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Call for Jacinda Ardern to help break Korea impasse

Negotiations between the US and North Korea have ground to a halt, and with it the détente between the two Koreas, but New Zealand, and its Prime Minister, could contribute to removing blockages and reinvigorating the peace process.

We urge Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to assume a personal role in reactivating the peace process which is so important not merely for the people of the Korean peninsula but also for the region, not least New Zealand itself. She can build on the international stature and mana generated by her response to the Christchurch massacre to make a significant contribution. Détente on the Korean peninsula is contingent on progress in US-DPRK negotiations. It is necessary to press President Trump to ‘follow his instincts’ and overrule those in his administration who want to continue and exacerbate tension and instead turn towards reinvigorating the peace process, in particular by providing meaningful security guarantees and lifting sanctions

Last year saw two summits with momentous implications for the Korean peninsula and the wider world

The first, between the two Korean leaders on 27 April 2018 resulted in the historic Panmunjom Declaration in which Chairman Kim Jong Un and President Moon Jae-in ‘ solemnly declared before the 80 million Koreans and the whole world that there will be no more war and a new era of peace has begun on the Korean peninsula.’

The second was the summit between President Trump and Chairman Kim in Singapore in June 2018 which resulted in the Singapore Declaration where they discussed the ‘establishment of new U.S.–DPRK relations and the building of a lasting and robust peace regime on the Korean Peninsula’ In particular ‘President Trump committed to provide security guarantees to the DPRK, and Chairman Kim Jong Un reaffirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. ‘

As we know the promise of these summits has not yet been realised. Crucially the United States has not provided security guarantees to North Korea but has on the contrary escalated sanctions resulting in continued and increasing economic distress and malnutrition. It has also hampered détente between the two Koreas.

There is a widespread consensus that the commitment to peace of the three national leaders has been thwarted by hostile forces exemplified by, but not limited to, US National Security Advisor John Bolton. It is clear that both Korean governments are hungering for peace on their peninsula but that the US security establishment requires tension as an essential component of its strategy to contain China and to preserve the US military presence in Northeast Asia.

We feel that New Zealand could have a useful role to play in breaking this impasse and facilitating the peace process which is so important to us all. Although far from the potential conflict zone New Zealand’s economy is dependent on Northeast Asia and many of our citizens have their roots in the region.

We call upon Prime Minister Ardern to assert New Zealand’s commitment to peace on the Korean peninsula and prosperity for its people by taking whatever measures she might consider productive to urge and assist President Trump to implement the promises made, and the hopes raised at the Singapore Summit.

Dr. Tim Beal

Chairman

NZ DPRK Society

ends


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