On 10 February 2005, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the DPRK made an extremely important announcement. On the one hand it stated that the DPRK would be withdrawing from the 6-Party talks which have been limping along listlessly for several months and had in any event been in limbo for some time. On the other hand it also announced it had now manufactured nuclear weapons, strictly for self defence.
The response of the bourgeois press -which in the case of the DPRK at all times indulges in astonishingly flagrant fantasy in its attempts to denigrate communism – has been predictably hysterical and histrionic. The Financial Times of 11 February tries in time-honoured fashion to use the occasion to establish that the DPRK is totally unreasonable and downright dangerous. It does this by pretending that the DPRK has pulled out just at the moment when the United States was becoming more open to negotiation, for “President George W Bush made only one, innocuous mention of North Korea in his State of the Union address last month.
“This restraint was interpreted by some as removing the last hurdle to talks…
“But North Korea, in characteristically unpredictable manner, yesterday sluiced cold water on those hopes”.
The Financial Times on most other issues is relatively objective in its reporting, since it aims to keep the bourgeoisie and its mandarins informed of what is happening in the world. With regard to the DPRK, however, it spews hatred and untruth in a manner worthy of the Sun. It is totally untrue that the US administration has in any way relented in its hostility towards the DPRK. Only recently, Condoleeza Rice described North Korea as one of 6 “outposts of tyranny” in the world. No attempt whatever is made by the US to disguise the fact that its aim as far as the DPRK is concerned is regime change. Furthermore, there has been an intensification of attempts to destabilise the DPRK by promoting internal dissent. Millions of dollars have been poured into this, facilitated by the passing of the North Korea Human Rights Act in the United States on 18 October last year. This document sets out a multitude of slanders against the DPRK – that nearly half its children are starving and undernourished; that there are 200,000 political prisoners who are incarcerated for the most trivial offences and subjected to torture, that political prisoners are executed in public in the presence of school children, among others, that prison camp inmates are used as targets for martial arts practice and the testing of chemical and biological poisons, that any pregnant inmate is automatically aborted or otherwise her child is murdered at birth, and so on and so forth. The purposes of this Act, as expressly stated, include “to promote the free flow of information into and out of North Korea” (i.e., free access for US propaganda) and “to promote progress toward the peaceful reunification of the Korean peninsula under a democratic [i.e., bourgeois] system of government (rather than the 2-system confederation that the Koreans themselves favour, both in the north and in the south), and to promote a market economy in the north. For these purposes the President of the US is allocated $2 million a year for the years 2005-2008. This is to be spent on broadcasting propaganda into North Korea by radio. $22 million a year is allocated to humanitarian aid which is only to be made available if the North Korean government (a) submits to US demands and (b) stops the human rights abuses which aren’t happening anyway. Primarily the money will go to defectors and will be used as an inducement to people to defect. Christian fundamentalists have been mobilised to distribute Korean language bibles in North Korea and to assist in spreading dissent.
In addition to this, in July last year the United States announced that it had succeeded in developing a new earth penetrating missile warhead (Bunker Buster) with more advanced capabilities than before and that it would supply 6 of these to US forces in south Korea, thereby demonstrating that it has by no means given up all hope of finding an opportunity to wipe out north Korea by force..
Is it any wonder then that the DPRK sees no point in continuing with the 6-party talks? When the US’s aggressive designs are writ so large, there is obviously no basis for negotiation.
The people of North Korea have been suffering hardship – though certainly not to the extent suggested by the so called North Korea Human Rights Act! – principally as a result of the United States sabotaging its energy production arrangements. It will be recalled that in 1994, on the pretext of preventing nuclear proliferation, the US entered into the Framework Agreement with the DPRK under which the DPRK would give up its nuclear reactors (whose purpose was to supply electricity purely for peaceful purposes) in return for light-water reactors to be supplied by the United States, which would be incapable of being used for the production of weapons grade plutonium. To cut a long story short, the United States, having got the DPRK to shut down its nuclear reactors, honoured the Framework Agreement more in the breach that in the performance. The DPRK was deliberately kept chronically short of fuel, making it exceptionally difficult for it to overcome the ravages of the successive natural disasters which severely disrupted production of essential foodstuffs in the mid-1990’s. With the election of George W Bush, the US finally backed out of its obligations altogether following an unsubstantiated claim that a DPRK official had admitted the DPRK was making nuclear weapons. Since at this point it was clear to anybody who had any regard for the truth that the US was using the issue of energy to destroy the DPRK, the DPRK announced its intention to restart its nuclear programme. Furthermore, it withdrew from the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty. The 6-party talks were only suggested by US imperialism as a means of trying to make North Korea abandon its nuclear programme. If the US were willing to honour its commitments with regard to supplying the DPRK with the means of generating fuel for its economic needs, the DPRK remained willing to be involved in talks. Patience, however, has finally worn out.
Not everybody in the DPRK has the moral stamina to maintain resistance in the face of the hardships to which US policy is subjecting the Korean people. Therefore a few weak characters have defected, but for the US to concern itself with their human rights is nothing but a bad joke. In the DPRK, unlike America, everybody has the right to a job, to a home, to medical care and to education for themselves and their children, to personal security. By contrast in the US, and we quote from the Korean Central News Agency of 20 January:
“the total number of the poor is more than 34.6 million, that of the jobless goes beyond 8.6 million and industrial barons earn 400 times as much as ordinary workers …
“The poor mental and cultural life is being institutionally encouraged there, driving many people into degeneration, despair and crimes. Ethnic and gender discrimination is growing more intolerable day by day.
“A total of 235 million weapons of various types are in use in the US, a cesspool of crimes. In consequence tens of thousands of people fall victim to gun-related crimes every year…
“the US invasion of Iraq in disregard of the United Nations and international law, its massacre of at least 100,000 civilians and use of depleted uranium bombs and abuses of prisoners go to clearly prove that it is the typical human rights abuser at present.”
As it is, it is only the DPRK’s ability to defend itself that is preventing the US from obliterating it. Even the Financial Times’ ultra-reactionary Andrew Ward is forced to admit: “It is the military might of Mr Kim’s regime that makes the US so reluctant to launch a pre-emptive attack against North Korea. The Pentagon has estimated that up to 500,000 US and South Korean troops [North Korean ones of course don’t matter as far as the FT is concerned] … would die in the first 90 days of war.”
As Comrade Kim Jong Il has so correctly said: “Our revolution was started by arms and the national liberation was achieved by arms. Our people defeated US invaders and defended the dignity and sovereignty of the country by arms. It is the unshakeable will and conviction of our Party to maintain our socialism and complete the revolutionary cause of Juche to the last by arms.”
And, to quote from the DPRK’s 10 February Statement: “The present reality proves that only powerful strength can protect justice and truth”.
When nuclear weapons were first developed at the end of the Second World War, their capacity for rendering our planet uninhabitable caused many people to believe that since nobody could use these weapons without risking destroying himself as well, war could no longer be waged. In the 60 years which have ensured, this theory has been time and again proved wrong, as there has not been a moment when one or other imperialist-inspired war has not been raging on our planet. In pursuit of the profits that it desperately needs in order to survive, imperialism causes war after war after war. Only overthrow of this outdated system can put an end to war. In the meantime, in view of the fact that the imperialist powers are armed to the teeth with nuclear weapons, nuclear weapons in the hands of oppressed countries are positively an instrument of peace. Would the Iraqi people be suffering occupation in the way they are today if only Saddam really had had Weapons of Mass Destruction with which to protect them?