DPRK-U.S. relations: Armistice agreement versus peace treaty

The following press release from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea Permanent Mission to the United Nations reveals the history of broken promises by the U.S. that for 60 years has perpetuated a state of war between the two countries and led the Koreans to develop their own nuclear defense. It calls for a peace treaty as a path to denuclearize the Korean peninsula.

This year marks the 63rd year of the outbreak of the Korean war (1950-1953). The war came to a ceasefire with the signing of an armistice agreement on July 27, 1953.

The AA is by no means a guarantee for a lasting peace. It is evidenced by the constant tension between the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the United States since the conclusion of the AA.

Agreement a mere scrap of paper

In June 1950 the U.S. unleashed a war against the DPRK, which was founded less than two years earlier, out of its ambition to take control of the Korean peninsula of a strategic importance. It usurped the name of the United Nations so as to abuse the DPRK as an “aggressor” and committed to the war its troops and other 15 states under the cap of the “U.N. forces.”

But it suffered colossal amount of loss of manpower and materials and was compelled to sign the AA with a main provision of five articles and 63 paragraphs and an appendix of 11 articles and 26 paragraphs. The AA stipulated that the recurrence of war should be prevented and the Korean issue be settled peacefully at an early date.

The U.S., however, was not tied to the AA from the outset. On Aug. 8, 1953, it concluded a “mutual defense pact” with south Korea and “legalized” the stationing of its troops there, thus blatantly challenging Paragraph 60 of the AA, which envisaged the withdrawal of all foreign forces from Korea.

A political conference for the peaceful settlement of the Korean issue was scuttled at a preliminary stage by the U.S. It flagrantly violated item d of Paragraph 13 of the AA, which stipulated the stop to the shipment of weapons and shells from outside of Korea and finally, in 1957, officially stated the waiver of its implementation and shipped into south Korea sophisticated weapons, including nukes, in a big way.

The members of the Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission from Switzerland, Sweden, the then Czechoslovakia and Poland were expelled from south Korea in June 1956. In March 1991 the U.S. appointed a brass hat of the south Korean army, which is not a signatory to the AA, as the senior member of the U.S. side to the Military Armistice Commission, thus resulting in the ruin of the MAC and the NNSC. In the long run, the MAC-related paragraph from 19-35 and the NNSC-related ones from 36 to 50 became extinct.

Reasonable option needed

With the core paragraphs of the AA becoming null and void, no legal and instrumental mechanisms capable of preventing the recurrence of war can be found on the Korean peninsula. In this context, the DPRK, in order to ensure peace and security on the Korean peninsula, has presented on several occasions — April 1994, February 1996, October 1998 — such proposals as the replacement of the AA with a peace treaty, the conclusion of a protocol in place of the present AA and the setup of a joint military organization to implement the remaining paragraphs of the AA to the U.S. The U.S., however, rejected all those proposals.

On the contrary, the U.S. has ceaselessly repeated military provocations and war rehearsals against the DPRK. They are well proved by many instances, including the “Pueblo” incident in January 1968, which involved hundreds of thousands of armed forces, aircraft carriers and strategic nuclear bombers, the EC-121 incident in April 1969, and the Panmunjom incident in August 1976. In 1994 a U.S. helicopter which intruded into the territorial sky of the DPRK was shot down. In 2003 a RC-135 on its espionage flight near the DPRK’s airspace turned its tail post-haste when it saw a DPRK plane was in close-in pursuit.

The scores-of-years-long “dream” of the U.S. to militarily stifle the DPRK at any cost has been shattered to smithereens when the latter declared its possession of nuclear weapons as a self-defensive measure against the former’s nuclear threat. The DPRK’s access to nukes made it possible to ensure the balance of power on the Korean peninsula and ushered in a new phase in securing peace and security in the region.

The DPRK proposed to the parties to the AA an early start of the talks for replacing the AA by a peace treaty and expressed its conviction that the conclusion of the peace treaty would promote the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula at a rapid tempo.

The conclusion of the peace treaty can be said to be a matured matter. 14 countries, including the UK, Canada and the Philippines, of 16 countries which had participated in the Korean war in the 1950s as the “U.N. Forces,” have already established diplomatic relations with the DPRK. And France, too, decided to set up a diplomatic mission in Pyongyang.

At present the U.S. stands at the crossroads whether it would keep up hostile relations with the DPRK and continue nuclear stand-off, which might plunge the entire humankind into destruction in the end, or it would conclude a peace treaty so as to remove hostilities and realize the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.

Now is high time for the American statesmen to make a reasonable choice. The Korean war broke out 63 years ago when the Democratic Party was in power in the U.S. If the present Democratic Obama administration advocating no-nuke and peace puts an end to the Korean War peacefully this year, though belatedly, it will improve its image.