News compilation by New Cold War.org, Jan 16, 2018
As relations improve between the two Koreas leading up to the Winter Olympics to open in Pyeongchang, South Korea on February 9, Canada and the United States are hosting a conference in Vancouver to escalate sanctions and threats of war against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (‘North Korea’). Invitations to attend the conference have been restricted to the 17 countries that participated in the near-genocidal war against the Korean people from 1950-53–principally the U.S., UK, Canada and Australia.
The conference is hosted by the foreign ministers of Canada and the United States. The two countries which actually share a border with North Korea–China and Russia–are excluded from the gathering. Spokespeople for the Canadian government as well as Canada’s mainstream media have been issuing soothing statements about the need for ‘diplomacy’ on the Korean peninsula. But the purpose of the Vancouver conference was summed up succinctly by Brian Hook, the director of policy planning at the U.S. State Department: “We will be discussing how the international community can thwart North Korean efforts to evade UN sanctions through smuggling.”
A page-one report in the Globe and Mail on January 16 explained, “A senior Canadian official defended the decision to exclude Moscow and Beijing, saying this is a meeting of like-minded countries seeking to review how United Nations sanctions can be strictly enforced against North Korea.” Associated Press opens a January 16 report with: “Secretary of State Rex Tillerson huddles Tuesday [January 16] with nations that fought on America’s side in the Korean War, looking to tighten the economic noose around North Korea over its nuclear weapons even as hopes rise for diplomacy.”
Related news reports:
* U.S., Canada host world summit on N. Korea, but Russia and China will only be ‘briefed’ on results, RT.com, Jan 15, 2018
* ‘We stand ready to join the foreign ministers and prepare peace talks to finally end the Korean War’, by Christine Ahn, international coordinator of the U.S.-based Women Cross DMZ, and Liz Bernstein, executive director of the Ottawa-based Nobel Women’s Initiative, published in the National Observer, Jan 15, 2018
* En route to Vancouver conference, New Zealand foreign minister wants more sanctions against North Korea, Newsroom.co.nz, Jan 16, 2018
* U.S. military quietly prepares for a last resort: War with North Korea, by Helene Cooper, Eric Schmitt, Thomas Gibbons-Neff and John Ismay, New York Times, Jan 14, 2018
Statement of the Vancouver Women’s Forum on Peace and Security on the Korean Peninsula
As sixteen delegates representing peace movements from all over the world, we have traveled from Asia, Pacific, Europe, and North America to convene the Vancouver Women’s Forum on Peace and Security on the Korean Peninsula, an event held in solidarity with Canada’s Feminist Foreign Policy to promote a peaceful resolution to the crisis on the Korean Peninsula.
Sanctions and isolation have failed to curb North Korea’s nuclear weapons program and instead severely harm the North Korean civilian population. A Korean Peninsula free of nuclear weapons will only be achieved through genuine engagement, constructive dialogue, and mutual cooperation. We issue the following recommendations to the Foreign Ministers participating in the January 16 Summit on Security and Stability in the Korean Peninsula:
* Immediately engage all relevant parties in dialogue, without preconditions, to work toward achieving a nuclear-free Korean peninsula;
* Abandon support for the strategy of maximum pressure, lift sanction s which have deleterious effect s on the North Korean people, work toward the normalization of diplomatic relations, remove barriers to citizen-to-citizen engagement, and strengthen humanitarian cooperation;
* Extend the spirit of the Olympic truce and affirm the resumption for inter-Korean dialogue by supporting :
i) negotiations for the continued suspension of joint US-ROK military exercises in the south , and the continued suspension of nuclear and missiles tests in the north,
ii) a pledge not to conduct a first strike, nuclear or conventional, and
iii) a process to replace the Armistice Agreement with a Korea Peace Agreement;
* Adhere to all the Security Council recommendations on Women, Peace, and Security. In particular, we urge you to implement United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325, which acknowledges that the meaningful participation of women in all stages of conflict resolution and peacebuilding strengthens peace and security for all…
These recommendations are based on our long experience engaging with North Koreans through citizen diplomacy and humanitarian initiatives, and from our collective expertise on militarism, nuclear disarmament, economic sanctions, and the human cost of the unresolved Korean War. The Summit is a sobering reminder that the gathered nations have a historic and moral responsibility to formally end the Korean War. A pledge not to conduct a first strike can de-escalate tensions by significantly reducing the apprehension of an attack and the risk of miscalculation that could result in an intentional or an inadvertent nuclear launch. Resolving the Korean War can be the single most effective action to halt the intense militarization of Northeast Asia, which gravely threatens the peace and security of 1.5 billion people in the region. The p eaceful resolution of the Korean nuclear crisis is the key step toward the total global elimination of nuclear weapons…
Read the full, four-page statement at the weblinks above.
Women peacemakers gather at Vancouver summit on North Korea
When foreign ministers from 20 nations meet in Vancouver on January 16, 2018 to discuss security and stability on the Korean Peninsula, an international delegation of 16 women representing peace movements, women’s networks, faith groups, and others from Asia, Europe, and North America will also convene in that city. The group aims to encourage the politicians to include civil-society perspectives in their official talks.
The objective is to urge the ministers to prepare the table for a diplomatic peace process that moves away from war and increased militarization, and toward peace, reconciliation, and genuine security. Through the Vancouver Women’s Forum and other actions, the women delegates will remind government leaders of overwhelming global public opinion that favours a peaceful diplomatic resolution as the only option on the table for resolving the Korean crisis. The outcome of the official summit must support the recent breakthroughs in inter-Korean rapprochement, not derail it.
Patti Talbot, who leads the United Church’s Global Partnerships team (and has responsibility for United Church partnerships in northeast Asia) will be part of this international delegation, as will United Church partner Moon-Sook Lee, vice-chair of the Reconciliation and Reunification Committee of the National Council of Churches in Korea (NCCK) and an ordained minister of the Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea.
The Statement of the Vancouver Women’s Forum on Peace and Security on the Korean Peninsula was released on January 15.
On Monday, January 15, join in a Candlelight Vigil for Peace at the Vancouver Convention Centre from 7 to 8 p.m. On the morning of Tuesday, January 16, join the delegation outside the Convention Centre in a public Witness for Peace from 8 to 9:30 a.m.
For more information, contact Patti Talbot, Team Leader, Church in Partnership
416-231-7680 ext. 4018 1-800-268-3781 ext. 4018 [email protected]