PRESS CONFERENCE CALLED BY:
KOREAN CONFEDERATION OF TRADE UNIONS UNIFICATION COMMITTEE AND U.S. LABOR AGAINST THE WAR SOLIDARITY DELEGATION TO KOREA
11AM, May 3, 2018 in front of the U.S. Embassy, Seoul
AMERICAN AND KOREAN WORKERS WELCOME THE PANMUNJOM DECLARATION, CALL FOR A LASTING PEACE ON THE KOREAN PENINSULA, AND AN END TO U.S. MILITARISM IN EAST ASIA
A delegation of 20 unionist and community activists representing the U.S. Labor Against the War coalition has been visiting South Korea since May 1. They have participated in the International Workers’ Day Rally, showed support to the residents of Soseongri and Gimcheon in their fight for the removal of the THAAD missile defense system and discussed means to build a collective fight for demilitarization of U.S. foreign policy and peace on the Korean Peninsula, with Korean workers. USLAW supports the self-determination of people around the world and opposes U.S. intervention in the Middle East, Afghanistan, and Korea. USLAW opposes the militarization of police as a contributor to the intensification of international and domestic racism.
The delegation has come at an unprecedented time in Korean and world history. On April 27 the leaders of South and North Korea walked back and forth across the Military Demarcation Line while holding hands and solemnly declared before South and North Korean society and the whole world that, “There will be no more war on the Korean Peninsula.”
Through the Panmunjom Declaration for Peace, Prosperity and Unification of the Korean Peninsula, they committed to dramatically improve South-North relations through exchange and cooperation, pursue trilateral or quadrilateral meetings toward the declaration of the end of the Korean War and the signing of a peace treaty, and work together towards full denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and the establishment of a peace regime on the Peninsula with the help of the international community.
Korean and American workers come together to welcome this historic declaration. We understand the inter-Korean summit as having opening up space for Korean workers and common people to determine their own future, and for workers and peace-loving people in Korea and the U.S. to broaden our struggle against U.S. militarism in the East Asian region.
Korean and American workers alike suffer from the United States government’s aggressive foreign policy.
In Korea, U.S. intervention led to the division of the peninsula and millions of deaths during the Korean War (1950 – 1953). The United States hostile policy towards North Korea, including the threat of nuclear pre-emptive strike, and President Donald Trump’s threats and hostile outburst have contributed to a vicious cycle of distrust and escalating tensions with North Korea, which brought us to the brink of war only a few months ago. Korean workers have had to deal with the economic and political instability created by this crisis for 70 years.
For American workers, U.S militarism abroad means billions of dollars are diverted away from investment in addressing domestic problems including decaying infrastructure, unprecedented economic inequality, and limited access to basic public services. Furthermore, U.S. foreign policy has primarily benefited the interests of multi-national corporations while pitting American workers against their natural allies – working people and poor people around the world. For this reason, US Labor Against the War has been fighting for the demilitarization of the U.S. foreign policy and economy.
The Inter-Korean Summit signals a new page in Korean and world history.
North Korea has made significant promises and already taken real steps towards full denuclearization and the two Koreas are moving to de-escalation of tensions. It is time now for equal steps on the part of the U.S.-South Korea alliance. First and foremost, we call on the U.S. and South Korean military to stop the operation of the THAAD unit in Soseongi and construction on the site immediately, and to make a plan for removing the THAAD entirely from Korea.
The U.S. and South Korean authorities should also suspend further joint military exercises as a measure to build trust and support the dialogue process. In the upcoming U.S.-North Korea Summit, the United States must be ready to commit to withdrawing its policy of pre-emptive strike against North Korea and other hostile policies, sign a peace treaty, lift sanctions and normalize relations.
American workers recognize that Korean workers and the Korean people must lead the process towards Korean peace and unification. U.S. workers are inspired by the effort of our brothers and sister workers in South and North Korea to build bridges through exchange and cooperation and we pledge to find ways to practically support their leadership.
Korean workers support the struggle of U.S workers against the Trump administration’s aggression throughout the Middle East, West Africa, and Asia, increase in the military budget and attacks on democracy in the U.S. We know that their fight will help us travel the path towards peace in Korea and East Asia.
We commit to working together to build Korean workers’ leadership in the process towards peace and unification in Korea, and to build a collective struggle against militarism in East Asia.