What Can the U.S. Do to Achieve Peace in Korea?
Date: Friday, February 23, 2018
Time: 6:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m.
Location: 108 West 3rd Street, New York
Christine Hong, Associate Professor, University of California Santa Cruz, and Board Member, Korea Policy Institute.
Dong-Choon Kim, Professor, Sungkonghoe University, and Former Standing Commissioner, Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Korea.
Charles J. Hanley, Special Correspondent, Associated Press.
Monica Kim, moderator, Assistant Professor of History, New York University
Christine Hong criticized US policy toward North Korea as counterproductive to peace in the Korean Peninsula, drawing parallels between calls from the Trump Administration for North Korea’s destruction and American atrocities in the Korean War that caused millions of civilian deaths.
Dong-choon Kim gave an overview of the 2016-17 protests in South Korea that led to the ouster of former President Park Geun-hye and the election of Moon Jae-in. He said the Moon must consider both external and domestic obstacles in pursuing rapprochement with North Korea.
Charles J. Hanley, an AP correspondent who helped uncover the 1950 massacre of civilians by US troops in Nogeun-ri, South Korea, said widespread ignorance of US atrocities during the Korean War prevents Americans from understanding how both North and South Koreans view the so-called “forgotten war.”
“The Korean War Today” is a panel discussion on American attitudes toward the Korean War and their impact on the discourse surrounding United States-North Korean relations, as well as recent developments in South Korean politics and their effects on inter-Korean relations.
Christine Hong, Associate Professor at the University of California in Santa Cruz, addressed the shortcomings in American attitudes toward Korea.
A critic of the Trump Administration’s “America First” foreign policy, Hong said American support for sanctions against North Korea — coupled with President Trump’s calls for North Korea’s destruction — reflects ignorance of US atrocities during the Korean War, in which millions of civilians were killed.
Hong said that in order to achieve peace on the Korean Peninsula, more must be done to challenge the notion that the US is blameless for its involvement in the Korean War.
Dong-choon Kim, Former Standing Commissioner of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Korea, provided an overview of recent political developments in South Korea, namely the “candlelight revolution” that swept former President Park Geun-hye out of office, the election of Moon Jae-In, and Moon’s attempts at improving relations with North Korea since assuming the presidency.
Kim said that in order for Moon to pursue rapprochement with Pyongyang, he must overcome “domestic obstacles,” or younger South Koreans who are disinterested in unification with the North. Additionally, he must overcome “external obstacles” — countries such as the US, Japan, and China that all have different interests in the Korean Peninsula.
Charles J. Hanley, a correspondent for the Associated Press who helped uncover the No Gun Ri (Nogeun-ri) Massacre, echoed Hong’s sentiments regarding widespread American ignorance of US atrocities in the Korean War, suggested that much of the ignorance stems from the covering up of US atrocities in Korea by the media.
Hanley said that if Americans continue to ignore US atrocities in the Korean War, they will not understand why anti-American sentiment runs high in North Korea. Nor will they understand the mixed feelings of South Koreans toward the US, since US forces protected South Korea at the expense of South Korean lives.
Report by: Jamin Chen. Editor: Chao Wang