CILRECO conference in Paris, 23-24 June 2017
On 23-24 June representatives of organisations working to support the DPRK and the reunification of Korea, hailing from 12 countries in Europe, Asia and the Americas, gathered in Paris to discuss issues of common interest and ways of furthering their common goals. The UK was represented by CPGB-ML Vice Chair, Ella Rule, from whose speech we give excerpts below.
The various organisations represented gave impressive details of the work that they have been doing, and at the end of the Conference a Final Declaration was agreed in the following terms:
We, the Friendship Associations with Korea from various parts of the world, gathered in Paris (France) on June 24, 2017, the day before the 67th anniversary of the outbreak of the event called ‘Korean War’ in our countries,
• being attached to respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, included in the Charter of the United Nations,
• in solidarity with the Korean people facing the historical injustice of the arbitrary division of their land … after World War 2,
• being conscious that, because of the forces present on and around the Korean peninsula, peace in Korea is a vital issue for global peace,
• demanding that the United States and its followers put an end to their hostile policies under cover of the United Nations, and to embargos and sanctions toward the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea,
• being opposed to any distorted view of the situation that would shift the blame for tensions in Korea on… the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea,
• being proud of our tradition of friendship and of our diversity, making our associations an irreplaceable network, dedicated to peace in Korea and to global peace, that must be kept alive and expanded,
• being determined to increase the cooperation among our organisations in the spirit of the Brussels Conference that, 40 years ago, laid the foundations for an international movement of solidarity with the Korean people for reunification and peace in Korea,
are committed to :
• Working to obtain an unconditional withdrawal of all foreign troops from Korea ;
• Working to obtain the removal of all the embargos and sanctions that are striking the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea ;
• Working to persuade the public authorities in our respective countries to support honestly the full enforcement of the June 15 and October 4 North-South Joint Declarations and the call for dialogue between the two parts of Korea ;
• Working to the establishment of a balanced relationship with the two parts of Korea by all countries in the world, involving the establishment of full diplomatic ties with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea by countries that don’t yet have such;
• By any means at our disposal and with respect for the sovereignty of each people, alerting public opinion in our respective countries to the unjust and dangerous situation in Korea… ;
• Fighting false presentations of the situation in the Korean peninsula by the mainstream media in our respective countries, including their spreading of "fake news" ;
• Increasing the cooperation among our associations, including by organising joint actions, still respecting the distinctive characteristics of each party and with the common goal of promoting inter-Korean dialogue and peace in Korea ;
• Finding the best way to share the good experiences of our associations, involving the need of a quick and full information on the achievements, but also on the difficulties we meet, in the pursuit of our objectives.
Paris, June 24, 2017
Extract from the contribution made by Ryu Kyong Il, the representative of the delegation from the Korean Committee of Solidarity with the Peoples of the World
The armistice agreement signed in the 1950s put an end to the three years of the Korean war. But the armistice did not mean a final end to the war but only a temporary ceasefire. And for the last 64 years, this unstable ceasefire situation has prevailed on the Korean peninsula – a situation of neither peace nor war.
I wanted to say a few words about the absurdity of the Trump administration’s latest policies on the question of the DPRK.
The Trump administration underwent a month of intense reflection after having presented a series of options for dealing with the ‘North Korean nuclear issue’ and finally retained the policy as regards the DPRK of exerting ‘maximum pressure and engagement’.
The US administration recently detailed this policy in a four-point programme that has been officially approved by the US President Trump.
To start with, the US does not recognise North Korea as as a nuclear state.
Two, sanctions and ever greater pressure must be imposed on North Korea
Thirdly, the US administration will not seek ‘regime change in North Korea’
Fourthly, the nuclear question must finally be resolved by means of dialogue.
So, the US does not recognise North Korea as a nuclear state!
The DPRK has put in place a nuclear deterrent with the aim of self-defence, which translates as an independent decision made necessary to safeguard its dignity and vital interests against the nuclear threat posed by the US. This has nothing to do with wanting anybody’s recognition as a nuclear state! Furthermore, the bombs which the DPRK firmly retains will not be abandoned just because they are not recognised. It is obvious that the ‘dismantlement of North Korea’s nuclear weapons’ must never be used to facilitate its disappearance.
As regards the second point, sanctions and pressure have never worked against the DPRK. Sanctions and pressure only strengthen the determination and moral strength of the DPRK. Increasing sanctions and ever-increasing ferocious pressure on the part of forces hostile to the DPRK only strengthens our conviction that we are advancing towards victory.
Recently certain US dignitaries claimed that the US was not ‘seeking regime change in North Korea’, expecting public opinion to believe them. Their claims are pathetic. Their proposals now make up the third of the four points.
The US discourse that claims to ‘exclude regime change’ amount to an outrageous threat and blackmail. It means in fact that they would have no hesitation in overthrowing the DPRK’s social system, or to send an army of invasion, if the DPRK is not prepared to give up its nuclear arms.
The last point of the programme merely expresses the contradiction inherent in the dilemma confronting the Trump administration and from which it seeks a way out.
Logically speaking, this last point ought to be the first. But the point about the need for ‘dialogue’ comes last, accompanied by the word ‘finally’, which is designed to realise the aims sought by the US.
This means that the US seeks to subject everyone and anyone by means of pressure and maximum sanctions, on the principle that first one exerts pressure and then one negotiates, bringing to the negotiating table the proposal that the other side should surrender.
Is it possible to envisage any real communication between human beings worthy of the name as long as the US thinks of dialogue as a means of increasing pressure, bearing in mind that the DPRK’s nuclear arms are more precious than life itself and are not negotiable? It is clear that the US has failed to disguise its evil intentions.
Extract from the contribution made by Ella Rule:
I would like to offer my congratulations to CILRECO and to all the friendship organisations participating here today for all their splendid successes in its work of friendship with Korea, which set an enviable example for all to follow. … I am really happy to find myself among such devoted friends of Korea and of peace, and I would only want to make a couple of political points that are important for us.
Firstly, as a communist, Korea is for us of primary importance because it has, in the face of a mountain of sanctions and setbacks, including the collapse of the USSR, proved that as long as a country has a socialist planned economy it is capable of achieving miracles. The Korean nuclear industry is not only their guarantee of peace in the peninsula, it is also absolute proof of the superiority of the socialist planned economy that represents the only possible way forward for humanity, that will free us from poverty, war and the ecological destruction of our planet.
The second point that I wanted to make is that in imperialist Europe we have a problem in that imperialism is not well understood. Imperialism is the final stage of development of capitalism, and Marx teaches us that capitalism can only survive as long as it sustains uninterrupted economic growth. We have seen the problems that all capitalist countries are suffering at the present time because the rate of growth has everywhere slowed down. With mechanisation and robotisation, the proportion of capital that is invested in fixed assets as opposed to labour power is ever greater, but it is only labour which produces the value which is the fundamental source of all profit. Hence the tendency of the rate of profit to fall. This is why capital is absolutely forced to look to seek to control ever wider and more numerous markets in order to maintain the necessary expansion, because never can the purchasing power in the home market keep pace with the stratospheric potential power of expansion of capital. Hence imperialism.
Now that the imperialists have divided up between themselves as much of the world as is possible, there is nowhere to expand except into independent states that resist imperialist domination, as a result of which it is absolutely and unavoidably necessary for the imperialist countries to go to war to force these countries into submission. US imperialism, the strongest imperialist force, along with its satellite European imperialist allies, are driven with utmost urgency to seek world domination. All those countries that present obstacles to this, such as communist countries, and such as the independent capitalist countries of the Middle East, are faced with, or threatened by, war on the part of these imperialist interests. The biggest obstacles to imperialist expansion, however, the strongest obstacles, are the DPRK’s neighbours, Russia and China.
For this reason the desire of US imperialism to overthrow the communism of the DPRK is also motivated by their wish to use the entire Korean peninsula as a bridgehead for their planned aggression against Russia and China, in short, a launching pad for the Third World War to which economic necessity is propelling it. For this reason both Russia and China have an objective interest, whether or not this is always appreciated, in defending the DPRK. And it is not only they who have this interest but also everybody who would want to prevent the outbreak of a third world war. Every lover of peace should defend the DPRK with the same determination, or more, than they would defend their own families.
Picket in support of the reunification outside the Sorbonne
After the proceedings of the meeting concluded, participants proceeded to the Sorbonne university to set up an hour-long picket to draw attention to the situation in the Korean peninsula and express their support for the peaceful and independent reunification of the country.