People’s Korea defuses U.S. war provocation
Published Dec 23, 2010 12:16 AM
The dangerous military crisis on the Korean peninsula has been defused for the
moment. The Democratic Peoples’ Republic of Korea did not retaliate, even
though the U.S. imperialists and their south Korean clients on Dec. 20 staged
provocative live-fire exercises from Yeonpyeong Island, eight miles from the
mainland of the DPRK.
The DPRK, which had warned of retaliation if the exercises went forward,
declared that the limited exercises carried out by the south Korean military
were “not worth it.” The U.S. and the south Korean regime were
shown up as military provocateurs willing to risk a major war.
Furthermore, by taking a strong stand, the DPRK had forced the imperialists to
deal with the situation diplomatically at the U.N. Security Council and by
sending an unofficial negotiator, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, to
The south Korean regime, with U.S. backing, had staged similar exercises on
Nov. 23 after being warned by the DPRK that there would be retaliation. The DPRK
responded with a missile barrage on the island after having phoned the south
Korean government hours earlier, reiterating its earlier warning and asking
Seoul not to go through with the exercises.
After the Nov. 23 incident, the government of the Peoples’ Republic of
China had proposed that the crisis be dealt with through diplomacy by resuming
the six-party talks that included China, the U.S., Russia, Japan, the DPRK and
south Korea. The U.S. and Japan flatly rejected any diplomacy as
“rewarding” the DPRK.
Instead, Washington called a meeting of the U.S., Japan and the south Korean
regime in Tokyo to formulate military strategy against the DPRK. Washington
also carried out military maneuvers with the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier
USS George Washington and more than 20 other ships in waters near China and
The south Korean military then went ahead with its second provocation, with the
full backing of the U.S. government, the Pentagon and the State Department.
Twenty U.S. soldiers were placed on Yeonpyeong Island. Adm. Michael Mullen,
chair of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, and other top military leaders were in
the Pentagon around the clock monitoring the situation.
These military confrontations around the island come from the drawing of the
so-called Northern Limit Line in the sea west of Korea. The line gave south
Korea territorial waters just eight miles from the mainland of the DPRK.
This line has been an extreme encroachment on the territory of the DPRK since
U.S. Gen. Mark Clark drew it in 1953. Instead of extending it from the land
line that divided Korea along the 38th parallel, Clark bent the sea line north
so as to threaten the DPRK and deprive it of waters that would, by all
international standards, belong to it.
All the propaganda in the big business media about the DPRK being a dangerous
aggressor is a pack of lies. The U.S. has 28,000 troops stationed in south
Korea at dozens of bases, including one in the capital city of Seoul. The
Pentagon also has hundreds of bombers and fighter planes based in Japan, Guam
and other nearby areas, as well as dozens of warships. And the U.S. still
commands all military forces in south Korea in times of war.
The DPRK has reportedly agreed to allow inspectors back into its Yongbyon
nuclear facility, where it has developed the technology for nuclear power. The
DPRK has a long history of offering to dismantle any nuclear technology that
could be used for military purposes in return for peace and security. These
demands have been rebuffed by Washington for decades.
There has been no peace treaty ending the Korean War. The U.S. and its clients
in south Korea will not sign one. The imperialists in Washington, for all
practical purposes, maintain a permanent state of war against socialist north
During the Korean War, the U.S.-led forces of world imperialism bombed the
north ruthlessly, to the point where not one building above one story was left
standing. It was a war to destroy socialist Korea, led by the Workers’
Party of Korea. Its leader, Kim-Il Sung, had liberated the territory from
Japanese imperialism and was more popular in the south than the hated U.S.
puppet government, led by Syngman Rhee.
Despite the massive military assault, the Korean Peoples’ Liberation
Army, with the aid of Chinese volunteers and logistical support from the USSR,
drove the U.S. forces out of the north and fought the Pentagon to a standstill.
It was the first defeat for the U.S. ruling class.
The Pentagon has never forgotten this and has never given up on its vengeful
drive to destroy the socialist north and unify the country on a capitalist
In the wake of the Nov. 23 crisis, the U.S. moved to consolidate a
Washington-Tokyo-Seoul military axis, directed primarily against the DPRK but
also against China.
Admiral Mullen visited Seoul on Dec. 8 and met with the south Korean high
command, giving them the go-ahead to change the rules of engagement. These
changes involve giving the south permission to bomb the DPRK. Up until now,
bombing the north was not permitted, even during military provocations. During
the Nov. 23 incident, F-15 fighter bombers in the south were scrambled but were
told not to go ahead with bombing missions. Mullen and the south Korean
military have changed that.
Next the Pentagon announced it had agreed with Tokyo on integrating the
Japanese military more closely with the U.S. military. (New York Times, Dec.
13) Mullen encouraged Japan to participate in future joint military exercises
off the Korean coast. This surely raised the anger of all Koreans; Japanese
imperialism colonized Korea from 1910 to 1945.
Shortly after the meeting with Mullen, the Japanese military issued new
National Defense Program Guidelines. (Washington Post, Dec. 17) They will move
mobile units from Japan’s northern islands, where they were stationed
during the Cold War facing the USSR, to the southern islands, where they are
closer to Korea and China. The guidelines, for the first time, declare that
China is a “source of concern.” The PRC has denounced the new
guidelines as a provocation.
U.S. bosses want to exploit all Asia
The U.S. ruling class has always considered its destiny to be bound up with the
conquest of Asia, where the bulk of the world’s exploitable masses
This trend in U.S. military history follows the class interest of the
capitalists. The U.S. took over Samoa and Hawaii in the late 19th century and
conquered the Philippines in 1898. In three big wars in the 20th century,
Washington tried to fight its way into Asia. The U.S. entry into World War II
in 1941 began as a struggle with Japan over China and Southeast Asia. The war
in Korea was aimed at occupying the whole country and securing a U.S. military
presence on China’s border. The Vietnam War was to stop the spread of
socialism, get hold of the riches of Vietnam and get near the Chinese
Given this history, a shift in the relationship between the U.S. civilian and
military establishments is quite alarming. During the recent crisis Admiral
Mullen has emerged as the spokesperson on foreign policy. During and after the
Nov. 23 crisis, it was Mullen, not Vice President Joseph Biden or Secretary of
State Hillary Clinton, who appeared on talk shows, at think tanks and press
conferences, telling China to crack down on the DPRK or face rising military
pressure. This should have been regarded as insubordination and a usurpation of
civilian authority by the Obama administration. But President Barack Obama
remained silent throughout the crisis, except when, probably at the behest of
the Pentagon, he lectured Chinese President Hu Jintao about controlling the
The workers and the oppressed in this country burdened by the present economic
crisis should follow these developments and see the connection between the way
the bankers and the bosses deal with them and the U.S. war drive against Korea.
Both the economic crisis and the war threats are driven by the needs of the
capitalist ruling class for ever-greater profits.
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