The DPRK and Nuclear Weapons

There has been a hue and cry in the media over the last week concerning the DPRK’s supposed admission that it has been secretly developing nuclear weapons in contravention of the 1994 Geneva Framework Agreement. US imperialism, to whom the Koreans are supposed to have made this admission, is using it to try to undermine the relationships that the DPRK has been building up with Russia, China and Japan, and to persuade any country that has trading links with the DPRK to break them off immediately. Since the collapse of the USSR, US imperialism has been expecting the DPRK to collapse at any minute, and is seething with impatience since this has never happened. It never gives up hope, however, and this alleged admission is being used as a rod to whip this upstart state that refuses to succumb to US imperialist rule.

In their anxiety to present US imperialism’s case, British media, especially the Financial Times, are wantonly distorting the truth. On 20 October, on the website, in an article entitled ‘US seeks support for tough N. Korea stance’, Andrew Ward writes: “The US donates 500,000 of fuel every year to energy-starved North Korea as part of the 1994 agreement” – the same agreement which the DPRK is now alleged to have violated. Why does the Financial Times not mention that the US bullied the DPRK into entering into the 1994 agreement by threatening it with war? Why does it not mention that the ‘nuclear programme’ that the DPRK was forced to abandon was its civilian programme to supply itself, as an otherwise “energy-starved” country, with power to run its factories, provide heating and light for homes and offices? The excuse used by the US for making this outrageous demand, under threat of war, was that the nuclear reactors were capable of producing weapons grade uranium, even though that was not their purpose. Why does the Financial Times not happen to mention that in return for the DPRK scrapping its civilian nuclear reactors immediately the US promised to supply it with oil to make up for the nuclear power it was losing until such time as light water reactors were built by the US in North Korea to make good North Korea’s own energy production? Why does the article not mention that the US has been in flagrant breach of the 1994 agreement on two counts: the fuel it promised is always late and always insufficient; and the light water reactors which should by now be close to completion have barely begun to be built? The reason the Financial Times, and indeed all other bourgeois media, is silent on these points is that they show the consistent attempts of the US to scupper the DPRK’s economy – first by forcing it to abandon its civilian nuclear reactors, then by starving it of promised alternative energy and delaying theA building of the alternative reactors. When we now see it raising a hue and cry about the DPRK’s supposed breach of the 1994 agreement, we can immediately discern the same objective: let’s sabotage the DPRK’s economy, then we can ‘prove’ to the world that communism doesn’t work! Without energy it has to be admitted communism cannot work, and the US would appear to be trying to find ways of giving itself an excuse to abandon its 1994 obligations altogether, having got what it wanted from the DPRK, leaving the DPRK almost entirely bereft of energy. Alternatively the US hopes to damage the DPRK’s economy by frightening off its trading partners, or perhaps both.

Nevertheless, in one respect the bourgeois media do, albeit unwittingly, expose US imperialism’s mendacity, for they admit that if there is any truth in the suggestion that the DPRK has a programme for developing nuclear weapons, it could not possibly involve the production of more than one or two. One only has to compare this with the 1,000 nuclear warheads that the US keeps in South Korea to realise that the US has not the slightest basis for complaint – unless, that is, its aim is to attack North Korea militarily – for then possession by the DPRK of a nuclear missile would make such a venture unacceptably dangerous. Can anyone imagine that either Iraq or Yugoslavia would have been attacked by US imperialism in the way they were had they had even a single nuclear weapon?

We are not in a position to say whether the DPRK is developing nuclear missiles or not, or whether there is any truth in the allegation that some North Korean functionary made any such admission. Coming so soon after the DPRK’s successful rapprochement with Japan, and in the light of the fact that there are shortly to be elections in South Korea which the US hopes will be won by an anti-reunification faction, despite the wide popularity of the reunification cause in South Korea, the timing of this supposed indiscretion seems suspiciously convenient for US imperialism.

Be that as it may, for the sake of world peace, our view is that the DPRK should have nuclear weapons until such time as its imperialist enemies dispose of all of theirs. US imperialism has never hidden its hostility towards and its hatred of the DPRK because it is communist. Only recently George Bush accused the DPRK of being part of an ‘axis of evil’, which means it is in the eyes of US imperialism a legitimate target for aggression and for imperialist meddling in its internal affairs, like Iraq. When threats such as these are issued against the DPRK, why would the DPRK not have the right to look to its defences?

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