Monday, March 30, 2009

The Real Threat to Peace in Korea

The Real Threats to Peace in Korea: Washington and Tokyo
Statement from the Party for Socialism and Liberation

The response of U.S. and Japanese authorities to the reported North Korean satellite launch is the height of imperial hypocrisy. Ostensibly to protect its country from potential debris falling from the North Korean satellite rocket launch, Japan has mobilized two missile-equipped destroyers into the Sea of Japan, and initiated its full missile defense system. The U.S. and South Korea have called a test rocket launch a "major provocation" and are preparing military deployments of their own. Both the U.S. and Japan are threatening to intensify or prolong sanctions on North Korea.

The Pentagon deployed the USS John Stennis warship for military exercises off the coast of Korea just two weeks ago.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has stated that a missile launch "for any purpose is a provocative act." According to Washington, then, North Korea is banned from having its own satellites, unless, perhaps, they can get the U.S. to launch them on their behalf. This is absurd and unabashed imperial arrogance. North Korea, for its part, says it will interpret any physical interference with its rocket test as an act of war.

Just this month, the U.S. carried out its yearly military training exercise off the coast of Korea with 26,000 U.S. servicemen, including 13,100 stationed outside South Korea. The Pentagon also mobilized a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier of the U.S. Navy's 3rd Fleet and a few Aegis destroyers for the exercise. The fact that the U.S. military is constantly thumping its chest in the Pacific, and in nearly every other corner of the world, is never made into an international scandal.

The Pentagon maintains 9,962 nuclear warheads, and performs an unknown number of test launches with the most advanced military weaponry in the world. But these are no mere tests. With this military might, the United States has launched war of aggression after war of aggression, illegal covert action after illegal covert action. Yet somehow, hypocritically, Washington retains the title of the "responsible" military power, while North Korea is portrayed as an aggressor nation for taking such threats seriously -- for having dared to even test their comparatively small arsenal.

Not a day goes by without North Korea being badgered and threatened, in some form or another, by its former colonizers. Japan, despite the supposed disarmament that followed World War II, is again a fully armed nation. North Korea is a country that full understands the horrors that can be inflicted by the U.S. military machine. Before its revolution, it experienced the full brutality of Japanese colonialism. It has experienced isolation, encirclement, and numerous brink-of-war showdowns with imperialism. It does not take war lightly and has no interest in it as an offensive tactic.

Korea, like Vietnam, was maintained as a cruelly divided nation by U.S. imperialism. The U.S. re-invaded Korea in 1950. According to the 1967 Encyclopedia Brittanica, more than 5 million Koreans died between 1950 and the July 1953 armistice that halted open military conflict. Fifty years later, the United States has refused to sign a peace treaty bringing the Korean war to an end.

North Korea has learned a lesson from its October 2006 nuclear test, which brought the U.S. and Japan back to the table for diplomatic negotiations: imperialism only speaks the language of power and for small countries, steadfastness has its rewards. It has insisted that the upcoming rocket launch is a space-related, non-military exercise. Either way, progressives and revolutionaries have to be clear: Washington and Tokyo are the real threats to peace in the Pacific. As a basic component of the right to self-determination, North Korea has a right to defend itself and test its machinery.


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