South Korea, U.S. maneuvers threaten war on DPRK
Published May 26, 2010 1:41 PM
It was a full-court press, concocted by the U.S. government and the rightist
regime in South Korea and eagerly magnified by the corporate media.
Back on March 26 a South Korean Navy warship, the Cheonan, sank near the
maritime border with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Of the
104 crew members aboard, 46 perished.
Almost immediately, the government of Lee Myung-bak in the south accused the
DPRK of having torpedoed the vessel.
An “international” investigation team was set up. Basically, it was
a team composed of the U.S., which occupies South Korea with nearly 30,000
troops, and the Lee regime. Britain and Australia, tight U.S. allies, were
added to give it a little more cover. This group came up with the foregone
conclusion that yes, the ship had been sunk by a submarine from the DPRK.
Skeptical voices were raised in South Korea, but they were quickly shouted down
by the media.
China later expressed skepticism that a DPRK submarine had sunk the South
Korean ship, but their skepticism got little publicity here.
The DPRK denied any involvement and counter-charged that the Lee regime was
trying to torpedo agreements made some years ago between the north and the
south that had improved relations between the two. It also announced that it
would send a team from its National Defense Council to examine the
“evidence” the south claimed to have.
As an important meeting between China and the U.S. on security and economic
issues drew near, the Western news media began focusing on how Secretary of
State Hillary Clinton was rounding up support for U.N. sanctions on the DPRK,
and would raise it vigorously in Beijing.
On May 24, the same day that the U.S.-China meeting was starting, U.N.
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, himself a former South Korean foreign minister,
came out in support of sanctions on the DPRK and said the results of the
“international” investigation were not in dispute.
The diplomatic maneuvers were accompanied by military threats against the DPRK.
The same day as Ban Ki-moon’s statement, South Korea’s Minister of
Foreign Affairs and Trade Yu Myung-hwan, Minister of National Defense Kim
Tae-young and Minister of Unification Hyun In-taek held a joint press
conference in Seoul. They announced that the South Korean government would
prohibit all DPRK vessels from entering their territorial waters. They also
said that they and the U.S. Navy would proceed with a massive joint
“anti-submarine” exercise in the area.
Clearly, U.S. submarines that prowl the seas around Korea would not be the
targets of this military move.
The Lee regime said it would also ban trade with the north and further limit
travel there. It would also resume blasting anti-DPRK propaganda from
high-decibel speakers near the demilitarized zone that divides Korea.
The South Korean regime also turned down the request by the DPRK’s
National Defense Council to let a team of investigators from the north examine
the so-called evidence that supposedly justifies this dangerous escalation of
tensions on the Korean peninsula.
Legacy of Korea’s division
The danger of military confrontation on the Korean peninsula has existed ever
since Korea was divided after World War II. The U.S. set up a puppet
dictatorship in the south that was fiercely hostile to communist-led forces in
the north that, fighting alongside Soviet troops, had defeated Japan’s
occupying force at the end of the war.
Kim Il Sung, the leader of the liberation army, was a revolutionary. He
represented a social movement that encouraged the people to overthrow the
landlords, merchants and petty officials who had collaborated with Japan during
its period of harsh colonial rule over Korea, which lasted from 1910 to
It was different in the south, which was occupied by U.S. troops at the end of
the war. There, the U.S. actually rearmed Japanese troops under its command in
order to keep the revolution from spreading. It set up a government headed by
Koreans willing to collaborate with foreign exploiters — be they U.S. or
Japanese imperialists. The Syngman Rhee dictatorship carried out massacres of
those who sympathized with the revolutionary movement to liberate all of
As the north developed toward a socialist society, the south was brought into
the world capitalist economy as a U.S. vassal. Soviet troops left the north
after three years, but the U.S. has never ended its occupation of the
From 1950 to 1953, when the U.S. waged a full-scale war against socialist
Korea, a million Chinese volunteers came to the aid of their neighbors. Having
just won their own long struggle for liberation, they fought to prevent the
return of the bad old days of foreign imperialist domination.
China and Korea
Perhaps the U.S. foreign policy establishment thought this history was
forgotten in China when it sent Hillary Clinton and her entourage to try to
intimidate or inveigle the Chinese leaders into going along with the
Washington-Seoul campaign against the DPRK. But a report in the May 25 New York
Times indicates otherwise.
It says that after the U.S.-China talks concluded, the U.S. had “made
little progress on winning China’s backing for international measures
against North Korea over the sinking of a South Korean warship” and that
“there was no immediate prospect of a United Nations Security Council
resolution condemning the attack.” China, as one of the five permanent
members of the Security Council, would have veto power over such a
The report also admitted that the Chinese government had “expressed
skepticism” about the DPRK responsibility for the sinking.
This was the first time that the U.S. media had even allowed for the
possibility that the story might not be true.
This does not mean, however, that Washington and Seoul are ready to abandon
either their diplomatic or military efforts against the DPRK. Their joint
exercises are scheduled to go on.
In response, the DPRK has announced it is severing all ties with the south and
is banning their ships and planes from the north’s air and sea space. It
also accused the south of “provocative acts,” including the
intrusion of dozens of warships into its territorial waters from May 14 to
Workers in the U.S. need to resist the barrage of propaganda against the DPRK
that is a prelude to aggressive acts against that country. They should remember
how Washington orchestrated a similar scenario in preparation for the invasion
of Iraq. Today those concocted stories of “weapons of mass
destruction” have no weight, but the war happened anyway, with all its
horrible consequences. It must not happen again.
Articles copyright 1995-2012 Workers World.
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