April 19, 2016

Filmmaker Dai Sil Kim-Gibson's New Documentary on North Korea

“People are the Sky” director on documenting meanings of home, family

In the documentary “People are the Sky”, filmmaker and writer Dai Sil Kim-Gibson returns to her birthplace in North Korea after the death of her Iowa-born husband Don. Kim-Gibson, with the goal of discovering what home truly means, finds a country where people live in peace and harmony. READ MORE

March 11, 2016

A Plea for Peace in Korea

Photo: Rally in South Korea calling for the end of military exercises (war games) during the heightened tension in the Korean Peninsula.

“Heart speaks to heart”

By Simone Chun

The latest sanctions on North Korea are having immediate effects, including jingoistic reports from the foreign media on Korea and the halting of humanitarian aid to the North from international NGOs. Now is the time to bolster efforts to promote humanitarian and people-to-people exchange with North Korea: it’s the only channel left under the current political climate.      READ MORE

Protest on the Korea-Japan "Comfort Women" Announcement

The 1221st "Wednesday Protest" took place in front of the Japanese embassy (special protest in Washington, DC) with survivor and delegation from South Korea on the "comfort women"/military sex slavery issue. The following is the statement from the rally.

We Denounce the Korea-Japan Announcement on the “Comfort Women” Issue

The military sexual slavery (“comfort women”) system perpetuated by the Japanese military during the World War II in Asia was a war crime committed by the wartime Japanese government, and it is clearly sex crime and human rights violation against women (mostly Korean), including minors aged 13 to 16.

To this day, the Japanese government has made statements on this issue which attempt to whitewash its own responsibility and the coercive nature of the abusive system. The recent Korea-Japan joint announcement on this issue does not drift afar from this.

The Japanese government needs to admit the coercive nature of the “comfort women” mobilization as historical accuracy and provide its legal responsibility and direct reparations – only then will there be sincerity in its apology and lead to the true recovery of honor and dignity of the surviving victims.

We also denounce the diplomatic folly by the Park Geun-hye government of South Korea for reaching this agreement without consultation with the survivors, that does not include official apology from the Japanese government, that yielded to the Japanese pressure on possibly removing the statue (which depicts a victim) across from the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, and agreeing to “irreversible” clause that will prevent future settlements on this issue. Many Korean citizens have voiced strong anger and the survivors have proclaimed this agreement as null and void.

In solidarity with the continuing effort of the survivors on this issue, we will continue to push for full and sincere apology and legal responsibility from the Japanese government.

March 10, 2016
Participants of the 1221st Wednesday Protest, in front of Japanese Embassy in the USA

Contact: nabiusadc@gmail.com

February 24, 2016

South Korean opposition fights draconian anti-terrorism law

Opposition lawmakers in South Korea’s National Assembly are staging a marathon filibuster against a so-called Anti-Terrorist Act being pushed by the Park Geun-Hye government in the wake of North Korea’s latest rocket launch and nuclear testREAD MORE

January 4, 2016

"Japan and South Korea: A New Beginning?"

By John Feffer

December 29, 2015

A Statement by Korean NGO on Korea-Japan Agreement on the "Comfort Women" Issue

Here is a statement from the South Korean NGO working on the "comfort women" issue on the recent governmental agreement on the issue, citing the absence of legal responsibility by the Japanese government and the lack of Korean government's consultation with the survivors:

The Official Statement from the Korean Council for the Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan regarding the Agreement on the Military Sexual Slavery (“Comfort Women”) Issue during the Korea-Japan Ministerial Meeting

Today’s meeting between the foreign ministers of South Korea and Japan concluded with an agreement on the resolution for the military sexual slavery issue. The survivors of the “Comfort Women” system as well as the Korean citizens sincerely hoped for the rightful resolution on the issue through this meeting, on the year which marks the 70th anniversary of Korea’s independence.

The Agreement specified that: first, Japanese government feels its responsibilities for the military sexual slavery; second, Prime Minister Abe apologizes as the representative of the Japanese government; and third, the Korean government establishes a foundation where Japanese government provides the funding while the two governments collaboratively manage initiatives.

Although the Japanese government announced that it “feels [its] responsibilities,” the statement lacks the acknowledgment of the fact that the colonial government and its military had committed a systematic crime. The government had not just been simply involved but actively initiated the activities which were criminal and illegal. Also, the apology was not directly made by the Prime Minister himself as the official representative of the government but was read by a diplomatic representative, while it was unclear to whom he was actually apologizing. Hence it is hard to believe if it was a sincere apology.

In addition, the announcement specified that Korean government will be responsible for establishing the foundation, despite the fact that Japanese government must be actively involved in follow-up initiatives, including acknowledgement of its criminal responsibilities and legal reparations. It appears that Japan will pass the future responsibilities on to the government of the victims’ country after simply paying off the money. Also, it is notable that the Agreement did not specify anything on preventative initiatives such as truth seeking and history education.
The Korean government’s attitude towards this Agreement, which is vague and incomplete, is rather shocking. The government concurred that this Agreement represents a “final, irreversible” settlement of the issues, as long as the Japanese government is committed to the due diligence in the future. Meanwhile, the Korean government promised that it will seek a resolution for the matter of the Peace Monument in front of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul in order to maintain the dignity of the Embassy, and will limit its criticism against Japanese government internationally. This is a diplomatic humiliation.

The Korean government accepted the Japanese government’s absurd condition on the Agreement which demanded the removal of the Peace Monument. Moreover, the attitude of the former which declared that it will not even mention the military sexual slavery issue in the future is shameful and disappointing.

The Peace Monument cannot be a condition or means for any Agreement. It is a public property and a historic symbol representing the peaceful spirit of the Wednesday Demonstrations, which has been continued by the survivors and the citizens for over a thousand Wednesdays. The Korean government cannot mention anything about the removal or moving of the Monument. While the survivors and the civil society cannot accept the Agreement, the governments cannot push their own agenda. Such an act of arrogation only adds to the pain of the victims even more.
All these years, the survivors, supporting civil society organizations and citizens demanded that Japanese government acknowledge its national, legal responsibilities clearly and commit to due diligence in order to recover dignity and human rights of the survivors and prevent any such tragedy in the future. However, the Agreement today is only a diplomatic collusion which betrays the demands from all.

The military sexual slavery issue must be resolved to bring true friendship and peace between Korea and Japan while more survivors are still alive. However, this cannot be rushed while defying proper principle and common sense.

In 2012, the 12th Asia Solidarity Conference for the Resolution of the Military Sexual Slavery by Japan Issue adopted recommendations for the Japanese government to commit to its governmental, legal responsibilities. In order to make such a commitment actually happen, the Korean Council will continue to work tirelessly with the survivors and the domestic and international civil society.

28 December, 2015

The Korean Council for the Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan

December 10, 2015

"North Korea Wants to Negotiate a Peace: U.S. Should Sit Down and Talk"

North Korea Wants to Negotiate a Peace: U.S. Should Sit Down and Talk

The Korean War ended more than 62 years ago, but not really. The warring parties only agreed to an armistice. Technically everyone still is at war. Of course, no one wants to start fighting again. Not even the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, which would lose badly since its erstwhile ally China wouldn't again intervene to save the North.

Indeed, North Korea has proposed negotiations over a formal peace treaty. In October Foreign Minister Ri Su-yong used the UN as a platform to urge the U.S. and DPRK to agree to a treaty ending the conflict. North Korean television reiterated the call a few days later.

In the past Pyongyang's proposals appeared pro forma. But now might be different. Cha Du-hyeogn, national security adviser to the previous South Korean president, suggested that the repetition was "a possible sign that North Korea is serious about holding a conversation with U.S." READ MORE