The following article was published in the April 2022 special issue of the International Review of Contemporary Law, the journal of the IADL.
When we think about Roland, many of his interpretations of the UN Charter still come to mind. Roland’s analysis of the UN Charter was convincing, clear, and easy to understand because they are based on historical facts, not simply the wording of the articles.
Roland suggested that COLAP have a Zone of Peace of the West Pacific conference, which we had in Bali, Indonesia in 2018. At that time, the 99-year-old made a speech saying it was time to end U.S. military dominance over the Northwest Pacific.
The Korean War should not be solved by two countries, the United States and North Korea. Military intervention in the Korean War was merely a Security Council resolution that gave enabled a police action under the false pretext that the North had invaded the South. This is not a war between the United States and North Korea.
As for the U.S. military presence in Asia, in particular, the United States has huge military bases in the Northwest Pacific, even though the U.S. has no coastline in Asia. It is as if China had a military base on the coast of California. This should be opposed based on the right of the Korean people to self-rule. The UN Charter prohibits other countries from interfering in international disputes.
North Korea has been threatened by the U.S. military as well as by military exercises by South Korea and Japan. Such armed threats violate the UN Charter, which prohibits the use and threat of force.
Roland clearly said that the Korean War violates the UN Charter and is illegal for two reasons.
The first is that UN forces are given only a police role. The role of the Security Council is to end the war (maintain peace_, but the United States remains in place even after the war.
Second, contrary to the UN Charter’s provision that the Security Council must have the approval of all five permanent members, the United States forced through a Council resolution to dispatch a multinational force to Korea even though the Soviet Union was absent, and the U.S. later obtained approval from the International Court of Justice. However, this was a rewrite of the UN Charter, which states that a yes vote of five countries is required, but five “not no” votes were rewritten as being sufficient.
The UN Charter, which recognizes the right to self-defense, does not recognize foreign military bases or military alliances as a permanent entity. Military alliances and overseas US military bases violate the Charter, Roland clearly declared..
During the Article 9 World Conference in Japan, the UN Charter only recognized self-defense. It appealed to the troops of each country to return to their own territory.
The Japanese and South Korean governments have a military alliance with the United States and huge US military bases. In particular, the presence of U.S. military bases and military exercises in South Korea is the major obstacle to the current peace process on the Korean Peninsula.
Domestically, there are citizens’ movements and lawsuits against the U.S. bases, but they are movements against their own governments. Roland’s point still gives us ammunition to criticize the U.S. domination of Asia from an international legal perspective. This is an issue that can be raised by the international movements of IADL and COLAP. The abolition of U.S. military bases and alliances is the biggest issue for Northeast Asia, and its illegality in violation of the UN Charter will continue to be an important issue we must raise.
Roland’s interpretation of the UN Charter is still alive and effective. We should adopt and develop it further.