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U.S.-Korean Alliance vs. Unjustified War

Posted March. 21, 2003 22:23,   


Anti-war sentiment and opposition to sending troops to Iraq are growing throughout many different parts of the society. Although President Roh decided to help Americans in its war against Iraq, civic organizations are intensifying the debate about `whether the government decision is good for the country or not.` Amid heated debate, some urge people to understand the decision by the government and instead pray for an early end to the war.

“We need to maintain our alliance with the U.S. to cope with the national security threat from North Korea,” said Civic Coalition for Righteous Society in a statement on March 21. “By sending troops, we will be able to send a good-will message to Washington and then ease the concern and sense of insecurity surrounding the Korean Peninsula.”

“For peace on the Korean Peninsula, we have to reinforce our alliance with the U.S.,˝ said Suh Jung-gap, communication director at the People`s Union for Freedom and Reunification.

Representatives from four civic organizations, including the Civic Coalition for Economic Justice and the Christian Ethics Movement, held a press interview before Sejong Culture Center in Jongro, Seoul and said, “We understand that the government has made its decision out of national interest and consideration,” adding however that, “unjustified war killing innocent civilians must be stopped at once.”

Some 200 members of the National College Professors` Union held a press interview before U.S. Embassy in Jongro, Seoul and declared their objection to the U.S. invasion in Iraq and government decision to send troops, a statement signed by 800 of its members.

“Of some 150 countries trading with Korea, only about 20 support the U.S.-led war,” said Professor Kim Sang-gon from Hanshin University. “In the mid and long term, sending troops to Iraq will not be helpful to our economy.”

The National Writers` Society also issued a statement on March 21 and demanded that “the U.S. stop the invasion of Iraq at one.”

“We object to the government decision to support the U.S. attack and send troops,” it added. “The Roh government must not make the Korean people become part of this dirty war.”

The National People’s Alliance comprising 45 organizations such as the Federation of Labor Unions and the Labor Party also held a press interview before Cheong Wae Dae and demanded that the government withdraw its decision to send troops. “The decision will only make it more difficult bring peace in the Korean Peninsula by cozying up to American unilateralism,” said Im Pil-soo, director at the alliance.

A heated debate also continues over the Internet.

“A strong U.S.-Korean alliance is the only solution to any war crisis on the Korean Peninsula,” wrote a web surfer identified as ‘cckkss2003.` “We do not have to become a part of this mindless violence Americans are pursuing for their economic interest,” noted `jrxss3.`

Hyo-Lim Son aryssong@donga.com