Negotiations not chest-thumping needed with North Korea

Pyongyang, North Korea
Courtesy of Save Jeju
Courtesy of Asia Pacific Initiative
By Francesca Fiorentini
Apr 5, 2013

For those trying to keep up on the latest tensions on the Korean peninsula, here is a mini compilation of articles to try and help.

Today on Democracy Now! Christine Hong of UC Santa Cruz provided context for the current crisis, reminding us that the terms of the 1953 Korean War Armistice Agreement—the negotiation of a permanent peace agreement and the removal of foreign forces from the Korean peninsula—have gone unfulfilled in these 60 years.

With this in mind, it is little wonder why in mid March North Korea called the Armistice Agreement invalid and effectively pulled out of it. This of course triggered outcry in the U.S. and at the U.N., despite the fact that the agreement was effectively void thanks to inaction by the U.S., China, and South Korea, which never even signed the armistice.

Foreign Policy in Focus has outlined the blunders in U.S.’ reaction to heightened threats from North Korea, as the Navy’s sending of missile destroyers to the Western Pacific was not intended to be the public of a show of force it wound up being. Not exactly a good moment to be moving battleships around.

Who exactly ordered those destroyers against Korea? http://ering.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2013/04/04/who_exactly_ordered_those_destroyers_to_korea

In the meantime the U.S. media hasn’t wasted a moment in its alarmist pre-emptive war coverage. The media watchdog group FAIR has reported on the militarist hysteria of CNN, which is beginning the regular circus of inviting retired generals to describe elaborate yet highly unlikely war plans.

Media warmongering. It’s almost an art at this point.

What is the way forward? Well if a lack of negotiations is the reason we are in this mess, negotiations are the way only out of it. North Korea has repeatedly requested peace negotiations and it’s the U.S. that has yet to return calls. The Working Group for Peace and Demilitarization in Asia and the Pacific has put out the statement Stop War Games, Start Peace Talks, that calls on the U.S. “to turn to diplomacy for common and human security rather than militarization, which will only undermine regional and U.S. security.”

It’s on us to inform ourselves and others on the issue, and support grassroots peace organizers in Korea. As the late and great policy analyst Chalmers Johnson wrote of this last remaining Cold War conflict:

“It is only in the U.S. that the departure of this generation seems to have created such a case of historical amnesia that a new generation is preparing to start a war there all over again.” 

Let’s make sure the dangers of military chest-thumping in Korea are not lost on this generation, so as to not find ourselves stumbling foolishly into yet another—nearly identical—war in the Pacific.

More resources:

North Korea: What's Really Happening?

http://www.salon.com/2013/04/05/north_korea_whats_really_happening/

The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the entire War Times project

Francesca Fiorentini is an independent journalist and comedian based in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Before working with War Times she was an editor with Left Turn magazine andWIN: Through Revolutionary Nonviolence, the magazine of the War Resisters League. She writes, produces, and directs the comedy video blog Laugh to Not Cry.  Follow her @franifio

More by Francesca Fiorentini:

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