| Free Residents Representative Ji Tae Kim! Completely Renegotiate the US Military Base Expansion in Pyongtaek! No War! Peace!|
Residents’ representative Ji Tae Kim, who is innocent of any crime, must be released immediately!
The South Korean government and Ministry of National Defense, have been attempting to rob the villagers in Pyongtaek of the land that is their home—land that is equal to their very lives—and trying to destroy the farming community that they have protected for generations. Kim Ji Tae (Daechuri Village Leader and Director of the Residents Committee) has no other crime than resisting this violence and complete disregard for the residents will and desire. If this resistance is a crime, then what must we call the barbaric actions of the government and MND: the covering of several million pyeong of farm land with blockages and barbed wire, illegal inspections and the restriction of passage into and out of the villages, even the destruction of Daechuri’s elementary school the forced demolition of houses? Are these actions not a mockery of human rights and a violation of the residents’ very right to existence? The residents’ struggle and Director Ji Tae Kim’s resistance against this breach of government authority and unjust state violence are nothing more than just actions in exercise of their rights. However, although they promised to resolve the issue through dialogue, the government authorities in fact tricked and imprisoned Director Kim and even went so far as to sentence him to prison time, through the whole process deceiving his family, the resident and, in the end, all people of Korea.
However, if the government thinks that by keeping Director Kim locked up it will able to break the residents struggle, it is making a foolish mistake. The residents are strongly determined people who have not bent for over three years to all sorts of threats and attempts at appeasement and coercion. They have stood up unyieldingly to the violence of the government authority defending their land, which represents life and peace, lighting candles of hope for over 800 days. The unjust repression of the government only calls up in them greater rage and resistance. In light of this fact, we make the following claim yet one more time: If the government and MND sincerely wish to settle this matter through dialogue as they have said they do, they must stop all forms of repression against the residents and immediately release Director Ji Tae Kim.
The US military base in Pyongtaek is meant to be an outpost for aggression in accordance with the plan for the Strategic Flexibility of the American Forces.
Because they are based on this policy to strengthen US aggressive power, all based negotiations concerning the base are irrational and must be completely renegotiated.
The Noh Moohyun administration agreed to follow the plan for Strategic Flexibility without the consent of the Korean people. However, it now says that because the base expansion is a joint policy and project of the two nations the passed agreement cannot be renegotiated. While the US justifies the plan for Strategic Flexibility as providing a deterrent to war by North Korea it is in fact a plan to freely deploy US troops around the world for the purpose of making war. This is a serious threat to peace on the Korean peninsula. It is clear that the role of US forces in Korea has change. Thus, passed negotiations concerning the base expansion in Pyongtaek must be re-discussed from their starting point.
In addition, it is clear that many pending issues related to the “realignment of American troops” are under discussion through several channels. The basic content of these issues include the dismantling of the American Eighth Army Command and the reduction of forces, the return of decision making authority in times of war and, accordingly, the dissolution of the US-ROK joint command, the reduction of ground forces, etc. Most importantly, it has been verified the last includes the reduction of the number of American troops stationed in Korea from 37,000 to 25,000. What is more, the media and specialists of military history have predicted that the number of ground forces may be reduced by an additional 15,000. Given these issues, it is time for the both countries to reconsider the former character of the American troops, the division of the financial burden, the scale of bases, etc. In follows, therefore that a complete renegotiation of the US base expansion in Pyongtaek must be held.
The issue of North Korea’s nuclear weapons must be solved through dialogue, not sanctions and confrontation.
Since North Korea, prompted by the United State’s sanctions and antagonistic policy, successfully completed the test of a nuclear weapon, we now find ourselves facing the possibility of war. Given this situation of crisis, we are keenly aware that now is precisely the time at which we must move forward to prevent war and preserve peace. If the expansion of the base in Pyongtaek is completed, it will result in the creation of an outpost from which the US can exercise its policy of preemptive strike against North Korea; this is precisely the role of the proposed base in Pyongtaek. We are aware, therefore, that the struggle against the base expansion has deep implications for the struggle to realize peace on the Korean peninsula.
Fortunately, tensions are beginning to ease slightly: There is now talk of a re-opening of the 6-Party Talks and there has been some contact between the US and North Korea in recent days; the concept of “the dissolution of the North Korean nuclear weapons program and a peace agreement” as the basis for solving the problem is being debated. All this gives rise to new hope. However, the US has not yet abandoned its policy of proceeding with dialogue and sanctions at the same time. This is of great concern. Sanctions and dialogue cannot exist at the same time successfully. If the US sincerely wants to pursue a peaceful solution to the North Korea nuclear weapons issue it must put an end to UN sanctions instantly and discontinue all hostile actions. North Korea and the US, whether through the 6 Party talks or bilateral talks, must engage in sincere dialogue in order to end the over 50-year old antagonistic relationship, concluded a peace agreement attempt through all means possible to build a settlement of peace on the Korean peninsula.
We believe that the realization of denuclearization of Korea through a peaceful resolution of the North Korea nuclear weapons issue and the construction of a stable peace system on the peninsula will be a great contribution to the denuclearization of North East Asia and, finally to a world with out nuclear weapons. We hereby declare that we will make every effort to achieve these goals.
December 8th, 2006.
Free Residents Representative Ji Tae Kim! Completely Renegotiate the US Military Base Expansion in Pyongtaek! No War! Peace!