Larry Kerschner Writes

North Korea

          I just returned from Korea as part of a delegation of Veterans for Peace.   The Pan South Korea Solution Committee Against US Base Expansion in Pyeongtaek invited the VFP delegation to take part in a September 24 Peace Rally for Pyeongtaek Farmers in Seoul .  Approximately 1100 farmers are being thrown off their land so that the US can triple the size of Camp Humphreys .  These same farmers were thrown off their land when the US doubled to size of the base in 1952.  They like a great many Koreans want all US troops to leave the Korean Peninsula .  A January 2004 poll reported in the Korea Herald found that fifty-eight percent of young people in Korea saw the US as the greatest threat to their country.

      Now the North Koreans have likely detonated a nuclear warhead.  When George Bush took over North and South Korea were engaging in what they called sunshine policy.  There were plans for cross border train service to help re-unite families.  Then Bush invited the President of South Korea to the White House and publicly repudiated his attempts at peace making with the North. 

       The Bush form of diplomacy is to carry a big stick and yell loudly.  His bellicose plans have included expansion of the so-called missile defense system, ending humanitarian aid to North Korea , expansion of NATO and encouraging Japan to develop nuclear weapons.  All of these are guaranteed to anger North Korea and China while further de-stabilizing the region. 

       The hypocrisy of the Bush administration is palpable.  Bush calls the North Korean nuclear test an unacceptable threat to peace and stability while continuing to ignore our treaty obligations to pursue nuclear disarmament under Article VI of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.  We cry foul when another country develops nuclear capabilities while we are designing new generations of nukes to replace the ones we have.  The Bush administration talks with a straight face about small nuclear bunker busters which some reports suggest they plan to use in Iran . 

      North Korea has stated repeatedly that it will abandon its nuclear program if the US will sit down and bargain as an equal.  Under Article One of the denuclearization treaty they signed along with the US, China, Russia, Japan and South Korea on Sept. 19, 2005  North Korea agreed to abandon all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs.  They accepted that agreement because in Article Two the United States and North Korea agreed to respect each other's sovereignty, exist peacefully together and to take steps to normalize relations.  Four days after signing that treaty the US imposed sanctions to cut off North Korean access to the international banking system branding North Korea as a criminal state.  The North Koreans do not see this as respect for their sovereignty.

      The world does not need another nuclear nation.  The US should be leading the way to rid the world of nuclear weapons. We should be talking to our adversaries instead of threatening them. 

 Larry Kerschner  POB 397  Pe Ell , WA 98572   (W) 360-291-3232  (H) 360-291-3946