Richie Merino of the International Action Center gave the following speech on April 29 during the “Rally for One Korea” in Manhattan.
Participants held a rally at Grand Central Station and then marched to the United Nations Mission office of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. It was the second annual such demonstration organized by the New York Chapter of the June 15th Committee.
While the U.S. corporate media fawned over South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol singing “American Pie” at the White House, they kept the public in the dark about U.S. imperialism’s continued militarization of the Republic of Korea (South Korea). The U.S. sent more weapons we know will be aimed at the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and China.
During the Cold War, the U.S. placed hundreds of nuclear warheads in South Korea. They were withdrawn in 1991. But now, with the so-called “Washington Declaration” and this Hollywood-like visit by the South Korean president, we know the nukes are returning. This week, President Yoon allowed the U.S. to dock nuclear submarines in South Korea to antagonize the North militarily.
Since 1945, the U.S. has unilaterally divided Korea, has installed puppet governments in the south in defiance of the Korean people’s will, and has refused to sign a peace treaty with the DPRK for over 70 years – an essential precondition for denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula.
The U.S. must immediately end its sabotage of inter-Korean efforts to build peace and advance reunification.!
We must emphasize that President Yoon does not represent working-class Koreans. He is anti-union and wants Koreans to work 70 hours a week. He has a 19% approval rating. He is not a representative of the Korean people, but a puppet of U.S. imperialism — a tool used to make profits for Western capitalists through the extreme exploitation of workers and by stoking a new war against China and the DPRK.
The International Action Center joins the masses of Korean people in demanding that President Yoon stop stirring up tensions in the Korean Peninsula by expanding provocative U.S.-ROK military exercises! Despite what the U.S. government says, our enemy is not the DPRK but U.S. and Western imperialism. North Korea has never attacked the U.S., while the U.S. from 1950-1953 leveled the DPRK through a bombing campaign that killed millions.
In showing solidarity with all workers of the world, it’s important that we break the silence around South Korea’s violent past and present under U.S. occupation, and we must demonstrate the urgency of the anti-colonial and anti-imperialist struggle to liberate Korea.
A liberated Korea means an end to the military occupation through a total and complete U.S. withdrawal from the peninsula; the closing of all U.S. military bases; ending the sale of ultra-offensive weapons to South Korea; an end to the demonization of the DPRK and their socialist construction; a lifting of all deadly economic sanctions on North Korea, and ending all military aggression against China and the DPRK, including provocative war games, military exercises and nuclear threats.
A liberated Korea also means ending the repression against workers advocating for stronger labor rights and protections and allowing South Korea and
North Korea to negotiate peaceful reunification, free from Western interference.
The people of Korea deserve peace, autonomy and self-determination! As a unified peace movement and anti-imperialist coalition, the International Action Center stands in solidarity with and will always defend the Korean people in their struggle against U.S. war, sanctions and the division of the Korean Peninsula.
U.S. Out of Korea! End the Korean War! No more war drills! Peace agreement now! One unified Korea!