Seoul, May 22 – South Korean civic and student activists held rallies against US President Joe Biden throughout his three-day trip in the Asian nation to clamour for peace on the Korean Peninsula.
A group of students from the Korean University Progressive Union on Sunday held an anti-Biden rally near the US military base in Yongsan, where the President reportedly planned to meet staff members from the American Embassy in Seoul, reports Xinhua news agency.
“Leave this land, Biden, who escalates a war crisis on the Korean Peninsula,” the student activists chanted, raising on their hands the signs opposing joint military exercises and South Korea-US-Japan military alliance.
“From the day Biden arrived here, university students continued to shout anti-American voices. It reflects the desire of people. Nobody wants war in this land. Everybody wants peace,” a student said during the rally.
The student activists went after Biden during his tour, an air base where he arrived and departed for Japan, a hotel where he stayed, and the presidential office where he held talks with South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol.
The student activists were surrounded by the police, which heightened the security of Biden’s visiting locations to the highest level.
One student was taken to a hospital during a tussle on Friday night with policemen who hindered the rally near the hotel Biden allegedly stayed, according to local broadcaster YTN.
Right before Biden’s visit to Seoul, representatives from a total of 155 civic groups held a press conference on Friday, saying the South Korean government should adopt a balanced diplomacy, not a lopsided diplomacy that can bring a new Cold War confrontation to the Korean Peninsula.
If South Korea jumps on the US-centred military alliance, which excludes others, it will negatively affect the Korean Peninsula’s peace and denuclearization, while the strengthened military cooperation among South Korea, the United States and Japan will tolerate the rearmament and revived militarism in Japan, the civic activists said.
They urged Yoon and Biden to stop war and confrontation and create an order of peace and co-existence.
The Korean Peninsula has been in a technical state of war as the 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty.
The People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy (PSPD) held a candlelight vigil on Friday near the Gwanghwamun square in Seoul, calling for Yoon and Biden to choose peace rather than military alliance and arms race.
Some 100 peace activists, composed of those from the PSPD and seven other civic groups, staged similar rallies on Saturday near the presidential office in Yongsan, to which the South Korean President relocated his office from the Blue House after taking office on May 10.