Jungjoo has lived on Jeju Island devoting half of her work to peace education with kids, teachers and adults, and half to the protesting the massive Naval Base and remembrance of the environmental destruction of the glorious Grumby Rock formation paved over to build the base. In 2018, she reached out to the Yemeni refugees, who were welcomed on Jeju Island and established the the School of Hope to bring Yemeni and Koreans together to share their cultures and hopes. Youngsil lives simply in Syracuse, NY. She grows things, does peace work with AVP, and supports peace education for Korean children, families and teachers. She’s studying U.S. notions of safety, private property, community assets and the segmentation of diversity.
Chuck Esser works with the Philadelphia Committee for Peace and Justice in Asia working for Korean peace and reunification and the end of U.S. militarism in Asia. He also supports the Re-evaluation Counseling community in Korea. Nadine Hoover supports Korean friends with in-depth training in tools and practices for creating cultures of peace and disseminating the message of peace, nonviolence and reconciliation. We work together to share the tools in peace, nonviolence, healing and reconciliation needed for the liberation and peace of all people. We invite others with a peace ministry in Korea to join us!
The Korean peninsula has remained divided since 1948 when the U.S. established the Republic of Korea, dividing Korea despite fervent opposition by Koreans. The U.S. has retained legal, military command over South Korea’s armed forces ever since. The U.S. and South Korean military conduct annual full-scale war rehearsals with hundreds of thousands of soldiers for two months on what is supposed to be a demilitarized zone (DMZ) on the border, as a ‘show of force’ against The People’s Republic of Korea in the north. The U.S. further provokes regional militarism by housing large warships and nuclear submarines at Korean Naval Bases and supporting the THAAD missile defense system. The U.S. has long opposed a negotiate a peace treaty with N Korea that would require the U.S. stop the war rehearsals if N. Korea froze its nuclear program. Koreans want reunification and peace.
We call on the U.S. and Korea to end U.S. wartime control over South Korea’s armed forces and negotiate the peaceful reunification of the Korean peninsula. We support Korean integrity over U.S.-Russian-Chinese geopolitical control over the fate of Koreans.
China endorsed a “Freeze for Freeze Initiative” where the US would stop these war rehearsals, and in exchange N. Korea would freeze its nuclear program, and negotiate a peace treaty. North Korea agreed, the US did not. Few Americans know the U.S. retains war time control over South Korea’s armed forces since 1948, or understand the desire of the Korean people to achieve the peaceful reunification or coexistence of their homeland of Korea. On 26 April 2017, the U.S. installed a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system in Seongju City. Missile defense expert, MIT physicist Ted Postol, states no evidence exists that THAAD is effective under live fire conditions, and the 25 million Koreans living in the capital city of Seoul actually fall outside THAAD’s protective shield. On the other hand, THAAD radar has the capacity to monitor missile systems in China, which many suspect is the objective. China has voiced its opposition to THAAD in Korea in no uncertain terms, enacted economic retributions against South Korea, and threatened an accelerated arms race. Incessant U.S. “show of force” contributes to Chinese support of North Koreans retaliatory threats of aggression.” U.S. removal of THAAD is key for de-escalating military conflict in the region.
In 1948, the military killed eight Jeju Islanders protesting elections dividing Korea into north and south, so Jeju Island boycotted the elections. The new South Korean regime labeled them communists and employed a “scorched earth strategy” of indiscriminate rape, execution of 30,000 Jeju Islanders, and burning 70 percent of their villages with US support and approval. A massive 50-hectare Naval Base was then constructed on this ecologically-fragile Island. Friends Peace Teams AWP joins Korean Quakers and peace workers in viewing Naval Bases on foreign soil as perpetuating global military occupation that provokes other militaries, displaces communities, breaks down democracy, violates human rights and destroys natural ecologies. The U.S. particularly has many opportunities to reduce tension and promote peace in Korea: stop full-scale war rehearsals as a “show of force” on the DMZ, remove the THAAD missile (StopTHAAD.org), encourage investigation of the sinking of the Sewol Ferry (SewolTruth.com), and close the Naval Base on Jeju Island (SaveJejuNow.org).