We the undersigned, call on the leaders of all countries participating in RIMPAC military exercises to withdraw their participation in the events planned to take place in Hawai’ian waters in August this year.
OPEN LETTER TO ALL RIM OF PACIFIC EXERCISE (RIMPAC) LEADERS
PACIFIC PEACE NETWORK CALLS FOR THE CANCELLATION OF RIMPAC ‘’WAR GAMES’’ IN HAWAI’I IN AUGUST 2020
The Pacific Peace Network asks the leaders of all countries participating in RIMPAC military exercises to withdraw their participation in the events planned to take place in Hawai’ian waters in August this year.
While Rimpac is being projected as necessary to protect vital shipping routes and guarantee freedom of navigation through international waters, it is our concern that in fact RIMPAC combined with the recent trilateral exercises in the South China Sea are dangerously increasing the risk of an armed conflict or outright war with China. It is therefore our wish that the alternative be an increase and strengthening of diplomatic processes’ and opportunities for dialogue between all Pacific countries’ leaderships, in the interests of true peace and freedom.
This coalition of peace organisations from around the Pacific Ocean including Australia, Aotearoa New Zealand, Hawai’i, Guam/Guahan and the Philippines was set up after a conference in Darwin last year. Rimpac is the world’s largest maritime exercise, run by the US Navy and has been attended by up to 26 countries biennially since 1971.
Our coalition believes that rather than practising bombing ships and firing missiles through the ocean, the 24 RIMPAC participants could redirect their activities to help Pacific nations recover from cyclones, pandemics, ocean inundation and climate change.
It is particularly distressing to us that these exercises are happening so soon after the 75th anniversary of both the first use of nuclear weapons on Japan and the formations of the United Nations, also in 1945.
Other world leaders such as United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres and Pope Francis have also been calling for the de-escalation of military build up during Covid.
This year Chile and Israel have pulled out due to concerns about Covid, and the event has been downsized and delayed in the wake of the global pandemic. Naval ships are even more prone to the spread of Covid than cruise ships, and have proven to be transmitters of the virus.
Reportedly, thousands of sailors have been infected, and communities such as those in Guam/Guahan, where ships have docked, have suffered from the contagion without health service assistance from the foreign military carriers.
Our coalition urges that leaders rethink their views on security and turn away from outdated and expensive military investment and towards peaceful alliances that better meet the needs of all people in our area.