The recent nuclear test and launches by North Korea and the resulting international condemnation showed how quickly tensions in Northeast Asia can escalate.
Once again, the U.S. is seeking more sanctions, North Korea threatens to restart its Yongbyon nuclear reactor, and the United States and South Korea raised their military alert level Thursday after the North said it would abandon the 1953 Korean War truce.
The possibility of war, and a new arms race with Japan nuclearizing hovers in the air. It is ironic that this is happening just as South Koreans mourn the death of former President Roh, who was a supporter of increased relations with the North.
Why is this happening now? U.S. reporters focus a great deal on internal North Korean leadership succession theories. But it was the failure of the Six Party Talks, due in great part to efforts by the U.S. to demand further concessions from North Korea outside of the talks; the lack of new leadership in reaching out to North Korea from President Obama; and a basic contradiction between the U.S. wanting denuclearization of North Korea first before peace and normalized relations, and North Korea’s wanting peace and normalized relations before fully denuclearizing.
The root of the problem is that as long as North Korea remains in a “state of war” with the U.S. – there is no real incentive for North Korea to fully denuclearize. The root problem is that the Korean War never ended. As North Korea’s threatened abandonment of the 1953 Armistice indicates – it’s time to for a real Peace Treaty to End the Korean War.
For more information on this, please see:
1) the Korea Policy Institute’s Policy Brief: The Case For A Peace Treaty to End the Korean War,
2) Read the transcript, or listen to Prof. Bruce Cumings on Democracy Now!, http://www.democracynow.org/
3) For what you can do – please see http://www.endthekoreanwar.org or join Nodutdol as it works on the Peace Treaty Campaign!