Conflict with Korea 50 Years Later is Theme of Weekly PPRC Rally

This Friday, July 25, Portland area activists will rally for Peace in Korea. The Portland Peaceful Response Coalition's weekly rally will have a theme around the 50th anniversary of the Armistice that formally halted the shooting in the conflict we know as the Korean War on July 27, 1953. The rally, which begins at 5 PM in Pioneer Courthouse Square, will include a short march which will pause for featured speakers. The rallies have continued every Friday at the corner of SW Yamhill and Broadway since November 2001.

In addition to the historic anniversary, North Korea is one of the countries mentioned in the "Axis of Evil" and is on the President's short list of possible targets in the "War on Terrorism."

A recent shooting skirmish in the Demilitarized Zone was the first in about 2 years, and three-way talks regarding North Korea's nuclear program among the US, China and N Korea are being set up (for more info click here )

The armistice, in fact, is not the same thing as a peace treaty and in theory the Korean war has never really ended. "After 50 years under a truce, there's still no peace in Korea," says Bill Bires, a military veteran of the Korean conflict, and a member of Northwest Veterans for Peace, who will be speaking at the rally. Bires referenced July's National Geographic, which reports that 900,000 soldiers and 3 million civilians were killed in the three-year conflict, many more than were killed in the extended U.S. military action in Vietnam.

Another speaker will be Martin Hart-Landsberg, a national expert on Korea, who teaches economics at Lewis and Clark College and has written books and articles on both North and South Korea. He notes that the division of Korea traces its roots back to the end of World War II, when the U.S. government demanded that Soviet forces fighting Japanese troops in Korea halt their offensive at the 38th parallel and allow U.S. forces to take control over political developments in the south.

Co-sponsors of Friday's rally include the Peace and Justice Works Iraq Affinity Group and the NW Veterans for Peace. Organizers feel it is time to call for the negotiations between the North and South for reunification and/or an end to the conflict, to get back on track. These talks were well on their way until 2001. The U.S. is one of the main perpetuators of the conflict at this point, with President George Bush refusing to even dialogue with the North. The U.S. continues to have a heavy military presence in the South (including, it is widely known, a nuclear presence) and continues to run provocative war games.

For more information or to get involved contact Peace and Justice Works Iraq Affinity Group at 503-236-3065

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