Washington, D.C. — February 7, 2017 — Today, 128 organizations and 42 prominent activists issued an Olympic Truce Call to Action imploring groups and individuals to host or attend events or take other action during the period of the Olympic Truce (February 2 — March 25) to promote peace and diplomacy on the Korean Peninsula and oppose a second Korean war.
The Olympic Truce is a tradition dating back to Ancient Greece, established to ensure athletes and spectators from other countries could participate in and watch the olympic games without fear of being attacked. With tensions on the Korean Peninsula running dangerously high, as the signers of the Olympic Truce Call to Action put it, “The Olympic Truce represents an important opportunity to defuse tensions and begin the work of reconciliation on the Korean peninsula. The United States should fully support both Korean governments’ current efforts to restore a peace process.”
Christine Ahn, founder and International Coordinator of WomenCrossDMZ, was recently in Vancouver for a meeting of foreign ministers addressing the crisis on the Korean Peninsula. “I led a delegation of 16 women from UN-Command sending nations to urge the countries that participated in the Korean War to prepare the table for peace talks with North Korea at the Vancouver Summit, to build on the inter-Korean dialogues inspired by the Olympic Truce,” explained Ahn. “Instead we got more of the same—sanctions and isolation—which have only failed to denuclearize North Korea. It’s time for our collective call for maximum engagement and to dial back threats of a U.S.-led military first strike.”
Ann Wright, a retired U.S. Army Colonel and former U.S. diplomat, also joined the delegation of women at the Vancouver summit, and was recently in South Korea for a peace conference taking place ahead of the olympic games. Wright explained why the international community’s approach to the crisis thus far has failed to advance the cause of peace on the Korean Peninsula.
“The ‘maximum pressure’ strategy of the international community is actually economic warfare. Military blockades, war games and bomber intimidation is not a peaceful resolution. Talking is!” exclaimed Wright. “Demanding that North Korea give up its nuclear weapons program when the United States has three aircraft carriers, hundreds of fighter jets, nuclear submarines just offshore and B1 bombers flying near the DMZ will not convince the North Koreans that the U.S. has any other intention than an major attack and regime change. As North Koreans have told members of our women’s delegation, sanctions and aggression against their country only furthers their resolve to withstand the humiliation and disrespect they are now facing from the international community.”
Kevin Martin, President of Peace Action and convener of the ad hoc Korea Collaboration network, an informal network of peace groups and activists that coordinates actions to support peace on the Korean Peninsula, explained how Americans can help capitalize on the opportunity provided by the Olympic Truce. “For Americans wondering what they can do to support peace in Korea and help avert a war, participating in events around the Olympic Truce is a great place to start,” Martin explained.
“Actions as simple as inviting a few friends over for an olympic watch party and collectively calling your congresspeople to ask them to support diplomacy and oppose war with North Korea can add up and have a big impact,” said Martin. “If you happen to be a member of Congress, you can help give diplomacy the space it needs by cosponsoring the No Unconstitutional Strike Against North Korea Act and supporting efforts to suspend or significantly scale back the provocative U.S.-South Korea war games.”
Martin also mentioned a specific Olympic Truce event that he said anyone with sufficient internet connection can attend; a Facebook Live Olympic Watch Party for Peace, hosted by One Corea Now in a private home in San Jose, California and scheduled to stream live on its Facebook page at 8pm Eastern, 5pm Pacific on Friday, February 9th. Both Kevin Martin and Christine Ahn will be speaking about the Olympic Truce during the livestream of this olympic watch party.
The Korea Collaboration network is an informal network comprised of dozens of peace groups and activists who coordinate actions to support peace and diplomacy on the Korean Peninsula and to prevent a second Korean war.