Movement for Peace on Korean Peninsula

Resolutely Oppose Freedom Shield 24 War Exercises

Philip Fernandez

The U.S.-led war exercises Freedom Shield 24 were conducted in and around the Korean Peninsula, March 4-14, aimed at provoking the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and terrorizing the people of Korea and the region. This is one of the largest U.S.-led joint military exercises under the so-called Combined Forces Command involving the U.S. Forces Korea, the Republic of Korea (ROK) military and the so-called UN Command (UNC) made up of 11 countries: Australia, Belgium, Canada, Colombia, France, Great Britain, Greece, Italy, New Zealand, the Philippines and Thailand. A total of 48 field training drills will take place across the ROK during the year's exercise, more than double the number held last year. A parallel aerial drill called Buddy Squadron involved some 20 fighter jets, including south Korean F-15Ks and U.S. F-16s.

The U.S. military presented this exercise as "defensive" aimed to enhance "a high level of interoperability" that would enable the U.S. military to "respond swiftly and effectively to any threat." Furthermore, the U.S. military points out that Freedom Shield 24 was conducted "in the spirit of the Oct. 1, 1953, ROK-U.S. Mutual Defense Treaty and in support of the Armistice Agreement." The issue is that all the threats against the Korean people have come from the U.S. and its allies. It is spurious to claim that these exercises are "defensive" when all along the line the aim has been to achieve regime change in the DPRK, a gross violation of international law.

More to the point, the Armistice Agreement of July 1953, signed between the DPRK and the U.S. to end combat during the Korean War (1950-53), required the U.S. and all its satellite forces, including Canada to quit the Korean Peninsula and take all their military hardware with them, immediately following the signing of a peace treaty to formally end the war. Not only did the U.S. not abide by the terms of the Armistice Agreement, it refused to sign a peace treaty and actively blocked efforts by the Korean people to exercise their right to self-determination including to reunify their divided country.

The imposition of the U.S.-ROK Mutual Defense Treaty in October 1953 on the ROK, less than three months after the signing of the Armistice Agreement, has been used ever since to justify the annual U.S.-led war exercises on the Korean Peninsula, to keep Korea divided by force and turn the ROK into a U.S. colony and military forward staging ground for U.S. wars of aggression in Asia and around the world. It was the U.S. that first introduced nuclear weapons into the Korean Peninsula starting with the "Honest John" missile carrying a nuclear warhead in 1958, to impose their military dictate over the ROK and blackmail the entire Korean people.

The DPRK's Ministry of National Defence denounced Freedom Shield 24 on March 5 pointing out that the war games are provocative and aggravate the already tense atmosphere on the Korean Peninsula. This tension stems from the utter refusal of the U.S. to peacefully resolve its difference with the DPRK. The DPRK's Ministry of National Defence pointed out that while these war exercises are being carried out, the DPRK's military has been mobilized for economic construction for the benefit of the people. This fact confirms who is the troublemaker on the Korean Peninsula, the Ministry added. The Ministry added that the DPRK will be paying close attention to Freedom Shield 24 in order to monitor the situation and take any necessary countermeasures.

With the U.S. is facing a deepening political crisis at home and abroad, it is more and more threatening countries that stand up for their independence and dignity. It is vital for all peace and justice-loving people in Canada and around the world to stand with the people of the Korean Peninsula who are resisting the threats and aggression aimed at them by the U.S. It is important that Canadians speak out against these U.S.-led war games on the Korean Peninsula in which Canada is participating. What is needed more than anything else is for the U.S. to stop these acts of aggression on the Korean Peninsula and sign a peace treaty with the DPRK. This will immediately lessen tensions and create the conditions for the development of peace on the Korean Peninsula, the conditions which the Korean people north and south need to advance their nation-building project including work toward the peaceful reunification of their country.

(With files from KCNA, Bulletin of Atomic Scientists.)

This article was published in
Volume 54 Number 2 - March 2024

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