This year marks the 56th anniversary of the US-led aggression against the Korean people; it also marks the 53rd anniversary of the victory of the Korean people in their Fatherland Liberation War. In the UK, the Preparatory Committee to Celebrate the Victory in the Fatherland Liberation War decided to hold a Seminar on all questions relating to the origin, the causes and consequences, of this imperialist war against the Korean people to mark the start of the war; it also decided to hold a Celebratory Meeting to mark the end of the war. The seminar to coincide with the commencement of the war was held on Saturday 24 June in the Kings Cross Neighbourhood Centre, whereas the one to mark the Victory will take place on 29 July at Saklatvala Hall, Southall, London.
On the occasion of the 24 June, a number of speakers spoke and delivered messages of solidarity to the DPRK, followed by a lively discussion and a question-and-answer session in which the audience took an active part. The chief guest on this occasion was Comrade Jong In Song, Counsellor at the DPRK’s London Embassy. Also represented on the platform were comrades Andy Brooks, General Secretary of the New Communist Party; Michael Chant, General Secretary of the Revolutionary Communist Party of Britain (Marxist-Leninist); Godfrey Cremer, Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist), and Dermot Hudson, vice-chairman of the Society for Friendship with Korea. The Seminar proceedings were chaired by Harpal Brar. We reproduce below short extracts from the contributions of the various speakers.
The proceedings started with introductory remarks by the Chairman, who welcomed the speakers and the audience to this very important meeting and expressed solidarity with the Korean people in the endeavours to reunify their fatherland and expel foreign forces from the Korean Peninsula. He also expressed support for the right of the Korean people and the right of the DPRK to defend themselves by equipping themselves with any weapons, including nuclear weapons.
Comrade Jong’s speech
At the time of the start of the Korean war, said comrade Jong, there were only 20 million Koreans, 8 million of whom lived in the north of the country. For the first time in its 5,000-year history Korea – with one language, one culture and one ethnicity – was forcibly divided by the US so as to use it as a launch pad for conquering China, the USSR and the rest of the world. Korea was one of the winning countries and Japan among those defeated in the Second World War. It should have been Japan, not Korea, that should have been subjected to division.
The US thought the Korean war would be an all too easy affair, with the US aggressor army having breakfast in Kaesong, lunch in Pyongyang and dinner near the border with China. In fact, it turned out to be the first defeat for US imperialism. Faced with the heroic and fierce resistance of the Korean people, and in their desperation to avert defeat, the US-led imperialist forces dropped 5,648 tonnes of bombs on the DPRK – more than the number dropped on Japan during the war in the Pacific.
Fighting bravely and boldly, guided by the brilliant leadership of comrade Kim Il Sung, the Korean forces killed or wounded 1.5 million US and satellite troops, destroyed or shot down 12,220 US aircraft, destroyed 56 US ships, 3,250 tanks and 13,350 trucks. These achievements were solely due to the fact that the Korean people were headed by a party, the Workers Party of Korea (WPK), a government and a brilliant and iron-willed commander, comrade Kim Il Sung – all of whom had the will and determination to defend the country and win over the popular masses by carrying forward the revolutionary traditions of the anti-Japanese war of liberation, through nationalisation of industry and the struggle against feudalism. In addition, the DPRK had the support of progressive people everywhere.
All these factors combined to force US imperialism to sign the Armistice Agreement on 27 July 1953, to which the US and the DPRK alone were signatories. Although under the terms of the Armistice, the US and the DPRK were to meet to discuss the terms of a peace treaty to replace the Armistice, the US so far has refused to comply with its obligation, with the result that the US and the DPRK are technically still at war. The Armistice Agreement is a piece of paper which no longer guarantees peace. Instead of signing a peace treaty with the DPRK, the US concluded a Defence Treaty with south Korea. Although prohibited by article 13 of the Armistice Agreement, the US has amassed large forces and weaponry, including 1,000 nuclear warheads, in south Korea. This is so because the US still harbours ambitions for world domination.
Comrade Jong concluded by saying that the DPRK was in a strong position to safeguard its sovereignty and social system because the facts were on the side of the DPRK; because it enjoyed the support and solidarity of people around the world, and because of the iron discipline and unity between the WPK, the Korean Peoples Army (KPA), the Korean people and their leader Comrade Kim Jong Il. The DPRK is well prepared and well placed to repulse any aggression.
Comrade Andy Brooks (NCP): Barely a day goes past without some attack on the DPRK in the bourgeois media. It’s the same old song – Cold War propaganda mixed with less than subtle racism produced by the professional liars who serve imperialism. We are told the Democratic Korea is a threat to the other nations in the region. They say the DPRK is a failed state that cannot feed itself. They claim the WPK is a ruling elite. None of these claims are true.
It was the United States and its south Korean puppets who built the concrete wall that divides the Korean peninsula in half. It is the US and its south Korean placemen who outlawed the communist movement in south Korea and made it a criminal offence to have any unauthorised contact with the north. It is the US which now is trying to stop the process of normalisation initiated by elements in south Korean society in recent years. And it is the US that has tens of thousands of troops in south Korea backed up by tanks, missiles and nuclear bombs.
Comrade Brooks went on to say that the DPRK is once again the focus of US imperialist demands to halt its weapons development programme. The DPRK has been subjected to US imperialist hostility, threats and blockades ever since the people of Korea, led by Kim Il Sung, fought the invaders to a standstill over 50 years ago.
It was US imperialism that plunged Asia into war when its legions attacked north Korea in 1950. It was US imperialism that tried to colonise Vietnam and enslave the peoples of Indo-China in the 1960s. It is US imperialism that is threatening Iran and Syria. It is US imperialism that is currently trying, unsuccessfully, to colonise Iraq and enslave the Arabs to plunder their vast oil riches.
Democratic Korea has stood firm against imperialism since its foundation. It has also made a powerful contribution to the development of the non-aligned world. DRPK specialists have helped the countries of the Third World develop their economies for decades. Kim Il Sung raised the banner of independence, self-reliance and south-south cooperation that today is becoming a reality as the nations of Asia, Africa and Latin America come together to build an economic system outside the confines and strictures of the IMF, the World Bank and the imperialist G7 cabal.
The Korean people defeated US imperialism in the Korean War proving that imperialism could be defeated by people’s war and that the determination of the popular masses could overcome the technical superiority of the imperialist’s war machine. It was a lesson repeated in Vietnam, Cuba and Algeria and it is one that is being repeated once more in the streets of the villages and towns of Iraq as we speak.
The government of the DPRK has not only a right but an absolute duty to defend its people against further attack and invasion.
The chief lesson of the Iraq war is that Saddam’s biggest mistake was to comply with the imperialist clamour to disarm and to scrap his powerful weapons of defence. Iran is not falling for that trick and neither will the DPRK. They both recognise that to disarm is to lay themselves wide open to attack and invasion.
The issue is clear and the labour and peace movement must stand by Democratic Korea in the struggle for peace and the fight against imperialism.
Comrade Michael Chant (RCPB-ML), in a brief message of solidarity, stressed the need for progressive forces to take a stand against Anglo-American imperialist forces and condemn their hysterical attacks on the DPRK. Imperialism has no compunction about wiping out a whole civilisation in the name of democracy but, he said, there can be no democracy without the people’s right to determine their own future.
Comrade Dermot Hudson: Comrade Hudson went into the details of the start of the Korean war and, by reference to authenticated facts and documents, proved that the Korean war was started by the US and its puppet Singman Rhee puppet regime. Since the latter was weak, “… torn by internal contradictions, … shaken to the foundations by uprisings and revolts” and on the “verge of collapse” by 1950, only “US imperialist intervention in the form of a war … could save it”. Two other factors, he went on, made the US attack on the DPRK imperative. First, the US was beginning to “experience the onset of an economic depression, and hence the US capitalists needed … to boost production and profits”. Second, the victory of the Chinese Revolution and the establishment of People’s Republic of China so alarmed US imperialism that it felt the need to “rollback” and “contain” the “spread of communism in Asia”. But the US-instigated south Korean attack was quickly rebuffed by the KPA under the brilliant leadership of Comrade Kim Il Sung, who went on to liberate Seoul and 90% of south Korea within three days. It was in response to this spectacular defeat of its puppets that the US, usurping the UN flag, mobilised its own forces as well as those of 15 of its satellites to fight the DPRK. These forces used chemical and biological weapons and committed untold cruelties. In Sinchon, during their brief 52-day occupation, the US imperialist massacred 35,383 innocent Koreans – a quarter of the population of Sinchon. For all that, US imperialism suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of the DPRK.
Comrade Hudson concluded by saying that today, when US imperialism and its followers are attempting to provoke a second Korean war, meetings like today’s ” … to increase solidarity with the Korean people are ever more important”.
Comrade Godfrey Cremer (CPGB-ML): To bring a message of solidarity with the DPRK was a pleasure and an honour, and it was also our duty. If we fail to do so, we who are working for the interests of the working class in this country will cut the ground from under our own feet. Revolutionary internationalism is vital in the struggle against imperialism. Imperialism may seem mighty, but Anglo-American imperialism is getting a bloody nose in Afghanistan and Iraq – and the Korean people have shown, with great skill and courage, that it is possible to not only stand up to imperialism, but also to defeat it. We stand for the right of self-determination of the oppressed peoples of the world, many of whom are fighting for their independence. It is, however, a particular pleasure in the case of Korea, because the Korean people are not only standing up for their freedom against imperialist aggression, they are doing so with the understanding and strength that comes from having a socialist system in the DPRK. We support the aspirations of the Korean people for unity, and in loudly raising the slogan: Long live the DPRK, we also say, because of all that it stands for: Long live the unity of the Korean people!
The Seminar ended with the chairman thanking all the speakers, expressing wholehearted solidarity with the DPRK and the latter’s struggle for the reunification of Korea, the defence of its sovereignty and the socialist system.