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North Korea responds to Russian arms sales claims

Samizdat | September 22, 2022

North Korea has said it has no plans to sell arms to Russia, calling the idea a “conspiracy theory” after US officials claimed that a deal is in the works involving “millions” of artillery shells and rockets.

Pyongyang’s Ministry of Defense released a statement on Wednesday responding to the claims, saying that while it does not accept United Nations penalties prohibiting all arms sales by North Korea, it also has no intention of transferring weapons to Russia.

“We have never exported weapons or ammunition to Russia in the past, and we have no plans to do so in the future,” an unnamed military official said, as cited in state media, adding, “We strongly condemn and sternly warn the United States to stop recklessly spreading anti-DPRK conspiracy theories in order to pursue vicious political and military atrocities.”

First noted in a New York Times report citing “declassified” US intelligence materials, the purported arms deal was later given official credence by State Department deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel, who told reporters that Russia “is in the process of purchasing millions of rockets and artillery shells from North Korea for use in Ukraine” earlier this month.

However, the White House walked back the charge soon afterwards, with National Security Council spokesman John Kirby stating that there are “no indications that that purchase has been completed and certainly no indications that those weapons are being used inside of Ukraine.”

Moscow’s envoy to the UN, Vassily Nebenzia, had previously dismissed the claim as “another fake being circulated around.”

The alleged weapons sale by Pyongyang mirrors similar allegations from US officials about an upcoming drone transfer from Iran to Russia. A little more than two weeks after National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said Washington had clear evidence that Iran was preparing to deliver “several hundred” armed UAVs to Russia, Kirby again clarified that the US had “seen no indications of any sort of actual delivery and/or purchase of Iranian drones by the Russian Ministry of Defense.” Tehran initially denied any plans to share drone technology with Moscow, though the Pentagon has continued to claim the sales are taking place, alleging a “first shipment” of drones in late August.

September 22, 2022 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | 3 Comments

New Fakes about Russia-DPRK Military Cooperation

By Konstantin Asmolov – New Eastern Outlook – 19.09.2022 

More recently, the author analyzed misinformation that North Korean special forces were about to appear in the Donbass, but the global media soon encountered another misinformation launched from the West: it turned out that North Korea was preparing to supply Russia with shells and possibly military equipment on a massive scale. Or it is already supplying, but that is not certain.

It all started on September 5 with a New York Times article quoting “declassified intelligence reports” that “Russia is buying millions of artillery shells and rockets from North Korea, … a sign that global sanctions have severely restricted its supply chains and forced Moscow to turn to pariah states for military supplies.”

However, the newspaper immediately noted that there were few details about the exact weaponry, timing or size of the shipment, and generally, “there is no way yet to independently verify the sale”, but immediately went on to theorize as to why this was the case. It turns out that the Russian Federation now allegedly has no ability to buy advanced weapons or the electronics to produce them, as international sanctions on Moscow disrupt its supply chains, stocks of shells and missiles are running out and Russia is forced to look for suppliers. This, in particular, was stated by the quoted expert with the Ukrainian-speaking surname Kagan.

A little later, AP Agency gave some details and quotes, which, however, still did not clarify the situation. Brigadier General Pat Ryder, a Pentagon Press Secretary, said “the information that we have is that Russia has specifically asked for ammunition” but had no other details, including whether money changed hands and whether any deliveries were continuing.

Asked why this information was declassified, Ryder said it was important to illustrate the state of Russia’s ongoing military campaign in Ukraine. And, the author would add, against the backdrop of Ukraine’s attempted counter-offensive.

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby also said there was no indication yet that the arms purchase had actually taken place or that any North Korean munitions had entered the battlefield in Ukraine. Nevertheless, the talks themselves are “just further evidence of how desperate Putin is becoming”, with US intelligence suggesting that Russia is buying millions of rounds of ammunition from the DPRK.

After that, the news spread around the world media and even reached South Korea, but discussion on the relatively objectivist website NKNews showed that assessments are directly dependent on both their bias and their distance from the Russian context.

For example, Jack Watling, Senior Research Fellow at the Royal United Services Institute, confidently stated that since February 2022 Moscow had been buying up stocks of 152mm and 122mm shells “in any way they can. And that includes North Korea.” All this is said to be common knowledge in intelligence circles, but the source of this information is not in the public domain, and he is personally unaware of specific deliveries from North Korea to Russia. However, Watlig’s level of knowledge is better described by another quote:  “Moscow had for some time pushed for Pyongyang to support its war effort,” which, he said, was not limited to supplying ammunitions.

For his part, Joost Oliemans, a specialist focused on DPRK military capabilities, expressed more restraint – Pyongyang certainly has a huge amount of old ammunition, and can produce new weapons for export, but “if this story is really true, we could expect to see video evidence of North Korean ammunition in Ukraine in the coming months.” In other words, he is not prepared to discuss the subject without evidence.

By the very next day on September 6, both Ryder and Kirby had already given up somewhat. The former said in a press briefing that “we do have indications that Russia has approached North Korea to request ammunition”, he could not provide more details, but in any case “it is indicative of the situation that Russia finds itself in, in terms of its logistics and sustainment capabilities.” And also that Moscow is asking for help precisely from those countries that the US has defined as “rogue”.

Kirby also conceded that the US doesn’t “have any indication that the purchase has actually occurred yet so it’s difficult to say what it’s actually going to end up looking like”, much less evidence that these weapons are being used in Ukraine.

The Russian side has also spoken out. According to Russia’s Permanent Representative to the UN Security Council, Vasily Nebenzya, “I have not heard about it and I think it’s just another spreading fake news.”

On September 7, 2022, NKNews specifically updated its piece to clarify that “there is no evidence in the public domain of Russian efforts to procure North Korean arms since February 2022”. By this time, both Russian and unbiased Western experts had formulated a set of theses indicating that the hype news was nothing more than misinformation.

  1. The DPRK’s arms exports to Russia are a violation of UN Security Council resolutions, which prohibit that country from exporting or importing arms from other countries. Moreover, back in the day Vladimir Putin banned the supply of small arms and light weapons to North Korea as part of the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 2270 of March 2, 2016. An overt violation of this kind undermines Russia’s status as a permanent member of the UNSC, and from the author’s perspective even the hypothetical arrival of North Korean construction workers in the DLPR (a far less overt violation) is at best discussed. Perhaps this disregard for sanctions will happen later on the backdrop of a further breakdown of the old world order, but that time has not yet come.
  2. It is not at all clear how sending such a volume of cargo is compatible with “emergency anti-epidemic measures” and border closures. Especially considering that there is only one railroad bridge between the Russian Federation and the DPRK, which has limited capacity. How exactly Moscow will pay is also a good question in view of the sanctions.
  3. A comparison of Russia’s and DPRK’s weapons production capabilities also leads to the question of whether Russia does not have its own military and industrial complex at all, and whether the start of the SMO has not affected the rate of ammunition production. And also regarding the volume of Russian military stockpiles: as even Oliemans pointed out, Moscow must have a huge amount of old Soviet ammunition, which is unlikely to run out anytime soon.
  4. All right, let’s say that “the Russians don’t want to go below a certain level of reserves in case they face other threats”, but the same logic is all the more applicable to the DPRK, which is constantly on alert against a superior enemy. By that logic, Pyongyang needs the shells and missiles itself.
  5. Most importantly, there is no idea how exactly US intelligence could have obtained such data. But misinformation fits in well with the West’s propaganda mindset that the successes of Russian SMO in Ukraine are about to come to an end. It is known that these successes are largely due to technical rather than numerical superiority, and therefore the argument “we’ll talk when the Russians run out of shells” is very popular in the pro-Ukrainian environment.

Of course, if one considers this misinformation as a kind of “mental exercise”, North Korean military equipment and ammunition might well come in handy. Russian military expert Vladimir Khrustalyov lists a whole range of DPRK military equipment capable of showing off in Donbass – the arsenal turns out to be quite impressive.

But talk of “what would have been” is beyond the scope of the article, and the author is far more interested in how the US intelligence community knew about the ominous “signs”. The author has two options and the first one is that this information is not intelligence but military-psychological. In other words, the news was simply made up for propaganda purposes to cradle the “desperate Putin is trying to find a million missiles” picture, which will leave a certain residue even after the falsity of the data comes to light.

The second option is more amusing and, alas, more realistic: the source of the sensational information could be such an anonymous and specific medium as Russian politicized Telegram channels, in which the SMO is constantly discussed. However, Telegram’s anonymity often makes it impossible to identify the channel’s real author. This means that any high-school student with a glib tongue can easily portray himself as an “expert from those very structures” involved in the “secrets of the Kremlin court”, even if the information has no real basis in fact.

For the author, the validity of such anonymous channels amounts to reports of “secret informants in the DPRK” who “know the local life” and “report the truth”, but non-core or engaged experts easily cite such sources in case they fit their point of view. In addition, even a broken clock is right twice a day. On this basis, it can be assumed that a Russian-speaking US military intelligence official subscribed to a similar channel that discussed the notion that Russia would soon run out of bombs and missiles and need to buy them somewhere, probably even from North Korea.

Perhaps the scout did not distinguish the ironic context from the dramatic one. It is even more likely that he did not realize that the alleged foreign intelligence general or presidential administration official describing the secret talks was typing on his smartphone in algebra class. But the information has gone up the chain of command and in one way or another has “come in handy”.

To conclude the conversation, it is worth noting how the propaganda image of the DPRK has changed: before the SMO, the Western media presented North Korea as a starving third-world country, but now it is a superpower providing Putin with builders, soldiers and now also ammunition. Therefore, the fake about millions of missiles is clearly not the latest fake about the “Jucheans in the Donbass”.

Konstantin Asmolov, PhD in History, leading research fellow at the Center for Korean Studies of the Institute of China and Modern Asia, and the Russian Academy of Sciences.

September 19, 2022 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | 2 Comments

US-South Korean Ulchi Freedom Shield military exercises raises alarms in Pyongyang

By Ahmed Adel | August 25, 2022

South Korea and the United States began the joint Ulchi Freedom Shield (UFS) military exercises on August 22, resuming large-scale field training after a four-year pause. Following the Singapore summit in 2018 between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and then US President Donald Trump, joint land exercises were cancelled and the scale of the UFS exercises was significantly reduced. However, with US President Joe Biden in power and the consequential destabilisation because of Washington’s desperate attempt to maintain a unipolar order, these exercises have resumed.  

Trump tried to convince Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons program as a shield to ensure its security. An important basis for this US decision was the policy of then-South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who actively established dialogue with North Korea. Incumbent President of South Korea Yoon Suk-yeol has reviewed inter-Korean relations and promised to carry out regular military drills and strengthen his country’s missile defence capabilities. As a result, South Korea fully resumed joint military exercises with the US.

Western media reported that this year’s UFS exercise includes a series of drills in specific hypothetical situations, modelled on an all-out war, simulating joint attacks, as well as operations such as supplying weapons and fuel to the front, and moving weapons of mass destruction. In the past, the US and South Korea mobilised tens of thousands of troops and a large number of aircraft, warships and tanks to participate in similar exercises. 

According to a shared statement, South Korea and the US are holding these drills in response to North Korea, which has increased the number and scale of missile tests over the past year. North Korea is not a credible threat to the US though and is unlikely to attack South Korea unprovoked, meaning that their missile tests are a demonstration of its defensive capabilities. 

North Korea traditionally views joint US-South Korean military exercises as preparations for an invasion, a legitimate concern since it was the US who internationalised the Korean Civil War that has kept the peninsula divided ever since.  

The joint US-South Korean military exercises are sure to provoke an outraged response from Pyongyang. Although Pyongyang can limit itself to harsh rhetoric, the recent cruise missile launches are a pre-emptive response to the US-South Korean military drills. In general, the provocative exercises have pushed tensions to a new level.

At the meeting on August 9 in the Chinese city of Qingdao, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his South Korean counterpart Park Jin exchanged views on the latest situation on the Korean Peninsula and how to resolve tensions. At that time, the date and scope of the UFS exercise were announced. It is possible that this caused the Chinese side to voice their concerns about the US-South Korea exercise plan and the possible impact it can have on stability in Northeast Asia. 

After the talks, the South Korean minister asked Beijing to play a constructive role in persuading Pyongyang to choose dialogue over a military response. At the same time, Park Jin acknowledged that peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula is facing unprecedented challenges, but without acknowledging this was at his own country’s behest as it continually invites a non-regional actor to interfere in affairs. 

For his part, Wang Yi called Pyongyang and Seoul as the two real masters of the Korean peninsula, making it clear that China expects South Korea to make responsible decisions regarding bilateral relations and without outside influence. But, this year’s UFS military exercise shows that Seoul is not ready to act confidently and independently.

It appears that the current US-influenced South Korean government is incapable of managing the security situation on the Korean peninsula. This concerns China as it already faces US provocations regarding Taiwan and it does not want another major flashpoint opened on its border.

The North Korean government regularly asks China to play a constructive role. South Korean leaders are well aware that, in fact, China is the only country with some kind of leverage and influence over Pyongyang. In general, Yoon Suk-yeol’s administration does not want to increase confrontation with China, but at the same time acts as a US lackey towards North Korea.

Yoon Suk-yeol tried to avoid trouble and repeatedly reassured that South Korea’s participation in some American initiatives was not directed against China. South Korea wants to join US economic initiatives, but this always comes at a price of serving American geopolitical interests. 

During his talks with his South Korean counterpart, Wang Yi affirmed that China supports the improvement of North-South relations, adheres to a two-way phased approach, and promotes denuclearisation and building a peace mechanism on the peninsula. 

But just because Chinese concerns may be acknowledged, it does not mean that North Korea feels anymore relaxed about the provocative exercises. In fact, given the context of the US instigating war in Ukraine and attempting to destabilise the Taiwan Straits, Pyongyang has very legitimate concerns with Washington’s intentions on the Korean peninsula. 

Ahmed Adel is a Cairo-based geopolitics and political economy researcher.

August 25, 2022 Posted by | Militarism | , , , | Leave a comment

No longer a pariah? Russia and China could be about to ‘normalise’ North Korea

By Timur Fomenko | Samizdat | August 18, 2022

At the beginning of this week the North Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported that Russian President Vladimir Putin had exchanged letters with Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un.

The report stated both countries had agreed to “expand the(ir) comprehensive and constructive bilateral relations with common efforts”.

Matching the anniversary of Korean independence on August 15th, Putin’s outreach comes as Russia seeks new partners away from the West. It also follows reports that North Korean expatriate workers would be assisting in the reconstruction of liberated territories in the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, to which it recently granted diplomatic recognition.

But it’s also an indication that the world has changed, significantly. Only a few years ago Russia, as well as China, were at least somewhat willing to cooperate with the United States in imposing sanctions on the DPRK in the bid to curb its nuclear and missile development.

That situation no longer exists. The outbreak of the conflict in Ukraine, combined with America’s bid to try and contain the rise of China, now means we exist in a multipolar international environment where multiple great powers are competing for influence.

This breaks down the space for cooperation over common issues, but also increases the need for strategic thinking among the competitors. In the eyes of Moscow, this makes their calculus concerning North Korea even more important than it was before, drawing parallels to the Cold War era.

We should not forget that it was the Soviet Union that enabled the creation of the DPRK in the first place. It was following the closing days of World War II that a strategic contest for influence in East Asia began to emerge between the US and the USSR over the former territories of Imperial Japan. As the Red Army marched south, an agreement was made to divide the Korean Peninsula at the 38th parallel.

Although the original agreement was designed only to make the division temporary, geopolitical frictions soon saw it become permanent, and rival Korean states emerged. The US-backed Republic of Korea in the South, and the Soviet- and China-supported Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) in the North, headed by former Red Army captain and guerrilla fighter Kim Il-sung.

The two young nations went to war in 1950, again supported by their respective superpower backers. Active fighting in that conflict ended three years later, but a formal peace agreement has not been signed to this day. And while Koreans on both sides of the divide wish for reunification, the scale of foreign involvement in the 1950s war stands as a reminder the peninsula is seen as a strategically critical landmass linking the continent of mainland Eurasia to the eastern seas.

Great powers have always seen it as a chess piece in the bid to dominate North East Asia. This had led to a tug of war which over the centuries has included the Ming and Qing Dynasties, the Russian Empire, the Empire of Japan and the United States, the People’s Republic of China and the Soviet Union.

But for the last three decades, since the end of the original Cold War, North Korea found itself increasingly isolated as China and Russia, for a period of time, both sought ties with the West, as well as the much more lucrative and successful South Korea. US unipolarity meant there was little interest from Moscow or Beijing in opposing America’s wishes to curb Pyongyang’s nuclear trajectory, which it sees as its last hope for regime survival.

But now a new paradigm is emerging, and just like in the times of old the DPRK, it’s seen yet again as a strategically indispensable bulwark against American power and military hegemony on Russia’s own border periphery, not least against its US-backed neighbors such as Japan.

In such an environment, there is no longer any benefit for Russia in cooperating with the US on the North Korean issue. The horse of “North Korea denuclearization” has long bolted, and instead the presence of a nuclear armed DPRK with ICBM capability is another thorn in Washington’s side, which if removed, only expands US power.

Thus, when America demanded another sanctions resolution against North Korea at the UN Security council earlier this year, both Russia and China vetoed it for the first time in over 15 years. It is a sign of the world we live in.

Moving on from here, Russia is likely to deepen its military and economic ties with North Korea, primarily because of its strategic and political worth.

In this view, history has completed a full circle and as the US shores up its allies to confront Moscow and Beijing, the theme of “bloc politics” re-emerges.

August 18, 2022 Posted by | Economics | , , | Leave a comment

US to Deploy Strategic Assets to Region If DPRK Conducts Nuclear Test: Pentagon

Samizdat – 17.08.2022

The United States and South Korea agreed to deploy US strategic assets to the region if North Korea conducts a nuclear test, the two nations said in a joint statement for their 21st integrated defense dialogue.

“Both sides shared their assessments of activities at the DPRK’s Punggye-ri nuclear testing site. The two sides affirmed that, should the DPRK conduct a nuclear test, the ROK and the U.S. will engage in a strong and firm bilateral response, to include options to deploy U.S. strategic assets to the region,” the statement said.

On Wednesday, North Korea launched two cruise missiles toward the Yellow Sea, the South Korean military said.

The 21st South Korea-US Integrated Defense Dialogue was held in Seoul on August 16-17. The delegations were led by US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for East Asia, Siddharth Mohandas, and South Korean Deputy Minister for National Defense Policy, Heo Tae-keun.

The United States and South Korea will expand the scope and scale of joint military drills in response to recent missile tests conducted by North Korea, and will start with the Ulchi Freedom Shield exercise next week, according to a joint statement.

“The leaders discussed the DPRK threat, particularly the increased volume and scale of DPRK missile tests over the course of the last year. With this in mind, and considering the evolving threat posed by the DPRK, both leaders committed to expanding the scope and scale of combined military exercises and training on and around the Korean Peninsula—starting with Ulchi Freedom Shield next week—to bolster combined readiness,” the joint statement said.

On August 16-17, the two countries held their 21st integrated defense dialogue in Seoul. The delegations were led by US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for East Asia, Siddharth Mohandas, and South Korean Deputy Minister for National Defense Policy, Heo Tae-keun.

August 17, 2022 Posted by | Militarism | , | 1 Comment

The Korean War May Never End

Tales of the American Empire | July 21, 2022

The Korean War that began in 1950 is technically ongoing because only an armistice was signed in 1953, rather than a peace treaty. American warmongers argue the United States must spend $8 billion a year to keep 30,000 troops there at a dozen bases until the war ends. This is only because the United States refuses to even discuss an end to the war because it will lose control of South Korea’s military if American Generals leave. In addition, part of the justification for the Pentagon’s massive annual budget is to defend South Korea, and those who profit off the perpetual American presence spend millions of dollars each year to lobby American congressmen to keep their racket going. The South Korean military is five times stronger than the North Korean military, and there are no Russian or Chinese soldiers based in North Korea. South Korea has twice the population and forty times the GDP of decrepit North Korea and has fortified its mountainous border. American troops are not needed there but powerful interests protect the status quo. Withdrawing just half the American troops would save the United States over three billion dollars a year and may allow a formal peace treaty to be signed.

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Related Tale: “The Mythical North Korean Threat”; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oG1b-…

Related Tale: “All Nuclear Weapons are Illegal”; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7tod8…

“Withdraw from DMZ Bases”; Carlton Meyer; G2mil; 2013; https://www.g2mil.com/casey.htm

“Thirty-five House Republicans are ‘gravely concerned’ about formally ending the Korean War”; David Choi; Stars and Stripes; December 9, 2021; https://www.stripes.com/theaters/asia…

“The unknown oligarch fighting for an endless Korean War”; Eli Clifton; Responsible Statecraft; March 8, 2022; https://responsiblestatecraft.org/202…

“Cut Army Fat in Korea”; Carlton Meyer; G2mil; 2011; https://www.g2mil.com/daegu.htm

“Pull Airmen and Aircraft out of Osan”; Carlton Meyer; G2mil; 2011; https://www.g2mil.com/osan.htm

July 23, 2022 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular, Video | , | 8 Comments

China, Russia Veto US-Sponsored UNSC Resolution on North Korea

Samizdat | May 26, 2022

The UN Security Council failed to reach common ground on new sanctions against Pyongyang on Thursday. Washington proposed the sanctions in the wake of North Korea’s latest missile test this week, on the heels of US President Joe Biden’s Asia tour.

The vote came just a day after North Korea was accused of test-launching its largest intercontinental ballistic missile and two others. Ahead of the vote, US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield called for unity in the face of “a threat to the entire international community.”

However, China and Russia vetoed new sanctions on humanitarian grounds, pointing to their futility and even “inhumanity,” as North Korea struggled to contain a massive Covid-19 outbreak.

The UNSC imposed sanctions on North Korea back in 2006, following its first nuclear test, and has tightened them over the years. Since the latest round of restrictions in 2017, Moscow and Beijing have increasingly been arguing that further pressure is a road to nowhere and unlikely to force Pyongyang to disarm unilaterally.

“We do not think additional sanctions will be helpful in responding to the current situation. It can only make the situation even worse,” China’s UN Ambassador Zhang Jun said on Thursday.

“We have repeatedly said that the introduction of new sanctions against the DPRK is a dead end,” said Russia’s representative Vasily Nebenzya. “We emphasized the fallacy, inefficiency and inhumanity of sanctions pressure on Pyongyang.”

The new resolution sought to cut North Korea’s already limited imports of crude oil and refined petroleum products by another 25 percent, impose additional maritime sanctions, and ban the country from exporting mineral fuels, oils and waxes. Washington also proposed a global asset freeze on the state corporation that supervises North Korean laborers overseas, as well as the Lazarus hacking group, accused of “cyberespionage, data theft, monetary heists” on behalf of the Pyongyang government.

Pyongyang has for years accused Washington and Seoul of “hostile policy” towards the North, and vowed to maintain a sufficient level of deterrence. Regional tensions somewhat improved during the presidency of Donald Trump, with Pyongyang temporarily halting its missile tests. However, the two much-hyped summits between the US and DPRK leaders in 2018 and 2019 reached no lasting agreement on the subject of sanctions or denuclearization.

Biden has returned to the more hostile posture of his predecessors, while North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un has responded in kind, by firing off over a dozen of ballistic missiles this year alone and warning that the DPRK not only has a “firm will” to continue with its “nuclear deterrent” program but will use such weapons “preemptively,” if forced to.

New South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol similarly ran on a more hawkish platform than his predecessor Moon Jae-in.

May 27, 2022 Posted by | Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity | , , , | Leave a comment

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