[The photo of a nuclear bomb explosion comes from the Asian Sentinel 11-1-16. The actual test was conducted underground]
Background to the Peace Foundation Letter
By Antipodean Blogger
North Korea has just been unanimously condemned by the United Nations Security Council and had tougher new sanctions imposed on it for again conducting a nuclear test (on January 6) and testing a long-range rocket (on February 7).
Village-Connections is very pleased to be able to publish below a carefully balanced and constructive letter sent by the New Zealand Peace Foundation to Murray McCully, the New Zealand Minister of Foreign Affairs on the subject on 20 February.
The letter makes clear that there is much diplomatic work to be done between North Korea, South Korea and the United States. For instance, as it cites from the New Zealand Herald ‘North Korea is seeking a peace treaty with the US, China and South Korea to formally end the Korean War and will not stop its nuclear tests until it gets one.’ (NZ Herald 13/1/16)
The letter also adds how New Zealand as a nuclear-free peacemaker is well suited to take up such diplomatic work.
We could add here how central to New Zealand’s campaign to get onto the United Nations Security Council for its present 2 year stint was the way it acted, and was seen as, an honest broker. We could also suggest suggest that inter-embassy conversations between interested parties could be usefully conducted in Wellington as a quiet antipodean peacemaking center well away from the scenes of international tension.
Certainly more is needed than to simply apply sanctions on North Korea while United States and South Korea continue to conduct regular military exercises near its territory.
The Peace Foundation letter follows:
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Wellington, New Zealand
20th February 2016
Nuclear Tests or Peace Treaty with North Korea
Dear Minister McCully
We strongly agree that North Korea should be chastised by New Zealand and the international community for conducting another nuclear and another apparent missile test. However, such condemnation should be against all nuclear tests and all nuclear-related missile tests.
Some of the other nuclear-armed States have yet to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. Therefore, any Security Council action regarding North Korea’s nuclear tests should also declare that any nuclear test by any nation would be against international law and a threat to the peace.
Most of the nuclear-armed States are also conducting tests of nuclear capable missiles. Russia and the USA, for example, both tested nuclear capable missiles in November last year. Any action against North Korea’s missile tests should therefore be accompanied by establishing a global moratorium against nuclear-related missile tests.
In addition, any condemnatory or punitive actions against North Korea should be accompanied by constructive actions to reduce hostilities, build peace and lower the role of nuclear weapons within the region.
The New Zealand Herald noted that ‘North Korea is seeking a peace treaty with the US, China and South Korea to formally end the Korean War and will not stop its nuclear tests until it gets one.’ (NZ Herald 13/1/16). Since 1953 there has only been a truce between the two Koreas which obviously needs to be rectified by a Peace Treaty. In addition, as part of this treaty there would need to be reductions and constraint on military exercises by both sides which tend to inflame hostilities. This includes the Foal Eagle exercises conducted by South Korea, the US and other partner countries and perceived by North Korea as preparations for attack.
If we are genuine in our endeavour to stop nuclear tests by North Korea, then we need to pursue the proposed Peace Treaty and also the proposal for a North East Asia Nuclear Weapon Free Zone.
The NZ government should support this process and seek ways to offer peace-making services for negotiation of non-militarist solutions. This is in keeping with our Nuclear Free Peacemaker foreign policy which is our most valuable contribution and recognised role in the international community.
Efforts to roll-back the North Korean nuclear weapons program will be enhanced by progress to prohibit and eliminate nuclear weapons globally. North Korea has indicated that it would support and join a nuclear weapons convention. This should be pursued, especially in the Open Ended Working Group on Nuclear Disarmament which opens on February 22, 2016, and in the P5 process established by the 2010 NPT Review Conference outcome document.
Laurie Ross, Alyn Ware and Richard Northey
(Peace Foundation -International Affairs and Disarmament Committee)