As a daughter of South Korean immigrants, I used to be raised to be apolitical.
My mother and father, like lots of their era who lived via Japanese occupation and the devastating Korean War, got here to the conclusion that as a way to survive, it was greatest to remain silent. Because of this, I knew virtually nothing about my beginning nation or the forces that formed it.
It wasn’t till graduate faculty at Georgetown College in Washington, D.C.,that I began studying in regards to the Korean Peninsula and the U.S. legacy within the area. I used to be shocked to study that the United States proposed (and the Soviet Union agreed) to divide the peninsula on the finish of World Struggle II – circumstances that led to struggle between North Korea (backed by China) and South Korea (supported by the USA and the United Nations), resulting in the Korean Struggle.
Although an armistice halted energetic preventing in 1953, a peace settlement was by no means signed. This state of unended struggle – which marks 70 years on July 27 – has irrevocably formed not solely the lives of these dwelling on the Korean Peninsula however all of us in the USA.
It is time to signal a peace settlement with North Korea
After many years of failed U.S. coverage, the one pathway to resolve the deadlock is for the USA to signal a peace settlement with North Korea. An accord would cut back the danger of renewed battle between North Korea and the USA and construct belief as a way to higher negotiate on North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.
The risk is actual: Our nuclear weapons are much more powerful than Oppenheimer’s atomic bomb
Ladies, particularly, have an important position to play in constructing lasting peace. Not solely is there a wealthy history of women organizing for peace in Korea, however analysis exhibits that the involvement of women in peace processes results in higher outcomes.
But to this point, few women have been involved in the Korea peace process.
That’s why in 2015 I organized a women’s peace walk from North Korea to South Korea – throughout the Demilitarized Zone – with American feminist icon Gloria Steinem and Nobel Peace laureates Leymah Gbowee and Mairead Maguire. We walked with 1000’s of Korean ladies on either side of the DMZ to point out that girls are united of their want for peace in Korea. We proceed to advocate for ending the Korean Struggle, reuniting Korean households and together with ladies within the peace course of.
Our journey is documented within the movie “Crossings,” which is now airing on public tv.
The ‘Forgotten Struggle’ is America’s longest-running struggle
Whereas a lot public consideration is paid to North Korea’s nuclear weapons development, we hardly ever contemplate how the continued U.S. navy presence on the Korean Peninsula helps gasoline tensions: 28,500 U.S. troops are stationed in South Korea, and the USA and South Korea routinely maintain joint navy workouts to rehearse struggle with North Korea.
America additionally maintains operational control of South Korea’s military during wartime.
North Korea routinely cites this context as justification for its nuclear weapons program – key to self-defense towards a possible assault from the USA.
Ukraine should not use cluster bombs: Biden is wrong to send cluster bombs to Ukraine. 50 years later, they’re still killing in Laos.
As a result of the USA and North Korea have by no means changed the armistice with a peace settlement, any unintentional or intentional escalation might quickly devolve into renewed preventing. Such a struggle might contain nuclear weapons, which might seemingly consequence within the deaths of tens of millions.
But stating these info has led me to be labeled naive at greatest and, at worst, a North Korean apologist.
Fortunately, increasingly more folks are actually talking out in favor of peace with North Korea. A lot of them are Korean People who come from divided households and lengthy to return to their hometowns. Some, like me, have thought-about the human prices of this struggle and might stay silent not.
Different supporters embrace Harvard neurosurgeon Dr. Kee Park, who has witnessed the impact of sanctions on health care in North Korea; Dan Leaf, a retired U.S. Air Drive lieutenant common who believes that the risk of nuclear war is highest in Korea; and Siegfried Hecker, a nuclear scientist who emphasizes the necessity for peace as a foundation for denuclearization.
Opinion alerts: Get columns out of your favourite columnists + professional evaluation on prime points, delivered straight to your gadget via the USA TODAY app. Haven’t got the app? Download it for free from your app store.
The dangers and prices of the Korean Struggle may be hidden from view, however People and Koreans alike can solely achieve from lastly resolving America’s longest standing struggle.
There’s a path ahead, ought to our lawmakers be courageous sufficient to take it. Passing the Peace on the Korean Peninsula Act, which requires diplomacy in pursuit of a binding peace settlement to formally finish the struggle, would go a great distance towards resuscitating this challenge from the murky depths of historical past.
Whereas the Korean Struggle is sometimes called America’s “Forgotten War,” Koreans and Korean People haven’t forgotten. People of each background should come collectively to demand an finish to our nation’s longest-running struggle.
Christine Ahn is the founder and govt director of Ladies Cross DMZ, a company of girls mobilizing for peace in Korea.
You may learn numerous opinions from our Board of Contributors and different writers on the Opinion front page, on Twitter @usatodayopinion and in our daily Opinion newsletter. To answer a column, submit a remark to [email protected].
This text initially appeared on USA TODAY: Korean Armistice Agreement isn’t enough. Let’s end our ‘Forgotten War’