"No to increasing the defense budget! No to the purchase of the Patriot missiles!"
The 46th Peace/Disarmament Rally
May 31, 2005
"We denounce the Ministry of National Defense (MND) for demanding a large increase in the defense budget. The MND claims that this increase is necessary for self-defense. In fact, it will support the expanded regional role of the US Forces in Korea. "
SPARK held its 46th peace/disarmament monthly rally at the MND building at noon on May 31. This rally was called to 'denounce the MND's demand for a huge increase in the defense budget'. In spite of the hot weather, a crowd of more than 40 peace activists waved signs and chanted enthusiastically, "No to increasing the defense budget! No to the purchase of the Patriot missiles!".
The MND submitted a medium-term budget proposal for 2005 ㅡ 2009 to the National Assembly. According to the proposal, the amount of defense spending will grow by 9.4% a year, so that by 2009 it will amount to about 30 trillion won (approximately billion).
Gong Dong-gil, director of SPARK's disarmament division, asserted that this huge increase in military spending is intended to support the US' pre-emptive strikes on North Korea and the expanded role of the USFK : from defending South Korea to interfering in Northeast Asian conflicts. He said, "The MND is planning to buy Aegis destroyers, next-generation fighter jets, attack helicopters, Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft, satellite-guided Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) bombs and Patriot missiles. All of these weapon systems are manufactured by US corporations. Moreover, all of these high-tech weapons are designed for long-range use far beyond Korean peninsula, as part of the US' pre-emptive strikes on North Korea and the expanded role of the USFK. Therefore, we can't allow the MND's demand for a huge increase in military spending that threatens peace not only on the Korean peninsula but throughout Northeast Asia as well."
Lee Hee-Hwan, executive director of Citizens' Committee against the Deployment of Patriot Missiles at Mt. Munhak (in Inchon, west of Seoul), reported : "The MND is planning to deploy 48 Patriot missiles in the greater Seoul metropolitan area including Mt. Munhak, saying that the missiles are required to defend the metropolitan area from potential attack by North Korean military aircraft. In fact the installation of the Patriots is part of the US' missile defense system directed against NK and China. We are opposed to deploying the missiles not because of the 'Not In My Back Yard' syndrome but because it endangers peace on the Korean peninsula and in Northeast Asia."
SPARK delegates who participated in the 7th NPT Review Conference from 27 Apr. to 12 May in New York reported :
"This RevCon failed in terms of the lack of a final agreement to reinforce the NPT regime. And its failure is mainly due to America's unilateral attitude. The US even refused to honor the commitments that it made to the previous agreements such as the 1995 and 2000 RevCons' resolutions. Therefore, it is the civic peace activists, instead of the governments, who can promote nuclear disarmament."