People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
South Korean Elections: Bush Fails To Convince
IN these days of shameless arm-twisting of small states by US imperialism, the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea has given the USA a fitting rebuff. On December 12, well into a freezing winter, it has announced it will reactivate its graphite moderated nuclear reactor for power purposes and build others if necessary to prevent the misery that would have resulted from the sudden embargo on oil announced by the USA in November and implemented from this month.
This measure is the culmination of a slander campaign launched by president Bush against socialist Korea, calling it a constituent of the ‘axis of evil’ with Iran and Iraq; putting out falsehoods that the DPRK had been carrying out a clandestine nuclear programme; getting a Spanish ship to illegally seize a Korean vessel carrying missiles for legitimate arms deal with Yemen on the pretext that they were going to Iraq. Every one of these lies has been nailed, the last one so firmly by the president of Yemen that the USA had to back down and openly admit it was at fault.
TARGETING OF DPR KOREA
The targeting of Korea is nothing new. The reason is clearly stated in Report No 4849 of the Information and Investigation Bureau of the State Department, dated January 28, 1949: “In view of the strategic position held by Korea in North East Asia, establishment of control over Korea and her people…will considerably strengthen our country”. Even earlier, with the same end in view, president Roosevelt demanded that Korea be put under US trusteeship for 40 years at the Tehran Conference in November 1943. He failed in his objective, thanks largely to the opposition of Josef Stalin.
This did not deter the US putting up the proposal again at the Yalta Conference in February 1945, calling for 20 to 30 years of US trusteeship of Korea “to cultivate the ability of the Koreans for self-government”! Needless to say, the US ploy was snubbed again.
Undeterred, the USA planned to occupy Korea militarily, setting up a puppet government in South Korea against the decision of the Conference of the three foreign ministers in Moscow in December 1945. All this was done by taking over the personnel of the Japanese fascist establishment as the US machinery of ‘Law and Order’ in August and September 1945.
When even this failed, the US launched a Pakistani style proxy war from the occupied South against the liberated North, with no less than 2617 attacks at the end of 1949, finally leading up to a massive invasion of the DPRK on June 25, 1950. At the same time, fearing a revolt in the South, 118,621 people were arrested under draconian laws according to the Report of the UN Commission on Korea of September 5, 1945. Even the UN involvement in the war, according to the Chief of the Far Eastern Section of the British Intelligence Bureau, was initiated on the basis that “the verdict of guilty given against the DPRK was based on the telegram sent by the UN Commission in Seoul which said that there was no evidence as to which side had launched the attack”,
The war itself was savage beyond belief, with numerous cases of genocidal war crimes committed by the US army and its henchmen. The capital city of the DPRK, Pyongyang, was bombarded with more tonnes of bombs than the number of people living in the city. Despite the savagery, the US was unable to cow down the Korean people. On the contrary, the US lost or had over 4 lakh combatants captured and finally had to agree to an armistice in 1953. This was the first time the USA suffered a defeat in its history.
Later, after a much more savage war in Vietnam, the US suffered an even more disgraceful defeat at the hands of socialist Vietnam on May 1, 1975. But the DPRK has the distinction of being the first to defeat the USA. No wonder the USA persists in its attempt to destroy socialist Korea to this day as it is an obstacle in its attempt to enslave Asia. It may have succeeded in its ploy to enter Afghanistan and Central Asia, but socialist Korea is not the same thing. Socialist states are much more secure than capitalist ones.
Over the years, despite every attempt of the USA, DPRK has persevered. It has provided a stable government to its people, while the US has been shuffling and reshuffling various types of puppet regimes. The situation between South and North Korea is not dissimilar to that between the unstable system of government in Pakistan and the relatively stable one in India. This would make North Korea a natural ally of India. And it is precisely to counteract this that the US is spreading canards about a nuclear weapon-missile trade off between North Korea and Pakistan in the Indian press. The USA has given Pakistan far more lethal weapons than any other country in the world. Why is our press silent on that?
The Indian government, in its frustration of making the US respond to its most shameless overtures and change its South Asia policy, had in fact, been foolish enough to raise the issue of North Korea in its talks with president Putin of Russia, only to be snubbed by the Russians. Their perception of the ‘nuclear free Korean peninsula” includes the removal of all nuclear warheads, especially those of the USA in the South.
What really annoys the USA is that it knows that it cannot cow down the DPRK, which, according to a recent report in The Economist is described as “one of the world’s most dangerous countries with the world’s third largest army.” But what really frightens US imperialism is that its political culture is deeply involved with what it sees as antagonism towards America (read US imperialism), Japan and South Korea (its allies in the region). The 'with us or against us' ideology of the Bush administration obviously cannot allow any dissent anywhere in the world.
Reality, however, has to bend the prejudice to come to some sort of reckoning with it. And even The Economist states: “Engage with North Korea by all means and since 2000, American companies have been free to do business there, while most European countries have diplomatic relations with Pyongyang but the pressure must not be eased’’ - until the country buckles down to reforms in the interest of MNCs, away from what the journal calls a workers’ paradisiacal near zero.
The USA has been playing a double game to achieve this end. In 1994, it came to an agreement with the DPRK based on four major planks. The first was that the USA would provide light water reactors to the DPRK by the year 2003 in return for the country freezing its graphite moderated reactors and related facilities. Eight years have passed and nothing was done. This means a loss of 1000 mw electricity in 2003 and another 2000 mw the next year. This, for a cold country, which has very little arable land (15 per cent) and has suffered serious natural calamities like flood and drought, is not something the country can afford to play with. Therefore, it has decided to produce power in any way possible as the US has violated the agreement.
The second plank was that the US and North Korea are obliged to normalise political and economic relations; but the US president, in violation of the UN Charter, has declared that the DPRK is the member of an ‘axis of evil’, has unilaterally placed an embargo on much needed oil and food aid, has held menacing military exercises with Japanese and South Korean troops and has even attacked Korean vessels at sea. These attacks have proved fruitless and exposed the USA and its allies as aggressors.
The third plank requires that the US gives formal assurances to the DPRK against the threat or use of nuclear weapons by the US against it. In direct contradiction to this, the US has listed the DPRK as a target of its preemptive nuclear attack.
The fourth plank, para 'g' of the confidential minute of the agreement, the DPRK will allow nuclear inspections only after “ the delivery of essential non-nuclear components for the first LWR unit, including turbines and generators”. Having failed to do any of these things, and seeing the DPRK emerging once more from its economic problems, the USA has resorted to a series of pernicious lies about North Korea’s “nuclear programme”. This is in complete contradiction to DPRK signing the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and its joint declaration with South Korea on non-nuclearisation.
In these conditions of a total disregard for the reality of the state of affairs in the Korean peninsula, the DPRK has replied firmly to the special envoy of the US president that it was “entitled to possess not only nuclear weapons but any type of weapon more powerful than that so as to defend its sovereignty and right to existence from the ever growing nuclear threat by the US.” Indeed, the firmly rooted socialist consciousness and socialist forms of organisation are precisely the weapons the US failed to defeat in the past and will have to face in the future.
The US hysteria is obviously a result of the fact that it cannot stop the “sunshine policy” of the South Korean president, Kim Dae Jung (whom Bush wants to discredit) and Japan’s prime minister, Junichiro Koizumi helping a neighbour it had plundered and ravaged during its fascist past (whose purse-strings Bush wants to divert to shore up the ailing US economy and his pretense of a ‘war against terrorism’). So one imagines that the first-ever visit of Japanese prime minister to the DPRK on September 17, 2002 accompanied by the fact that it admitted “the historical facts that it had inflicted huge damage and sufferings upon the Korean people during its past colonial rule” and the promise to “exert all efforts to establish diplomatic ties at an early date”, while it increased Koizumi’s popularity by 10 per cent in Japan overnight, must seem anathema to the ears of Mr Bush. In fact, his predecessors had used precisely that colonial administration at the end of the war to secure control over the southern part of the peninsula. So the USA was obviously in line for such an apology as well.
Hysteria and lies were the only way out. These have gone to ridiculous extremes. A James Bond film has been produced to depict the Koreans as a savage people, when they were, in fact, the victims of both Japanese fascism and US savagery. I do not know what effect the film was meant to have in South Korea; but it has isolated the US in the peninsula more than ever before. And it should also remind us that the lies of US imperialism are not spontaneous. They can take years to manufacture, like a James Bond film. They must be exposed and countered with the same degree of seriousness.
It is heartening to see that the firm and self respecting attitude of the DPRK in the face of US lies and pressure has resulted in the victory of the firmly pro ‘sunshine policy’ ruling party presidential candidate Roh Moo-Hyun in South Korea on December 19, defeating a member of one of the country’s richest families, the Hyundai group. Roh, the son of a poor chicken farmer, lawyer and human rights activist has won on a clearly anti-US vote. His election to the South Korean presidency is a clear indication that Bush’s policy of lies and blackmail has met with the failure it richly deserved. One hopes the BJP-led government, instead of adding its own lies to those of the US, learns from the bitter experience of Mr Bush and mends its relations with the DPRK.