27 July this year marked the 60th anniversary of the end of the Korean War which resulted in the victory of the Korean people over the US imperialist-led forces. This day is, quite correctly, marked in the DPRK as the day of victory in the Fatherland Liberation War. This 27 July, being the diamond anniversary of this joyous day, was marked on a grand scale, with more than 1,500 delegates from over 140 countries in attendance in Pyongyang as guests of the Korean people.
At the invitation of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK), the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist) was represented at these historic festivities by Harpal Brar and Ella Rule, its chairman and vice-chairman respectively. During their stay in the DPRK (26-30 July), they attended several important functions and visited some historic places.
On 26 July they attended a mammoth meeting in the grand May Day Stadium to mark the 60th anniversary of the victory in the Fatherland Liberation War. This was followed immediately afterwards by the grand gymnastic and artistic performance Arirang, a truly amazing spectacle of revolutionary art and gymnastic display performed by 100,000 artists and gymnasts – full of revolutionary optimism and characterised by the highest of artistic and technical perfection.
The following morning (27 July) – the date of the signing of the armistice – was celebrated with an impressive and massive military parade. Cde Kim Jong Un, the DPRK’s supreme leader, was present on this occasion, seen standing on the upper balcony overlooking Kim Il Sung Square and inspecting thousands of armed forces personnel marching past, as well as a display of weapons, including armoured vehicles, trucks carrying cannons, multiple rocket launchers and missiles. Besides, there was a flypast, wonderful to behold, by helicopters, fighter jets and unmanned aircraft.
Choe Ryong Hee, the director of the General Political Bureau of the Korean People’s Army (KPA), during his address to the gathering, emphasised that the maintenance of peace is a national priority for the DPRK and that its armed forces have been given the task of safeguarding the country against foreign aggression.
In excess of 10,000 servicemen, including cavalry, infantry, mechanised units and veterans took part in the parade.
Also present at the parade was a visiting high-powered Chinese delegation and several hundred veterans of the Chinese People’s Volunteers, as well as Soviet veterans of the 1950-53 Korean War (more anon).
Towards the end, Cde Kim Jong Un walked to the edge of the balcony and was warmly applauded by the crowd as he waved at them.
At the end, one got the impression that this massive military parade had served to send two messages – on to Korea’s friends and the other to its imperialist enemies, especially the US. To the friends, it reassured them that the DPRK is willing and able to defend itself against hostile forces which harbour ill-will towards it and have evil designs on it. To the enemies, the message was: though the DPRK is a peace-loving country, it will brook no interference in its internal affairs and will give a fitting response to any acts of aggression. In plain words, don’t mess with us.
The CPGB-ML delegation also took part in the opening ceremony for the Fatherland Liberation War Museum which had just been refurbished to coincide with the festivities surrounding the diamond jubilee of the victory in the Fatherland Liberation War. This was followed by a never-to-be forgotten fireworks display.
To pay our respects, one morning we visited the Kumsusan Palace, the final resting place, and a fitting memorial to, two of Korea’s greatest sons, the late Comrades Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il. It is a serene place, which not only displays the mortal remains of these leaders, but also records their exploits during their long service to the Korean people in the cause of socialism, peace and independence and reunification of the country so cruelly divided by US imperialism.
We also visited the military equipment museum, with its collection of specimens of heavy military weaponry at the disposal of the DPRK.
Harpal and Ella were invited to a banquet hosted by Cde Choe Thae Bok – a longstanding and much respected comrade, whom we have had occasion to meet before in Pyongyang as well as in London. He came over and talked to Harpal and Ella for several minutes, exchanged greetings, with each side wishing well to the other.
On 29 July, the CPGB-ML delegation held an hour-long meeting with representatives of the WPK at the headquarters of the Central Committee of the WPK. At this meeting, the Korean side was represented by Comrades Ri Yong Chol and Ri Ung Gil. During this meeting we had a fruitful exchange on matters of mutual interest, ranging from the situation in the Korean Peninsula to development of the working-class movement in Britain.
The same evening, the WPK, again represented by Comrades Ri Yong Chol and Ri Ung Gil, hosted a private dinner for the visiting CPGB-ML delegation. Needless to say, it was a very enjoyable and useful, if informal, occasion.
On their arrival at Pyongyang Airport on 26 July, Harpal and Ella were warmly met by Cde Ri Ung Gil, who also gave them an equally warm send-off on 30 July.
The purpose behind the CPGB-ML sending a delegation to the DPRK on this very important occasion was to fulfil its proletarian internationalist duty towards the fraternal Korean people:
First, by sharing their joy through participation in the victorious Fatherland Liberation War celebrations;
Second by expressing solidarity with them in their arduous and continuing struggle to safeguard the independence of the DPRK and its social system, as well as their unceasing efforts to force US imperialism to vacate the southern part of the country and put an end to its division through peaceful reunification, and
Third, by stressing that the DPRK has every right to acquire all military means, including nuclear weapons, to defend itself against the aggressive designs and hostile activity on the part of US imperialism.
The CPGB-ML’s support for the DPRK, as indeed for other countries and peoples who are the targets of imperialist aggression and brigandage, is not given as a favour to the Korean people but as an internationalist duty integral to, and inseparable from, the struggle of the working class in the imperialist countries for its own social emancipation through the overthrow of imperialism.
“The revolutionary movement in the advanced countries”, says Lenin, ” would actually be a sheer fraud if, in their struggle against capital, the workers of Europe and America were not closely and completely united with hundreds upon hundreds of millions of ‘colonial’ slaves who are oppressed by capital” (‘The Second Congress of the Communist International, 1920).
In this instance, as in others, it is the endeavour of the CPGB-ML to follow in the footsteps of Lenin and carry out Leninism’s behests.
Imperialism, with its political and ideological representatives, and its gigantic propaganda machine, is forever attempting to demonise and dehumanise the DPRK, its leadership, its government and people, with its leadership portrayed as a gang of heartless brutes and cruel dictators, and its people as slaves cowed down by repression. Further, the DPRK is presented by this same lying machine as an isolated hermit kingdom with no ties to the rest of the world.
For anyone in the least affected by this black propaganda, a visit to the DPRK is an eye-opener, revealing, as it does, a caring government which regards looking after the needs and requirements of its people – from health, education, housing, food security to transport, sports and cultural activities – as the highest of its priorities. In turn, the people are ready to defend their system of government and their leadership at any cost.
What is more, such a visitor would be pleasantly surprised that, far from being isolated, the DPRK has close relations with scores of countries, whose leaders regularly visit the DPRK.
In this context we cannot help mentioning the powerful Chinese delegation, headed by the Vice-President of the People’s Republic of China, Li Yunchao, and his entourage who were in Pyongyang to participate in the diamond jubilee of the victorious Fatherland Liberation War. His delegation had a meeting with the Korean leader, Kim Jong Un, during which he told the latter that he had come to Pyongyang with a mission to inherit and foster the militant ties forged by the militaries and peoples of the two countries at the cost of their lives.
China and the DPRK, said Li Yunchao, are friendly neighbours, and that it is the unwavering policy of the Chinese Party and government to bolster up the traditional Sino-DPRK friendly and cooperative ties. He went on to say that the Chinese Party and government set great store by the bilateral ties established and cultivated by the old generations of leaders of the two Parties and governments and the new central leadership of the CPC would work together with the WPK and the DPRK government to boost bilateral ties through mutual respect, trust and friendly exchange and cooperation.
For his part, Kim Jong Un welcomed the visit of the Chinese delegation and conveyed his heartfelt regards to the central leadership of the CPC, led by General Secretary Xi Jinping, and to the Chinese people.
Expressing his gratitude to the CPC and the Chinese government for sending a government delegation to the celebrations of the 60th anniversary of the victorious Fatherland Liberation War, Kim Jong Un went on to say: ” Our army and people would never forget the unsparing internationalist assistance the Chinese Party, government and people had rendered during the war and the feats performed by the combatants of the Chinese People’s Volunteers on the Korean Front” (Pyongyang Times, 27 July 2013).
Let those false friends of Korea, the purveyors of calumny, who snort at the very mention of the DPRK receiving any fraternal assistance during the Korean War, note carefully the significance of the above-quoted remarks of the Korean leader and stop spreading their poisonous slanders – albeit apparently under the guise of praising the DPRK. Whether they like it or not, the implications of the assertions of this gentry are tantamount to saying that the DPRK and its leadership are so awful that no-one, other than a few virtual revolutionaries and computerised nut cases, would ever consider supporting it, reinforcing imperialist propaganda to the same effect.
Cde Kim Jong Un further stated that it was the unshakeable will of the Korean Party and people to strengthen the traditional ties generation after generation, expressed his conviction that the invincible vitality of the DPRK-China friendship, common asset of the peoples of the two countries, would be further demonstrated thanks to the concerted efforts of both sides. (The information in the preceding six paragraphs, including that appearing in quotation marks, is drawn from the Pyongyang Times of 27 July 2013).
Another country that rendered undying assistance to the DPRK in the latter’s hour of need was the Soviet Union, in view of which it is hardly surprising that a delegation of Soviet veterans of the Korean war was in Pyongyang to attend the 60th anniversary of the victorious Fatherland Liberation War. This is how ITAR-TASS of 31 July 2013 reported this delegation’s visit:
“North Korean Minister of People’s Armed Forces Jang Jong Nam has received a delegation of Soviet veterans, who took part in the 195–1953 Korean War, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported.
“The delegation was led by deputy chairman of the Korean War Veterans’ Council Yanus Kanov. While in Pyongyang the delegation attended the solemn events on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the victory in the Korean War. Earlier, the … delegation was received by the Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
“Ten Soviet veterans have been awarded with the order, which commemorates the victory in the Korean War. All veterans ‘discharged the noble international duty and made considerable contribution to the strengthening of relations between the DPRK and Russia’, according to a decree issued by the North Korean Supreme People’s Assembly”.
There was a government delegation from India too. Although it included a member of parliament from the ruling party, as well as one belonging to the right-wing BJP, the Manmohan Singh government had been intelligent enough to appoint Sitaram Yechury, who sits in the upper house of the Indian parliament for the Communist Party of India (Marxist), as the head of the delegation.
There were delegates from many more countries, thus exploding the myth of the DPRK’s isolation.
The CPGB-ML delegation had a good opportunity to meet and exchange views with delegations from several other countries.
All in all, the festivities surrounding the diamond anniversary of the victory in the Fatherland Liberation War made for a truly joyous occasion, a revolutionary festival of humanity, cherished by the whole of progressive humanity, for the outcome of the Korean war was the humiliating defeat of imperialism, particularly US imperialism. It was a victory for the Korean people, a victory for the Chinese people, a victory for the Soviet people, a victory for the socialist camp and a victory for progressive humanity as whole.
The CPGB-ML sincerely thanks the Workers’ Party of Korea for giving it the honour to be represented during these historic festivities, as well as for the generous and warm hospitality extended to its delegation.
May the people of the DPRK, who have chalked up great victories under the leadership of Comrades Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il, continue along the trail blazed by them and achieve further victories under the leadership of Cde Kim Jong Un.
On their way back, the CPGB-ML delegates were in Beijing for 72 hours, during which they had useful discussions at the International Department of the CPC, as well as with friends at the Chinese Academy of Social Science, while en route to Pyongyang, they spent an enjoyable evening with the CPGB-ML Honorary President, Isabel Crook and her son Michael Crook.