AFSC: Diplomacy best answer to North Korea’s nuclear test

The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) is deeply troubled by reports that North Korea conducted its fourth nuclear test on January 6. As longstanding opponents of nuclear weapons, we urge the United States and the international community to respond by intensifying diplomatic efforts to address the situation and its underlying causes.

This nuclear test underscores the need for the United States and international community to pursue an ongoing, committed diplomatic approach. AFSC has worked with and in North Korea since 1980 on people to people exchanges and agricultural and economic issues. We know firsthand that Americans and North Koreans can work collaboratively to build a more prosperous and peaceful future.

In light of North Korea’s fourth nuclear test, AFSC would like to reiterate its past appeals that:

• All parties involved rely on diplomacy, not military threats. Diplomacy can and should be pursued at all levels: inter-Korean, multilaterally, and bilaterally.

• All parties resist further provocations and military build-up. North Korea should suspend its nuclear weapons program. The U.S. and other nuclear weapons states should cease their nuclear weapons modernization, eliminate first-strike doctrines, and move to fulfill their obligations under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. South Korea and the U.S. should cancel annual war games that include live fire drills and mock invasions of the north.

• All parties address humanitarian concerns in North Korea by building up trade and exchange programs that forge relationships and nurture peaceful change.

As we begin the new year, we are offered the chance to choose new ways forward – ways beyond military threats and economic measures. We hope that the United States and international community will respond with a tempered, diplomatic approach and a sincere desire for peace on the Korean Peninsula.

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