Nautilus Institute Policy Forum Online: Let’s send human shields of anti-war and peace to North Korea: Proposal to peace activists and NGOs of South Korea, the U.S. and Japan
PFO 03-23: March 21, 2003
Let’s send human shields of anti-war and peace to North Korea: Proposal to peace activists and NGOs of South Korea, the U.S. and Japan
By Kim Seung-kuk
Kim Seung-kuk, Chairperson of the Solidarity of Korea Reunification Peace Committee in South Korea, asserts that the most visible way of preventing war on the Korean peninsula is to deploy human shields in potential areas of conflict to disrupt attackers from bombing the area. As severe international denunciation will be directed at any U.S. attack endangering the lives of U.S. or Japanese activists, they can really be a “shield” against a U.S. attack on North Korea.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Nautilus Institute. Readers should note that Nautilus seeks a diversity of views and opinions on contentious topics in order to identify common ground.
“Let’s send human shields of anti-war and peace to North Korea: Proposal to peace activists and NGOs of South Korea, the U.S. and Japan”
By Kim Seung-kuk
Chairperson of the Solidarity of Korea Reunification Peace Committee
British Prime Minister Tony Blair has publicly said that North Korea will be the next target for the U.S. military attack. North Korea is on the top of the countries targeted in the “war program” pushed by the United States with the help of Britain and Japan. That is why the establishment of peace and reunification has been delayed in the Korean peninsula. We think the “fuss about Pyongyang’s nuclear development” being raised from October 2002 is not unrelated with this U.S. war program.
Now, it is widely recognized that America will turn a gun to the North after its war on Iraq or even if it fails in the war. Therefore, it seems to be almost certain that the clouds of war are advancing to the Korean peninsula in any event.
In the year 2003, Pyongyang and Washington is expected to sharply confront each other over the agreements they have entered into, increasing the danger of war on the peninsula. Because of the rows over Pyongyang’s nuclear issue, the 1994 Agreed Framework between the two countries has already ceased to be effective and, therefore, there is no longer any crisis management mechanism on the peninsula. There is also no war-prevention regime on the peninsula because the Korean armistice agreement has long become ineffective.
Nevertheless, the United States are refusing to negotiate with the North a non-aggression pact as demanded by Pyongyang. Instead, it is hastening a realignment of U.S. forces in Korea as well as a revision of the ROK-US Mutual Defense Treaty, in order to strengthen the combined ROK-US fighting power.
v Not even taking its responsibility for the delayed completion of projected light-water nuclear reactors construction by the KEDO, the Bush administration has embarked on a war program called the “contingency plan” to destroy the Pyongyang regime. Probably under this war program, the U.S. has recently augumented its war potential against the North. The U.S. Pentagon has indicated its intention to launch a pinpoint air strike against the North’s Yongbyon nuclear site and to intercept vessels carrying Pyongyang’s arms exports. Following this, the Japanese Self Defense Forces are hastening to land in the Korean peninsula again.
Though we cannot be completely sure that a war will break out on the Korean peninsula, there is certainly an evil omen now. Korean peninsula may look calm outwardly, but we seem to hear the distant boom of guns. We must crush even the slightest sign of war, for the happiness of individuals, peace of civil society, security and peaceful reunification of the nation.
War must be prevented in peace. The most visible way of preventing a war would be to deploy human shields in the potential areas of conflict, so that the attackers cannot not easily bomb the areas. For instance, the United States will find it difficult to bomb Yongbyon nuclear facilities and Pyongyang where American and Japanese human shields are deployed. As severe international denunciation will be directed at any American attack endangering their life, they can really be a “shield” against a war.
There are many instances of activities and success involving human shields for anti-war and peace. Pacifist groups in America and Europe are central to such activities, and PBI(Peace Brigade International) and NP( Nonviolent Peace Force) are leading ones. Also the peace activists who have recently entered Iraq to serve as human shields offer vivid examples.
We think that now is the time for pacifist groups and NGOs to learn from the former human shield activities and positively consider sending human shields to Yongbyon and Pyongyang in North Korea.
The Northeast Asia Peace and Security Network invites your responses to this essay. Please send responses to: firstname.lastname@example.org . Responses will be considered for redistribution to the network only if they include the author’s name, affiliation, and explicit consent.
The NAPSNet Policy Forum provides expert analysis of contemporary peace and security issues in Northeast Asia. As always, we invite your responses to this report and hope you will take the opportunity to participate in discussion of the analysis.