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Issue #1797      October 4, 2017

Dear Prime Minister and Shadow Prime Minister

The Hon. Malcolm Turnbull MP and the Hon Bill Shorten MP,
Prime Minister of Australia and Shadow Prime Minister
Parliament House Canberra ACT 2600

The Independent and Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN) is concerned that the escalating tensions on the Korean Peninsula could result in war, possibly nuclear war, resulting in the deaths of tens of thousands of people, if not millions.

If a shooting war were to start, either by, for example, North Korea shooting down a US plane, or perhaps the US or Japan shooting down a North Korean missile, this could escalate to a full-blown land and air war and possibly then a nuclear exchange. We would expect that you are considering all the possible scenarios, including a nuclear winter resulting from a nuclear war, leading to death and starvation for possibly billions. Any nuclear exchange could not be contained.

As has been said by many countries, there is no military solution to this crisis and the brinkmanship between the US and North Korea must be stopped. A way must be found for these leaders to step back and for the situation to be de-escalated and a catastrophic miscalculation to be avoided.

The most rational way for this to happen is for allies on both sides, that is China and Australia, to put visible pressure on North Korea and the US to return to the negotiating table and freeze military action on both sides. While there has been considerable pressure on North Korea through sanctions, there has been little pressure put on the US to cease its provocative military exercises and other actions such as the erection of the THAAD missile detection systems in South Korea and the recent US flights along the North Korean coast.

A bipartisan approach to such a de-escalation plan would be seen to be a very positive stance by Australia, both domestically and internationally. We cannot be seen to be partisan when diplomacy is not in the skill set of either the US President or North Korea. International communication by Tweet is infantile and unbelievably dangerous.

Australia (and China) must take a stance for a face-saving retreat by both sides and a reduction in tension on the Korean Peninsula – to continue in the current vein is playing with thousands, or conceivably, billions of lives. It is not working to just put pressure on one side – North Korea. The threat of war is extreme.

We urge you to work together to restrain the US and bring sense back to this critically dangerous situation.

Yours sincerely

Annette Brownlie, Chair

The Independent and Peaceful Australia Network

cc – Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, Defence Minister Senator Marise Payne and Shadow Foreign Minister, Senator Penny Wong, and Shadow Defence Minister, the Hon Richard Marles.

Next article – Statement – Ninth death in offshore camps

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