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Open Letter to the Political Leaders of South and North Korea

We, the Korean people, are confident of our ability to end the national division caused by the Cold War in 1950s and to achieve a new age of peace and reunification on the Korean peninsula, as a result of the historic South - North summit talks in June 2000.

Source  :  Korean Committee Against NMD-TMD and for Peace


We, the Korean people, are confident of our ability to end the national division caused by the Cold War in 1950s and to achieve a new age of peace and reunification on the Korean peninsula, as a result of the historic South - North summit talks in June 2000.

However, we have challenges before us in alleviating the tension here, before we have a fruitful outcome from this peace mood. Because the Republican Party of the U.S.A. has come into power and accelerated the NMD-TMD policy, they are hesitating to improve their relationship with North Korea, and are reluctant to take a step forward in the peace process on the Korean peninsula.

Korean citizens have recognized that the NMD-TMD is irrelevant to our country, and that it is a concern only among militarily powerful countries.

However, since the NMD-TMD has been pursued to counter the missile threat of North Korea, it is a critical issue causing not only solidified national division, but also a climate of cold war at the international level, similar to that which brought about the national division of the Korean Peninsula and Korean War. Moreover, it makes normal relations much harder between the two Koreas, and between North Korea and the USA. It is very dangerous for us that surrounding nations may settle down in their idea of preferring the current two-Koreas status rather than taking real peace steps.

The world is still in a state of cold war, especially in East Asia. We are sure that the NMD/TMD will cause a fierce arms race in our region. We, the Korean Committee against NMD/TMD and for Peace, urge the political leaders of the Korean peninsula to do the following, in consideration of these international trends.

First, we call on President Kim Dae-jung to have the Korean government take a clear stand on the NMD-TMD issue.

The government has a plan to acquire the armaments that are critical for the TMD, such as the Patriot PAC-3, an Aegis destroyer flotilla, early alarm equipment, and so on, despite the government's official standpoint that it will not participate in the TMD. This is absolutely contradictory and mendacious for the government to insist it will not participate while at the same time purchasing all the necessary arms.

The Korean Defense Ministry is making the eccentric excuse that the Ministry will build up an independent missile defense system at our own expense, but it is not realistic at all.

In order to create an effective defense system against ballistic missiles, it is indispensable to integrate it with a high-performance satellite system, ground radar bases, and a command-control-communication headquarters, that operate the anti-missile missiles (AMM) in an integrated way. However, under the integrated Korea-U.S.A. defense system, the U.S.A. has the critical roles of collecting information, and of control and command. Therefore we are afraid that purchasing TMD weapons will strengthen the TDA network led by the U.S.A, while also deepening the subordination of the Korean military to the U.S.A.

The Korean government needs to change its policy in light of the Bush administration’s policy of establishing a global missile system that integrates the NMD and the TMD. The Korean government should declare that it will not participate in any kind of ballistic missile system, and cancel its plans for arms purchases related to the NMD·TMD. We believe that this is the only way to counter the peace-destructive strategy of the U.S.A.

Furthermore, our government has been dealing with the issues pertaining to NMD and TMD separately from one another. As the Bush administration has now pronounced its intention to put the NMD and TMD together in order to create a global missile defense shield, now the government has no choice but to change its course. We believe the only way to maintain our government's status quo on the NMD and TMD issues, separate from the decisions of the Bush administration, is to refuse any involvement in all ballistic missile defense systems, and to annul all plans to purchase the relevant arms.

We want to express our most serious concerns over our government's intention to proceed with the large-scale purchase of arms costing over 10 trillion won, in disregard of the increased economic hardship it will put upon our people, and in disregard of the improving relationship with North Korea.

Our government should no longer make decisions in fear of the United States; it should be able to seek its own interests autonomously.

As you are well aware, Mr. President, it is crucial to channel the ongoing peace process between North and South Korea on to mainstream currents in order to further the relationship between the two. This must be done this year through reduction of military tension, establishment of trust, and mutual arms reduction.

It is our strong conviction that we have to cut down military spending on arms, and use the money to protect the lives of citizens suffering from unemployment, poverty, illness, or the damaged environment. In fact, there are no other matters more urgent than this: the government should find a way to deal with it immediately. Thus, we earnestly request our government to put a halt to taking any further steps towards purchasing arms, since further purchases would adversely affect the atmosphere for peace and reunification currently growing on the Korean peninsula.

Next, we would like to address North Korean leader Mr. Kim Jung Il. The recent stalemate in the peace talks between North and South Korea is worrying the people eagerly hoping for peace and reunification on the Korean peninsula. Yes, we are aware of the presence of various factors -- for one, the iron policy of the Bush administration towards North Korea -- that restrain North Korea decisions.

However, it is most urgent to emphasize the importance of a peace settlement between the two Koreas, achieved through a process of reconciliation and cooperation that would pave the way for eventual reunification. What else could be more important to us than this?

We strongly believe that if the second summit between the two Koreas could be held successfully, it would contribute toward bringing peace not only on the Korean peninsula, but also in East Asia and the world. We ask you to continuously strive forward for making the second summit a reality in the shortest time possible.

If there were a permanent peace settlement between the two Koreas, the NMD-TMD military policy of the Bush Administration could be no longer be a war threat to North Korea, and the international community would not only pressure the Bush administration to stop its aggressive military policy, but also provide support and cooperation in building peace on the Korean peninsula.

Bringing peace and reunification to the Korean peninsula, which is the last place on earth with Cold War residues, is more than just the goal of a divided country. It would mean a first success in realizing a reunification through negotiations and agreements, something the world has never experienced before. It would also mean showing to the world that a country divided in the Cold War need not put one region over another under the name of development. Therefore, if we could develop a peaceful and cooperative relationship between South and North Korea, it would contribute to mankind’s advancement.

We believe that you, the leaders of the two Koreas, are already well aware of the significance of all of this, and we strongly and whole-heartedly urge you to use your authority and wisdom in making it possible.


April 9, 2001



Korean Committee Against NMD-TMD and for Peace

Contact: Youngmi Yang (yang@pspd.org)
Cheong Wooksik (civil@peacekorea.org)
Yoon Youngmo (inter@kctu.org)

2001 / -0 / 4-
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