Tag: <span>Korea</span>

Nuclear Weapons Appeals

Dark Clouds and Little Light at the Nuclear-Weapon Non-Proliferation…

Featured Image Photo by  Egor MyznikUnsplash.

After late night negotiations; the every-five-year Review of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons; (The NPT Review) failed to reach a consensus on a final statement this past Friday.  The terms of the Review require a consensus and not a majority-minority vote.  This is not the first time that a NPT Review has failed to reach a consensus on a final documen; but the failure is an indication of strong tensions among nuclear-weapon states – in particular over the Russian Federation armed conflict in Ukraine.

151 States participated in the Review held at the United Nations in New York; however the Review is not a U.N. conference, thus the consensus rules of procedure.  There were 160 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) accredited to participate in the Review.  I had chaired the NGO representatives at the first Review in 1975 held in Geneva, and also chaired the NGOs at the 1980 Review.  We were fewer then.  However getting consensus among NGOs is nearly as difficult as among States.  The impact of NGOs depends to a large part on preparation before the Review and follows up after.

The Treaty was negotiated in Geneva during a 10-year period with frequent consultations between the negotiators and the Foreign Ministries.  Many negotiators of non-nuclear-weapon States considered the treaty as uneven or unfair, giving a superior position to the five official nuclear-weapon States: China, France, Russia, the U.K. and the U.S.A. In “compensation” there is a crucial Article VI in which the nuclear-weapon States agree:

“to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to the cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament.” 

NGOs have cited Article VI at each Review deploring the lack of progress toward nuclear disarmament or any other type of disarmament.

Dark clouds hung over this Review with the statements of the Russian authorities on 24 February and again on 27 April threatening that nuclear weapons might be used if its forces in Ukraine were menaced.  As a reply, the States party to the 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons issued a 23 June consensus statement stating that:

“any use or threat of use of nuclear weapons is a violation of international law, including the Charter of the United Nations” and condemned “unequivocally any and all nuclear threats, whether they be explicit or implicit and irrespective of the circumstances.”

It is certain that the shadows of nuclear weapons exist in the thinking of some governments. The State of Palestine participated in the Review but not the State of Israel.  The Republic of Korea was there but not North Korea.  There is a need to deal both with regional tensions such as those of the Middle East or the two Koreas as well as the nuclear-weapon stockpile of the U.S.A. and the Russian Federation.  There are some possibilities of “Track II” – informal diplomacy – concerning the Middle East and the Koreas.  However there is less concerning U.S. and Russian nuclear policy where NGOs have made proposals for as long as I can remember but with little visible impact.  Yet the challenge is there.  The coming together of such a large number of NGO representatives may help build a platform for NGO consensus and action.

Korean Peace

Korean Peace Memorial By John Murphy, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons. 

Korean Peace Treaty Awaits: NGO Efforts Needed.

Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

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Korean Peace Appeals

Korean Peace Treaty Awaits: NGO Efforts Needed.

Featured Image: Korean Peace Memorial By John Murphy, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons. 

27 July marked the anniversary of the 1953 Armistice ending the fighting in Korea.  A peace treaty was to follow, but such a formal peace agreement has never been signed.  Since 1953; there have been ups and downs of the degree of tensions on the Korean Peninsula.  Currently, tensions are toward the high end of the scale.

On 14 March 2013; the Association of World Citizens had sent a message to the then United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon; urging a U.N.-sponsored Korean Peace Settlement Conference; now that all the States which had  participated in the 1950-1953 Korean War were members of the United Nations.  The 60th anniversary of the 1953 Armistice would be an appropriate occasion.

Such a Korean Peace Settlement Conference could build a framework for a broader, comprehensive approach to  Northeast Asian security. The Association of World Citizens stressed the need for strong diplomatic measures by concerned States such as China, Russia, the U.S.A. and Japan. The World Citizens highlighted that in the past, there had been a series of dangerous but ultimately resolvable crisis concerning the two Korean States.  However; there are always dangers of miscalculations and unnecessary escalation of threats.

Ban Ki moon

Ban ki-moon, 5 February 2016. By Chatham House, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.

Test The Waters.

The 60th anniversary went by without a Peace Conference.  Today, we are still at about the same point of trying to develop confidence-building measures between the two Korean States.  Small steps that do not overly worry the U.S.A. and China who watch events closely are needed.  It is unlikely that any progress will be made in the foreseeable future concerning demilitarization of the Korean Peninsula or unification.  Small steps are probably the order of the day.  The Association of World Citizens has proposed increased family contacts, cultural exchanges, and increased food aid to the Democratic People’s Republic, a lessening of economic sanctions, and an increase in trade.  There is a need to halt the automatic reaction to every provocation. There is a a need to “test the waters” for a reduction of tensions and building confidence-building measures.

In striving to build trust and political negotiations between two adversaries, confidence- building measures attempt to replace conflict with cooperation.  With the purpose to diffuse tensions; confidence-building measures try to initiate a process of dialogue by promoting better communications involving governments and non-governmental representatives in building bridges of trust; thus breaking walls of suspicion and mistrust.

Korean War

Montage for the Korean War Main Page in Wikipedia. By Madmax32, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

“Hawks” who are against confidence-building measures.

There is always  need to build support for confidence-building measures as in all countries there are “hawks”  who are against confidence-building measures while those favourable to confidence-building efforts fail to broaden their support base at the popular level.  Thus, there is an important role to be played by the media, by non-governmental organizations and by academics.

Such efforts are particularly needed today when tensions, in part related to nuclear programs, are growing.  Positive efforts need to be made.

 

René Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

Here are other publications that may be of interest to you.

The Uprooted.

Increasing numbers of people in countries around the world, have been forced from their homes, by armed conflicts and systematic violations of human rights. Those who cross internationally recognized borders…

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