As concerns the nuclear issue, the big powers that
control the veto in the
Security Council - the U.S., Russia, China, France and Britain - have
declared themselves an exclusive nuclear club where they possess a
monopoly and decide who else can and cannot have nuclear weapons as
as use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes. On this basis, they
their allies, the apartheid South African regime and Israel to produce
weapons and have since tolerated India and Pakistan. They denounce as
those countries seeking to fashion their own way of life and do not
them engaging in the development of nuclear technology for peaceful
purposes, or participating in space ventures such as the launching of
for purposes of communications or monitoring the weather, which greatly
affects their economic planning and life. Those countries, specifically
time the DPRK and Iran are constantly threatened with annihilation.
It is the sovereign right of every nation to determine its own way of life and affirm its right to be. The major concern of defending the sacred cause of peace cannot be sorted out if this right is not recognized. If this right has no practical defence, and the big powers are given free rein to usurp the decision-making power on a world scale, maraud the seven seas and the entire earth's surface and outer space deploying military forces at will, it is they, not countries such as the DPRK, that are the cause of tensions everywhere, including on the Korean Peninsula.
The issue that all people of conscience have to answer for themselves is the following: If the rights of the Korean nation were recognized, if they were not being pushed to the brink of what they have clearly said means their extinction, would they be taking such measures as declaring their right to wage pre-emptive nuclear strikes to defend their sovereignty and right to be? The history of the past more than 60 years, not only their history but also that of all peoples everywhere, is proof of what they are saying at this time, "Justice can be defended only when strength is met with strength." They have now drawn another conclusion: "Justice can be defended only when nuclear weapons are met with nuclear weapons."
Will the world now listen? Who will join the Korean nation in its hour of need? Who will take responsibility for the sacred cause of world peace if not the peoples of the world who have sacrificed their lives time and again to hoist the banner of Peace, Freedom and Democracy, only to have it seized by their enemies and trampled it in the mud, bringing the world to the brink of calamity?
According to imperialist disinformation, the DPRK is the cause of tension on the Korean Peninsula and it must be stopped no matter what the cost. According to the imperialist disinformation, if only the leadership in the DPRK were not hysterical, making rhetorical threats to seek irrational advantage and dictatorial powers, there would be no problem on the Korean peninsula.
Perhaps the adage has come true, according to which
require desperate measures." People should think about this seriously
ponder what the truth of the matter is. Whatever one understands to be
various sides in this dangerous conflict, or their motivations, what is
is that all women and men of conscience everywhere are called upon by
history to take a just stand. The problems left over by history demand
defenders of the sacred cause of Peace, Freedom and Democracy must come
forward. The situation calls forth champions whose actions prove
leading the peoples to prevail over the dangers that exist and are
imminent with every passing day.
To find where justice lies, TML calls on
participate actively in a serious inquiry, for such an inquiry has been
and the truth obscured by the big powers that control the UN Security
and by the imperialist mass media. The people participating in such an
should set their own parameters and the questions they must ask and
to determine the truth of this life and death matter. This includes
answering questions such as whether the DPRK would be taking these
measures if it were permitted to participate in world trade on the same
as all countries are entitled to do, as is their right; if it were
pursue its own way of life, as is its right and the right of all human
do, and to determine its own institutions and their fate, leaving it up
wisdom of the Korean people to sort out the problems they face in
their society forward, questions which face every society as an ongoing
concern of how to establish decision-making processes that most
gauge the popular will and turn it into the legal will and put the
in its service.
People should look into the history of the Korean nation and their institutions. What happened to the peoples' striving for Peace, Freedom and Democracy after the Second World War? What threatens the sacred cause of peace at this time? What is the state of Freedom and Democracy in Europe, in the United States of America and in countries such as Canada and Mexico and the countries of Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean? Can there be Peace, Freedom and Democracy today without opposing the U.S. imperialist's striving for world domination and the contention that this brings from the other big powers?
TML urges the working class in this country and all its allies to take a serious stand that does not trivialize or dismiss the claims of the DPRK. Such a stand should start by rejecting attempts to blame the DPRK for the tension on the Korean peninsula. Workers know what it means to bear the burden for a society that deprives them of their jobs, their benefits and pensions and then blames them for their plight and makes them pay for an austerity agenda that benefits only the rich and powerful. Women know what it means to be blamed for sexual assault and domestic violence, and then to be criminalized when they stand up to defend their rights. Children know what it means to bear the brunt of systemic social, economic, cultural and political problems. Our prisons are filled with young people, especially those whose only crime is to be born poor or into an indigenous nation whose existence and territories stand in the way of marauding monopolies that have usurped the state power to further their own mania for privilege and power. TML calls on all persons of conscience to investigate who is to blame for the tension on the Korean Peninsula, to investigate who is the abused and who is the abuser.
To whom should we entrust the fate of the sacred cause of peace if not ourselves? What precisely is the United States doing in the Korean Peninsula with its nuclear stockpiles, continuous military occupation and war games? Is it there to safeguard peace? Is it there to uphold the banner of Peace, Freedom and Democracy? What arguments does it provide in its favour?
The Editorial Board of TML Weekly Information
these are important matters of conscience. We appeal to all men and
of conscience to take a just stand that favours the sacred cause of
Freedom and Democracy. Since the position of the United States, Canada
other big powers fills the airwaves and newspapers, in this issue of TML
Weekly we are providing arguments that the DPRK presents to
substantiate its case and other pertinent views, comments and analysis.
Banner at recent peace rally in Seoul reads: "Stop south Korea-U.S. Joint War Exercises!";
"Stop Sanction against north Korea!"; "Demand north Korea-U.S. Peace Negotiations!";
"Restart the north-south Dialogue!"; "U.S. Army Out!"
News and Views
Harper Government Beats the Drums of War
No sooner the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 2094 strengthening sanctions against the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), Foreign Minister John Baird announced Canada would enforce the UN Security Council sanctions and started making boorish statements against the DPRK. Baird sought to justify the resolution and sanctions by declaring that "it is high time" the DPRK "reverse this dangerous course, abandon it nuclear and ballistic missile programs, and focus its scarce resources on the living conditions of its people." He made no mention of the nuclear arsenals of the big powers which outstrip those of the DPRK by many orders of magnitude. Nor did Baird see fit to mention the brutal and longstanding blockade of the DPRK, led by the U.S., which profoundly affects the well- being of the Korean people. All the actions of the government of Canada show that its sole interest is to make sure regime change takes place in the DPRK.
On March 8, during proceedings in the House of Commons, Parliamentary Secretary to the Foreign Affairs Minister Deepak Obhrai asked for the unanimous consent of the House of Commons to move a nefarious motion attempting to promote all kinds of lies and disinformation about the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. The motion was not moved and thus no debate proceeded as it did not receive the required unanimous consent from all those present. The government may now consider other ways of having the motion put on the agenda of the House of Commons through negotiations with the other parties when the House resumes sitting on March 18.
The motion comes right at a time that the threat of a new Korean War breaking out is a real possibility due to U.S. provocations and attempts to use the United Nations Security Council to bully and isolate the DPRK. One can only conclude that the aim in introducing the motion is to contribute to a lynching atmosphere in the Parliament and across the country where anything can be justified including a genocidal nuclear strike against the people of the DPRK.
The motion deliberately makes wild claims about the situation of human rights in the DPRK and intertwines this with further disinformation deliberately confusing the latter's nuclear energy program, satellite delivery programs and ballistic missile programs. The motion was tabled right as the world's people want a situation of calm so they can adequately assess what is taking place and how to take a stand for peace internationally which affirms the right of all nations to their independence and sovereignty.
Canada must atone for its crimes against the people of Asia by ending its interference and provocative actions, including its participation in U.S. led war drills aimed at preparing for an attack against Korea.
Canada participated in the first Korean war under a UN flag which resulted in the deaths of some 3 million Korean civilians, not to mention dividing the Korean people in two. Canada also participated in providing the facilities, processed uranium and plutonium and political support for the U.S. nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki Japan resulting in the deaths of hundreds of thousands and untold suffering. Enough is enough!
Crimes Against the
1. Motion tabled by Deepak
Obhrai in the House of Commons on March
8, 2013: "that the House reaffirm Canada's commitment to the treaty on
non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and unequivocally condemn North
Korea's recent nuclear test in violation of its international
Another Unjust Resolution Against the Democratic People's Republic of Korea
On March 7, the 15-member UN Security Council (UNSC) adopted Resolution 2094 against the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) in response to the DPRK's third nuclear test, carried out February 12. Resolution 2094 imposes additional sanctions against the DPRK by targeting what the UNSC claims are "the illicit activities of diplomatic personnel, transfers of bulk cash and the country's banking relationships."
The UNSC, in which the U.S. carries the biggest stick, has always been used as an instrument of big power politics. Currently the 15-member UNSC consists of the permanent members China, United States, Russia, France and Britain. The non-permanent members now serving their two-year term are Argentina, Azerbaijan, Australia, Guatemala, Luxembourg, Morocco, Pakistan, Republic of Korea (south Korea), Rwanda and Togo.
The UNSC has passed many resolutions against the DPRK, including Resolution 825 (1993), Resolution 1540 (2004), Resolution 1695 (2006), Resolution 1718 (2008), Resolution 1874 (2009), Resolution 1887 (2009) and Resolution 2087 (January 2013). These resolutions have been passed to criminalize the DPRK for exercising it right to be, and in particular its right to develop nuclear energy for its domestic needs and, in the face on U.S. nuclear pre-emptive strikes and war-mongering on the Korean peninsula, to develop its "nuclear deterrent power" to protect its sovereignty. As such, these resolutions do not contribute to peace but have only increased tensions and the danger of war.
Resolution 2094 gives the U.S. and its allies the veneer of legality to apply additional economic and political pressure on the DPRK and create hysteria against the DPRK's militant stand in defence of its independence and sovereignty.
For example, member states are expected to spy on DPRK diplomatic personnel and other nations who "may" undertake activity "that could contribute to the country's weapons programs, or which violate prohibited activities." These prohibited activities include assisting DPRK banks or financial institutions to transact business and money transfers (especially bulk cash transfers) that are aimed at evading sanctions and thus "may contribute" to the DPRK's alleged nuclear weapons program. Persons who are suspected of such activities are to be expelled from the territories of member nations.
In addition, three individuals connected with the Korea Mining Development Trading Company are prohibited from travelling abroad. The company's foreign assets are to be frozen because of alleged involvement in nuclear weapons and missile development. The assets of the Second Academy of Natural Sciences which is engaged in research and development and which could "obtain technology" through its subsidiaries is also targeted.
Resolution 2094 also legalizes piracy against DPRK ships and aircraft. The resolution deems that member states "shall inspect all cargo within or transiting through their territory that has originated in the DPRK or that is destined for the DPRK, or has been brokered or facilitated by the DPRK or its nations" if the state has "credible information" that the cargo contains materials that are restricted. In the case of objection to these high-handed tactics, the vessels in question are to be refused docking rights or, in the case of aircraft, landing rights.
UNSC Resolution 2094 compels member nations -- without any provision for discussion in the General Assembly or for the DPRK to address its concerns to the UNSC -- to comply with these sanctions. While previous sanctions said member nations were "called on" to implement sanctions, these new sanctions say member nations "shall" implement them. Countries who do not face sanctions themselves or "non-military" pressure.
No country in the world has faced such unjust sanctions
for as long as the
DPRK has. UNSC Resolution 2094 is fundamentally unjust and is yet
bogus UNSC resolution aimed at criminalizing the DPRK and justifying
another Korean War. The Canadian working class and people must oppose
resolution and all other unjust sanctions against the DPRK and those
refuse to enforce the sanctions and call for their immediate repeal.
U.S. and South Korea Stage Provocative War Exercises
South Korean K-55 self-propelled howitzers participate in a joint live-fire drill in Pocheon, South Korea,
March 15, 2012, as part of last year's Foal Eagle military exercise.
As part of its longstanding hostile policy against the DPRK, the large scale Key Resolve Foal Eagle military exercises held by the U.S. and south Korea on and around the Korean Peninsula began on March 1 and run until the end of April. The exercises involve more than 200,000 troops, primarily from south Korea and the U.S., but also other countries.
The U.S. has held the Resolve and Foal Eagle War exercises every year since 1997. It is reported to be one of the largest military exercises in the world. A February 21 press release from the U.S. military states that "parts of forces from Denmark, United Kingdom, Australia, Colombia, and Canada (members of the United Nations Command) and supervisors from the Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission will [also] participate." The U.S. claims that these exercises are merely defensive in nature and this is but the 2013 iteration of the war games. However, the Supreme Command of the Korean People's Army points out that, "Unlike last year the current joint military exercises will be participated in by super-large nuclear-powered carrier task force carrying at least 100 nuclear warheads, B-52H strategic bombers and other means of the U.S. imperialist aggression forces for making ground, sea and air nuclear strikes and its allied forces including south Korea, U.K. and Australia."
The description of these exercises on the website of the U.S. 7th Airforce states:
"KEY RESOLVE is a Combined Forces Command (CFC) operational plan-oriented Command Post Exercise driven by simulation and a master scenario events list.
"The primary focus of KEY RESOLVE is crisis management, maneuver and sustainment of forward forces within the context of operational planning warfighting.
"KEY RESOLVE is directed at maintaining the readiness of the CFC staff and components. It is executed in conjunction with Foal Eagle and involves more than 29,000 U.S. forces and more than 200,000 ROK forces."
"FOAL EAGLE is an annual large-scale ROK-wide joint combined/joint Field Training Exercise (FTX) that runs concurrently with the KEY RESOLVE exercise.
"It is focused on rear area security and stability operations, onward movement of critical assets to the forward area, special operations, ground maneuver, amphibious operations, combat air operations, maritime action group operations and counter special operations forces exercises (CSOFEX)."
Holding such war games is never acceptable. According to Article 6 (a) of the Nuremberg Declaration of 1945, these exercises constitute a "crime against peace" as they constitute "planning and preparing" for a war of aggression against another nation. Such activity is even more reprehensible when the U.S. has already racheted up the tension on the Korean Peninsula to such a high degree that it might cause the break out of an actual war.
In March 2010, the sinking of the south Korean warship Cheonan
was spuriously attributed to the DPRK by the U.S., south Korea and
allies in a failed attempt to isolate the DPRK at the UN Security
Later that year, a live fire drill conducted within the DPRK's
by the south Korean navy elicited a vigorous military response from the
Korean People's Army. Disinformation about the Yeonpyong Island
was used to suggest that the DPRK had carried out an unprovoked attack,
rather than defending its sovereignty.
Korean War to the present,
the U.S. and its allies have shown a pattern of deception and
against the DPRK at the risk of a new Korean War, which the latter does
U.S. Marine Corps soldiers take part in a landing operation during the U.S.-South Korea live fire military exercise "Foal Eagle" at Pohang Beach, Gyeongsangbukdo province of South Korea, March 29, 2012.
1. "Truth Behind Cheonan
Incident: U.S. and Lee
Myung Bak Group
Fabricate Ugliest Conspiratorial Farce in DPRK's History," Inspection
DPRK National Defence Commission, October 2010, published in TML
Daily, November 5, 2010 - No. 187
DPRK Denounces Security Council Resolution
On March 9, the Foreign Ministry of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) issued a statement denouncing UN Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 2094 following its third nuclear test. The statement points out that the UNSC resolution is "clear proof" of the U.S.’s work and its hostile policy towards the DPRK aimed at regime change bringing down the ideology and system chosen by the people of the DPRK by trying to disarm and strangle it economically.
The statement denounces the U.S. for wantonly violating "a sovereign state's right to launch a satellite" and escalating measures to "stifle the DPRK." It squarely puts the blame on the U.S. as the "arch criminal" which "compelled the DPRK to conduct an underground nuclear test for self-defence." If the UNSC had a shred of impartiality, the DPRK statement says, it would have taken issue with the hostile acts of the U.S. against the DPRK. The DPRK, which had planned to focus on economic construction and improving the people's living standard was forced to divert resources to conduct the nuclear test.
The DPRK Foreign Ministry’s statement condemns the UNSC for bowing to U.S. demands and disregarding the root cause of the hostility between the DPRK and the U.S. and the context of the nuclear issue on the Korean peninsula.
The statement underscores the fact that the UNSC has passed five resolutions imposing sanctions against the DPRK over the last eight years, which has only resulted in the DPRK bolstering its nuclear deterrent capability qualitatively and quantitatively. This is the the opposite result of what was expected. A nuclear deterrent force is the firm guarantee of the country’s defence of its sovereignty and vital rights and a "treasured sword" to defeat the moves of the U.S. to ignite a nuclear war on the Korean peninsula and hasten the day of the historic cause of national reunification, the statement points out.
The DPRK "vehemently denounces and totally rejects" the recent UNSC sanctions against it, the statement goes on to say. It warns the U.S. and its allies that attempts to adopt and implement these base sanctions, which aim to impede the DPRK from "conquering space" and building its nuclear deterrent capability, will only increase the resolve of the DPRK a thousand-fold.
The DPRK takes the UNSC to task for permitting the U.S. a free hand in preparing for a nuclear war on the Korean peninsula under the fraud of "nuclear non-proliferation" which has created a very tense situation on the Korean peninsula.
Finally, the DPRK Foreign Ministry statement notes that it has clarified many times that it will continue to take countermeasures to prepare for a great war of national reunification if the U.S. opts for war on the Korean peninsula.
Supreme Command of Korean People's Army Clarifies Important Measures to Defend National Sovereignty
Rally in Pyongyang, March 7, 2013, in support of DPRK's plan to withdraw from the 1953 Korean Armistice Agreement. (KCNA)
On March 5, a spokesman for the Supreme Command of the Korean People's Army (KPA) issued a statement in which the context for the current tense situation on the Korean peninsula was explained as well as the DPRK's response to the latest acts of aggression towards it.
He recounted the DPRK's satellite launch on December 12, 2012, which was carried out with transparency, fully in compliance with international law governing the use of space and at a time of relative calm. Despite this, "the U.S. and its allies deliberately negated the DPRK's sovereignty over its satellite launch. They finally prodded the UN Security Council into adopting a 'resolution on sanctions' before opting for high-handed hostile acts against the DPRK."
He further explained that, "Under this situation the DPRK was compelled to take practical counteractions to defend the security and sovereignty of the country. On February 12 it successfully conducted the third underground nuclear test for self-defence at the highest level as part of those counteractions." Rather than taking heed of the gravity of the situation and the seriousness with which the DPRK defends its sovereignty, the U.S. and south Korea launched and expanded version of the Key Resolve Foal Eagle war games on March 1.
The spokesperson decried the activities of those in the south who undermined inter-Korean relations at the behest of their U.S. masters, failing to grasp consequences of their treachery for Korea and the countries of the region should the U.S. realize its aim to reignite a war.
The spokesman for the KPA Supreme Command declared several important measures the DPRK is taking to deal with the present situation. Firstly, that consequent to the February 12 nuclear test, the DPRK "will take the second and third strong practical counteractions in succession to cope with the high-handed war acts of the U.S. and all other hostile forces as it had already declared.
He gave assurances that the army and people of the DPRK are never ones to engage in empty talk and will do what they are determined to do. He cited the DPRK's victories in the two wars with the Japanese and U.S. imperialists and its great advances since then, overcoming many hardships in the process.
The KPA stands at the ready, he said. The army groups on the front, ground forces, the navy, air and anti-air units, strategic rocket units of the KPA, the Worker-Peasant Red Guards and the Young Red Guards are fully mobilized according to the operational plan authorized by the Supreme Commander Kim Jong Un.
The KPA spokesperson made it crystal clear that should the U.S. use nuclear weapons against it, the DPRK will respond in kind with the means it has developed for diversified precision nuclear strikes.
He warned the U.S. imperialists that, "This land is neither the Balkans nor Iraq or Libya.
"The army and people of the DPRK have everything including lighter and smaller nukes unlike what they had in the past."
Secondly, the KPA Supreme Command will totally nullify the Korean Armistice Agreement (AA) as of March 11 when the U.S. and south Korean war games get fully underway. The spokesperson noted that the war manoeuvres are a vivid expression of their systematic violation of the AA. He added that once it is no longer bound by the AA, the DPRK will strike justly any target at anytime, as required to achieve national reunification.
Thirdly, the KPA Supreme Command will cease the activities of the Panmunjom mission of the KPA, located at the Demarcation Line which divides the two Koreas. The mission was tentatively established and operated by the DPRK as a negotiating body for establishing a peace-keeping mechanism on the Korean Peninsula. The measure will also include cutting off the Panmunjom DPRK-U.S. military hotline.
The declaration from the KPA Supreme Command concludes
that the situation is reaching a dangerous phase. The U.S. imperialists
allies are warned once again that any aggression will be met in kind
even greater response, and to engage the army and people of the DPRK,
go all out to protect their sovereignty, will be at the peril of their
Units of the Korean People's Army undertake training exercises, March 7, 2013. (KCNA)
(Korean Central News Agency)
Security Council Resolution Against DPRK Can Only Increase Tension on the Korean Peninsula
While there are rare instances of the UN Security Council acting in a way that welcomed the parties to a conflict to explain their views to the members of the Security Council so that the Security Council could be helpful toward a resolution, there are a number of examples of the Security Council acting in a way that intensifies or causes a conflict to become more serious. This is in direct contrast to the obligation of the Security Council according to the UN Charter. Such a failure on the part of the Security Council is particularly demonstrated by the treatment accorded the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) by the Security Council, with the exception of the two examples described in the article, "Two Precedents for UN Security Council Action to Calm Tension in the Korean Peninsula."
The DPRK has complained about the hostile acts of the US toward it. Instead of the Security Council inviting the DPRK to explain its complaint, the Security Council has allowed the US to compile a set of punishments of the DPRK in the form of a proposed new security council resolution tabled on March 5. The resolution is to be voted on on Thursday, March 7.
To vote on such a resolution with no consideration of the DPRK view of the problem that exists is a serious abuse of the obligations of the Security Council under the UN Charter. An example of the illegitimacy and duplicity of action taken by the US against the DPRK is described in the article, "Behind the Blacklisting of Banco Delta Asia: Is the policy aimed at targeting China as well as North Korea?"
The DPRK has made a convincing case that there is a long pattern of abuse by the US against its country and people and that it needs a means to defend itself.
For the Security Council to pass new sanctions to support the US pattern of abuse against the DPRK is an act that demonstrates the problem of the nature and functioning of the UN Security Council.
The first nuclear explosion by the DPRK was in response to the US government sanctions against the Banco Delta Asia, a bank in Macau, China, which had $25 million of DPRK funds. The US sanctions against this bank were taken with no proof ever provided of any actual abuse by the bank. To implement these sanctions the US government used a provision of the U.S. Patriot Act, Section 311. This section of the Patriot Act was inserted into the Act by the then Senator John Kerry. The US government abuse of the DPRK by this action was to interfere with the DPRK access to the use of the international banking system. The DPRK made many efforts to have this action of the US reversed via negotiation. It was only by carrying out its first nuclear test that the DPRK was able to get help via the Six Party Talks to have these sanctions reversed. And that was a difficult process taking multiple efforts on the part of Christopher Hill and others in the US State Department but also other countries as part of the Six Party Talks. (At that point while the US Treasury Department was enforcing the Banco Delta Asia sanctions, the US State Department was trying to have them removed.) An investigation into why the DPRK felt it needed a nuclear deterrent is critical if there is to be any solution to the current conflict between the US and the DPRK.
This short article is intended as an alert that the current resolution being considered at the Security Council demonstrates a serious lack of understanding of the background of the role played by financial sanctions in fomenting this conflict in the past.
Precedents for UN
Security Council Action to Calm Tension in the
The U.S. in Korea -- A History of Criminality
Bridge at No Gun Ri: Korean civilians were instructed by U.S. troops to stand on the railroad tracks atop the bridge where the soldiers then searched them for weapons. The soldiers then radioed for an aerial bombardment and then fled. Of those who were not killed, many escaped to the tunnel beneath the bridge, where for the next four days, July 26-29, soldiers fired at them. U.S. medics visited the group, but did not offer help. (www.askasia.org)
TML Weekly Information Project interviewed Philip Fernandez on the grave situation on the Korean Peninsula. Fernandez is on the Commission of the Central Committee of CPC(M-L) which deals with the Asia-Pacific region as well as spokesperson for the Canadian Chapter of the Korea Truth Commission.
TMLW: Philip, you participated in the work of the Korea Truth Commission which held an international tribunal in New York in 2001. A 100-strong Canadian delegation participated in those proceedings along with delegations from the United States and the Republic of Korea. You also visited the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) in 2002 as a member of the Korea Truth Commission to investigate the war crimes committed by the U.S. during the Korean War. Can you tell us about the work of the Truth Commission and its findings?
Philip Fernandez: Yes, the Truth Commission carried out investigations into the massacres and other war crimes committed by the U.S. Army in Korea before, during and after the Korean War. It created conditions for people to come forward to tell of their own horrific experiences at the hand of the U.S. military during the war. To this day, the Korean people continue to feel the impact of the first arrival of U.S. troops on the Korean peninsula in September 1945, after Koreans had fought so long against the Japanese occupiers and had defeated them, thus contributing to the Allied victory over the Axis powers in the Second World War.
The number of civilian deaths that occurred during the period of the U.S. military occupation from the period since 1945 until the start of the war in 1950 has been estimated at close to one million people, mostly patriotic Koreans who were opposed to the division of their country and the U.S. military government that attempted to re-establish a colonial regime by force of arms over the Koreans.
During the Korean War itself -- initiated by the U.S. to take over Korea which it had already divided -- there were more than four million civilian deaths and millions of other causalities. In the northern part of Korea alone, there were more than three million casualties.
There is also evidence that U.S. armed forces personnel have committed well over 100,000 criminal offences against Koreans since 1953, since the Armistice Agreement was signed to end the Korean War. However, because of the notorious Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) which the U.S. has with the south Korean regime, less than one per cent of these crimes have been brought before the Korean legal system.
The evidence brought forward during the Korea Truth
investigations and international tribunals that were held in New York
2001, in Pyongyang in 2003 and also in Seoul, goes a long way to
the world why the People's Democratic Republic of Korea will go to any
lengths to avert a reoccupation of Korea by the United States and
U.S. Army photos depicting the summary execution of south Korean political prisoners by the south Korean military and police at Daejeon, south Korea, over several days in July 1950. Lt. Col. Bob E. Edwards, the U.S. Army Attaché in charge of documenting the executions, was quoted as saying, "General treatment of Prisoners of War after evacuation from front has been good." It is estimated that up to 7,000 were killed at Daejeon, and tens of thousands elsewhere. (Brian Willson)
TMLW: What do you say to the accusation that the DPRK is a "rogue state?"
PF: The U.S. considers those that stand up to its dictate to be "rogue states." In fact the U.S. is the worst "rogue state" in the world. While in power, the Bush administration proved the aggressive nature of the U.S. more clearly than ever before through its belligerence. Meanwhile President Obama subscribes to the Drone War Doctrine by which those who are considered enemies of the U.S. state, including American citizens, can be killed by remote controlled drones. These acts of murder and terror are considered legal by the U.S. state!
The accusation that the DPRK is rogue is specifically applied to its development of nuclear technology. A serious question arises: why were Israel and South Africa not accused of being rogue, or India and Pakistan and why were they not subjected to sanctions given that they possess nuclear weapons? Why is there a nuclear monopoly in the hands of the big powers, who can maraud the oceans as the U.S. is doing with nuclear powered submarines and carriers and they are permitted to do so with impunity? Who trusts them to be the world's gendarmes?
We deplore the double standards the United Nations Security Council uses. If you look at the Security Council's resolution 2094 that was just passed, it is hard to reconcile how the U.S. which is the biggest nuclear and ballistic missiles proliferator can point the finger at the DPRK, but it does! And that's a problem not only for the DPRK but for the rest of the world. For international law to have meaning, all nations big and small have to abide by the same laws.
TMLW: What about the accusations that the communications satellite launched by the DPRK was a ballistic missile?
PF: It is interesting to note that south Koreans had also launched a satellite, using a booster rocket from Russia, and nobody said anything. This shows that the double standards of the imperialist system of states know no bounds. The DPRK has been rightly incensed. Some estimates are that the space business for the south of Korea could gross $5 billion a year when it takes off, similar to other industries in which it competes.
Opposition to the peaceful use of communications and weather satellites by the DPRK hides the real intention to not only stifle the DPRK but also control what is called "the new space race." Recently, following satellite launches by the DPRK, the Republic of Korea, Iran, and Japan, the New York Times ran a series of items on the new space race. The following quote is indicative of the inter-imperialist competition involved and the desire to keep competitors out of the market:
"China is a fulcrum of the U.S. debate over international cooperation and competition in space. U.S. commercial and scientific space professionals want to cooperate with their Chinese peers, who will bring considerable economic and technical resources to the development of the global space industry and to international space science and exploration. But U.S. political and military leaders, concerned about China's attitudes and behavior, actively seek to limit Chinese participation in the international community of space-faring nations. China is not allowed to visit the International Space Station. U.S. export control laws constrain China's ability to compete in the international launch services market. Chinese experts are excluded from international scientific meetings. Officials at NASA and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy are not even allowed to talk to their Chinese counterparts about cooperation in space. [...] But the nascent cold war in space between China and the United States threatens our ability to develop such an environment [of cooperation]. It increases distrust and resentment that can reduce cooperation and increase the risk of conflict. China and the United States must find a way to work together in space, as they have in other domains here on earth. This can only happen through dialogue. Congressional restrictions preventing the United States and China from talking about cooperation in space lock both nations into a hostile relationship. Those restrictions should be lifted, and leaders in both countries should begin to work together to ensure our common interests -- in space and on the ground."
TMLW: You raised the issue of China. It would stand to reason that China is not favoured by a U.S. imperialist war on the Korean Peninsula. Why is it supporting this UN Resolution?
PF: Of course China does not want a war on the Korean Peninsula. On the face of it, China says that the DPRK should not violate the non-proliferation treaty and the ban on testing nuclear weapons. It also says it will work to bring the DPRK back into the Six Party talks. But none of the big powers in the Security Council seem to want a smaller country to have modern weapons and a sense of being that challenges the imperialist system of states. Nobody seems to want the DPRK acting as an independent state, even though a militant and powerful DPRK and its military standing firmly without fear serves the forces which favour peace in East Asia. The unfolding developments attest to the tensions which exist and how complex the situation has become. Finding a way forward and how to stop the adventurist path on which the U.S. has embarked in its attempt to impose its dictate over all others, is the challenge facing all those who are genuinely concerned. We sincerely hope that China will rise to the occasion and assist to provide this problem with a solution. We do not think that measures which serve to further isolate the just stand of the DPRK are helpful.
TMLW: What about the role of Japan?
PF: The TML Editorial board closely follows what is going in Japan. The role played by Japan contributes to the creation of tensions on the Korean Peninsula. Furthermore, to this day it has refused to apologize for the crimes it committed during its occupation of Korea and during the Second World War.
In analyzing the unfolding events on the Korean Peninsula, the TML Editorial Board noted that China itself not only faces the direct danger from U.S. imperialism, but also from the military ally of U.S. imperialism, Japanese militarism.
China seems to be challenging U.S. imperialism in East Asia (and elsewhere such as Africa) by taking a very strong stand against Japanese provocations. Most of the Japanese leaders today (Prime Minister and deputy and other key cabinet members) are all direct descendants of the militarist families in power before and during the Second World War. They are also being egged on by U.S. imperialism to create a war atmosphere to try and undermine the movement to annul the U.S./Japan military alliance and drive all U.S. troops out of Japan starting with Okinawa. Also the Japanese economy has contracted for three quarters in a row. The Japanese provocations are also part of the repositioning of U.S. military power in East Asia to confront China in its backyard.
TMLW: The news media in Canada did not report much on a recent row between China and Japan over who owns the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands.
PF: News coverage in Canada is very narrow in its scope. The sparring between Japan and China has turned serious. Of course U.S. imperialism eggs on the ruckus as it tries to isolate China. A remarkable development is Japan and China now publicly and routinely accuse each other of lying. Japan said a Chinese warship locked in its firing or shooting radar on a Japanese destroyer near the disputed islands. A locked-in radar guides a missile or artillery to a target. China after an internal investigation said Japan was lying, accusing it of trying to portray China as becoming aggressive. When two big powers cannot engage in diplomacy over such matters as territory and publicly call each other liars then a military clash is the next step. The U.S. State Department announced that it officially believed China was lying and Japan was not. China was very angry and told the U.S. to stay neutral and not to poke its nose into the dispute.
TMLW: China is a big power and has some clout when it tells the U.S. to mind its own business. When big powers no longer use diplomatic channels to sort out problems it certainly sheds light on the plight of a country like the DPRK.
PF: Indeed. Japan pushed that recent fight with its farcical purchase of several of the uninhabited disputed islands. These islands have good fishing and possibly oil and gas in the surrounding sea. They are located about 380 kilometres south of Okinawa, about the same distance east from mainland China and around 250 kilometres northeast of Taiwan. They were mentioned in ancient Chinese records as administered by various Chinese dynasties. Japan annexed them in 1895 soon after annexing Okinawa. These events happened as Japan emerged as a powerful imperialist nation and China was disintegrating from colonial attacks and internal disputes. The First Sino-Japanese War of 1894-95 ended in defeat for China. Japan forced China to cede control of Taiwan to Japan (known by imperialism as Formosa at the time), which it held until its defeat in WWII, and for China to recognize Japanese control of Korea, which in 1910 became full colonial control. Okinawa itself is 916 kilometres southwest of the nearest main Japanese island (Kyushu) and was itself an ancient separate kingdom (Ryukyu) with its own language, which came first under Chinese influence (circa 1400 or earlier) and then Japan in 1609. As Okinawa is in the middle of the East China Sea, it was a useful stopping point for Chinese, Korean and Japanese (and other) trading vessels for hundreds of years going way back. Ryukyu maintained a tributary but independent relationship with first China, and then both Japan and China after 1609, until 1879 when it was annexed by Japan.
TMLW: So these are problems left over by history which can be sorted out on a peaceful basis if the political will is channelled for that purpose.
PF: Yes. The DPRK has never attacked anyone, or threatened anyone. It has never had any troops occupying other countries. All it wants is the peaceful reunification of the Korean nation on the basis of the one state/two systems solution, as is its right and as has been applied by China vis à vis Hong Kong and Macao and as it proposes with Taiwan. What is wrong with that? Since the U.S. was forced to sign a ceasefire to end the Korean War in 1953, it has refused to sign a permanent peace treaty. It has violated the terms of the ceasefire from the outset, filling the south of Korea with nuclear weapons, building and maintaining some 40 military bases and using south Korea as a staging ground for war and aggression and constantly threatening the DPRK with a pre-emptive nuclear strike Who is rogue in this equation?
The Security Council has become an illegitimate authority when it comes to preserving the peace. This is a grave problem facing not just the DPRK but the world's people. Time and time again, the U.S. has manipulated events to get a UN Security Council green light to wage wars of aggression in violation of the principles of the right of all nations, big or small to self-determination and non interference in their internal affairs. The big powers do not take stands based on principles or considerations of ensuring peace under all conditions and circumstances. They align themselves in a manner that they can benefit from the wars of aggression which they consider inevitable.
TMLW: The Cold War is over but the calculations seem to be the same as during the Cold War. What is your view?
PF: Yes, in the case of the DPRK, anti-communism is the basis of rabid disinformation about the living conditions in that country and about the nature of the People's Power, called a murderous dictatorship while the people are treated as an enslaved mass. They are presented to us in the most racist way, as a faceless people, without their own thinking, identity, hearts and minds. According to the imperialists, when a people is willing to give their lives to preserve their freedom and right to be, it means they are inhuman. In fact the opposite is the case.
Everyone knows that the real tyrants are the billionaires who can justify selling their mothers if it makes them a buck. These are the accusers of the people of the DPRK, who would like to see the socialist system of the DPRK overturned and a dictatorship of the biggest monopolies and financiers established there. It is a vicious campaign which is not only anti-communist but racist and anti-worker. These are the ingredients of an obscurantist ideology espoused today by modern day Hitlerites. It is not the ideology of those who defend their right to be.
TMLW: In conclusion, what can you tell us about the stand of the Harper government?
PF: Its stand is unacceptable. It has diplomatic relations with the DPRK. Why does the Harper government engage in public displays of ignorance by accusing the DPRK of every crime in the book on the basis of anti-communism, instead of communicating through diplomatic channels and meanwhile working to build people to people and state to state friendship? The outlook of the Harper government towards the serious questions of war and peace can be clearly understood if one studies its attitude towards the DPRK.
It is noteworthy that in the wake of the UN Security Council's unjust resolution 2094, Foreign Minister Baird not only said that Canada "welcomed" the new and expanded sanctions against the DPRK but was "proud to have been a co-sponsor" and that "the true travesty is that the North Korean people continue to starve and are denied basic human rights while the regime in Pyongyang squanders limited resources." It demanded that the government of the DPRK should reverse its "dangerous course, abandon its nuclear and ballistic missile programs and focus its scare resources on the living conditions of it people."
In his anti-communist mania, Minister Baird, who purports to speak for the Canadian people, should tell them that since the Korean War started in 1950, the DPRK has been subjected to increasingly harsh and inhumane U.S.-led sanctions and an economic embargo. It is the nation that has been sanctioned for the longest time. Despite this, the DPRK has completely rebuilt the infrastructure the imperialists shattered during the Korean war and its all-sided economy using the most advanced methods and technique. It has devoted all its resources to establishing modern industry and modern agriculture and feeding its people, providing them with a very advanced education and culture. It has done all this on the basis of self-reliance, while it has been prevented from engaging in developing normal relations with many countries or in trade for mutual benefit with countries such as Canada which has toed the U.S. line for 60 years vis à vis the DPRK. This has not benefited the Korean people or the Canadian people.
Furthermore, the Harper government has deemed this year, 2013, "Year of the Korean War Veteran" to "pay tribute" to the more than 26,000 Canadians who participated in the Korean War and of whom 516 were killed. This is being done by the Harper government to glorify war and occupation to spread "democracy and human rights" and justify Canada's participation in another U.S.-led Korean War. This must not pass! Canadians must be vigilant and ensure that another illegal Korean War does not break out which today will be a nuclear war with grave consequences to the Korean people and to humanity. Canadians must demand that the Harper government take the lead in normalizing relations with the DPRK so that trade and other links can be established between the two countries. It must stop egging on the U.S. to commit aggression on the Korean peninsula.
TMLW: Thank you very much.
Top: U.S. military officers overseeing South Korean executions of civilians "suspected of collaborating" with the "communists," near Taegu, south Korea, April 1951. Photo taken by U.S. Korean Military Advisory Group (KMAG). Bottom: a south Korean investigation team conducts an excavation of bodies buried in a cobalt mine near Taegu, July 2007.
(Slightly edited for grammar and presentation).
North Korea or the United States: