Statement on the TAAF Grant Read

AAAS resolution calling for a decolonizing peace and a formal end to the Korean War

Whereas progressive Koreans within the diaspora, including in the United States, have long organized for a peaceful resolution to the Korean War and, alongside many Asian and Pacific Islander peoples, have waged grassroots struggles against U.S. war and militarism;

Whereas the Association for Asian American Studies (AAAS) seeks to advance a critique of U.S. war and empire; foster scholarship, innovative pedagogy, and public awareness about the far-reaching impact of U.S. militarism and racial violence in Asia and the Pacific; and support people’s anti-imperialist struggles for liberation and self-determination;

Whereas the root of the current conflict on the Korean peninsula is the unresolved Korean War, an asymmetrical war of U.S. aggression precipitated by the 1945 U.S. decision to divide Korea at the 38th parallel without consulting the Korean people and undermining the Korean people’s long struggle against Japanese colonial rule and historic efforts to realize democratic self-governance;

Whereas the United States, the primary Korean War belligerent and the world’s greatest nuclear proliferator and detonator, has refused to sign onto a permanent peaceful settlement, despite the temporary July 1953 armistice recommendation that the major signatories–the United States, North Korea, and China–negotiate peace terms within three months’ time, in contrast to North Korea’s numerous requests to end the Korean War;

Whereas without a peace agreement, war can resume at any time in Korea, which stands to destroy the lives of 80 million people on the peninsula in addition to many other Asian and Pacific Islander peoples, and in this era of a nuclear-armed North Korea to inflict catastrophe within the United States and on a planetary scale;

Whereas the ongoing state of war and division in Korea has exacted a massive human toll by keeping millions of families separated, including roughly 100,000 Korean Americans, by authorizing an exploitative system of international adoption, by subjecting the peoples of Korea and the region to the constant threat of nuclear war, and by perpetuating an arms race that diverts resources from human needs and justifies the proliferation of garrison states;

Whereas U.S. military empire in Asia and the Pacific exploits the pretext of a menacing North Korea and the sub-imperial complicity of regional client-states, as in the South Korean deployment of over 300,000 soldiers to fight alongside U.S. forces in the U.S. war in Vietnam and in the strategic incorporation of sites like Diego Garcia, Guam, the Marshall Islands, Hawai‘i, and Okinawa into its “forward-deployed” posture against North Korea;

Whereas the Korean War, as a structure of permanent war, exacts an imperial toll, justifying monstrous trillion-dollar “defense” budgets–in 2015, 54% of the federal discretionary budget–enabling the United States to wage endless wars and maintain troops abroad, the contamination, resource exploitation, and seizure of Indigenous lands, and the militarization of poor, non-white peoples within its army, correlating to unemployment, austerity programs that deny access to decent education, healthcare, and housing, and the militarization of the police;

Whereas the Korean War, the longest-running U.S. conflict, enabled the United States to consolidate its global military-imperial dominance, inaugurating the U.S. military-industrial complex and justifying its base expansion, while continually justifying U.S. power projection in the region, its encirclement of China, and the ever-expanding U.S. military budget;

Whereas contrary to U.S. government and corporate media claims, U.S. joint military exercises with South Korea continue, rehearsing the collapse, invasion, and occupation of–as well as nuclear first strikes against–North Korea, according to the Pentagon’s operation plans;

Whereas the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula must be understood as imposing a commensurate obligation on the United States, given its history of repeatedly threatening North Korea with nuclear decimation and in violation of the 1953 Armistice deploying nuclear warheads to South Korea from 1958 to 1991, thereby requiring the elimination of all nuclear threats to the peninsula;

Whereas only a genuine peace agreement among the main parties to the Korean War, reflective of the Korean people’s struggle for decolonization, self-determination, liberation, and reunification, can reduce the risk of nuclear and conventional war in Korea;

Whereas the leaders of North and South Korea at the historic summit at Panmunjom on April 27, 2018 “solemnly declared before the 80 million Korean people and the whole world that there will be no more war on the Korean Peninsula and thus a new era of peace has begun,” and pledged to work together for independent unification, and in September 2018, signed an historic military agreement to cease all hostile acts and have taken concrete steps to transform the so-called demilitarized zone (DMZ) into an actual peace zone;

Whereas, since the historic 2018 summit between North Korea and the United States, diplomacy has stalled, escalating threats of war, intensifying the possibility that the Korean War’s seventieth year could give rise to the end of North Korea’s self-imposed moratorium on nuclear weapons testing and resumption of full-scale U.S.-South Korea war exercises;

Be it resolved, on the Korean War’s seventieth year, that AAAS:

  • Supports the Korean people who have long fought for peace and the self-determined unification of the Korean peninsula and considers ending the Korean War a necessary step in the decolonization of South Korea;
  • Enacts solidarity with the peoples of Asia, the Pacific, and North America who have long waged anti-militarism struggles against the projection of U.S. war power in and militarized expropriation of their homelands;
  • Calls on the United States to abolish its seven-decade policy of hostility and sweeping sanctions that isolate North Korea and aim to inflict widespread humanitarian catastrophe on its people, formally end the Korean War, and replace the 1953 Armistice Agreement with a permanent peace agreement;
  • Demands that the United States to stop all military exercises that deploy or introduce its strategic assets on the Korean peninsula, abolish its nuclear umbrella over South Korea, Asia, and the Pacific, and meet its own obligations to create a nuclear-free world;
  • Initiates critical reflection on and collective action regarding the complicity of U.S. universities within the military-industrial complex and our role as socially engaged scholars to analyze the structural moorings of our own conditions of possibility; and
  • Encourages students and scholars to engage in a three-year research and teaching initiative, starting Fall 2020, that emphasizes critical approaches to and collective inquiry about the Korean War, with a focus on the racial, sexual, colonial, and sub-imperial violence of U.S. war power as well as peoples’ struggles for decolonization.


Minju Bae (Temple/NYU), Crystal Baik (UC Riverside), Patrick Chung (University of Maryland), Christine Hong (UC Santa Cruz), Alfred Flores (Harvey Mudd), Elaine Kim (UC Berkeley), Joo Ok Kim (University of Kansas), Deann Borshay Liem (Mu Films), Monica Kim (NYU), Jeff Santa Ana (Stony Brook University), Ji-Yeon Yuh (Northwestern), Naoko Shibusawa (Brown University)


Jane Komori (UC Santa Cruz)

Jinah Kim (California State University, Northridge)

Audrey Wu Clark (United States Naval Academy)

Daniel Kim (Brown University)

Ida Yalzadeh (Brown University)

Rachel Kuo (NYU)

Laura Kang (UC Irvine)

Sarita See (UC Riverside)

Andrew Leong (UC Berkeley)

Evyn Lê Espiritu Gandhi (UCLA)

Trung PQ Nguyen (UC Santa Cruz)

Davorn Sisavath (California State University, Fresno)

Nishant Upadhyay (University of Colorado Boulder)

Na-Rae Kim (University of Connecticut)

Simeon Man (UC San Diego)

Susie Woo (California State University, Fullerton)

Naomi Paik (UIUC)

Michelle N. Huang (Northwestern University)

Lili Kim (Hampshire College)

Christopher Fan (UC Irvine)

Josen Masangkay Diaz (University of San Diego)

Heejoo Park (UC Riversity)

Aujean Lee (University of Oklahoma)

Vin Nguyen (University of Waterloo)

Yumi Lee (Villanova University)

Mark Tseng-Putterman (Brown University)

Vivian Truong (University of Michigan)

Ka-eul Yoo (UC Santa Cruz)

James Matthew McMaster (UW Madison)

Cynthia Wu (Indiana University)

Yuki Obayashi (UC Santa Cruz)

Miliann Kang (University of Massachusetts Amherst)

Christen Sasaki (UC San Diego)

Terry K. Park (University of Maryland)

Salonee Bhaman (Yale University)

Cynthia Gao (NYU)

Mary Yu Danico (Cal Poly Pomona)

Joseph Ong (UCLA)

Clara Han (Johns Hopkins University)

Jane Kuoch (UCLA)

Minh-Ha T. Pham (Pratt Institute)

Heijin Lee (NYU)

Anita Mannur (Miami University Ohio)

Edith Chen (Cal State University, Northridge)

Nadia Young-na Kim (Loyola Marymount University)

Rebecca Jo Kinney (Bowling Green State University)

David Roh (University of Utah)

Anne Joh (Garrett Theological Seminary)

Gina Masequesmay (Cal State University, Northridge)

Todd Henry (UC San Diego)

Grade Kweon (UNC Chapel Hill)

Kimberly McKee (Grand Valley State University)

Nitasha Sharma (Northwestern University)

Beth Lew-Williams (Princeton University)

Elizabeth W. Son (Northwestern University)

Allan Lumba (Virginia Tech)

Chad Shomura (University of Colorado Denver)

Sudipa Topdar (Illinois State University)

Robert G. Lee (Brown University)

Sunny Yang (University of Houston)

Elena Shih (Brown University)

Richard Kim (UC Davis)

Aimee Bahng (Pomona College)

Karen Umemoto (UCLA)

Genevieve Clutario (Wellesley College)

JoAnna Poblete (Claremont Graduate University)

Jean-Paul deGuzman (The Windward School and UCLA)

Marie Myung-Ok Lee (Columbia University)

Takuya Maedda (Brown University)

Sarah Park Dahlen (St. Catherine University)

Long Le-Khac (Loyola University Chicago)

Jeremy Tai (McGill University)

Jennifer Kelly (UC Santa Cruz)

Laurel Mei-Singh (University of Hawai‘i Mānoa)

Ji-Yeon Jo (UNC Chapel Hill)

Nayoung Aimee Kwon (Duke University)

Hiroaki Matsusaka (UCLA)

Jennifer Jihye Chun (UCLA)

Kira Donnell (SF State)

Wei Ming Dariotis (SF State)

Eric Mar (SF State)