- “미국의 평화협정 반대 이유 ‘군사-산업-복합체’라는 세 단어에 함축”
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<더 네이션>지가 지난 7월 31일 팀쇼락 기자의 (We Need to Move From a Wartime Mentality to a Peacetime Mentality’ ‘전시 마인드에서 평화 마인드로 전환해야 한다‘) 라는 기사를 통해 미국이 한국전쟁을 공식적으로 종식시킬 수 있는 평화협정에 동의하도록 하기 위해 한국과 미국의 시민단체가 나섰다고 전하고 있다.
특히, 위민크로스의 설립자이자 평화협정 계획의 발기인 중 한 사람인 크리스틴 안은 ‘한국의 안보 위기 해소를 위한 포럼 “초당적 원탁회의” 에서 한국전쟁은 “공식적으로 종결된 적이 없다”라고 단언하며, “최장기간 지속된 미국의 국외 분쟁 종결에 대한 합치된 의견을 보여주기 위해서는 정치적인 성향을 뛰어 넘어 함께 하는 것이 중요하다”라고 했으며 한국전쟁 종식 결의안을 의회에 도입한 민주당 소속의 로 칸나 캘리포니아 하원의원은 자신들의 움직임이 남북 지도자들의 행동을 독려하는 데 도움이 될 것이라는 발언을 했다고 전한다.
이어 기사는 한국인들 역시 2023년까지 평화협정이 체결되기를 지지하는 1억 명의 서명 모으기를 목표로 참여연대와 정치 및 종교 단체 등 324개의 한국 시민단체가 연합한 “한반도 평화 선언(Korea Peace Appeal)”이 발족되었다고 전하면서, 지난 6월 남북한 연락사무소 파괴 등 낙관적인 전망을 보여오던 남북한 관계가 급속히 경색된 데 따른 이런 움직임이 미국 국회의원들에게도 원동력이 되었다고 말하고 있다.
기사는 칸나 하원의원의 한국전쟁 종식 결의안에 46명의 공동 발의자가 있다는 사실이 매우 고무적이지만, 한편으로는 트럼프 행정부나 후임 정권이 평화 조약을 지지하도록 만드는 것은 어려울 수 있으며 그 이유는 군사-산업-복합체라는 세 단어에 나타나 있다고 퀸시 연구소의 말을 빌어 전하고 있다.
이어, 기사는 1990년대 한국군에 자문을 제공했던 다니엘 데이비스 미군 예비역 장교의 말을 빌어 “평화 협정을 위해 노력하는 것이 미국 국가 안보에 가장 좋은데, 그 이유는 평화의 부재는 곧 미국이 매년 수십억 달러를 한국과의 동맹 및 주일미군 등에 계속 투입해야한다는 것을 뜻하기 때문”라는 말을 인용하면서 “우리는 전쟁 시기의 사고방식에서 평화시기의 사고방식으로 전환해야 한다” 라고 언급했다.
기사는, 미국의 강경 매파인 존 볼튼의 입장은 주한 미군의 한국 분담금 인상과 주한 미군 철수를 저울질하는 트럼프에 여전히 유효하다고 언급한다. 또, 존 볼튼은 자신의 저서에서 문재인 대통령의 ‘통일’이라는 의제를 ‘실체가 없는 위험한 연극’이라고 신랄하게 비판한 바 있다고 전한다.
트럼프 대통령은 올 7월 초, 북미 회담 재개를 희망하며 비건 국무부 부장관을 한국에 파견했으나 그의 행보는 많은 이들로부터 비현실적이라는 비판은 물론 북한에서조차 외면당했다고 기사는 말하고 있다.
기사는, 현재 미국의 다음 대권 주자로 떠오르는 바이든이 과연 북한과의 관계를 풀 수 있을지는 미지수라고 말하면서 바이든은 지금과 같은 미국의 입장을 바꾸는데 관심을 표명한 적이 없을 뿐더러, 김정은에 대해 불량배라는 표현을 쓰는 등 북한 정책에 대해서는 지금과 같은 강경파 정부를 꾸릴 가능성이 높은 것으로 보인다고 언급하고 있다.
미국의 시민단체 위민 크로스 DMZ와 퀸시 연구소는 트럼프나 오바마 정부의 대북정책은 위기를 전혀 해결하지 못했다면서 다른 평화 단체들과 함께 평화협정을 기반으로 한 새로운 접근방식을 요구할 것이라고 밝히고, 크리스틴 안의 ‘평화가 비핵화의 인권개선의 전제조건이 되어야지 그 반대가 되어선 안된다고 했다’는 발언을 인용했다. 또한 퀸시 연구소의 제시카 리가 “이 전쟁을 종식시키지 못하는 우리의 무능함이 한미 동맹과 동아시아에서의 영구적인 평화 구축의 가능성에 크게 영향을 미쳐왔다”고 한 말도 함께 전했다.
특히, 기사는 칸나 의원이 만약 바이든이 말한 ‘미국 동맹국들과 보다 가깝게 일하겠다’는 약속을 실행에 옮긴다면 한국과 문재인 대통령의 말에 좀 더 귀를 기울일 수 있고, 바로 이점이 변화의 물꼬가 될 수 있다고 언급했으며, 이를 위해 칸나 의원은 문 대통령의 외교적 노력을 지지하기 위해 코로나 대유행이 끝나는 대로 한국을 방문할 의사가 있음을 전했다. (글, 박수희)
다음은 뉴스프로가 번역한 팀 쇼락 기자의 <더 네이션> 기고문이다.
‘We Need to Move From a Wartime Mentality to a Peacetime Mentality’
US and Korean groups are pushing for a peace treaty to finally end the Korean War.
As US denuclearization talks with North Korea have hopelessly stalled and inter-Korea tensions are rising fast, citizen groups on both sides of the Pacific hope to convince the United States to embrace a peace treaty to formally end the Korean War. The campaigns to resuscitate US-Korean diplomacy kicked off on July 27, 67 years after US and North Korean generals signed the armistice that ended the fighting but left the country with an uneasy truce.
The Korean War “never came to a formal conclusion,” Christine Ahn, the founder of Women Cross DMZ and one of the organizers of the peace treaty initiative, declared on Monday at a “bipartisan round table” on resolving the security crisis in Korea. “It’s important to come together across the political spectrum to show consensus for ending America’s longest overseas conflict.” The forum was cosponsored by the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft and The American Conservative.
For South Koreans, changing relations with North Korea is a matter of utmost urgency. They see a peace treaty as the best way to rejuvenate the once-promising reconciliation process initiated by President Moon Jae-in and Chairman Kim Jong-un in 2018. Those talks broke down in acrimony last year after President Moon failed to persuade the Trump administration to lift US and UN sanctions that have blocked North and South from moving ahead on the cross-border economic projects they initiated at a summit meeting in Pyongyang two years ago.
“Peace efforts on the Korean Peninsula are retreating as the hard-won agreements between the two Koreas have not been implemented properly,” 324 Korean civic groups declared Monday, as they launched an international “Korea Peace Appeal” to collect 100 million signatures favoring a treaty by 2023. “Though it is late, the governments of concerned countries should now come forward earnestly and responsibly to end the Korean War.” The coalition was organized by the People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy, one of South Korea’s most influential civil society groups, and several other political and religious organizations.
Their movement is partly a response to recent events. Over the last two months, Chairman Kim and his influential sister Kim Yo Jong have criticized Moon for his dependence on the United States, while their Foreign Ministry has slammed him as “nonsensical” for trying to mediate a deal with Trump. In June, the North Korean military even blew up the North-South liaison offices in Gaesong, just north of the border, to underscore its anger.
A few days later, however, the senior Kim overruled his military and called off plans to deploy more troops along the border. With his diplomacy at issue, Moon has appointed a new national security team to reach out to the North and get the peace process back on track.
That’s also the driving force for American lawmakers. A peace treaty “would go a long way to facilitate the peace process,” US Representative Ro Khanna, the California Democrat who successfully introduced a resolution (HR 152) to end the Korean War in Congress last year, said in opening Monday’s forum. “If we take the first step of declaring the end of the Korean War, it could incentivize leaders of the Korean Peninsula to take action.”
Both Moon and Kim have expressed a desire for a peace treaty or, short of that, a joint declaration by the three governments that the Korean War is over. And the fact that Representative Khanna’s resolution on ending the war has 46 cosponsors in the House reflects growing support for the idea here.
But getting the Trump administration or its successor behind a peace treaty could be difficult. Jessica Lee, a senior research fellow in Quincy’s East Asia Program, said that US opposition to a treaty—which extends through the Washington foreign policy apparatus—“comes down to three words—military-industrial complex.”
“We have to recognize that the military-industrial complex was born out of the Korean War and really thrives on a world of threats, both real and imagined,” she explained. To make a treaty possible, proponents must build “a domestic constituency that says, ‘No, these endless wars and the profiteering from war has to end.’”
Daniel Davis, a retired US Army officer who advised the South Korean military in the 1990s, made a similar argument. “The best thing for American national security is to work towards a peace agreement, because the absence of peace means that we have to continue to put billions of dollars every single year into our alliance with South Korea and for troops in Japan,” he said. “We need to move from a wartime mentality to a peacetime mentality.”
Trump, who is in deep political trouble over his handling of the coronavirus epidemic, has shown no inclination to move in that direction or to shake off the influence of John Bolton, the hard-liner he fired earlier this year from his post as national security adviser. In his self-righteous best seller The Room Where It Happened, Bolton made it clear that he despised the very idea of Moon’s engagement policies, which triggered the Trump-Kim talks in the first place.
His contempt seems to have rubbed off on Trump, who he claims threatened to withdraw all US troops from Korea unless Moon agreed to drastically increase South Korean payments for the 28,500 US soldiers it hosts. “The whole diplomatic fandango was South Korea’s creation, relating more to its ‘unification’ agenda than serious strategy on Kim’s part or ours,” Bolton wrote in his book. “It was risky theatrics, in my view, not substance.”
To the consternation of Korean progressives and the Moon government, he ridiculed Moon for “emphasizing inter-Korean relations over denuclearization.” Bolton was also critical of Moon for seeking an “action-for-action” plan that would allow North Korea to show incremental movement toward dismantling its nuclear capability in exchange for concessions from the United States on sanctions.
That never happened, of course. At their second summit in Hanoi in March 2019, Trump, at Bolton’s insistence, balked at an intermediate deal that would have involved the North closing down its large nuclear facility at Yongbyon in return for the lifting of the UN Security Council sanctions imposed on North Korean exports in 2017.
“If Trump had made that deal in Hanoi, we’d be much further down the road” toward peace, Davis, the retired US Army officer, told a June event marking the 70th anniversary of the start of the Korean War organized by the conservative Center for the National Interest. North Korea, he added, “sees that as a betrayal.” To get a deal, we “must build trust and acknowledge where they’re coming from.” Earlier this month, Trump sent Stephen Beigun, the deputy secretary of state and his chief negotiator on North Korea, to Seoul in hopes of reviving the talks. But the gesture was widely derided as unrealistic.
“Unless Biegun is bringing some indication that Trump is ready to give in to North Korean demands to lift sanctions in exchange for very limited moves on the nuclear front, I don’t see much basis for another summit or even for any level of negotiations,” Daniel Sneider, a specialist on US relations with Korea and Japan at Stanford University, told the Korea Times. Beigun didn’t, and the North responded, “We have no intention to sit face to face with the U.S.,” Kwon Jong Gun, a North Korean diplomat, wrote for the state-run Korean Central News Agency just before Beigun arrived in Seoul.
In his remarks on Monday, Representative Khanna suggested that Joe Biden might “take up the initiative” with North Korea if he is elected president this fall. Khanna, who backed Senator Bernie Sanders during the primaries, noted that Biden and President Barack Obama “never had Moon as a partner” during the years they were in power. With a progressive president in South Korea driving the peace process, we could “ultimately have an agreement,” he said. “There isn’t a military solution.”
So far, except for saying he might meet with Kim under certain conditions, Biden has expressed little interest in changing US policy in East Asia. Judging from his foreign policy team, he is likely to create a hawkish administration, especially on North Korea. During the debates, Biden often referred to Kim as a “thug”—not exactly a recipe for negotiations.
But, Khanna argues, if Biden carries out his promise to work more closely with US allies, he might be more attentive to South Korea and Moon, and that could make a difference. To that end, Khanna told the forum that he will be traveling to South Korea after the pandemic to meet with President Moon and offer support for his diplomatic efforts.
Clearly, a fundamental shift is needed. Women Cross DMZ and the Quincy Institute will argue in an upcoming report that both Trump’s “maximum pressure” and Obama’s “strategic patience” failed to resolve the crisis, Ahn announced at Monday’s forum. With other peace groups, they will call for a new approach based on a comprehensive peace agreement. “Peace is the precondition for denuclearization and improving human rights, not the other way around,” Ahn said.
“Our inability to end this war,” said Quincy’s Jessica Lee, “has really colored the US–South Korean alliance and the possibility of building an enduring peace in East Asia at large.”
Tim Shorrock, who has been reporting on Korea for The Nation since 1983, is a Washington, D.C.–based journalist and the author of Spies for Hire: The Secret World of Intelligence Outsourcing.
뉴스프로 (TheNewsPro) email@example.com