Statement on the situation on the Korean Peninsula
Humanist Association of Hong Kong
April 15, 2013

Press release

The Humanist Association of Hong Kong notes with concern the escalation of tension on the Korean Peninsula and is totally opposed to any state threatening another, especially when that threat involves the use of nuclear weapons. The implication that nuclear weapons can be used as a way of conducting international relations holds us in dismay. We see that if the situation escalates into violence it is the average citizens of those areas who suffer. The war games and war talk by all parties involved is threatening the security of the region and – the entire world.

We condemn the actions and rhetoric from all sides of the conflict. Such behavior is bringing into play a systematic militarization of the whole region – to the profit of weapons suppliers – and this conflict is being used to amplify and secure geostrategic interests (for one, the encirclement of China) and can bring about the nuclear militarization of Japan, increases in occupying military bases, and the establishment and deepening of military alliances – provoking an extended NATO – into the Pacific region.

This state of affairs is linked to nuclear weapons; this conflict is being used by the nuclear weapons states to legitimize the modernization of their nuclear arsenals. This is leading non-nuclear weapons states to believe they need to obtain nuclear weapons. Thus further fragmenting the already fragile Non-Proliferation Treaty efforts.

Nuclear weapons must be abolished now and forever. This conflict is being used to legitimize the deployment of missile defense systems in the Asia-Pacific region.

The aggressive acts and statements coming from North Korea are acts of war not of peace and dialogue; while the military maneuvers adjacent to North Korea by South Korea and the USA, are also aggressive and provocative actions. The provocation by both sides can draw down war in a moment and that would lead to more than a regional catastrophe.

Dialogue, negotiation, and immediate moves towards disarmament are urgent necessities.

The exchanges of threats, counter threats and military build up makes the situation worse day-by-day and such posturing may mislead either side to take the other seriously which takes us all on a potentially irreversible path to nuclear war and global destruction.

We repeat – Global Destruction.

We want that both sides in this confrontation recognise the enormity of what is at stake should a violent conflict erupt. Talk more and threaten less, we say, establish a culture of peace and dialogue. Leave off from the ancient war mentality. Work instead to understand and respect the plight and culture of others. The USA needs to take the first step as a modern nation understanding that North Korea is cornered and friendless and is only reacting to what it sees as continuing pressure both economic and military. The ball is in the freer nation’s court. Thus we appeal to those with maturity in the USA to cease their provocations in this region and embark on a completely different tack, one leading to the real politic of respect and tolerance, aid and friendship.

Tony Henderson, Chairman, Humanist Association of Hong Kong