Members of the Georgia Korea Peace Campaign (Georgia WAND, Women Cross DMZ, ReGeneration Movement, Sesamo Atlanta) held our first coalition event “From Armistice to Peace: Ending the 66th Year Old Korean War” this past summer. There were about 90 people in attendance along with approximately 6 Korean newspapers and media outlets.
In addition, we were graced with the presence of four elected officials; Senator Gloria Butler, District 55, Representative Kim Schofield, District 60, Representative Brenda Lopez-Romero, District 99, and Representative Sam Park, District 101 who was one of our panelists along with Georgia WAND’s Executive Director Lindsay Harper; Mr. Jongho Kyun, Deputy Consul General of the Republic of Korea in Atlanta; Mr. Eric Kim, Vice President of Korean American Coalition (KAC) Atlanta; Ms. Hyun Lee, Women Cross DMZ; Mr. James Woo, Asian Americans Advancing Justice; and Dr. Yusun Chang, Georgia Korea Peace Campaign.
The panelists talked about ongoing efforts to lobby federally elected officials to support negotiation toward a new relationship between the United States and North Korea as well as direct the U.S. State Department to consult with the South Korean officials on how to reunite Korean American families with family members in North Korea with the support of H.R. 1771 Divided Families Reunification Act of 2019 and to commit to working toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
The panelists also discussed the economic burdens both in Korea and the United States, stating that the war is estimated to have cost the U.S. $30 billion in 1953, (approximately $350 billion today) and the U.S. and the Republic of Korea combined have spent countless billions more on the ongoing security and military forces stationed around the peninsula to this day. They discussed some of the similar circumstances of those living in the areas of Burke County and other counties in the vicinity of nuclear power Plant Vogtle and the Savannah River Site nuclear weapons complex where so much money is being spent on the upkeep of the facilities but not on the economic prosperity of local residents. These same communities are also burdened by the contamination of the air, soil, and water from the nuclear activity.
Although the the Korean War officially ended in 1953 with the signing of the Korean Armistice, its impacts continue to be felt, with $350 billion dollars spent and continued military presence stationed around the peninsula to this day. Many South Koreans would like the U.S. to move forward with a formal Peace Treaty that would negotiate a new relationship between the U.S. and North Korea; support reunification of Korean American families; and commit to working toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
For more information, please send an email to Phyllis Richardson, Government Affairs Coordinator, at Phyllis@GeorgiaWAND.org