Friday, December 24, 2010

People's Korea Defuses U.S. War Provocation

People’s Korea defuses U.S. war provocation

By Fred Goldstein
Published Dec 23, 2010 12:16 AM

The dangerous military crisis on the Korean peninsula has been defused for the moment. The Democratic Peoples’ Republic of Korea did not retaliate, even though the U.S. imperialists and their south Korean clients on Dec. 20 staged provocative live-fire exercises from Yeonpyeong Island, eight miles from the mainland of the DPRK.

The DPRK, which had warned of retaliation if the exercises went forward, declared that the limited exercises carried out by the south Korean military were “not worth it.” The U.S. and the south Korean regime were shown up as military provocateurs willing to risk a major war.

Furthermore, by taking a strong stand, the DPRK had forced the imperialists to deal with the situation diplomatically at the U.N. Security Council and by sending an unofficial negotiator, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, to Pyongyang.

The south Korean regime, with U.S. backing, had staged similar exercises on Nov. 23 after being warned by the DPRK that there would be retaliation. The DPRK responded with a missile barrage on the island after having phoned the south Korean government hours earlier, reiterating its earlier warning and asking Seoul not to go through with the exercises.

After the Nov. 23 incident, the government of the Peoples’ Republic of China had proposed that the crisis be dealt with through diplomacy by resuming the six-party talks that included China, the U.S., Russia, Japan, the DPRK and south Korea. The U.S. and Japan flatly rejected any diplomacy as “rewarding” the DPRK.

Instead, Washington called a meeting of the U.S., Japan and the south Korean regime in Tokyo to formulate military strategy against the DPRK. Washington also carried out military maneuvers with the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS George Washington and more than 20 other ships in waters near China and Korea.

The south Korean military then went ahead with its second provocation, with the full backing of the U.S. government, the Pentagon and the State Department. Twenty U.S. soldiers were placed on Yeonpyeong Island. Adm. Michael Mullen, chair of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, and other top military leaders were in the Pentagon around the clock monitoring the situation.

These military confrontations around the island come from the drawing of the so-called Northern Limit Line in the sea west of Korea. The line gave south Korea territorial waters just eight miles from the mainland of the DPRK.

This line has been an extreme encroachment on the territory of the DPRK since U.S. Gen. Mark Clark drew it in 1953. Instead of extending it from the land line that divided Korea along the 38th parallel, Clark bent the sea line north so as to threaten the DPRK and deprive it of waters that would, by all international standards, belong to it.

All the propaganda in the big business media about the DPRK being a dangerous aggressor is a pack of lies. The U.S. has 28,000 troops stationed in south Korea at dozens of bases, including one in the capital city of Seoul. The Pentagon also has hundreds of bombers and fighter planes based in Japan, Guam and other nearby areas, as well as dozens of warships. And the U.S. still commands all military forces in south Korea in times of war.

The DPRK has reportedly agreed to allow inspectors back into its Yongbyon nuclear facility, where it has developed the technology for nuclear power. The DPRK has a long history of offering to dismantle any nuclear technology that could be used for military purposes in return for peace and security. These demands have been rebuffed by Washington for decades.

There has been no peace treaty ending the Korean War. The U.S. and its clients in south Korea will not sign one. The imperialists in Washington, for all practical purposes, maintain a permanent state of war against socialist north Korea.

During the Korean War, the U.S.-led forces of world imperialism bombed the north ruthlessly, to the point where not one building above one story was left standing. It was a war to destroy socialist Korea, led by the Workers’ Party of Korea. Its leader, Kim-Il Sung, had liberated the territory from Japanese imperialism and was more popular in the south than the hated U.S. puppet government, led by Syngman Rhee.

Despite the massive military assault, the Korean Peoples’ Liberation Army, with the aid of Chinese volunteers and logistical support from the USSR, drove the U.S. forces out of the north and fought the Pentagon to a standstill. It was the first defeat for the U.S. ruling class.

The Pentagon has never forgotten this and has never given up on its vengeful drive to destroy the socialist north and unify the country on a capitalist basis.

In the wake of the Nov. 23 crisis, the U.S. moved to consolidate a Washington-Tokyo-Seoul military axis, directed primarily against the DPRK but also against China.

Admiral Mullen visited Seoul on Dec. 8 and met with the south Korean high command, giving them the go-ahead to change the rules of engagement. These changes involve giving the south permission to bomb the DPRK. Up until now, bombing the north was not permitted, even during military provocations. During the Nov. 23 incident, F-15 fighter bombers in the south were scrambled but were told not to go ahead with bombing missions. Mullen and the south Korean military have changed that.

Next the Pentagon announced it had agreed with Tokyo on integrating the Japanese military more closely with the U.S. military. (New York Times, Dec. 13) Mullen encouraged Japan to participate in future joint military exercises off the Korean coast. This surely raised the anger of all Koreans; Japanese imperialism colonized Korea from 1910 to 1945.

Shortly after the meeting with Mullen, the Japanese military issued new National Defense Program Guidelines. (Washington Post, Dec. 17) They will move mobile units from Japan’s northern islands, where they were stationed during the Cold War facing the USSR, to the southern islands, where they are closer to Korea and China. The guidelines, for the first time, declare that China is a “source of concern.” The PRC has denounced the new guidelines as a provocation.

U.S. bosses want to exploit all Asia

The U.S. ruling class has always considered its destiny to be bound up with the conquest of Asia, where the bulk of the world’s exploitable masses reside.

This trend in U.S. military history follows the class interest of the capitalists. The U.S. took over Samoa and Hawaii in the late 19th century and conquered the Philippines in 1898. In three big wars in the 20th century, Washington tried to fight its way into Asia. The U.S. entry into World War II in 1941 began as a struggle with Japan over China and Southeast Asia. The war in Korea was aimed at occupying the whole country and securing a U.S. military presence on China’s border. The Vietnam War was to stop the spread of socialism, get hold of the riches of Vietnam and get near the Chinese border.

Given this history, a shift in the relationship between the U.S. civilian and military establishments is quite alarming. During the recent crisis Admiral Mullen has emerged as the spokesperson on foreign policy. During and after the Nov. 23 crisis, it was Mullen, not Vice President Joseph Biden or Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who appeared on talk shows, at think tanks and press conferences, telling China to crack down on the DPRK or face rising military pressure. This should have been regarded as insubordination and a usurpation of civilian authority by the Obama administration. But President Barack Obama remained silent throughout the crisis, except when, probably at the behest of the Pentagon, he lectured Chinese President Hu Jintao about controlling the DPRK.

The workers and the oppressed in this country burdened by the present economic crisis should follow these developments and see the connection between the way the bankers and the bosses deal with them and the U.S. war drive against Korea. Both the economic crisis and the war threats are driven by the needs of the capitalist ruling class for ever-greater profits.
Articles copyright 1995-2010 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.

Workers World, 55 W. 17 St., NY, NY 10011
Support independent news DONATE
Page printed from:

No comments: