February 26, 2009

"Open Letter to President Obama on Korea Policy"

As the U.S. Black Hawk helicopter cruising in the Yellow Sea (West Sea) off the coast of Korea shows [U.S. Department of Defense photo], the Korean War is not officially over -- only an armistice stands on the way towards potential restart of the conflict. A group of Korean American and American organizations are urging the Obama administration to engage in direct negotiations to address the peace treaty issue that can pave a way for resolutions to the contentious matters with North Korea. Those who want to sign on to the letter below can send name, affiliation if any, and city/state to koreareport@gmail.com

Dear President Obama,

As a nationwide coalition of Americans of Korean descent and other concerned Americans, we applaud your commitment to a foreign policy that emphasizes diplomacy and negotiation, and hope that this will bring about a lasting peace on the Korean peninsula. We are especially heartened by your campaign commitment to engage in dialogue without preconditions with other countries as a means for resolving tensions.

We urge you to make the signing of a peace treaty with North Korea (DPRK) a top priority of United States foreign policy. In addition, moving toward normal diplomatic relations would be a practical step toward resolving differences over nuclear proliferation and arms control, human rights, and economic reform.

We urgently request that you address the peace treaty issue as soon as possible so that more than 70 million people living on the Korean peninsula and their families here in the United States can at last be freed from the fear of war. Only then can other major regional and global problems be resolved.

It is time to end the Korean War.

As James Laney, former U.S. ambassador to South Korea, recently said in Seoul,"... One item should be at the top of the agenda, however, in order to remove all unnecessary obstacles to progress, that is the establishment of a peace treaty to replace the truce that has been in place since 1953. One of the things that have bedeviled all talks until now is the unresolved status of the Korean War. A peace treaty would provide a baseline for relationships, eliminating the question of the other’s legitimacy and its right to exist. Absent such a peace treaty, every dispute presents afresh the question of the other side’s legitimacy.”

We trust that your leadership will help usher in a new era of peace and stability in Korea and Northeast Asia. We urge you, therefore, in these first 100 days of your administration, to open up bilateral channels of communication with North Korea with a view toward signing a peace treaty to end the Korean War.

National Association of Korean Americans (NAKA)
National Committee for Peace in Korea (NCPK)
North American Network for Peace in Korea (NANPK)
Veterans for Peace & National Lawyer's Guild Korean Peace Project

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