August 23, 2017
STATEMENT FROM THE
WOMEN'S INTERNATIONAL LEAGUE FOR PEACE AND FREEDOM, UNITED STATES SECTION
REGARDING THE DEMOCRATIC PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF KOREA (North Korea/DPRK)
The members of the United States Section of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF US) state the following.
On August 21, 2017, the United States military and Republic of Korea (South Korea) began their annual August mock attacks on North Korea.
There is resistance to these "war games" in South Korea
where families long separated yearn to be reunited. The US, however, is ready for war and still maintains fifteen large military installations. The eleven-billion-dollar Camp Humphrey is just being completed south of the capital city. The Pentagon hopes this military base is less vulnerable than the one in Seoul, which is now in range of North Korea's increasingly threatening intercontinental ballistic missiles. The Pentagon is now trying to install a missile defense system (THAAD) aimed at North Korea. However, it is also usable against Russia and China.
for its part, made cessation of these provocative "war games" one of the key components of the offer to cease nuclear threats against US territories (like Guam) and our Asian allies. Another major demand is that the United States cease promoting a military invasion of the DPRK, including mock nuclear bombings. It now holds these costly "dress rehearsals" every year, accompanied by the South Korean military. The third, and most basic demand, is that they want an official end to the Korean War and a peace treaty negotiated with both halves of the divided country.
Such a treaty was promised by General MacArthur when the Korean War ended in a ceasefire
, but the promise was never kept. As a result, the Korean War has never ended and is now in its 67th year. Both halves of Korea yearn and work for a resolution, but the problems grow more intractable every year.
However, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom has sought to point the way to resolution
of the most intractable conflicts. In the spring of 2015, a group of women activists, determined to support peaceful resolution, walked across the demilitarized zone to call for non-military approaches to North Korea. These women included our WILPF International president, Kozue Akibayashi.
On July 7 of this year,
122 members of the United Nations published a treaty
that bans nuclear weapons more definitively than either chemical or biological weapons are banned. It is clearly meant as a first step toward their complete abolition. Ironically, early in the process, North Korea indicated interest in joining, if other nuclear powers also did so, and was one of the governments that agreed to move the treaty process forward. Unfortunately in this case, none of the nuclear weapons states approved the
Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons
The treaty indicates clearly how other nations may join, whether they do or do not now have nuclear weapons.
The road to a world free of nuclear weapons
is now there for us to follow. The choice is ours to make.