CHRISTINE AHN, [email], @christineahn
Ahn is executive director of the Korea Policy Institute. She stressed: “The U.S.-ROK [South Korea] started joint military exercises in the East Sea on Feb. 4, ratcheting up the tensions in the region. South Korea under Lee Myung Bak has pursued a regime change/collapse approach which the U.S. has willfully followed. … This is the 60th anniversary of the armistice agreement signed between the U.S. and North Korea to temporarily halt the fighting of the Korean War. It is indeed time to finally put that temporary agreement to rest with a formal peace treaty. Secretary of State Kerry is one of the most knowledgeable among those inside the beltway about the situation — hopefully he will heed the call for Koreans across the peninsula and people around the world to end the arms race and finally put this Korean War to rest.
“Donald Gregg, former ambassador to ROK and former CIA Station Chief in Seoul, recently said: ‘[North Korean leader Kim Jong Un] is apparently showing his intent to develop his country’s nuclear capabilities not as a threat, but as a deterrent. The country’s nuclear program has destabilized the region and prompted Japan to consider developing its own nuclear program, which highlights the need for dialogue.’”
JOSEPH GERSON, [email]
Gerson is director of programs for the American Friends Service Committee in New England and author of Empire and the Bomb: How the U.S. Uses Nuclear Weapons to Dominate the World. He was among the signers of a recently released statement on Korea. Among the points the statement made: “We note that beginning with the Korean War, the United States has prepared and threatened to attack North Korea with nuclear weapons at least nine times, that it maintains the so-called U.S. ‘nuclear umbrella’ over Northeast Asia, and that its current contingency plans for war with North Korea include a possible first-strike nuclear attack.
“The Obama administration’s first-term policy of ‘strategic patience’ with the DPRK [North Korea], reinforced by crippling sanctions that contribute to widespread malnutrition, connected to the stunting of growth in children and starvation, has proven to be a grave failure. The policy has foreclosed crucial opportunities to explore diplomacy and engagement. ‘Strategic patience,’ combined with North and South Korea’s increasingly advanced missile programs, aggressive annual U.S.-South Korean military exercises — including preparations for the military overthrow of the DPRK government — and the Obama administration’s militarized Asia-Pacific ‘pivot,’ contributed to the DPRK’s decision to conduct a third nuclear ‘test.’”
Gerson also recently wrote the piece “Washington’s Asia-Pacific Pivot and Common Security Alternatives.”
TIM SHORROCK, [email], @TimothyS
Shorrock is author most recently of the book Spies for Hire: The Secret World of Intelligence Outsourcing. He was on Democracy Now this morning and noted that the North Korean government is angry about “massive war games that the United States and South Korea [engage in] almost every year — one took place last week. And they see the United States and these war games as very hostile and as a threat to their sovereignty, as they put it. …
“[The U.S. and South Korea] practice first-strike nuclear capability. They practice invading North Korea. They practice taking over the territory of North Korea and having South Korea-U.S. forces take it over while there’s a crisis there.”