The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 11th August 2017

Trump playing with fire over Korea

by our Asia Affairs correspondent

TENSION is rising on the Korean peninsula following the ratcheting up of sanctions against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and even more blood-thirsty threats from US President Donald Trump. The increasingly unstable man in the White House told the media: “North Korea best not make any more threats to the US. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.”

The DPRK has responded by threatening to launch a missile strike against the US Pacific military base of Guam in return whilst releasing a Canadian pastor of south Korean origin, jailed for life for subversion, as a good-will gesture to the western powers.

Last weekend the United Nations (UN) Security Council unanimously imposed new sanctions on the DPRK. The American-inspired move was said to be in response to Democratic Korea’s two intercontinental ballistic missile tests in July. The UN resolution prohibits member states from buying exports of coal, iron, iron ore, lead, lead ore and seafood.

The US-scripted resolution also adds nine individuals and four entities to the blacklist, including the DPRK’s primary foreign exchange bank, subjecting them to a global asset freeze and travel ban. The resolution was passed unanimously by the 15-strong council that including the DPRK’s major trading partners, Russia and People’s China.

China is urging all parties to show restraint and make “responsible choices to ensure peace, particularly at a moment approaching crisis, which can however also serve as a turning point for coming back to the negotiation table.” Russia, for its part, is saying that a mediator is needed to establish a dialogue between the United States and the DPRK because Washington is reluctant to start a direct dialogue.

The Chinese government has again called for a return to the six-party talks to seek a peaceful solution to the crisis. At the 7th East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Manila, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi held talks with his DPRK, south Korean and US counterparts to urge understanding and dialogue.

The six-party talks began in 2003 as part of an agreement between north and south Korea, Russia, China, Japan and the USA to work towards the de-nuclearisation of the Korean peninsula in return for a formal peace treaty to end the Korean war. American double-dealing led to their break-down in 2009 and it is difficult to see how they can be revived whilst Trump’s underlings talk about “pre-emptive strikes”, regime-change and the assassination of the north Korean leadership against a back-drop of more US military exercises in the occupied south and the build-up of a huge American armada, including two nuclear aircraft carrier task forces and a nuclear sub, in the waters off the Korean peninsula.

Democratic Korea has slammed the UN for imposing new sanctions on Pyongyang, saying that the people’s government will mobilise its national power and take “fair measures” to stop infringements upon the country’s sovereignty.

The DPRK has been under American sanctions of one form or another since the end of the Korean War in 1953. But despite unrelenting hostility from US imperialism and its regional lackeys, Democratic Korea has continued to advance along the road of socialist construction. This was even acknowledged by hostile elements such as south Korea’s central bank, that bank recently reported a record growth in the north Korean economy over the past 17 years. According to the bank’s figures, the nominal GDP [gross domestic product] of the DPRK had increased by 3.9 per cent in 2016 and amounted to $28.6 billion — largely because of the strength of the mining and industrial sectors.

The DPRK warns that: “Should the US finally opt for a reckless military adventure, defying the stern warning of our revolutionary armed forces, the tragic end of the American empire will be hastened.”

The “heinous sanctions resolution” was a “violent violation of our sovereignty” the DPRK said, warning that US imperialism would pay a heavy price for the escalation of the conflict. “If the US fails to act with discretion, persisting in its reckless attempts to stifle the DPRK, we will not waver or hesitate to use any form of ultimate means,” the DPRK Foreign Office said.