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By Dave Lindorff
Is it just me or does anyone else think like me that this whole uproar over the supposed foreign “threat” to Americans’ freedom in the form of warnings against showing a low-brow Hollywood comedy, “The Interview” is a pathetic farce?
By John Grant
All we are saying is give peace a chance
By John Grant
When lo! An angel called him out of heaven,
Saying, Lay not thy hand upon the lad, . . .
By Dave Lindorff
I was shocked to find myself in almost perfect agreement today with a recent column by the neoconservative pundit Charles Krauthammer.
Usually Krauthammer has me groaning, but yesterday his column nailed it.
Look who’s calling voting ‘divisive’ and ‘illegal’: The Blood-soaked US Has No Business Opposing Sovereignty Plebiscites
By Dave Lindorff
The rot at the core of US international relations, domestic politics and the corporate media is evident in the American approach to the Ukraine crisis.
On August 28, the National Intelligence Service (NIS), formerly known as the Korean CIA, raided the offices and homes of the Unified Progressive Party, which holds six seats in South Korea’s National Assembly. Three members were arrested during the raids, and lawmaker Lee Seok-ki was later stripped of immunity and placed under arrest. The NIS charged that members of the Unified Progressive Party were plotting rebellion, aiming to take up arms against the government in the event of war with North Korea.
This is a witch hunt launched by the ruling Saenuri Party of President Park Geun-hye and the National Intelligence Service to purge progressive voices from the political process.
Please read, circulate, and sign the following statement to call on the Park Geun-hye administration to stop its attack on democracy and express solidarity with the progressive and democratic forces in South Korea.
Send all endorsements by NO LATER THAN Wednesday September 25 to email@example.com.
- Please send organizational endorsements in the following format - Organization name, city/state/country
- Please send individual endorsements in the following format - Name, Organizational affiliation, city/state/country
For a critical analysis of the current situation in Korea - read Gregory Elich's Political Firestorm in South Korea in Counterpunch.
For the Unified Progressive Party's response to the charges against it - please see the attached document.
Gregory Elich - Author of Strange Liberators: Militarism, Mayhem, and the Pursuit of Profit
Tim Shorrock - Author of Spies for Hire: The Secret World of Intelligence Outsourcing
Hyun Lee - Working Group for Peace and Demilitarization in Asia and the Pacific
STOP REPRESSION IN SOUTH KOREA!
Democracy in South Korea is under attack. The ruling Saenuri Party of President Park Geun-hye and the National Intelligence Service have launched a witch hunt to purge progressive voices from the political process.
On August 28, the National Intelligence Service (NIS), formerly known as the Korean CIA, raided the offices and homes of the Unified Progressive Party, which holds six seats in South Korea’s National Assembly. Three members were arrested during the raids, and lawmaker Lee Seok-ki was later stripped of immunity and placed under arrest.
The NIS charged that members of the Unified Progressive Party were plotting rebellion, aiming to take up arms against the government in the event of war with North Korea. The sole evidence for these outlandish claims was a transcript said to be taken from a surreptitious filming by an informer of two meetings held by the Unified Progressive Party in May.
Those arrested say that the NIS fabricated the words that it attributed to them, and an internal investigation by the Unified Progressive Party affirmed that the transcript excerpts the NIS leaked to the press did not correspond to what participants in the meetings heard being said.
The NIS, like its predecessor, the KCIA, has a long history of inventing and manipulating evidence in order to achieve its political aims. In the last Korean election, it manipulated a transcript from former South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun’s meetings with North Korean leader Kim Jong-il. The changes made it appear that Roh intended to turn over South Korean territorial waters to the north. The intent was to paint the liberal and left opposition parties as disloyal and provide a boost to the campaigns of candidates belonging to the ruling party.
The NIS is once again fabricating evidence, this time in order to remove the Unified Progressive Party from the national scene. Lee-Seok-ki and others face the prospect of imprisonment, and the NIS is considering adding the charge of aiding the enemy, which carries with it a potential death penalty.
The Unified Progressive Party spearheaded the ever-growing national protests against abuses by the NIS. Outrage has been mounting over interference by the NIS in the electoral process, and harassment and investigations against individuals for their politics, such as opponents of the Korean Free Trade Agreement. Protests increased in size and militancy, spreading throughout the nation.
The National Security Law, a remnant from the Japanese colonial period and the anti-communist Syngman Rhee regime in the years following the Second World War, is still in effect, and essentially makes it a crime to express thoughts that can be construed as “pro-North” or “pro-communist.” When liberally interpreted, it has often been used to suppress dissent.
The National Security Law is the weapon of choice for the NIS. Clearly, the attack on the party aims to crush the calls to reform the NIS and provide bogus justification for its continued involvement in domestic affairs.
The ruling Saenuri Party is calling for Lee Seok-ki to be removed from office, even though he has yet to be tried, let alone convicted. The Ministry of Justice has created a taskforce to look into responding to petitions by conservative groups to file a request with the Constitutional Court to dissolve the Unified Progressive Party.
The South Korean people suffered under many years of dictatorship and military rule. They won a hard-fought victory to bring democracy to their nation. The McCarthyist tactics of the Saenuri Party and the NIS threaten to undo that achievement. They cannot be allowed to destroy South Korea’s democracy.
We, the undersigned, demand the Park Geun-hye administration-
• Free Lee Seok-ki and other members of the Unified Progressive Party arrested under false charges.
• Free members of the Beomminryeon unification organization, arrested in a raid by the NIS in June.
• Halt the effort to remove Lee Seok-ki from office.
• Stop the move to dissolve the Unified Progressive Party.
• Abolish the National Security Law, instrument of repression.
• Ban the National Intelligence Service from engaging in domestic surveillance and investigation of citizens.
• Bring to justice those in the NIS who were responsible for interfering in the last election and in fabricating evidence.
By John Grant
Veterans For Peace has just released this statement:
As a major U.S. peace organization of veterans, including members who served in the Korean War, Veterans For Peace (VFP) is deeply concerned about the increasing risk of another open conflict on the Korean Peninsula at this time.
CNN reported on Thursday that, "Developments in and around North Korea are so worrisome that they appear to have frightened Dick Cheney." Bellicose rhetoric and maneuvers are indeed extremely worrisome, but it is important that we understand where the hostility is originating if we are going to be able to counter it.
North Korea has withdrawn from the armistice agreement that supposedly ended war over half a century ago. North Korea is threatening military action. Yet, North Korea spends some 0.8% of what the United States spends on war preparation. The United States has the ability to obliterate North Korea. The United States is not just threatening war on North Korea, but practicing it by dropping inert bombs on Korean soil. And, of course, North Korea has not forgotten the United States' primary role in destroying its cities and killing millions of its people over a half century ago.
The United States this year, for the first time, has been using B-2 bombers and F-22 stealth jets in Korean air space in clear violation of the Korean War Armistice Agreement, which prohibits "introduction into Korea of reinforcing military personnel…(and) combat aircraft, armored vehicles, weapons, and ammunition." (Paragraph 13C & D) North Korea's declaration that it, too, will abandon the armistice was not the first move in this dance of death.
That Korean War has never fully ended, not in terms of the elimination of hostilities, and not in terms of the withdrawal of foreign troops. The United States has maintained operational control over the South Korean Army all of these years, an army of 650,000 troops today.
Last year President Barack Obama allowed South Korea to maintain cruise missiles with greater range than before, missiles now capable of hitting anywhere in the North. Obama is also providing South Korea with drones for the purpose of spying on or attacking the North. The Obama administration is, at the same time, promoting the construction of new and larger military bases around the region and in South Korea, including on Jeju Island -- the strategic purpose of which appears to be purely to "contain" (that is, provoke) China. U.S. military "exercises" in the region are predictably provoking threats from the North to attack the U.S. bases from which its bombers are taking off.
Although U.S. officials have been accusing DPRK (North Korea) of "provocative acts," a careful review of events shows that the United States bears greater responsibility in provoking and threatening DPRK with new sanctions, military build-ups, and major war drills under the name "Key Resolve/Foal Eagle."
North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un, according to the only American to talk to him, basketball player Dennis Rodman, said, "Tell President Obama to call me. Because if we can talk, we can work this out." Our Nobel Peace Laureate president responded by sending over stealth bombers to simulate nuclear bombing attacks.
This year's joint war game for U.S. and ROK (South Korean) troops is far more threatening in its scope, intensity, and length, than other recent exercises. More than 10,000 U.S. and 200,000 ROK troops are taking part in the war drill for 2 months. The United States is, for the first time, using multiple strategic assets, including B-52s, B-2 stealth bombers, and the nuclear attack submarine USS Cheyenne, to practice nuclear attacks on North Korea.
This is in the context of a major U.S. military build-up in the region, a build-up being accelerated, using North Korean bellicosity as justification. The United States has increased its troop strength in South Korea from 28,500 to 37,000; beefed up its so-called missile defense system around Korea and Japan; sent Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles to South Korea last fall; and moved 12 F-22 Raptors and 300 staff to Okinawaon January 14, 2013.
And this new militarization is in a historical context that is probably better understood by Koreans than by most Americans. The U.S. decision in August 1945 to artificially divide an ancient homogenous Korea into two, upon the surrender of the Japanese; the subsequent U.S.-directed reign of terror in South Korea, 1945-1948; the U.S. sponsorship of a separate regime in South Korea in 1948; and then, consequently, the open Korean War, 1950-1953, which included U.S. carpet bombing of the country, killing at least 20% of the population, surely must rank as one of the cruelest tragedies of the Twentieth Century. This is virtually unknown history in the West, and today's issues relating to Korea cannot be understood without knowing about this diabolical assault on the Korean nation's rights to integrity, independence and self-determination.
To de-escalate the current danger of war on the Korean Peninsula, VFP urges the following steps:
1) The U.S., ROK and DPRK governments should immediately stop the current war drills in and around Korea, along with all military threats or cyber attacks against each other;
2) The U.S. should withdraw immediately all new U.S. troops and weapons brought into Korea in recent years; and remove all nuclear land- and sea-based missiles and weapons from Korea (and neighboring Japan, if any), and from the Yellow Sea, East China Sea, and Sea of Japan.
3) The U.S. Secretary of State or a high-level special U.S. envoy should visit ROK, DPRK, and China to initiate a four-party talk to end the Korean War officially, and finally, with a peace treaty this year.
4) The U.S. public should reject and denounce fear-mongering about North Korea.
North Korea spends about 0.8% what the United States does and 29% of what South Korea does on its military. North Korea is not a serious threat to the United States.
But the United States is recklessly helping to provoke a new war on the Korean peninsula that could prove as horrific as the last one, or worse.
The United Nations is playing a biased role similar to its role in the past, pressuring North Korea, but not the United States or South Korea, on human rights abuses. There have been 9,000 missile launches since World War II. North Koreahas had 4. There have been 2,000 nuclear bomb tests. North Koreahas had 3. How many countries have been sanctioned by the United Nations over this? Only one: North Korea.
The United States has no business being in Korea. The United States has ignored the North's calls for a peace treaty since 1974. It is time, at long last, to stop posturing for war and begin talking about peace.
Veterans For Peace also supports the Statement Opposing U.S.-South Korea Joint Military Exercises Key Resolve, Foal Eagle, as drafted by the Working Group for Peace and Demilitarization in Asia and the Pacific. See:
Veterans For Peace is a national organization, founded in 1985 with approximately 5,000 members in 150 chapters located in every U.S. state and several countries. It is a 501(c)3 non-profit educational organization recognized as a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) by the United Nations, and is the only national veterans' organization calling for the abolishment of war.
Iran War Weekly
August 19, 2012
Hello All – Once again the civil war in Syria and the question of whether or not Israel will bomb Iran before the US elections captured the media spotlight this week. There were no negotiations about Iran’s nuclear program, as both parties (the United States and Iran) focused on whether the sanctions were “working” and what impact they were having. As has been true for months, the issue of “Iran” was largely submerged in the US presidential elections. Each of these issues is explored in some good/useful reading linked below.
By John Grant
Ever since George W. Bush lost the popular vote by 500,000 souls and was selected President by a right-leaning Supreme Court, the United States has seemed to me devoted to a twisted fate of slow-motion Armageddon.
What seems to guarantee this is one of our most characteristic American traits: We don’t learn from the past; instead, we choose to officially forget embarrassing history so we can move on from our debacles without losing an ounce of glory. We all know how it goes: Sure, mistakes were made, but we need to keep our eye on the ball and move forward. The costs are paid in slow motion and out of sight.
By Dave Lindorff
By David Lindorff Sr.
Spoiling for a Fight? - by Stephen Lendman
Washington is a world class menace, waging imperial wars for global dominance called peace, stability and democracy. In the run-up to the 1950 Korean War, Truman used South Korea to goad Pyongyang into a conflict it didn't want. Nor does it now, but events may spiral out of control unless cooler heads prevail.
Last March, the latest confrontation began when North Korea was falsely blamed for sinking a South Korean ship. At the time, evidence suggested a false flag, manufactured to blame Pyongyang.
Then on November 23, US media reports said North Korea incited the gravest incident since the July 1953 armistice. Analysts called it a deliberate provocation, even though South Korean forces fired first, goaded by the Obama administration for what Pyongyang, with good reason, called a rehearsal for invasion.
By Charles M. Young
Howard Zinn, probably the most influential American historian ever, had an amazing sense of humor when he lectured or met people in person. He could make fun of himself and the audience in a way that exploded the guilt and ambivalence that so often paralyzes liberals, progressives, greens, socialists, anarchists, communists and everyone else on the more-or-less left. Only occasionally, however, did Zinn use his sense of humor in print. His masterpiece, A People’s History of the United States, had no humor at all, as he himself pointed out, because he didn’t find anything funny about the Trail of Tears and all the other ghastly episodes he wove into a narrative that convinced millions of citizens the United States was something less than what they had believed.
By Dave Lindorff
One of the major talking points issued by the Republican Party to its newly elected members of Congress is that they should always say in interviews that they are worried about the impact of government deficit spending on their grandchildren.
It sounds good: “I’m worried about what continued deficits will mean for our grandchildren.”
But it’s a lie.
If these Congress members were genuinely worried about their grandchildren--and ours--they’d be doing something about putting the brakes on climate change, and that is not anywhere on the Republican agenda. In fact, most Republicans claim they don’t even believe in climate change.
Latest North/South Korean Exchange - by Stephen Lendman
Last March, North Korea was falsely blamed for sinking a South Korean ship, a topic an earlier article addressed, accessed through the following link:
Seoul said there's "no other plausible explanation....The evidence points overwhelmingly to the conclusion that (a) torpedo was fired by a North Korean submarine," even though none was detected in the area.
At the time, evidence suggested a false flag, manufactured to blame the North. The incident occurred near Baengnyeong Island opposite North Korea. US Navy Seals and four US ships were conducting joint exercises in the area. The torpedo used was German, not North Korean as claimed. Germany sells none to Pyongyang. Yet it was blamed for what it didn't do, what apparently was Pentagon-manufactured mischief.
I got sick and tired of hearing stuff like this years ago, real sick and tired, looking for funds or cash strapped!
This is soooooooo simple, now you folks Pay Attention!!
Give the Damn Bill To The American Public, Finally, for Everything Owed, and Start Collecting for What's Owed going Back to the Korean Conflict, even for our passed on brothers and sisters, at least those that left families, Got That!!!
And Quite Your Freakin Whining, 'chickenhawks'!!
Sep 18, 2010 - Improvements in the Post-9/11 GI Bill may have to be put off until next year if lawmakers cannot find a way to pay for changes, a key House lawmaker has warned.
The excuses for our guilty past "Military Necessity" and yet we condemn others while wondering "why do they hate us so?"!!
This writer's May 5 article included a history of noted previous ones, accessible through the following link,
Important ones caused the Spanish-American War, WW II, the Vietnam War, and Iraq and Afghanistan wars post-9/11 (a glaring false flag).
Besides constant Middle East tension, more now looms after North Korea was blamed for the March sinking of South Korea's Cheonan warship near the western border with the North.
At the time, New York Times writer Choe Sang-Hun headlined (March 26), "S. Korean Navy Ship Sinks in Disputed Waters," saying:
"A South Korean Navy patrol ship sank....after suffering damage to its hull....raising suspicions about the possible involvement of North Korea, whose navy has skirmished with South Korean ships in the waters off the Korean Peninsula."
Then on May 19, Sang-Hun headlined, "South Korea Publicly Blames the North for Ship's Sinking," saying:
The sinking of the Cheonan: Another Gulf of Tonkin incident
By Stephen Gowans | What's Left
While the South Korean government announced on May 20 that it has overwhelming evidence that one of its warships was sunk by a torpedo fired by a North Korean submarine, there is, in fact, no direct link between North Korea and the sunken ship. And it seems very unlikely that North Korea had anything to do with it.
That’s not my conclusion. It’s the conclusion of Won See-hoon, director of South Korea’s National Intelligence. Won told a South Korean parliamentary committee in early April, less than two weeks after the South Korean warship, the Cheonan, sank in waters off Baengnyeong Island, that there was no evidence linking North Korea to the Cheonan’s sinking. (1)
South Korea’s Defense Minister Kim Tae-young backed him up, pointing out that the Cheonan’s crew had not detected a torpedo (2), while Lee Ki-sik, head of the marine operations office at the South Korean joint chiefs of staff agreed that “No North Korean warships have been detected…(in) the waters where the accident took place.” (3)
Notice he said “accident.” Read more.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Il ordered the country’s military to get ready for combat in a message televised nationwide last week following South Korea’s announcement that North Korea torpedoed the South’s warship.
The message was broadcast on May 20 by O Kuk Ryol, vice chairman of the National Defense Commission, according to the website of North Korea Intellectuals Solidarity, a Seoul-based group run by defectors from the communist country. Yonhap News agency reported on the group’s posting earlier today.
While Kim doesn’t want war, North Korea is ready to counter any attacks from South Korea, O said in the message, according to the group, which cited an unidentified person in the country. North Korea Intellectuals Solidarity is one of the Seoul-based agencies to first report on North Korea’s currency revaluation late last year. Read more.
South Korea Prepares Military For Future Aggressions
President Obama Orders U.S. Military to Work With South Korea
By Joohee Cho | ABC News
Days after North Korea threatened an all-out-war against South Korea, President Obama ordered the U.S. military to work with South Korea to "ensure readiness" and prepare for future aggressions.
"We endorse President Lee's demand that North Korea immediately apologize and punish those responsible for the attack and, most importantly, stop its belligerent and threatening behavior," the White House said.
South Korean President Lee Myung-bak said today that North Korea would have to "pay a price" for the torpedo attack on a South Korean navy ship in March that killed 46 young sailors.
But even as the two Koreas exchanged fierce rhetoric, analysts in Seoul said a military response is unlikely. Read more.
"European security is, not only to the individual nations, but to the world. It is, after all, more than a collection of countries linked by history and geography. It is a model for the transformative power of reconciliation, cooperation, and community"....However, "much important work remains unfinished. The transition to democracy is incomplete in parts of Europe and Eurasia."...
To elite trans-Atlantic policy makers the above paragraphs' meaning is indisputable: The use of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization military bloc - the true foundation of the "transatlantic partnership" - in waging war in and effectively colonizing the Balkans and in expanding into Eastern Europe, incorporating twelve new nations including former Warsaw Pact members and Soviet republics, is the worldwide paradigm for the West in the 21st century.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was busy in London and Paris last week advancing the new Euro-Atlantic agenda for the world.
As the top foreign policy official of what her commander-in-chief Barack Obama touted as being the world's sole military superpower on December 10, she is no ordinary foreign minister. Her position is rather some composite of several ones from previous historical epochs: Viceroy, proconsul, imperial nuncio.
When a U.S. secretary of state speaks the world pays heed. Any nation that doesn't will suffer the consequences of that inattention, that disrespect toward the imperatrix mundi.
On January 27 she was in London for a conference on Yemen and the following day she attended the International Conference on Afghanistan in the same city.
Also on the 28th she and two-thirds of her NATO quad counterparts, British Foreign Secretary David Miliband and French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner (along with EU High Representative Catherine Ashton), pronounced a joint verdict on the state of democracy in Nigeria, Britain's former colonial possession.
Afterwards she crossed the English channel and delivered an address called Remarks on the Future of European Security at L'Ecole Militaire in Paris on January 29. That presentation was the most substantive component of her three-day European junket and the only one that dealt mainly with the continent itself, her previous comments relating to what are viewed by the United States and its Western European NATO partners as backwards, "ungovernable" international badlands. That is, the rest of the world.
By Dave Lindorff
You had to love the headline the Philadelphia Inquirer put on the jump page of columnist Trudy Rubin’s Sunday commentary about word that the Obama administration is hoping to talk with at least some mid-level Taliban leaders about giving up the fight and “coming over” to the “government” side.
“Relax--No deal with Taliban is Imminent,” the headline read. “I suggest everyone take a deep breath,” Rubin wrote. “The US position toward talks with the Taliban has shifted somewhat, but no deal with top Taliban leaders is imminent, or even likely.”
Phew! Thank god for that! Imagine Americans actually sitting down and discussing peace just as we’re getting a good war on!
We, the undersigned global organizations and individuals, call upon the South Korean and US governments to cancel all plans to build a Navy base on Jeju Island. The base will destroy coral reefs that have been listed as world heritage environmental sites by the UNESCO and will destroy the fishing and way of life of the people.
The deployment of naval Aegis destroyers, outfitted with missile defense systems, will be used to surround and provoke China and will make Jeju Island a prime target.
Jeju is called the peace island and must remain free of provocative military bases.
Click "Read more" to see supporters.
South Korean Villagers Continue Resistance to Aegis Destroyer Naval Base Construction; Mayor Arrested & Released Without Charge
Activists from Gangjeong village on JeJu Island, Korea, are struggling to prevent construction of a naval base which will damage the coral reefs and the residents' local agricultural lifestyle. The base will also be used for deployment of naval Aegis destroyers. They will be outfitted with missile defense systems to surround and provoke China, making Jeju Island a prime target for military retaliation. Sung-Hee Choi wrote:
If you saw Bruce Gagnon’s email on the final appeal about the Jeju naval base construction, about 600 people from 30 countries have currently signed to his petition.
We, Koreans gratefully thank Bruce Gagnon, and you, for your solidarity. Thank you for flooding the South Korean government with messages of solidarity to pressure them. We have received at least 50 solidarity messages from the various countries specially after the police/navy raid on Gangjeong village on Jan. 18.
Some were from the Aegis Destroyer workers and former Air force officers in the United States military. The International solidarity news covered all the main Jeju media as one of the top news, with the citation of many messages, translated in Korean.
We were happily overwhelmed by all your kindness and warm hearts. That really encouraged us, and we ask for your continued actions to help us resist the naval base construction. Now is the time to re-double our efforts. Please help us!
Jeju Island Village Attacked by Police and Bulldozers; Your Support Urgently Needed - Actions Listed Below
By Sung-Hee Choi | Organizing Notes
Situation on Jan. 18, Gangjeong Village, South Korea
Around 5am Monday: 500 police were mobilized with three cranes. Police raided the planned site for the ceremony for starting to work on the naval base [which will be home base for Navy Aegis destroyers of U.S. and South Korea outfitted with "missile defense" systems and used to surround China's coast]. It is in the east side of the village and the village people had been barricading the site with the cars since when the cranes contracted by the navy first entered the site on Jan. 6. About 30 village people succeeded to block it at the time. It is known that the police harshly acted today, against the people who are mostly in their old ages. The village people laid their bodies on the ground and cried to rather kill all of them. They pushed the old women and men. The police did not even mind womens underwears were taken off during the body struggles. The whole story reminds the Pyeongteak when the police attacked the village early in the dawn of May 4, 2006.
Around 6~8pm: About 47 village people including a mayor were taken away to the police station. The police unconditionally took away all the people if they protested.
8~10:30am: Five activists including Secretary Go Yu Gi, and two Catholic fathers were taken away to the police, after the short press interview. The activists strongly protested against the police and were dragged from the cranes they were protesting on the top of them. All the captured were separately detained in the three police stations of the Jeju Island. Some may be released soon or some may be even restrained. We dont know yet but the mayor is expected to get the arrest warrant.
North Korea, in a New Year's message Friday, expressed hope for an end to animosity with the United States and a negotiated nuclear-free Korean Peninsula.
The statement was published by the country's state-run media and comes after a U.S. envoy visited Pyongyang to urge resumption of the so-called six-party talks on North Korea's nuclear disarmament, South Korean news agency Yonhap reported.
In the editorial, North Korea said it has always worked "to establish a lasting peace system on the Korean Peninsula and make it nuclear-free through dialogue and negotiations." Read more.