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The Korea Policy Institute

December 2019

Dear friends of the Korea Policy Institute,

 

Soberingly, 2020 marks the seventieth year of the ongoing Korean War. Much more than a historic event confined to the past, the unresolved Korean War corresponds to a structure of active violence. It furnishes the present-day basis for the flexible exercise of U.S. war and police power throughout the sprawling U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, the continued staging of smaller-scale U.S.-South Korea war games on and around the peninsula, and a punitive campaign of thoroughgoing sanctions meant to bring all of North Korean society to heel. Not only has the war’s irresolution impacted the lives of millions of Koreans on the peninsula and in the diaspora but also it has drawn the peoples of Okinawa, Japan, Guam, Hawai‘i, and other regional sites into a theater of insecurity.

 

If the June 2018 Singapore Summit signaled the possibility of a long-awaited shift in U.S.-North Korea relations, the desultory nature of the Trump administration’s Korea policy since then has left the militarized status quo intact. Indeed, with the stalling of diplomacy, the seventieth year of the Korean War could bear witness to the end of North Korea’s self-imposed moratorium on its nuclear weapons testing as well as the full-scale resumption of U.S.-South Korea war exercises.

 

The work of ending the Korean War is more urgent than ever.

 

This past year, the Korea Policy Institute embarked on a collaboration with Zoom in Korea, centered on interviews with South Korean organizers, activist-scholars, and workers about their analyses of the current state of affairs and their visions for peace and reunification. We will be publishing these pieces in the year to come. In April, we cosponsored a tour of feminist activists and lawyers who took part in the June 2014 launch of a successful human rights lawsuit that exposed the linkages between military prostitution around U.S. military bases in South Korea and the Japanese Imperial Army “comfort women” system. Throughout, we have continued to publish articles on the perils and prospects of U.S.-North Korea relations, critical perspectives on the U.S.-UN sanctions regime against North Korea, and the imperative that South Korea resist U.S. pressure in order to forge a viable shared future with North Korea.

 

In this upcoming year, we will be publishing a sequence of articles and interviews that speak to the urgency of ending the Korean War and the architecture of U.S. militarism it authorizes. We will continue to furnish policy analysis to policymakers and political candidates on why peace in Korea, in no way merely a fickle fantasy of Donald Trump, should matter to everyone. And we will be organizing a national speaking tour that focuses on the devastating humanitarian impact of sanctions against the North Korean people.

 

Our work is absolutely not possible without your support. We are funded solely by individual donors who are committed to a U.S. policy of friendship towards Korea that is respectful of the sovereignty of the Korea people, their desire for peace, and the reunification of their country.

 

Sincerely,

Korea Policy Institute Board of Directors

(Marty Hart-Landsberg, Christine Hong, Haeyoung Kim, Paul Liem, Juyeon Rhee, JT Takagi, Ji Yeon Yuh)

 

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