The US government, with the approval of the South Korean government, wants to locate a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system in South Korea. Growing numbers of South Koreans oppose this. They fear that the anti-missile system, which is largely aimed at China and Russia, will only increase military tensions and fuel a new arms race in the region as well as worsen relations with North Korea. Those living close to the proposed location for the THAAD battery worry about the long term health effects of the associated high-intensity radar system. Their fears and worries are well founded.
While the anti- THAAD struggle is big news in Korea, little is known about it in the United States. This is unfortunate because the U.S. effort to expand its military presence in the Asia-Pacific region also has real consequences for people in this country. For example, the resulting militarization will lead to ever higher levels of U.S. military spending, draining resources away from needed social programs. And, of course, it increases the risk of a new war. In short, it is in the interest of people living in the United States to join with people in South Korea to oppose the THAAD deployment in South Korea.
Therefore, several U.S. based organizations have joined in coalition under the banner of “Stop THAAD in Korea and Militarism in Asia and the Pacific.” Its demands are simple:
- We urge the U.S. government to rescind its decision on THAAD deployment in South Korea.
- We urge the U.S. government to pursue all possible avenues for reducing tensions on the Korean peninsula by re-engaging in diplomacy with North Korea.
- We urge the U.S. government to resolve conflicts in the Asia-Pacific region peacefully, through diplomacy and dialogue.
The coalition’s website, http://stopthaad.org/, includes a longer statement of purpose and links to articles that analyze both the political aims and consequences of the proposed THAAD deployment and the growth of the resistance movement in South Korea. As you will see, close to 100 organizations have already endorsed the coalition’s demands.
As a first action, the coalition is organizing candlelight vigils in select U.S. cities in solidarity with candlelight vigils taking place in South Korean cities; information about them can also be found on the website.