Storm clouds over Korea

THE SHELLING of Yongphyong island last month reflects growing tension on the Korean peninsula and proves the point that unless US imperialism recognises the reality of the Democratic People’s Republic Korea a divided Korea will remain a flashpoint for conflict.

The north Korean artillery barrage was a considered response to deliberately provocative US and puppet regime war-games off the coast of Democratic Korea that included intrusions and firing into DPRK waters, which even the south Koreans themselves have acknowledged.

Relations between Democratic Korea and US imperialism that began when the Americans signed the armistice to end the Korean War in 1953 have been characterised by bad faith from the Americans from the start. US imperialism has reneged on every agreement it has made to the DPRK, including the light-water nuclear reactors promised in exchange for a freeze on the north’s nuclear programme in the 1990s, which were never built, nor the Clinton administration’s “normalisation” plan that was never honoured when Bush took over.

In Washington Barack Obama still likes to pose as the “yes we can” liberal always ready to go the extra mile to resolve long-standing international disputes. But what has he actually achieved? Absolutely nothing.

Far from turning a new leaf the Obama administration has been content to continue where George W Bush left off. The Middle East “peace talks” are dead in the water because Washington is applying no pressure on its Israeli pawns to settle with the Palestinians. The current south Korean regime is led by the most reactionary and venal sections of south Korean society, who returned to office with the encouragement of US imperialism and reversed all the positive steps taken by previous south Korean authorities to ease tension and promote co-operation with the democratic north.

US troops, and those of its Nato allies including Britain, continue to prop up a corrupt and unpopular clique in Afghanistan and they are constantly working to undermine the Islamic Republic of Iran for daring to develop its own independent nuclear industry, as the latest Wikileaks revelations have shown.

The measured response of the Korean People’s Army has restored calm in the locality but the imperialist war-games are continuing and the dangers of fresh provocations remain.

The DPRK has as much right to independence as any other member of the United Nations and every right to defend its territorial waters when it is challenged. US imperialism should abandon the failed Cold War policy of confrontation and economic blockade and recognise the reality of Democratic Korea once and for all. If Washington were to end its diplomatic and economic warfare against the DPRK and agree to sign a peace treaty with the north Koreans to formally end the Korean War, the peninsula would change from a potential theatre of war to an arena for peace and progress for all of that part of Asia.

Needless to say while imperialism can change its coat to suit the times it doesn’t change its nature and there’s going to be no progress under Obama or whoever replaces him in the White House in the immediate future.

In the meantime communists and all progressive forces need to step up friendship and solidarity with the DPR Korea in Britain and throughout the world.