Because the Korean war did not end with a peace treaty, but with an armistice treaty signed by China, the UN Command headed by the US, and North Korea, the two Koreas are essentially still at war, as are the United States and North Korea. The lack of a peace treaty has had the most tragic consequences, and the Korean people have suffered for decades as a result. During the sixty-eight years since the signing of the Armistice Treaty, not only have most of the 10 million separated family members died without ever seeing their loved ones on the other side of the division, but the escalating arms race between the two Koreas and the threat of the on-going US-South Korea military exercises have actually made peace more precarious and uncertain for people living in both Koreas.
The 2016 General Assembly called on the president and the Congress of the United States to initiate a process for lasting peace in the Korean peninsula. It requested the U.S. government and the United Nations to secure a safe environment for the two Koreas to engage in dialogue and to develop a Korea-led process of healing, reconciliation, and peaceful reunification. The Peace on the Korean Peninsula Act, H.R. 3446, is one step towards that goal of finally ending the Korean war. The legislation
- Calls for serious, urgent diplomacy in pursuit of a binding peace agreement to formally end the Korean War.
- Requires a report from the Secretary of State describing a clear roadmap for achieving a permanent peace agreement on the Korean Peninsula.
- Expresses the sense of Congress that the Secretary of State should seek to enter negotiations with North Korea to establish liaison offices in each country’s capital.
- Requires the Secretary of State to conduct a full review of the travel restrictions on North Korea and submit a report to Congress outlining qualifying criteria for exemptions to the restrictions - specifically for those wishing to return to North Korea for family-related events.
It is critically important that the U.S. government and the international community commence a new process of peace-building across the Korean peninsula. With so many lives at stake, the United States, as a major party to the ongoing war, has a moral imperative to proactively seek a peaceful resolution to the conflict. Please contact your member of Congress and urge them to cosponsor HR 3446.
Our partners in the National Council of Churches of Korea (NCCK) are also asking for people to sign the Korea Peace Appeal. The campaign aims to end the Korean War and achieve peace on the Korean Peninsula by collecting 100 million signatures of the Korea Peace Appeal from 2020, the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of the Korean War, to 2023, the 70th anniversary of the armistice agreement. More than 300 South Korean civil society organizations, religious groups, individual supporters, and international partner organizations are participating in the Korea Peace Appeal. Click here to sign on to the appeal.