Coalition members from across the country came together for a national strategy meeting from September 17 through 18 in Washington D.C. We met with policy experts and legislators to discuss U.S. policy in Korea.

We met with Frank Jannuzi, senior advisor to Senator Kerry and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, who believes there is a genuine desire on the part of both the United States and North Korea to renew dialogue.  “Engagement does not equal appeasement,” he said, “Recognizing North Korea means opening the door to peaceful resolution and denuclearization.”

This sentiment was echoed by many others, including General Robert Gard of the Center for Arms Control & Non-proliferation, Richard Harper, Legislative Assistant to Senator Dianne Feinstein of California, and Christina Tsafoulias, Legislative Assistant to Congressman Mike Capuano of Massachusetts.

“We ought to capitalize on the president’s commitment to negotiate,” said General Gard, a Korean War veteran, who insisted the United State has nothing to fear about engaging North Korea.  “What are diplomatic negotiations? You talk over differences.  Even Reagan negotiated with the USSR.”

We walked away from each meeting with increased conviction that the time to press the Obama administration to engage North Korea is now.  With the thawing of relations between North Korea and the United States since former President Bill Clinton’s trip to Pyongyang, the historic family reunifications between North and South Korea, and a new leadership in Japan that may tip the regional balance of power towards engaging North Korea, the opportunity seems ripe for a determined push towards normalization and peace on the Korean peninsula.

(Follow this link to read National Campaign member Christine Ahn’s article “Send Bosworth to Korea” – Foreign Policy in Focus)

Coalition members also held a one-day strategy meeting at the Friends Committee on National Legislation, and resolved to return to our respective cities and strengthen local organizations and coalitions to educate and organize for a change in U.S. policy and lasting peace in Korea.  The National Campaign to End the Korean War is based in the following cities – Honolulu, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Minneapolis, Boston, New York, Washington D.C., and Toronto.

To find out more about the campaign, go to National Campaign to End the Korean War website