Peace Boat welcomes the agreements made at the US-DPRK Summit in Singapore on June 12, 2018, by the leaders of both states to move away from hostile relations and towards cooperation for the permanent peace and denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
The people of the Korean Peninsula have experienced a tragic history, including colonial rule by Japan, World War II, the subsequent division of their country and the Korean War. There has been no official end to the Korean War, which has continued in a state of ceasefire for 65 years—an extremely unusual situation in today's world. In late 2017 the situation on the Peninsula reached a critical point of potential warfare, through the development of nuclear weapons and ballistic miles by the DPRK, and what could be described as emotional, hostile remarks exchanged by the leaders of both the DPRK and the US.
In spite of this, the landmark Inter-Korean Summit, which was held on April 27 this year at Panmunjeom, and the historic US-DPRK Summit this June, took place successfully. Peace Boat believes there is now a significant opportunity to achieve permanent peace and denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. We also wish to highlight the crucial role played by the President of South Korea, with the support of South Korean civil society, in realizing this unprecedented progress. We would like to extend our sincere appreciation and respect for these efforts.
For 35 years Peace Boat has conducted voyages throughout Asia—including both South and North Korea—and to other parts of the globe, promoting peace and friendship with the philosophy of learning from the past in order to create a peaceful future. Peace Boat is committed to achieving permanent peace and a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula as a priority.
In addition to our voyages for peace and international exchange, Peace Boat is also active in various policy advocacy initiatives for peacebuilding and nuclear abolition. We serve as an international steering group member of the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate ICAN (the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons), as well as the Northeast Asia Regional Secretariat of GPPAC (the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict).
Now that the "summit of the century" has taken place, civil society must grasp this opportunity and take action to prevent the tragedy of war or nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula from being repeated and to ensure that the commitments made at these summits are honored and further built upon. Immediate action is needed to eliminate the outdated Cold War structures remaining in East Asia, once and for all.
The resumption of talks towards normalization of relations between the DPRK and Japan, based on the 2002 Japan-DPRK Pyongyang Declaration, would enable the realization of the shared goals agreed upon at the aforementioned summits. The comprehensive resolution of pending issues of concern vis-à-vis both sides, including the DPRK abduction of Japanese citizens and the impact of Japanese colonial rule, in addition to establishment of diplomatic relations, would contribute immensely to the creation of a peaceful, nuclear-free Korean Peninsula, and more broadly to security across all East Asia, including Japan.
In order to realize the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, all related countries must take initiatives based on fair and comprehensive international law, including joining the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), adopted by the United Nations in July 2017. This process must recognize the inhumane nature of nuclear weapons, and protect the rights of those impacted by nuclear weapons in both Japan and the Korean Peninsula.
We believe that the future success of these summits is dependent upon the actions of not only the governments of the DPRK, ROK, Japan, China Russia, and the US but also of citizens around the world. We pledge to make every effort, in cooperation with civil society around the world, to pave the way for this new era of a peaceful, nuclear-free Korean Peninsula.