Workers' Weekly On-Line
Volume 48 Number 24, December 15, 2018 ARCHIVE HOME JBCENTRE SUBSCRIBE

Friends of Korea Meeting

Developments in Working for Peace on the Korean Peninsula


Kim Jong Un, Chairman of the Workers’ Party of Korea and State Affairs Commission of the DPRK, and President Moon Jae-in of the Republic of Korea (ROK) on Mount Paektu in the DPRK, September 20, 2018

A public meeting organised by Friends of Korea, a co-ordinating committee of organisations and parties who wish the DPRK and the entire Korean people well, was held at the Marx Memorial Library in London on November 18. It was held in the context of the historic developments in working for peace and reunification on the Korean Peninsula.

It gained special significance at the time, when the necessity to put an end to war is on people's minds with the centenary of the Armistice which concluded World War I on November 11, 1918. In that sense, the meeting was one of a series across the country taking a stand against war and affirming that it is the people who are the force for securing peace. The meeting aimed to provide information on the factors favouring reunification and peace on the Korean Peninsula and provide opportunity for questions and discussion.

One of the main themes in holding the meeting was that peace on the Korean Peninsula concerns not only the Korean people, but the people of the whole world. Thus its reference point was that it is incumbent on all peace- and justice-loving people to support the efforts of the governments and peoples of the DPRK and the ROK now that a lasting peace is within reach.

Friends of Korea affirms that this is an historic moment for the Korean people, one which is entirely in keeping with the spirit of the times which relies on the people to develop the anti-war movement, without illusions that it is by putting pressure on the warmongers that peace is to be secured.

Indeed, it is the United States and its partners in crime that have ensured that the Korean Peninsula has been kept forcibly divided for over 70 years and that a state of war exists between the US and the DPRK. The Korean people are moving as one towards peace as never before, despite the twists and turns as the US blows hot and cold towards the peace process. Nevertheless, the aspirations of the people of the Korean nation for peace and reunification are outside the control of the US, which is forced to recognise this fact.

The meeting was chaired by Andy Brooks, General Secretary of the New Communist Party of Britain, and addressed by Michael Chant, General Secretary of RCPB(ML), and Dermot Hudson, as representative of the Korean Friendship Association, UK.

Following the main presentations, an extensive question and answer session followed, with many in-depth contributions from all present.

We reproduce below some of the remarks made by Michael Chant.

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Michael Chant addressing the meeting

The Panmunjom Declaration for Peace, Prosperity and Unification of the Korean Peninsula was adopted between Kim Jong Un and Moon Jae-in on April 27, during the 2018 inter-Korean Summit on the South Korean side of the Peace House in the Joint Security Area.

The declaration commits the respective governments to work together in ushering in a new era of peace, ending divisions and confrontation in opening up a new era of national reconciliation, peace and prosperity, beginning a new era of peace and sharing commitments in ending divisions and confrontation by approaching a new era of national reconciliation, peace and prosperity and improvements to inter-Korean relations. The subsequent "September Pyonyang Joint Declaration" of Moon Jae-in, President of the Republic of Korea and Kim Jong Un, Chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea held the Inter-Korean Summit Meeting in Pyongyang on September 18-20 was a further development, in which the two leaders assessed the excellent progress made since the adoption of the historic Panmunjom Declaration, such as the close dialogue and communication between the authorities of the two sides, civilian exchanges and co-operation in many areas, and epochal measures to defuse military tension.

Kim Jong Un and Moon Jae-in reaffirmed the principle of independence and self-determination of the Korean nation, and agreed to consistently and continuously develop inter-Korean relations for national reconciliation and co-operation, and firm peace and co-prosperity, and to make efforts to realise through policy measures the aspiration and hope of all Koreans that the current developments in inter-Korean relations will lead to reunification.

Of course, of paramount importance for a genuine peace on the Korean Peninsula is also that the US sign a peace treaty with the DPRK, to bring an end to the state of war which has existed since 1953 when an Armistice was signed. The events of World War I also underline that it must be a just peace treaty, one in which there is genuine goodwill between the parties, and not punitive towards the DPRK. The sanctions perpetrated against the DPRK can themselves be considered an act of war.

The facts of the matter with regard to nuclear weapons and the threat of nuclear holocaust are that the DPRK had been given little choice but to arm itself with tactical nuclear weapons because of the nuclear threat and blackmail coming from the US. The conclusion must be that the removal of the threat posed by the US is a condition for the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula and normalisation of relations with the US. In other words, denuclearisation must be a bilateral effort by the DPRK and the US. Nevertheless, the goodwill shown by the DPRK in ending the testing of nuclear weapons and other measures is remarkable, showing the genuine desire to take practical steps, not just words, in advancing the peace process.

Following the June 12 DPRK-US Summit in Singapore, as we have mentioned, the divided north and south of the Korean Peninsula and their peoples and governments have concretely developed their unity. They have, for example, on November 4 begun trial dismantlement of guard posts surrounding the DMZ. On November 1, they began calling a halt to land, air and sea military exercises, and began the operation of a designated no-fly zone along the military demarcation line (MDL). Military talks have been held on the implementation of the September Pyongyang Joint Declaration. Other inter-Korean talks have also been held, such as on co-operation in forestry. And the ROK has prevailed on the US to suspend their major joint military exercises during diplomatic negotiations.

But what also must be demanded is that the US also cease putting obstacles in the way forward and sabotaging the positive atmosphere that the Singapore Summit had created. Furthermore, legal and institutional measures must be taken toward a declaration and peace treaty to end the Korean War. This would foster the normalisation of US-DPRK relations and enable tangible steps to be taken towards the complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula.

It can be pointed out that the propaganda of not only the US administration but of the British government, while claiming that the DPRK with a nuclear deterrent is somehow a threat, the nuclear arsenals of the US, Britain, France and Israel are not. It also noted that this hostility and distrust has consistently undermined previous attempts at denuclearising the Korean Peninsula.

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The Korean people have seized the initiative presented by the historic Panmunjom Summit and the resulting Panmunjom Declaration in order to create a new page in modern Korean history, to lay the foundations for the peaceful and independent reunification of Korea.

The Friends of Korea will continue to provide information on the factors favouring reunification and peace on the Korean Peninsula and fully support the endeavours of the Korean people "By Our Nation Itself" to ending confrontation and reuniting the Korean Peninsula. In terms of matters of war and peace which concern the people of the whole world, this is a truly historic step.

Support the right of the Korean people to self-determination, independence and peace! Take up the cause of global peace!


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