The Biden administration said April 30 that it had completed its review of the diplomatic relationship with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK or North Korea) and concluded there is little hope for an agreement regarding the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Yet White House spokesperson Jen Psaki stated, “Our goal remains the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”
If there is little hope by way of diplomacy, but the goal is still to “denuclearize,” there is only one option left. The statement is a thinly veiled war threat.
The real goal of the previous 14 U.S. administrations has been the overthrow of the leadership and total destruction of North Korea’s socialist state. That is also the Biden administration’s goal.
The imperialist doctrine called the “Pivot to Asia” has put neo-Cold Warriors in the driver’s seat in the spheres of diplomacy and military matters. For the third succeeding U.S. administration, it has meant intensified U.S. hostility and belligerence, and the beat of war drums as the U.S. and the Pentagon threaten China and North Korea.
Over the decades, U.S. imperialism has caused immense damage and suffering to all Korean people, including 6 million deaths and an intense bombing campaign that leveled North Korean cities in the 1950-1953 Korean War. But the unity of the North Korean people and their dedication to a strong military defense against imperialism has frustrated White House officials and Pentagon brass for 75 years.
In 1991, when the U.S. removed nuclear weapons from South Korea as part of the disarmament negotiations that took place during the collapse of the Soviet Union, Washington demanded that North Korea give weapons inspectors access to its nuclear energy projects that were underway.
The DPRK leadership pointed out that they had no aspirations to develop nuclear weapons. Their nuclear projects were for the purpose of energy only, and in any case, the U.S. had only removed land-based nuclear missiles from South Korea itself. The people of the north were still facing the threat of a U.S. nuclear attack by sea or from aircraft. Still, they agreed to inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency in good faith.
Clinton at the brink of war
Soon, accusations of secret nuclear weapons development began. The loudest cries came from the U.S. administration. Even this soon after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the resulting shift in the balance of power at the United Nations brought into being an era when U.N. weapons inspectors could be more of a vehicle for imperialist plans, much as they were in the runup to the devastating war against Iraq.
In 1994, after years of U.S. insults, slanders and accusations, North Korea expelled the weapons inspectors.
In response, the Clinton administration assembled an emergency meeting in the war room of the White House and was on the verge of attacking the north. An eleventh-hour deal was struck when DPRK President Kim Il Sung asked former President Jimmy Carter to travel to Pyongyang for discussions.
Kim reiterated that the DPRK had no desire to develop nuclear weapons and proposed what became the “Agreed Framework.” Per the agreement, North Korea would shut down three nuclear energy reactors. In return, the Western powers would construct two “light water” nuclear reactors, capable of providing energy, but not weapons-grade plutonium.
In addition, the U.S. was supposed to provide fuel oil to help North Koreans get through the harsh winters after losing access to oil supplied by the Soviet Union, their ally and largest trading partner.
A participant in that War Room gathering later declared that the mood there was “crestfallen” on hearing the news of the Agreed Framework. The U.S. political establishment as a whole, though, was glad to accept the agreement. Most thought that they wouldn’t even have to live up to it because without the support of the Soviet Union, a North Korean collapse was imminent.
Their analysis was very wrong.
But delay after delay in the West’s construction of the modern light water reactors meant that after several years, only the foundation for one reactor had been poured, while North Korea’s only reactors had been shut down in compliance with the agreement. Year after year, fuel shipments arrived too late to be of any help during the winters. The hostile propaganda from the U.S. continued.
DPRK’s self-defense necessary
In 1998, the New York Times reported a secret underground “A-bomb site” had been discovered in the DPRK by U.S. intelligence agencies. After some negotiation, the north granted access to U.S. inspectors. The Times report, of course, turned out to be completely false.
For the leadership of North Korea, the handwriting was on the wall. Good faith efforts on their part hadn’t lessened the threat one bit. No U.S. promises had been kept. Facing an ongoing nuclear threat from the most destructive military in human history, North Korea announced that it was initiating a nuclear weapons program.
The danger of war is greater when the balance of power is uneven. This notion was tragically played out in reality when, after the downfall of the Soviet Union and its military power, the U.S. launched the horrific war against Iraq.
The DPRK’s “Military First” policy has been maintained at great sacrifice since the horrors of the Korean War. But the refusal of the U.S. to bring its aircraft carriers, battleships, submarines and bombers home, to truly end the threat of nuclear war on the Korean Peninsula, forces the North Korean people to continue making this difficult sacrifice
DPRK Supreme Leader Kim Jong-Un and others in the leadership hope that in addition to security, that the financial costs of maintaining national defense can be reduced, so that the effects of the terrible U.S. economic sanctions don’t weigh as heavily on the people. He has also clearly expressed a unilateral no-first-strike policy.
Anti-imperialist organizers in the U.S. have to build a powerful movement to disarm the Pentagon.