Veterans For Peace is absolutely delighted that peace is breaking out on the Korean Peninsula. We congratulate the Korean people, who cried out for peace and unity, and we applaud their leaders, who listened and acted courageously.
The joint statement from the historic summit between President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un is a hopeful departure from hostile relations between the United States and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). Just months ago, the two leaders were threatening nuclear war. The world can breathe much easier today.
President Trump and Chairman Kim Jung UN agreed on four basic points:
1) “… to establish new US-DPRK relations in accordance with the desire of the peoples’ of the two countries for peace and prosperity;
2) … to join their efforts to build a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula;
3) the DPRK commits to work toward the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula; and
4) the U.S. and the DPRK commit to recovering POW/MIA remains, including the repatriation of those already identified.”
The joint communiqué also states that “President Trump committed to provide security guarantees to the DPRK.” Within hours of signing this agreement, President Trump surprised many by announcing a suspension of the US/South Korea “war games,” which he called “expensive” and “provocative.” This much needed step is exactly what Veterans For Peace has been calling for, along with peace advocates in the US, Korea and around the world.
Sadly, this historic opportunity for peace on the Korean Peninsula is being met with widespread skepticism by mainstream media, who all seem to be reading from the same talking points. Even more alarming is the outright opposition from many in the Congress, both Democrats and Republicans. Two Democratic senators, Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, a disabled Iraq veteran, and Chris Murphy of Connecticut, have already introduced an amendment to the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that seeks to prevent President Trump from withdrawing US troops from South Korea. This is perhaps just a taste of what is in store.
It is worth noting that prior to the Kim-Trump summit, North Korea had unilaterally provided all the security assurances, by halting missile and nuclear tests, releasing US detainees, and destroying its nuclear test site. These confidence-building steps are overlooked by those who complain that President Trump has given much but gained nothing.
Skeptics who claim “the agreement is lacking in substance” do not appear to want peace at all. Are they more comfortable with a dangerous nuclear standoff and endless taxpayer spending on “defense?” In fact, the joint agreement is quite general, and a tremendous amount of work remains to be done. These negotiations will take some time, and the process of demilitarization of the Korean Peninsula will take years.
The US peace movement has played an admirable role in building support for a peace…