US Policies Worsening North Korean Nuke Crisis Say Peace Groups: Aust Should Take Lead In Restoring Sanity

July 7, 2003

US Policies Worsening North Korean Nuke Crisis Say Peace Groups: Aust Should Take Lead In Restoring Sanity

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

Australian Peace groups Friends of the Earth, the Australian Peace Committee, Ozpeace and CICD have accused the Australian government of following along with US policies that are steadily worsening the North Korean nuclear weapons crisis, creating a real risk of either a conventional conflict or possibly a nuclear exchange.

Reports from the CIA acknowledge that the DPRK is moving toward the miniaturisation of its warheads in order to be able to mount them on missiles. However, these reports are now said to be old. In fact, it seems possible that the North Koreans may have already done a technology swap with Pakistan, who have mounted their own warheads for some years on North Korean Nodong missiles. Meanwhile, elements in the Bush administration have talked openly of the possibility of taking pre-emptive military action against the DPRK, and of 'regime change'. North Korean rhetoric in response has become more and more threatening. In the most recent developments, the DPRK has threatened to void the 1953 Armistice agreement. North Korea is likely to be discussed at the meeting on WMD proliferation in Brisbane this week.

According to the groups:
"The extreme danger of threatening the DPRK, and the real possibility of conflict and even possibly of the use of nuclear weapons by a cornered and threatened DPRK seems to escape some US policymakers completely. Australia cannot afford simply to let this situation slip. Our Prime Minister is quite right to say that we now have a number one security problem, but the policies we are now following in lockstep with the US hawks are quite the opposite to those that we need to follow. Blockades, sanctions, and threats of 'regime change' are simply going to make the DPRK more aggressive and more inclined to pre-empt a US pre-emptive strike with a pre-preemptive strike of their own. What is needed is a clear recognition of the legitimate security concerns of the DPRK and a comprehensive settlement on the Korean Peninsula."

"Australia, as a nation that has diplomatic relations with not only the DPRK but also with the RoK, China, Japan, the US, and Russia, has the potential to inject some sanity into a situation that every day looks more and more as if it may spiral out of control. At this weeks Brisbane conference, Australia must take the lead and press the Bush administration to stop talking of military options and opt for a sensible negotiated solution to the most important security problem we now face."


John Hallam
Phone: (02) 9567 7533