
For the reasons of the above-argued mainly war-related corporate interests and the US global hegemony, for the last 60 years, a Peace Treaty has been systematically avoided, neglected, and obstructed till this very moment. In order to justify the ongoing neglect and/or avoidance of the introduction of a Peace Treaty, a countless number of “war crises” have been constantly “manufactured” and purposefully maintained.
Undisputedly or undoubtedly, this is the very reason why the Korean peninsula has not been able to get out of the constant “semi-war status” ever since the Armistice Agreement signed in July 27, 1953.
Therefore the forcibly-imposed “status-quo” of Korea’s division which has constantly threatened the peace and security of both Korean peninsula and the entire Northeast Asia region must come to an end NOW by introducing the much-delayed PEACE TREATY to Korean peninsula.
In order to make that historic moment come true, those “manufactured crises” must stop once for all for the sake of everybody, every nation, the region and the world. The aforementioned human suffering in the Korean peninsula therefore must come to an end immediately as well.
According to the Article Number 4 of the Armistice Agreement, a “peaceful resolution to the Korea question” was supposed to be done “within next 3 months of timeframe right after the signing of the agreement to cease the military hostilities.(7) However, as well-known, that agreed-3 month timing to “remove all foreign military forces from Korea and to resolve the Korea question peacefully,” as stated in the Article Number 4, is WAY OVERDUE!(8)
The overdue is now 60 years!
The political and moral responsibilities to secure a permanent peace regime on Korean peninsula are NOT the work of Koreans ALONE. This historic task is both collective and international work. It’s everybody’s task! Everybody who’s responsible for the Korea’s Division must humbly, with regret, come forward, with all their best and genuine wishes, efforts and attitudes, in order to fulfill their much-neglected political and moral obligations and indebtedness by working together to finally introduce the 60 years-delayed Peace Treaty to the peninsula NOW!
Last 4-6 months, Korean peninsula, Northeast Asia region and the whole world have been thrown into a new reality, i.e., a real and strong possibility of the First-ever Nuclear War on earth. The realness of a nuclear war possibility in the region must have created for sure a real sense of fears and deep concerns not only among Korean populations but also peoples in the neighboring countries, specifically in China and Japan.
This fearful sense of realness of a nuclear war possibility seems to have been felt not only those civilian populations in the region but also those hundreds of thousands of US military personnel and their family members who station in Korea, Japan, Guam, Hawaii, and other US military bases in the entire Asia-Pacific region.
This is the very reason why tens of millions of Koreans from all ends in north, south and overseas, together with tens of millions of peace-loving peoples from around the world, in unison and in humble solidarity, call for a Peace Treaty signed in order to secure a permanent peace regime in Korean peninsula.
Before ending this brief presentation, I’d like to invite our friends here and around the world to join with the tens of millions of Korean peoples in north, south and overseas, also together with the tens of millions of peace-yearning peoples from around the globe to solemnly call for the following demands:
I. The already-dead Armistice Agreement must be replaced NOW by a Permanent Peace Treaty signed by those responsible parties such as DPRK, China and the US/South Korea;
II. Once the Peace Treaty signed, the international community as a whole should be able to support Koreans in north, south and overseas for them to resume their work for the Self-Determined Peaceful Reunification process, unhindered by any outside forces and under any circumstances for whatever their rational may be;
III. The Asia-Pacific region therefore must remain and be encouraged for a new bright future of a peacefully-coexisting and mutually co-prosperous region;
IV. In order to support the above-mentioned ideal but just demands and goals favorably and progressively moving forward, those responsible parties in the region must make sure, together with everybody, not to allow any further “manufactured crises” injected into the region again, so that peace, security and co-prosperity in the region and the world can be successfully and, in an undeterred way and under any circumstances, deeply rooted into the ground.
Thank you very much for your attention!