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President Bush's hard-line rhetoric

7 February 2002

Statement by Women Making Peace and Women's Peace Action against War following U.S. President Bush's hard-line rhetoric directed at North Korea

We absolutely cannot accept words threatening war on the Korean peninsula.

Last year when President Bush declared war on Afghanistan, he demanded that every nation stand on his side. President Bush has now announced the second stage of the war on terrorism. In doing so he has called North Korea, Iran and Iraq an axis of evil with an implied threat of war on the Korean peninsula. A sensation of fear and anxiety is upon us.

The U.S administrations hard-line rhetoric directed at North Korea is a threat to Koreans who have worked so hard for peace and peaceful reunification on the Korean peninsula.

Bush's pronouncement has come at a point in time when many active non-governmental exchanges have been revived among South Koreans and North Koreans, building again a spirit of trust between the South and the North. This also occurs just ahead of the South KoreaU.S Summit in February. Bush's words mean that South Korea-North Korea and North Korea-U.S relations are not going to be easy. Furthermore, dividing the world into two parts of good and evil and increasing the likelihood of military arms deployment throw the world into a semi-war state. We women, who have suffered militarism, are greatly worried that physical and mental violence coming from militarism can devastate the world and humankind. Therefore, we women for the sake of peace and security on the Korean peninsula and moreover for a peaceful world, make known our demands as follows:

First, we strongly protest Bush's promotion of an atmosphere of war and creation of a pervasive sense of terror while seeking to gain hegemony. We demand that Bush renounce his bellicose words.

Second, we reject any kind of military action that increases tension and conflict on the Korean peninsula. We women know from experience that military action brings violence around the world and amplifies it towards women, children and innocent civilians. Also growing tension and military action will surely ruin the whole economy on the Korean peninsula. There have been talks between North Korea and the U.S. about restraining the spread of weapons of mass destruction. We women urge the U.S to solve problems by continuing to talk and negotiate with North Korea, not through military action.

Third, we insist that the U.S stop forcing arms purchases and cease using alleged threats from North Korea as an excuse to justify Missile Defence(M.D.) program. We are deeply concerned about the U.S. M.D. U.S. talk of M.D. has built up tension in Northeast Asia and also made an arms race a near certainty. North Korea has expressed its moratorium on missile tests until 2003. In the wake of 9/11, North Korea condemned the terrorist attacks and signed several key UN antiterrorism pacts. We women sincerely urge that advanced science, technology, and huge material resources rather than being used to hasten hostile military confrontations be employed to improve the welfare, human rights, and environmental conditions of the weak.

Fourth, we request that the Kim Dae Jung administration protest and clearly draw back from hostile U.S. policy targeting North Korea. South Korea, which has maintained a military alliance with the U.S., requires skillful political leadership in carrying out a peaceful reunification process with North Korea. How can South Korea now accept seeing North Korea become a target of war in U.S. sights? This is an issue entwined in our livelihoods and our very lives. We women insist that the South Korean Government be the driving force behind a Reconciliation and Cooperation Policy and that it carry out the Policy with positive action and wisdom.

Fifth, the press must realize that this crisis is directly connected with the fate of our nation and the people. We plead that this matter be carefully dealt with in order to serve the national interest and to promote peace on the Korean peninsula.

Lastly, we fervently hope that students, politicians, religious leaders, Women's Organizations, and Peace Organizations in the U.S. will take steps to halt the spread of war rhetoric and the threat of military action. With them and all the peace-loving women and people in the world we may strongly oppose war together. We promise to continue our efforts to uphold and keep peace. We also declare that sustaining peace on the Korean Peninsula is essential to maintaining and advancing the peace of the world. Living together in harmony is the imperative choice for our world.

Seoul, Korea

Signed: Women Making Peace; Women's Peace Action against War; Korea Women's Associations United; Kyungki Korea Women's Associations United; Kwangju and Chonnam Korea Women's Associations United; Taegu and Kyungbuk Korea Women's Associations United; Pusan Korea Women's Associations United; Chonbuk Korea Women's Associations United; Kyungnam Women United; Christian Women Minjung Association; Taegu Women's Association; Taejon Women's Association; Pusan Sexual Violence Counseling Center; Pusan Women's Social Institute; Korean Catholic Women Association; Aaewoomtuh; Suwon Women's Association; Korean Women's Center For Social Research; Ulsan Women's Association; Korean Women Farmers Association; Cheju Women's Association; Chonbuk Women's Association; Pohang Women's Association; Korea Daycare Center Teacher's Association; Korea Sexual Violence Relief Center; Korea Women Worker Association; Women Link; Korean Women's Studies Institute; Korean Women Theologian Association; Korean Women's Hot Line; Korean Differently Abled Women's United; Taegu Housewives Association For Environment; Korean Catholic Women's Community for a New World; My Sister's Place; Peace Mother; The Korean Council For the Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan; Korean Church Women United; Committee of Women; Korean Federation for Environment Movement.

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