Letter to the US Presidential Candidates to Call for Ending the Korean War for Peace on the Korean Peninsula : 70 years is enough, End the Korean War, Korea Peace Now
October 15, 2020
We call on the presidential candidates of the United States of America to support a formal end to the Korean War.
We are co-representatives of the Korea Peace Appeal: Peace Campaign to End the Korean War - an international campaign that seeks an end to the Korean War and a transition from armistice to peace on the Korean Peninsula. The campaign aims to collect 100 million signatures for Korea peace from 2020, the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of the Korean War, to 2023, the 70th anniversary of the armistice agreement. The seven major religious orders in Korea and more than 360 civil society groups, as well as 50 international partner organizations have joined this campaign. People around the world including US citizens are calling for an immediate end to the Korean War.
The unresolved Korean War has brought great pain to not only the people of the divided peninsula but also US war veterans and their families. Despite the end of the Cold War, the unstable armistice system on the Korean Peninsula has turned it into one of the most highly militarized places in the world and has propelled an international nuclear arms race. This, in turn, has led to the DPRK’s development of nuclear weapons and long-range missiles. The people of the Korean Peninsula have lived with constant fear of war and threats of destruction as well as endless military exercises. It is time to end the cycle of fear and move on to confidence-building and peaceful co-existence. For this, we urge the candidates for the President of the United States of America to consider the following three points:
We urge the US government to actively implement its agreements with the DPRK including: the establishment of new US-DPRK relations; efforts to build a lasting peace regime on the Korean Peninsula; and complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Ending long-lasting hostile relations and establishing new US-DPRK relations can be the foundation for peace and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula as well as in Northeast Asia. The establishment of a peace regime and the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula will yield positive results for all parties.
We hope for the support and cooperation of the US government to ensure that inter-Korean agreements are respected and inter-Korean exchange and cooperation can be implemented. Leaders of the two Koreas have agreed to end the Korean War and sign a peace agreement, together with relevant parties including the US. We hope the US government actively participates in this process. Trust through cooperation and a constructive relationship between the two Korea’s will facilitate the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Meaningful dialogue between the two Korea’s will contribute to creating the conditions for successful negotiations between the US and the DPRK.
We hope the US government will abandon sanctions and pressure, and continue negotiations with the DPRK through dialogue and cooperation. When we look back at the history of the US-DPRK negotiations, flexibility, gradual trust-building, and respectful dialogue led to positive results, while sanctions and pressure stalemated negotiations.
The recent tragic incident in which a South Korean official was killed in North Korean waters redemonstrated the scars of the unending Korean War and frozen relations between the two Koreas, and clearly showed the desperate need to end the Korean War and bring peace on the Korean Peninsula. No one should be killed like this again.
We want peace. Please find the text of the Korea Peace Appeal below. We hope that the US presidential candidates will respond positively to our call for ending the Korean War for peace on the Korean Peninsula. 70 years is enough. After 70 years, let us move from armistice to peace; let us end the Korean War now.
<Korea Peace Appeal>
End the Korean War and establish a peace agreement
Create a Korean Peninsula and a world free from nuclear weapons and nuclear threat
Resolve the conflict with dialogue and cooperation instead of sanctions and pressure
Break from the vicious cycle of the arms race and invest in human security and environmental sustainability
It is time to End the Korean War. Soon after achieving liberation from Japanese colonial rule, the Korean Peninsula was divided into North and South as an effect of the Cold War and experienced the tragedy of the Korean War. The Korean War left millions of casualties, countless separated families and has not formally ended since the signing of the Armistice Agreement in 1953. Decades of political and military confrontation and hostile relations from the Cold War have led Koreans, both on the Korean Peninsula and in the Korean diaspora worldwide, to endure an interminable period of pain. It is time to end this pain.
We must not go back to the days dominated by hostility and anxiety. In 1991, after the global Cold War ended, the Republic of Korea (South Korea) and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) agreed upon mutual respect and non-aggression. In 2000, the two Koreas held their first summit which opened an era of comprehensive exchange and cooperation. In 2018, the first-ever DPRK-US summit took place along with three inter-Korean summits. Since the war has not officially ended, however, a vicious cycle in which trust easily turns into distrust leading to rising tensions has repeated over and over again for the last 30 years.
History has proven that hostile policies aimed at discrediting and forcing one side to yield have failed to resolve the conflict on the Korean Peninsula, instead only aggravating it. The Korean Peninsula under the unstable armistice system has suffered from threats of nuclear war and has fueled a global arms race and nuclear proliferation. Without a formal end to the Korean War, the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula will not be achieved. We call upon the governments involved to take sincere and responsible action: End the Korean War Now.
Let’s change the Korean Peninsula from a symbol of confrontation and conflict into a birthplace of peace and coexistence together with peace-loving people around the world. We imagine a future where the people of the Korean Peninsula, East Asia and the world cooperate and coexist peacefully. We hope our resources will be used for people’s safety and happiness, for environmental sustainability and a society without discrimination instead of preparing for war. Now, let’s end the Korean War now with our own hands and let’s make a future that could not be achieved for the last 70 years. Let’s shout out loudly together so that our desperate wish for peace reverberates around the world.
Honorary Representatives of Korea Peace Appeal Campaign
Most Venerable Wonhaeng (President, the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism & President, Korean Conference of Religions for Peace)
Rev. Dr. Lee Hong Jung (General Secretary, National Council of Churches in Korea (NCCK) & Co-President, Korean Conference of Religions for Peace)
Rev. Oh Do Chul (Director, General Won-Buddhism Administration & Co-President, Korean Conference of Religions for Peace)
Son, Chin Woo (President, the Confucianism & Co-President, Korean Conference of Religions for Peace)
Song, Beom Doo (Supreme Leader, CHONDOGYO & Co-President, Korean Conference of Religions for Peace)
Most Rev. Hyginus Kim Hee-joong (President, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Korea (CBCK) & Co-President, Korean Conference of Religions for Peace)
Co-Representatives of the Korea Peace Appeal Campaign
Chi, Eunhee (Former Minister of Gender Equality and Family)
Cho, Sung Woo (Chairperson, The Southern Committee on June 15th Joint Declaration)
Goo, Jungseo (Chairperson of the Steering Committee, Korean Peace Network Against Military Bases)
Jeong, Gi Seop (Chairman, The Corporate Association of Gaeseong Industrial Complex)
Jung, Kang-Ja (Co-Representative, Civil Society Organizations Network in Korea)
Kim, Kyung Min (National General Secretary, National Council of YMCAs of Korea)
Kim, Samuel (Vice President, Korean Council for Reconciliation and Cooperation)
Kim, Won Wung (President, Gwang Bok Hoe)
Kim, Young Soon (Standing Representative, Korea Women's Associations United)
Lee, Buyoung (President, Korea Foundation for Free Press)
Lee, Gibeom (President, Korea NGO Council for Cooperation with North Korea)
Lee, Hyun-sook (Honorary Representative, Women's Forum for Peace and Diplomacy)
Mun, jeong-hyeon (Catholic Priest)
Paik, Nak-chung (Professor Emeritus, Seoul National University)
Won, Young Hee (President, The National YWCA of Korea)
Yim, Hun Young (President, The Center for Historical Truth and Justice)