As 2018 Winter Games Begin, Activists Call on U.S. to Respect the Olympic Truce

Open Letter to Defense Secretary James Mattis
February 9, 2018
Nuclear Abolition: A Sisyphean Task?
February 14, 2018
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As 2018 Winter Games Begin, Activists Call on U.S. to Respect the Olympic Truce

For Immediate Release

Contacts:
Rick Wayman, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation: rwayman@napf.org, (805) 696-5159
Kevin Martin, Peace Action: kmartin@peace-action.org, (301) 537-8244

Washington, DC – As the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games began on Friday, February 9, over 100 activists from around the United States sent an open letter to Defense Secretary James Mattis, calling on him to respect the Olympic Truce by postponing provocative nuclear-capable missile tests.

The letter states, “Regardless of advance planning of such tests, it is essential to global security that the United States be flexible and respect worthwhile initiatives for peace such as the Olympic Truce.”

According to Capt. Anastasia Schmidt of Air Force Global Strike Command, two tests of Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles were scheduled for February 2018. On February 5, Vandenberg Air Force Base announced that a Minuteman III test would take place on the night of February 6 or early morning of February 7. The test was then quietly canceled, with no new date announced.

The open letter commends the decision to cancel the February 6/7 test, and calls on Secretary Mattis “to act swiftly to postpone any additional nuclear-capable missile tests scheduled during the period of the 2018 Olympic Truce, which lasts through March 25.”

The Olympic Truce officially began on February 2, one week before the start of the games. Even earlier, the spirit of the truce showed its potential, as North and South Korea re-opened important lines of communication after years of no official dialogue, and agreed to a joint display of unity at the opening ceremony of the games.

The letter urges Sec. Mattis to do his part to allow this positive momentum to play out:

“If North Korea were to test an ICBM during the Olympics, many nations, including the United States, would view the act as provocative and threatening. One does not have to stretch the imagination too far to guess how North Korea might react to our testing of ICBMs during the same period.”

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To read the full letter along with the list of signatories, click here.

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