"Arms cannot bring us peace!"
7. November 2013
Challenging Seoul ADEX 2013
As the Seoul International Aerospace & Defense Exhibition 2013 (hereafter, "Seoul ADEX 2013") started from 28th Oct, 22 civil society organizations in South Korea engaged in a series of actions targeting the largest arms fair in the Asia-Pacific region. The coalition organized an alternative exhibition of their own in response to the Seoul ADEX 2013 and named it the Peace and Disarmament Exhibition. While Seoul ADEX 2013 focused on new technology or advancement of weapon systems, the Peace and Disarmament Exhibition put emphasis on the inevitable consequences of arms trade and tried to unveil the naked face of the arms fair.
On a pathway leading to Seoul ADEX site, campaigners installed 40 pieces of panels covering critical issues. Some of the key issues covered at this alternative exhibition were horrific consequences of use of drones and cluster munitions. Activists also distributed "Guide Leaflets for ADEX Visitors" to passing by citizens in order to reveal the true nature of the Seoul ADEX. The organizations also challenged the government policy to foster arms industry and called for a full review of its arms export policy and tougher regulations throughout the material published.
In parallel to the exhibition, activists also engaged in a series of nonviolent direct actions. On 28th Oct, activist appeared as the Death and 'welcomed' the merchants of death as they were coming into the hotel for a Seoul ADEX 2013 Welcome Reception holding a big banner that says "Arms Dealers here today. This is not OK". During the business session of Seoul ADEX, some activists 'invaded' ADEX site wearing T-shirt that says "How many people can it Kill?" and handed out blood money to the arms dealers. Some posed as victims of drones exhibited in Seoul ADEX and held signs calling for an end to the production, use and transfer of drones.
Below is the joint statement issued by 22 organizations on the first day of Seoul ADEX 2013. [Statement issued at a Joint Press Conference for the 4th Peace and Disarmament Exhibition]
Arms cannot bring us peace!
Today, we stand here to voice our opposition against the Seoul International Aerospace & Defense Exhibition 2013 (hereafter, "Seoul ADEX 2013"), which aims to facilitate arms trade and to foster the defense industry. Even at this very moment, countless people are being killed by arms in various conflict zones. We condemn South Korean government for hosting this large-scaled defense exhibition which costs tens of billion won while turning a blind eye to conflicts, killing of people and the vicious circle of arms race which are the inevitable consequences of arms trade. Also, we wish to convey our voice of concern over the government policy to foster defense industry as a national strategic industry and an export oriented industry.