60 Years Anniversary, Endless U.S. War in Korea:
To Control the Pacific. New Dangers
Christine Ahn, Global Fund for Women
Film, “Memories of Forgotten War” (30 min.)
Bruce Cumings, author: Dominion from Sea to Sea: Pacific Ascendancy & U.S. Power
Christine Hong, Univ. of Calif., Santa Cruz
Koohan Paik, IFG, Korea Policy Institute
Kang dong-kyun, Mayor Gangjeong Village, Tamna, Jeju Island
Sung Hee Choi, Jeju Island
Dohee Lee, (Tamna) traditional Korean singer, Jeju Island
Recent threats and tensions between North Korea, South Korea, the U.S. and China have served to remind us of the extreme dangers and absurdities related to the endless Korean War, and expanded U.S. military presence in the region. This year marks the 60th anniversary of the 1953 Armistice Agreement that supposedly brought the combat phase of the war, one of the bloodiest and most destructive in history, to a temporary halt. But it did not end the war. The Agreement stipulated that a peace agreement should be realized within three months and that all foreign forces be withdrawn from Korea. But the U.S.-China hegemonic struggles in Asia have left Korean north-south relations in a precarious (and obsolete) Cold-War state, one of the most dangerous and unstable in the entire Asia-Pacific hemisphere. The situation in Korea represents a grim case study of what is going on broadly throughout the Pacific at this time. After 60 years of cease-fire, the U.S. still stations nearly 30,000 military personnel and operates 40 military bases on the Korean peninsula, meant not only to protect South Korea, but to threaten China, a few hundreds miles away, and to establish a dominant presence., The consequences of these situations are borne most acutely by the Korean people, but also by Okinawans and Pacific Islanders who are forced to forfeit their land and seas to relentlessly increasing militarization.
This panel addresses the human and ecological costs of permanent war as the modus vivendi of U.S.-Korean relations, and details the specifics of current resistance movements, such as on the island of Jeju, South Korea. There, the local Tamna indigenous population is struggling to prevent completion of an environmentally disastrous Korea-U.S. sea-base, destroying ocean resources as well as a 900 year old traditional community of small farmers and fishers.