International Call to Cancel US-South Korean Military Exercises

May 11th, 2022 - by International Civil Society Statement & Ji Da-gyum / The Korea Herald


The Statement:
More Than 350 US, South Korean, and International Civil Society Groups Call for Suspending US-ROK Military Exercises and Decreasing Military Tensions on the Korean Peninsula

(April 5, 2022) — We, civil society groups in the United States, South Korea, and around the world, urge the governments of the ROK (Republic of Korea, aka South Korea) and the United States to suspend the combined military exercises and to instead actively pursue a path to peace.

We are deeply concerned about the recent increase in military tensions on the Korean Peninsula. The ROK, the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, aka North Korea) and the United States should take steps toward sincere dialogue and cooperation, not military actions.

Without a peaceful resolution to the Korean War, we have witnessed increasing militarization on the Korean Peninsula for seven decades. The US-ROK combined military exercises, which prepare for an all-out war with North Korea, have developed into large-scale exercises that mobilize considerable weapons, equipment and US troops on the Korean Peninsula.

In recent years, these war drills have been based on operation plans that reportedly include preemptive strikes and “decapitation measures” against the North Korean leadership.

They also have involved the use of B-2 and B-52H bombers, which are designed to drop nuclear bombs, and nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and submarines. While the United States and South Korea have called them defensive in nature, these military exercises have long been a trigger point for heightened military and political tensions on the Korean Peninsula due to their scale and provocative nature.

Efforts toward reconciliation and cooperation at the governmental and civilian levels between the two Koreas and the US and North Korea have failed to build trust due to the vicious cycle of military provocations. While the leaders agreed on the peaceful future of the Korean Peninsula at the inter-Korean summits and the first US-DPRK summit in 2018, the US and the ROK then resumed the suspended US-ROK combined military exercises after no deal was reached at the US-DPRK summit in Hanoi in early 2019, and the US imposed additional sanctions against North Korea.

North Korea, condemning the US hostile policy and military threat, resumed missile tests and recently ended its self-imposed moratorium on nuclear and ICBM tests. Without further efforts to implement the agreements between the leaders, including establishing new relations, resumed military actions could have disastrous consequences.

We want peace talks, not war drills and military confrontation. In particular, we urge the Biden administration to resolve the root cause of the conflict between the United States and North Korea — the unresolved Korean War. Continuing to rely on isolation, pressure, and threats to force North Korea’s unilateral denuclearization is a recipe for failure.

Now more than ever, the US has a responsibility to pursue peace and show that responsible nations resolve differences through diplomacy, not by increasing tensions and relying on military escalation.

We urge the Moon administration to uphold the commitments made in the Panmunjom Agreement, in which the leaders of the two Koreas agreed to defuse military tensions and eliminate the risk of war on the Korean Peninsula, and suspend the upcoming US-ROK joint war drills.

Suspending these costly and highly provocative military exercises will be a crucial step toward restarting genuine diplomacy with North Korea. It will allow all parties to address other intractable global issues facing our nations today, such as the climate crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic, nuclear weapons, and war. Now is the time to change direction from military confrontation and pressure toward cooperation, reconciliation, and peace.


US Groups (98)
1040 for Peace
3 Pour Press
350 Milwaukee
6.15 DC Committee for Reunification of Korea
6.15 NY Committee for Reunification of Korea
6.15 Seattle Committee for Reunification of Korea
American Friends Service Committee
ANSWER Coalition (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism)
Asian Refugees United
Atlanta Realty Central, Inc
Atlanta SaSaSe
Baltimore Nonviolence Center
Bethlehem Neighbors for Peace
Broome Tioga Green Party
Campaign for Peace, Disarmament and Common Security
Channing and Popai Liem Education Foundation
China-US Solidarity Network
Citizens Academy for Korean Americans
Citizens Fighting for Social Justice
Coalition for Peace Action
Coalition of Koreans in America
Community Organizing Center
East Point Peace Academy
Environmentalists Against War
Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR-USA)
Friends Peace Teams-Asia West Pacific
Global Ministries of Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and United Church of Christ
Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
Grassroots Global Justice Alliance
Hawai’i Peace and Justice
Interfaith Alliance of the Ozarks
International Action Center
KANCC-Washington Regional Association
Korea Peace Committee of Korean Council of United Methodist Church
Korea Peace Network
Korea Peace Now Grassroots Network
Korean American Committee for Korean Prisoners of Conscience
Korean American National Coordinating Council
Korean American Support Committee
Korean Americans for the Progressive Party of Korea (KAPP)
Nabi USA Washington DC
National Association of Korean Americans (NAKA)
Network for Peace & Unification in USA
New England Korea Peace Campaign
No War! No Sanction!
O‘ahu Water Protectors
Parallax Perspectives
Pax Christi UpState New York
Pax Christi USA
Peace Action
Peace Action Bay Ridge
Peace Action Broome County
Peace Action Chicago Area
Peace Action Maine
Peace Action Massachusetts
Peace Action Michigan
Peace Action Network of Lancaster
Peace Action New Hampshire
Peace Action New Jersey
Peace Action New York State
Peace Action North Carolina
Peace Action Sacramento Area
Peace Action Wisconsin
Peace and Freedom Party, on the California Ballot
Peace, Justice, Sustainability NOW!
PeaceWorks, Kansas City
Philadelphia Peace Plaza Committee
Popular Resistance
Presbyterians Peace Network for Korea (PPNK)
Seattle Evergreen Coalition
The Least of These Church (Manhattan)
TLTC Justice & Peace Committee
United for Peace and Justice
United Methodist Church
Utah Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons
Veterans For Peace
Veterans For Peace – NYC Chapter 34
Veterans For Peace Chapter 113-Hawai’i
Veterans For Peace Phil Berrigan Memorial Chapter
War Prevention Initiative
Washington Institute for Korean Unification Issues
Women Against War
Women Cross DMZ
Women for Genuine Security
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, U.S. Section
Women’s Voices, Women Speak
Workers World Party
World Resource Center

South Korean Groups (182)
South Korean Committee for Implementation of June 15 Joint Declaration)
South Korean Committee, Gyeonggi branch
South Korean Committee, Gyeonggi-jungbu branch
South Korean Committee, Gwangju branch
South Korean Committee, Daejeon branch
South Korean Committee, Suwon branch
South Korean Committee, Ansan branch
South Korean Committee, Ulsan branch
South Korean Committee, Incheon branch
South Korean Committee, Jeju branch
South Korean Committee, Youth & Students Headquarters
South Korean Committee, Chungnam branch
South Korean Committee, Chungbuk branch
Corea Catholic Farmers’ Movement
Gangjeong Peace Network)
Korean Federation Medical Groups for Health Rights : Association of Korea Doctors for health rights, Association of Physicians for Humanism, Korean Dentist’s Association for Healthy Society, Korean Nurses association for health rights, Korean Pharmacists for Democratic Society, Solidarity for worker’s health
Gyeoleuigil Minjoggwangjang
Movement for One Korea
Gyeonggi Bukbu Peace Action
Gyeonggi Women’s Association United
Gyeonggi Women’s Solidarity
Gyeonggi Christian Action for Justice and Peace
Gyeonggi Sovereignty Solidarity
Gyeonggi Alliance for Progressive Movement
Gyeonggi Peace Education Center
Korea Federation for Environmental Movements Kyounggi
Gyeongnam Progressive Association
Goyang Womenlink
Goyang YWCA
Gwangju Alliance for Progressive Movement
International Strategy Center
Sisters of the Christian Doctrine
Christian Youth Academy
People’s Solidarity for Reunification of Korea
Labor Welfare Sharing Center
Plant for Labor’s Hope
Green Korea United
Deagyeong Alliance for Progressive Movement
The Association of Dokdo Sarang
The Association of Descendants of Korean Independence Patriots
(Northeast Asia Regional Peacebuilding Institute (NARPI)
The Citizens’ Movement of Donghak Revolution
Media Christian Solidarity
Progressive artists union ‘Dandelion’
The Center for Historical Truth and Justice
The Center for Historical Truth and Justice Goyang Paju Committee
The Center for Historical Truth and Justice Ansan Siheung Committee
(Writers Association of Korea
Korean Council for Democratic Martyre
Democratic Workers’ National Conference
Korea Democratic Street Venders Confederation
Korean Confederation of Trade Unions Suwon Yongin Osan Hwaseong Regional Branch
MIBYUN-Lawyers for a Democratic Society
Association of Professors and Researchers for Democracy and Equality
Peoples Democracy Party (PDP)
Busan Alliance for Progressive Movement
Buggu Juminhoi
Federation of People’s Art Organizations, Gyeonggi
Movement for One Korea in Gwangju & Jeonnam
(The Education Center for Peace and Unification in Gwangju
The Korean People’s Artists Association
Korean People’s Artists Federation in Ansan
Okedongmu Children in Korea
Korean People’s Artists Federation in Ulsan
Support Committee for Prisoners of Conscience for Justice, Peace and Human Rights
The Corea Peace 3000
Citizen’s Solidarity for Peace and Unification
Hankyoreh Unification Forum
Corp. Minjuhwaundong-Jeongsingyeseung-Gugminyeondae
Federation of People’s Art Organizations, Gyeonggi-Suwon Council
Rail of Hope
April Revolution Association
The Righteous People for Korean Unification
New One
Life and Peace Forum
Seoul National University Democratic Alumni Association
Seoul Alliance for Progressive Movement
West Sea Peace Zone Association
JPIC (Columban JPIC Korea
Columban Lay Missionaries (CLM)
Sungmisan-School-Post Secondary
Suwon Women’s Association
Suwon Working Women
Suwon Alliance for Progressive Movement
Suwon Center for Environment Movement
Slow Food Korea
Civil Peace Forum
Action One Korea
Korean Women’s Movement for Peace
Civilian Military Watch
Living with Jesus
Civil Network for the ‘Chosun School ‘& Student in Japan
Ulsan University Democratic Alumni Association
Ulsan Alliance for Progressive Movement
The Won-Buddhist Emergency Committee to Guard the Sacred Site at Seongju
Wonbulgyo Eco Network
Human Rights Education Center ‘DEUL’
Incheon NOSAMO
Incheon Independent Peace Solidarity
The Korean Council for Justice and Remembrance for the Issues of Military Sexual Slavery by Japan
Great Korea Action
Korean Teachers and Education Workers Union Goyang Middle and High School Branch
Korean Teachers and Education Workers Union Goyang Elementary Education Branch
Korean Teachers and Education Workers Union (KTU)
Korea Peasants League
Busan-Gyeongnam League, Members of Korean Peasants League
Korean Confederation of Trade Unions
National Federation of the Poor
Korean Women Peasants Association
Korea Women’s Alliance
National Youth Movement Union Somyeong
Jeonnam Alliance for Progressive Movement
Cheonbuk Edumadang
Jeju Unification Youth Association
Jeju Peace Humanrights Center
Pan-Korea Alliance for Reunification
Progressive 3.0
The Progressive Party
The Progressive Party Suwon Committee
The Progressive Party Ulsan Committee
Jinbo College Student Network
The National Association of Parents for Cham-Education, Gyeonggi
The National Association of Parents for Cham-Education, Gimpo
CHAMSARI Literature
People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy (PSPD)
Catholic Human Rights Committee
Korean Catholic Federation for Justice
Korea International Peace Forum
Greeting the Unification of Korea
Tongilsidae Researh Institute
Unification and Peace
The Happy March for One Korea
Pax Christi Korea (PCK)
Equal Peace World ONDA
Pyeongtaek Peace Center
Peace Network
Women Making Peace
Peace Wind
Peace Mothers of Korea
YMCA 10000 Committee for Korea Peace and Reunification
The Korea Veterans for Peace
Peace Treaty Movement
Peace Treaty Movement, Incheon
The National Council of Churches in Korea
The National Council of Churches in Korea, Reconciliation & Reunification Committee
Federation of Korean Trade Unions
Korea University Advancement Association
Korea Institute for the Study of Ecclesia and Life
Korea Women’s Associations United
Korea Alliance for Progressive Movement
Korea Youth Solidarity
National Council of YMCAs of Korea
National YWCA of Korea
Korea Peace Appeal Campaign
Korean Peninsula Neutralization and Unification Council
Young Korean Academy (Hung Sa Dahn)

International Groups (76)
6.15 Japanese Committee
6.15 Overseas Committee
Blue Banner, Mongolian NGO
Bolivian Women‘s Efforts: Local Contributions for a Safer World
Commission 4-International League of Peoples’ Struggles, Canada
European Chartered Engineer for Water Management and Environmental Engineering, Austria
Frente Antiimperialista Internacionalista, Spain
Friends of “Comfort Women” in Sydney
Guahan Coalition for Peace and Justice, Guam
I Hagan Famalao’an Guahan, Inc., Guam
Independent and Peaceful Australia Network
International Fellowship of Reconciliation (IFOR)
International No to War – No to NATO network
International Women’s Network against Militarism
K-PA Global Network
KCRC Shanghai, China
Korea Peace Now!
Korea Verband, Germany
Korean New Zealanders for a Better Future
Koreanische Friedensgruppe in Deutschland (Women for Peace in Germany)
Koreans for Woori Schools, Canada
Marrickville Peace Group, Australia
Netzwerk der Koreaner in Deutschland, Germany
Okinawa Women Act against Military Violence
Pax Christi Australia
Peace Boat, Japan
Peace Depot Inc., Japan
Peace Philosophy Centre, Canada
Peace Posse
Peace Treaty Now (PTN)
Peace Women Partners Inc., Philippines
Peasia (Peace for East Asia), Canada
Philippine Women’s Network for Peace & Security
PUAC, Canada
Rochdale and Littleborough Peace Group, United Kingdom
SASASE Ottawa, Canada
Solidarity of Korean People in Europe
Stop the War Coalition Philippines
The Federation of Korean Residents in Japan for Democratic Reunification of Korea
The Korean Democratic Women`s Association in Japan
The United Church of Canada
Toronto Minjoo Forum, Canada
WILPF Kyoto, Japan
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF)
Worker-Communist Party of Iraq
World BEYOND War

South Korea/US Kick Off Military Drills
As North Korea Stages Massive Military Parade

Ji Da-gyum / The Korea Herald

SEOLE (April 18, 2022) — South Korea and the US on Monday kicked off their annual combined military exercise, while North Korea has begun its preparation for a massive military parade likely to be held during the training period “in earnest,” South Korean military officials said.

Seoul and Washington decided to conduct the nine-day, springtime Combined Command Post Training in light of the overall circumstances, including the COVID-19 pandemic and maintaining a combined defense posture.

“The training aims to enhance the combined operational capabilities of South Korean and US soldiers and will serve as an opportunity to further strengthen our combined defense posture,” South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a written statement.

The JCS said the military drills are “defensive in nature” and based on a computer simulation without a field training exercise element. Large-scale, theater-level field training exercises have been suspended since the first US-North Korea Singapore Summit in June 2018.

This is the last South Korea-US military exercise to be conducted under the Moon Jae-in government. But both sides reportedly will not conduct an assessment of the South Korean military’s Full Operational Capability required to transfer wartime operational control to South Korea.

The South Korean and US defense chiefs last December agreed to proceed with the long-postponed FOC assessment during this year’s Combined Command Post Training.

But the Moon Jae-in government had hoped to advance the timing of the assessment, which is the second part of the three-phase system to evaluate the South Korean military’s capabilities to command the future combined defense system.

Korea’s Bellicose Rhetoric

The South Korea-US combined military exercise comes days after the four-day crisis management staff training, or preliminary military exercises, between April 12 and 15.

During the period, the US nuclear-powered aircraft USS Abraham Lincoln operated in the international waters of the East Sea and conducted bilateral exercises with the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force.

The operation of the USS Abraham Lincoln, which can accommodate around 80 aircraft, in the waters between South Korea and Japan came after more than a four-year hiatus. The last time any US nuclear-powered aircraft carrier operated near the east of the Korean Peninsula was in November 2017.

North Korea’s external-oriented media outlets have recently ratcheted up their bellicose rhetoric specifically against South Korea, denouncing the beginning of South Korea-US combined military exercise and the deployment of the USS Abraham Lincoln.

Pyongyang has generally raised tensions in the run-up to the combined military exercise. North Korea on Saturday also test-launched new-type tactical guided weapons that can carry “tactical nuclear weapons“ with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in attendance.

Tongil Voice, a propaganda radio broadcast targeting the South Korean audience, on Monday criticized that “such behaviors of the South Korean warmongers are reckless provocations that prepare for the war of aggression.”

The media outlet reiterated that South Korea will not be a target of attack unless the South Korean military takes military action against them, echoing the recent statement issued by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s powerful sister Kim Yo-jong.

Tongil Voice said the South Korean military should not choose military confrontation against the “nuclear-weapons state,” warning of “merciless punishment.”

North Korea’s state-run website Uriminzokkiri on Sunday repeated its rhetoric that the annual military drills are “war rehearsals and nuclear war exercises to further fully prepare to implement the operational plan aimed at launching a preemptive strike” against the country.

Uriminzokkiri warned that a “minor accidental skirmish” could lead to “all-out war” at a time when the “situation on the Korean Peninsula has worsened due to the reckless words and actions” of the South Korean military.

“The aggressors … who have been pushing the situation to the extreme pitch (of tension) by clinging to the dangerous saber-rattling will surely pay a dear price,” Uriminzokkiri said in a Korean-language column. “Those who enjoy fire will be bound to be burned to death.”

Massive Military Parade on April 25
Meanwhile, Pyongyang is believed to have begun its preparation to hold a massive military parade “in earnest” at the Mirim Parade Training Ground in eastern Pyongyang, according to a South Korean military source with knowledge of the matter.

North Korea has been gearing up for the military parade, which will likely be held to mark the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Korean People’s Revolutionary Army on April 25.

The South Korean military forecasts that Pyongyang will show off numerous weaponry systems and mobilize up to “20,000 personnel” at the military parade.

Military equipment including aircraft, armored vehicles, tanks, tracked military vehicles and transporter erector launchers, as well as thousands of personnel have been visible at the Mirim Parade Training Ground, according to the source.

North Korea is also expected to display advanced, strategic weapons such as intercontinental ballistic missiles and submarine-launched ballistic missiles at the upcoming military parade.

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