Release from Veterans For Peace
1404 North Broadway St. Louis, MO 63102 (314) 725-6005
St. Louis, MO. As a major U.S. peace organization of veterans, including members who served in the Korean War, Veterans For Peace (VFP) is deeply concerned about the underground test of a "smaller hydrogen bomb" in North Korea on January 6 (Korean Time), as well as the rising military tensions on the Korean Peninsula at this time, including the resumption of the loud anti-North propaganda broadcasts across the DMZ by the U.S.-ROK military. U.S. also sent a B-52 bomber, which can drop nuclear bombs, over the Korean sky on January 10.
It is easy to jump to hasty conclusions or put all the blame on North Korean officials, which the media portrays as crazy cartoon characters. We believe it is vitally important for the American people to have a more sophisticated understanding of what is driving the North Koreans into a dangerous and expensive nuclear program.
Are they really just "crazy" or "reckless," as some pundits maintain? A close examination of U.S.-North Korea (DPRK) relations from 1948 shows that North Korea's military steps were often taken in response to hostile actions by South Korea and/or the U.S. government.
So, what new provocations from the U.S. and/or ROK (South Korea) may have pushed North Korea into another nuclear test? There were at least three recent U.S. government actions that probably made them react.
On November 13, 2015, the Treasury Department imposed unilateral sanctions on the DPRK ambassador to Myanmar and three other officers working for the North Korean companies. Imposing a unilateral sanction on an ambassador of another country in a third country, is unprecedented in international relations since such action would be viewed as a hostile action against the country of the offended ambassador, who is usually given high respect and privilege under customary international law.
Second, on December 8, 2015, the U.S. Treasury again imposed a new round of sanctions on the DPRK, including on six North Korean bankers, three shipping companies and the nation's Strategic Rocket Force (a military unit dealing with missiles).
Third, on December 10, 2015, the U.S., as Chair for the UN Security Council for December, organized another special meeting of the Security Council on the alleged violations of human rights in the DPRK, even though the Security Council has no jurisdiction over human rights issues under the UN Charter. The main purpose of this session was to defame and isolate the DPRK further in the international community.
These highly provocative moves of the U.S. government are a continuation of its long war against the DPRK in the form of economic and psychological warfare, that goes back to the Korean War of 1950-53 when the U.S. first imposed its economic sanctions on the DPRK.
It is not surprising therefore that the DPRK statement of January 6 pointed out, "there has been no precedent of such a deep-rooted, harsh and persistent policy as the one the U.S. has pursued toward the DPRK." No nation should be subjected to such cruel measures for more than a half century.
While we support abolition of all weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons, we also recognize the inherent right of all nations to self-defense, as well recognized under international law and the UN Charter. This is especially so for DPRK, which is still in a state of war with the U.S. The United States is the No. 1 exporter of military weapons in the world today and has conducted more than 1,000 nuclear tests of its own -- including a hydrogen bomb on the Marshall Islands in 1952. We have no right to impose harsh sanctions on a small nation that tried to do the same thing underground on its own territory.
United States is also in violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty by
sharing its nuclear weapons with NATO allies and engaging in continuous testing
and modernization of its nuclear weapons and nuclear-industrial
There is some hope, however, of finally banning nuclear weapons, as the non-nuclear States are now taking the initiative to negotiate an international treaty to ban the development, possession and use of nuclear weapons.
In this regard, we are encouraged to note that DPRK was the only nuclear State that voted in favor of the 2015 UN General Assembly Resolution (A/RES/70/33), which called for a special meeting in 2016 of "an open-ended working group" of UN member States to discuss "concrete effective legal measures" to achieve nuclear abolition. It seems DPRK is sending an implicit message that it would be happy to rid itself of nuclear weapons if other nuclear States were to do the same.
Further U.S. economic sanctions, military threats or psychological warfare against the DPRK are not the right answer to North Korea's nuclear test. Such steps would violate the Korean Armistice Agreement and could lead to a tragic resumption of heavy fighting on the Korean Peninsula. Therefore, we urge the Obama administration to accept the constructive offers made by the North Korean government, the latest being its Jan. 2015 offer to suspend its nuclear tests in return for the suspension of annual joint U.S/ROK war drills against North Korea.
Rarely seen in the U.S. media is any mention of another longstanding offer by North Korea -- to sign a peace treaty to end the Korean War once and for all. These are win-win solutions for all Korean people and the people of the world.