US Grassroots Network

US Grassroots Network: Member Profiles

Christine AhnChristine Ahn

Where you live: Honolulu, HI
Your representative: Ed Case
Occupation: Executive Director, Women Cross DMZ

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1. Why is peace on the Korean Peninsula important to you?
As a Korean American, I want to see an end to the 70-year Korean War that has torn apart tens of thousands of Korean families on the peninsula and in the United States. The US divided the peninsula and waged an indiscriminate bombing campaign on North Korea during the war. Our country is the obstacle to the peace process and so as a US citizen, I feel the burden and responsibility to help bring closure to this war and all the Korean people still suffering from it.

2. How has the Korean War (and the lack of resolution) impacted your life?
It pains me to see so much suffering of the Korean people from this unresolved war, from not seeing their loved ones, to the hardship facing the daily life of North Korean people. We should end this senseless war and redirect all our energy invested in preparation for war towards leading a more healthy and peaceful life.

3. What is one thing you wish the US public or politicians knew or understood better about the crisis on the Korean Peninsula?
That the United States is the key obstacle to advancing peace in Korea. In 2018, the two Korean leaders Kim and Moon committed to ending the war and for a new dawn of peace. As Americans we must urge our government to help bring closure to this longest of US’ wars.


Earl ArnoldEarl Arnold

Where you live: Owego, New York
Your representative: Rep. Tom Reed
Occupation: Presbyterian pastor, retired; secretary of the Presbyterian Peace Network for Korea

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Why is peace on the Korean Peninsula important/personal to you?
In 2014, I was in South Korea as part of a partnership exchange visit.  Our hosts took us to No Gun Ri, where American troops killed hundreds of civilians, mostly women and children, in 1950.  I was so moved by that experience that since my return, I’ve been involved with efforts toward repentance, forgiveness, and reconciliation between the U.S. and Korea.

How has the Korean War (and the lack of resolution) impacted your life?
The billions of dollars the U.S. has spent to maintain its large military force in Korea has taken the resources needed to sustain the quality of life of Americans.  Funding this ongoing war has taken priority over maintaining our nation’s infrastructure, such as highways, bridges and water systems, leaving them in a disgraceful state of disrepair.

What is one thing you wish the US public or politicians knew or understood better about the crisis on the Korean Peninsula?
Most Americans believe the Korean war ended in 1953.  They need to understand that America’s longest war was not in Afghanistan or even the Cold War, but the Korean War that has not been concluded for over 70 years.


Douglas AsburyDouglas Asbury

Where you live: Riverside, IL
Your representative: Jesus “Chuy” Garcia
Occupation: Ordained United Methodist pastor in retirement

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1. Why is peace on the Korean Peninsula important to you?
I have a good friend named Jae Jeok whom I met when he was a graduate student at Northwestern University. He is now a professor at one of the many universities in Seoul. I was blessed to have sung at his wedding in Seoul and have had the pleasure of visiting him and his family there several times since. It is always a concern for me when I read of sword-rattling on the Korean Peninsula, whether that is coming from the North Korean side or that of the United States, because my friends would be in the direct line of fire, were hostilities to begin and to escalate. (Whether led by conservative or progressive governments, I have observed that South Korea seeks peace and refrains from provocations, even giving measured responses to any provocations from the north.) It is absolutely crucial that a peace treaty be signed to end the Korean War in a formal way. Only when that has been done can serious and credible negotiations take place to establish the further conditions that will support peace on the Peninsula. Without that, North Korea will never believe that the intentions of the United States are not the overthrow of the existing regime. Were such a treaty to be signed, and further actions taken to develop a peace regime, I believe my friends would be much safer than I believe them to be today.

2. How has the Korean War (and the lack of resolution) impacted your life?
Primarily, it has been incredible to me that the United States and other nations have continued to try to bully North Korea into submission for the past 68 years without results, rather than changing their tactics so as to recognize the need of the Kim regime for assurance that North Korea’s sovereignty is as valuable to them as their own; and that, as much as I and others might like the Kim regime to treat its people differently than they do, they have used the bullying tactics of other nations as fodder to support their own “military first” philosophy, thereby forcing their own people to endure great suffering, both “for the sake of the nation” and under threat of punishment, if not death for treason. Regardless of who said it, there is much truth in the statement that “insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” In that sense, it seems that those into whose hands we have place the responsibility to work for peace on the Korean Peninsula can be counted among the insane. It is time we ask some sane people to try something different than the bullying that has gotten us, if anything, closer to conflict rather than further away from it. So, personally, the lack of the resolution of the war has diminished my expectations that our elected and appointed officials are working for peace and increased my suspicions that they are serving the interests of multinational corporations — especially the military-industrial complex about which President Eisenhower warned us — and others who benefit from the lack of peace, but not for the well-being of the Korean people, either North or South.

3. What is one thing you wish the US public or politicians knew or understood better about the crisis on the Korean Peninsula?
Just as the US would not wish any other nation to have control over its relations with a neighboring nation, so South Korea should not be forced to serve US interests in its relationship with North Korea, but should be allowed — and even encouraged — to serve its own best interests. Though more conservative administrations in South Korea have taken hard-line attitudes toward North Korea, it should have been instructive to US officials that President Kim Dae-jung received a Nobel Peace Prize on account of his “Sunshine Policy” that led to the development of cooperative relations with North Korea, including the cooperative development of the Kaesong Industrial Complex and the family visitation policy that was implemented, among other things. That mistakes were made along the way, especially during the Roh Moo-hyun administration, that led to the South Korean electorate to choose two more conservative hardliners as president following Roh’s term is unfortunate; and yet, the hard line followed by Lee Myung-bak and Park Geun-hye, though understandable in light of North Korean actions, set back the possibilities of greater inter-Korean cooperation and movement toward peace rather than continuing them through negotiation of processes of accountability and reconciliation. The current efforts of the Moon Jae-in administration should be supported by the US as an ally rather than critiqued and shaped by the US to support its own interests rather than those of South Korea as a sovereign nation, not as a servant of US national and corporate interests. It is only by giving our allies leadership when serving their own interests and supporting them in their decisions that the likelihood of peace can be maximized and that of continued conflict can be reduced. There are no better nations to develop a peace regime between themselves and their neighbors than those who have the most to lose if peace is not achieved. A good ally will recognize this and be supportive of the efforts of its ally as it develops the peace regime it believes to be in its own best interest, whether it serves what the ally believes to be in its best interest or not.


Jungrea ChungJungrea Chung

Where you live: Henderson, NV
Your representative: Susie Lee

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Korea Peace: Division between North and South from 1945 when Japan surrendered and ended the World War II, was forced by two super powers, and then the Korean war five years later gave people such a huge pain and distrust each other. Personally, I am the only one living in this country and all of my siblings and mother still alive in South Korea. I will do whatever I can do.

Korea needs to end the armistice treaty and switch to the peace treaty. That is the way for the peaceful coexistence between N-S Korea and the far east strategy of US government policy in the better way for living together.


Maud EasterMaud Easter

Where you live: Delmar, NY
Your representative: Paul Tonko
Occupation: Retired educator/organizer

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1. Why is peace on the Korean Peninsula important to you?
I worked in NE Asia for the American Friends Service from 1977-1980, visiting South Korea many times and North Korea once in 1980. From many conversations with democracy activists in South Korea, government leaders in North Korea and Koreans in the US, I learned how painful the division of peninsula has been for Koreans and how US policies have impeded steps by Seoul and Pyongyang to find paths to reduced tensions.

2. How has the Korean War (and the lack of resolution) impacted your life?
I am ashamed of what my government’s policies have done to the Korean people, from the country’s initial division, to the Korea War, to US continuing military presence. So I have been part of the US movement calling for changes in US policies toward Korea since 1975.

3. What is one thing you wish the US public or politicians knew or understood better about the crisis on the Korean Peninsula?
The US needs to sign a peace treaty to formally end the Korean War, which would open the way to normalizing relations with North Korea, would support North-South cooperation, and could be the first step toward a nuclear-free peninsula.


Chuck EsserChuck Esser

Where you live: Philadelphia, PA
Your representative: Dwight Evans

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1. Why is peace on the Korean Peninsula important to you?
I have been involved with many friends in Korea for more that 40 years.

2. How has the Korean War (and the lack of resolution) impacted your life?
Seeing neighbors with PTSD who served in the war, having friends arrested and assaulted in South Korea under the military dictatorship, having humanitarian supplies from the AFSC stopped under the travel ban, having so much of our tax money going to our military presence in Korea.


Joseph GersonJoseph Gerson

Where you live: Watertown, MA
Your representative: Kathryn Clark
Occupation: President, Campaign for Peace, Disarmament & Common Security

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1. Why is peace on the Korean Peninsula important / personal to you?
It remains a tinderbox for possible catastrophe war, even nuclear war.
I know and work with many people in South Korea. They remain vulnerable to war and the lives of many of them have been scarred by the division of South and North Korea. (During the era of them, a Quaker, during the era South Korean military dictatorship was imprisoned for 13 years and tortured for the “crime” of reading the wrong book.
I also have a number of Korean-American friends and colleagues who are understandably deeply committed to fulfilling the imperative of creating a peaceful and just Korean peninsula.

2. How has the Korean War (and the lack of resolution) impacted your life?
See responses to #1
The father of one of my good friends was a refugee during the war, and his father, a founder of the Democratic Party in South Korea, was briefly South Korea’s prime minister and was ousted in a coup backed by the CIA.
My scholarly work has focused on the use and threatened use of nuclear weapons, including the nearly a dozen times that the U.S. has prepared and threatened to initiate nuclear war. During the 2003 crisis, I hosted a delegation of Korean parliamentarians and leading civil society figures who came to the U.S. to encourage peaceful resolution of the crisis that had taken the US and DPRK to the brink of war.

3. What is one thing you wish the US public or politicians knew or understood better about the crisis on the Korean Peninsula?
In 1999 and 2000, the U.S. Secretary of State and Defense Secretary negotiated a comprehensive agreement with North Korea that was derailed by the first Bush Administration. That opportunity for peaceful resolution of the continuing crisis was lost. Peace remains possible if the U.S. government will develop the vision and will.


Youngsun HanYoungsun Han

Where you live: Brooklyn, NY
Your representative: Yvette D. Clark
Occupation: Artist, Lecturer

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1. Why is peace on the Korean Peninsula important to you?
The ongoing conflict in the Korean Peninsula is a tragic affair that demonstrates the worst of humanity. I am intimately familiar with my family’s stories of how they were affected by the war, including being separated from other family members forever and leaving everything they knew behind. Even though I did not personally experience the war, it leaves a lasting impression, and I hope that other families will not ever have to endure this again.

2. How has the Korean War (and the lack of resolution) impacted your life?
I grew up with the legacies of my family’s trauma — especially my father’s side who fled from their homeland and lived as refugees for several years. It’s difficult to describe the sense of pain and yearning one has for their homeland, knowing that it’s due to an unresolved war. It’s formed a deep empathy for others on the peninsula who remain directly affected.

3. What is one thing you wish the US public or politicians knew or understood better about the crisis on the Korean Peninsula?
North Korea’s foreign policy and relations with the U.S. are greatly influenced by our actions in other nations. Our government’s unnecessary intervention in Iraq created incredible fear and an example that the same precedent would take place in North Korea. This led to a vicious cycle of increased rhetoric and threats of violence. A more peaceful approach in all of our foreign affairs will be the best way to de-escalate tensions and create possibilities for change.


Cole HarrisonCole Harrison

Where you live: Roslindale, MA
Your representative: Stephen Lynch
Occupation: Executive Director of Massachusetts Peace Action

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1. Why is peace on the Korean Peninsula important to you?
I’m a member of the Vietnam War generation and have seen the Cold War give way to the War on Terror and now to a new emerging Cold War with China. Through it all, the US occupation of South Korea, a relic of the Cold War, has driven tension in the world and militarism in the US and repeatedly brought the world to the brink of war. After seven decades, it’s time for the US to get out of the way of Koreans’ desire for reconciliation.

2. How has the Korean War (and the lack of resolution) impacted your life?
See above.

3. What is one thing you wish the US public or politicians knew or understood better about the crisis on the Korean Peninsula?
Koreans have a long history as one nation and have suffered greatly in the 20th century from foreign interference. The US should not drive the policy in Korea. Since we claim that we are in Korea to help and defend Koreans, we should let Koreans lead in solving their problems, and stop trying to use Korea as a military base or a political pawn.


Cheehyung Harrison KimCheehyung Harrison Kim

Where you live: Honolulu, HI
Your representative: Ed Case
Occupation: Korea historian at the University of Hawaii at Manoa

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1. Why is peace on the Korean Peninsula important to you?
It is important for the democratic progress of the entire peninsula. The hostility and division sustain global militarism and its industries that continue to be detrimental to democracy, independence, the environment, and the lives of the working people. Peace on the peninsula is a crucial step toward reducing the influence of militarism and military industries. 

2. How has the Korean War (and the lack of resolution) impacted your life?
The anti-communist culture in the US that arose after the Korean War–still strong today–has created certain challenges in my life, especially as a historian of North Korea, but I take it as a my mission to discuss socialism and communism as potentially beneficial to humanity. Also, I live in a place (Hawaii) where imagined threats on the Korean peninsula keep military and political elites in power. A paradigmatic shift is absolutely necessary for a viable future, and this starts with peace on the peninsula. 

3. What is one thing you wish the US public or politicians knew or understood better about the crisis on the Korean Peninsula?
That the crisis on the peninsula is created and maintained by militaries, their industries and misinformed politicians; and that so much of what we know about North Korea are false and imagined. North Korea is part of our world, neither better nor worse than South Korea or the US. 


HyungKoo Kim김형구 / HyungKoo Kim

사는 곳 / Where you live: 뉴저지 놀우드 / Norwood, NJ
지역 연방 의원 / Your representative: Josh Gottheimer
직업: 언론인 / 교육사업 / Journalist / Education

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한반도 평화가 왜 중요한가요? (개인적으로 어떤 관계가 있나요)
우리의 힘이 아닌 열강들의 전쟁 결과물로 일제강점기 36년에서 해방된 후, 한국전쟁을 겪고 남북으로 분단된 지 벌써 70년이 넘었지만, 여전히 남북은 이념대립과 강대국들의 이해관계에 얽혀 기본적인 인적교류조차 하지 못하고 있다. 남북 모두 막대한 군비 지출과 기본권 통제를 당하며, 전쟁을 우려하여 일상생활은 긴장의 연속이다. 또한 생이별 당한 이산가족의 만남도 이루어지지 않고 있다. 이러한 비인도적 문제들을 해결할 유일한 방법은 한반도에 평화를 영구히 정착시키고 궁극적으로 통일을 이루는 것이다. (부모님 두 분 모두 북에 고향을 둔 실향민이시다.)

1. Why is peace on the Korean Peninsula important / personal to you?
Korea was liberated from 36 years of Japanese colonial rule not through our own strength but as a result of the war between the great powers. It has been 70 years since the Korean War and the division of the peninsula, but due to ideological differences and the involvement of foreign powers, even the most basic human exchange is blocked between the North and South. In both North and South Korea, governments spend enormous military expenditures and suppress people’s basic rights, and people live in constant fear of war. Families separated against their will are unable to reunite. The only way to resolve this inhumane tragedy is to establish permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula and ultimately achieve unification. (Both of my parents are displaced people whose hometowns are in North Korea.)

한국 전쟁 (그리고 분단)이 당신의 삶에 어떤 영향을 미쳤습니까?
부모님 모두 북에 고향을 두고 월남하신 분들이다. 평생을 두고온 가족들을 그리며 살아 오신 모습은 인간의 기본적 행복을 다 누리지 못란 채, 가슴에 한을 품고 사셨을 것이다.

2. How has the Korean War (and the lack of resolution) impacted your life?
Both of my parents are from North Korea, and they fled south during the war. They lived their entire lives longing for the family they left behind. They lived with han in their hearts, unable to enjoy basic human happiness.

한반도의 위기에 대해 미국 대중이나 정치인이 알아야 하거나 이해하기를 원하는 것은 무엇입니까?
최선의 전쟁보다 최악의 평화가 더 좋다는 말처럼, 어떠한 경우에도 전쟁은 정당화•합리화 될 수 없으며, 전쟁의 공포속에 사는 우리는 행복추구권을 침해당하는 것이다. 또한 경제적 관점에서도, 평화비용은 분단비용이나 전쟁비용보다 비교할 수 없을만큼 적게 든다. 이제 북미평화협정과 남북불가침조약을 거쳐 한반도에 평화를 정착시킨 후 통일을 이루어야 할 것이다. 우리 민족의 의지보다 강대국의 이해관계와 상황논리에 따라 분단이 고착되고 전쟁 공포속에 사는 우리의 현실을 인식시키고, 인도적 차원에서의 평화 정착 노력을 추구하도록 미국민과 미국 정치인을 설득시켜야 한다.

3. What is one thing you wish the US public or politicians knew or understood better about the crisis on the Korean Peninsula?
Like the proverb, “A bad peace is better than a good war,” war cannot be justified or rationalized in any case, and we who live in constant fear of war are violated of the basic right to pursue happiness. From an economic point of view, the cost of peace is incomparably less than the cost of division or war. We need to achieve peace on the Korean Peninsula through a peace agreement between the US and North Korea and a non-aggression agreement between North and South Korea, so that we can ultimately achieve unification. We live in constant fear of war, and Korea’s division has been fixed according to the interests of great powers against the will of our nation. We need to persuade the American people and politicians about this reality and persuade them to pursue a peaceful settlement from a humanitarian point of view.


Soobok KimSoobok Kim

Where you live: Teaneck, NJ
Your representative: Bill Pascrell
Occupation: Mortgage Consultant

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1. Why is peace on the Korean Peninsula important to you?
There are many problems in South Korea but digging into the essence of those problems leads to division. Without lasting peace, division, which is the source of the problem, will not disappear.

2. How has the Korean War (and the lack of resolution) impacted your life?
All married men at that time were killed. My father had four brothers, and two of his living brothers and a cousin who was married at the time died in the war. My cousin, who was 14-15 years old, was killed by a military transport vehicle. My brother was three, I was six years old, my sister who was 9 at the time almost died when the US military aircraft gun shot us and the bullets went through our legs. It was a miracle that a three-year-old was shot but survived. My sister got married and had a baby but died of thyroid cancer, maybe because of the lead bullet still left in her thigh. All 20 of my young cousins became orphans and they began to work in factories, bus depots, or at the farms. There was no luxury of getting an education.
Another serious trauma was the ideological separation between the family members. Since I have been to Pyongyang, some of my brothers would not let me visit their house. What other reason would I need to shout out against the war? This alone speaks about the importance of peace.

3. What is one thing you wish the US public or politicians knew or understood better about the crisis on the Korean Peninsula?
Accurate understanding of DPRK without distortion. The most necessary thing is to visit each other and see it for yourself. The travel ban must be abolished. Actively promote H.Res. 152. Diversity is the basis of American democracy and we must cherish this.


Shawn KimShawn Kim

Where you live: Bay Area, CA
Your representative: Ro Khanna
Occupation: Director of Special Programs at Stanford University

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1. Why is peace on the Korean Peninsula important to you?
I’m a Korean-American who lived in Korea until I was 12 years. My grandfather and grandmother were both born in North Korea and had to come down South when the Korean war broke. I remember my grandparents telling me that they had to leave their families in North Korea thinking they’ll soon see each other again. But my grandfather passed away not being able to be reunited with his family. My grandma is alive, but she is 95 years old. I want to take my grandma to her home town before she passes away and the first step towards that is having peace on Korean Peninsula.

2. How has the Korean War (and the lack of resolution) impacted your life?
Just like I listed in the previous question, it doesn’t directly impact my life, but growing up with grandparents who are both from North Korea had a big impact on me. I grew up eating my grandma’s hometown food and listening to her childhood story.

3. What is one thing you wish the US public or politicians knew or understood better about the crisis on the Korean Peninsula?
Having peace on the Korean Peninsula shouldn’t be about making money or any political agenda. There are still many people who had to be separated because of the war. South Korea and North Korea’s land is connected just like the US and Canada, but Korean people cannot visit each other. If we just talk, trust each other, and keep each other’s words, then I think finding peace on Korean Peninsula shouldn’t be that difficult. Let the two Koreas talk to each other and find the solutions by themselves!


Jongdae KimJongdae Kim

Where you live: Atlanta, GA
Your representative: Nikema Williams
Occupation: peace educator / activist

 


Gwyn KirkGwyn Kirk

Where you live: Oakland, CA
Your representative: Barbara Lee
Occupation: writer and editor

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1. Why is peace on the Korean Peninsula important to you?
I know wonderful people in South Korea who long for a peace agreement with the DPRK and an end to US militarism in the region. I support them.

2. How has the Korean War (and the lack of resolution) impacted your life?
I was 8 years old when the Korean War ended. I was shocked to know there was a war. I thought WWII was the “war to end all wars.” I oppose militarism as a waste of life, a waste of people’s talent, and a waste of resources that all could be used to help people thrive and to sustain life worldwide.

3. What is one thing you wish the US public or politicians knew or understood better about the crisis on the Korean Peninsula?
Militarism solves nothing. It only digs a deeper hole and creates more problems. This issue has festered for decades and needs resolving. The same old tired ideas have not worked in the past. It’s high time for a new approach. US politicians must develop relationships with people, other nations, and the planet in order to create a sustainable future.


Hazel LandaHazel Landa

Where you live: Delmar, NY
Your representative: Paul Tonko
Occupation: Retired from the New York State Department of Labor (Administrative Analyst)

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1. Why is peace on the Korean Peninsula important to you?
Peace on the Korean peninsula is important to me because I am concerned about peace in general. I am a member of the Women Against War peace group located in the Albany, NY area. One of our members has educated us about this issue. I also learned a lot from Christine Anh when she came to the Women’s March here and also gave talks we arranged for her.

2. How has the Korean War (and the lack of resolution) impacted your life?
The Korean War has affected me only indirectly. I remember as a young girl reading about the Korean War in news magazines (primary Life magazine) and hearing about it on the radio It was the first war I was aware of personally. I remember being shocked by news of torture, although now I realized that what really went on might have been quite different from what was published in Life magazine and others I had access to.

3. What is one thing you wish the US public or politicians knew or understood better about the crisis on the Korean Peninsula?
I wish the American public and politicians knew more about the effect of the crisis on the peninsula on the people in the North and South. The focus now tends to be on the personality and power of Kim Jong Un instead of on the reality of life on the peninsula.


Goo LeeGoo Lee

Where you live: University Place, WA
Your representative: Marilyn Strickland, 10th Congressional District
Occupation: Quality Certification and Analysis at the Engineered Wood Association

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한반도의 평화가 왜 중요한가?
한반도의 평화는 이제 더 이상 한반도에 국한된 것이 아닌, 세계 평화의 완성이라는 상징성에 더 큰 의미가 있다고 생각합니다.

Why is peace on the Korean Peninsula important / personal to you?
Peace on the Korean Peninsula is no longer just a local issue. It has greater significance in that it is necessary for achieving world peace.

한국 전쟁 (그리고 분단)이 당신의 삶에 어떤 영향을 미쳤습니까?
지난 2001년 9/11 테러사태가 일어났을 때, 혹시 북한이 배후에 있을 수도 있다는 확인되지 않은 소문들 속에 불안한 며칠을 보냈습니다. 이렇게 남북이 전쟁으로 나뉘어져서 현재처럼 북미관계가 적대적으로 고착화되지 않았다면 그런 불안한 나날들은 필요치 않았을 것입니다.

How has the Korean War (and the lack of resolution) impacted your life?
When the September 11 terrorist attack happened in 2001, I was anxious for many days due to unconfirmed rumors that North Korea had masterminded the attack. Had Korea not been divided through war and had US-North Korea relations not been locked in perpetual hostility, I would not have spent those days in such fear and apprehension.

한반도의 위기에 대해 미국 대중이나 정치인이 알아야 하거나 이해하기를 원하는 것은 무엇입니까?
만약 우리 모두가 한국전의 전후의 역사 사실관계를 제대로 이해하고 있다면, 이런 비극적 상황은 이미 종결되었을 것입니다. 평화라는 선택을 바로 옆에 두고서 긴장이라는 벽을 조성해야 할 이유가 세상 어디에 있겠습니까?

What is one thing you wish the US public or politicians knew or understood better about the crisis on the Korean Peninsula?
If everyone knew the historical truth about the Korean War, such a tragic situation would have already ended. Why do we continue to build a wall through tension when the choice of peace is right before us?


Keumjoo Lee Armstrong이름 / Keumjoo Lee Armstrong

사는 곳 / Where you live: Dedham, MA
지역 연방 의원 / Your representative: Stephen Lynch
직업 / Occupation: Co-president, MA Korea Peace Campaign; Teacher, Public Schools of Brookline, MA

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한반도 평화가 왜 중요한가요? (개인적으로 어떤 관계가 있나요)
한반도 평화는 나의 가족사와 관련되어 있다. 부모님이 한국 전쟁 때 남하하여 남한에 정착한 실향민이다. 80대이신 부모님은 남과 북의 철도가 연결되는 날, 자식들과 손자들과 함께 기차를 타고 휴전선을 넘어 고향인 황해도를 방문하기를 소원하신다.

1. Why is peace on the Korean Peninsula important / personal to you?
Peace on the Korean Peninsula is directly related to my family history. My parents became refugees during the Korean War and settled in South Korea. They are now in their 80s and dream of crossing the DMZ with their children and grandchildren when the North and South railroads are connected to visit their hometown in Hwanghae Province.

한국 전쟁 (그리고 분단)이 당신의 삶에 어떤 영향을 미쳤습니까?
한국에서 80년대 학생운동에 참여했다. 군부독재 정권에 저항하며 전쟁상황과 분단이 집회, 시위, 표현의 자유와 같은 민주적 권리를 억압하는 장치로 작용하는 경험을 했다. 정부를 비판하는 활동은 국가보안법의 적용 대상이 되었다. 한국 사회의 불의의 근원은 분단체제임을 절감했다. 이 불의의 근원을 끝내야 한다고 생각했다.

How has the Korean War (and the lack of resolution) impacted your life?
I was a part of the student movement in the 1980s in South Korea. We resisted the military dictatorship and experienced how the unresolved Korean war and division was used as a device to suppress democratic rights, such as the freedom of assembly and expression. Activities criticizing the government were punishable under the National Security Law. I realized that many injustices in South Korean society are rooted in the unresolved division of the peninsula. I resolved to end this source of injustice.

한반도의 위기에 대해 미국 대중이나 정치인이 알아야 하거나 이해하기를 원하는 것은 무엇입니까?
미국 정치인과 미국 대중은 북한을 너무 모른다. 북한 바로알기는 평화의 시작이다. 반북이데올로기, 반북정서를 벗는 순간 평화의 길이 열린다. 이는 평화운동에서 꼭 넘어야할 장벽이다.

What is one thing you wish the US public or politicians knew or understood better about the crisis on the Korean Peninsula?
US politicians and the public really don’t know much about North Korea. As soon as we shed ourselves of our anti-North Korea ideology and sentiment, the path to peace will open. This is the wall that the peace movement must be overcome.


Junghi LeeJunghi Lee, Ph.D.

Where you live: Worcester, MA
Your representative: James McGovern
Occupation: Small business owner / Freelance translator

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1. Why is peace on the Korean Peninsula important to you?
I grew up with orphans, widows, and maimed veterans all around me, some of my relatives dedicated their lives for independence and peace in Korea, and my entire family still live in South Korea. War and its destruction is all too real to me.

2. How has the Korean War (and the lack of resolution) impacted your life?
The modern Korean history as taught in formal education made little sense to me. The dominant public discourse in the US about Korea made still less sense. I have been trying to analyze and understand the Korean predicament in the global framework of justice and peace.

3. What is one thing you wish the US public or politicians knew or understood better about the crisis on the Korean Peninsula?
I would like the US leadership and public to know that the overwhelming majority of the Koreans, north and south, want a sovereign, just, and peaceful Korean peninsula.


Choon S. LimChoon S. Lim

Where you live: Northbrook, IL
Your representative: Janice Schaskowsky
Occupation: Retiree

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Why is peace on the Korean Peninsula important to you?
Peace provides security. War brings miseries to the people. I am a separated family of the Korean war and tasted the bitterness it can give. Peace on the Korean peninsula is not an option but essential one for me and all Koreans.

How has the Korean War (and the lack of resolution) impacted your life?
The Korean war torn our family a part. Our survival as separated family living in south of the 38th parallel were painful struggles but not knowing what happened to the family in north was another pain. Our family endured all the pains, but I do not want anyone to have the pain.
The lack of resolution for peace on the Korean peninsula continuously creates tensions in east Asia. Aggressive war games against North Korea with the east Asian countries drain resources of all these countries into the war machine instead of helping better people’s lives.

What is one thing you wish the US public or politicians knew or understood better about the crisis on the Korean peninsula?
Peace provides the best security we can get. I would like U.S. public and politicians understand that aggression against North Korea is escalation of tensions that might lead into a war. Sanctions are also a type of warfare that hurts ordinary people and does not work to resolve the fundamental differences between nations and leads down the path to war. Difference is not evil but indifference is.


Caroline MendozaCaroline Mendoza

Where you live: Los Angeles, CA
Your representative: Linda Sánchez
Occupation: Student

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1. Why is peace on the Korean Peninsula important to you?
Peace should always be prioritized and is something that the Korean Peninsula is extremely deserving of after decades of war. This issue has become increasingly important to me as I learn more about it from groups like Korea Peace Now! and engage with fellow activists for Korea peace.

2. How has the Korean War (and the lack of resolution) impacted your life?
It deeply saddens and frustrates me to know that the country my family is from has remained divided and at the constant risk of war for 70+ years. The unresolved Korean War has also led me to become more invested in peacebuilding and anti-militarization efforts as a whole.

3. What is one thing you wish the US public or politicians knew or understood better about the crisis on the Korean Peninsula?
That the US is complicit in starting and continuing the Korean War, and that despite the majority of Americans not wanting to engage in wars abroad, billions of US dollars continue to go towards militarization of the Korean Peninsula.


Sekyo Nam HainesSekyo Nam Haines

Where you live: Cambridge, MA
Your representative: Ayanna Pressley
Occupation: Poet / translator / painter

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1. Why is peace on the Korean Peninsula important to you?
As a Korean American, I wish my homeland, Korea to be united peacefully. I have families living both North and South.

2. How has the Korean War (and the lack of resolution) impacted your life?
I grew up with the scars of Korean war — poverty, sadness of separation of families, fear of constant threat of war.

3. What is one thing you wish the US public or politicians knew or understood better about the crisis on the Korean Peninsula?
I wish the US public and Politicians to know that all Koreans(South and North) wish that the United States will end the Korean war as soon as possible.


Joe PietteJoe Piette

Where you live: Upper Darby, PA
Your representative: Mary Scanlon
Occupation: Retired postal worker

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1. Why is peace on the Korean Peninsula important to you?
I was stationed in Korea for short periods during 1968-69. I realized that US troop occupation was as unjust in Korea as it was in Vietnam. I think the people of Korea should be able to decide their own fate free of US interference.

2. How has the Korean War (and the lack of resolution) impacted your life?
Besides my personal military experience there, my taxes pay for US military presence in Korea as well as for all the arms and materials wasted during frequent military exercises there. When US government officials and mass media messaging targets Korean people as the enemy, I believe it creates anti-Asian perceptions in the minds of US residents, contributing to racist discrimination against people of color.

3. What is one thing you wish the US public or politicians knew or understood better about the crisis on the Korean Peninsula?
The reality in the DPRK is nothing like what’s normally broadcast in the US media. The Korean people want peace, not war against the US. Sanctions kill! Sanctions against Korea have to be ended so that Korea can re-unify and go back to building a normal society capable of meeting the needs of its people.


Esther RheeEsther Rhee

Where you live: I’m in Seoul, Korea since March 2020
Your representative: Grace Meng
Occupation: Clergy

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1. Why is peace on the Korean Peninsula important to you?
I’m 2nd generation of separated family. My parents are born in N. K. I have been wrong educated about N. K. from school, media and society. I don’t have freedom of speech, reading; write hence, peace in Korea is very important. We are still under the national security law.

2. How has the Korean War (and the lack of resolution) impacted your life?
I always missed family as my grandparents and separation until today. I received one-sided education as propaganda of S. K. and always be careful to speak, write and possess of books.

3. What is one thing you wish the US public of politicians knew or understood better about the crisis on the Korean Peninsula?
We want to end Korea war. We need peace in Korean peninsula and stop sanction to against DPRK and peace treaty.


Pamela RichardPamela Richard

Occupation: Office Manager, Peace Action WI

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1. Why is peace on the Korean Peninsula important to you?
I work for a peaceful world with the people in Peace Action of Wisconsin. We have met some wonderful people who moved here from Korea or have Korean ancestry and we have remained friends. In our discussions at peace events with them, we learned of the tragic history of the Korean war and what is happening on the Korean peninsula today. We fully support the demands of Korea Peace Now! and Women Cross DMZ.

2. How has the Korean War (and the lack of resolution) impacted your life?
I don’t like to see my friends or innocent civilians being hurt by the continued hostility of the United States through sanctions and a large military presence in South Korea. It’s time to end the war and bring our soldiers home.

3. What is one thing you wish the US public or politicians knew or understood better about the crisis on the Korean Peninsula?
Peace is possible if we can negotiate and use polite diplomacy- not force- to achieve the peace we seek.


Alice SlaterAlice Slater

Where you live: New York City
Your representative: Carolyn McCarthy, House: Schumer, Gillibrand, Senate
Occupation: Retired, attorney, former President Peace and Environmental NGO

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Why is peace on the Korean Peninsula important / personal to you?
I have been working for peace since I became involved in opposing the Viet Nam War in 1968.

How has the Korean War (and the lack of resolution) impacted your life?
It is used as an excuse by the military-industrial-congressional-academic-media complex to cling to our nuclear weapons and military might, terrorizing the world with 800 military bases in more than 80 countries and spending more than the next ten military countries combined on wasteful weapons and war.

What is one thing you wish the US public or politicians knew or understood better about the crisis on the Korean Peninsula?
That we have been doing war games on their border since 1953 and don’t have a peace treaty; that the horrid sanction are not some kinder gentler kind of coercion than bombs, but actually starve and kill people denying them food and medicines. Also that North Korea was the ONLY nuclear weapon state to vote in favor of negotiations on the new Treaty to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons when the UN held a vote for actions on the new treaty. See paragraph 4 in my article.


Sechan TakSechan Tak

Where you live: Atlanta, GA
Your representative: Nikema Williams
Occupation: Student, 12th @ Grady High School

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1. Why is peace on the Korean Peninsula important to you?
A combination of my Korean heritage and passion for global issues makes peace both important and personal.

2. How has the Korean War (and the lack of resolution) impacted your life?
The Korean War has impacted my life, as my mother and I have put attention to facilitating reunification on the Korean Peninsula by advocating for House Resolution 152 to local senators, which would formally end the Korean War.

3.What is one thing you wish the US public or politicians knew or understood better about the crisis on the Korean Peninsula?
I believe one thing the US public should better understand is the misleading image formed by certain political attitudes that antagonize North Korea.


Claire YooClaire Yoo

Where you live: Philadelphia area, PA
Your representative: Madeleine Dean
Occupation: Teacher

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1. Why is peace on the Korean Peninsula important to you?
Peace would mean that my loved ones in Korea are more secure, and my family and I can be free to travel to a whole Korea, deepening our understanding and bond to our ancestral homeland.

2. How has the Korean War (and the lack of resolution) impacted your life?
Like many Korean Americans who are only one generation away from direct experience, I am impacted by the suffering that our parents’ and grandparents’ generations endured in the war. Yet I’ve come to different conclusions about peace for the future. The propaganda and the view of the north as our enemies feel tragic. My own views about the war and desire for peace puts me at odds with some family members’ While my bonds with my family are strong, my leftist” views are in opposition to theirs and at times the distance between us can be painful.

3. What is one thing you wish the US public or politicians knew or understood better about the crisis on the Korean Peninsula?
The best chance to resolve the crisis is a peace treaty and a peace treaty is possible. We must work to demand it.


KC YoonKC Yoon

Where you live: Geneva, IL
Your representative: Lauren Underwood
Occupation: Freelance Graphic Designer

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1. Why is peace on the Korean Peninsula important to you?
As American (born in Seoul, Korea), peace in the Korean peninsula means there will be so much more economic advantages to the U.S. and as a strategic military ally.

Both of my parents were born Hwang Hae Do province and because of the chaotic situation during the Korean war, some people stayed up north and some migrated to south. The war lasting for three years between 1950 through 1953, the U.S. and Russia decided it would be best in dividing the Korea into two on the 38th parallel. My parents were lucky to survive the war, but this division has caused unmeasurable psychological suffering not able to see their immediate family, relatives, and friends.

Korean history is over five thousand years old, perhaps one of the longest standing civilization on earth. From both sides, Koreans are yearning to reunite with their lost families and relatives. If we/U.S. would sign a peace treaty with North Korea, this would mean we would end the war that has lasted for 70 years. This would also mean that U.S. can expand our economic interest as well. Keeping peace around the Korean peninsula, the U.S. can look forward to prosperous growth in the Asian market without the nuclear threats.