|Korea Peace Days 2019-2020 Alliance of Scholars Concerned about Korea (ASCK.org)National Campaign to End the Korean War (EndTheKoreanWar.org)To raise greater awareness and understanding about the need for peace on the Korean peninsula, the Alliance of Scholars Concerned about Korea (ASCK) and the National Campaign to End the Korean War (NCEKW) call for individuals and organizations to organize public events during Fall 2013, Spring 2014, and Summer 2014 to commemorate Korea Peace Day.Call to Action: During this sixtieth anniversary year of July 27, 1953, Korean War armistice, recurring tensions on the Korean peninsula serve as a sobering reminder that renewed war is a persistent danger. The Alliance of Scholars Concerned about Korea (ASCK), an organization of primarily U.S.-based scholars concerned with U.S. policies towards the Korean peninsula, and the National Campaign to End the Korean War (NCEKW), a coalition of U.S. human rights, community, veterans, and faith-based organizations, therefore seek to renew a peacemaking tradition that began a decade ago as Korea Peace Day. With inaugural events scheduled for November 7-8 at UC Santa Cruz and Berkeley, Korea Peace Days 2013-2014 will continue at different locations throughout North America for several months until July 27, 2014.We invite all concerned people and organizations to express support for a peaceful resolution of the ongoing tensions between the United States and North Korea by organizing local Korea Peace Days on college and university campuses as well as neighborhoods and communities throughout the United States. Already this year, the National Campaign has organized teach-ins as well as public actions, and it will add Korea Peace Days to its campaign to formally end the Korean War. For the remainder of this year and until July 27, 2014, Korea Peace Days held across the nation will signal a growing consensus for peaceful U.S.-Korea relations.The Korean War constitutes the longest military conflict in U.S. history. That war killed more than three million Koreans, more than half a million Chinese, and more than 35,000 Americans. Sixty years ago, on July 27, 1953, an armistice was signed to end the fighting in the Korean War. It recommended that a permanent peace agreement and the withdrawal of all foreign troops be achieved posthaste. Yet, a formal end to the war has never been negotiated. To this day, Korea remains divided, and the United States and North Korea remain technically at war.The first Korea Peace Day was held ten years ago on November 6, 2003, with events taking place at over forty colleges and universities throughout the United States. As on that day, Korea Peace Days 2013-2014 are dedicated to ending the war by advocating for a peace agreement to replace the armistice and calling for a rejection of the use of military force on the Korean peninsula. These events will illuminate the history of the current tensions and the importance of U.S. dialogue, cooperation, and active pursuit of peace with both Koreas, North, and South. They will highlight the stalemated Korean War as a principal obstacle to resolving both the current hostilities and the painful unresolved human legacies of the war.The broader the participation of campuses and communities in Korea Peace Days, the more effective our call for peace will be. Be part of a national movement to bring an end to the Korean War and to urge dialogue and diplomacy as the only acceptable means for resolving dangerous tensions in U.S.-Korea relations.Korea Peace Days Activities: If you want to help your community become a part of Korea Peace Days 2013-2014, here are suggestions and supporting resources for events that would be easy to organize. Please confirm your willingness to organize a Korea Peace Day and send any questions or suggestions to |
koreapeaceday2019.Program Ideas1. Film Screening: For a list of films that encourage dialogue about the legacies of the Korean War, please go to /films.html. A new documentary film, Memory of Forgotten War, by Ramsay Liem and Deann Borshay Liem, is available this year, offering a testimonial perspective on the costs of the ongoing war. Running just 37 minutes, the film serves as a springboard for closer examination of a range of linked issues: the history of the Korean War, civilian trauma and survival, unresolved legacies including the suffering of divided families, origins of U.S.-North Korea enmity, and strategies for promoting dialogue and moving toward peace. (See “Korea Peace Days Resources” for details.)2. Speaker or Panel Discussion: Invite a speaker or panelists to present or discuss a variety of issues related to the objectives of Korea Peace Days. This portion of the program can be tailored to local interests and expertise and can be held in conjunction with a film screening.3. Cultural Performance: Include local performers as available (e.g., a Korean drumming troupe).4. Actions (see “Korea Peace Days Resources” for details): Endorse Representative Mike Honda’s statement to Congress supporting a peace agreement to end the Korean War and calling for dialogue with all relevant parties.
Take part in the photo booth option and an Obama postcard campaign that has thus far accompanied screenings of Memory of Forgotten War.
Set up a table on campus or community centers for people to write letters to their elected officials urging a peace agreement to formally end the Korean War.
Organize a house or block party and mobilize your neighbors and friends for peace. Local organizers may have other ideas and can also engage audiences in a discussion of strategies for action. These are suggestions, but the format of Korea Peace Days is up to you. Some Korea Peace Days might focus on speakers or a panel and others on cultural programming. The list of Korea Peace Days Resources should be useful regardless of how your program is designed. If possible, please include an Action component to provide participants with options to lend their support to the Korea Peace Days objectives. Share Your Events and Help Build a MovementGetting the word out about your Korea Peace Day will build momentum and encourage others to join in. Please tell us about your event details, send us links to local press coverage, and share event photographs. We’ll post them on the ASCK and NCEKW websites and send periodic alerts to others to show them what can be done. Email koreapeaceday2013 @gmail.com.**********November 27, 2010
ASCK Steering Committee Statement on the Current Crisis in Korea
The armed forces of North Korea, South Korea, and the United States stand poised to wage a war that could destroy the Korean peninsula and engulf the world in a nuclear holocaust. It is a war that can and must be avoided.
Last week, a joint U.S-South Korean military exercise escalated into artillery exchange between the two Koreas. North Korea’s artillery bombardment of Yeonpyeong Island killed four and wounded many more. South Korea’s response left an as-yet-unknown number of casualties in the North. Now the United States and South Korea have begun joint war games in the Yellow Sea. U.S. forces include the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit based in Okinawa, the 7th Air Force stationed in Osan, and the aircraft carrier USS George Washington based in Yokosuka. U.S. and South Korean marines will stage a combined amphibious landing exercise on the west coast of Korea.
These massive military maneuvers are escalating tensions and threaten to trigger general armed conflict. We appeal to all sides to desist immediately from warlike actions and stop this cycle of ever-increasing threats and shows of force. All parties must back down before sparking a conflict that would threaten millions of lives.
Background to the Rapid Military Escalation
On November 22nd, the South Korean and American armed forces began annual military exercises involving 70,000 soldiers deployed throughout the South, including the West Sea. Fifty warships, 90 helicopters, 500 warplanes, and 600 tanks were being mobilized for the war simulation exercises, scheduled to last until the end of the month.
On November 23rd, amidst the tension heightened by the exercise, South Korean marines on Yeonpyeong Island, just seven miles from the North Korean coast, fired an unknown number of artillery shells into waters claimed by both Pyongyang and Seoul. Hours later, the North Korean military began shelling Yeonpyeong, an island with military bases as well as a fishing community of 1,300 residents. The South Korean military responded by firing its own artillery at North Korean bases.
North Korea’s attack on Yeonpyeong Island left two soldiers and two civilians dead and over fifteen wounded. Most of the civilians have had to flee the island. The number of casualties and the level of destruction in the North are not known but could be higher, given the technological superiority of the South’s artillery.
Immediately following the artillery exchange, President Barack Obama dispatched the George Washington, a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, and President Lee Myung-bak announced that the rules of engagement for the South Korean armed forces have been changed, allowing for an asymmetrical response to a North Korean attack. The North ratcheted up the tension with the statement that it “will wage second and even third rounds of attacks without any hesitation if warmongers in South Korea make reckless military provocations again.” As the US-South Korea joint military exercises get underway, tensions are rising yet higher.
The Imperative for Negotiations
We deplore all actions that lead to the loss of lives. We denounce the provocative military actions directed at North Korea by South Korea and the United States. We denounce North Korea’s artillery attack on Yeonpyeong Island that killed at least four people. We call on the governments of North Korea, South Korea, and the United States to halt their reckless introduction of even greater military force that escalates tensions and risks further loss of life.
We call on all three governments – North Korea, South Korea, and the United States – to stop inflaming an already dangerous situation through their provocative actions and heated rhetoric. They should immediately cease the military exercises and maneuverings that will inevitably escalate tensions.
We call on the three governments to resume negotiations immediately in order to defuse tensions and to work toward finally ending the Korean War. The recent incident on Yeonpyeong is a deeply tragic reminder of the perilous state of ongoing conflict on the Korean peninsula. Since Korea was divided after World War II, a continuing state of war has been the structural cause of artillery exchanges and border clashes. A heightened risk of conflict will remain unless the Korean War is finally brought to an end with a peace treaty, which would establish the mutual recognition of borders and the normalization of relations.
The current crisis, therefore, underscores the imperative for diplomacy to transform the fragile armistice into a durable structure of peace based on the negotiation of a peace treaty, normalized relations, and the denuclearization of the peninsula. Talks may seem improbable under the present circumstances, but they are needed most when they seem hardest to start. This is such a moment.
Alexis Dudden, University of Connecticut
John Duncan, UCLA
Henry Em, New York University
John Feffer, Foreign Policy in Focus
Martin Hart-Landsberg, Lewis and Clark College
Monica Kim, University of Michigan
Suzy Kim, Rutgers University
Name Lee, UCLA
Jae-Jung Suh, SAIS-Johns Hopkins University
Seung Hye Suh, Korea Policy Institute
Theodore Jun Yoo, the University of Hawaii at Manoa
Contact person for questions regarding this statement: Suzy Kim, email@example.com**********
A Transnational Appeal for Peace and Security in Northeast Asia–August 20, 2009The appeal was formally made at a press conference in Seoul on August 20th. The conference was well attended by many prominent Korean endorsers, including Paik Nakchung and Lim Dong-Won, as well as by Ed Baker of Harvard representing American supporters and Wada Haruki of Tokyo University on behalf of Japanese endorsers.Toward Peace and Security in Northeast Asia:
An Appeal to the Governments and People of the United States, North Korea (DPRK), South Korea (ROK), Japan, China, and RussiaHeartened by recent positive developments over the Korean peninsula, but deeply concerned about the dangerous state of current affairs, we citizens of Japan, South Korea, the U.S. and other regional countries appeal to the peoples and governments concerned to seize the opportunity created by the visits to North Korea of former President Clinton and Hyundai Group chair Hyun to further dialogue and diplomacy in the service of peace.Their visits and meetings with National Defense Council Chairman Kim Jong-Il, as well as the release of two American journalists and a South Korean employee, are welcome steps toward comprehensive dialogue. However, Northeast Asia as a whole is teetering toward disaster. The United States, South Korea, and Japan are tightening sanctions against North Korea; and North Korea is proceeding with its nuclear programs. Tension on the Korean peninsula, inherent in the state of war, is rising yet higher with this week’s military exercises. Yet there is no talk among the governments to resolve their differences.It is high time that the concerned governments stop talking about talks and start talking with each other, bilaterally and multilaterally, to ease the tensions and search for lasting peace. The urgency of the situation, as well as the hope inspired by the Clinton-Kim and Hyun-Kim meetings, leads us to issue the following joint citizens’ statement.—————————————————-At the beginning of this year President Obama called for dialogue and cooperation with North Korea and stated his readiness to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-il. Throughout Northeast Asia and beyond, hopes soared for a diplomatic breakthrough. But military tensions actually increased and the Northeast Asian region was swept by fears of a sudden change in the nuclear situation.Coinciding with the opening of the Supreme People’s Assembly, Pyongyang announced that it would launch a satellite. It did so in April on the very day that President Obama gave his Prague speech seeking “a world free from nuclear weapons.” President Obama criticized North Korea for breach of the “rules” and said, “violations must be punished.” The Security Council condemned the launch in a presidential statement and tightened existing sanctions.On 25 May, North Korea responded to what it viewed as the statement’s infringement on its sovereign right by conducting a nuclear test. In response, on 12 June, the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 1874 to punish North Korea for what it believed was a breach of its previous resolutions. On 2 and 4 July, North Korea, in turn, tested four short and seven medium-range ballistic missiles, prompting further calls for tightening the grip of Resolution 1874 and other measures. The vicious cycle of confrontation in which hardline response elicits hardline response, must be broken.Security Council Resolution 1874 prohibited North Korea from exporting weapons, threatened its ships with inspection, and specified items that could be confiscated. If a North Korean ship were to be interdicted by the US, South Korea, or Japan, the tensions in Northeast Asia could reach critical level.There has to be a turning back if Northeast Asia is not again to be engulfed in war. The situation that brought on the crisis must be reexamined and realistic policies adopted to avoid conflict. This is something that has been sought by all related governments since the early summer of this year. Now, we recommend the following.First, we urgently call on President Obama and Chairman Kim Jong-il to return to a course of dialogue and negotiation, and to take resolute steps to reduce tensions. To that end, we urge that they immediately open US-North Korea negotiation, whether by public or non-public, bilateral or multilateral means, including by the dispatch of a special envoy. The two leaders should make clear that the goal of such negotiation is to normalize the relationship between the two countries, end the state of war, and denuclearize the Korean peninsula. As a first step, they should declare that they recognize each other’s sovereignty. The peoples of the two countries should support their governments in pushing ahead in this direction.Second, in order to persuade North Korea to end its nuclear weapons development, we call on the nuclear weapon states of the Northeast Asian region – the US, Russia and China – to show readiness for nuclear disarmament in accord with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Further, Japan and South Korea should recognize that the US nuclear umbrella (extended nuclear deterrent), on which they themselves rely, has to be on the agenda for the denuclearization of Northeast Asia. Toward this end, the six governments should reiterate their commitment to the September 19th Statement’s goals, including the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and creation of a regional peace structure, and convene a Northeast Asian disarmament conference to lower the level of regional military preparations, including conventional arms as well as weapons of mass destruction.Third, we call on Japan to recommit to a path of negotiating with North Korea. The Japanese government and people have been calling for the punishment of North Korea over the abduction question, and Japan has banned all trade with North Korea and forbidden North Korean ships from entering its ports. Diplomatic negotiations have completely broken down. Japan has refused to fulfil its obligations to provide oil to North Korea under the Six-Party agreements. Japan also took the lead in calling for UN sanctions over the rocket launch. The Japanese government and people must be aware of their own historical responsibility for the present crisis and reopen negotiations to normalize relations with North Korea on the basis of the Pyongyang Declaration (September 17, 2002).Fourth, we call on the government and people of South Korea to take up the valuable opening provided by Hyundai Group Chairwoman Hyun Jeong-eun’s recent visit to Pyongyang and her meeting with Chairman Kim Jong-Il, making clear that they unconditionally oppose raising military tensions on the Korean peninsula and that they will not participate in inspection of North Korean ships. South Korea should strive to construct opportunities to improve relations. Just as the North-South summit meeting of June 2000 provided a historic moment toward dissolving the Cold War regime in Northeast Asia, so the South Korean government should now take the initiative to resolve new tensions in the region by honoring previous summit agreements and returning to a course of dialogue and cooperation with North Korea.Fifth, we call on the governments of China and Russia, with their deep familiarity with the issues pertaining to North Korea, the security of Northeast Asia, and the nuclear arms race, to halt the cycle of escalation and bring the parties in conflict back to the negotiating table by proposing reconciliation among them and committing to the elimination of nuclear weapons and general arms reduction in Northeast Asia.Finally, we urge the Secretary-General, the President of the Security Council, and the United Nations as a whole, to reverse the cycle of escalation and make maximum efforts to bring all parties back to the negotiating table for resolution of the full range of nuclear and peace issues including US-DPRK and Japan-DPRK normalization and a peace treaty to end the Korean War. (August 20, 2009)The appeal in Korean, Japanese, and English (with signatories)
Scholars around the World Express Concerns about Current Crisis in Northeast AsiaDespite some hopeful signs in the last two years, the Korean peninsula is again teetering toward crisis. The Six-Party Talks are stymied. Progress toward normalizing relations between the United States and North Korea has stalled. Relations between the two Koreas have deteriorated.In this context, North Korea’s rocket launch this week and the overreaction to it threaten to trigger another round of escalation.We urge all the governments in the region to remain calm and turn to dialogue and diplomacy to stop the peninsula from degenerating into a conflict. We believe that this crisis is a reminder of the absolute imperative of achieving permanent peace in the region.Frustrated by the lack of progress in the Six-Party Talks and genuinely interested in advancing its space program, Pyongyang is making its second attempt to put a satellite into orbit. This time, North Korea has signed the appropriate international protocols governing satellites and given the proper notification. The UN resolution sanctioning North Korea after its 2006 nuclear test does not explicitly forbid satellite launches. North Korea is attempting to abide by this resolution suggests that Pyongyang still wants to engage with the international community.We are concerned about the growing militarism in Northeast Asia, including increased military spending, destabilizing U.S. military exercises around the peninsula, and the bellicose rhetoric from North Korea. Japan has taken the current crisis as an opportunity to accelerate its missile defense programs; South Korea is solidifying its uncompromising position. We believe that an overreaction to North Korea’s rocket launch would only fuel North Korea’s suspicions and make further negotiations difficult. Talk of sanctions would only help end dialogue in the region.We call on the region’s governments to reaffirm the principles declared in the September 19 Joint Statement of the Six-Party Talks as well as the roadmap identified in the February 13 agreement. The six countries should abide by their commitments and move forward not only on denuclearization but also with the larger engagement package, which includes a peace treaty to replace the Korean War armistice, concrete steps toward normalization, and a roadmap that Pyongyang can follow to become integrated into the global economy and a peace structure. A narrow focus on non-proliferation is a recipe for prolonged, fitful, and probably fruitless negotiations. Only by expanding the number of options on the table can the Six-Party Talks make headway.All avenues of communication and exchange, including bilateral ones, must be pursued. A bold move to open dialogue must begin now.Signatories (institutional affiliation for the purpose of identification):*Charles K. Armstrong ( Columbia University)
Donald Baker (University of British Columbia)
Edward J. Baker, Hanyang University
Tim Beal (Victoria University of Wellington)
Herbert P. Bix (Binghamton University)
Mark Caprio (Rikkyo University)
Koen De Ceuster (Leiden University)
Kornel Chang (Yale University)
Hyo-Je Cho (SungKongHoe University)
Hyaeweol Choi, Arizona State University
Kyeong-Hee Choi (University of Chicago)
Bruce Cumings (University of Chicago)
John P. DiMoia (National University of Singapore)
Myon-hoi Do (Daejeon University)
Alexis Dudden (University of Connecticut)
Henry Em (New York University)
Stephen J Epstein (Victoria University of Wellington)
Peter Erlinder (Wm. Mitchell College of Law)
John Feffer (Foreign Policy in Focus)
W. Chad Futrell (Cornell University)
John Gittings (School of Oriental and African Studies)
Patricia Goedde, Sungkyunkwan University Law School
Mel Gurtov (Portland State University)
Suk-Jung Han (Dong-A University)
Marty Hart-Landsberg (Lewis and Clark College)
Milan Hejtmanek (Seoul National University)
Larry G. Hepinstall (University of Maryland University College)
Theodore Hughes (Columbia University)
Roger L. Janelli (Indiana University)
Kelly Y. Jeong(UC Riverside)
Jin-Heon Jung (University of Illinois)
Jennifer Jung-Kim (UCLA)
Jungmin Kang (Stanford University)
Laurel Kendall (American Museum of Natural History and
Charles Kim (University of Wisconsin – Madison)
John Kim (Veterans For Peace-Korea Peace Campaign)
Joy S. Kim (Princeton University)
Monica Kim (University of Michigan)
Nan Kim (University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee)
Samuel S. Kim (Columbia University)
Sun Joo Kim (Harvard University)
Suzy Kim (Boston College)
Thomas P. Kim, Korea Policy Institute
Yong Hyun Kim (Dongguk University)
Kab Woo Koo (University of North Korean Studies)
Tae Yang Kwak (Ramapo College)
Mantak Kwon, Kyung Hee University
Heajeong Lee (Chung-Ang University)
Jin-Kyung Lee (University of California, San Diego)
Keun Lee (Seoul National University)
Name Lee (UCLA)
Seung-Joon Lee (National University of Singapore)
Ramsay Liem (Boston College)
Gavan McCormack (Australian National University)
Chung-in Moon (Yonsei University)
Hwasook Nam (University of Washington)
Robert Oppenheim (the University of Texas at Austin)
Haksoon Paik (Sejong Institute)
Albert L. Park (Claremont McKenna College)
Hye-Jung Park (Funding Exchange)
Katherine Park (nodutdol)
Sun Song Park, Dongguk University
Samuel Perry (Brown University)
Andre Schmid (University of Toronto)
Wesley Sasaki-Uemura (University of Utah)
Mark Selden (Cornell University)
James D. Seymour (Chinese University of Hong Kong)
Matthew A. Shapiro (Illinois Institute of Technology)
Eric Sirotkin (Korean Peace Project – National Lawyers Guild)
Bo-hyuk Suh, Ewha Women’s University
H.K. Suh (Korea Report)
Jae-Jung Suh (Johns Hopkins University)
Seung Hye Suh (Scripps College)
Vladimir Tikhonov [Pak Noja] (Oslo University)
Jun Yu (University of Hawaii)
Ji-Yeon Yuh (Northwestern University)
Haruki Wada (University of Tokyo)
Boudewijn Walraven (Leiden University )*Signatures are collected by Alliance of Scholars Concerned about Korea (www.asck.org).
**********ASCK sponsored two events at the March 2009 AAS meeting in Chicago.First event: March 27, Friday, 10:45 a.m. – 12:45 p.m., Panel Number 48, Long Journey Toward Truth: Findings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, South Korea.Chair: Martin Hart-Landsberg (Lewis and Clark College)Presenter: Professor Kim, Dong-Choon, Standing Commissioner, Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Republic of KoreaPresenter: Dr. Suh, Hee Kyung, Investigation Bureau (5th team -involving U.S. troops), Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Republic of KoreaPresenter: Charles J. Hanley, Special Correspondent, International Desk, The Associated PressDiscussant: Professor Jae-Jung Suh, Director of Korea Studies, The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, The Johns Hopkins University.
Second event: Saturday, March 28, 2009, 1 p.m. – 2:30 p. m., Erie Room, A reception for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Republic of Korea (TRCK).The program included opening remarks by Professor Martin Hart-Landsberg (Lewis and Clark College); a brief presentation by Professor Kim Dong-Choon (Sung Kong Hoe University), standing commissioner of the (TRCK); and informal conversations with members of the TRCK. A limited number of free copies of a book documenting the work of the TRCK were distributed.ASCK also helped organize a speaking tour by the TRC that included stops in six cities: New York, Boston, Portland, Berkeley, Los Angeles, and Vancouver.**********
ASCK is supporting an important effort by historians in South Korea to defend the principle of political neutrality in education.Statement by Historians in South Korea and abroad [the undersigned] demand that the Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology stop the revision of [high school] history textbooks, undermining the principle of political neutrality in education.On October 8th, twenty-one academic associations related to the field of history held a press conference, criticizing the government’s plan to revise modern Korean history textbooks [used in high schools].The following day, the Joint Committee for the Resolution of the History Textbook Issue, composed of 39 groups – including the National Association of History Teachers, National University Workers’ Union, and Asia Peace and History Education Network – also held a press conference in front of the Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology.They did so because, instead of safeguarding political neutrality in education and respecting historical expertise, the Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology has brought about a crisis in historical research and education. But the Ministry has refused to acknowledge such criticism/opposition and continues to stick to its plans for revision.On October 15th, the Ministry announced that it would “pursue a balanced revision of textbooks by the end of November reflecting the academic and educational perspectives in a comprehensive manner” by utilizing the report submitted by the National Institute of Korean History entitled “Review of modern Korean history textbooks and Proposed Guidelines for Narration” and the participation of the Association of Experts in History Education made up of teachers, educational professionals, and professors.The textbooks that the Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology plans to revise had already been reviewed in 2004, 2005 and 2006, and [in those reviews] were not judged to be “left-leaning.” If the revisions are carried out [only] because the new President, Lee Myung-bak, proposed such changes as part of his so-called policy of “normalization of textbooks,” will future administrations also revise textbooks whenever there is a change in government? If that were to happen, political neutrality in education will be undermined, and there will be a proliferation of research on modern Korean history that caters solely to the government in power.Moreover, the way the Ministry has pursued the revision of history textbooks does not conform to the Regulations concerning Textbooks. According to these regulations, the Ministry may order the authors or the publishers to revise the contents, and if such orders go unheeded, the Ministry may revoke its official approval or suspend publication and circulation of the textbooks within one year. But even in such cases, the regulations have no provisions for the direct revision of textbooks by the government [as the government threatens to do].The report submitted by the National Institute of Korean History did make note of 49 different revisions to be made in the textbooks to enhance validity and fairness, avoiding bias in historical interpretation, but did not provide detailed guidelines for the 257 different expressions deemed problematic by the Ministry.It is of grave concern that the current attempt to revise history textbooks appears to be driven by a specific political agenda to homogenize history textbooks, as demanded by the “New Right” and parts of the governing group.First, the Ministry’s revision of history textbooks, by allowing only one historical interpretation, prevents diverse interpretations, based on accumulated historical research, from being reflected in the textbooks. This suppression of diversity leads to the repression of academic freedom in research and publication.Second, the Ministry’s revisions will further narrow the range of historical interpretations that had been guaranteed to some extent under the textbook authorization system. This distortion of the textbook authorization system will result in the publication of authorized textbooks that are no different from the government authored textbooks that were published under the Yushin System. This will result in the infringement of history teachers’ right to teach, and students’ right to learn.Third, the homogenization of history education will undermine students’ creative and spontaneous learning and furthermore hamper the cultivation of open-ended and pluralistic thought necessary in the age of globalization.Because the Ministry’s attempt to revise history textbooks will inevitably lead to the erosion of academic freedom and political neutrality in education, we, the undersigned scholars of history, hereby launch a nation-wide signature campaign and make the following demands: The Ministry must respect the research findings of historians and guarantee political neutrality in education.
The Ministry must listen to the voices of historians and drop its plan to revise history textbooks for political purposes.
The Ministry must stop exerting unjust external pressure on the publishers and the writers of history textbooks.
Statement and signatories as of November 12, 2008
Statement by history graduate students and signatories
For an overview of the issue see: Choe Sang-Hun, “History textbook causes an uproar in South Korea,” International**********Herald Tribune, November 17, 2008.
Letter in Support of Professor Oh Sei-ChullThe ASCK steering committee authored a letter to the Prosecutor General of South Korea on behalf of Professor Oh Sei-Chull who, along with six other people, was arrested on charges of violating the National Security Law.**********Korea Peace Day 2007On November 30, 2007, the ASCK Steering Committee sponsored (with the support of UCLA’s Center for Korean Studies) a Korea Peace Day 2007 event at UCLA, with the theme “Ending the War on Korea, Building Peace for Northeast Asia.”
**********The following is the ASCK statement in support of House Resolution 121 on the “comfort women” issue.
Alliance of Scholars Concerned about Korea (ASCK) May 3, 2007As scholars working on East Asian and Asian American issues, we call upon members of Congress to support House Resolution 121 proposed by Congressman Mike Honda. We believe that the government of Japan should make an official and unequivocal apology. It should take responsibility for how the Japanese Imperial Armed Force subjected thousands of girls and women of Asia, as well as those of European descent, to sexual slavery as “comfort women” during World War II.
It is beyond dispute that in the Pacific War, many Asian nations fell victim to Japan’s military aggression in lives and in resources. For example, Japan instituted a system of sexual slavery for the benefit of its military by forcing women to provide involuntary sexual services as military “comfort women. The “comfort women” issue is an extraordinarily painful chapter in East Asian history. For East Asia as a region to move beyond existing enmities and forge stronger political and economic ties, there must be an honest assessment of the past. Japan can play a critical and positive role by making an official apology for its wartime conduct on this issue.
The reckoning with the past, however, is not simply a matter of passing judgment on Japan’s misdeeds. The United States, too, played a role, when U.S. soldiers visited “comfort women” stations during the occupation after the war. The United States, too, bears responsibility for the failure to fully account for and confront Japanese war crimes. The United States is not an outsider to the problems of history arising out of the wars in Asia, and America must confront its role in mishandling Japanese war-crime issues after 1945.
It is now time for Americans to take issues of historical injustice in northeast Asia seriously. The United States has a clear interest in ensuring that the peace and prosperity of a region so vital to its future are not undermined by the past. So it is appropriate that Congress is taking a role in trying to heal the wounds of history. But simply demanding Japan’s apology will not be enough. America must also confront its own responsibility in ignoring Asians’ suffering. By fully acknowledging what war-crimes victims went through, the United States can help bring Japan and its neighbors closer together.
The ramifications extend well beyond East Asia. Girls and women have targeted victims of torture and degradation during armed conflicts around the world, from Bosnia to Rwanda. It is critically important that governments send a clear signal that such conduct constitutes a crime against humanity. Japan’s apology for past crimes will help to prevent future crimes from taking place.
As scholars, we recognize the importance of truth in any reconciliation process. Before reconciliation can truly take place in East Asia, Japan must take this first, vital step.*********Letters in Support of Professor Kang Jeong-soothe ASCK steering committee authored two letters to the president of Dongguk University in Seoul, South Korea on behalf of Professor Kang Jeong-Koo who was indicted in December 2005 and convicted in May 2006 under provisions of the National Security Law for making statements alleged to be pro-North Korean. Professor Kang has been suspended from his teaching and research jobs.**********Korea Peace Day 2006With relations between the United States and North Korea growing steadily worse, the Alliance of Scholars Concerned about Korea declared December 1, 2006, to be Korea Peace Day 2019. On that day ASCK held a major conference at Stanford University which featured a panel of distinguished scholars including Bruce Cumings, John Lewis, Jae-Jung Suh, and Xiyu Yang.**********The Future of U.S.-Korean Relations:
An ASCK Book Project (published by Routledge in 2006)Profound asymmetries of power and perception haunt U.S. relations with both North and South Korea. Over the last four years, these power imbalances have led to increased tensions among the three countries. An uneasy, eight-year truce concerning North Korea ‘s nuclear ambitions ended in 2002, and the United States moved closer to a war footing. In South Korea, meanwhile, anger and resentment over an unequal military and political relationship, combined with an ongoing U.S. reevaluation of its military role on the peninsula, have put an enormous strain on a longstanding military alliance.The shifts in U.S. policy toward the two Koreas have taken place against the backup of a radically reconfigured American foreign policy. Upon taking office in 2001, George W. Bush signaled a new direction in U.S. relations with the world. Particularly after September 11, the Bush administration has increasingly broken with a “balance of power” tradition to put greater emphasis on military force and unilateral diplomacy. Dramatic changes have taken place in East Asia as well. These include rising Japan-North Korea tensions in the wake of disclosures of the kidnapping of Japanese citizens; the growing military strength and reach of Japan and China together with China’s emergence at the center of a range of diplomatic activities including the Korean nuclear issue, and movement forward in inter-Korean rapprochement. In light of these trends, the United States faces important decisions in dealing with the Korean peninsula and, by extension, East Asia. Along one path lies increased conflict – diplomatic, economic, and even military. Along another path lies the prospect of greater cooperation and mutual benefit that arise from greater equality in relations and multilateral diplomatic, political, and economic interaction. In The Future of U.S. -Korean Relations, twelve prominent experts on U.S.-Korean and U.S.-Pacific relations explore the many dimensions of this critical choice. They analyze current U.S. foreign policy, how it has changed over the last decade, and, as importantly, how it should change over the next ten years. They chart critical new developments in North and South Korea. And they examine U.S.-Korean relations through such prisms as nationalism, the media, and regional relations. This book will contain essays that were published in the Winter 2004 issue of Asian Perspective and written by Charles Armstrong, Paul Chang, John Feffer, Martin Hart-Landsberg, Samuel Kim, Karin Lee, Adam Miles, Katharine Moon, Gi-Wook Shin, and Jae-Jung Suh. The book will have additional chapters by Gavan McCormack, James Seymour, and Haruki Wada.**********Korea Peace Day 2005With renewed tensions once again raising the specter of war on the Korean peninsula, the Alliance of Scholars Concerned about Korea declared November 10, 2005, to be Korea Peace Day.**********Conference on U.S. Foreign Policy Toward Korean February 25, 2005, the ASCK helped organized a conference at George Washington University to assess the future of U.S. foreign policy towards the two Koreas in light of the reelection of George W. Bush to a second term as U.S. president.**********Korea Peace Day 2003At a time of heightening tensions and increasing threats of war on the Korean peninsula, ASCK organized the first Korea Peace Day to build support for the peaceful resolution of U.S.-North Korean conflicts. On Thursday, November 6, events were held in over forty college campuses in the United States and around the world educating participants about the history of U.S.-Korean relations and calling for a new U.S. policy towards Korea, North and South.**********
Time to End the Korean WarOn July 27, 2003, on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the signing of the armistice ending the fighting in the Korean War, ASCK issued a statement entitled “Time to End the Korean War.”