Olympic Closing Ceremony Watch Party
Peace Groups Call for Extension of the Olympic Truce, Postponement of Joint US-South Korea War Games,
Dialogue and Diplomacy
Sunday, February 25th 5:00 – 8:00 pm
Albany, CA – Representatives of Bay area peace groups will gather Sunday, February 25, from 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm to watch the closing ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, and call for dialogue and diplomacy with North Korea. The watch party will take place at the Cafe Valparaiso, 1403 Solano Avenue, Albany, California. The 2018 Winter Olympics are being broadcast by NBC.
In November 2017, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution calling for an Olympic Truce, or a cessation of hostilities during the Winter Games, which gained the support of 157 Member States including both Koreas and future hosts of the Olympic Games: Japan, China, France and the United States. The truce period spans the Winter Olympics and Paralympics, from February 2 – March 25, 2018
The Olympic Closing Ceremony watch party is part of a national Olympic Truce Campaign, endorsed by 135 organizations. As noted in the Olympic Truce Call to Action, another war with North Korea would be disastrous. It could easily go nuclear. It should be unthinkable, and there are peaceful diplomatic alternatives. For South Korea, which would bear the brunt of any conflict with North Korea, there is no military option. As a group of 58 retired US military leaders acknowledge in a letter to Trump, military action “would result in hundreds of thousands of casualties.” The people of Korea, North and South, the peoples of the region, and Americans all want peace.
Speakers at the Olympic Closing Ceremony watch party will include Paul Liem, Chair of the Korea Policy Institute, and Ann Wright, US Army Colonel, (ret), former US Diplomat, now with Women Cross DMZ and Veterans For Peace. Rafael Jesus Gonzales, Poet Laureate of Berkeley will read a new poem written specifically for this occasion. Claire Greensfelder, representing NoWarWithNorthKorea.org, a campaign of INOCHI / A World Without Armies, will unveil their new billboard and bumper sticker campaign that will be officially launched next week. Other visuals will include signs and banners.
According to Ann Wright: “The Olympic truce needs to be extended past the Olympics so that there is the open space for genuine dialogue to resolve issues on the crisis of the Korean Peninsula. The South Korean government is showing strong indications that they want to speak to the North Koreans. I hope the United States government does not torpedo this opportunity for dialogue and ultimate resolution of issues for the Korean people. We must have dialogue not military confrontation!”
In a very significant development, South Korean President Moon Jae-in successfully persuaded a reluctant Donald Trump to postpone U.S.-South Korea war drills that would have overlapped with the Olympics. These joint military exercises typically involve hundreds of thousands of ground troops and such provocative scenarios as “decapitation” raids and simulate nuclear attacks. Delaying them could pave the way for a longer-term “freeze for freeze” deal—a suspension of miliitary exercises for a ban on North Korea’s nuclear and missile testing.
Members of the Bay Area Korea Collaboration are using the occasion of the Olympic Closing Ceremony to call for an indefinite extension of the Olympic Truce, indefinite postponement of joint US-South Korean military exercises, US support for a proposed North-South Korea Summit, leading to direct talks between the US and North Korea, and an official end to the Korean War by replacing the 1953 Armistice with a permanent peace treaty.
The Olympic Closing Ceremony watch party is sponsored by: Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists Social Justice Committee; Codepink women for peace; Ecumenical Peace Institute/CALC; Gaza Freedom Flotilla; INOCHI / A World Without Armies; Korea Policy Institute; Peace Action; SF Bay Area Physicians for Social Responsibility; Tri-Valley CAREs (Communities Against a Radioactive Environment); Veterans For Peace; Western States Legal Foundation; Women Cross DMZ; Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF)-East Bay branch; WILPF-San Francisco branch; Xochipilli Latino Men’s Circle