On Feb. 28, U.S. President Donald Trump and Workers’ Party of Korea Chairperson Kim Jong Un met in Hanoi, Vietnam, to officially open the second summit between the United States and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (commonly referred to as North Korea in the U.S. media).
Since 2006, the DPRK has faced a slew of sanctions from the United Nations and Washington. Western powers have argued that the sanctions were necessary until the DPRK ended its nuclear weapons program, which only exists for defensive purposes.
The sanctions have had damaging effects on the socialist country’s economy. They include restrictions on Korea’s imports; prohibition of certain U.S assistance to countries that aid North Korea; a cap on labor exports; a cap on the import of oil; a ban on the import of natural gas; and other policies that limit the DPRK’s economic development.
This summit’s stated purpose was for the two countries and their respective leaders to come to agreements regarding Korea’s nuclear program and the vast array of economic sanctions.
Vietnam welcomes Kim Jong Un
When DPRK leader Kim Jong Un arrived in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, he was greeted by throngs of excited Vietnamese citizens. Crowds lined the streets to see the North Korean delegation as it made its way from the Dong Dang railway station to the summit location.
The two countries share a strong and storied alliance, dating back over five decades. Vietnamese revolutionary leader Ho Chi Minh worked closely with Kim Jong Un’s grandfather, DPRK founder Kim Il Sung. To this day, the countries’ leaders work closely together in continued efforts to strengthen their respective socialist states.
The Vietnamese government and Communist Party were excited to host the summit. After all, it was the culmination of years of diplomatic talks and overtures between the DPRK, China and Vietnam on one side, and the U.S. and its allies on the other.
The Vietnamese government and its people prepared thoroughly to provide a setting that would increase the likelihood of the summit’s success.
Trump walks out
At the start of the summit, there was hope that maybe this event would bring an end to decades of U.S.-led diplomatic and economic warfare on North Korea. There was hope that maybe this event would conclude in a legitimate peace treaty between the two countries. (Washington has refused to sign an official peace treaty since the end of the Korean War in 1953.)
There was hope that the people of socialist Korea, with the help of their allies, would finally achieve a major victory in their struggle against imperialist pressure.
Unfortunately, no such hopes were realized because the summit ended less than 48 hours later, when Donald Trump walked out of negotiations — a move praised by both Republicans and Democrats.
However, the summit’s unfortunate result was in no part the fault of the North Korean delegation’s obstinance or unwillingness to negotiate.
The corporate media would have us believe that the DPRK’s delegation, particularly Kim Jong Un, was unreasonable, immovable and illogical. In reality, it was the Trump administration’s own unreasonable expectations that led to the summit’s premature end. This is yet another chapter where North Korea’s goodwill and willingness to negotiate is met with imperialist obfuscation and animus.
In a post-summit press conference, the reason that Trump gave for ending the summit was North Korea’s refusal to accept anything less than a complete removal of U.N. and U.S. sanctions on the DPRK.
This was not the case. According to DPRK Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho, Korea asked for relief from five U.N. sanctions imposed in 2016-2017 — out of a total of 11 — that were particularly harmful to the country’s economy.
But the question must be asked: why should the DPRK accept any deal with the U.S. to warm relations that does not involve the removal of all sanctions?
It seems that Trump expected the DPRK to end its nuclear program entirely while remaining under the boot of overwhelming trade restrictions, and also while South Korea remains under U.S. military occupation, as it has been for more than seven decades.
This expectation makes it abundantly clear that the U.S. intends to keep pursuing Korea’s total submission to the imperialist agenda.
Since the conclusion of the summit, the U.S. government and the capitalist media have continued to propagandize that North Korea is a rogue state developing nuclear weapons so it can wreak global havoc for havoc’s sake. This is the same lie that the imperialist powers have used since the DPRK’s nuclear program started in the 1980s.
We must reject this racist ruling-class line. This portrayal plays on “yellow terror” anti-Asian stereotypes and falsely establishes the U.S. as a reasonable paragon of justice.
The wisdom of North Korea’s strong self-defense measures is amply demonstrated by Washington’s willful destruction of other sovereign countries that dared to resist U.S. dictates, such as Libya and Iraq. Moreover, this summit took place at the very moment when the U.S. was again attempting regime change against one of the DPRK’s allies: Bolivarian Venezuela.
We must say to the U.S. and its imperialist allies within the U.N.: Hands off the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea! The continued economic warfare on the people of the DPRK is nothing more than a cheap double standard and an attempt to destroy a heroic socialist nation.
Washington has no right to police other nations on nuclear weapons when the U.S itself poses the greatest threat to the safety of the planet with an arsenal of nukes numbering over 10,000. Only one country has ever militarily deployed a nuclear weapon: the U.S.
U.S. efforts to stifle the economy of North Korea must end. The global working class must stand with the DPRK as it continues its efforts to defend itself and find a diplomatic path to the easing of sanctions.
While the U.S.-DPRK summit in Vietnam did not have the best outcome, there is no doubt that the people of North Korea and progressive forces around the world will continue the struggle against imperialist economic warfare.