Background: In 2016, the Korean government agreed with the US to place the American built anti-ballistic missile system THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Air Defense) in the quiet town of Seongju South Korea. The then government of South Korea headed by conservative president Park Geun-hye, steamrollered the project through a hasty environmental review during her last months in office. This weapons system will threaten peace in the world, particularly in South Korea and North East Asia, apart from facilitating the spread of US hegemony in this region. It is harmful to human health and the environment. A majority of the Korean people are absolutely opposed to this government’s unilateral policy decision. Korean peasants’ organisations have been consistently opposing the project as its threatens peace and stability in the region.
At the Regional Women Workshop of La Via Campesina South East and East Asia, held in January 2018, the peasant leaders from several countries in the region unanimously condoned the project, visited the communities affected and extended solidarity to the residents of the village that is at the forefront of the resistance against this missile program. Here is the complete statement that came out after participants visited the affected region.
STATEMENT OF LA VIA CAMPESINA SOUTH EAST AND EAST ASIA WOMEN PEASANT LEADERS ON THAAD
January 26th 2018:
We, La Via Campesina women peasant leaders from Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Timor Leste, Cambodia, Malaysia, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Australia visited Soseong-ri, Sungju-gun which is in its third year of struggle, with the desperate wish of “No to THAAD, Yes to Peace”.
With our short visit, we all wanted to make a small contribution to the villagers still in consistent struggle, not only for the peace of the town, but also that of the world.
The people who were guarding the town warmly welcomed us. The seniors of the village repeatedly said to us, “Thank you so much for coming this far to see us”, with tears in their eyes. The ceaseless fights of residents and activists against the US Army’s THAAD, in spite of frigid weather and biting wind, left a deep impression on all of us. We were also reminded that the war weapon, THAAD, would only bring about another war, never peace. THAAD not only harms people both environmentally and physically, but also drives them into the middle of the war.
The villagers of Soseong-ri cannot accept their land becoming a US military base battleground. The people do not want THAAD to be placed anywhere in the peninsula, not just in their town, because they understand that war can never be stopped by more war weapons. The desperate wish of village seniors in their 80s resonated deeply in the hearts of all participants.
We committed to bearing witness and informing the world of this community’s struggle against THAAD for the peace of Soseong-ri, Korean peninsula, and the world.
We hope that the US war weapon THAAD gets withdrawn immediately, and will stand in solidarity with the people in struggle. We will share information about this fight in our countries, and act together to win this struggle.
We will fight together so that Soseong-ri can once again become a peaceful and warm village as it always has been, and also to make peace in all of the world. We will also continue feeding our people and defending our food sovereignty.
“Withdraw US War Weapon THAAD”
“No to THAAD, Yes to Peace”
– participants of the La Via Campesina South East and East Asia Women Workshop, January 2018