Promote Diplomacy with North Korea
“The Only Realistic Option”
On June 28, 2017, six experts on North Korea including former Secretary of Defense William Perry and former Secretary of State George Shultz sent a letter to President Trump expressing their belief that diplomacy is “the only realistic option to reduce dangers resulting from the current high state of tensions and prevent North Korea’s ongoing development and potential use of nuclear weapons.”
The successful nuclear agreement with Iran is a prime example of the efficacy of nuclear diplomacy, even with an adversary. Since it’s implementation in January 2016, the Iran accord has been keeping us safe by verifiably blocking all of Iran’s potential pathways to obtaining nuclear weapons. The same focused diplomacy could and should be applied to talks with North Korea.
While the Trump administration has rightly pivoted towards diplomacy to address the crisis, multiple signs suggest it may be heading to the negotiating table with a list of demands rather than a real willingness to engage in sustained negotiations. North Korea has made clear that it will only participate in good-faith diplomacy that involves incremental and reciprocal steps towards complete denuclearization and peace on the Korean Peninsula. Trump’s national security advisor John Bolton, who argued for launching a first strike on North Korea shortly before his appointment, has been pushing an approach that would demand that North Korea completely denuclearize before the U.S. relieves any of the sanctions. If Bolton’s approach is adopted, diplomacy could fail and the administration could pivot back towards war.
War with North Korea should be avoided at all costs. Even a limited military strike would very likely lead to all out war with North Korea, which would imperil millions of lives. South Korea’s capital city of Seoul and the surrounding area has a population of roughly 25 million people, who are all in range of North Korea’s significant artillery. A study from 2012 estimated that 64,000 people could be killed by artillery in the first day of fighting. The U.S. has roughly 28,500 soldiers stationed in South Korea, some of whom would be in range of the North’s artillery, and many of whom would be called upon to fight. Since much of North Korea’s nuclear arsenal is hidden, a preemptive strike would very likely fail to take out all of the North’s nuclear capabilities, so North Korea could decide to retaliate with nuclear weapons.
It’s time to try diplomacy without preconditions. Successful diplomacy is about open-minded dialogue, not making demands. Peace Action is lobbying Congress, helping to shape the media narrative, and mobilizing grassroots activists to support diplomacy and oppose war with North Korea. Click here and take action today to urge your members of Congress to join our call for direct diplomacy with North Korea, and against further threats of war.
Related Blog Posts
Peace During Pandemic – Support the Global Ceasefire
“The fury of the virus illustrates the folly of war.” That’s is what United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres exclaimed as he delivered an appeal to warring parties around the world to lay down arms in a global ceasefire. The United States, which is currently engaged in war hostilities on nearly every continent of the world, […]
President Moon’s Unenviable Task
This article was originally published on Common Dreams. When President Moon Jae-in of South Korea meets with President Donald Trump at the White House this week, he may find himself fighting the urge to pour cold water all over Trump, because that’s what Trump did to the Korea peace process when he met with Kim […]
Iraq War Anniversary Reminds Us That Regime Change Has a Disastrous Track Record
Washington, D.C. — March 19, 2019 — On the eve of the 16-year anniversary of the Iraq War, Paul Kawika Martin, Senior Director for Policy and Political Affairs at Peace Action, released the following statement: “The U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 remains one of the worst foreign policy blunders of our time. Thousands of […]
No Hanoi Agreement, But Diplomacy Must Continue
Washington, D.C. — February 28, 2019 — In response to the Hanoi summit meeting between President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong-un ending without an agreement, Kevin Martin, President of Peace Action and Coordinator of the Korea Peace Network, released the following statement: “It’s unfortunate that the Hanoi Summit did not lead to an agreement, however, […]
Peace Action Applauds Legislation Calling for Peace Agreement to End the Korean War
Washington, D.C. — February 26, 2019 — In response to Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) introducing legislation to support diplomacy and the pursuit of peace on the Korean Peninsula, Kevin Martin, President of Peace Action and Coordinator of the Korea Peace Network, released the following statement: “This legislation offers a common sense vision for achieving peace […]
Korea Peace Network Responds to Letter Calling for Resumption of War Drills
In response to a January 29, 2019 letter sent to Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan by 13 House Armed Services Committee members calling for a resumption of military exercises with South Korea, Kevin Martin, President of Peace Action and Coordinator of the Korea Peace Network, sent the following letter of behalf of the Korea Peace […]
Second Trump-Kim Summit Hints at Progress
Washington, D.C. — January 18, 2019 — In response to the administration’s announcement that President Trump and Kim Jong-un will hold a second summit meeting near the end of February, Kevin Martin, President of Peace Action and Coordinator of the Korea Peace Network, released the following statement: “After months of scant visible progress in negotiations […]
For This Year’s International Day of Peace, Korea Takes the Lead
(Photo: Korea.net / Korean Culture and Information Service / Jeon Han) This article was originally published on Common Dreams. Today is the International Day of Peace, an unfortunately lightly observed day, especially in the perpetually-at-war United States. However, Campaign Nonviolence, spurred by the group Pace e Bene, is helping coordinate various peace actions in the U.S. and worldwide. […]
North Korea Impasse Requires Sustained Diplomacy, Not On-Again Off-Again Talks
Washington, D.C. — August 24, 2018 — In response to President Trump’s decision to cancel Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s planned trip to North Korea, Paul Kawika Martin, Senior Director for Policy and Political Affairs at Peace Action, released the following statement: “This looks like a response to criticism President Trump has faced for repeatedly […]
Letter to the President: On Implementing the Joint Statement of the Singapore Summit
In light of ongoing efforts to secure lasting peace and denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula, civil society groups and leaders from the Korea Peace Network sent this letter to President Trump to lay out concrete steps we believe the administration should take to advance the diplomatic process with North Korea. President Donald Trump The […]