|The United States and North Korea should step back from the brink of war in North East Asia, and instead adopt a diplomatic approach to prevent war, according to an appeal sent yesterday to these two governments, and to the UN Security Council, by members and affiliates of the Abolition 2000 global network to eliminate nuclear weapons.
110 organisations and over 200 additional civil society representatives from 44 countries endorsed the appeal. it highlights the increasing risk of war – and possibly even the use of nuclear weapons by miscalculation, accident, or intent, calls for ‘immediate commencement of negotiations to prevent a military conflict from erupting,’ and urges ‘the UN Security Council to prioritise a diplomatic solution to the conflict.’
Endorsers of the appeal included parliamentarians, mayors/city representatives, scientists, academics, business leaders, medical professionals, veterans, educators/teachers, Nobel Peace Laureates, Right Livelihood Award laureates (the ‘alternative Nobel Peace Prize’), religious leaders, artists, nuclear victims, lawyers, women’s organisations, youth, former UN officials & diplomats, NGO leaders and other civil society campaigners.
‘Diplomacy with North Korea has worked in the past, and could succeed again if the security concerns of all countries in the region are taken into consideration,’ said Alyn Ware, Global Coordinator of Parliamentarians for Nuclear Nonproliferation (PNND) and coordinator of the appeal. ‘This could include negotiations for a North East Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone, which appears to have cross-party support from the three key countries – Japan, South Korea and North Korea.’
‘We support the call for a negotiated settlement of the dispute between Korea and USA, Japan, South Korea and neighboring countries with a view to secession of nuclear testing in the interests of humanity and protection of the planet,’ said Ela Gandhi (South Africa), Grand-daughter of Mohandas Gandhi and Co-President of Religions for Peace.
‘We support this call for diplomatic approach for North Korea,’ said Mairead Corrigan Maguire, Nobel Peace Laureate and member of Women Cross DMZ, a group of women who walked from North Korea to South Korea in support of peace. ‘As we experienced during our visit to North Korea, the people want peace not war.’
‘I feel sad for the ordinary folk who live in North Korea,’ said Karipbek Kuyukov (Kazakhstan), a second generation victim of nuclear tests and Honorary Ambassador of the ATOM Project. ‘We [in the USSR] went through that too. We thought having weapons of mass destruction means being stronger and more powerful, but it is like an illusion. It is like carrying a huge rock up a steep mountain.’
The appeal also opposes any pre-emptive use of force by any of the parties, calls on all parties to refrain from militaristic rhetoric and provocative military exercises, and welcomes the offers by the UN Secretary-General and the European Union Foreign Minister to assist negotiations to resolve the conflict.
UNFOLD ZERO, an affiliate of Abolition 2000, joins others in the Abolition 2000 network to promote this appeal.