Candlelight rally with unions on March 24 calling for an end to all hostile acts on all sides, signing a peace treaty and real denuclearization by all sides.
Calling for a new era of peace and prosperity, the Panmunjom Declaration of April 27, 2018, offers hope for working people throughout Korea, and in the region. Reprinted here is the statement on the Panmunjom Declaration of the Korean Public Service and Transport Workers’ Union, which is an affiliate of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions.
KPTU Position on the Panmunjom Declaration
Today an historic agreement to dramatically improve relations between South and North Korea and achieve denuclearisation and a peace regime on the Korean Peninsula was reached between President Moon Jae-in and Chairman Kim Jong Un. The Korean Public Service and Transport Workers’ Union (KPTU) welcomes the agreements contained in the “Panmunjom Declaration for Peace, Prosperity and Unification of the Korean Peninsula” and hopes that this will mark a turning point in Korean history.
Through this agreement, the two leaders confirmed the joint goal of “realising, through complete denuclearisation, a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula” and agreed to “actively seek the support and cooperation of the international community” towards denuclearisation. This agreement is welcomed by workers not only in Korea, but throughout East Asia and the world. We recall that real denuclearisation means not only North Korea’s abandonment of its nuclear weapons, but also removal of the nuclear threat from the United States, including withdrawal of the U.S.’ nuclear preemptive strike policy and discontinuation of military exercises involving nuclear strategic assets.
The root cause of the nuclear crisis surrounding the Korean Peninsula lies in the failure to truly end the Korean War. Recognising this, we sincerely welcome the commitment to actively pursue trilateral meetings involving the two Koreas and the United States, or quadrilateral meetings involving the two Koreas, the United States and China with a view to declaring an end to the war and concluding a peace treaty.
Any plan for denuclearisation must be agreed to and implemented as part of a wider plan for establishing a peace regime. We have high hopes that such a plan will be discussed and agreed to during the U.S-North Korea Summit. In order to make this possible, the United States must be ready to agree to reverse its hostile policies towards North Korea, sign a peace treaty, normalise relations with North Korea and lifting sanctions at the upcoming summit. We state clearly that we will do everything in our power to push the US-North Korea Summit and the process of implementation afterwards in the right direction.
We also place great significance in the two leaders’ reaffirmation of “the Non-Aggression Agreement between the two countries, which precludes the use of force in any form against each other”, and their agreement to “carry out disarmament in a phased manner.” These measures are important for creating the material conditions for a real peace. As a first step, the South Korean government must remove the THAAD system being illegally operated in the Soseongri Village.
In addition, we note that these agreements indicate a direction different from that indicated in the US-South Korea joint statement of 30 June 2017, which states, “The ROK will continue to acquire the critical military capabilities necessary to lead the combined defence, and detect, disrupt, destroy, and defend against the DPRK’s nuclear and missile threats, including through interoperable Kill-Chain, Korean Air and Missile Defense (KAMD), and other Alliance systems.” As such, we understand this agreement between the U.S. and South Korea to increase South Korea’s war capacity to be null and void, and declare our intention to work for continuous disarmament.
Finally, we welcome the agreement between the two leaders to strengthen civilian exchange and cooperation. In particular, as the union representing the public sector and workers in charge of rail and road transport, we assign great significance to the agreement to connect and modernize the rail and roads on the eastern transportation corridor as well as between Seoul and Sinuiju. We stress that the right to exchange, participation and leadership of South and North Korean workers in this process must be guaranteed.
The ‘peace and prosperity” referred to in the Panmunjom Declaration must be shared equally by all. To this end we plan to deepen exchange and solidarity with the workers we will come into contact with on the Peninsula and Eurasian Continent through the process of integration.
We are deeply aware of that the tasks we as workers must now undertake in order to bring about peace and reunification are now more varied and more urgent than before. We thus make clear our intention to increase our capacity in the area of anti-war, peace and unification work, in order to be able to concretise a workers’ vision for a peace regime and a unified nation, to fight for peace and prepare for the difficulties created by economic integration.
27 April 2018
Korean Public Service and Transport Workers’ Union