[2005/4/28] To Mr. Henry Hyde


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April 28, 2005 

Mr. Henry Hyde 

Chairman, Committee on International Relations 

United States House of Representatives 

Dear Mr. Hyde: 

This letter is written by the Research Institute for Peace and Reunification of Korea, a Korean civic organization established in order to strive for an equal relationship between the Republic of Korea and the United States and to achieve a secure and lasting peace on the Korean peninsula. 

We would like to express our deep concern about the remarks which you made during the oversight hearing held by the US House of Representatives Committee on International Relations on March 10, which dealt with the North Korean nuclear issue and the six-party talks. 

1. We protest against your insistence that our government should clearly tell the US who our enemy is, as "Pyongyang's continued hostility has been a major rationale for the US-ROK alliance". Your statement is considered inhumane, immoral, and violent, because it could lead to a destructive military confrontation and war among people of the same nation, preventing our reunification. Since we regard the North and South Koreans to be one people, of the same ethnic background, and North Korea as the other half of our nation, it is not and cannot be our main enemy. It is rather the partner with whom we must work in order to achieve peace and reunification. Technically speaking, North Korea, with a defense budget only a tenth the size of South Korea's, cannot be a threat to South Korea in terms of military strength. 

Moreover, there is no reason for the two Koreas to remain antagonistic to each other. Our country was forcibly divided, against Koreans' will, by the US and the former Soviet Union. In this regard, it is logical to remove the term "main enemy" from the Ministry of Defense's white paper. In the present circumstances, your complaint about this deletion appears to be an anachronistic Cold War era perception. 

According to a public opinion survey conducted by the Korea Society Opinion Institution (KSOI), one of Korea's leading public opinion research organizations, immediately after North Korea declared that it possessed nuclear weapons on 15 February 2005, 58.9% of the South Koreans are not worried about national defense, and with reference to the issue of North Korea's nuclear program, 56% of the respondents believe that it is urgent that the US provide North Korea with assurances that its security is not endangered. These results indicate that South Koreans are no longer convinced that North Korea is their main enemy. Instead they see the US as a threat to North Korea. 

You may be disappointed to know that, according to the Korea Broadcasting System (KBS) poll of 24 July 2003, 61% of the South Koreans think that the greatest danger of a possible war on the Korean peninsula comes from the US. 

Therefore we think that your claim that North Korea should be regarded as South Korea's main enemy is dangerously deluded, as though Korean history now can be pushed back to the Cold War period of conflict and antagonism. If you continue your false and distorted rhetoric about North Korea and demand hostile confrontation between the two Koreas, anti-American sentiment in this country will intensify. In this regard, we demand that you immediately withdraw your hostile statement and offer an apology to the Korean people. 

2. Your comment, that in case of war on the peninsula 690,000 US troops will be sent, is far from the truth. Based on Operation Plan 5027, South Korea does not need the US assistance at all. The plan is designed to carry out a preemptive nuclear strike against North Korea and even to ensure that the US gains supreme power on the peninsula and even extends its supremacy to China at Korea's expense. According to the plan, the South Korean forces and people will be utilized for the war. This is the reason why you insist that North Korea remain the main enemy. The war plan should rather be eliminated immediately. Again we strongly accuse you of trying to split the Korean people. 

3. Another reason why we are shocked and dismayed by your remarks is that you, a member of Congress, representing American democracy, made misleading statements, distorting the truth. 

The North Korea nuclear issue originated from the US' abrogation of the 1994 North Korean-US Agreed Framework on the nuclear problem and the US' long-term determination to overthrow the North Korean government by force. In violation of the Agreed Framework, contrary to the obligation that the "US will provide formal assurances to the DPRK, against the threat or use of nuclear weapons by the US", the US has constantly threatened North Korea by designating it in the NPR Report as a target for preemptive nuclear attack. Furthermore, your government violated the agreement that the DPRK's previous nuclear facilities (at Yongbyon) would be inspected after a considerable part of the light-water reactor project was completed, in other words, after the turbines and electric generators were delivered for the reactor, but before important components were supplied, to force the North to accept the earlier inspection. 

Thus it was the US that failed to comply with the terms of the Agreed Framework and subsequently declared that the agreement had broken down. In view of Washington's persistent rejection of Pyongyang's demand for a non-aggression pact and its refusal to guarantee North Korea's national security, it is evident that your government has no intention of seeking to achieve a peaceful resolution of the crisis of North Korea's nuclear program through dialogue, but remains determined to overthrow the North Korean government by force. 

If the US had honored its commitment, faithfully implemented the terms of the Agreed Framework, and accepted North Korea's demand for guarantees of its security, the North would not have declared that it is in possession of nuclear weapons. In this regard, the Bush administration cannot deny its responsibility for driving the North to pursue its nuclear program and proclaiming itself as a nuclear power, leading to the current nuclear crisis on the peninsula. 

North Korea, with a national defense budget of only tpf=board/list&board_code=11.5 billion, 0.3% of the US' military expenditures, is no more a threat to the US than Iraq was. Your administration's insistence that the DPRK is a threat to the US is merely a fiction fabricated to deceive the American people, similar to the lies told about Iraq. 

Therefore we were very disappointed that you, as a prominent American political figure, took such an immoral and hypocritical stance toward the truth of this case. Although the US claims that it has been spreading democracy as a universal value, a democracy without truth and justice will only end up by inflicting death and destruction on millions of people. If you are a politician who has respect for democratic values, it is expected that you should closely re-examine your government's thoughtless and aggressive policy toward North Korea. Then you will not have to make the same mistake on the Korean peninsula that you made in the Iraq war and your public statements can reflect the true essence of democracy. 

4. Referring to the Republic of Korea-US alliance, you arrogantly demanded that the South Korean government clearly state who its "main enemy" is, an instance of "The thief turns on the master with a club". 

According to article 3 of the ROK-US Mutual Defense Treaty, and by mutual agreement, it stipulates that "each party recognizes that an armed attack in the Pacific area on either of the Parties in territories... would be dangerous to its own peace and safety and declares that it would act to meet the common danger in accordance with its constitutional processes". South Korea is to be defended ONLY against external attack. At present North Korea is not mounting any armed attacks on South Korea, much less the US. The DPRK has never attacked the US. On the other hand, it is obvious that the US has repeatedly threatened North Korea with a preemptive nuclear strike. Under these circumstances, the Republic of Korea has no good reason to support the Bush administration and collaborate in carrying out its unilateral hostile policy against North Korea. 

We would also like to point out that it is definitely a violation of the ROK-US Mutual Defense Treaty to mobilize the US forces in South Korea, under the guise of defending the ROK from outside armed attack, in order to carry out a preemptive strike against North Korea, or to deploy the rapid deployment forces for other military operations in the Asia-Pacific region. Moreover, in a further clear breach of the Mutual Defense Treaty, Washington has demanded that our government send South Korean troops to support the invasion and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan. We hereby demand that you retract your statement which violated and distorted the terms of the Mutual Defense Treaty between the ROK and the US, which we regard as an unequal treaty, and apologize to the Korean people. 

5. In our view, you have intervened in South Korea's domestic affairs and even violated its sovereignty by pressing Seoul to define the DPRK as the "main enemy", not to mention demanding that we suspend our exchange and cooperation with North Korea. It is common sense that South Korea, as a sovereign nation, is fully within its rights to determine what its military policy shall be and to promote its relationship with North Korea. Your remark, undermining the status of Korea as an independent, sovereign state, is similar to remarks frequently made by some of the previous administration's officials and politicians who saw South Korea only as a kind of colony or protectorate, a country subordinate to the US. Again we emphasize our belief that a retraction of your statement, accompanied by a sincere apology, will surely contribute to maintaining the ROK-US relationship in a more cooperative atmosphere. 

6. Finally, we expect the US Congress to play a constructive role in helping to establish an equal and fair relationship between the Republic of Korea and the US and to make a concerted effort toward securing peace on the Korean peninsula. In this connection, we suggest that the members of the US Congress, including you, pay careful attention to the trends of public opinion in South Korea and engage in dialogue with the many non-governmental organizations working to achieve an ROK-US relationship based on mutual respect and equality and establish peace on the Korean peninsula and throughout the region. 

April 28, 2005 

Research Institute for Peace and Reunification of Korea, 

Mr. Hong, Geun-Soo Mr. Kang, Jeong-Gu 

Chief Director Executive Director

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