As U.S. F-16 and A-10 fighter jets, helicopters and C-130 transport planes powered into the sky from Osan Air Base in south Korea, headed toward the border with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to the north, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was in Beijing talking to Chinese government leaders about “reducing tensions” in the area.
Since the beginning of March, the Pentagon has barreled ahead with Operation Key Resolve/Foal Eagle, involving tens of thousands of U.S. ground troops, tanks, armored personnel carriers, heavy artillery, warships and warplanes. Carried out jointly with hundreds of thousands of puppet troops from south Korea, these military exercises are under the operational command of U.S. generals.
At the end of March, the Pentagon vastly escalated tensions in the region by openly threatening a nuclear attack on the DPRK. It sent nuclear-capable B-2 Spirit stealth bombers to drop dummy nuclear weapons off the south Korean coast, close to the DPRK. The planes flew 13,000 miles round-trip, non-stop from Missouri, to show the DPRK — and China — the rapid-response capability of the nuclear armed U.S. air forces. Nuclear-capable B-52s and F-22 Stealth fighter jets have also been used in these exercises.
It was after this extreme provocation that the DPRK announced it was in a “state of war.”
The Korean people remember the B-52s, which the U.S. used for three years, from 1950 to 1953, to drop more bombs on north Korea than were dropped on all of Europe during World War II.
It is hard to imagine a greater escalation of threats and tensions than these menacing mock bombing runs. The mad bombers at the Pentagon want to send a nuclear message to assert their military supremacy in the region.
Kerry makes more threats
From Beijing, Kerry went to Seoul, south Korea, where he held a joint press conference with Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se and declared the DPRK “will not be accepted as a nuclear power.”
Kerry made this uncompromising threat knowing that the March plenum of the Korean Workers’ Party had declared that the country would not give up its nuclear weapons and these would no longer be used as a “bargaining chip” for material aid or any other purpose.
Kerry then went to Tokyo to visit Washington’s junior imperialist ally in the region. He said that Washington was “ready to reach out” and have direct negotiations “at the appropriate moment and under the appropriate circumstances.” While this may seem like a reversal of the U.S. position that it would not engage in bilateral talks with the DPRK, it was appropriately denounced as a “crafty trick” by the DPRK.
Everyone knows that the “appropriate conditions” the U.S. wants to set for the DPRK are that it come to the table to bargain about how to abandon its nuclear deterrent. But it is surrounded by the greatest nuclear power on earth — 50,000 U.S. troops in Japan, 40,000 U.S. troops in south Korea and 700,000 puppet troops there under U.S. command. And the military in the south is armed with the most modern weapons the U.S. can produce.
Since 1976, the DPRK has been subjected every spring to war practices by the U.S. and south Korean militaries. Operation Team Spirit, the largest war exercises in the world, often involving 200,000 troops or more, were carried on from 1976 to 1993. The DPRK regarded these exercises as an act of war and protested them every year, to no avail.
That series of so-called “war games” has been followed by Operation Key Resolve/Foal Eagle for the last decade.
The DPRK is a small but resolute socialist country, besieged by imperialist armies with nuclear weapons and the most modern means of death and destruction available from the U.S. military-industrial complex. It has been under the gun since the Korean War ended in a ceasefire in 1953. It has recently achieved a nuclear deterrent as a matter of survival.
John Kerry, representing the Obama administration, the Pentagon and Wall Street, is on a mission to disarm the DPRK of this deterrent, which would leave the country at the nuclear mercy of U.S. imperialism and subject to military pressure from Tokyo and Seoul.
Kerry fails to sway Chinese leaders
Kerry wanted to get the leadership of the People’s Republic of China to abandon its historic relationship with the DPRK and help U.S. imperialism force the DPRK to abandon its nuclear deterrent. There has been much speculation about the attitude of the Chinese leaders toward the DPRK. But whatever that attitude may be, Kerry failed in his attempts.
The capitalist media and Kerry tried to play his trip as a victory for a U.S.-China bloc against the DPRK on the question of nuclear weapons. The New York Times on April 7 tried to twist a statement by Chinese President Xi Jinping into something it wasn’t when it reported that Xi was criticizing the DPRK when he said, “No one should be allowed to throw a region and even the whole world into chaos for selfish gain.”
However, it left out the rest of the quote from Xi, which appeared in China Daily on April 8: “Countries — big or small, strong or weak, rich or poor — should all contribute their share in maintaining and enhancing peace.”
Kerry himself said of the meetings with Xi and other high officials that China and the U.S. agreed to take steps to crack down on the DPRK. But he could not name the steps. He said, “We also joined together in calling on North Korea to refrain from provocations and to abide by international obligations.”
The only problem with that statement is that when two governments issue a call for some action, they always make a joint statement, even of the most general kind. Actually, Kerry came to Beijing to get just such a joint statement, but there was none.
According to McClatchy Newspaper on April 13, “Analysts who’ve monitored China’s foreign policy for years said that Kerry’s description of his talks with Chinese leaders as ‘constructive and forward leaning’ skirted the fact that … China didn’t significantly shift position on North Korea.” The dispatch continued, “Chinese officials wouldn’t even mention the country by name when they alluded to the ‘challenges we face on the Korean Peninsula.’”
While Xi did not make a direct denunciation of Washington, the official Chinese news agency, Hsinhua, said things that government leaders were not prone to say publicly during the talks, which ranged over many issues of vital interest to China.
China press speaks government’s mind
For example, an editorial in the Chinese publication, Global Times, on April 13 noted that “many have realized that ‘Sino-U.S. diplomacy’ has also been underlying in frictions in the South China Seas and the Diaoyu Islands as well as the Korean peninsula. The role the U.S. has been playing in these areas makes China uneasy.
“A large number of Chinese,” continued the editorial, “believe the ultimate goal of the U.S. government is to overturn the current political system here, just as many believe it did with the Soviet Union.”
A Hsinhua release of April 13 said, “As Kerry noted in his confirmation hearing, the United States now has more military bases and forces in the Asia-Pacific than any other country in the world.”
The U.S. “keeps sending more fighters, bombers and missile-defense ships to the waters of East Asia and carrying out massive military drills with Asian allies in a dramatic display of preemptive power.” The drills have involved Japan, south Korea, the Philippines and Australia.
Another Hsinhua Commentary on April 12 showed clearly where the Chinese put the cause of the crisis in Korea.
“It is widely believed that the top U.S. diplomat’s paramount mission in the ongoing Asia tour is to reduce the tensions,” declared Hsinhua, “and prevent the region from plunging into a nuclear war.
“As an ancient Chinese saying goes, let the one who tied the bell on the tiger take it off. In other words, whoever started the trouble should end it.
“The crux of the long-running Korean Peninsula issue lies in the lack of mutual trust between the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and the United States. Kerry’s visit provides a fine opportunity for Washington to untie the knot it has tied with Pyongyang.”
This is not to say that private negotiations are not going on and that there may not be setbacks. After all, the vote for sanctions on the DPRK in the U.N. Security Council was indeed a setback. But for the moment, Washington has been deprived of a public political victory in Beijing and still faces the inflexible determination of the DPRK not to be bullied.
The government and the workers and peasants of the DPRK have steadfastly refused to succumb to the aggressive strategy of nuclear and military terror of U.S. imperialism, its junior partners in Tokyo and its puppets in Seoul.
This has been a great service to the people of all Korea, of Asia and of the world, including the U.S. While the DPRK has been depicted as being bellicose and out of control, in fact, the heroic stand of the leaders is not only completely rational under the threatening circumstances but has held off invasion and counterrevolution.
As Kerry leaves Asia to report on his diplomatic setback to the imperialist officials in Washington, it is fitting that the people of the DPRK are celebrating the birthday of Kim Il Sung, the revolutionary leader of the Workers’ Party of Korea and the Korean Revolution and founder of the DPRK.