Tag: <span>Korean Peninsula</span>

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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Nuclear weapons Appeals

The NPT and Broader Human Security.

Featured Image: Castle Romeo nuclear test (yield 11 Mt) on Bikini Atoll. It was the first nuclear test conducted on a barge. The barge was located in the Castle Bravo crater. By United States Department of Energy, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

“Nuclear weapons are unique in their destructive power, in the unspeakable human suffering they cause, in the impossibility of controlling their effects in space and time, in the risks of escalation they create, and in the threat they pose to the environment, to future generations, and indeed to the survival of humanity.”

Jakob Kellenberger, then President of the International Committee of the Red Cross.

The Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons; (known as the NPT Review to its friends); began on 1 August 2022 at the United Nations in New York.  The Secretary- General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres opened the Review by stressing that :

“From the Middle East and the Korean Peninsula. To Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.  The clouds that parted following the end of the Cold War are gathering once more.”

Jakob Kellenberger

 Jakob Kellenberger (born 1944), President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) since 2000 at Dies academicus 2003 of the University of Fribourg. By Charly Rappo, Attribution, via Wikimedia Commons.

Antonio Guterres

Antonio Guterres By Quirinale.it, Attribution, via Wikimedia Commons.

As I chaired the representatives of the non-governmental organizations (NGO) at the 1975 and the 1980 Reviews, then held in Geneva, I have a feeling of repeating myself, especially as I participated in the 1985 and 1990 Reviews, after which the Reviews moved to New York.

As the Reviews were not U.N. meetings but were held in U.N. buildings, we were able to negotiate a greater role for NGOs at the review conferences than at the U.N. disarmament meetings.  Yes, there was a time when the U.N. had a Conference on Disarmament which held regular meetings. In addition, there were three U.N. General Assembly Special Sessions of Disarmament, 1978, 1982, 1988.  Disarmament has largely disappeared from the U.N. Agenda, and NGOs are forced to hand out arms control proposals to government U.N. missions, one step away from distributing pornography.

General Asembly

Image by Basil D Soufi, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.

U.N. General Assembly: Can It Provide the Needed Global Leadership?

Military Spending Remains Constant.

The month-long NPT Review aims at having a final resolution highlighting the discussions.  This final resolution must be agreed upon by consensus making bold proposals difficult.  These proposals might be agreed upon if there were majority-minority voting but impossible by consensus.  Another major difficulty is that there are crucial States outside the NPT framework: India, Pakistan, Israel, North Korea.

The world’s nuclear arms race arose as a classic case of the security dynamic – a situation in which one State tries to make itself more secure by building weapons and military forces which it says are defensive.  NGOs have constantly stressed that money spent on the nuclear weapons industry would be better spent on public health, climate stabilization and ecologically-sound development.  However, military spending remains constant.  NGOs have also stressed during the Reviews the need for developing confidence-building measures.  But confidence remains in short supply.

The debates and the results of the NPT Review merit being watched closely.

Ending the nuclear weapons era will require dedication, sustained effort and increased cooperation among NGOs. NGO action and cooperation led to the treaties on chemical weapons, land mines and cluster weapons.  Developing the framework for a broadly defined human security is the next major step.  The debates and the results of the NPT Review merit being watched closely.

 

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…

1 2 12