Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Need Your Help for the Transnational Korean Peace Candlelight Vigil

Dear Eclipse Rising members, supporters and zainichi/Korean/Japanese/Bay Area communities,

July 27 marks the 56th anniversary of temporary armistice agreement to end the fighting between the United States and Korea. However, that was not a peace treaty and the war between the US and Korea has technically never ended.

With recent escalating tensions between North Korea and the US (nuclear testing, missiles, military training, the detention of the American journalists) highlighted by the media, the horrendous thought of the "forgotten war" starting up again is not such a far-off reality.

On Sunday, July 26, there will be an international candlelight vigil held to voice our concerns and convince Washington, President Obama, and the international community that we must end the Korean War, the ongoing militarization and occupation of the Korean peninsula, and move forward toward a peace treaty and a reunification of the Korean peninsula.

The candlelight vigil will be happening in the following US cities: Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Oakland, Washington DC, and possibly Chicago and Minneapolis. Also, some South Korean peace groups are going to join us along with the delegation of Korean Canadians and Korean Americans visiting North Korea this summer through the DPRK Exposure and Education Program.

The one planned in Oakland will be at the Oakland Asian Cultural Center (88 9th St # 290, Oakland, CA 94607-4295) from 6 - 8pm. The vigil will be co-sponsored by other local organizations and feature light snacks and refreshment and possibly a presentation of community folks sharing their thoughts about the Korean war and the need for a peace treaty through artistic means like poetry, song, and dance!

Eclipse Rising has committed to bring some zainichi foods, share a slideshow presentation of our families and our stories, and possibily sing "Imjim River" with the antendees.

We are looking for volunteers in our lovely community for the following:
1. help us cook or prepare zainichi foods (if you've never made a "zainichi" dish you can still help - we'll send you a recipe or we can cook together)
2. if you are zainichi - e-mail photos of your family that you are willing to share through a slide show. If you can also include a short blurb about your personal experience or family experience and maybe include how you or your family are affected by the division, even better! Please send those (2-3 photos only please) to eclipserising@gmail.com
3. We know there are some musically talented folks we're sending this to! We want to play Imjin River for our small and intimate audience that night and we'd love it if anyone could join and play a musical instrument or sing along!
4. Write up a short piece or create an artistic expression (essay, poem, song, photos, painting) on how the division and war of Korea has affected you or your family as zainichi in some way and be willing to share it
5. Lastly, we're looking for help in outreach and publicity for the event once fliers and PR stuff are created and the event does need volunteers day of - set up, clean up, maybe during stuff too

In closing, please let us know if you can jump in on any aspect of this important project, and please ASAP because July 26 is fast approaching! You can e-mail us at eclipserising@gmail.com

Please save the date (July 26 6-8pm)!

Check out this website:
Eclipse Rising

Friday, July 10, 2009

Okinawa Radio - Churadio.com

Please check out the following link to an Okinawan Radio station on line, with Okinawan music, links, and an online shop!*


*Website is in Japanese

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Sending Another "Jimmy Carter" to North Korea

Reading this made me think of what might happen to the zainichi Koreans who reside in Japan if there was a war between North Korea and Japan.

You can read the article here or click on this link:


Sending another "Jimmy Carter" to North Korea

Selig Harrison | July 8, 2009
(Originally published June 20, 2009 in The Hankyoreh)

North Korea is often accused of dishonoring the commitments it makes in negotiations. However, in North Korean eyes, it is the U.S. that has failed to live up to its promises. This is the main reason why military hard-liners have been able to take control of North Korean foreign policy in the past six months and justify an increasingly provocative series of nuclear and missile tests in internal policy debates.

Kim Jong-il's failing health and his reduced work schedule have made it easier for the hard-liners to consolidate control. Their strength is rooted in a cavalier U.S. disregard of its commitments that has vindicated their opposition to the 1994 Agreed Framework and the 2007 six-party denuclearization agreement.

For nearly eight years, from June 1994, to December 2002, the moderates in North Korea led by First Deputy Foreign Minister Kang Sok-ju prevailed, and North Korea suspended its nuclear weapons program over the bitter protests of the hard-liners. In return, North Korea was promised two light water reactors as a token of U.S. readiness for normal relations. The reactors were never built, however, despite large South Korean and Japanese financial outlays. The Bush Administration not only abrogated the Agreed Framework, but dissolved the Korean Energy Development Organization (KEDO) and bludgeoned South Korea into approval in order to leave no doubt that the U.S. had repudiated its commitment.

Despite this, the moderates were able to get Kim Jong-il to support the six-party process with help from China and to disable the Yongbyon reactor. In return, the six parties pledge of 600,000 tons of oil. Although Japan, angered by the U.S. decision to remove North Korea from its List of Terrorist States, refused to provide its share, 200,000 tons, and the moderates were once again discredited.

This is a very dangerous moment in our relations with North Korea, the most dangerous since June 1994, when Jimmy Carter went to Pyongyang with the grudging consent of the Clinton Administration. Carter negotiated an agreement with Kim Il-sung that headed off a war and paved the way for the Agreed Framework. Now, we are in urgent need of another high-level emissary, but the Obama Administration is not even prepared to give its grudging consent to Al Gore. Gore has expressed interest in negotiating the release of Laura Ling and Euna Lee, the two imprisoned U.S. journalists and employees of Current TV, which he founded, and in the process pave the way for a reduction of tensions.

Gore met Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on May 11 and asked for the cooperation of the Obama administration in facilitating a mission to Pyongyang and in empowering him to succeed in such a mission by exploring with him ways in which the present stalemate in relations between North Korea and the U.S. can be broken. She said she would "consider" his request, but the Administration has subsequently delayed action. The Administration's position is that the case of the two imprisoned journalists is a "humanitarian" matter and must be kept separate from the political and security issues between the two countries. In a News Hour interview with U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice on June 10, Margaret Warner asked Rice how the latest U.N. sanctions resolution would "complicate efforts to win the release of the two American journalists." Rice turned the question around, declaring that the issue of the two journalists "cannot be allowed to complicate our efforts to hold North Korea accountable" for its nuclear and missile tests.

This is an unrealistic position. It shows a callous disregard for the welfare of Laura Ling and Euna Lee. It ignores the danger of a war resulting from the Administration's naive attempts to pressure North Korea into abandonment of its nuclear and missile programs. Past experience with North Korea has repeatedly shown that pressure invariably provokes a retaliatory response that makes matters worse. The Administration should instead actively pursue the release of the two women through intervention in their behalf by a high-level unofficial emissary empowered to signal U.S. readiness for tradeoffs leading to the reduction of tensions, such as the provision of the 200,000 tons of oil that had been promised and not delivered to North Korea since the six-party talks broke off last fall.

Looking ahead, the goal of the U.S. should be to cap the North Korean nuclear arsenal at its existing level and to move toward normalized relations as the necessary precondition for progress toward eventual denuclearization. The prospects for capping the arsenal at its present level have improved as result of Pyongyang's June 13 announcement admitting that it has an R&D program for uranium enrichment. Since this program is in its early stages, and Pyongyang is not yet actually enriching uranium, there is time for the U.S. to negotiate inspection safeguards limiting enrichment to the levels necessary for civilian uses. Until now, North Korea's denial of an R&D program has kept the uranium issue off the negotiating table and kept alive unfounded suspicions that it is capable of making weapons-grade uranium.

Progress towards denuclearization would require U.S. steps to assure North Korea that it will not be the victim of a nuclear attack. In Article Three, Section One of the Agreed Framework, the U.S. pledged that it "will provide formal assurances against the threat or use of nuclear weapons by the U.S." simultaneous with complete denuclearization. Pyongyang is likely to insist on a reaffirmation of this pledge. Realistically, if the U.S. is unwilling to give up the option of using nuclear weapons against North Korea, it will be necessary to live with a nuclear-armed North Korea while maintaining adequate U.S. deterrent forces in the Pacific.

In my view, in the event of another war with North Korea resulting from efforts to enforce the U.N. sanctions, it is Japan that North Korea would attack, not South Korea. Some of the hard-line generals in the National Defense Commission, I learned on my January visit to Pyongyang, were outraged at Kim Jong-il's apology to Prime Minister Koizumi in 2002 and have alarmed moderates in the regime with their swaggering confidence that North Korea could win a war with Japan.

*Selig S. Harrison is director of the Asia Program at the Center for International Policy and a senior scholar of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. He is the former director of the Century Foundation¹s Project on the United States and the Future of Korea. Specializing in South Asia and East Asia for fifty years as a journalist and scholar, he has visited North Korea over ten times and on two occasions, met with the late Kim Il Sung. He is the author of six books on Asian affairs and U.S. relations with Asia, including Korean Endgame: A Strategy For Reunification and U.S. Disengagement, published by Princeton University Press in May 2002. Dr. Harrison serves as an advisory board member of the Korea Policy Institute (KPI).