Korean summit undercuts 'Star Wars'

By Tim Wheeler  -  People's Weekly World

The June 12 meeting of the two Korean presidents in Pyongyang, capital of the 
Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), was greeted by peace organizations as a 
step toward ending the 50-year confrontation on the peninsula. 

The meeting also countered Clinton administration claims that the U.S. needs an 
anti-missile system to defend against the DPRK, which it brands a "rogue nation."

DPRK President Kim Il shook hands with South Korean President Kim Dae Jung during a 
welcoming ceremony at the Pyongyang airport June 12.

Kim Jong Il has unleashed a diplomatic offensive to strengthen the DPRK's relations 
with countries around the world. He recently visited Beijing. Russian President 
Vladimir Putin is set to visit Pyongyang this month, rebuffing Clinton Administration 
attempts to deploy a ballistic missile defense (BMD) in violation of the 1972 ABM 

Joe Volk, executive director of the American Friends Service Committee, said, "This 
meeting is a very good initiative. What we need on the Korean peninsula is an end to 
the Cold War through threat reduction, confidence building and identifying areas of 
cooperation between the north and the south. It might lead to mutual security and in 
the not too distant future reunification of Korea"

He added, "We doubt very much if North Korea poses a real threat to U.S. security that 
justifies spending billions of dollars for an anti-missile system." 

Kim Dae Jung served prison terms under successive right-wing regimes in Seoul. A 
worldwide movement, joined by the DPRK, forced the regime to free him. 

South Korean trade with the DPRK, which was zero in 1989 reached $333 million in 1999. 
As of April 7, some 210,000 people from South Korea had visited Mount Kumgang (Diamond 
Mountain) in the DPRK, among the most beautiful peaks in the world and revered as a 
symbol of Korean unification.

The summit of the "two Kims" comes during a period of agonizing reappraisal of the 
role of the U.S. in the Korean War. The Pentagon is attempting to discredit an 
Associated Press report buttressed by eyewitnesses that U.S. soldiers massacred 
unarmed Koreans whom they had herded under the No Gun Ri bridge. The DPRK's Korean 
Central News Agency released a report on the history of the Korean War reminding 
readers that the Pentagon, and Gen. Douglas MacArthur, had schemed to escalate the 
Korean War into World War III by crossing the Yalu River. 

The plan was to draw People's China and the Soviet Union into the war and then 
retaliate with nuclear weapons. I.F. Stone provides massive documentation of this plan 
in his "Hidden History of the Korean War." Half a century later, the U.S. still 
deploys 40,000 troops and hundreds of nuclear weapons in South Korea.

Mary Day Kent, executive director of the U.S. Section of the Women's International 
League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), told the World that her group favors 
negotiations to end the Korean War, "which has been going on for decades." 

The South Korean section of WILPF "is very concerned about human rights issues in 
South Korea and also about the process of renegotiation of the 'Status of Forces 
Agreement.' This is an indication that the U.S. plans to maintain its military forces 
in Korea into the future", she said. We are extremely concerned and opposed to the 
revival of an anti-ballistic missile proposal, which is both destabilizing and 

Bruce Gagnon, coordinator of the Global Network Against Nuclear Weapons and Power in 
Space, told the World, "There is a fresh breeze blowing. It runs counter to the claim 
that North Korea is ready to launch a nuclear attack against the rest of the world."

He accused the CIA of attempting to whip up hysteria against North Korea. "They have 
revised their estimates on how long it would take the North Koreans to develop an 
intercontinental ballistic missile to justify immediate deployment of Star Wars. This 
has been a fabrication from the start."

President Clinton is under mounting pressure to reject the new version of Star Wars. 
On June 12, 33 eminent scholars of U.S.-Russian relations sent a letter to Clinton 
initiated by the Council for a Livable World.

"We believe the current plans for the National Missile Defense program may undermine 
U.S. security and further aggravate U.S. relations with Russia," the letter warned. 
"We urge you not to endorse deployment at this time."

Signers include Timothy Colton and Marshall Goldman, leading Russia scholars at 
Harvard; Arthur Hartman, former Ambassador to the Soviet Union, and John Steinbruner, 
an arms control expert.

Meanwhile, 46 physicists and engineers, organized by the Union of Concerned 
Scientists, told Congress that the Star Wars scheme should be shelved.

"What's on the books at this point is simply not adequate and never will be," said 
Lawrence Jones, a physicist at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

The scientists charged that the Pentagon has deliberately "simplified" tests in hopes 
of proving that the anti-missile missile can pick out the real incoming missile from 
thousands of tin-foil decoys. Not one test has succeeded.

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