As tensions between the U.S. and North Korea reached a fever pitch, hundreds of women leaders and organizations are calling for urgent de-escalation, emphasizing diplomacy over warmongering to bring greater security to the whole region.
A necessary step at this point, says Women Cross DMZ, a global peace movement, is for United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres to appoint a special envoy to spearhead diplomacy and work towards an official end to the Korean War with a peace treaty.
The call from the organization was released after President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un traded sharpened barbs this week. Speaking at United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, Trump threatened to "totally destroy" North Korea. Jong Un said Friday that Trump is "mentally deranged U.S. dotard," Trump called Kim "obviously a madman" who "will be tested like never before!"
"I doubt the three generals in the White House approved President Trump's call 'to totally destroy North Korea,'" said Women Cross DMZ committee member Ann Wright, also a retired U.S. Army Colonel and former U.S. diplomat. "They know that there is no military solution to this crisis just as there hasn't been one in Iraq, Afghanistan, or Syria. U.S. military intervention will not and cannot solve a political problem."
Also among the nearly 300 women leaders urging restraint is Suzy Kim, professor of Korean History at Rutgers University. "Trump has been compared to President Truman for his Cold War rhetoric and willingness to use nuclear weapons," she stated. "Trump should not follow in Truman's footsteps and commit the United States to waging war again in Korea."
Abe, a staunch conservative, has made a career of arguing for a tougher line against North Korea. The growing threat from the North has bolstered his drive to strengthen Japan's military, which has long been constrained by the country's war-renouncing Constitution.
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Because of that, the latest escalation of tensions might seem to play into Mr. Abe's hands.
Deutsche Welle adds:
Abe has made it clear that he believes it is time that Japan needs to alter Article 9 of the Constitution, which stipulates that the Japanese people "forever renounce war" and that "land, sea and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained."
Butt according to Kozue Akibayashi, professor at Doshisha University in Kyoto, Japan, and International President of Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), "The Japanese people do not support warmongering by Trump or Shinzo Abe, both of whom are using the North Korean nuclear threat to justify more militarization, such as revoking Article 9, which threatens the security of the entire region."
The statement also expresses support for a so-called freeze-freeze proposal that entails North Korea halting its missile tests in change for the U.S. to halt its military exercises with South Korea. U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley has dismissed the proposal as "insulting."
Earlier this week, peace groups including CODEPINK and Win Without War demonstrated outside the White House demanding "diplomacy, not war with North Korea," and on the heels of the first legally-binding treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons opening for signature, with more than 50 U.N. member states signing on. The U.S. and other nuclear-armed states boycotted the signing ceremony.