In the middle of March, the US and South Korean armed forces conducted one of the biggest ever military exercises in the Korean peninsula, targeted at North Korea. Seventeen thousand US troops joined over three lakh South Korean troops in war games conducted over air, sea and land. They practiced attacking North Korea with nuclear weapons. US Special Forces (SEALS) practiced for a mission to assassinate the North Korean political and military leadership and carry out regime change there.
According to one newspaper report, the “participation of Special Forces in the drills…may be an indication the two sides are rehearsing the assassination of Kim Jong Un.” A US official told South Korea’s Yonhap news agency that “A bigger number of and more diverse US special operation forces will take part in this year’s … exercises to practice missions to infiltrate the North, remove the North’s war command and demolish its key military facilities.”
In the midst of the military exercises, Rex Tillerson, the US Secretary of State declared provocatively in Seoul, South Korea that the US might decide to take "pre-emptive military action" and that the US policy of "strategic patience" with North Korea is over.
The US propaganda machine turns truth on its head by painting North Korea as a “rogue state” whose leaders are threatening nuclear war. In fact the truth is the opposite. It is US imperialism that has not only built a stockpile of nuclear weapons that can devastate the whole world many times over, it is constantly threatening North Korea with nuclear annihilation if it does not capitulate before the US.
A long history of US provocations against Korean people
Japanese imperialism occupied Korea and Manchuria (North China) in the years preceding the Second World War and carried out monstrous crimes against the Korean and Chinese people.
The Korean people, together with the Chinese people waged a heroic struggle against Japanese imperialism and liberated their homeland at the end of the Second World War. However, US imperialism refused to accept the victory of the Korean people. It violated all agreements to entrench itself in the Southern part of the Korean Peninsula. It propped up the puppet military regime of Syngman Rhee and established a huge military force there. Then US President Truman justified it in the name of “rolling back communism”, in the context of the victory of the Chinese people’s revolution in 1949 and the great strength and prestige of the Soviet Union and the socialist bloc after the end of World War II.
From 1950 to 1953, the US imperialists waged one of the most bloody and ruthless wars ever against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). It followed a scorched earth policy that left the country totally devastated. However, it was unable to defeat the DPRK, and had to sign an armistice (a temporary truce) in 1953.
Over the last 60 years, US imperialism has maintained a permanent US military presence in South Korea. The South Korean Armed Forces, armed and trained by the US, operate under the command of the US Armed Forces. The US forces in South Korea together with the South Korean military regularly carry out provocative air, land and water military exercises directed against North Korea. North Korea has always maintained its right to defend itself in the face of these provocations.
In 2003, the six party talks involving North and South Korea, the US, Japan, Russia and China to resolve the Korean crisis began. The fact that the US refuses to reconcile itself to the existence of North Korea is the main factor impeding any progress in these talks. This is revealed in the refusal of by the US to talk directly with the government of North Korea and to sign a peace treaty.
In recent decades, a strong movement has developed in both North and South Korea in favor of peace and eventual unification. It has become increasingly clear that the Korean people long for reunification of their homeland. It is no secret that the US has never been enthusiastic about this trend, because its justification for maintaining its military presence in this strategic peninsula will then no longer be valid. The US intervenes brutally in South Korean politics to attack and discredit political forces which favour peace with the North and reunification as “agents of North Korea”. It constantly ratchets up tension in the region and then turns around and whips up war hysteria against the North to sabotage any moves towards rapprochement between the two countries.
The US is solely responsible for turning the Korean peninsula into the most militarized region in the world. It has never reconciled itself to the existence of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea).
North Korea has refused to succumb to the US imperialist pressure, and has been taking steps to defend itself, including by producing nuclear weapons and delivery systems. At the same time, North Korea has time and again put forth proposals for reducing tensions in the Korean Peninsula.
Thus, in 2015 and again in 2016, North Korea had proposed that it would cease its production of nuclear weapons in return for the US stopping its military exercises in the region. Both times, the US administration rejected the proposal. It has rejected similar proposals put forth by China.
The US has consistently rejected such proposals because it does not want to lose justification for the strategic military foothold it has in the Korean peninsula, from where it can target Russia, China and Japan. The US Council on Foreign Relations released a task force report which openly advised Washington against striking a peace treaty with North Korea on the grounds that North Korea would expect US troops to withdraw from the peninsula. The report warned that if the US quit the Korean Peninsula militarily, its strategic position relative to China and Russia would be weakened. The report advised the US government not to commit to China any reduction in US military presence in the Korean peninsula!
The deployment by the US of the THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) missile defense system in South Korea is the latest provocation by the US imperialists in this region. It is being seen as a threat not only by the North Korean people, but also by the people of South Korea, as well as the governments of China and Russia.
The apologists for the THAAD system argue that it is for “defense”. The THAAD system is modeled on Israel’s Iron-Dome. It is a system aimed at increasing the offensive capability of the US in the region. It will provide a shield U.S. and South Korean military forces, giving them the ability to attack North Korea, Russia, or China, and then deflect any response. Furthermore, the system has a penetrating radar system allowing American forces to monitor not just the northern part of the Korean Peninsula, but deep into northern China.
The deployment of THAAD is being vigorously opposed by people in South Korea, who continue to stage mass protests against it. In protest, China has announced economic boycott of some South Korean multinationals which have supported the THAAD program and called upon South Korea to abandon this project. Meanwhile Russia is preparing to step up its defenses in collaboration with China. It has pointed out that it regards deployment of THAAD in South Korea as part of the US strategy of military encirclement of Russia.
The developments in the Korean peninsula point to the escalating danger of war in the region. US imperialism is relentlessly stepping up militarization and war preparations, and threatening to embroil the people and countries of the region into a devastating war.
The people of India must reject the lying propaganda of the US imperialists that North Korea is responsible for the current grave inflammation of tensions, which is threatening the peace and security of the whole region and the world. The efforts of the US imperialists to heighten the already great pressure on and isolation of North Korea must be exposed and opposed.
It is imperative that the long list of unresolved issues on the Korean peninsula, many going back for more than 60 years be resolved peacefully and with full dignity and respect for the Korean people on both sides of the line of partition. It is essential that negotiations must lead to the long overdue formal peace treaty between the DPRK and the US, as well as to the elimination of the US military presence on the Korean peninsula. The Korean people must be left in peace to solve the outstanding problems including their long standing desire for reunification, free from imperialist interference.