No. 10August 3, 2023
U.S. Out of Asia Pacific!
U.S. Nuclear Armed Sub Sent to Threaten Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
A U.S. strategic nuclear ballistic missile submarine — the USS Kentucky — provided a recent display in the southeastern city of Busan, south Korea, of provocation and outright threat of complete annihilation against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). The USS Kentucky carries some 20 Trident-II D5 ballistic missiles, each armed with multiple nuclear warheads that have a range of 12,000 kilmetres. Its presence follows recent overflights by B-52 strategic bombers and spy flights which flagrantly violated DPRK sovereign air space.
South Korean President Yoon made the threat clear. Referencing the inaugural meeting of the Nuclear Consultative Group, July 18, Yoon said that the presence of the USS Kentucky was calculated to put the DPRK on notice and that the U.S. has the capability to militarily “end its regime.”
The DPRK issued a statement on July 17 concerning the seriousness of the situation, with the U.S. and its puppet regime in the south openly talking about the prospect of nuclear war. “The present situation on the Korean Peninsula has reached such a phase that the possibility of an actual armed conflict and even the outbreak of a nuclear war is debated, going far beyond the phase of acute confrontation between the DPRK and the U.S. created in 2017.”
The statement, issued by the vice department director of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea, Kim Yo Jong, pointed out that the U.S. is solely responsible for the serious situation on the Korean Peninsula. She said the DPRK is not fooled by U.S. protestations that it is for “negotiations” without preconditions, the DPRK is wise to the whole gambit of U.S. tricks. The reality before the DPRK, the statement points out, is not dialogue, as repeatedly touted by the U.S. like an automated teller machine, “but the nuclear strategic bomber flying near the DPRK regardless of time, the air espionage of the U.S. violating our territorial sovereignty, the convocation of the ‘Nuclear Consultative Group’ openly discussing the use of nukes against the DPRK, and the entry of a U.S. strategic nuclear submarine into the waters of the Korean Peninsula for the first time in 40-odd years. The U.S. should know that its bolstered extended deterrence system and excessively extended military alliance system — a threatening entity — will only make the DPRK go farther away from the negotiating table desired by it.”
“The most appropriate way for ensuring peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula,” the statement said, “is to deter the U.S. high-handed and arbitrary practices in the position of might and with sufficient exercise of power, rather than solving the problem with the gangster-like Americans in a friendly manner.”
(Photos: Xinhua, Peace Now)
Successful Actions in Washington, DC Call on U.S. to Sign Permanent Peace Treaty with DPRK
Women Across the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) issued a report on August 1 on the actions they sponsored in Washington, DC on the occasion of the 70th Anniversary of the the Korean people’s successful victory in the Fatherland Liberation War 1950-53, forcing the U.S. to sign an Armistice and halt its war of aggression in Korea. Among the important demands of the Women Across the DMZ is for the U.S. to formally sign a peace agreement with the DPRK and bring its troops home, to formally end the conflict.
We are still riding high from our Korea Peace Action, held last week in Washington, DC,” the report says. Hundreds of people – including Korean Americans from divided families, Gen M/Z activists, humanitarian aid workers, experts, scholars, and peace-loving people – traveled from across the country to join our Korea Peace Action: National Mobilization to End the Korean War on the 70th anniversary of the Korean armistice.
Over the course of three scorching-hot days in Washington, DC, Korea Peace Action fortified the Korea peace movement, built connections and collaboration between organizations, groups, and individuals, including American Korean war vets, and shared the vision of peace on the Korean Peninsula in our lifetime. They lobbied Congressional Representatives. They held a press conference in front of the Capitol building highlighted by Korea Peace Champions Representatives including a member of a family that remains divided by the ongoing state of hostilities on the Korean Peninsula, a representative of the Coalition of Families of Korean and Cold War POW/MIAs, a retired three-star general and former acting commander of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, and a 14-year-old fifth-generation member of a divided family and others.
More than 500-strong they marched to the Lincoln Memorial, where an interfaith vigil was held. They wrapped up the three-days of action with an all-day conference at George Washington University to learn from experts and those with lived experience about the impact of the unresolved war and what’s at stake, and share strategies to move toward peace. Historian Bruce Cumings gave the keynote address, followed by panel discussions on “The Human Costs of Unending War” and “Peace to Prevent Nuclear War.”
At the conference, Dr. Kee Park, Director of Policy and Advocacy at Harvard University Department of Global Health and Social Medicine, who has visited the DPRK over 20 times, said, “Sanctions kill. We know it and we should not excuse it. We have allowed our leaders and our morals to deteriorate. We have become barbarians because we have accepted deaths of women and children in the name of national security.”
Co-convenors alongside Women Across the DMZ included American Friends Service Committee, Korean American Peace Fund, Mennonite Central Committee, National Association of Korean Americans, The United Methodist Church, and Veterans for Peace in addition to 27 co-sponsors.
The statement concluded: “Of all the events over those eventful three days, perhaps the most meaningful was the opportunity to connect with one another to weave an intergenerational tapestry of resistance to the ongoing Korean War. Our movement is powerful, and our voices are growing louder. Our calls are being heard. We know we’re making a difference because we even got attacked by right-wing, pro-war media!”
(Photos: C. Ahn, Peace Now)
Continued U.S. Provocations Against China
Addressing a special committee of the U.S. Congress whose focus is China and the Communist Party of China, the assistant secretary of defence for Indo-Pacific security affairs said on July 20 that the Department of Defense (DOD) is clear-eyed about the challenge to the international rules-based order from the People’s Republic of China. “China is the only country in the world with the will […] and increasingly the capability to refashion the international order in ways they would deeply undermine vital U.S. interests,” he told the committee. He said that the DOD has put in place strategies, doctrines, policies and resources to counter China and “these efforts are starting to deliver in meaningful ways. […] The department is investing in critical capabilities to maintain deterrence and prevail as necessary in this decade and beyond.”
“These investments strengthen our warfighting advantages, exploit adversary vulnerabilities and address critical operational challenges in the Indo-Pacific,” he said. “They provide capabilities that will serve to strengthen our combat credible deterrent by ensuring we can prevail.”
The U.S. conducted joint naval war exercises with Canada in the Taiwan Strait early in June, and is set to conduct joint military activities with the armed forces of Australia, Japan and other countries in and around the West Philippine Sea in the coming months. Over the past years, the U.S. has been goading its allies in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Quad (Quadrilateral Security Dialogue) and AUKUS (Australia, United Kingdom, U.S.) security pact to deploy its naval warships and hold “joint patrols” with the U.S. under its overall strategy of containing China’s growing economic and military strength, and building military fortifications within what it calls the “first island chain” surrounding China.
U.S. Tour of South Pacific Islands
Global Times notes that U.S. efforts to corral countries behind its agenda of hostilities toward its competitors and exclusionary blocks are being met with a renewed determination for new international relations and new arrangements based on sovereignty, independence and mutual respect.
For example, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken just wrapped up his visit to South Pacific island countries trying to sow discord between China and these countries. However, in Tonga, Prime Minister Siaosi Sovaleni said he was not concerned about his country borrowing money from China. In New Zealand, Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta declined joining the AUKUS alliance. In Papau, New Guinea, Prime Minister James Marape said his country welcomes cooperation with China and that the “USA does not need PNG’s ground to be a launching pad for any offensive anywhere in the world.”
U.S. Military Get Out of Philippines!
Ang Bayan, the official news organ of the Communist Party of the Philippines, reveals how the U.S. war preparations are affecting that country. With “the arrival of thousands of American troops, with their gigantic warships, warplanes, cannons and various weapons, the lack of true independence of the Philippines and the lowly treatment of the country as a large U.S. military base” is becoming even more apparent.
The Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), is lopsided in favour of the U.S., providing rent-free accommodations within Philippine Armed Forces military camps for exclusive U.S. military use. Under EDCA agreements, Ang Bayan notes, the Philippines is being used by the U.S. as a port, airport, for crude oil storage, personnel accommodation, and for storage of weapons, vehicles and other war equipment. The U.S. military has absolute control over these locations until they are “no longer needed by the United States.”
The U.S. is also granted the right to use public land and facilities such as roads, ports and airports at any time; to set up military communications systems and to use Philippine water, electricity and other utilities at an equivalent or lower price than the average Filipino has to pay. American soldiers enjoy special legal status and are exempt from being held accountable for criminal acts under the criminal or civil laws of the Philippines during their stay in the country.
This year, at least 500 war games — military exercises that prepare for war — will be conducted by the U.S. in the Philippines. “That means that every day of the year there are American soldiers in the Philippines to incite war.” The Balikatan exercise in April was one such example. The largest war games ever in the Philippines, more than 12,000 American troops swarmed northern Luzon as a threat to China. Ang Bayan writes that “joint exercises” are used to ensure that the U.S. can control the Philippine Armed Forces (what the U.S. calls “interoperability”) should war break out. Pushing the “modernization” of the Philippine Armed Forces means pushing the country to buy tens of billions of pesos in surplus, used or obsolete U.S. weapons.
The U.S. is constantly increasing its military forces in East Asia, from Southeast Asia to the Pacific Islands, including India, while encouraging and pressuring its military allies (Japan, Australia, the United Kingdom and others) to join naval operations in the South China Sea under the guise of “freedom of navigation.” For the U.S. and its geopolitical and military strategy, the Philippines is an important base because of its proximity to China. As for China, the presence of U.S. military forces in the Philippines is viewed as a threat to its security.
In other developments in the Philippines it and the EU announced their intention to explore the relaunch of negotiations “for an ambitious, modern, and balanced free trade agreement (FTA) — with sustainability at its core.” The EU and the Philippines will shortly kick off a bilateral ‘scoping process’ to assess to which extent they share a mutual understanding on the future FTA. If this process concludes successfully, and after consultations with the Member States, the EU and the Philippines would be in a position to resume FTA negotiations, the announcement says.
(Photos: Peoples’ Dispatch, Gabriela)