DPRK, US, Must Keep Talking Say Peace Groups

August 31, 2003

DPRK, US, Must Keep Talking Say Peace Groups

Friends Of The Earth Australia
Australian Peace Committee
Campaign For International Cooperation And Disarmament (CICD)

The Australian Peace Committee, CICD, and Friends of the Earth Australia, today urged the Australian Government to press the US and the DPRK to keep talking. At the recent talks in Beijing, the US has refused to offer the DPRK security guarantees until it verifiably eliminates its nuclear weapons program. The DPRK has threatened to test a nuclear weapon.

According to Friends of the Earth Australia, CICD, and the Australian Peace Committee,

"If the DPRK tests a nuclear weapon in the coming months, there is the danger that neighbouring countries - the RoK, Japan and Taiwan - may proceed down the path of the development of their own nuclear arsenals, bringing about the unravelling of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) and creating a much more dangerous and unstable world. Yet we can be sure that efforts to pressure, intimidate, or threaten the DPRK will have exactly the opposite result to that intended, inducing them to develop nuclear weapons all the faster. Talk of military strike options and 'regime change' is even more dangerous, raising the possibility that nuclear weapons may actually be used.."

"The recent round of talks, though it has ended in stalemate, still shows a way forward. The US should recognise that there is no option at all other than to negotiate, and that no matter how distasteful it may find the DPRK regime, the DPRK's demand for security guarantees and economic aid is not unreasonable. The sooner there are real talks designed to bring down the temperature in the Korean Penninsula and to create real incentives for stability and for movement toward a denuclearised Northeast Asia, the sooner will the DPRK see that it is not in its interest to proceed further down the path of nuclear weapons development. But the more talk there is of interdiction, military options, and regime change, the further away will a stable and nuclear-free peninsula be and the more dangerous will the world be."

(Friends of the Earth Australia last week coordinated a letter signed by 433 organisations including 17 Australian federal parliamentarians to the US, DPRK, RoK, Japanese, Chinese and Russian governments urging a peaceful solution to the North Korean nuclear weapons crisis).