Peace for Life: Life-Peace Community -Position
International Conference on Peace for Life in North East Asia
Korea Christian Faculty Fellowship
15. – 19. May 2005 at Roman Catholic Retreat Center, Uiwang, Korea
For the Formation of a People’s Life-Peace Community in Northeast Asia
A Statement from the 2005 International Conference on
Peace for Life in Northeast Asia
“God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God.” (Matthew. 5:9)
“In that day the wolf and the lamb will live together; the leopard and the goat will be at peace. Calves and yearlings will be safe among lions, and a little child will lead them all.” (Isaiah 11:6)
The Korean Christian Faculty Fellowship (KCFF), standing within the historical tradition of the Donghak Movement and the resolute struggle against the powers of Japanese colonialism, has carried the spirit of resistance and solidarity by joining the minjung movement that took place during the period of industrialization in the Republic of Korea (ROK) during the late 20th century. The KCFF has also been a strong force of resistance against the totalitarian anti-communist military dictators, struggling with the Korean people to attain democracy and working toward the peaceful reunification of Korea.
The members of the KCFF have supported the proclamation of the Year of Jubilee on the basis of the principles of popular participation, peace, national autonomy, national collaboration, and humanitarianism set forth in the 1988 Korean Church Statement on Peace and Reunification. We have endeavored to lay the foundation for peace on the Korean peninsula and open the path to national unification by engaging in various movements to establish peace and attain national unification. We believe that democracy and reunification are inseparable, and we also affirm that there cannot be a lasting peace in Northeast Asia without the reunification of the Korean peninsula and the Korean people.
It is within this historical tradition and praxis that participants from China, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Norway, Russia, South Africa, the Philippines, Taiwan, and the United States gathered at the St. Lazarus Village in Uiwang City, Gyonggido, Korea from 15 to 19 May, 2005 to hold an “International Conference on Peace for Life in Northeast Asia” to discuss ways by which we could establish peace for life in Northeast Asia.
It is within this context that the 2005 International Conference on Peace for Life in Northeast Asia convened. As the participants exchanged stories of the suffering people and their struggles in solidarity with the oppressed and victimized, as we delved into the theological, political, social, and ethical issues surrounding our region, we discovered ever more clearly that we are engaged in a struggle of those promoting life and peace on the one hand, and those proliferating from death and violence on the other. The three days spent together in common worship, and the sharing of stories, ideas and visions of hope have produced within us a renewed commitment to solidarity and action for building a peace for life in Northeast Asia. As part of our continued commitment to each other in solidarity and for the purpose of promoting common action the participants of the 2005 International Conference on Peace for Life in Northeast Asia commend the following to the Christian brothers and sisters of the world, as well as all movements of peace and life and all good willed persons who wish to join in our journey of peace for life.
1. We believe that peace is an integral element of life. Peace is the fullness of life enjoyed within the framework of proper relationships. The Bible teaches that peace is a fruit of justice. Justice implies the establishment of a proper relationship between God and humankind, between humankind and nature, and among members of humankind. Therefore, there can be no peace without justice, and there can be no life without peace. We believe that God desires all of creation to enjoy a communal and mutually enriching life, and that God wishes to see all life forming a network. We seek to be participants in this work of God.
We are presently faced with a reality where peace is threatened and violence is prevalent among people and nations. The violence being enacted today is systematic and has extended to include numerous places in the world. The people of Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine, and the Korean peninsula are being oppressed by the powers of the Empire and being victimized.
In a world where violence is jeopardizing the communal relationship of the people, we confess that we have been weak and negligent in succumbing to the present situation of violence rather than effectively struggling against it. As we humbly acknowledge our shortcomings we recommit ourselves to respond to the call of God to build up a household of peace.
2. The global situation today is one in which the people find themselves increasingly victimized by the imperial acts of aggression instigated by the United States in its pursuit of the so-called “War on Terror.” The world today is faced with a situation in which the value of peace is continuously diminishing and the discourse on the permanence and inevitability of war that attempts to justify the doctrine of pre-emption has superseded previous conceptions of the relation between peace and war. In the name of maintaining global dominance, the peace and security of the people and all living creatures of the world is put into jeopardy.
2.1 Along with the imperial acts of violence that threaten the security of the people the increasing influences of economic globalization endangers the right of people to live peacefully in the land that has been given to humankind as a gift and in which the people have a right to inhabit. Land is not merely a commodity to be purchased, exploited, nor is it merely a form of territory for militant defense or aggressive occupation. The integration of the Empire’s quest for militant and economic predominance is heightened as war is utilized as a means of protecting the gains of market made possible by the acceleration of economic globalization. This integration of military and economic aggression by the Empire threatens the peace and security of the people by degrading our ecology and endangering our cultures.
2.2 As the Empire seeks to aggressively broaden its influence in the world the peoples of Asia, and indeed all around the world, become the victims of more sophisticated forms of violence and are denied their basic rights as human beings to live in peace. The people of the Philippines find their land overtaken by the forces of the Empire as a second front to the so called War on Terror. Japan, a state that already has a history of abusing its power and influence as imperial overlords in Asia increasingly show signs of yearning for the “years of glory” as a subordinate regional power of the Empire. Northeast Asia is a potential point where three countries who collectively possess the tendency to become imperial powers converge. The competition of China, Japan, and the U.S. for supremacy in this region is particularly disturbing to those who have struggled tirelessly to promote and sustain a peace for life in Northeast Asia.
3. At present, the Korean peninsula is faced with a situation that may turn to a crisis at any moment. The six-party talks aimed at diffusing the antagonistic relationship between The DPR Korea, or North Korea and the United States are on hold. There are continued reports in the world media that the DPRK is preparing to test a nuclear device, and there are voices in the United States that argue for a pre-emptive strike against the DPRK. We are deeply disturbed by the fact that the recent statements made by the United States toward the DPRK seem to deny is present the right to exist. The present state of insecurity reflects the global situation of the acts of aggression enacted by the Empire of the United States
3.1 Within the present critical context of the Korean peninsula we firmly believe that it is imperative that United States end its antagonistic policy toward the DPRK and work to create a peaceful relationship between the two countries at the earliest date possible by the Two-Party . Talk(or bilateral talks). The United States must guarantee the security of the DPRK and positively state that it recognizes the DPRK’s right to engage with other countries as a sovereign state and a legitimate member of the world community. We believe that the DPRK and the United States should normalize relations and journey together on the path to peace and prosperity.
3.2 We are deeply concerned of the notions of preemptive strike advanced by the United States. Any preemptive strike by the United States against the DPRK will result in a war engulfing all of Northeast Asia which would bring about the total destruction of the Korean people. We oppose the very notion of a preemptive strike by the United States against any state. We stand against any second Korean War being waged on the Korean peninsula and vow to work together with all Koreans and in solidarity with the citizens of the world to engage in an aggressive anti-war peace campaign. It is in this respect that we call upon the Korean administration and the National Assembly to implement measures that will return war-times operational control of its military forces (war time powers) to Korea.
3.3 We elucidate the principle that all nuclear weapons in the world should be comprehensively regulated, dismantled, and destroyed. The United States, Russia, China, U.K., France, India, Pakistan, and Israel must all permanently destroy their nuclear arsenal as demanded by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Japan must abandon any nuclear capability that would allow it to produce nuclear weapons. We believe that it is only after the total and comprehensive dismantling and complete destruction of all nuclear weapons is realized that the vision to secure a nuclear free peace for all people can become a reality. For this reason we oppose the development of the so-called new tactical and strategic nuclear weapons by the United States. The development of a so-called new generation of nuclear weapons is not only in direct violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty but is a direct threat to the peace and security of all peoples of the world.
3.4 The designation of the DPRK as “Outposts of Tyranny” by the United States, which has declared the advancement of “freedom” as its ultimate goal, is, along with the statement made in 2002 by George W. Bush which named the DPRK as “an Axis of Evil,” a direct denial of the DPRK’s right as a state to exist. We are deeply disturbed by the recent National Policy Review of the United States which explicitly lists the DPRK as a potential site for a nuclear strike. The fierce and intense response that such statements have elicited from the DPRK reflects the degree to which the people feel threatened as they oppose the super-power United States. We believe that both the United States and DPRK should desist from leveling accusations at each other and implement steps toward mutual recognition of the other. We oppose any acts of aggression planned by the United States to destabilize a sovereign state and affect a “regime change” and or “regime transformation” in pursuit of its own narrow national interests.
3.5 We believe that DPRK and the ROK should move forward together on a path of peaceful co-existence, peaceful exchange, and peaceful reunification in line with the principle of national autonomy as expressed in the 1972 July 4 Joint Communiqué, the 1991 South-North Basic Agreement, and the 2000 South-North Summit Joint Declaration.
4. We express deep concern that there are many prominent issues today that threaten security and peace in Northeast Asia. Levels of tension and discord are increasing between the three key countries of the region, Korea, China, and Japan surrounding the issues of history and land.
4.1 We deplore the fact that the history of colonial exploitation and rule conducted by the Japanese in this region has not been sufficiently redressed. We are deeply distressed that the rash behaviors of the Japanese prevent Korea, China, and Japan from furthering a mutually beneficial friendly relationship oriented toward the future. Japan continues to distort historical facts, remains adamantly defiant about refusing to humbly reconsider its criminal activities, and has failed to compensate the victims of its crimes. We wish to make clear that Japan has in no way, shape or form sought to apologized to or compensated with reparation the thousands of Korean people who suffered injustice under the brutal hands of Japanese imperialism.
4.2 The recent escalation of issues relating to land that occurred as a result of Japan’s assertion of possession regarding Dokdo Island and the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea have become a seed for conflict. We oppose any involvement by the United States in this region, either military or political, and we oppose the possibility any strengthening of the reactionary group still admiring the glory of the Japanese Imperial past and any increase in military expenditure by Japan.
4.3 We call upon Japan to participate in constructively dealing with its issues of the historical past, to implement specific, realistic and meaningful measures to apologize and compensate for its past misdeeds, and to refrain from instigating any future actions which may jeopardize peace in Northeast Asia. Only then will the people of Northeast Asia be able to forgive and reconcile one another, thereby working together to build peace.
5. We highly regard the efforts of the South Korean government to strengthen its role as the catalyst and or balancer for peace in Northeast Asia and support its endeavors to contribute to peace and prosperity in Northeast Asia through economic cooperation and cultural exchange within Northeast Asia and between Europe and Asia.
5.1 The peaceful exchange and cooperation of the DPRK and ROK, especially those economic cooperative programs, such as the Gaeseong Industrial Park, are positive starting points. The national cooperation of the two Koreas is not only beneficial to the Koreans, but is also a starting point for bringing peace and prosperity to Northeast Asia and the Eurasian region. Therefore, we encourage the people of these regions to fully and actively support these national cooperation efforts.
6. While we recognize the importance of the state’s efforts to seek cooperative measures in maintaining security and establishing a peaceful order we firmly advocate and support the formation of a peace community that can secure the peace and security of the people at the both the local and global levels by their participation and leadership.
6.1 Toward this end we support the formation of civil peace forces within and among the countries in Northeast Asia, and we affirm that we will work together with them to establish a Northeast Asia peace community.
6.2 We recommend that the WCC, AACC, CCA, CLAI, as well as other ecumenical organizations should take as a high priority the issue of global insecurity and violence resulting from the current world military order dominated by the global Empire and the peace for all living beings on earth.
6.3 In order for us to carry the spirit of the 2005 International Conference on Peace for Life in Northeast Asia forward we recommend that the KCFF in cooperation and solidarity with other peace building organizations work toward a People’s Peace Forum to be organized at the local, national, and international levels for the purpose of engaging in periodic and regular activities for he purpose of building peace for life.