Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr., addressed members of the National Assembly of Korea here Tuesday, telling them that “we must make the whole world a nuclear free zone.”
“There is no future in war,” Rev. Jackson said, adding that the Rainbow PUSH Coalition will “encourage President Trump to honor his commitment” to peace with North Korea.
“America is a great country,” Rev. Jackson said. “But we are too quick to drop bombs.”
The international civil and human rights icon made his remarks during a special meeting with the lawmakers at the National Assembly on the second day of his week-long peace mission and speaking tour of South Korea.
He was greeted with a large banner welcoming him and by a parade of elected officials eager to shake his hand and pose for photographs with the man one lawmaker, Lee In-Young, called “a full and ardent supporter of peace on the Korean Peninsula.”
Rev. Jackson has been pushing for peace, family unification and democracy across the divided peninsula for more than 30 years. He first traveled to South Korea in 1986 when, “on a cold and dreary night,” he visited Kim Dae-jung, a dedicated democrat living under house arrest for his opposition to the repressive regime then ruling the country.
But Kim, Rev. Jackson reminded the lawmakers, never gave up, never stopped marching, and never stopped fighting for peace and democracy.
“He went from house arrest to the presidency [of South Korea] to winning the Nobel Peace Prize,” he said, adding that Kim was in the lineage of Nelson Mandela and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
“They were bigger than their politics,” Rev. Jackson said of the Korean, the African and the American. “They saw the human race through a door, not a keyhole.”
As he has said everywhere he has gone the last few days, Rev. Jackson praised South Korea President Moon Jae-in for his crucial role in bringing the United States and North Korea to the table at the summit in Singapore. He warned, however, that not everyone is happy at the prospect of peace.
“Those who peddle fear we must fight with hope,” Rev. Jackson said.
“Peace will affect those who make guns and bombs and missiles adversely.”
Since arriving in Seoul Sunday afternoon, Rev. Jackson has led a prayer service for peace just four miles from the DMZ, the landmine-littered border separating the two Koreas that President Bill Clinton once called, “the scariest place on earth.” He has met with peace activists, clergy, reporters and members of the Minjung Party, a progressive political party of workers, farmers, urban poor, women and youth.
“It’s inspiring to be around freedom fighters, around change agents,” Rev. Jackson said Tuesday during his meeting with the Minjung members.
“We must put war out of business and peace into business. We must not starve North Korea, we must feed them. We must not fight them. We must negotiate with them.
“You are not peacekeepers,” he said. “You are peacemakers.”