Statement of International Conference against the Asia Pacific Missile Defense and for the End of the Arms Race
Seoul, South Korea
Here we have come together, facing a new decade in
the 21st century where the history of war and strife is being repeated. We
are witnessing many countries and regions, having learned nothing from the
conflict and hostility-ridden Cold War era, still tenaciously pursue arms
buildup. Especially the nation with military hegemony and its many
followers, rather than seeking to understand the roots of conflict and
finding peaceful resolution, search for new threat and enemy as a means to
reinforce their military capabilities, and at times even exaggerate the
threat in order to justify their arms buildup.
We are especially observant of how the US missile defense system triggers not only space militarization but also unnecessary arms race and political and diplomatic strain between nations. Proposed missile defense installations in Czech Republic and Poland are generating massive public dissent in the region and infuriating Russia to the point of a “new Cold War.”
Planned US missile defense system in the Asia Pacific poses a burden to regional attempts to alleviate Cold War tensions, thereby further provoking confrontation between sea powers and land powers. In the Asia Pacific where the US leads the Asia Pacific missile defense efforts, supported strongly by Japan and Australia, Korea is next in line with its cutting-edge weaponry and a new set of roles. As a result, China, Russia, and North Korea all have expressed enormous opposition, fueling an arms race in the Asia Pacific. Such an arms race also risks undermining the war-renouncing Article 9 of Japan’s peace constitution, a key foundation for peace and security in the Asia-Pacific region.
The controversy over North Korea's long-range rocket launch that has become a key factor in the current tension pervading the Korean Peninsula leaves room for discussion. North Korea's rocket launch should be seen as a byproduct of both a divided Korean peninsula and the arms race in the Asia Pacific. However, this aspect has been ignored. Instead there is exaggerated interpretation of threat and stirring up of security fears, mobilizing the justification for developing a missile defense system in the region. North Korea's long-range rocket launch, on the contrary, reveals the utmost need and urgency for placing confidence building and normalization of relations among nations, as well as cooperative mutual disarmament, on top of our agenda.
Above all, we are aware that the logic behind “absolute security” through the missile defense system does not differ from other aggressive military thinking. Furthermore, the missile defense system is a risky plan which has yet to prove its effectiveness. As a project requiring astronomical costs, the system is based on the logic of unlimited military spending expansion, solely for the benefit of the military-industrial complex. This, we must not forget, sacrifices many resources to be invested for improving the welfare and the quality of life of the many people suffering from economic, public welfare, and environmental crisis.
Many nations and people throughout the world today are suffering from the economic crisis and the climate change. These crises must be taken as opportunities for each country to stop the wasteful arms race and turn its attention to the daily living of its citizens who are taking heavy blows from the economic crisis and the climate change. The development of unnecessary and offensive weapons, including the missile defense system, must be halted first. National security that neglects the safety of the people and community is meaningless.
We, therefore, resolve to act jointly against the missile defense system and the arms race which impede the peace and security of the Korean Peninsula, East Asia, and the international community. We will inform people about the falsehood of the missile defense and the damage caused by the consequent arms race and military conflict. As a member of the international community, we pledge to develop a new peace mechanism starting from where we stand, in our local communities, to bring about peaceful coexistence and conflict resolution in place of military confrontation. We declare we will do our duty and part to turn the coming decade into a period of transformation for overcoming the worn-out military paradigm.
17 April 2009