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The Chinese Defeated the US Army in 1950

Tales of the American Empire | February 18, 2022

Korea is often called the “Forgotten War” mostly because American Generals want it forgotten. In late 1950, the Chinese Army intervened and routed the US Army. Most blame falls upon the overall commander, General Douglas MacArthur. He was certain that American air power could destroy Chinese armies. However, the Chinese had years of experience fighting the Japanese and developed tactics to evade aerial attacks. As a result, American units were outmaneuvered and defeated in several large battles by Chinese forces of similar size.

US Army X Corps Commander Lt. General Almond told officers of one regiment: “We’re still attacking and we’re going all the way to the Yalu. Don’t let a bunch of Chinese laundrymen stop you.” That regiment was overrun a few days later, by Chinese laundrymen. A US Army historian noted: “General Willoughby [MacArthur’s Chief of Staff] asserted that a Chinese intervention was highly unlikely but that if it occurred the Chinese would suffer massive casualties to UN air power. This optimism colored the plans and ideas of all subordinate commands. At the start of the massive Chinese intervention, the X Corps staff at first tried to ignore it or downplay its effect on the corps’ offensive plans. In response to the new guidance and in an attempt to react to the rapidly changing situation for which they had no contingency plans.”

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“United States Army in the Korean War”; James F. Schnabel; U.S. Army Center of Military History; 1992; https://history.army.mil/books/P&D.HTM

“The Chinese Intervention”; The Korean war; US Army Center of Military History; https://history.army.mil/brochures/kw…

“MacArthur’s Grand Delusion”; David Halberstam; Vanity Fair; September 24, 2007; https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2007/…

“Staff Operations: The X Corps in Korea, December 1950”; Richard Stewart; U.S. Army Command and General Staff College; 1951; https://apps.dtic.mil/sti/pdfs/ADA244…

Related Tale: “MacArthur’s Plot for War with China”; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OzF8G…

Related Tale: “The American Empire’s Disastrous Defeat in 1942”; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cG1yL…

February 21, 2022 Posted by | Militarism | , , | 4 Comments

Korea Heads Toward a Political Crossroads

By Gregory Elich | CounterPunch |February 8, 2022

South Koreans go to the polls on March 9 to elect a new president, who will assume office two months later. At a time when U.S.-North Korean relations are at an impasse, and the Biden administration is building an aggressive anti-China alliance, much may rest on the outcome.

The two candidates, who are currently running neck-and-neck in opinion polls, present a stark contrast. Lee Jae-myung of the ruling Democratic Party advocates South Korea taking the lead on inter-Korean relations, in contrast to President Moon Jae-in’s unwillingness to adopt any measure that would elicit Washington’s disapproval. “In succeeding the Moon Jae-in administration, the Lee Jae-myung government should act as a more independent and active mediator and problem solver,” Lee announced late last year. [1] That will come as a welcome change in direction if it comes to fruition.

Lee is also disinclined to accede to U.S. demands to join the anti-China campaign, questioning why South Korea should be forced to choose between China, its leading trading partner, and the U.S., with whom it has a military alliance. “I think the situation is coming where we can make decisions independently, putting our national interests first. Any thinking that we have to choose between the two is a very disgraceful approach,” Lee argues. [2]

If Lee is serious about changing course, he will be steering into strong headwinds. South Korea is such a politically polarized society that Lee cannot count on broad-based domestic support. Furthermore, his party will need to win a substantial majority in the National Assembly for Lee to adopt a more independent policy. In addition, the nation’s security and military establishments are hardly likely to countenance a change in the relationship with Washington. The United States, for its part, has an arsenal of economic and diplomatic weapons at its disposal to keep a wayward nation in line. Only time will tell if Lee has the inclination and determination to try and overcome such obstacles.

Lee’s conservative opponent, Yoon Seok-youl of the inaptly-named People Power Party, takes a hardline position on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK – the official name for North Korea), including talking about the option of launching a preemptive strike. [3] Yoon also prioritizes the military alliance with the United States and favors joining Washington’s “global coalition” confronting China. [4] “The U.S. is our ally,” Yoon asserts, “while China is a partner. And a partnership is based on mutual respect. China is North Korea’s key ally. Isn’t North Korea our main enemy? We cannot make an alliance with a country that is allied with our main enemy.” [5]

It is no mystery which candidate the Biden administration would prefer to deal with. Yoon’s stated policies align perfectly with those of Washington.

President Moon Jae-in missed opportunities to improve inter-Korean relations by continually deferring to the United States. In regard to reducing U.S.-DPRK tensions, Moon advocates an end-of-war declaration. Combat in the Korean War came to a halt in 1953 with an armistice agreement, so technically speaking, a state of war still exists. Moon regards that unfinished business as a destabilizing situation that can be resolved by all parties signing an end-of-war declaration to “mark a pivotal point of departure,” which would lead to “irreversible progress in denuclearization and usher in an era of complete peace.”  [6]

South Korean officials have been engaged in talks with their counterparts in the United States, China, and North Korea on the subject of a peace declaration for some time now. Moon believes “in principle” that “everybody agrees to the declaration,” although he noted that the DPRK needs to see the U.S. withdraw its hostile policy. [7] In other words, no party has explicitly rejected the proposal outright, although South Korea has yet to come to an agreement with the United States on its wording.

According to Moon, “If North Korea takes certain measures, the end-of-war declaration would be a political statement that would announce that the longstanding hostile relations between Pyongyang and Washington had ended.” [8] Note that action is required from only one side, while no change in behavior is asked of the United States.

Moon has also stated that an end-of-war declaration would be “the starting point to discuss the peace treaty.” [9]However, a peace treaty is a nonstarter in the current U.S. political environment, as it would require approval by a two-thirds majority in the Senate and ratification by President Biden.

The protracted wrangling over the declaration’s wording suggests that American officials have taken note of Yoon’s strong showing in the South Korean opinion polls and concluded that they need only drag their feet until getting a partner more to their liking. At the very least, it indicates that the Biden administration is intensely focused on wordsmithing to ensure that nothing in the final draft of a peace declaration could be misconstrued to suggest that anything should change.

Too much can be made of the claim that a technical state of war is automatically destabilizing. Failure to sign a peace treaty is not a unique historical phenomenon. In a more recent example, the Soviet Union and Japan never signed a peace treaty after World War II. However, a peace declaration was agreed to in 1956 as an interim measure. Technically, then, Russia and Japan remain in a state of war yet are hardly likely to engage in combat. Talks are currently underway regarding a peace treaty. [10]

Conversely, there is nothing inherently transformative in being officially at peace with a hostile party. Cuba and Venezuela, for example, are formally at peace with the United States yet are subjected to unrelenting sanctions, economic blockade, and destabilization campaigns aimed at regime change.

The risk in placing so much emphasis on an end-of-war declaration alone is that Moon may inadvertently be reinforcing the already entrenched U.S. view that it need not offer North Korea anything substantive in exchange for denuclearization.

It is difficult to imagine what mechanism could metamorphose a piece of paper acknowledging that combat ended in 1953 into Moon’s envisioned “era of complete peace.” Moreover, U.S. hostility toward the DPRK is driven by regional geopolitical objectives, which a peace declaration cannot alter.

As a purely symbolic measure, a peace declaration is not worthless, but it would need to be accompanied by a change in U.S. attitude to hold any value. Otherwise, a symbol at variance with action is drained of any meaning. Indeed, what significance would such a symbol have as the United States continues to wage siege warfare against North Korea in the form of sanctions designed to impose economic ruin, hardship, and hunger?

Asia specialist Tim Beal believes the number one problem with an end-of-war declaration is “that the U.S. is still waging war – sanctions, military exercises, practicing invasion, and so forth. And it gives no indication of actually wanting to stop any of these.” [11]

The sustained effort that Moon has invested in promoting a peace declaration may have been better spent on advocating real change as a path to peace. However, it must be noted how so much of the Washington elite recoils at the prospect of granting North Korea even a symbolic diplomatic crumb. There is a deeply ingrained belief that the only acceptable formula for negotiations is for the DPRK to surrender everything while getting nothing in return. Perhaps Moon’s devotion to a peace declaration is based partly on the realization that the United States is unwilling to offer North Korea anything meaningful in exchange for denuclearization, so more cannot be expected.

While South Korean officials have discussed the subject of a peace declaration with their counterparts in the north, the impetus and enthusiasm for the proposal essentially come from the former side. Indeed, Moon’s narrow focus on a peace declaration resolutely ignores what North Koreans say they need.

The DPRK is under siege, and consequently, its officials are looking for something more concrete from the United States. They certainly have not minced words on the subject. Kim Myong Gil, North Korea’s chief negotiator during talks with Trump administration officials, was quite direct: “If the U.S. believes that it can lure us to the table with secondary issues, such as an end-of-war declaration – which can instantly end up as garbage depending on the political situation – and the establishment of a liaison office, instead of presenting fundamental solutions to withdraw its hostile policy against North Korea, which interferes with our right to survival and development, there will never be any hope for a solution.” [12]

Last September, North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Ri Thae Song reiterated that position when he termed an end-of-war declaration premature. “Nothing will change as long as the political circumstances around the DPRK remain unchanged and the U.S. hostile policy is not shifted, although the termination of the war is declared hundreds of times.” Ri added, “We have already clarified our official stand that the declaration of the termination of the war is not a ‘present’ and it can become a mere scrap of paper in a moment upon changes in situations.” [13]

Biden administration officials repeatedly announce that the U.S. has no hostile intent toward the DPRK while showering that nation with invective and strangling it economically. U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price says that “specific proposals” have been made to North Korea. [14] Although nothing is publicly known about the nature of the proposals, the lack of response from the North Koreans would seem to reveal that the U.S. is sticking to its customary approach of offering diplomatic trinkets in exchange for demanding unilateral disarmament.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying advocates a more viable approach to resuming talks. “We believe under the current circumstances, the key to breaking the stalemate and restarting dialogue is taking seriously the DPRK’s legitimate concerns. The U.S. should avoid repeating empty slogans, but rather show its sincerity by presenting an appealing plan for dialogue. It is imperative to invoke the rollback terms of the Security Council’s DPRK-related resolutions as soon as possible and make necessary adjustments to relevant sanctions, especially those relating to provisions on the humanitarian and livelihood aspects.” [15]

In October, China and Russia submitted a draft resolution at the United Nations to drop economic sanctions that target North Korea’s population, in recognition of the nation’s continued adherence to its self-imposed moratorium on nuclear and long-range ballistic missile tests. [16] Chinese U.N. envoy Wang Qun explained, “Obviously, the crux of the deadlock in the DPRK-U.S. dialogue is that the denuclearization measures taken by the DPRK have not received due attention and the legitimate and reasonable concerns of the DPRK have not been properly addressed.” [17] Predictably, the U.S. side reacted with outrage, and U.S. Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield instead called upon U.N. member states to “ramp up the implementation of the sanctions.” [18]

Rather than signal a softer attitude, on December 10, the Biden administration piled on more sanctions, targeting several individuals and North Korea’s animation firm SEK Studio. Also sanctioned was a Chinese animation company for doing business with SEK Studio. [19] According to Go Myong-hyun, a research fellow at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies, the Biden administration “is sending a very strong message to North Korea and the rest of the world that the U.S. government is going to really not leave any stone unturned and make sure that the North Koreans don’t get even a single cent of profit by trading with the outside world.” [20]

The Biden administration followed that action by naming Philip Goldberg as ambassador to South Korea. His selection appears to indicate that Washington remains wedded to the punishment approach. During the Obama administration, Goldberg served as coordinator for implementing sanctions on North Korea. That position led him to travel abroad and meet with foreign political and banking officials to eliminate trade and financial operations with North Korea. Philosophically, he aligns well with an aggressive foreign policy. As ambassador to Bolivia, he was expelled from the country for meeting with the right-wing opposition. [21] In his nomination hearing for ambassador to Colombia at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 2019, Goldberg promised to support the U.S. campaign to overthrow the government of Venezuela: “If confirmed, I will work with Colombia on efforts to restore democracy to Venezuela.” He added that “the United States government has made clear that all options remain on the table while it continues to engage on all diplomatic and economic fronts to support Interim Venezuelan President Juan Guaido and the Venezuelan people’s pursuit of freedom.” [22] The new ambassador is not a man who can be expected to challenge conventional thinking regarding the DPRK.

The DPRK has evidently concluded that the United States is unwilling to abandon its hostile policy and has recently stepped up weapons testing. Its demolition of the Punggye-ri nuclear test site and a self-imposed moratorium on long-range ballistic missile testing yielded no corresponding measure from the United States, aside from a temporary reduction in the size of military exercises that rehearse the bombing and invasion of the DPRK and infiltration of commando teams to assassinate North Korean officials.

Meanwhile, the South Korean military is accelerating technological upgrades and has seen its budget increase by an average of 7.4 percent each year of the Moon administration. [23] The United States, for its part, is expanding its military presence in the Asia-Pacific, and regularly launches intercontinental ballistic missiles, most recently on two occasions last year. [24]

The North Koreans feel compelled to modernize their military capability in response to U.S. and South Korean arms advancements. As a result, an arms race is underway, in which the targeted side’s efforts are deemed illegitimate. DPRK leader Kim Jong Un emphasizes that “recourse to arms against the fellow countrymen must not be repeated on this land.” He adds, “We are not talking about a war with someone,” but “are building up war deterrent… to prevent the war itself and to safeguard the sovereignty of our state.” [25] And that is the crux of U.S. concern. A small targeted nation able to defend itself sets a bad precedent and limits options.

Western media and officials habitually characterize each North Korean missile test as a “threat” or “provocation,” uniquely so, in that other nations performing similar tests prompt no condemnation. India, like North Korea, is a non-member of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and its launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile on October 27 last year was greeted by silence. [26] No doubt, the Times of India’s description of the launch as “a stern signal to China” came as a welcome development in Washington. [27] The two other nuclear powers that are non-NPT members are Israel and Pakistan, both of which have ballistic missile programs that are deemed of no concern by U.S. officials and media. [28]

There is a double standard at play. Only North Korea is forbidden by the United Nations from testing and is punished by economic sanctions so crushing as to amount to a war on the entire population. Even military tests that are not prohibited, such as the recent cruise missile and hypersonic missile launches, are denounced. Using inflammatory language, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield recently described North Korea’s tests as “attacks” and promised to “continue to ramp up the pressure on the North Koreans.” [29] U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres rebuked the DPRK for its recent launch of a Hwasong-12 intermediate-range ballistic missile, charging that it not only violated U.N. sanctions but also “the DPRK’s announced moratorium.” [30] That was an outright falsehood, as North Korea’s self-imposed moratorium on testing applies only to long-range ballistic missiles.

Why is North Korea singled out for punishment? According to Thomas-Greenfield, it is because that nation is “a serious threat to our peace and security and to the globe.” [31] That language is echoed by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who called the DPRK “a source of danger and obviously a threat to us and our partners.” [32] That American officials can make such pronouncements without being met by derision is a tribute to the efficacy of U.S. propaganda. Since the Korean War came to a halt nearly seven decades ago, the DPRK has been at peace. Yet, in the decades that followed the Second World War, the United States has bombed and invaded numerous countries, undermined and toppled foreign governments, spread its military bases across the globe to threaten other nations, and performed drone strike murders of thousands of civilians. And the U.S. is currently trying to stoke war fever against Russia. Yet, the common perception in the West turns reality on its head.

Regardless of whether or not a peaceful end to the Korean War is declared, the United States has broader plans for South Korea. The Biden administration’s central foreign policy objective is to build alliances with Asian nations to ensure U.S. domination over China.

South Korea’s geographical location places it on the frontline of the Biden administration’s fanatical anti-China project, and the Koreans are assigned the role of “force multiplier” in that effort. The South Koreans are not regarded as having a choice in the matter. Koreans are expected to support the U.S. confrontation with China and any military adventure in the Asia-Pacific that the U.S. may choose to undertake. According to an American military official, the Republic of Korea (ROK) will act as “a net provider of security not just on the peninsula but across the region.” [33]

Last May, Biden and Moon issued a joint statement, which pledged that “the U.S.-ROK alliance will play an increasingly global role” and claimed that the two nations’ relationship “extends far beyond the Korean Peninsula.” Moon also promised to align his country’s policy with “the United States’ vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific.” [34]

In December, U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin met in Seoul with his South Korean counterpart, Suh Wook. Austin announced that “we discussed ways to broaden our alliance’s focus to address issues of regional concern.” Using the familiar code words for anti-China hostility, Austin stated that “we emphasize our shared commitment to the rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific.” In addition, Austin reported that he and Suh “agreed to explore ways to expand and enhance regional security cooperation and capacity building.” [35]

If an end-of-war declaration is made the vehicle for bringing peace to the peninsula, the main roadblock, as Korea specialist Simone Chun sees it, is U.S. containment policy and the practice of “pressuring allies for U.S. strategic interests.” Under the Moon administration, “South Korea’s security policy has been subordinated to the United States” and “South Korea does not have strategic insight to properly respond to the U.S. policy of containment with respect to China.” Chun proposes supplementing an end-of-war declaration with a revival of the Sunshine Policy as offering a potentially more promising path to reducing tensions on the Korean Peninsula. [36] The Sunshine Policy, launched during the presidential term of Kim Dae-jung and continued by his successor Roh Moo-hyun, redirected inter-Korean relations from confrontation to cooperation. However, since Roh’s term ended in 2008, no subsequent South Korean president has followed suit. In Chun’s proposal, South Korea does not need to play a passive role and defer to U.S. intransigence. Instead, it can initiate its own program.

It cannot be overlooked that South Korean progressives and U.S. imperialism have divergent goals. Their class and national interests are at opposite poles. If positive change comes, it will be driven by Koreans. As Tim Beal points out, “Peace undercuts the rationale for U.S. forward position in East Asia. It undercuts the rationale for all those bases, the bases in South Korea, the bases in Japan, and so forth. And it undercuts the rationale for their utilization of [South Korean] military power.” The problem is “that peace in Korea would hamper the containment of China. That’s how they look at it.” [37]

A lot may ride on the next presidential election in South Korea. A conservative victory would automatically give the Biden administration everything it wants. Yoon has explicitly stated his intention to ally closely with U.S. militarism. A win by Lee Jae-myung offers more hope.

Lee promises to chart a more independent path than Moon. It remains to be seen if he can follow through, given the certainty of fierce opposition by Washington. Progressives in South Korea face a twofold struggle in the months ahead: pressing their government to improve inter-Korean relations and blocking being dragooned into the U.S. anti-China military machine. At the heart of both issues is resistance to U.S. encroachment upon South Korean sovereignty. It will not be an easy struggle, but it is a necessary one.

Notes

[1] Thomas Maresca, “South Korea Presidential Hopeful Seeks Closer Ties with Pyongyang,” UPI, November 25, 2021.

[2] Kang Seung-woo, “’Choosing Between US, China is Disgraceful,’ Ruling  Party’s Presidential Candidate Says,” Korea Times, December 30, 2021.

[3] Jung Da-min, “Controversy Rises Over Yoon’s Preemptive Strike Remarks,” Korea Times, January 13, 2022.

[4] Lee Haye-ah, “Yoon Says Firm S. Korea-U.S. Alliance Ever More Important,” Yonhap, November 12, 2021.

[5] Lee Ji-yoon, “Yoon Seok-youl Hints at Possibility of Ditching Inter-Korean Military Agreement,” Korea Herald, November 18, 2021.

[6] https://english1.president.go.kr/BriefingSpeeches/Speeches/1068

[7] https://www.pm.gov.au/media/press-conference-canberra-act-32

[8] “South Korea’s Moon Optimistic About End to Korean War,” BBC News, October 12, 2018.

[9] Lee Ji-yoon, “Moon Holds Rare Inflight News Briefing,” Korea Herald, September 24, 2021.

[10] “Future Russia-Japan Peace Treaty Must Reflect Outlook for Cooperation – Lavrov,” TASS, January 14, 2022.

[11] “A Geopolitical Perspective of Biden’s North Korea Policy,” JNC TV, January 2, 2022.

[12] Jeong Je-hyug, “NK Kim Myong-gil, “Beigun Conveyed Wish to Meet for Talks in December. Willing to Sit with the U.S.,” Kyunghyang Shinmun, November 15, 2019.

[13] “Press Statement of Vice Foreign Minister Ri Thae Song,” KCNA, September 24, 2021.

[14] Chaewon Chung, “US Made ‘Specific Proposals’ to the DPRK in Latest Attempt to Engage Regime,” NK News, October 14, 23021.

[15] “Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying’s Regular Press Conference on September 30, 2021,” Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China, September 30, 2021.

[16] Chad O’Carroll, “China and Russia Submit Proposal to Ease UN Sanctions on North Korea: Sources,” NK News, October 30, 2021.

Michelle Nichols, “China, Russia Revive Push to Lift U.N. Sanctions on North Korea,” Reuters, November 1, 2021.

[17] “Invoking Rollback Terms of DPRK-related Resolutions at Early Date Effective to Break Deadlock: Chinese Envoy,” Xinhua, September 25, 2021.

[18] https://usun.usmission.gov/remarks-by-ambassador-linda-thomas-greenfield%e2%80%afat-the-un-security-council-stakeout-on-the-dprk/

[19] https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/jy0526

[20] Chad O’Carroll, “US to Impose New Sanctions Against North Korea for First Time Under Biden,” NK News, December 10, 2021.

[21] “Bolivian Leader Doesn’t Regret Expelling U.S. Ambassador,” CNN, April 22, 2009.

[22] https://www.foreign.senate.gov/hearings/nominations-062019

[23] Lami Kim, “A Hawkish Dove? President Moon Jae-in and South Korea’s Military Buildup,” War on the Rocks, September 15, 2021.

Sang-Min Kim, “South Korea Boosts Military,” Arms Control Association, September 21.

Hiroshi Minegishi, “South Korea Beefs Up Military Muscle to Counter Threat from North,” Nikkei Asia, September 14, 2021.

[24] “Minuteman III Test Launch Demonstrates Safe, Reliable Deterrent,” United States Air Force (Air Force Global Strike Command Public Affairs), February 24, 2021.

“Minuteman III Test Launch Showcases Readiness of U.S. Nuclear Force’s Safe, Effective Deterrent,” United States Air Force (Air Force Global Strike Command Public Affairs), August 11, 2021.

[25] “Respected Comrade Kim Jong Un Makes Commemorative Speech at Defence Development Exhibition,” KCNA, October 12, 2021.

[26] Kelsey Davenport, “India Tests Missile Capable of Reaching China,” Arms Control Association, December 2021.

[27] Rajat Pandit, “In Stern Signal to China, India Tests 5,000-km Range Agni-V”, Times of India, October 28, 2021.

[28] https://www.iiss.org/blogs/analysis/2021/08/israel-ballistic-missile-programme

https://missilethreat.csis.org/country/pakistan/

[29] “Transcript: ‘Capehart’ with Linda Thomas-Greenfield, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations,” Washington Post Live, January 18, 2022.

[30] “DPR Korea, UN Chief Condemns Missile Launch as ‘Clear Violation,’ UN News, February 1, 2022.

[31] “Remarks by Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield at a Press Conference on the March Program of Work and the U.S. Presidency of the UN Security Council,” United States Mission to the United Nations, March 1, 2021.

[32] Hyung-jin Kim and Kim Tong-hyung, “Blinken Urges China to Convince North Korea to Denuclearize,” Associated Press, March 18, 2021.

[33] Jeff Seldin, “US, South Korea Updating War Plans for North Korea,” Voice of America, December 1, 2021.

[34] https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2021/05/21/u-s-rok-leaders-joint-statement/

[35] https://www.defense.gov/News/Transcripts/Transcript/Article/2859519/secretary-of-defense-lloyd-j-austin-iii-and-south-korean-defense-minister-suh-w/

[36] “A Geopolitical Perspective of Biden’s North Korea Policy,” JNC TV, January 2, 2022.

[37] “A Geopolitical Perspective of Biden’s North Korea Policy,” JNC TV, January 2, 2022.

Gregory Elich is a Korea Policy Institute associate and on the Board of Directors of the Jasenovac Research Institute. He is a member of the Solidarity Committee for Democracy and Peace in Korea, a columnist for Voice of the People, and one of the co-authors of Killing Democracy: CIA and Pentagon Operations in the Post-Soviet Period, published in the Russian language. He is also a member of the Task Force to Stop THAAD in Korea and Militarism in Asia and the Pacific. His website is https://gregoryelich.org 

February 10, 2022 Posted by | Militarism | , | 1 Comment

MacArthur’s Plot for War with China

Tales of the American Empire | October 28, 2021

One myth found in history books is that the United States was surprised by Chinese intervention in the Korean war. This was no surprise because China warned that it would intervene if American forces moved north of the 38th parallel. War with China was sought by General Douglas MacArthur who wanted an excuse to overthrow its new communist government. He assumed that American airpower could demolish Chinese armies while Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalist forces landed from Taiwan and marched to Beijing. However, the Chinese army proved far better than expected in Korea and stymied MacArthur’s secret plan. American President Harry Truman ended this plot by firing General MacArthur.

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“Nationalist Chinese forces invade mainland China”; History.com; November 19, 2009; https://www.history.com/this-day-in-h…

Related Tale: “American Marines Reclaimed Northern China in 1945”; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jDBUT…

Related Tale: “The United States Started the Korean War”; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-8Djw…

“United States Army in the Korean War”; James F. Schnabel; U.S. Army Center of Military History; 1992; https://history.army.mil/books/P&D.HTM

November 1, 2021 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , | 2 Comments

The Dangerous Myth of Health Service ‘Collapse’

By Will Jones | The Daily Sceptic | September 30, 2021

In the U.K. we are facing threats once again of restrictions and vaccine passports being imposed over winter should the prospect of an ‘overwhelmed’ NHS be sounded by the Government’s medical advisers in the coming weeks.

But how realistic is this threat of health service ‘collapse’? South Korea is currently providing an object lesson in how the concept appears to be very much in the eye of the beholder.

The South East Asian country has been experiencing a spike in reported infections in recent weeks as the Delta variant has become dominant, hitting over 3,000 in one day for the first time on September 24th.

Three thousand ‘cases’ is very low, of course, compared to our 30,000 or so since early July, and the country is similar in size to the U.K., with a population of 52 million to our 67 million.

While the country does do less testing, deaths are also very low, with daily confirmed deaths currently between just five and 10 a day.

Excess mortality has also remained low throughout the pandemic, currently sitting at around 6% having been negative over the winter.

Despite these enviable Covid stats, though, the country is currently living under various Covid restrictions and the Government has said that while it plans to reopen, it will reverse course should ‘cases’ go above 4,000 per day. Why? According to the Government’s Minister of Health, Kwon Deok-cheol, the South Korean “healthcare system would not be able to cope with 4,000 or 10,000 new confirmed cases per day”.

At a Korea Broadcasting Journalists Club roundtable on Tuesday, Minister of Health and Welfare Kwon Deok-cheol said that South Korea’s medical response system would be “sufficiently capable” of handling a daily caseload of 3,000 or more confirmed cases and that the country would be able to proceed with a gradual return to everyday life, provided that the Government’s late-October targets of fully vaccinating 80% of adults and 90% of senior citizens are met.

He also said that the shift toward a “living with Covid” approach was not hasty, noting that while the U.K. began its gradual return to normal life while its full vaccination rate was just 1.6%, whereas South Korea had a full vaccination rate of 46.6% as of Tuesday.

But he also noted that observation of basic disease prevention guidelines such as wearing masks indoors and regularly ventilating indoor spaces would remain necessary, saying that “our healthcare system would not be able to cope with 4,000 or 10,000 new confirmed cases per day.”

“For that reason, we are considering a phased easing [of restrictions] – based on business types, for example – rather than a full-scale elimination [of said restrictions],” he added.

Vaccine passports are also being considered, apparently in order to protect the unvaccinated.

The South Korean government similarly explained that with the 976 critical care beds and 10,212 beds for patients with moderate symptoms that it had secured as of Tuesday, the South Korean healthcare system would be able to cope with as many as 3,500 new confirmed cases per day.

In addition to relaxing restrictions on private gatherings for fully vaccinated people and gradually removing restrictions on the use of multipurpose facilities, Kwon also said consideration was being given to the adoption of “vaccine passes,” where only fully vaccinated people or other restricted categories of people would be allowed to use certain establishments during the initial stages of the gradual return to everyday life.

He went on, saying that Germany grants permission for indoor events or use multipurpose facilities such as hospitals, long-term care facilities, nightlife establishments, and cinemas only to people who present a pass that certifies they have been either fully vaccinated, have tested negative for Covid, or have fully recovered from a previous Covid infection.

“With confirmed cases currently being observed among unvaccinated people – many of them leading to critical symptoms and even death – we are considering applying such an approach, if only to protect these people,” he said.

I have to say it is bizarre to read the same worries about ‘cases’ getting too high and putting unsustainable pressure on the health service in a country which is experiencing a fraction of our reported infections and an even smaller fraction of our deaths. How can we take this seriously when South Korea has more than three times the number of hospital beds that the U.K. has, 10 per 1,000 population compared to three per 1,000?

Nations whether in the East or West are now being held hostage by their health services and their supposed capacity to cope with coronavirus surges. But it’s clear from the very different scales of these supposed capacity threats in different countries that this spectre of an overwhelmed and collapsing health service is largely a figment of the political imagination.

No doubt a winter Covid wave can stretch a health service considerably. But if even England in January had thousands of empty hospital beds on January 18th, when the number of Covid hospital patients hit 39,254, and did not ‘collapse’ (and the Nightingale hospitals remained empty), then it’s difficult to see how the threat is in any way a realistic one. At that winter peak, Covid patients occupied less than a third of the total hospital beds (31%), while 8,696 beds remained unoccupied. Besides which, if winter hospital capacity is the crucial issue for lockdowns and other measures, would it not be a whole lot cheaper and more effective just to boost it more?

Lockdown proponents will claim that the U.K. winter wave was mitigated by restrictions. But the truth is the U.K. suffered one of the biggest winter surges in the world, regardless of what measures were in place in other countries. States in America with few or no restrictions such as Florida and South Dakota, and light-touch Sweden, did not suffer worse winters. There is thus nowhere that lockdown proponents can point to and say, look, that’s what would have happened here if we hadn’t locked down. There is no reason to think that without restrictions the U.K.’s winter surge would have ended up much worse.

While governments around the world continue to hold the threat of an overwhelmed health service over their populations as a kind of political blackmail (albeit often sincerely believed), the experience of South Korea shows that the threat is ill-defined, largely illusory, and not a sound basis for imposing illiberal measures and ruinous restrictions.

October 1, 2021 Posted by | Deception | , , | Leave a comment

North Korea’s Right of Self-Defense

By Stephen Lendman | September 13, 2021

Throughout its post-WW II history, North Korea never preemptively attacked another country.

Its peaceful foreign policy is in stark contrast to US, Western, apartheid Israeli forever wars on invented enemies.

The right to self-defense is inviolable under international law, including under Article 51 of the UN Charter.

It prohibits one nation from attacking another except in self-defense, stating:

“Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defense if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security.”

North Korea’s military and weapons development are all about protecting the nation from possible US/Western aggression, including its nuclear and missiles technology.

On Monday, its Yonhap News Agency headlined “N. Korea test-fires new long-range cruise missiles,” saying:

“North Korea has successfully test-fired a new type of long-range cruise missiles over the weekend,” adding:

“The test-firings took place on Saturday and Sunday after two years of research, according to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).”

“The development of the long-range cruise missile, a strategic weapon of great significance…. has been pushed forward according to the scientific and reliable weapon system development process for the past two years.”

“Detailed tests of missile parts, scores of engine ground thrust tests, various flight tests, control and guidance tests, warhead power tests, etc. were conducted with success.”

Voice of Korea (VOK) called the tested missiles nuclear-capable, adding:

They’ll serve as an “effective deterrent ensuring the security of our state more firmly and overpowering powerfully the anti-DPRK military moves of the hostile forces.”

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace senior fellow Ankit Panda said the following about the reported tests:

“A long-range, nuclear-capable cruise missile complicates how its adversaries need to think about positioning radars and investing in cruise missile defense capabilities more generally.”

MIT Professor Vipin Narang said “a nuclear cruise missile makes a lot of sense to evade missile defenses.”

They’re “air-breathing so they can fly low and maneuver.”

VOK reported that tested missiles were fired from a five-canister wheeled transporter erector launcher.

North Korean state media said “(d)ozens of static firing tests” of a “newly-developed turbofan engine” were conducted.

“(D)ifferent flight tests, controlling… guiding… and warhead destructive tests were successfully made.”

Missiles fired “flew 1,500 kilometers for 7,580 seconds along the flight track of oval and figure-eight set in the territory and territorial air of our state before hitting the targets.”

According to International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) military analyst Joseph Dempsey:

Tests conducted are “significant development and direction of intent, but we should be wary of assuming or assigning similar capabilities that we associate with other contemporary land-attack cruise missiles at this stage.”

More information or independent confirmation is needed to know to what extent DPRK technology advanced.

In response to the tests, the Pentagon’s INDOPACOM said the following:

“We are aware of reports of DPRK cruise missile launches.”

“We will continue to monitor the situation and are consulting closely with our allies and partners.”

“This activity highlights DPRK’s continuing focus on developing its military program and the threats that poses to its neighbors (sic) and the international community (sic).”

Nonbelligerent North Korea threatens no one.

US-dominated NATO threatens world peace.

A Final Comment

Last month, North Korean envoy to Russia Sin Hong-chol said the following:

“The US should pull out its aggressive troops and military hardware deployed in South Korea to achieve peace on the Korean Peninsula.”

“As long as US forces are based in South Korea, the main reason behind periodical exacerbation of the situation on the Korean Peninsula will never be eliminated.”

“The current situation proves that only real force and not words can ensure peace and security on the Korean Peninsula.”

Stressing the importance of strengthening his country’s military to deter foreign threats,” he added:

“We have already clearly said that we will treat the US on the principle of ‘force for force’ and ‘good for good.’ ”

Hostile US actions include “aggressive military exercises at such an extreme time when international attention is concentrating on Korean Peninsula developments show that they are the instigators who destroy peace and security of the region, while ‘commitment to diplomacy’ and ‘dialogue without preconditions’ that the current US (regime) is ranting about are nothing but hypocrisy.”

Calling US/S. Korea military actions “rehearsal(s)” for war against the North, he slammed their “military madness.”

Pyongyang believes that the Biden regime “will be more openly engaged in hostile actions (ahead) against Asia Pacific states, including Russia” and China.

September 13, 2021 Posted by | Illegal Occupation | , | 1 Comment

North Korea turns away 3mn doses of China’s Sinovac vaccine – UNICEF

RT | September 2, 2021

North Korea has rejected a shipment of three million doses of the Chinese-made Sinovac Covid vaccine from the international COVAX scheme, asking UNICEF to redirect them to worse-hit countries, the UN said on Thursday.

The Asian nation was among the first to introduce strict Covid restrictions as the pandemic began to spread in early 2020, locking down its border to prevent transmission from neighboring China. Pyongyang has claimed that it has not yet detected any cases of Covid within the country.

A spokesperson for UN agency UNICEF said that North Korea had rejected roughly around three million doses of a Covid vaccine, requesting that the COVAX scheme give them to poorer nations, which have reported greater case numbers during the pandemic.

The North Korean Public Health Ministry confirmed in a statement that it had rejected the doses, saying that the vaccines are being “relocated to severely affected countries in view of the limited global supply of Covid-19 vaccines and recurrent surge in some countries.” However, the country’s officials said they would “continue to communicate” with the COVAX scheme over receiving a shipment of doses “in the coming months.”

The World Health Organization’s (WHO) weekly report released on August 27 confirmed that “no case of Covid-19 has been reported” within North Korea, although 37,291 people have been tested with flu-like symptoms, returning negative coronavirus tests.

While North Korea claims it hasn’t had an outbreak of cases, it has suffered an economic and “food crisis” due to border restrictions, which have affected trade and travel with the reclusive country’s neighbors.

The decision to reject the Chinese Sinovac doses comes months after a South Korean think tank, the Institute for National Security Strategy, claimed that North Korea had refused a shipment of AstraZeneca vaccines over fears about potential side effects.

September 2, 2021 Posted by | Timeless or most popular | , | 3 Comments

Tensions escalating between US and North Korea

By Lucas Leiroz | June 25, 2021

Since March, the situation between the US and North Korea has been gradually worsening. That month, American Chancellor Antony Blinken took his first international trip, whose destinations were Japan and South Korea, where conversations with local leaders about North Korea were carried out. On the occasion, Blinken highlighted alleged human rights violations in the country and the “threat” posed by the North Korean nuclear program to international security in that Asian region.

He stated that Washington, Tokyo and Seoul will work together to achieve the denuclearization of Pyongyang, which was taken as a threat by the North Korean government, leading to immediate responses such as the launch of two ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan and a warning issued by the sister of the supreme leader, Kim Yo Jong, who said that “if it [the US ] wants to sleep in peace for the coming four years, it had better refrain from causing a stink at its first step”.

Reports issued by US military and intelligence agents in April stated that North Korea has more nuclear weapons than ever and is unwilling to give up its arsenal, prompting the US government to make constant pronouncements on the need of denuclearization, claiming that this is the only condition for dialogue between the two countries. In early June, Kim appeared in public commenting that the Biden government has a “hostile policy” towards North Korea. On June 12, during a meeting of the Central Military Commission of the Worker’s Party of Korea, Kim called for measures to boost military combat effectiveness, warning of new challenges on the Korean peninsula.

Despite continuing to respond to Biden’s impositions with severe displays of force, resuming military tests and claiming to be prepared for an eventual conflict, one factor has harmed Korea considerably: the food crisis. Kim Jong Un recently made remarks about the country’s current supply crisis, warning of a serious food insecurity situation – the worst in decades. The effects of the pandemic hit the country at the same time that several natural disasters damaged agriculture and generated serious instability in grain production. At the end of May, China announced that it would economically help Korea by increasing trade with the country, but the crisis is still far from being resolved.

In his most recent speech, last week, Kim said that Korea is prepared for both confrontation and dialogue, showing signs that, while not giving up on its interests, it is willing to talk with Biden and reach an agreement to ease tensions – which would help Korea at this time of crisis. But the US government was not sensitive to the situation in the Asian country. Blinken responded to the Korean leader’s speech by saying Washington is waiting for “a clearer signal from Pyongyang.” What would be a clearer signal than the country’s president saying he is prepared for dialogue? It would be precisely Kim claiming that he is willing to give up on his nuclear program.

North Korea reduced the bellicose speech it had been maintaining since March and received nothing in return from Washington. The most curious point is that Kim sought a more neutral stance precisely at a time of intensified tensions between the US and China. At the last NATO summit, China was considered a “global security challenge”, being treated in an anti-diplomatic way. Beijing is the biggest ally of the Korean government and all measures against China affect Pyongyang in some way.

Pyongyang will react to the American stance by canceling any willingness to dialogue and tightening military policies, at least as long as the country is able to maintain such measures. Still, it is possible that Biden will take advantage of Korea’s moment of vulnerability to act even more militarily. An open confrontation is unlikely to happen as no conflict between two nuclear-armed states is viable, but demonstrations of force such as tests, missile launches, and symbolic naval warfare are possible scenarios for the near future. Also, such measures would be a proxy confrontation with China, which is allied with North Korea.

In short, Biden is reversing a great positive legacy of the Trump era, which was the achievement of partial stability in US-North Korea relations. The former government has shown that coercion and force are not the most effective methods of pursuing the denuclearization of a country. But Biden’s policy seems to follow an old bellicose mentality that is absolutely unproductive today.

Lucas Leiroz is a research fellow in international law at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.

June 25, 2021 Posted by | Militarism | , | 3 Comments

The United States Started the Korean War

Tales of the American Empire • June 10, 2021

The history taught Americans is that North Korean forces attacked South Korea in 1950 and almost overran that new nation until the US military came to the rescue. This is true but does not explain that the United States government wanted a war. Major American industries had suffered with the loss of military business after the end of World War II, while wealthy Americans sought an excuse to expel the communists from China to recover their businesses. These groups conspired with the administration of President Harry Truman to lure North Korea to attack.

“The Korean War: Barbarism Unleashed”; Jeremy Kuzmarov; United States Foreign Policy; 2016; https://peacehistory-usfp.org/korean-…

“South Korea and US Started the Korean War”; Bruce Cumings; Bleier’s Blog; November 9, 2007; https://bleiersblog.blogspot.com/2007…

“Korea: A Brief History Explains Everything”: Dana Visalli; Global Research; January 23, 2019; https://www.globalresearch.ca/korea-b…

“The Hidden History of the Korean War (1950-1953)” – Book Review; Jay Hauben; Global Research; July 14, 2013; https://www.globalresearch.ca/the-hid… 

Related Tale: “American Marines Reclaimed Northern China in 1945”; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jDBUT…

June 14, 2021 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular, Video, War Crimes | , | 3 Comments

World should not tolerate Israel’s reckless terrorism, North Korea says

Palestinian workers clear rubble and debris in al-Rimal neighborhood of Gaza City on June 8, 2021. (Photo by AFP)
Press TV | June 9, 2021

North Korea has denounced the latest Israeli military aggression on the besieged Gaza strip, stating that Tel Aviv is massacring children and that the international community should not tolerate Israel’s reckless sponsorship of terrorism.

“It is no exaggeration to say that the whole Gaza Strip has turned into a huge human slaughterhouse and a place of massacring children,” the North Korean Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

“Israel’s horrific crime of killing the … children is a severe challenge to the future of humankind and a crime against the humanity,” it added.

The international community should not tolerate “Israel’s reckless state-sponsored terrorism and act of obliterating other nations.”

At least 260 Palestinians, including 66 children, were killed in the Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip in 11 days of the conflict that began on May 10. Israel’s airstrikes also brought widespread devastation to the already impoverished territory.

The Gaza-based resistance movements responded by launching over 4,000 rockets into the occupied territories, some reaching as far as Tel Aviv and even Haifa and Nazareth to the north.

The Israeli regime was eventually forced to announce a ceasefire, brokered by Egypt, which came into force in the early hours of May 21.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that Palestinians are facing “staggering health needs” in the occupied territories after the last month’s conflict in the Gaza Strip.

June 9, 2021 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, War Crimes | , | 4 Comments

Continuing the Story of the Hijacked Tanker and Frozen Funds

By Konstantin Asmolov – New Eastern Outlook – 04.05.2021

In early 2021, we wrote about the Iranian seizure of a South Korean tanker and how this precedent actually demonstrates a number of unresolved problems, most notably the problem of Iranian assets in South Korean banks intended to pay for Iranian crude oil imports and frozen because of US sanctions.

Recall:  Iran has repeatedly urged Seoul to address the $7 billion frozen in two South Korean banks as part of US sanctions after the Donald Trump administration pulled out of the landmark nuclear deal with Iran in 2018 and tightened sanctions against the Islamic Republic. On January 4, 2021, the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps seized the South Korean-flagged tanker MT Hankuk Chemi under the pretext of environmental pollution.

On January 10, 2021, a government delegation led by First Deputy Foreign Minister Choi Jong-gon arrived in Tehran. However, the parties were unable to reach any agreements. In fact, Choi called for the release of the tanker and demanded evidence of oil pollution in the waters of the Persian Gulf, which formally caused the tanker to be seized. In response, his interlocutor Abbas Araghchi said that the tanker was in the hands of an Iranian court, and that the development of bilateral relations can make sense only when the issue of frozen funds is resolved.

Araghchi openly stated that “the freezing of Iran’s foreign currency resources in Korea is more due to a lack of political will on the part of the Korean government than to US sanctions,” and called on Choi to work out a mechanism to resolve the issue. However, the Iranian side noted that the crew members were safe and in good shape.

Choi’s talks with Iran’s Central Bank Governor Abdel Nasser Hemmati and Foreign Minister Javad Zarif also proved fruitless. The minister reiterated the thesis that the executive branch does not interfere in matters that fall within the jurisdiction of the judiciary; and the bank recalled that the South Korean government had promised to resolve the issue a year and a half ago, but had done nothing.

Kamal Kharrazi, head of Iran’s Strategic Council on Foreign Relations, was even more blunt: “The two countries had good relations, but now, unfortunately, because the Korean government yielded to US pressure, Iranian assets worth $7 billion have been frozen in Korean banks, and it cannot even withdraw money to buy medicine“.

On January 12, during a briefing, Saeed Khatibzadeh of the Iranian Foreign Ministry expressed dissatisfaction with the measures taken by the ROK to solve the problem: the solution is delayed and Tehran is not satisfied. The Iranian side has indicated its position that the problem of frozen funds should be solved first, and the issue of the arrested tanker will be resolved in accordance with legal procedures.

As a result of Choi’s visit, the parties agreed on nothing but further negotiations, and Choi went to Qatar, where he appealed for assistance in freeing the South Korean tanker and its crew.

In mid-January it emerged that in order to “create a positive mood before negotiations with Iran,” South Korea withdrew its anti-piracy naval unit Cheonghae from the Strait of Hormuz. Iranian Ambassador Saeed Badamchi Shabestari allegedly once expressed displeasure to Seoul over the presence of South Korean troops in the Straits because they were actually part of an international contingent assembled by the United States to contain Iran, even though formally the unit is meant to fight regional piracy. It is a typical trick of South Korean foreign policy when US orders are de facto carried out, but de jure these actions are anything but the direct order. However, the Foreign Ministry of the ROK refused to confirm this movement of troops.

At the same time, there was a rumor that the Iranian party offered to use part of the frozen funds to pay off its outstanding UN membership dues. Although the amount is only $16,200,000, experts decided that the only the first step would be particularly difficult, and on January 19, the head of the Central Bank of Iran, in an interview with Bloomberg agency again noted that this is not the first time the authorities of the Republic of Korea promise to do everything possible, but in fact they continue to follow the US policy and rules.

The Korean party, on the other hand, has made certain hints that a change of power in the US could unblock the problem.

On January 21, Hemmati reported that some of the funds belonging to Iran, which are in foreign banks, have been unfrozen and are being used by the government.

On February 2, 2021, Iran agreed to release the entire crew of the hijacked tanker except for the captain. Seoul welcomed this decision, and “the parties agreed to continue mutual communication”. By this time everyone finally remembered that at the time of the seizure the ship was carrying not petroleum products, but ethyl alcohol, so it is unclear how the fact of pollution that became the reason for the arrest of the ship occurred at that time.

The next day, the ROK media reported that South Korea was finalizing negotiations with the US to use some of the frozen money to pay Iran’s outstanding US dues. Otherwise, South Korean experts believed that the decision was still related to the change of power in the US, because, first, Biden was going to deal with the restoration of alliances in general, and second, the Iranian issue, according to Southerners, will be solved differently than under Trump. Iran has been called upon to return to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action in order to restore the 2015 nuclear agreement.

In addition, it was reported that South Korea increased the export of medicine to Iran for two months, which also contributed to the release of detainees.

On February 11, the first Korean sailor returned home, but some of the crew remained on the ship to provide management.

On February 23, in a statement issued by South Korean Foreign Ministry in response to the Iranian Foreign Ministry’s statement on reaching an agreement with the South, it was stated that Iranian assets could be unblocked after consultations with the United States. According to a report posted on the Iranian government’s website, the agreement was reached during the February 22 meeting between Hemmati, Governor of the Central Bank of Iran, and Yoo Jong-hyun, the ROK ambassador to Iran. The parties agreed on directions for the transfer of money, and the Central Bank of Iran has informed Seoul of the amount it wants to receive.  Then, according to Bloomberg, Iranian government spokesman Ali Rabiei told a news conference that South Korea would release $1 billion in frozen money as a first step toward resolving the issue, without giving further details on how it would be used.

However, on the same day, Feb. 23, State Department spokesman Ned Price noted that the US and the ROK could discuss the supposed release of Iranian funds, but the money had not yet been transferred. The ROK Foreign Ministry also stressed that American pressure was needed to unfreeze Iranian assets. Thus, Tehran’s claim of an agreement has been refuted.

On February 24, the foreign ministers of the ROK and Islamic Republic of Iran discussed the situation, and Jong Eui-young said that South Korea “is making sincere efforts to release frozen assets,” but recalled that the issue must be resolved in close cooperation with the United States. In response, the Governor of the Central Bank of Iran said that South Korea must pay Iran $1 billion, otherwise Tehran will initiate proceedings in international courts.

On February 25, a US Treasury Department official said that Washington agreed in principle to a partial transfer of Iranian assets to Switzerland, from where they can be sent to Iran under the so-called Swiss Agreement on Humanitarian Trade, the essence of which is that Swiss food, pharmaceutical and medical companies must have a reliable channel of payment to ensure payment for their exports to Iran. Actually, the aforementioned billion was going to be transferred to the purchase of drugs against coronavirus

The conservative media in the ROK accused Iran of diplomatic impoliteness and wishful thinking. However, the commonplace conclusion was that it was all Moon’s fault for failing everything: the government is only engaged in improving relations with the DPRK and cannot conduct skillful diplomacy with other countries.

On March 2, Ned Price said that the US would be willing to discuss with Iran the unblocking of its money in the ROK “to achieve the main goal of Iran’s denuclearization.” He was silent about where, when, and how this issue would be discussed.

On March 10, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken took an even tougher stance: until Iran meets its obligations under the nuclear deal, the US will not ease any sanctions, including the release of Iranian funds in South Korean banks. When asked whether it was true that some of the funds could be transferred, however, Blinken replied that “the report you referred to is simply wrong“. Korean conservative media and experts immediately noted that “Secretary Blinken’s principled approach to frozen Iranian funds is good news for Korean national interests. This allows Seoul to resist extortion, even while making every reasonable effort to cooperate with Tehran. It also sends a signal to North Korea that international sanctions will be strictly enforced, but may be eased if denuclearization agreements are respected.”

On March 16, the ROK and Iran held a video conference that formally focused on expanding bilateral humanitarian trade, and on March 17, Deputy Prime Minister and Treasury Secretary Hong Nam-gi spoke by phone with new US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, where the parties agreed to cooperate closely, including on the Iranian issue.

On April 2, 2021, a diplomatic source reported that the tanker would soon be released, and on April 5, Said Khatibzadeh of the Iranian Foreign Ministry added that the case was ending and the court decision would most likely be in favor of the South Korean side.

According to experts, this was related both to the upcoming visit to Iran of Prime Minister Jong Se-kyung and to the fact that 700,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine produced in Kazakhstan were delivered to Iran.

On the morning of April 9, Iran released the tanker and it left the port. On board were the captain and 12 crew members who had been released earlier but remained on the ship for maintenance purposes.

On April 11, Jeong Se-kyung left for Iran on a three-day visit. This visit was the first trip of a South Korean prime minister to Iran in 44 years, but it should be remembered that by this time it was already known that at the end of the visit Chong was resigning due to a set of domestic political problems. Therefore, despite the high status of the visit, its real significance was somewhat less than expected, and the visit did not end with anything serious. The sides agreed to expand humanitarian exchanges, including medical cooperation, and to create a special consultative body responsible for preparing economic cooperation projects after the possible resumption of the nuclear deal. The Iranian side again urged Seoul to unblock the money as soon as possible, which was responded to with further assurances that everything possible was being done and a call to prevent Iran from detaining foreign vessels in the future: “The freedom of navigation must be guaranteed.”

In general, during his stay in Iran, Jeong Se-kyung himself was particularly active trying to please Iran and even talked about the importance and profound spiritual significance of Ramadan. It turns out that he has said before that “this money is Iranian money and should be returned to the rightful owner. We have to find a way to return it quickly.” However, the author’s attempt to search for statements by the South Korean prime minister on this topic was unsuccessful. Jeong met with a number of dignitaries, including the speaker of parliament, but was unable to meet with President Rouhani “for various reasons, including the situation with Covid-19.”

And Iran’s First Vice President Jahangiri openly said, “We call on the Korean government to release Iran’s financial resources as soon as possible and solve the problems of recent years through practical compensatory measures.” The vice president regretted that the $1 billion transfer to Swiss banks for the purchase of a coronavirus vaccine did not materialize despite promises by Korean officials: the Korean banks’ actions severely damaged bilateral relations, as it deprived Iran of major foreign exchange resources to purchase medicines and medical equipment in a pandemic. As a result, the image of the ROK has been seriously damaged. There is hope that the situation will improve after Jeong Se-kyung’s visit.

Nevertheless, on April 12, a US State Department official, speaking on condition of anonymity, repeated in an interview with the Ryonhap news agency that the US position on sanctions against Iran remains unchanged. Until Iran goes back on the JCPOA, it won’t get its money back.

Thus, on the one hand, the story of the tanker hijack ended well enough, and the notion that the action had not an environmental but a political purpose was safely confirmed. On the other, Iran’s attempt to push for the return of the blocked funds in this way did not end with anything. Iran received some vaccines and other medical resources, but it was more of a handout than a victory. Finally, this situation shows well the level of independence of South Korean foreign policy on certain issues. Despite the fact that the South Korean leadership did not seem to mind solving the problem, at the first shout from the US in Seoul they stood at attention, not even trying to show displeasure about it. For the author, this is a rather important story that explains both why some countries periodically claim a “lack of sovereignty” in South Korea and the difference in South Korean foreign policy between the populist statements of Moon Jae-in and Co. and Seoul’s actual actions.

Konstantin Asmolov, PhD in History, is a leading research fellow at the Center for Korean Studies of the Institute of the Far East at the Russian Academy of Sciences.

May 4, 2021 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , , , | Leave a comment

‘Gangster-like logic’: North Korea rejects Biden’s missile launch criticism, points to Washington’s own saber-rattling

RT | March 26, 2021

Responding to American criticism of its recent missile launch, North Korea has accused Washington of denying its right to self-defense, even as the US holds war games at the country’s doorstep and tests advanced weaponry.

“It’s a gangster-like logic that it is allowable for the US to ship the strategic nuclear assets into the Korean peninsula and launch ICBMs any time it wants but not allowable for the DPRK, its belligerent party, to conduct even a test of a tactical weapon,” senior North Korean official Ri Pyong-chol said in statement on Saturday.

The comments came after US President Joe Biden condemned a series of missile launches by Pyongyang, which test-fired several newly developed “tactical guided missiles” on Thursday, with the US leader vowing to “respond accordingly” if North Korea opted to “escalate.”

Defending the launches, Ri argued that the guided missile test was merely an “exercise of the full-fledged right of a sovereign state to self-defense,” given that the US and its allies routinely flex their military muscles in the region with “dangerous war exercises” and are happy to arm themselves with advanced weapons.

Ri appeared to reject speculation that the rocket launches, all conducted within a span of a week in the run-up to Biden’s much-anticipated first solo press conference on Thursday, were meant to send a signal to the new administration.

“We are by no means developing weapons to draw someone’s attention or influence his policy,” the official said. Ri, who according to North Korea’s state media, oversaw the latest launch, went on to denounce Biden’s vow of retaliation as “an undisguised encroachment” on North Korea’s right to self-defense and “provocation,” warning that the US “may be faced with something that is not good” if it continued such rhetoric.

The missiles test-fired on Thursday were described by the Japanese and South Korean militaries as ballistic missiles. While North Korea is banned from testing ballistic missiles under UN Security Council resolutions, Washington is not bound by such constraints. Last month, the US military fired an unarmed LGM-30G Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) from a California base, with the US Air Force saying that the launch showed that Washington’s “strategic deterrent is safe, secure and effective.”

“Our nation’s ICBM fleet stands ready 24/7,” Lieutenant General Anthony Cotton, deputy commander of the Air Force’s Global Strike Command, said at the time.

Earlier this month, the US and South Korea held a nine-day joint military exercise that was scaled back this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The scope of the annual computer-simulated drills has been limited since the previous US administration attempted to strike a denuclearization agreement with Pyongyang, though the effort ultimately failed after Washington refused to provide any sanctions relief until North Korea carried out “complete and irreversible” denuclearization.

March 27, 2021 Posted by | Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite | , | 1 Comment

US Anti-North Korea Propaganda

By Stephen Lendman | March 26, 2021

US hostility toward North Korea is all about its freedom from imperial control.

It’s unrelated to alleged threats from its ruling authorities that don’t exist.

Since the Korean peninsula was divided post-WW II, the DPRK never attacked another nation.

It threatens none now — except in self-defense against aggression, its legitimate UN Charter right.

North Korea is an invented US enemy, not a real one.

Its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile capabilities are solely for defense.

They’re deterrents against possible US aggression.

DPRK ruling authorities know that what happened in the early 1950s can repeat because of US imperial rage to dominate other countries, including by brute force.

On Thursday, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said Pyongyang launched two ballistic missiles that landed outside Japan’s exclusive economic zone.

Claiming the test launches threaten regional security defy reality.

Yet the Kyodo news agency reported that Japan is holding an emergency National Security Council meeting in response to the tests.

They were the first North Korean ballistic missiles launched since March 2020.

An unnamed Biden regime official confirmed the launch, saying the Pentagon and US intelligence are analyzing the tests.

It’s unclear if short, intermediate or long-range missiles were launched.

According to South Korea’s Yonhap news agency, the country’s military confirmed “at least one unidentified projectile” launched by North Korea.

In response to provocative US/South Korean military exercises near its territory, Pyongyang condemned them and launched several short-range missiles last weekend.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s sister Kim Yo-jong slammed ongoing US/South Korean military drills, saying:

If Seoul “resort(s) to more provocative acts, we may take a special measure of resolutely abrogating even the north-south military agreement,” adding:

“Perhaps they are expecting ‘flexible judgment’ and ‘understanding’ from us but it is, indeed, ridiculous, impudent and stupid.”

“War drills and hostility can never go with dialogue and cooperation.”

Weeks earlier in a joint Biden regime/South Korea press release, their foreign ministers agreed on pushing for denuclearization of North Korea, calling it a matter of urgency.

Ignored was nuclear armed and dangerous USA and its key imperial partners.

They pose an unprecedented threat to world peace — in sharp contrast to North Korea threatening no one.

Its KCNA news agency earlier slammed Biden, calling him a “rabid dog (in) the final stage of dementia.”

As part of its propaganda drumbeat against nations free from US control, the NYT called North Korea’s missile tests “a show of force, raising tensions to gain leverage as the Biden (regime) finalizes its review of Washington’s North Korea policy,” adding:

“It was a warning to Washington that North Korea will follow up with more provocative tests (sic), involving longer-range missiles, depending on whether Biden decides to adopt more sanctions, engage in dialogue or a mix of both in dealing with the country’s growing nuclear and missile threats (sic).”

Weeks earlier, North Korea’s leadership announced plans to upgrade its nuclear capabilities.

It’s developing miniaturized nuclear warheads, tactical nuclear weapons, multiple independently-targetable reentry vehicles (MIRVs), solid-fuel ballistic missiles of varying ranges, nuclear propulsion systems for submarines, and hypersonic weapons.

Kim Jong-un stressed the importance of strengthening the country’s ability to deter aggressors from launching attacks.

If the above capabilities are developed, they’ll be powerful deterrents against possible US aggression.

March 27, 2021 Posted by | Militarism | , | 1 Comment