Huge U.S.-south Korean military maneuvers were the real provocation
When a “crisis” regarding Korea suddenly appears in the U.S. corporate media, their take is always that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (socialist north Korea) has done something totally irrational to cause it.
They totally disregard the facts of what happened and, of equal importance, what led up to it.
Yes, the DPRK shelled the island of Yeonpyeong on Nov. 23. According to south Korean officials, two of their soldiers were killed. But the shelling occurred at 2:34 p.m. Korean time. What had happened earlier?
Some 70,000 south Korean military personnel had been mobilized for war “exercises” right off the sea borderline between the north and the south — which is disputed territory. The south Koreans admit to having fired shells into waters that the DPRK considers its territory at 1:00 p.m. — more than an hour before the north’s response.
If south Korea, and its huge sponsor, the U.S., had wanted to avoid confrontation with the DPRK, would they have fired shells into a disputed area? Especially since the DPRK had already declared that the military maneuvers were “simulating an invasion of the north”?
The provocation comes from the U.S. and the right-wing south Korean regime, not the DPRK.
This 70,000-troop military “exercise” by the south Korean regime is scheduled to continue until Nov. 30. Although the U.S. officially denies being part of it, CNN.com on Nov. 23 reported that “Some U.S. forces had been helping the South Koreans in a military training exercise, but were not in the shelled area.” Right. They were part of the provocation but stayed out of range.
In fact, the south Korean military is deeply integrated with the U.S. Pentagon. In July, the two countries held joint “exercises” in the same waters, off the west coast of the Korean Peninsula. The maneuvers involved 200 aircraft and 20 ships, including the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier the USS George Washington.
The imperialist media today are saying that the DPRK’s “belligerence” is trying the patience of China. China has been an ally of the DPRK since 1950, when U.S. forces invaded north Korea, bombed all its cities, and threatened the new revolutionary government of China with nuclear war.
But while China is seeking a peaceful solution to the present crisis, there can be no doubt that it sees U.S. belligerence toward the DPRK as a threat to its own peaceful development.
Li Jie, a researcher with the Chinese navy’s military academy, wrote on July 12 in China Daily about the U.S.-south Korean “exercises” scheduled for later that month:
“A joint drill with the ROK [south Korea] in the key waters off its Asian military bases will help the U.S. realize multiple strategic goals in the Asia-Pacific region,” said Li.
“First, the drill will help the U.S. maintain high-pressure against what it calls a restive DPRK regime. It is also believed to be an explicit indication of the U.S. stance that the world’s sole superpower would stand firmly behind the ROK and Japan in case of a military conflict between Pyongyang and Washington’s two traditional Asian allies.
“In addition, a well-deliberated military exercise in the Yellow Sea will also help the U.S. collect geographic and military information about some Asian countries [especially China-d.g.] bordering the vast waters.
“General Ma Xiaotian, deputy chief of general staff of the People’s Liberation Army, has expressed ‘firm opposition’ to the scheduled U.S.-ROK military maneuver.”
But the maneuvers took place anyway.
There is nothing “irrational” in either the response of the DPRK or the worries of the Chinese military. U.S. imperialism waged a horrendous war against the Korean Revolution from 1950 to 1953, one that resulted in millions of deaths. It has occupied south Korea ever since, with a force that still numbers almost 30,000. It has refused to even discuss a peace treaty to formally end that war.
Should it be surprising, then, that the DPRK knows it has to be ready at any time to repel another invasion?
Is it surprising that the leaders in China are alarmed when U.S. imperialism, while making money off investments and trade there, nevertheless tries to encircle it militarily?
Instead of putting out anti-DPRK propaganda in the guise of psycho-analyzing its leaders, why don’t the media ask why the U.S. leaders do what they do? Why have they maintained a hostile policy against the DPRK for more than 60 years, ever since its anti-colonial and anti-capitalist revolution? Why won’t they sign a peace treaty with the DPRK so that the Korean people can work for real disarmament and reunification?
But that would be to acknowledge that the U.S. is ruled by a class of billionaires that has fattened itself on war and exploitation all over the world and has a long history of creating excuses for the bloody expansion of its imperial reach. The media has been part of this inglorious history, ever since the Hearst papers invented an excuse for invading Cuba in 1898.
Let’s not fall for another “Bay of Tonkin” or “weapons of mass destruction” lie. The enemy of the working class is right here, in the board rooms and banks of U.S. capitalism, that are destroying everything the people have won over generations of struggle and hard work.
No aggression against socialist Korea! Lift the sanctions and bring U.S. troops home!
Articles copyright 1995-2010 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.