South Korea

Joint Statement: Reduce Military Spending to deal with the Climate Crisis and COVID-19

The whole world is in an emergency state due to the spread of COVID-19. As of April 26, the global toll of confirmed patients amounts to around 2.88 million, along with 200 thousand deaths. We are going through “the most challenging crisis since the Second World War”.

Today (April 27), we gather here for the Global Days of Action on Military Spending(GDAMS) 2020. We gravely face a shattered “security” for which astronomical military expenditures have been spent but were revealed to be helpless in the reality of a spread of a new virus, COVID-19.

According to the Trends in World Military Expenditure 2019 from the Stockholm International Peace Research(SIPRI) that was released today, Total global military expenditure rose to $1917 billion in 2019 with a 3.6 percent increase from 2018, which is 2.377 quadrillion in KRW. Military expenditure of South Korea is placed at the tenth, a fixed world status for seven years in a row since 2013. The national defense budget that has been rising at an average annual rate of 7.5% after the inauguration of the Moon administration reaches 50.1527 trillion KRW in 2020.

However, high-tech weapons and immense military spending could not solve the COVID-19 crisis, nor did they secure our lives.

It is the time to reconstruct the national policy priorities to be “human security” instead of “military security”. The COVID-19 pandemic warns us of the seriousness of climate crisis.

We request. Let us change the set priorities of “security”, and invest our resources to save people and the Earth rather than to prepare for war.

Find the Statement on the PSPD website here.

April 29 – Seoul Press Conference + Non-Violent Direct Action

Organised by PSPD. Activists gathered at Gwanghwamun Square to protest Korea’s military spending, which is ranked 10th in the world and has remained at the same rank for 6 years since 2013. In contrast, welfare spending in Korea is less than half of the OECD average. They consider an embarrassment that South Korea is investing more in limited military resources than in improving people’s quality of life.

For more information visit:

Read more here (in Korean).

13 April 2015, SOUTH KOREA – Seoul

The GDAMS Preparatory Committee of Korea organized 4 major projects and activities in the context of GDAMS on behalf of 32 peace organizations in Korea.

1. GDAMS Korea Official Website launch
GDAMS Korea official website was launched on April 13. The site explained global military expenditure, military spending in Korea and what could be done instead of purchasing weapons.

2. Joint Press Conference by Parliamentarians and Civil Society
A joint statement was issued by parliamentarians and civil society in South Korea on the Global Day of Action on Military Spending entitled ‘Welfare Not Warfare’. Fifteen MPs and 32 NGOs endorsed this statement and had a joint press conference in front of Parliament.

It was significant given that this year was 70th anniversary of the partition of the Korean peninsula and Sewol Ferry a year memorial. The press conference suggested the way toward the safety of the citizens, not national security and toward peace and cooperation, not military expansion.

3. SNS Campaign
A campaign through SNS was hold titled ‘If I had 3.7 billion won, I would #move the money to…’ from April 13th and 30th. Lots of citizen shared their ideas what they would do.

4. Media Campaign
Series of articles on GDAMS campaign were issued through the online media ‘Ohmynews’ in order to show views of peace activists on military spending. Three columns were published, so far.
1. Can’t end the Korean War with military expenditure in Korea.
2. The careless purchase of war weapons without validity.
3. Cutting college tuition in half for F-35, and public children’s homes for Global Hawk.

Organisers: People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy and  GDAMS Korea.

gdams 2015_KR_seoul

13 April 2015, SOUTH KOREA – Jeju Island

Not only in Seoul but also in Ganjeong village, Jeju island which have struggled to maintain their peace against the construction of a Jeju naval base, activists and villagers conducted campaign with same slogan ‘Welfare Not Warfare’. Jeju island is located at the southern part of the Republic of Korea.

gdams 2015_KR_Jeju

15 April 2013, SOUTH-KOREA

he People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy (PSPD), composed of 24 civil organisations, held a press conference with 15 Parliamentarians in front of Parliament urging them to “Disarm for Peace”. Read the statement, the letter send to governments and see the photos from this action.

On April 15, they also held a campaign in the street: dressed up like Teletubbies they asked about 1,000 people to write a peace message. See the photos.

The PSPD also made a short film Will the Pacific Teletubbies keep the Pacific pacific? urging the two Koreas and other stakeholders to stop the fights, as they only benefit military and weapon sellers. The movie also emphasizes how people should and can stop the fighting.

For more information, visit their facebook page or visit their website.

See pictures from the Peace parade on the Global Day of Action on Military Spending (Hankyoreh). People display signs with messages of peace related to the ongoing tensions on the Korean peninsula. Some of the Korean signs read, “Flowers instead of bullets” and “Who really wants war?”.

Blog entry: Global Day of Action on Military Spending by Tom Rainey-Smith.

17 April 2012, SOUTH KOREA- Seoul


Two actions with the slogan “Welfare, not warfare! Save Jeju Island!” were organized:
– 11.30am at the gate of the Ministry of Defense
– 1pm at Noleeteo park, near Hongik University (a popular place for young people)
Participants held a press conference with a performance comparing and contrasting two facts: on the one hand the 14 trillion won for weapon purchase, and on the other hand the human needs (tuition, free school meal, free childcare, welfare for soldiers who had to serve military service).
This press conference was followed by a singing and dancing campaign for “No Jeju naval base in Gangjeoing”.
It was great and exciting performance and experience since “ordinary people” as well as peace activists joined the event.
More information here.

April 2011, SOUTH KOREA- Seoul


Peace activists and parliamentarians gather in South Korea to call for a halt to militarization. See their joint statement here.

Women Making Peace, Korean Women’s Association United, Korea Church Women United, Suwon Women’s Association, Korea Association of Christian Women for Women Minjung, Daejeon Women’s Association for Peace

“Six women’s organizations held a peace campaign on one of the busiest streets, Myungdong, in Seoul. On the day, participants were divided into two groups. One group with posters and signs walked around to meet and inform people of what GDAMS is all about, and the other conducted a survey to passers-by on alternative ways of using military spending.”

April 2011, SOUTH KOREA- Daejeon

Daejeon Women’s Association for Peace and local partners

“We went out to the street to meet people with a remarkable, in a way little imaginary, question – ‘Where would you spend the eye-popping money swallowed up by global military spending (won 1,736000,000,000,000)?’”