Singapore Summit

There are a wide range of opinions about the Singapore Summit between the President of the United States and the leader of North Korea.

A fundamental principle of nonviolence is communication between the parties that are in conflict. The goal is that exchanges of ideas can lead to better understanding, and to changes that reduce or eliminate the causes of the conflict.

While many object to yesterday’s meeting as legitimizing the North Korean’s history of human rights violations, this summit seems like a good step toward reducing tensions. The United States has its own problems regarding human rights, the most recent being taking children from their parents at the southern border.

Iowa Quakers and the Catholic Peace Ministry have been working on ways to improve relations with North Korea. In 2001 a North Korean agricultural delegation visited Bear Creek meeting, including sharing a pot luck dinner (article below). Last October the Des Moines Register published a letter from Bear Creek Friends meeting, inviting another visit from North Korea.

bearcreekkorea2

In March, Linda Lewis and Daniel Jasper, American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) staff who have spent time in North Korea working on agricultural practices, visited Iowa to talk about their work there, and discuss how we might encourage another visit from North Korea.

We received this message from Daniel in April:

“Thanks again for all the hospitality when Linda and I came to visit. Our timing couldn’t have been better. I just had a meeting with State yesterday and they are looking for ideas for exchanges in the event the Trump-Kim Jong un summit goes well. Naturally, I highlighted AFSC’s willingness and ability to help and spoke about our recent Iowa visit. I stressed that Des Moines Quakers and an ag delegation would be a natural fit and gave them the Des Moines Register article about Khrushchev.”

One thing Daniel suggested that could be done to improve relations was to re-start the repatriation of the remains of American soldiers who were killed in North Korea. Between 1996 and 2005 joint U.S-North Korea military search teams recovered 229 sets of remains. Those missions stopped after North Korea conducted its first nuclear test in 2006. The U.S. and North Korean leaders indicated they would restart this process.

President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un agreed Tuesday at a historic summit in Singapore to recover the remains of the U.S. military personnel missing in action and presumed dead from the Korean War.

In a statement signed by both leaders, the countries agreed to the recovery of the remains and the immediate repatriation of those already identified. The statement also assures North Korea would work toward “complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”

Nearly 7,800 American troops remain unaccounted for from the 1950-53 war in the Korean Peninsula. About 5,300 were lost in North Korea.  Fox News 6/12/18

AFSC article about North Korean ag visit to Iowa Spring 2001 Edited 2

North Korea visit to Bear Creek 2001

 

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