The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) has been the target of an increased focus in the Western media as of late, especially focused around their continued missile test-launches. Imperialist media seems to be trying to provoke a hysteria in the Western imperialist nations, through speculations about who and what the DPRK are going to bomb and misrepresentations of Korean statements to give the sense to the casual reader that a nuclear strike from the so called ‘hermit kingdom’ is imminent. But what is the nature of the DPRK’s missile tests? And why are the Western media trying to promote a frenzy?
Since the beginning of 2017 the DPRK has carried out nine missile tests, a mixture of short, medium, medium-long and long-range missiles. This seems to be an increased rate from last year, as more than three times the missile tests have been carried out from January-June 2017 than January-June 2016.
Reasons for their Missile Program
The DPRK often gets accused of being ‘warmongering’ for its extensive military programme and nuclear testing facilities. However, the DPRK has never invaded another nation, it has never bombed another country and it has no military bases abroad. Why then is its military campaign so extensive?
The DPRK is not warmongering, but rational. The USA government has, ever since the Second World War, shown a continued interest in not only destabilising the Korean peninsula but in imperialistic domination over the entire world. Since 1945 the US has bombed 25 separate countries, killing millions of innocent people. None of these nations declared war on the US first, or carried out any aggression against it. The US bombed them because they dared to challenge the domination of their economies by American interests.
Learning the lessons of the past
Up until 2003, the DPRK was a signed member of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, which forbids member nations from developing nuclear weapons. In a speech given in 1994, Kim Il Sung said that the DPRK had “neither the will nor ability to develop nuclear weapons”. Of course, a lot has changed since then.
The collapse of the Soviet Union was one of the most influential and damaging events of recent history. We are living in the period of blackest reaction that Stalin predicted if such an event were to happen, and what this has led to is near-free-rein for the US as the dominant imperialist power to expand its influence as far as possible. We have seen an intensification in bombing, so much so that during the eight years of Obama’s presidency seven countries were bombed, and the final year saw 26,171 bombs dropped, according to The Guardian (Medea Benjamin, ‘America dropped 26,171 bombs in 2016. What a bloody end to Obama’s reign’, 9 January 2017).
In 2003, just a couple of months before the USA’s bloody invasion of Iraq, the DPRK pulled out of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. It began to test nuclear weapons, in order that it might not be invaded and obliterated by the US.
To see the importance of their programme, look to Libya. Libya was developing nuclear weapons when convinced in 2003 to end its programme by the US lifting of sanctions. Just eight years later the US led a coup and a bombing campaign that saw the government destroyed and all the progressive achievements it had made torn away. The DPRK saw this, now using the example of Libya to say that its continued nuclear program is “the right decision times a million”. It is hard to find fault in this logic when so many countries without nuclear weapons have been invaded and destroyed by the US, for despite constant diplomatic pressure the USA has not dared attack Korea since their program started.
Raising the Cost of War
The US and its allies, as capitalist nations, will always act along the line of most profit, nothing else is really a consideration. In all the bombing campaigns and vicious military acts they’ve carried out they’ve always kept the profit motive: they either protect their market dominance, such as in the case of Yemen, or they look to expand it, such as in the case of Iraq.
What the DPRK’s military and nuclear program does is make sure that the cost of war for the US is too high for it to declare war. By having weapons of mass destruction, the DPRK can devastate US assets and cost the US billions of dollars. In the era of imperialism, not only the line of profit must be followed, but the line of most profit. So, if the cost of war can be raised to a point where it is unprofitable for the US to go to war, it will not do so. The DPRK can exploit the nature of capitalism to protect itself from the aggression of the West, by building a military and nuclear program so strong as to devastate US troops and cause the US to have to expend billions or possibly even trillions of dollars to topple it.
Why more tests this year?
This year has seen Donald Trump become president – who has proven himself to be extremely unpredictable. He is going back on promises to pull out of Syria and return soldiers stationed around the world. We’ve seen him go back and forth on his stance on Russia and on China, and this uncertainty of policy extends to the DPRK.
This year has seen a massive increase in pressure on the DPRK in terms of sanctions, with several waves of sanctions being ordered sometimes within mere days of one another. It has seen the intensification of the propaganda campaign against the DPRK, increased focus on increasingly ludicrous claims of human rights abuses, and more and more money funded into defectors in order to coerce them into pushing the US state line (defectors can now be paid nearly a million dollars now, an astonishing amount of money).
Trump has proved himself capable of ordering missile strikes on sovereign governments with the missile strike on Syria on April 7. It is thus obvious why the DPRK is testing more this year than ever before – it rightly sees the danger of such a loose cannon on the imperialist deck, unpredictable in the extreme, who could on a whim order the attempted destruction of its country. The DPRK is preparing for a war and sending a warning that it will retaliate with enormous force if attacked. The DPRK’s tests are defensive, it has no intention of going to war with another country and it repeatedly stresses the fact that it desires only to be able to retaliate against aggression (see: KCNA statements).
The West’s response
The West has retaliated by characterising the DPRK and its leadership as ‘mad’ or ‘dangerous’. How many times have we seen baseless accusations against the state and Kim Jong Un, with no evidence, that simply accuses them of being insane or childlike?
Almost every news outlet still uses phrases like ‘secretive dictatorship’ and ‘hermit kingdom’ to describe the nation. Its missile tests are universally condemned in the West despite the fact that they are non-aggressive and the DPRK has never actually used its missiles on a sovereign nation.
The West’s vicious hatred of the DPRK’s tests has seen an increase in publicity for paid agents like Shin Dong Hyuk and Park Yeon-mi, to try and manufacture consent for regime change in the DPRK. These agents have spread wild accusations of astonishing human rights abuses, but their arguments are so weak and obviously untrue that they keep changing them (see: Mary Ann Jolley, ‘The Strange Tale of Yeonmi Park’, The Diplomat, 10 December 2014). The imperialist media have been trying to trick the world into believing that the situation in the DPRK is so horrible that regime change is ‘the humanitarian option’.
A prime example of the sheer double standards of the American imperialists is that, in the midst of condemning the DPRK for testing an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM), the US itself tested one! On April 26 and May 3, the US imperialists carried out tests for ICBMs with nuclear capabilities, precisely what they had been condemning the DPRK for doing!
Did the Western media come out and condemn them for warmongering? Did it call for ‘humanitarian intervention’ in America to prevent such atrocious testing? Of course not. CNN in its article ‘US Air Force tests another nuclear-capable long-range missile’ (by Zachary Cohen, 4 May 2017) justified the test as ‘routine’ and offered absolutely no criticism of the USA for carrying out such a test.
There weren’t many articles covering the tests carried out by the US, despite the fact that it is the only country in the world to have used nuclear weapons aggressively and its tests were far more provocative than any the DPRK carried out. Rather Western media were too busy making up stories about human rights in the DPRK, speculating about a non-existent rift between the DPRK and the People’s Republic of China, and continuing their campaigns of condemnation of other sovereign states.
How can such media be said to be objective? When, in their eyes, one country doing a test is warmongering, and another country doing it is routine defensive maintenance?
This is not even the most shocking example of US hypocrisy. That would be the attack on Afghanistan where it dropped a Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb (MOAB) on Achin District. This is the most destructive non-nuclear bomb ever used aggressively, and it was dropped on an area where civilians could have been present. The Western media did not by and large condemn this, treating it as ‘just another part of the war on terror’. The Mirror for example gleefully described the power of the bomb while quoting people who believed it was justified. How is it that the DPRK is not allowed to test bombs safely on deserted targets, while the USA is allowed to test bombs on areas populated by civilians?
LALKAR fully supports the DPRK’s efforts to strengthen her defences against imperialist encirclement and attempts at regime change. All of progressive humanity and justice-loving people are duty-bound to support the DPRK in its just stance and to condemn imperialist aggressive designs and acts against her. Korea is one and Korea belongs to the Korean people. US imperialism must vacate the Korean peninsula and let the Korean people themselves solve the problem of reunification of their country, so cruelly divided by US imperialism for over seven decades,