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On the Attempts to Return North Korea to the list of State Sponsors of Terrorism

By Konstantin Asmolov | New Eastern Outlook | 13.10.2016

On September 29, 2016, the US Congress passed an act on Justice against Sponsors of Terrorism, overcoming the veto of Barack Obama. Although the act is mainly highlighted in the context of a possible cooling of relations between the US and Saudi Arabia, this story is also connected with yet another attempt to return North Korea to the list of countries supporting terrorism.

On September 14, the subcommittee on the Asia-Pacific region of the House Foreign Affairs Committee of the US Congress held a hearing on this matter, where speeches were given by Bruce Klingner, fellow partner of the American Heritage Foundation, Victor Cha, analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and other experts who held the appropriate political orientation. Mr.Klingner, now at the Asian Studies Center of the Heritage Foundation, worked in the CIA and the DIA for 20 years, where he also managed the CIA department, which was engaged in the analysis of North Korea during the first round of the nuclear crisis back in 1993. Then, in 1996-2001, he was the Deputy Director of Department of Korea, also in the CIA. Victor Cha is also a well-known conservative and a former employee of the US administration.

Its no wonder that, in the opinion of both experts, “there are no obstacles to placing North Korea back on the list of state sponsors of terrorism as there is plenty of evidence of such activities.” Victor Cha recalled the cyberattack made by North Korean hackers on the US film company Sony Pictures, which caused damage to the company and led to the leakage of information. Klingner went even further – his understanding of terrorist activities includes “threats to ordinary people for political purposes.” This alone appears sufficient for North Korea’s inclusion in the above list of countries, which, according to the official position of the US State Department, support acts of international terrorism.

This time, the experts had the opportunity to present their thesis, but the issue was not resolved in the first attempt, although South Korean media described the process as “the United States making increasing calls for the return of North Korea to the list of countries supporting terrorism. When North Korea was excluded from the list in 2008, many disagreed, but after Pyongyang conducted its 5th nuclear test, the issue was quickly brought back on the table.” However, if these actions bear any fruit, we will gain an impressive example of how the principle of official enemy classification works, where compliance with the formal criteria does not matter.

Normally a “sponsor of terrorism” is a state “assisting international terrorists by supplying weapons, providing bases, shelter or protection from punishment, or financing or organizing their training, provision of intelligence information, and providing other forms of assistance and support.” A more detailed explanation of “supporting terrorism” is as follows:

  • Regular supply of weapons, money or other material resources to terrorists, without which their terrorist activity would not be so effective.
  • Giving terrorists political support – from information campaigns in their favour to granting territory for training camps or bases, from which a terrorist organization can fight against a third country.
  • The leading and guiding role of any political organization as it operates in the direct interest of the said country; it is important to note that in this case we are talking about a direct confirmed link, rather than indirect benefits, when the actions of terrorists simply aid a particular country, but have no control or support.
  • Actual terrorist activities undertaken by the state intelligence, should it actually be engaged in terrorism, and not in diversion; these terms are somewhat different, in terms of the “target audience” because in the event of war, a large part of what is called a terrorist attack is regarded as “diversion”, an acceptable part of war aimed at the destruction of the enemy’s military or their property, including behind enemy lines.

Sometimes, in terms of state terrorism, a single situation can be highlighted, in which state intelligence agencies purposefully hunt for dissidents around the world: Again, it should be not a single or “excessive act,” but the systematic and proven practice of political assassinations in the territory of third countries.

As you can see, cyber attacks or vague threats are not included in this list. Thus, the fact that the notorious cyber attack on Sony Pictures as a major reason for inclusion in the list is Very Peculiar indeed.

First, too many experts confirm that the attack was impossible without an insider. Moreover, the author heard news that this insider had already been found and the suggestions of DPRK involvement are based on rather shaky assumptions about the use of certain software.

Second, even if we assume that the attack was mastered by Pyongyang, it was not intended to damage vital facilities. Unlike, for example, the actions of Styxnet, which caused real accidents at work. If North Korean hackers had caused an explosion at a nuclear power plant, or at least a large-scale blackout that incurred victims, destruction and serious economic damage, then this type of cyber-terrorist attack could be called a terrorist attack. But in the case of Sony there was no destruction to important information, the hackers simply dumped what they found online.

Third, if actions similar to the Sony attack are now considered not just hacking, but actually terrorism, then we are faced with a precedent which can be regarded as a double-edged sword. It will mean that the activities undertaken by Assange, Snowden, and the notorious hacks of the second half of 2016 related to the US presidential campaign are all terrorist attacks. Should we now put the United States and a number of other countries on the list of state sponsors of terrorism on the basis of exactly the same logic?

In response to the accusations, supporters of returning the DPRK to the list retaliate by saying that the North was removed from it purely for political reasons, and it is time to simply restore justice. Alas, this argument is also incorrect.

Yes, there were times when North Korean actions could be regarded as a terrorist attack, but even the basic, most well-known stories about it are only half truths. Let’s recall them.

A group of commandos attack the Blue House in 1968 – this is a well-known and proven fact. Just like the failed attempt at a response made by South Korea, which became the plot of the film “Silmido”.

Attempted homicide of Park Chung-hee in 1974, when his wife was killed. There has been no link found between the murderer and North Korean secret services. It is known that he was a Japanese Korean and belonged to a left-wing organization, but the most probable version is a non-affiliated terrorist. Generally, this story has a lot of grey areas linked with how an armed murderer managed to get into the closed session.

Attempted homicide of Chun Doo-hwan in 1983 in Burma – this is a fact. The man detained by the Burmese authorities gave confessions. Incidentally, after that Burma broke off diplomatic relations with North Korea.

The explosion of a South Korean plane in 1987, after which North Korea was put on the list – this is an extremely unclear story. We only have the testimony of a single witness who repented, was amnestied and then disappeared. Conspiracy theories put forward a provocation by the North Korean secret services, another version has it as a Japanese Korean girl from among the terrorists struck a deal with the investigation team and pretended to be a North Korean spy and then gave a politically correct testimony.

After that North Korea has not undertaken any actions that could be construed as terrorist support: North Korea’s involvement in the death of Yi Han-yong remained unconfirmed, and the story of the assassination attempt on Park Sang-hak was basically turned into a spectacle and cast the self-proclaimed “Dissident No.1″ in a bad light when the “specialist with poisoned needles” turned out to be an ordinary acupuncturist.

The answer is simple – the return of North Korea to the list will not only add to the demonization of the country, but also significantly increase the pressure of sanctions, which the opponents of Pyongyang actively strive for. Putting Pyongyang back on the list of state sponsors of terrorism will close off Pyongyang’s access to financial assistance from international organizations such as the IMF and the Asian Development Bank. And this is why the enemies of the DPRK will continue to misuse their own definitions, discrediting the very concept of the fight against state supported terrorist organizations.

Konstantin Asmolov, Ph.D. in History, Chief Research Fellow at the Center for Korean Studies of the Institute of Far Eastern Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

October 13, 2016 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | Leave a comment

Rooting Out the North Korean Nuclear Crisis: the Past and Present U.S. Role

By Christine Hong and Paul Liem | CounterPunch | September 15, 2016

North Korea’s nuclear test of September 9, 2016, the fifth and largest measuring twice the force of previous blasts, prompted a predictable round of condemnations by the United States and its allies along with calls for China to step up its enforcement of sanctions on North Korea. Yet few “expert” analyses suggest that China will risk destabilizing North Korea or that further United Nations resolutions and international sanctions will succeed in deterring North Korea from pursuing its nuclear weapons and missile programs.

The Obama administration’s reliance on China to rein in North Korea is at odds with its efforts to contain China’s influence in Asia, a quixotic goal in itself. It reflects an unrealistic desire for China to be influential just enough to do the bidding of the United States but not powerful enough to act in its own interests. North Korea is, after all, China’s strategic ally in the region, and it is in South Korea that the United States plans to deploy THAAD, a defense system with radar capable of tracking incoming missiles from China. It is simply not in China’s interest to risk losing an ally on its border only to have it replaced by a U.S.-backed state hosting missile-tracking systems and other military forces targeting it. And China knows it is not the target of North Korea’s nukes. If the United States cannot punt the problem of North Korea’s nuclear weapons to China it must deal with North Korea directly.

Indeed, in response to U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter’s recent condemnation of China’s “role” and “responsibility” in failing to restrain North Korea’s nuclear pursuits, the Chinese Foreign Ministry issued a statement calling on the United States to take a long hard look at its own foreign policy:

The cause and crux of the Korean nuclear issue rest with the US rather than China. The core of the issue is the conflict between the DPRK and the US. It is the US who should reflect upon how the situation has become what it is today, and search for an effective solution. It is better for the doer to undo what he has done. The US should shoulder its due responsibilities.[1]

In equally unmincing terms, the Global Times, an offshoot of the People’s Daily, charged the United States with “refusing to sign a peace treaty with Pyongyang” in a September 11, 2016 editorial. Alluding to a long history of U.S. nuclear threats against North Korea, the editorial elaborated: “The Americans have given no consideration to the origin and the evolution of North Korea’s nuclear issue or the negative role Washington has been playing over the years.” It further clarified: “Without the reckless military threat from the US and South Korea and the US’s brutal overthrow of regimes in some small countries, Pyongyang may not have developed such a firm intent to develop nuclear weapons as now.”[2]

Despite President Barack Obama’s efforts over his two terms in office to “pivot” or “rebalance” U.S. foreign policy to Asia and the Pacific and his repeated identification of the United States as a Pacific power, the memory of nuclear ruin in the region is shadowed by the history of the United States as a first-user of atomic weapons against civilian populations in Japan at the close of World War II and as a tester of devastating nuclear technology, including human radiation experiments, in the Marshall Islands during the Cold War. Moreover, it has not gone unnoticed that President Obama, despite his professed commitment to nuclear de-escalation, has refused to issue an “unequivocal no-first-use pledge.”[3]

In Korea, the one place on the planet where nuclear conflagration is most likely to erupt, given the current state of affairs, President Obama can still end the threat of nuclear warfare. This would require what few in his administration appear to have entertained, namely, the elimination of the demand for North Korea to agree to irreversible denuclearization as a precondition for bilateral talks. This rigid goal makes it virtually impossible for the United States to respond positively to any overture from North Korea short of a fantastic offer by that country to surrender all its nuclear weapons. The premise that the denuclearization of North Korea is necessary to ensure peace and stability on the Korean peninsula needs to be shelved, and all possibilities for finding common ground upon which to negotiate the cessation of hostilities on the Korean peninsula should be explored.

It should be recalled that possibly no country, including Japan, has greater fear of overbearing Chinese influence than North Korea. Arguing for the relevance of past U.S. negotiations with North Korea, Stanford scholar Robert Carlin points out that North Korea in 1996 opposed President Clinton’s notion of Four-Party talks involving China because they “went counter to a basic Pyongyang policy goal; that is, to limit Chinese influence by improving U.S.-DPRK relations.”[4] More recently, former CNN journalist Mike Chinoy, similarly observed: “[North Koreans] hate the idea that the Chinese can come in and tell them what to do. And the reality is the Chinese can’t.”[5]

At this juncture, given the demonstrated failure of President Obama’s “strategic patience” or non-negotiation policy with North Korea, the unthinkable must be seriously considered. Could an alliance between the United States and North Korea preserve U.S. influence in the region, albeit along avowedly peaceful lines, provide North Korea with a hedge against infringement of its sovereignty by China and eliminate the rationale for deploying THAAD in South Korea, thus alleviating a major sore point between China and the U.S.-South Korea alliance?

Let us also recall that North Korea offered to halt testing of its nuclear weapons if the United States agreed to put an end to the annual U.S.-South Korea war games.[6] Combining live artillery drills and virtual exercises, these war games, as of this year, implemented OPLAN 5015, a new operational war plan that puts into motion a preemptive U.S. nuclear strike against North Korea and the “decapitation” of its leadership. Unsurprisingly, North Korea considers this updated operational plan to be a rehearsal for Libya-style regime change. In January of this year, the United States turned down North Korea’s offer before the start of the spring U.S.-South Korea war games, and did so again in April.[7] The United States has thus twice this year dismissed the prospect of halting North Korea’s advance towards miniaturizing a nuclear bomb and fitting it atop an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of reaching the continental United States ostensibly because North Korea refused to entertain U.S. insistence on its complete denuclearization as part of the package.

President Obama should prioritize any and all possibilities for achieving a halt to North Korea’s nuclear programs by diplomacy, over the goal of achieving an illusory agreement for complete denuclearization. As an achievement, halting North Korea’s nuclear advances is far short of the peace treaty needed to bring an end to the Korean War and a lasting peace to Korea. It is far short of creating international conditions for the Korean people to achieve the peaceful reunification of their country. And it is a far cry from achieving nuclear disarmament on a global scale. Yet, as a redirection of U.S. policy towards engagement with North Korea, it would be the greatest achievement in U.S. Korea policy of the last fifteen years, and a concrete step towards achieving denuclearization in the region, and worldwide.

Notes.

[1] “Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying’s Regular Press Conference on September 12, 2016,” Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China, 12 September 2016, available online at http://www.fmprc.gov.cn/mfa_eng/xwfw_665399/s2510_665401/t1396892.shtml.

[2] “Carter Wrong to Blame China for NK Nuke Issue,” Global Times, 11 September 2016, available online at http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1005942.shtml.

[3] David E. Sanger and William J. Broad, “Obama Unlikely to Vow No First Use of Nuclear Weapons,” The New York Times, 5 September 2016, available online at http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/06/science/obama-unlikely-to-vow-no-first-use-of-nuclear-weapons.html.

[4] Robert Carlin, “Negotiating with North Korea: Lessons Learned and Forgotten,” Korea Yearbook: Politics, Economy and Society, eds. Rüdiger Frank et al. (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2008), 241.

[5] Qtd. in James Griffiths, “What Can China Do about Nuclear North Korea,” CNN, 7 January 2016, available online at http://www.cnn.com/2016/01/07/asia/north-korea-china-nuclear-test/.

[6] See “North Korea Says Peace Treaty, Halt to Exercises, Would End Nuclear Tests,” Reuters, 16 January 2016, available online at http://www.reuters.com/article/us-northkorea-nuclear-usa-idUSKCN0UT201.

[7] See “Obama Rejects North Korea’s Offer to Ease Nuclear Tests if U.S. Stops War Exercises with South,” Association Press,24 April 2016, available online at http://news.nationalpost.com/news/world/obama-rejects-north-koreas-offer-to-cease-nuclear-tests-if-u-s-stops-war-exercises-with-south.

September 15, 2016 Posted by | Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Western Kim-Phobia & The Danger of War

By Caleb Maupin | New Eastern Outlook | May 11, 2016

In almost every US aligned Gulf State, you can find an autocratic monarch who rules over a small, oil-rich corner of the world via an outdated, pre-democratic legal system that grants him absolute authority. King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, an absolute monarch with dictatorial powers, was married to 30 different women, by whom he has fathered a total of 35 children. The recently deceased King Abdullah, now replaced by Salman, was a serial human rights violating autocrat who routinely beheaded people for “insulting” him, and he was certainly not alone. 

If investigative journalists in the Western press bothered to dig, they could most certainly find out the shocking details about the wealthy aristocracies of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Jordan. The US-backed oil monarchies of the Middle East are known to have rooms full of trafficked sexual slaves from around the world, and to preside over populations with no human rights or freedoms.

Due to the fact that the decadent and oppressive Gulf state monarchs are allies of the United States, sell oil to Wall Street and buy weapons from the Pentagon, Western media mostly ignores their undisputed and well documented scandals and atrocities.

However, when reporting on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), Western media reports every rumor and unsubstantiated claim as undisputed truth. Everything said by defectors from the northern part of the Korean peninsula is believed and uncritically repeated. Western media has embarrassed itself more than a few times in the past years, by repeating allegations that are so obviously false and easily disproven, that they must be quietly retracted.

The claim that women in the DPRK are forbidden from riding bicycles was ripped to shreds with video from inside the countryThe Korean Workers Party actually prides itself on its advancement of women, with women winning Olympic gold medals and playing a prominent role in the military. The outrageous claim that the DPRK executes people by “feeding them to wild dogs” was traced to a satirical Chinese publication.

Unlike the US-aligned autocracies in the Middle East, the DPRK has a constitution and elections. Even though the Korean Workers Party promotes dialectical materialism and atheism, there are freely practicing Christian churches all throughout the northern half of the Korean peninsula. Even the DPRK’s harshest critics admit that the country has “universal housing” (no homelessness), and that it has completely wiped out illiteracy. These facts alone show that the DPRK, regardless of its flaws, is a much more humane and human rights-respecting society than Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait, and many other US aligned regimes.

The special, obsessive demonization of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in Western media, rightly called “Kim-Phobia” is not just an insult to journalistic integrity. Kim-phobia could have catastrophic consequences, not only for the Korean peninsula, but for the entire human race. US media has selected the “North Koreans” for demonization and isolation for special, strategic reasons.

“Human Rights” Testimony Given Under Duress

If mainstream US media were to start slandering Vladimir Putin or Xi Jinping by saying they were cannibals or child molesters, it’s not guaranteed that many people would automatically believe it. The governments of both Russia and China have enough respect and credibility, as well as economic ties to the United States, that such false claims would be widely dismissed and refuted. While some rightists and non-thinking war-hawks are tempted to believe whatever slanderous allegation is made, a very large percentage of the western populace would question such claims.

Likewise, wild and extreme claims against Raul Castro and the leadership of Cuba would face similar scrutiny. While the Tea Party and many Cuban exiles in Miami may accept any anti-Cuban propaganda, with many Americans visiting Cuba and prominent celebrities praising its healthcare system, not all anti-Cuban allegations are merely accepted as fact.

However, the outrageous statements and accusations against Kim Jong-Un and the Korean Workers Party can be routinely passed on without any scrutiny or filter. Why?

With tens of thousands of US troops on its border and under an economic blockade, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is focused on military defense, not the information war. Very few Westerners visit the northern part of the Korean peninsula. The country has made a point of strategically cutting itself off from the Western press and the Internet for military purposes. Because of these unique circumstances, Wolf Blitzer and Don Lemon can pretty much say anything about Kim Jong-Un and the Korean people without anyone fact-checking them.

The bombardment of anti-DPRK propaganda has become very effective. For example, the United Nations held hearings about “Human Rights” in the DPRK in Seoul. At these hearings, person after person stood up and accused the government in the North of horrific atrocities. What the media ignored while reporting on the human rights hearings was that this testimony was given under duress.

The government in southern Korea has its infamous “National Security Laws” which have been condemned by Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and other bodies. Under the National Security Laws, anyone who says or writes anything that could be interpreted as supporting or speaking positively of the DPRK can be imprisoned for decades.

These laws are not symbolic, but routinely enforced against anyone who dares utter a positive word about Kim Il Sung, Communism, Socialism, or US atrocities during the Korean war. For example, Park Geun-Jung was sentenced to 10 months in prison for activity on social media. Park is not a Communist, and was obviously being sarcastic with his tweets about his northern countryfolk, but this did not prevent him from being locked up. 

The United Nations Human Rights hearings in Seoul were a violation of the UN’s own procedures. The UN received what was essentially coerced testimony from people who knew they would be imprisoned and possibly tortured if they said anything other than “North Korea is hell on earth.”

THAAD and War Danger

The United States is now installing a huge missile system in the southern part of the Korean peninsula. This is the latest measure in the “Asian Pivot” of the US military. The Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system’s installment has garnered objections, and not only from the DPRK. China and Russia have also raised deep concerns.

Why would China and Russia be concerned about the THAAD system? Essentially, this system gives US forces in South Korea the ability to strike both Russia and China, and to deflect any retaliatory measure.

Southern Korea can be used as a base, not just to attack the north, but also Russia and China. The THAAD system shields US missile launchers from any response, and would allow the US to continue unloading its missiles onto Russia and China.

China and Russia both now have hypersonic gliders, which could probably penetrate the THAAD system. However, it is very disturbing that the United States is looking to make south Korea, where tens of thousands of US troops are stationed, immune from Russian or Chinese retaliation. If the United States and the “Republic of Korea” are not planning an attack on Russia, China, or the DPRK, why prepare southern Korea for such a thing?

The excuse of the United States and the south Korean regime for this highly provocative move against the two largest countries in the world is “Crazy Kim made us do it.”

US audiences have been psyched up by “The Interview”, “Red Dawn”, and “Olympus Has Fallen”, along with press reports saying bizarre, unsubstantiated things like “Kim Jong Il Claims to have invented the Hamburger” into believing that the DPRK is somehow bent on world conquest. In reality, all the DPRK asks for is the peaceful democratic re-unification of the peninsula.

The anti-Kim obsession of the western press is serving to justify US preparations for war in Asia. US weapons and military personnel are pouring, not just into southern Korea, but also into the Philippines, Indonesia, and other parts of the world.

Meanwhile, US troops and military equipment are being deployed into Eastern Europe. Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and Romania, all of which have been gutted by neoliberalism since the collapse of the USSR, are now having their homelands turned into launch pads for a third world war.

The United States is surrounding Russia and China with troops, and continuing to describe any defensive move by the two countries as “aggression.”

In such a context, hostilities on the Korean peninsula, with the USA supporting the south and Russia and China supporting the north, could easily spin way out of control. With the DPRK as such an easily demonized target, a single spark could easily light up the entire world.

The “Kim-Phobia” of the US media is very strategic. Hipster journalism about “crazy Kim” has very important public relations value for the Pentagon as it escalates its presence in Asia.

Progressive minded human beings should see how dangerous this is. “Kim-Phobia” could be setting the stage for World War Three, as more and more weapons and US military personnel pour into the region.

May 11, 2016 Posted by | Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | Leave a comment

North Korea to ‘normalize relations with hostile states,’ won’t launch nuke strike first – Kim

RT | May 7, 2016

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has announced that Pyongyang will seek to normalize relations with states “hostile” towards it. Kim also claimed the North will adhere to the principles of nuclear non-proliferation and would never attack first.

While addressing the Congress of the ruling Workers’ Party (WPK), Kim stated that North Korea would not resort to the use of nuclear weapons unless the country’s sovereignty was challenged.

Pyongyang “will improve and normalize the relations with those countries which respect the sovereignty of the DPRK and are friendly towards it, though they had been hostile toward it in the past,” official North Korean KCNA news agency quoted Kim as saying.

“As a responsible nuclear weapons state, our Republic will not use a nuclear weapon unless its sovereignty is encroached upon by any aggressive hostile forces with nukes,” the statement said, as quoted by Reuters.

North Korea’s leader, who has been the target of UN criticism for its relentless development of nuclear weapons over the past years, indicated that the country may abandon its war-mongering rhetoric, while promising that it “will faithfully fulfill its obligation for non-proliferation and strive for global denuclearization.”

Earlier this week, satellite images unveiled by the US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University revealed that the North may be preparing for a new nuclear test.
The images were captured on May 5 and show what it is said to be the command center close to the Punggye-ri detonation site in the north of the country.

“While the historical record is incomplete, it appears that vehicles are not often seen there except during preparations for a test,” the institute said in a statement.

The movements at the site may indicate that “Pyongyang may be preparing for a nuclear test in the near future,” it adds.

 

May 7, 2016 Posted by | Militarism | , | Leave a comment

Let’s Talk About Korea: The Dangerous Tone of US Media

By Caleb Maupin – New Eastern Outlook – 03.05.2016

Often, when people are first becoming personally acquainted with me and my political views, I will be asked point-blank: “Do you support North Korea?” I always respond, “No, I don’t support North Korea. I support all of Korea.”

Among average Americans and even many who consider themselves activists and leftists, there is a great deal of confusion about issues involving the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and its history. Each time there is an escalation of tensions on the Korean Peninsula, the level of confusion seems to get worse. The US media makes no effort to educate the public about why Korea is divided — and often blatantly distorts and lies about it.

Why is Korea Divided?

Prior to the Second World War, the Korean Peninsula was occupied by Japan, which carried out horrendous atrocities against the Korean people. Korean women were forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese military.

When Korean pacifist Christians went out to protest against Japan in March of 1919, over 7,000 of them were killed. The Japanese military retaliated against nonviolent acts of civil disobedience by randomly setting schools on fire and causing hundreds of random Korean children, who had nothing to do with the protests, to die in the flames. Tens of thousands of Koreans were rounded up and tortured by the Japanese on the mere suspicion of involvement in the pacifist, anti-Japanese protest movement.

After the failure of peaceful, nonviolent struggles, Koreans took up arms against the Japanese occupiers. In the 1920s and 30s, Kim Il Sung and others received military and political training from the Soviet Union. The Chinese Communist Party and the Korean Communist Party often closely cooperated in their activities. Armed Korean and Chinese Communists received a lot of guns and money from the Soviet Union as they fought for basic democratic rights against Japanese occupiers.

When the Second World War ended in 1945, the northern half of the Korean Peninsula had been liberated by Soviet troops. The southern half of the Korean Peninsula soon became occupied by US troops. In the northern part of the country, the major anti-Japanese resistance political parties — including communists, Social Democrats, agrarian revolutionaries, Christians, and many others — merged in 1948 to form the Korean Workers Party.

The understanding at the war’s conclusion was that there would be a nationwide election, in which every political party, including the very popular Korean Workers Party, would be allowed to participate in writing a new constitution.

However, in the southern half of the Peninsula, a military dictatorship was established. Syngman Rhee seized power and violently suppressed all opposition. The Rhee dictatorship was openly supported by the United States. Thousands of US troops poured into the country to prop up the military regime.

When democratic and labor activists living on Jeju Island rose up against Syngman Rhee to demand the free elections promised at the end of the war, US troops joined Rhee’s forces in slaughtering thousands of innocent civilians. Thirty thousand people — roughly one out of every ten people living on Jeju Island — were killed in the aftermath of the uprising.

In response to US military occupation of the southern half of Korea, the canceling of free elections, and the slaughter of innocent Korean civilians by US troops, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) based in the northern territories of the peninsula, sent forces into the south, hoping to reunify the country and drive out US troops.

The response to the attempted reunification was the horrific United Nations “police action,” more commonly known as the Korean War. The United States bombed every building above one story tall in the northern half of the country. Dams were bombed in order to cause mass flooding of civilian areas. Between 3 and 4 million Koreans were killed.

An armistice was declared in 1953 — but the United States never signed a peace treaty, as was agreed upon. The Korean War technically never ended, and the United States has not even recognized the DPRK as a legitimate government.

“Democracy” in Southern Korea?

During the majority of the years between 1945 and today, the southern half of the Korean Peninsula has been ruled by unapologetic military dictators. Syngman Rhee and Park Chung Hee made no pretense of being democratic. They were violent, repressive military autocrats who were fully supported by the United States. Tens of thousands of US troops have been in southern Korea since the end of the Second World War, and often the US troops were used to violently suppress democratic uprisings against the Rhee and Park dictatorships.

After a series of student uprisings, labor protests, and other upsurges among the population, in the 1980s Korea transitioned toward a less repressive government. However, even today the government in southern Korea is hardly a poster child for “human rights.”

The Unified Progressive Party, the only genuine opposition party in southern Korea, was forcibly broken up by the government in 2013. Five candidates from the Unified Progressive Party, who had won seats in the government, were not permitted to take office. The leader of the party, Lee Seok-ki, was sent to prison for 12 years. Her conviction was based on a tape-recorded hypothetical conversation about what to do in the event of war between the United States and the DPRK.

A Korean youth named Park Jung-geun was sent to prison for 10 months in 2012, simply for re-tweeting the statements of the DPRK on social media. Park included sarcastic, anti-communist comments, and was clearly not a supporter of his northern countryfolk. He was still imprisoned.

The National Security Laws in the southern part of the Korean peninsula violate any notion of “human rights” and “free speech.” In southern Korea, making any statement in support of the DPRK, or even vaguely in support of Marxism or socialism, is a very serious crime. Koreans live in fear of openly speaking about the history of their country, the continued presence of US troops, or commonly discussed political concepts like class struggle. Saying anything that could in any way be construed as positive about their northern countryfolk could very well mean being imprisoned or tortured under Korean law.

The current president of the “Republic of Korea” in the southern regions of the country is Park Geun-hye. She is the daughter of the previously mentioned military dictator Park Chung Hee. Park is not only responsible for the death of tens of thousands of innocent people; he routinely employed methods of torture, collective punishment, retaliation against family members, and other extreme violations of human rights.

Park Guen-hye makes no attempt to distance herself from her father or any of his autocratic practices and well documented crimes against humanity. She describes her father’s coup d’état — in which he deposed the elected government with violence and established a brutal military dictatorship — as a “revolution to save the country” from communism.

Despite so much ugly repression, US media routinely calls the “Republic of Korea” in the south “democratic.”

Conditions in the North

During the 1960s, 70s, and even the early 80s, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, in the northern parts of the country, had a very strong economy.

This fact will of course be automatically dismissed as outrageous propaganda by the average American, but it is confirmed by the BBC.

An article from BBC’s website proclaims: “At one time, North Korea’s centrally planned economy seemed to work well — indeed, in the initial years after the creation of North Korea following World War II, with spectacular results.”

“The mass mobilisation of the population, along with Soviet and Chinese technical assistance and financial aid, resulted in annual economic growth rates estimated to have reached 20%, even 30%, in the years following the devastating 1950-53 Korean war.”

“As late as the 1970s, South Korea languished in the shadow of the ‘economic miracle’ north of the border.”

The DPRK’s crisis of malnutrition during the 1990s was the result of the collapse of the Soviet Union. The agrarian parts of the Korean Peninsula are all in the south, while the north is very mountainous. Without oil from the Soviet Union, it became very hard for the DPRK’s agricultural system to function. Sanctions from the United States made it nearly impossible for the DPRK to purchase things on the international markets, and as a result, there was mass starvation.

Koreans refer to this period of mass starvation in the 1990s as the “Arduous March” and they blame the United States’ economic and military blockade of their country for it. The conditions in the northern regions of the Korean peninsula were very bad during the 1990s, and any other government would have most likely collapsed under such pressure.

The DPRK has been able to slowly recover from these disastrous years. The DPRK now trades with Russia, Iran, Venezuela, China, and other countries. The DPRK’s agricultural system has been revamped, and the country has now been able to allocate money toward the construction of new housing units and other infrastructure for the population.

Defense spending remains a top priority in the DPRK, and almost every Korean above the age of 18 is somehow involved in the military. Those who criticize the DPRK for this forget that this is a country which is literally at war with the United States. Tens of thousands of US troops are lined up along its borders. The US military routinely rehearses dropping atomic bombs on the DPRK, and US Army General Douglas MacArthur publicly threatened to do this during the Korean War.

Koreans in the north generally feel that the proliferation of nuclear weapons has enabled them to be much more secure as a country. Now that the DPRK has the atomic bomb, the United States is far less likely to attack or invade and carry out the “regime change” it often discusses.

Critiques of the DPRK in relation to the topic of “human rights” often completely ignore the context and history of Korea. Between 3 and 4 million Koreans died in the Korean War, with no peace treaty ever signed. A similarly large amount died during the 1990s as a result of malnutrition, imposed on the country by the United States. The people of the DPRK are fighting for their very lives against the most powerful and well armed government in the world. Millions of Korean lives have already been claimed by the United States.

No country, facing such extreme threats and encirclement, can be expected to be a free, open society full of debate and discussion. The DPRK is locked down, in a state of war, fighting for its survival. No sensible person would claim it is a paradise, or an ideal model for human civilization. Under extremely hostile circumstances, the DPRK survives — primarily because of the political brilliance of the Korean Workers Party and its overall ability to mobilize and maintain the loyalty of the population.

Often the US media portrays the DPRK’s leadership as vulgar nationalists or “supremacists.” Those who fall for US media claims that the DPRK is somehow “racist” should note that the DPRK has a record of international solidarity with oppressed peoples around the world.

The DPRK was very supportive of the US Black Panther Party during the 1970s.  The DPRK has come to the aid of the Palestinians.

The DPRK also supported the people of Zimbabwe as they fought against the British Empire and the apartheid settler state called “Rhodesia.” The DPRK supported the people of Angola in fighting against Portuguese colonialism. The DPRK even gave military support to Nelson Mandela and the African National Congress, while the US described them as “terrorists.”

Anti-Asian Racism and War Propaganda

Hatred for the DPRK seems to be almost compulsive in the United States. US media routinely repeats outrageous anti-DPRK allegations that have no basis in fact.

US media has claimed that women in the DPRK are forbidden to ride bicycles. This claim is easily refuted. Women in the DPRK not only ride bicycles, but have won Gold Medals in Olympic sports such as target shooting and weightlifting.

Without the slightest hesitation, US media repeated the claim that a prominent DPRK official was executed by “being eaten by a pack of wild dogs.” This outrageous story was proven to have originated in a satirical publication in China, and was never even intended to be true.

Hollywood churns out films like “Red Dawn,” “Olympus Has Fallen” and “The Interview,” all of which are dedicated to demonizing the DPRK, dehumanizing its population, and psychologically preparing the US public for war. The amount of extreme distortion associated with everything related to the situation on the Korean Peninsula should be very shocking and upsetting to any sensible person.

Many Asian Americans say the manner in which the DPRK is portrayed in US media should be offensive, not just to Koreans, but to all Asians. The anti-DPRK Hollywood film “The Interview,” which caused international tensions, involved extensive mockery of the Korean accent by white male actors. Furthermore, the film notably portrayed Korean women — who were forced into sexual slavery by Japan, and often raped by US troops during the Korean War — as mere sex objects, with white male characters crassly commenting on their bodies.

The extensive mockery of accents, clothing styles and other things in relation to the DPRK all fits into an archaic racist concept commonly called “Asiatic despotism.” At one time, the US and western European press portrayed Chinese, Vietnamese, and even Russian leaders in roughly the same way.

The racist underlying message hinted at in the endless slander and mockery of Korea’s leadership is that the peoples of Asian descent are barbaric savages, who naturally long for autocracy, and need whites to forcibly “civilize” them and teach them about “democracy.” While the extreme demonization of the DPRK’s leaders is the most blatant example, the old racist caricature of “Asiatic despots” and “Mongoloid tyrants” is gradually reemerging in relation to Xi Jinping in China and Vladimir Putin in Russia.

For the last five decades, the DPRK has called for peaceful reunification of the Korean Peninsula. The leaders of the Korean Workers Party currently ask for nothing more than what was agreed upon at the end of the Second World War. They want nationwide elections in which every party, including the communists, can participate. They also want US troops to leave.

This is hardly a radical or extreme proposal. The request of the DPRK is essentially: “Let Koreans run Korea.” There is nothing “extreme,” “crazy,” or “insane” about it.

Koreans are people — just like Americans, Western Europeans, Russians, Iranians, Chinese, or others. However, the Koreans are a people that have been subjected to almost a century of division, degradation and extreme humiliation by foreign powers.

The people of the Korean Peninsula, both in the north and the south, deserve our support and respect, not further demonization and mockery. The US media’s use of such extreme deception and racism in its portrayal of the situation on the Korean Peninsula should be a source of global outrage.

May 3, 2016 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | 1 Comment

Surprise: Flying Nuclear Bombers Overhead Tends to Increase Tensions

Sputnik – 22.03.2016

The recent and historical record on US nuclear “signaling,” or flying nuclear armed aircraft over opposition nations, shows that it increases the risk of conflict and war.

1020731020In an editorial this week, military defense experts Adam Lowther and Chris Winklepleck argue that the strategic aircraft arm of the US nuclear triad provides unique “nuclear signaling” and serves a critical deterrence role in US military strategy.

Recent and historical evidence, however, shows that their claim lacks merit, as brandishing nuclear weapons only serves to exacerbate tensions and heighten the risk of conflict, former nuclear weapons expert at Los Alamos National Lab Jim Doyle writes for Defense News.

South Korea saw nuclear flyovers by the US in 2013 and 2016 using B-2 and B-52 aircraft, but the maneuvers have done nothing to diminish tensions on the Korean peninsula nor have they been a corrective to Pyongyang’s militaristic brinksmanship.

Recent North Korean missile launches and nuclear tests show that nuclear signaling does not achieve its desired effect. Reports out of Pyongyang suggest that US nuclear flyovers have been used instead by the Kim regime to increase domestic support for the dictatorship by confirming that a threat exists.

Specifically, the 2013 “long-range show of presence missions” by the US on the Korean peninsula was followed by North Korea’s restart of its Yongbyon nuclear reactor one month later. Following the second show of presence mission in 2016, DPRK conducted a fourth nuclear test explosion and expedited ballistic missile production and testing.

While military experts may write off aggressive North Korean military response as an anomaly, citing the country’s sometimes incoherent foreign policy, history points to the ineffectiveness of similar missions elsewhere.

On October 27, 1969, Doyle writes, the Nixon administration attempted to “signal” to the Soviet Union and the Viet Cong, in what became known as the “madman nuclear alert,” that Nixon was aggressive enough to launch a nuclear attack against North Vietnam if Moscow did not pressure the Hanoi government to seek peace. In that effort, 18 B-52s approached the USSR from the arctic. The posturing failed, heightening tensions with the Soviet Union, and doing nothing to resolve the Vietnam quagmire.

History shows that nuclear deterrence by means of mutually assured destruction is not an effective way to keep the peace, especially when global economic and political interests seek to end the threat of nuclear weapons. Research illustrates heightened tensions and conflict in the use of nuclear signaling. Nations seeking peace have no need to wield a larger club.

Photo – © Flickr/ Christopher Ebdon

March 22, 2016 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , | Leave a comment

Have We Witnessed a Dramatic Change in the Military Doctrine of the DPRK?

By Konstantin Asmolov – New Eastern Outlook – 08.03.2016

As it was reported on Friday by the KCNA, during a visit to a closed firing range where advanced multiple rocket launchers were tested, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un announced that the country should be prepared to use its nuclear weapons at any moment to ensure its self-defense. The North Korean supreme leader has also underlined that he perceives the upcoming South Korean-US maneuvers as a dangerous gamble that could lead to disastrous consequences, so he ordered the North Korean army to raise all forces to high alert. The KCNA has also noted that “hostile forces led by the United States,” adopted a resolution that is “undermining the rights of the DPRK as a sovereign state.”

The part that one can consider to be crucial in all this information warfare is the fact that in the same speech, Kim Jong-un announced that Pyongyang would reconsider its military doctrine to allow the possibility of preemptive strikes being launched in connection with the dangerous situation on the Korean Peninsula. On March 4, a statement issued by the DPRK government stated that in circumstances when the United States and its satellites have openly challenged North Korea’s sovereignty and have endangered its right to existence, any hostile actions would lead to a decisive response. The statement has also added that should some disastrous event occur on the Korean Peninsula or in the region adjacent to it, the entire responsibility will lie on the United States and its collaborators.

Later, the same notion was repeated in an official statement of the DPRK National Defense Commission that was released by the KCNA on March 7. The statement announced that due to the joint military exercises of the United States and South Korea labeled as “training for a nuclear war,” any hostile military act would lead to a preemptive nuclear strike launched in accordance with the procedure established by the high command of the Korean People’s Army.

It’s only natural that such statements aroused suspicion. Moscow has expressed serious concern over the entire situation. On March 4, Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov expressed the hope that all the parties involved will exercise restraint. The United States urged North Korean leaders to refrain from provocative statements and actions and focus on the fulfillment of DPRK’s international obligations. A Pentagon spokesman said the US is prepared to destroy North Korea’s nuclear arsenals if North Korea poses a threat to the US, while noting that he had no evidence that the DPRK conducted test launches of intercontinental ballistic missile armed with nuclear warheads. In turn, the press secretary of the South Korean Ministry of Defence announced that North Korea must put an end to its defiant and destructive comments and actions, noting that Seoul will mercilessly respond to any provocation made by North Korea.

Such crises are truly alarming for a number of reasons. Firstly, it is necessary to take into account the context in which that decision is taken. While traditional news coverage of North Korea’s actions has been reduced long ago to suggesting Pyongyang’s actions are irrational and unprovoked, in fact we are witnessing a response to  upcoming US-South Korean exercises “Key Resolve” and “Foal Eagle,” which will be held on the peninsula in the next two months. It’s reported that more than 300,000 South Korean and 15,000 US troops, including US nuclear aircraft carrier USS John Stennis will be participating in these exercises. And there’s little doubt in anyone’s mind that those will mimic an  invasion of North Korea, especially when it’s stated as an official goal.

Each military exercise in the immediate vicinity of DPRK’s border understandably affects the nerves of North Korea’s military commanders. There is absolutely no certainty that during such exercises due to some mysterious incident, they will not transform into a full-scale invasion. This can happen as a result of a deliberate provocation by the South, or when some North Korean officer loses his nerve. Yet, there’s a possibility that we will witness the repetition of the situation that occurred back in 2015, when South Korean officers were reluctant to investigate their own criminal carelessness so they decided to push all blame instead on the North for an accident that occurred with their own soldiers.

In such a situation, Pyongyang is trying to look as vicious and dangerous as it possibly can. It doesn’t stand a chance in a fight against South Korea, supported by the United States. However, the North could inflict so much damage on the South that a military victory against it will become meaningless. Such a threat works like a tub of cold water on hot heads: understanding that the North will “die singing” doesn’t make anyone all too willing to fight.

A similar situation occurred during the previous round of nuclear crisis on the peninsula back in 2013. At that time the sitting President of South Korea, Park Geun-hye, just came to power, and there was a possibility that supporters of the former president or young officers bewildered with revanchist ideas might try to escalate the situation. They were consumed by the idea that if politicians did not interfere with their actions, they could destroy the Pyongyang government in 90 hours. Then, in 2013, the DPRK also made a number of  risky statements against the background of the upcoming exercise. Although the headlines once again shouted that the Korean peninsula is on the brink of war, no one decided to jump the gun. However, the situation today is somewhat more complicated. Park Geun-hye has deviated from her initially moderate positions becoming conservative, and former young majors have now become colonels. In this situation, Pyongyang raises the stakes higher than three years ago.

However, this leads to a new round amid the ongoing security dilemma of North Korea, since the statements made by Kim Jong-un can be interpreted as changes in North Korean military doctrine. Until recently, Pyongyang has positioned its missile and nuclear program solely as a self-defense option, and all the promises of drowning Seoul in a sea of fire were made in the wake of possible provocations. And now the DPRK is talking about America’s all time favorite ‘preemptive strikes’ that can be unleashed by somewhat more uncertain provocations. That’s a truly dangerous dilemma. Firstly, this level of military readiness can not but be seen with concern by others in the region, a readiness to take action in response to a possibility of such a strike being launched against them, which clearly raises tensions. Secondly, in the fight of the weak against the strong, the weak striking first is a good way to increase one’s chances of prevailing. But this can only be said about an inevitable fight, while a preemptive strike destroys all chances for a peaceful resolution of the conflict.

Three years ago I noted in one of my articles that the path chosen by the DPRK provides it a tactical advantage, but may lead it to a dead end on the strategic level. In response to ever increasing pressure of new sanctions, North Korea will become more heavily involved in the arms race, and the vicious circle will be tightening at every turn with ever increasing speed. Yet, North Korea’s problems, like its security dilemma or the tensions between Pyongyang on one side and Beijing and Moscow on the other, are not going anywhere. At the same time Washington keeps exploiting the North Korean threat for its own ends.

This vicious circle has yet another drawback, since there’s few exit strategies one can find in it. Although North Korea believes that its nuclear program provides it with independence, in fact it makes the actions of its government more predictable.The DPRK has now lost any strategic initiative and is now acting “reactively,” which makes it even more dependent on external factors. So it’s not rocket science at this point to get a certain reaction from the government of North Korea once one has applied pressure from a certain angle. Let’s hope no one will take advantage of this fact to launch additional provocations.

Konstantin Asmolov, Ph.D, Chief Research Fellow of the Center for Korean Studies, Institute of Far Eastern Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences

March 10, 2016 Posted by | Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , | 1 Comment

The Testing of a DPRK Hydrogen Bomb and Sino-North Korean Relations

By Konstantin Asmolov – New Eastern Outlook – 31.01.2016

Our analysis of the international response to North Korea’s test of a hydrogen bomb directs our attention to China’s position and US-China debates about “what to do and who to blame.”

First, let’s look to the statement by Xinhua news agency on January 8. On the one hand, North Korea’s actions have been condemned, on the other hand, it was pointed out that “it was Washington’s antagonistic approach that pushed Pyongyang to carry on the development of nuclear weapons.” “The US military approach put Pyongyang in an acutely insecure position and encouraged the country to ignore the restrictions on non-proliferation of nuclear weapons. The DPRK, balancing on the brink of a nuclear war, really deserves international condemnation, as it seriously undermines the regional stability and peace in the world, might resort to desperate attempts of the country to improve its position in the fight against the USA.“

At the same time, according to anonymous sources of Yonhap news agency in diplomatic circles, Beijing is said to be very angry with the nuclear test, which came unexpectedly, especially given Pyongyang’s active attempts to improve bilateral relations. Official Spokesman of the Chinese Foreign Ministry Hua Chunying came up with a sharp condemnation of the tests and virtually admitted that Beijing had not been informed of the planned tests.

A number of statements from US diplomats and politicians are of interest, stating that the main villain of the place is the PRC and that China should have applied maximum efforts to “solve the problem.” Its policy and intention to continue the course to the six-party negotiations are said to have resulted in appeasement of Pyongyang. As US Secretary of State John Kerry said, “China had a particular approach to the DPRK, and Beijing partners in the six-party negotiations – Russia, the USA, South Korea and Japan – agreed to abide by this policy. The idea was to “give space” to China for cooperation with Pyongyang for the purpose of denuclearization of the Korean space… But now it is clear it did not work.”

In other words, since 2003 China has been promoting the idea of ​​six-party talks as the solution of the Korean Peninsula nuclear problem with political and diplomatic means, but its actions did not lead to denuclearization. And it is necessary to increase pressure on North Korea and expand sanctions. Or actualize them so that they have the desired effect, whereas much depends on China, its main cross-border trade partner.

Donald Trump, a controversial US presidential candidate, also stated on January 10 that China should solve the problem; otherwise it will suffer from loosening its trade connections with the USA. China is believed to have total control over Pyongyang, so the USA must find a way to force Beijing to address this issue using as much economic pressure as possible. Some westerners even expressed the idea of a “Chinese-sponsored DPRK nuclear project.”

However, we can also note the fact that both experts on bilateral relations and representatives of the PRC disagree. The Chinese often mention that they have no special relations with North Korea, but “no special relations” may mean a lot depending on the situation: “we have no favorable attitude”, “we do not have the leverage”, and “our capabilities to put pressure on North Korea are limited.” It is partly so, because the ideological influence is gradually reduced, however it should be noted that even before Pyongyang listened to Beijing only formally, especially on the nuclear issue. China’s weakening influence is due to the fact that North Korea is building relationships with other countries, primarily with Russia.

China clearly sees how America and its allies use the pretext of the North Korean threat to accumulate force aimed not against North Korea and in this situation try to blame China, although it is well known, whose non-constructive position blocked the negotiation process at least in the same degree as the intransigence of the DPRK. There are many examples here (enough for a series of articles on the emergence of the Korean Peninsula nuclear problem and ways to resolve it), as the joint draft solution dated 2005 developed by the parties, and the USA and Japan having done everything in their power to stall it.

Moreover, China’s military preparations are quite obvious. On January 13, in his address to the people of the South Korea, President Park Geun-hye did not exclude the possibility of considering placing American THAAD anti-missile complexes in South Korea. This provoked a sharp reaction from Beijing, which objected the deployment of THAAD, considering that the radars can be aimed at China.

Therefore, The Global Times responded to Kerry’s accusations possibly even tougher than Xinhua : “The origins and causes of the North Korean nuclear issue are very complicated. On the one hand, the North Korean regime has taken the wrong way to ensure its security, and on the other, the USA consistently chose a hostile approach to North Korea.” And “until the USA, South Korea and Japan change their approach to Pyongyang, there can be no hope to solve the DPRK nuclear issue.” It also implies that the hope for Beijing to solve everything for everyone and make the North abandon its nuclear ambitions is “an illusion.”

Commenting on Seoul’s propaganda resumption and the raid of the US strategic bomber to South Korea, the PCR Foreign Ministry spokesman stressed that “ALL parties should make joint efforts to avoid further escalation. We hope that the parties will take careful steps to maintain peace and stability in Northeast Asia.” In short, “we did everything we could, but what have YOU done to ease up the problem except for sharpening it?”

However, displeasure towards the North also is demonstrated. According to the South Korean media (or rather the memorable Chosun Ilbo) with reference to its sources in the area of ​​China-North Korean border, the Chinese authorities have tightened border controsl with Korea. As well as the passage through the bridge over the Tumen River is said to be closed, some cooperation projects canceled, and goods at customs and border points inspected by the Chinese more carefully. There is no information on the full-fledged sanctions from the authorities of China, but at least they started to do everything “strictly according to the rules” that previously were not always respected.

What does this mean? From the viewpoint of the author (as repeatedly mentioned) the PCR policy on the Korean Peninsula is slowly beginning to resemble the Russian one in terms of its so-called “multidirectional character.” At the same time, China is making use of the differences between the two Koreas and the balance of power. The North Korean issue is considered in the context of having a system of loyal regimes across the border (in this context, unauthorized DPRK actions are annoying) and in the context of potentially growing confrontation with the USA (whereas the DPRK is an ally, albeit difficult). The balance of these factors will determine ensuing actions.

Konstantin Asmolov, Ph.D, Chief Research Fellow of the Center for Korean Studies, Institute of Far Eastern Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences.

January 31, 2016 Posted by | Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment

Pyongyang Lawyers Condemn Washington for Refusal to Sign Peace Deal

Sputnik — 14.01.2016

A committee of North Korean lawyers classified Washington’s unwillingness to sign a peace deal with Pyongyang as “an international crime,” local media reported Thursday.

The committee added that the peace deal was essential to peace and security both in North Korea and in the whole world. However, it warned that if Washington did not change its approach to Pyongyang, North Korea would ensure its safety by producing nuclear weapons.

“US policy aimed at persistent refusal to sign [North] Korean-US peace treaty and at military suppression of us is extremely dangerous international crime and wrongful act, which contradicts the establishment of peace,” Yonhap news agency reported, citing the North Korean committee.

The Korean War of 1950-1953 ended with an armistice agreement, signed by the United States and North Korea. The agreement was meant to ensure a cessation of hostilities on the Korean Peninsula until a final peace deal had been reached.

January 14, 2016 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | 1 Comment

States of hope and states of concern

By Bjorn Hilt | International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War | January 11, 2016

At the UN General assembly last fall there was an essential vote on the future of mankind. Resolution number A/RES/70/33 calling for the international society to take forward multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations had been submitted by Austria, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Georgia, Ghana, Guatemala, Ireland, Kenya, Lichtenstein, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mexico, Nigeria, Panama, Peru, Philippines, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay and Venezuela. For that, these countries deserve our deep respect and gratitude. The resolution reminds us that all the peoples of  the world have a vital interest in the success of nuclear disarmament negotiations, that all states have the right to participate in disarmament negotiations, and, at the same time, declares support for the UN Secretary – General’s five-point proposal on nuclear disarmament.

The resolution reiterates the universal objective that remains the achievement and maintenance of a world without nuclear weapons, and emphasizes the importance of addressing issues related to nuclear weapons in a comprehensive, inclusive, interactive and constructive manner, for the advancement of multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations. The resolution calls on the UN to establish an Open-ended Working Group (OEWG) of willing and responsible states to bring the negotiations on nuclear disarmament forward in this spirit.

When voted upon at the UNGA a month ago, on December 7, 2015, there was a huge majority of states (75 %) that supported the resolution, namely 138 of the 184 member states that were present. Most of them are from the global south, with majorities in Latin-America, Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and the Pacific. After having shown such courage and wisdom, they all deserve to be named among the states of hope, states that want to sustain mankind on earth.

Only 12 states voted against the resolution. Guess who they are: China, Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Hungary, Israel, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russian Federation, United Kingdom, and the United States. What is wrong with them? Well, they are either nuclear-armed states or among the new NATO member states. They are the states of concern in today’s world. It is hypocritical that states that claim to be the protectors of freedom, democracy, and humanity constitute a small minority that refuse to enter into multilateral, inclusive, interactive and constructive negotiations to free the world from nuclear weapons. Among the three other nuclear-armed states, India and Pakistan had the civility to abstain, while the DPRK was the only one to vote “yes.”

Despite the reactionary, dangerous, and irresponsible position of the 12 states of concern and the tepid attitude of the abstainers, the OEWG was established by an overwhelming majority of the UNGA. The OEWG will convene in Geneva for 15 working days during the first half of 2016. The OEWG has no mandate to negotiate treaties to free the world of the inhuman nuclear weapons, but has clearly been asked to discuss and show how it can be achieved. Surely, the nations of hope that voted in favor of the OEWG will take part in the work. We can hope that at least some of the states of concern and some of the abstainers come to their senses and take part in this essential work for the future of mankind.

Participation in the OEWG is open for everyone and blockable by none. No matter what the states of concern do or don’t do, there is good reason to trust that the vast majority of nations of hope together with civil society from all over in the fall will present an outcome to the UNGA that will turn our common dream of a world free of nuclear weapons into a reality—perhaps sooner that we dare to believe.

January 11, 2016 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pyongyang calls for Koreas’ federalization & reunification without outside interference

RT | July 7, 2014

North and South should no more be victims of outside efforts to exploit Korea’s division, Pyongyang has stated, calling on Seoul to make steps toward reunification through federalization in which differing ideologies and social systems would co-exist.

“The north and the south should specify the reunification proposals by way of federation and confederation and make efforts to realize them and thus actively promote co-existence, co-prosperity and common interests,” Pyongyang said in a statement.

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) says that both nations should seek “reasonable reunification proposals” supported by all “to achieve reunification through a federal formula in Korea where differing ideologies and social systems exist.”

Presently a concrete wall runs 240 kilometres along the front line south of the Military Demarcation Line as a barrier across the Korean peninsula. Now the North is calling on the South to “join hands” to settle disagreements and pursue “the reunification issue of the country in line with the desire and wish of the nation.”

DPRK urged to focus on the joint declaration of 15 June, a document that was signed in 2000 in Pyongyang between South Korean president Kim Dae-jung and North Korean leader Kim Jong Il.

“In the June 15 joint declaration the north and the south recognized that there are common points in the north-proposed low-level federation and the south-proposed confederation, and agreed to work for reunification in this direction in the future.”

To start with the communist state is proposing to “create the atmosphere favorable for reconciliation and unity” and to end “calumnies and vituperations” that create misunderstanding and distrust among Koreans.

Legal and institutional measures that block family reunification should be lifted and a “broad avenue for contacts, visits, cooperation and dialogue should be opened.”

Meanwhile, the North says that both states should “end reckless hostility and confrontation” for the reconciliation and unity process.

“The grave situation in which even a single remark and act and tiny friction may lead to a dangerous conflict and destruction of the nation is prevailing on the Korean peninsula as hostility and confrontation have reached the extremes.”

Pyongyang urged its neighbor to stop all kinds of “north-targeted war exercises” and reject dependence on “outsiders” to resolve Korean problems.

“[North and South] should solve all issues by their own efforts in the common interests of the nation from the stand of putting the nation above all, attaching importance to the nation and achieving national unity,” the statement reads. “The north and the south should never fall a victim to outsiders keen on catching fish in troubled waters through the division of Korea.”

July 7, 2014 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 1 Comment

DPRK says it will not move first on nuclear disarmament

Xinhua | October 23, 2013

PYONGYANG — The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) said Wednesday it would not unilaterally dismantle its nuclear deterrence unless outside nuclear threats were removed, the official KCNA news agency reported.

“As action for action remains a basic principle for finding a solution to the nuclear issue on the Korean peninsula, the DPRK will not unilaterally move first,” a Foreign Ministry spokesman said in a statement.

The denuclearization of the peninsula did not mean unilateral nuclear disarmament by the DPRK but a process of realizing a whole nuclear-free peninsula by removing substantial outside nuclear threats on the principle of simultaneous actions, the statement said.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said early this month Washington would be open to dialogue if Pyongyang started denuclearization first.

The National Defense Commission on Oct. 12 dismissed the U.S. request as “an intolerable mockery and insult to the army and people of the DPRK.”

The statement criticized Washington for shifting responsibility to Pyongyang and urged Washington to abandon its hostile policy toward Pyongyang.

China’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said in a press briefing Wednesday that Beijing had been “in close communication with all relevant parties of the six-party talks.”

China’s chief delegate to the six-party talks, Wu Dawei, and his Russian counterpart, Igor Morgulov, met in Beijing Monday and exchanged views on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and the resumption of the six-party talks, the ministry said in a brief statement.

October 25, 2013 Posted by | Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment