Archive | South Korea

70th anniversary of the Korean war

A world-historic and hard won victory for the socialist forces of north Korea in defending their land against imperialist aggression.

On Thursday 23 July, the Communists held this online public meeting celebrating the significance of the Korean Fatherland Liberation War, and its place in the world struggle against imperialism.

Comrade Ranjeet Brar (@Rango1917) introduced the speakers, comrade Jack and comrade Christina.

Their contributions provide inspiring insights into the internationalist legacy and lessons of the defensive struggle of the Korean people to drive the US imperialists from their land, during which the imperialists were driven to a humiliating stalemate, leading to the signing of the armistice agreement on the 27 July 1953.

Whilst this situation has left the country divided, with the south of Korea remaining under US military occupation, we celebrate the fact that the DPRK has maintained a defensive strategy that has enabled its people to develop their socialist system.

Posted in USA, C.I.A, North Korea, South KoreaComments Off on 70th anniversary of the Korean war

Dark Clouds of Military Tension Over the Korean Peninsula, N.Korea Waited, Disappointed and Now Angry

By Prof. Joseph H. Chung

In 2012, a young man educated in the West took over the power in Pyongyang; he has decided to transform North Korea into an ordinary country where people can live decent life.

His name is Kim Jong-un. He has given everything to achieve his objectives. He met three times Moon Jae-in, president of South Korea and three times Donald Trump, president of the U.S.

He made a several-thousand-km train trip in February 2019 to Hanoi filled with the hope for peace; he was betrayed by Trump.

Yet, he has not given up the hope; he still trusted Moon Jae-in; he waited, he was disappointed.

Then, a group of North Korean refugees in South Korea has not stopped sending balloons of anti-Kim Jong-un propaganda leaflets insulting the dignity of the supreme leader.

Now he is angry. His sister, Kim Yo-jong has been making violent statements against Moon Jae-in and South Korea; she even promised to blow up the Joint Liaison Office Building in the city of Gaesung, the symbol of the North-South peace dialogue.

The Building was blown up at 14:49 on June 16.

And, the danger of military confrontation on the Korean peninsula is not impossible.

North Korea might send back some army units including long-distance artillery units to Gaesung city and Geumgan-san area thus threatening South Korea, in particular, the Seoul metropolitan area where 50% of South Koreans live.

This paper begins with the episode of propaganda leaflets followed by the analysis of the hidden reasons for violent reaction of North Korea through Kim Yo-jong. Then, it discusses the North-South economic cooperation which is the only way to overcome the present security crisis.

Propaganda Leaflets Incidence

In the period, from April 9 to May 31, 2020, a radical right-wing group of North Korean refugees sent by air and sea more than 10,000 propaganda leaflets with a bag of rice, one-dollar bill and a lot of dirty insulting words against Kim Jong-un and North Korea.

There are about 30,000 North Korean refugees most of whom are now South Korean citizens.

Some of them earn money by reporting to intelligence agencies in the U.S. and South Korea under conservative government fabricated stories of abuse of power and violation of human rights in the North.

A few radical group work for some American NGOs which fund the operation of sending the leaflets; this operation violates some existing South Korean laws and, in particular, the Panmunjom Declaration of April 2018 and the Joint Pyongyang Declaration of September, 2018.

Kim Yo-jong (image on the right; source is Reuters), vice-director of the United Front Department of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) who is now considered to be second in command in Pyongyang lashed out in public blaming South Korea for allowing the launching of leaflets of anti-Pyongyang propaganda.

However, her statements cover much more than her anger about the propaganda leaflets; they reflect cumulated frustration of North Korea about the inactions of Seoul and Washington.

Her accusation was unusual in several aspects.

First, the tone was very aggressive treating South Korea as enemy; she would cut all the direct communication channels including the military lines. In addition, she has asked the military to take appropriate actions against South Korea.

Second, her statements are reported for several days in Ro-Dong Sinmun, official paper of the Workers’ Party. This means that the whole population of North Korea is informed about the issues.

Third, there have been street demonstrations by citizens for days. Even the chef of the most famous restaurant in Pyongyang has made a harsh statement against South Korea.

This means that the whole population of North Korea is allowed to join the South Korea bashing campaign.

Some of Kim Yo-jong’s declarations show how the North Koreans feel about South Korea and the U.S.

“Getting stronger every day are unanimous voices of all our people demanding for surely settling account with the riff-raff who dare the absolute prestige of our Supreme leader representing our country and its great dignity and flied rubbish to inviolable territory of our side with those who connived at such hooliganism, whatever many happen” (see this)

What seem to have hurt the feeling of Kim Yo-jong is those expressions found in the leaflets which are hurting the dignity and prestige of Kim Jong-un, whose absolute authority is essential to rule the country. Moreover, these leaflets messages are also hurting the prestige of Kim’s family.

In the past, there were many anti-North Korea propaganda leaflets, but they have seldom attacked directly the leader and his family.

Kim Yo-jong is blaming Moon Jae-in for more serious reasons.

“If the South Korean authorities have now the capacity and courage to carry out at once the things they have failed to do for the last two years, why are the North-South relations still in stalemate like now?” (see this)

What she is saying here is that South Korea should have implemented what was promised in the Joint Pyongyang Declaration, in particular, North-South economic cooperation.

This statement shows how deeply North Korea has been relying on the courage of Moon Jae-in to materialize his promise despite the objection of Washington.

There was also a statement of North Korean Foreign Minister, Ri Son-gon.

“The question is whether there will be a need to keep holding hands shaken in Singapore as we see that there is nothing of factual improvement to be made in the DPRK-U.S. relations simply by maintaining personal relations between our supreme leadership and the U.S. president. Never again will we provide the U.S. chief executive with another package to be used for achievement without receiving any return.” (see this)

In this statement, we can see how much North Korea has been disappointed with the inactions of Washington despite sincere actions taken by Pyongyang. But at the same time, we see that Pyongyang is still ready to talk to Washington.

Real Reasons behind the violent Reaction of Kim Yo-jong

The incidence of leaflet launching is one reason. But, the more important reason behind the Kim Yo-jong’s lashing out is something deeper; the real reason is the cumulated frustration caused by the failure of the peace dialogue.

The last Kim-Trump meeting along with Moon took place on June 30, 2019 at DMZ. But no significant results come out of the meeting.

Seeing the lack of Washington’s willingness to continue the  peace dialogue, Kim Jong-un made it clear at the three day meeting of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK), at the end of 2019, that North Korea should go its own way of securing peace and economic development without relying on the external help.

Kim Jong-un said this.

“We might even find ourselves in a situation where we have no choice but find our way for defending the sovereignty of the country and the supreme interests of the state and for achieving peace and stability of the Korean peninsula.” (see this)

In fact, since 2019, the main activities of Kim Jong-un have been the promotion of the production of goods and services with domestic inputs so that the North Korean economy be more self sufficient.

Actually, North Korea has been doing it best to be more autonomous; Kim Jong-un was relying on the development of the Wonsan-Kalma Tourist Development Zone in which Kim jong-un was pouring most of the available resources. Kim Jong-un spent a lot of time there to speed up the project.

But, the success of Kim Jung-un’s “My Way” depended much on the North-South economic cooperation as stipulated in the 9.19 Pyongyang Declaration signed by Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in on 19th of September, 2018

The 9.19 Pyongyang Declaration is the synthesis of three preceding declarations: the 6.15 Declaration (June 15, 2000), signed by Kim Dae-jung and Kim Jong-il, the 10.4 Declaration (October 4, 2007) signed by Rho Moo-hyun and Kim Jong-il and the 4.27 Panmunjom Declaration (April 27, 2018) signed by Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-il.

The Pyongyang Declaration includes six sections.

  • Cessation of hostile military activities in DMZ and constant high level-communication.
  • Sustained economic cooperation, especially the re-opening of the Gaesung Industrial Complex (GIC), and the Geumgang Tourist Resort development (GTR). The agreement also includes the cooperation for epidemics and public health.
  • Humanitarian cooperation including, in particular, the reunion of the separated families. It is interesting to notice that the agreement includes also internet facilities allowing video family reunion.
  • Reconciliation and cooperation for the reunification of Koreas including cultural and sports exchanges
  • Denuclearization of the peninsula including the dismantlement of the Dongchang-ri missile engine test sites and launch platform under the observation of foreign experts in addition to the permanent dismantlement of nuclear facilities in Yongbyon in exchange of corresponding U.S. actions.
  • Seoul visit of Kim Jong-un

What Kim Jong-un was desperately hoping to get from Washington was the guarantee of the American non-aggression and the relief of sanctions.

But, since the betrayal of Trump in Hanoi, North Korea knows that it can no longer trust Washington.

However, Kim Jong-un thought that he could trust Mon Jae-in. After all, without such trust, the three Moon-Kim summits and the three Kim-Trump summits would not have taken place.

Besides, Kim Jong-un went to Singapore on June 12, 2018, because Mon Jae-in would have told him that it was worthwhile to meet Trump.

So, since the Hanoi deception, Kim Jong-un has been expecting that Moon would open the Gaesung Industrial Complex (GIC) and the Geumgang Tourist Resorts (GTR) along with the connection of railways.

In particular, the GIC and GTR are not subject to UN sanctions; they were closed by the conservative government of Lee Myong-bak and Park Geun-hye

Unfortunately, Moon has failed.

The question is then why Moon has failed to materialize these projects. To find the answer, we have to begin with identifying unseen forces which prevented Moon from doing so.

When Moon took over the government in 2017, he gave himself two missions. One was the establishment of peace on the Korean peninsula and the reunification of the country. The other was the purification of the 70-year old corruption culture created by the pro-Japan conservatives.

To do this, the progressive government had to keep power as long as possible, possibly 20 years. However, the conservative forces in South Korea are still active and they can take over the power, if the progressives take prematurely pro-North policies.

Before the election of April 15, 2020, the DP had no majority in the National Assembly and all efforts to promote North-South economic cooperation were blocked by the conservatives including the conservative civil servants.

Furthermore, the conservatives in South Korea have been supported by both Shinzo Abe of Japan and the deep-state force in Washington.

Under this situation, if Moon goes a little too far in the North-South dialogue, he would not be able to win the April election; his plan for peace and the fight against the conservatives’ corruption could have been compromised

Fortunately, Moon’s party, the DP, has won the April 15 election of 2020 and commands almost two-third of the seats in the National Assembly. Now, Moon can move to do what was promised.

North-South Cooperation as Means of Overcoming the Present Security Crisis

The following is the North-South cooperation which has been planned by Moon Jae-in and which is now in doubt because of the current security and corona virus crisis.

What North Korea wants and what South Korea can do are the following.

  • Law prohibiting the launching of anti-North Korea propaganda leaflets.
  • Reopening of the Gaesung Industrial Complex (GIC)
  • Reopening of the Geumgang Tourists Resorts (GTR)
  • North-South Railway Connection
  • Cooperation for the anti-corona-virus war.

Already, the Democratic Party has prepared a law prohibiting the launching of the anti-North Korea propaganda leaflets. The bill will be passed in a month.

The Gaesung industrial Complex has been the best model of North-South economic cooperation in which the South provides the capital and technology, while the North offers land and highly trained cheap labour.

More than 100 South Korea firms were making huge profit and a large sum of money went to the North Korean treasury. The GIC model will be the basic frame of future North-South economic cooperation.

The Geumgang Tourist Complex has been one of the important sources of income for North Korea. The Hyundai Asan is the key investor. It will be integrated into the new colossal Wonsan-Kalma Tourist Resort Zone which would become one of the major global tourist attractions. For this, Kim Jong-un needs South Korea money and technology.

The North-South railway connections on the west coast and east coast are of strategic importance, for it is beginning of the integration of the Korea peninsula into the China’s BRI (one-belt-one -road initiative) and cross-Siberia railways.

In other words, the project has the function of integrating the Korean economy into the Eurasia and EU economy.

One of the reasons for the unusually harsh reaction of North Korea is the corona virus crisis. In fact, North Korea has closed completely in January the cross-border traffic of people and goods, which led to the desperate economic situation. North Korea has no public health system to cope with the crisis. North Korea needs South Korea to fight the corona virus.

The corona virus crisis combined with the non-action on the part of Moon Jae-in and the stupid gesture of some North Korea refugees have led to the violent gesture of Kim Yo-jong.

President Moon Jae-in has reacted to North Korea’s unusually hostile behaviour. He made the following statement on 15th of June, which happened to be the 20th anniversary of the 6.15 Declaration signed, in 2000, by Kim Dae-jung, South Korean president and Kim Jong-il, North Korean supreme leader.

“The April 27 Panmunjom Declaration and the September 19 Joint Declaration in Pyongyang are solemn promise that both the South and the North must faithfully carry out. This is a firm principle that cannot be swayed by any change in circumstances.”

“Our government will make ceaseless efforts to implement the agreements we have made. We will keep up our hard-earned achievements. The North and the South should stop its attempt to cut off communication, raise tension and return to an era of confrontation. We hope that the uncomfortable and difficult problems facing two sides will be solved through communication and cooperation.” (see this)

These statements of President Moon make it clear that he will keep the agreements through communication and cooperation.

He has been trying to implement the agreement, but he has not been able to do so, partly because of the internal political constraints and partly due to Washington’s lack of cooperation.

Now, as we saw above, the internal political constraints are attenuated owing the crushing victory of his Democratic Party at the last April general election. Moon Jae-in will do what was promised.

But, it is not clear how far Washington would cooperate with Moon, given the confusing political and social disturbance in the U.S.

It may be difficult to have Trump’s support, but Moon should be able to convince Trump not to interfere in the North-South economic cooperation as long as such cooperation does not violate the sanctions.

It is time for South Korea to have more saying in North-South relations, which are much more important to Koreans than to Americans.

To sum up, I would like to add one word for Kim Jong-un and Kim Yo-jong.

Most of South Koreans understand North Korea’s frustration. But, let us not forget that owing to the peace dialogue initiated by Moon Jae-in and enforced by Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump, the international status of the Kim Jong-un has been assured and the image of North Korea has greatly been improved.

Moreover, the peace has been established since 2018 in the Korean peninsula.

As for the North-South economic cooperation, one can allow some optimism, given the firm determination of the Moon’s government to implement the Joint Pyongyang Declaration.

Moreover, the domination of the National Assembly by the progressive Democratic Party can facilitate Moon’s policy of inter-Korea cooperation.

Finally, North Korea should not forget that North Koreans and South Koreans are the same race which had been united for more than 4,000 years but separated for 75 years.

They have different flags, but the blood is the same. The only way to solve the problems is the united efforts of the North and the South with international cooperation.

Related Articles;

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Towards Another US-North Korea Summit?

ROK Defense Ministry’s Latest White Paper Omits Language Describing N. Korea as “The Enemy”

Kim Jong-un’s 2019 New Year Speech: What Did He Say? And Why?

Inter-Korea Summits, US-DPRK Summit. No Peace on the Land of Morning Calm. What Is Going On?

Posted in USA, North Korea, South KoreaComments Off on Dark Clouds of Military Tension Over the Korean Peninsula, N.Korea Waited, Disappointed and Now Angry

America’s War against the People of Korea: The Historical Record of US War Crimes

By: Prof Michel Chossudovsky

Today, June 26, 2020 we commemorate the onslaught of the US led war on the people of Korea, 70 years ago, June 26, 1950.

The following text by Michel Chossudovsky was presented in Seoul, South Korea in the context of the Korea Armistice Day Commemoration, 27 July 2013

A Message for Peace. Towards a Peace Agreement and the Withdrawal of US Troops from Korea.

Introduction

Armistice Day, 27 July 1953 is day of Remembrance for the People of Korea.

It is a landmark date in the historical struggle for national reunification and sovereignty.

I am privileged to have this opportunity of participating in the 60th anniversary commemoration of Armistice Day on July 27, 2013.

I am much indebted to the “Anti-War, Peace Actualized, People Action” movement for this opportunity to contribute to the debate on peace and reunification.

An armistice is an agreement by the warring parties to stop fighting. It does signify the end of war.

What underlies the 1953 Armistice Agreement is that one of the warring parties, namely the US has consistently threatened to wage war on the DPRK for the last 60 years.

The US has on countless occasions violated the Armistice Agreement. It has remained on a war footing. Casually ignored by the Western media and the international community, the US has actively deployed nuclear weapons targeted at North Korea for more than half a century in violation of article 13b) of the Armistice agreement. 

The armistice remains in force. The US is still at war with Korea. It is not a peace treaty, a peace agreement was never signed.

The US has used the Armistice agreement to justify the presence of 37,000 American troops on Korean soil under a bogus United Nations mandate, as well as establish an environment of continuous and ongoing military threats. This situation of “latent warfare” has lasted for the last 60 years. It is important to emphasize that this US garrison in South Korea is the only U.S. military presence based permanently on the Asian continent.

Our objective in this venue is to call for a far-reaching peace treaty, which will not only render the armistice agreement signed on July 27, 1953 null and void, but will also lay the foundations for the speedy withdrawal of US troops from Korea as well as lay the foundations for the reunification of the Korean nation.

Michel Chossudovsky Presentation: 60th anniversary commemoration of Armistice Day on July 27, 2013, Seoul, ROK. 

Armistice Day in a Broader Historical Perspective.

This commemoration is particularly significant in view of mounting US threats directed not only against Korea, but also against China and Russia as part of Washington’s “Asia Pivot”, not to mention the illegal occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq, the US-NATO wars against Libya and Syria, the military threats directed against Iran, the longstanding struggle of the Palestinian people against Israel, the US sponsored wars and insurrections in sub-Saharan Africa.

Armistice Day July 27, 1953, is a significant landmark in the history of US led wars.  Under the Truman Doctrine formulated in the late 1940s, the Korean War (1950-1953) had set the stage for a global process of militarization and US led wars. “Peace-making” in terms of a peace agreement is in direct contradiction with Washington “war-making” agenda.

Washington has formulated a global military agenda. In the words of four star General Wesley Clark (Ret) [image right], quoting a senior Pentagon official:

“We’re going to take out seven countries in 5 years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran” (Democracy Now March 2, 2007)

The Korean War (1950-1953) was the first major military operation  undertaken by the US in the wake of  World War II,  launched at the very outset of  what was euphemistically called “The Cold War”. In many respects it was a continuation of World War II, whereby Korean lands under Japanese colonial occupation were, from one day to the next, handed over to a new colonial power, the United States of America.

At the Potsdam Conference (July–August 1945), the US and the Soviet Union agreed to dividing Korea, along the 38th parallel.

There was no “Liberation” of Korea following the entry of US forces. Quite the opposite.

As we recall, a US military government was established in South Korea on September 8, 1945, three weeks after the surrender of Japan on August 15th 1945. Moreover,  Japanese officials in South Korea assisted the US Army Military Government (USAMG) (1945-48) led by General Hodge in ensuring this transition. Japanese colonial administrators in Seoul as well as their Korean police officials worked hand in glove with the new colonial masters.

From the outset, the US military government refused to recognize the provisional government of the People’s Republic of Korea (PRK), which was committed to major social reforms including land distribution, laws protecting the rights of workers, minimum wage legislation and  the reunification of North and South Korea.

The PRK was non-aligned with an anti-colonial mandate, calling for the “establishment of close relations with the United States, USSR, England, and China, and positive opposition to any foreign influences interfering with the domestic affairs of the state.”2

The PRK was abolished by military decree in September 1945 by the USAMG. There was no democracy, no liberation no independence.

While Japan was treated as a defeated Empire, South Korea was identified as a colonial territory to be administered under US military rule and US occupation forces.

America’s handpicked appointee Sygman Rhee [left] was flown into Seoul in October 1945, in General Douglas MacArthur’s personal airplane.

The Korean War (1950-1953)

The crimes committed by the US against the people of Korea in the course of the Korean War but also in its aftermath are unprecedented in modern history.

Moreover, it is important to understand that these US sponsored crimes against humanity committed in the 1950s have, over the years, contributed to setting “a pattern of killings” and US human rights violations in different parts of the World.

The Korean War was also characterised by a practice of targeted assassinations of political dissidents, which was subsequently implemented by the CIA in numerous countries including Indonesia, Vietnam, Argentina, Guatemala, El Salvador, Afghanistan, Iraq.

Invariably these targeted killings were committed on the instructions of the CIA and carried out by a US sponsored proxy government or military dictatorship. More recently, targeted assassinations of civilians, “legalised” by the US Congress have become, so to speak, the “New Normal”.

According to  I.F. Stone’s “Hidden History of the Korean War” first published in 1952 (at the height of the Korean War), the US deliberately sought a pretext, an act of deception, which incited the North to cross the 38th parallel ultimately leading to all out war.

“[I. F. Stone’s book] raised questions about the origin of the Korean War, made a case that the United States government manipulated the United Nations, and gave evidence that the U.S. military and South Korean oligarchy dragged out the war by sabotaging the peace talks, 3

In Stone’s account, General Douglas MacArthur “did everything possible to avoid peace”.

US wars of aggression are waged under the cloak of “self defence” and pre-emptive attacks. Echoing I. F. Stone’s historical statement concerning General MacArthur, sixty years later US president Barack Obama and his defence Secretary Chuck Hagel are also “doing. everything possible to avoid peace”. 

This pattern of inciting the enemy “to fire the first shot” is well established in US military doctrine. It pertains to creating a “War Pretext Incident” which provides the aggressor to pretext to intervene on the grounds of “Self- Defence”. It characterised the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii in 1941, triggered by deception and provocation of which US officials had advanced knowledge. Pearl Harbor was the justification for America’s entry into World War II.

The Tonkin Gulf Incident in August 1964 was the pretext for the US to wage war on North Vietnam, following the adoption of the Tonkin Gulf Resolution by the US Congress, which granted President Lyndon B. Johnson the authority to wage war on Communist North Vietnam.

I. F. Stone’s analysis refutes “the standard telling”  … that the Korean War was an unprovoked aggression by the North Koreans beginning on June 25, 1950, undertaken at the behest of the Soviet Union to extend the Soviet sphere of influence to the whole of Korea, completely surprising the South Koreans, the U.S., and the U.N.”:

But was it a surprise? Could an attack by 70,000 men using at least 70 tanks launched simultaneously at four different points have been a surprise?

Stone gathers contemporary reports from South Korean, U.S. and U.N. sources documenting what was known before June 25. The head of the U.S. CIA, Rear Admiral Roscoe H. Hillenloetter, is reported to have said on the record, “that American intelligence was aware that ‘conditions existed in Korea that could have meant an invasion this week or next.’” (p. 2)  Stone writes that “America’s leading military commentator, Hanson Baldwin of the New York Times, a trusted confidant of the Pentagon, reported that they [U.S. military documents] showed ‘a marked buildup by the North Korean People’s Army along the 38th Parallel beginning in the early days of June.’” (p. 4)

How and why did U.S. President Truman so quickly decide by June 27 to commit the U.S. military to battle in South Korea? Stone makes a strong case that there were those in the U.S. government and military who saw a war in Korea and the resulting instability in East Asia as in the U.S. national interest. 4

According to the editor of France’s Nouvel Observateur Claude Bourdet:

“If Stone’s thesis corresponds to reality, we are in the presence of the greatest swindle in the whole of military history… not a question of a harmless fraud but of a terrible maneuver in which deception is being consciously utilized to block peace at a time when it is possible.”5

In the words of renowned American writers Leo Huberman and Paul Sweezy:

“….we have come to the conclusion that (South Korean president) Syngman Rhee deliberately provoked the North Koreans in the hope that they would retaliate by crossing the parallel in force. The northerners fell neatly into the trap.” 6

On 25 June 1950, following the adoption of UN  Security Council Resolution 82General Douglas MacArthur, who headed the US military government in occupied Japan was appointed Commander in Chief of the so-called United Nations Command (UNCOM). According to Bruce Cumings, the Korean War “bore a strong resemblance to the air war against Imperial Japan in the second world war and was often directed by the same US military leaders” including generals Douglas MacArthur and Curtis Lemay.

US War Crimes against the People of Korea

Extensive crimes were committed by US forces in the course of the Korean War (1950-1953).  While nuclear weapons were not used during the Korean War, what prevailed was the strategy of  “mass killings of civilians” which had been formulated during World War II. A policy of killing innocent civilians was implemented through extensive air raids and bombings of German cities by American and British forces in the last weeks of World War II. In a bitter irony, military targets were safeguarded.

This unofficial doctrine of killing of civilians under the pretext of targeting military objectives largely characterised US military actions both in the course of the Korean war as well as in its aftermath. According to Bruce Cummings:

On 12 August 1950, the USAF dropped 625 tons of bombs on North Korea; two weeks later, the daily tonnage increased to some 800 tons.U.S. warplanes dropped more napalm and bombs on North Korea than they did during the whole Pacific campaign of World War II. 7

The territories North of the 38th parallel were subjected to extensive carpet bombing, which resulted in the destruction of 78 cities and thousands of villages:

“What was indelible about it [the Korean War of 1950-53] was the extraordinary destructiveness of the United States’ air campaigns against North Korea, from the widespread and continuous use of firebombing (mainly with napalm), to threats to use nuclear and chemical weapons, and the destruction of huge North Korean dams in the final stages of the war.  ….

As a result, almost every substantial building in North Korea was destroyed. …. 8

US Major General  William F Dean “reported that most of the North Korean cities and villages he saw were either rubble or snow-covered wastelands”

General Curtis LeMay [left] who coordinated the bombing raids against North Korea brazenly acknowledged that:

“Over a period of three years or so we killed off – what – twenty percent of the population. … We burned down every town in North Korea and South Korea, too”. 9

According to Brian Willson:

It is now believed that the population north of the imposed 38th Parallel lost nearly a third its population of 8 – 9 million people during the 37-month long “hot” war, 1950 – 1953, perhaps an unprecedented percentage of mortality suffered by one nation due to the belligerence of another.” 10

Translation: the city of Pyongyang was totally destroyed in 1951 during the Korean war

Extensive war crimes were also committed by US forces in South Korea as documented by the Korea Truth and Reconciliation Commission. According to ROK sources, almost one million civilians were killed in South Korea in the course of the Korean War:

“In the early days of the Korean War, other American officers observed, photographed and confidentially reported on such wholesale executions by their South Korean ally, a secretive slaughter believed to have killed 100,000 or more leftists and supposed sympathizers, usually without charge or trial, in a few weeks in mid-1950.” 11

During The Second World War, the United Kingdom lost 0.94% of its population, France lost 1.35%, China lost 1.89% and the US lost 0.32%. During the Korean War, the DPRK lost more than 25% of its population. The population of North Korea was of the order of 8-9 million in 1950 prior the Korean War. US sources acknowledge 1.55 million civilian deaths in North Korea, 215,000 combat deaths. MIA/POW 120,000, 300,000 combat troops wounded. 12

South Korean military sources estimate the number of civilian deaths/wounded/missing at 2.5 million, of which some 990,900 are in South Korea. Another estimate places Korea War total deaths, civilian plus combat at 3.5 million.)

North Korea: A Threat to Global Security?

For the last 60 years, Washington has contributed to the political isolation of North Korea. It has sought to destabilize its national economy, including its industrial base and agriculture. It has relentlessly undermined the process of reunification of the Korean nation.

In South Korea, the US has maintained its stranglehold over the entire political system. It has ensured from the initial appointment of Sygman Rhee the instatement of non-democratic and repressive forms of government which have in large part served the interests of the U.S.

US military presence in South Korea has also exerted a controlling influence on economic and monetary policy.

An important question for the American people. How can a country which has lost a quarter of its population resulting from US aggression, constitute a threat to the American Homeland?

How can a country which has 37,000 US troops on its immediate border constitute a threat to America?

Given the history war crimes, how do the people of North Korea perceive the US threat to their Homeland. There is not a single family in North Korea which has not lost a loved one in the course of the Korean War.

The Korean War was the first major US led war carried out in the immediate wake of World War II.

While the US and its NATO allies have waged numerous wars and military interventions in all major regions of the World in the course of what is euphemistically called the “post War era”, resulting in millions of civilians deaths, America is upheld as the guardian of democracy and World Peace.

War Propaganda

The Lie becomes the Truth.

Realities are turned upside down.

History is rewritten. North Korea is heralded as a threat.

America is not the aggressor nation but “the victim” of aggression.

These concepts are part of war propaganda which is fed into the news chain.

Since the end of the Korean War, US led propaganda –funnelled into the ROK news chain– has relentlessly contributed to fomenting conflict and divisiveness between North and South Korea, presenting the DPRK as a threat to ROK national security.

An atmosphere of fear and intimidation prevails which impels people in South Korea to accept the “peace-making role” of the United States. In the eyes of public opinion, the presence of  37,000 US occupation forces is viewed as “necessary” to the security of the ROK.

US military presence is heralded as a means to “protecting the ROK” against North Korean aggression. Similarly, the propaganda campaign will seek to create divisions within Korean society with a view to sustaining the legitimacy of  US interventionism. The purpose of this process is create divisiveness. Repeated ad nauseam, the alleged “North Korean threat” undermines –within people’s inner consciousness– the notion that Korea is one country, one nation, one history.

The “Truman Doctrine”

Historically, in the wake of World War II, the Truman doctrine first formulated by Foreign Policy adviser George F. Kennan in a 1948 State Department brief established the Cold War framework of US expansionism:

What this 1948 document conveys is continuity in US foreign policy, from “Containment” during the Cold War era to “Pre-emptive” War. It states in polite terms that the US should seek economic and strategic dominance through military means:

Furthermore, we have about 50% of the world’s wealth but only 6.3% of its population. This disparity is particularly great as between ourselves and the peoples of Asia. In this situation, we cannot fail to be the object of envy and resentment. Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity without positive detriment to our national security. To do so, we will have to dispense with all sentimentality and day-dreaming; and our attention will have to be concentrated everywhere on our immediate national objectives. We need not deceive ourselves that we can afford today the luxury of altruism and world-benefaction. (…)

In the face of this situation we would be better off to dispense now with a number of the concepts which have underlined our thinking with regard to the Far East. We should dispense with the aspiration to “be liked” or to be regarded as the repository of a high-minded international altruism. We should stop putting ourselves in the position of being our brothers’ keeper and refrain from offering moral and ideological advice. We should cease to talk about vague and—for the Far East—unreal objectives such as human rights, the raising of the living standards, and democratization. The day is not far off when we are going to have to deal in straight power concepts. The less we are then hampered by idealistic slogans, the better. 13

The planned disintegration of the United Nations system as an independent and influential international body has been on the drawing board of US foreign policy since the inception of the United Nations in 1946. Its planned demise was an integral part of the Truman doctrine as defined in 1948. From the very inception of the UN, Washington has sought on the one hand to control it to its advantage, while also seeking to weakening and ultimately destroy the UN system. In the words of George Kennan:

Occasionally, it [the United Nations] has served a useful purpose. But by and large it has created more problems than it has solved, and has led to a considerable dispersal of our diplomatic effort. And in our efforts to use the UN majority for major political purposes we are playing with a dangerous weapon which may some day turn against us. This is a situation which warrants most careful study and foresight on our part.

In our efforts to use the UN majority for major political purposes we are playing with a dangerous weapon which may some day turn against us. This is a situation which warrants most careful study and foresight on our part. 14

Although officially committed to the “international community”, Washington has largely played lip service to the United Nations. In recent years it has sought to undermine it as an institution. Since Gulf War I, the UN has largely acted as a rubber stamp. It has closed its eyes to US war crimes, it has implemented so-called peacekeeping operations on behalf of the Anglo-American invaders, in violation of the UN Charter.

The Truman Doctrine Applied to Korea and East Asia

The Truman doctrine was the culmination of a post World War II US military strategy initiated with the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945 and the surrender of Japan. [Harry Truman left]

In East Asia it consisted in the post-war occupation of Japan  as well the US takeover of Japan’s colonial Empire including South Korea (Korea was annexed to Japan under the 1910 Japan–Korea Annexation Treaty).

Following Imperial Japan’s defeat in World War II, a US sphere of influence throughout East and South East Asia was established in the territories of Japan’s “Great East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere”.

The US sphere of influence included Philippines (a US possession occupied by Japan during World War II), Thailand (a Japanese protectorate during World War II), Indonesia (Occupied by Japan during World War II, becomes a US proxy State following the establishment of the Suharto military dictatorship in 1965). This US sphere of influence in Asia also extended its grip into France’s former colonial possessions in Indochina, including Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, which were under Japanese military occupation during World War II.

America’s hegemony in Asia was largely based on establishing a sphere of influence in countries which were under the colonial jurisdiction of Japan, France and the Netherlands.

Continuity: From the Truman Doctrine to the Neo-Conservatives

The Neo-conservative agenda under the Bush administration should be viewed as the culmination of a (bipartisan) “Post War” foreign policy framework, which provides the basis for the planning of the contemporary wars and atrocities including the setting up of torture chambers, concentration camps and the extensive use of prohibited weapons directed against civilians.

From Korea, Vietnam and Afghanistan, to the CIA sponsored military coups in Latin America and Southeast Asia, the objective has been to ensure US military hegemony and global economic domination, as initially formulated under the “Truman Doctrine”. Despite significant policy differences, successive Democratic and Republican administrations, over a span of more than sixty years, from Harry Truman to Barack Obama have carried out this global military agenda.

US War Crimes and Atrocities

What we are dealing with is a criminal US foreign policy agenda. Criminalization does not pertain to one or more heads of State. It pertains to the entire State system, it’s various civilian and military institutions as well as the powerful corporate interests behind the formulation of US foreign policy, the Washington think tanks, the creditor institutions which finance the military machine.

Starting with the Korean War in 1950 and extending to the wars in the Middle East and Central Asia, this period is marked by extensive war crimes resulting in the death of more than ten million people. This figure does not include those who perished as a result of poverty, starvation and disease.

War crimes are the result of the criminalization of the US State and foreign policy apparatus. We are not solely dealing specifically with individual war criminals, but with a process involving decision makers acting at different level, with a mandate to carry out war crimes, following established guidelines and procedures.

What distinguishes the Bush and Obama administrations in relation to the historical record of US sponsored crimes and atrocities, is that the concentration camps, targeted assassinations and torture chambers are now openly considered as legitimate forms of intervention, which sustain “the global war on terrorism” and support the spread of Western democracy.

Historical Significance of the Korean War: America’s Project of Global Warfare

The Korean War had set the stage for subsequent US military interventions. It was an initial phase of a post-World War II “military roadmap” of US led wars, special operations, coups d’etat, covert operations, US sponsored insurgencies and regime change spanning over of more than half a century. The project of global warfare has been carried out in all major regions of the World, through the US military’s geographic command structure, not to mention the CIA’s covert operations geared toward toppling sovereign governments.

This project of Worldwide conquest was initially established under the so-called “Truman Doctrine”. The latter initiated what the Pentagon later (in the wake of the Cold war under the NeoConservatives) entitled America`s “Long War”.

What we are dealing with is global warfare, a Worldwide process of conquest, militarization and corporate expansionism. The latter is the driving force. “Economic conquest” is implemented through the support of concurrent intelligence and military operations. Financial and monetary destabilization is another mechanism of economic warfare directed against sovereign countries.

In 2000, preceding the eleciton of George W. Bush to the White House, The Project for a New American Century (PNAC), A Washington Neoconservative think tank had stipulated  four core missions for the US military:

  • “defend the American homeland;
  • fight and decisively win multiple, simultaneous major theater wars;
  • perform the “constabulary” duties associated with shaping the security environment in critical regions;
  • transform U.S. forces to exploit the “revolution in military affairs;”

George W. Bush’s Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, his Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Vice President Dick Cheney had commissioned the PNAC blueprint prior to the 2000 presidential elections.

The PNAC outlines a roadmap of conquest.

It calls for “the direct imposition of U.S. “forward bases” throughout Central Asia and the Middle East: “with a view to ensuring economic domination of the world, while strangling any potential “rival” or any viable alternative to America’s vision of a ‘free market’ economy”

Distinct from theater wars, the so-called “constabulary functions” imply a form of global military policing using various instruments of military intervention including punitive bombings and the sending in of US Special Forces, etc. Constabulary functions were contemplated in the first phase of US war plans against Iran. They were identified as ad hoc military interventions which could be applied as an “alternative” to so-called theater wars.

This document had no pretence: its objectives were strictly military. No discussion of America’s role in peace-keeping or the spread of democracy. 15 The main PNAC document is entitled Rebuilding America`s Defenses, Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century.(The PNAC website is:  http://www.newamericancentury.org)

US Military Occupation of South Korea, The Militarization of East Asia

Washington is intent upon creating political divisions in East Asia not only between the ROK and the DPRK but between North Korea and China, with a view to ultimately isolating the DPRK. In a bitter irony, US military facilities in the ROK are being used to threaten China as part of a process of military encirclement. In turn, Washington has sought to create political divisions between countries as well fomenting wars between neighboring countries (e.g. the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s, the confrontation between India and Pakistan).

The UN Command Mandate (UNC)

Sixty years later under a bogus UN mandate, the military occupation by US forces of South Korea prevails. It is worth noting that the UN never formally created a United Nations Command. The designation was adopted by the US without a formal decision by the UN Security Council. In 1994, the UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros Ghali clarified in a letter to the North Korean Foreign Minister that “the Security Council did not establish the unified command as a subsidiary organ under its control, but merely recommended [in 1950] the creation of such a command, specifying that it be under the authority of the United States”

Republic of Korea – United States Combined Forces Command (CFC)

South Korea is still under military occupation by US forces. In the wake of the Korean War and the signing of the Armistice agreement, the national forces of the ROK were placed under the jurisdiction of the so-called UN Command. This arrangement implied that all units of the Korean military were de facto under the control of US commanders. In 1978 a binational Republic of Korea – United States Combined Forces Command (CFC), was created, headed by a US General. In substance, this was a change in labels in relation to the so-called UN Command. To this date, Korean forces remain under the command of a US general.

The CFC was originally to be dismantled when the U.S. hands back wartime operational control of South Korean troops to Seoul in 2015, but there were fears here that this could weaken South Korea’s defenses. The change of heart comes amid increasingly belligerent rhetoric from North Korea.

Park told her military brass at the briefing to launch “immediate and strong counterattacks” against any North Korean provocation. She said she considers the North’s threats “very serious,” and added, “If any provocations against our people and country ake place, the military has to respond quickly and strongly without any political consideration.” 16

United States Forces Korea (USFK)

United States Forces Korea (USFK) was established in 1957. It is described as “as a subordinate-unified command of U.S. Pacific Command (USPACOM)”, which could be deployed to attack third countries in the region including Russia and China. There are officially 28,500 US troops under the jurisdiction of USFK. Recent figures of the US Department of Defense confirm that 37,000 US troops under USFK are currently (April 2013) stationed in South Korea.

USFK integrated by US forces is distinct from the Combined Forces Command (CFC) created in 1978. The CFC is commanded by a four-star U.S. general, with a four-star ROK Army general as deputy commander.17 (See United States Forces Korea | Mission of the ROK/US Combined Forces Command).

The current USFK commander is General James D. Thurman (See CFC photo op below) who also also assumes the position of CFC Commander and UNC Commander. 18 (See United States Forces Korea | USFK Leadership).

General Thurman who takes his orders from the Pentagon overrides ROK president and Commander in Chief Park Geun Hye.

Regular active troops of the ROK Armed Forces (Army, Navy and Air Force) theoretically under national ROK command consist of more 600,000 active personnel and more than 2 million reservists. According to the terms of the CFC, however, these troops are de facto under the CFC command which is headed by a US General.

What this means is that in addition to the 37,000 US troops of the USFK, the US command structure has de facto control over all operational units of the Korean Armed Forces. In essence, what this means is that the ROK does not control its armed forces. ROK armed forces essentially serve the interests of a foreign power.

President Park Geun-hye (center), Combined Forces Command commander Gen. James D. Thurman (second from left, back row), deputy CFC commander Gen. Kwon Oh-sung (second from right, back row) and allied troops. Source Korean Herald, 28 August 2013

Annually the US-ROK conducts war games directed against North Korea. These war games –which simulate a conventional and/or nuclear attack against North Korea– are often conducted in late July coinciding with Armistice Day.

In turn, US military bases along South Korea’s Western coastline and on Jeju island are used to threaten China as part of a process of military encirclement. In view of the ROK-US agreement under the CFC, South Korean troops under US command are deployed in the context of US military operations in the region, which are actively coordinated with USFK and USPACOM.

South Korea is multibillion bonanza for America’s weapons industry. In the course of the last 4 years the ROK ranked the fourth largest arms importer in the World “with the U.S. accounting for 77 percent of its arms purchases.” It should be noted that these weapons are purchased with Korean tax payers’ wons, they are de facto under the supervision of the US military, namely the CFC Joint Command which is headed by a US General.

In recent developments, the ROK president has hinted towards the possibility of pre-emptive strikes against North Korea.

“As commander-in-chief of the armed forces, I will trust the military’s judgment on abrupt and surprise provocations by North Korea as it is the one that directly faces off against the North,” Park said, according to the London Telegraph. “Please carry out your duty of guarding the safety of the people without being distracted at all.”

Park’s defense minister also promised an “active deterrence” against Pyongyang and seemed to suggest Seoul would consider carrying out preemptive strikes on North Korean nuclear and missile sites. 19

The Korea Nuclear Issue. Who Threatens Whom?

Historical Background: Hiroshima and Nagasaki: August 6 and 9, 1945

America’s early nuclear weapons doctrine under the Manhattan Project was not based on the Cold War notions of “Deterrence” and “Mutually Assured Destruction” (MAD).

US nuclear doctrine pertaining to Korea was established following the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945, which were largely directed against civilians.

The strategic objective was to trigger a “massive casualty producing event” resulting in tens of thousands of deaths. The objective was to terrorize an entire nation, as a mean of military conquest. Military targets were not the main objective: the notion of “collateral damage” was used as a justification for the mass killing of civilians, under the official pretence that Hiroshima was “a military base” and that civilians were not the target.

In the words of president Harry Truman:

“We have discovered the most terrible bomb in the history of the world. … This weapon is to be used against Japan … [We] will use it so that military objectives and soldiers and sailors are the target and not women and children. Even if the Japs are savages, ruthless, merciless and fanatic, we as the leader of the world for the common welfare cannot drop that terrible bomb on the old capital or the new. …  The target will be a purely military one… It seems to be the most terrible thing ever discovered, but it can be made the most useful.” 20 (President Harry S. Truman, Diary, July 25, 1945)

“The World will note that the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima a military base. That was because we wished in this first attack to avoid, insofar as possible, the killing of civilians..” (President Harry S. Truman in a radio speech to the Nation, August 9, 1945).

[Note: the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945; the Second on Nagasaki, on August 9, on the same day as Truman’s radio speech to the Nation]

Nobody within the upper echelons of the US government and military believed that Hiroshima was a military base, Truman was lying to himself and to the American public. To this day the use of nuclear weapons against Japan are justified as a necessary cost for bringing the war to an end and ultimately “saving lives”.

The Hiroshima Doctrine applied to Korea: US nuclear weapons stockpiled and deployed in South Korea

During the Korean War, the US had envisaged the use of nuclear weapons against North Korea shortly after the Soviet Union had tested its first atom bomb in August  29, 1949, about ten months prior to the onset of the Korean War in June 1950. Inevitably, the possession of the atom bomb by the Soviet Union acted as a deterrent against the use of nuclear weapons by the US in the course of the Korean War.

In the immediate wake of the Korean War, there was a turnaround in US nuclear weapons policy regarding North Korea. The use of nukes weapons had been envisaged on a pre-emptive basis against the DPRK, on the presumption that the Cold War nuclear powers, including China and the Soviet Union would not intervene.

Barely a few years after the end of the Korean War, the US initiated its deployment of nuclear warheads in South Korea. This deployment in Uijongbu and Anyang-Ni had been envisaged as early as 1956.

It is worth noting that the US decision to bring nuclear warheads to South Korea was in blatant violation of  Paragraph 13(d) of the Armistice Agreement which prohibited the warring factions from introducing new weapons into Korea.

The actual deployment of nuclear warheads started in January 1958, four and a half years after the end of the Korean War, “with the introduction of five nuclear weapon systems: the Honest John surface-to-surface missile, the Matador cruise missile, the Atomic-Demolition Munition (ADM) nuclear landmine, and the 280-mm gun and 8-inch (203mm) howitzer.” 21 (See The nuclear information project: US Nuclear Weapons in Korea)

The Davy Crockett projectile was deployed in South Korea between July 1962 and June 1968. The warhead had selective yields up to 0.25 kilotons. The projectile weighed only 34.5 kg (76 lbs). Nuclear bombs for fighter bombers arrived in March 1958, followed by three surface-to-surface missile systems (Lacrosse, Davy Crockett, and Sergeant) between July 1960 and September 1963. The dual-mission Nike Hercules anti-air and surface-to-surface missile arrived in January 1961, and finally the 155-mm Howitzer arrived in October 1964. At the peak of this build-up, nearly 950 warheads were deployed in South Korea.

Four of the weapon types only remained deployed for a few years, while the others stayed for decades. The 8-inch Howitzer stayed until late 1991, the only of the weapon to be deployed throughout the entire 33-year period of U.S. nuclear weapons deployment to South Korea. The other weapons that stayed till the end were the air delivered bombs (several different bomb types were deployed over the years, ending with the B61) and the 155-mm Howitzer nuclear artillery.22

Officially the US deployment of nuclear weapons in South Korea lasted for 33 years. The deployment was targeted against North Korea as well China and the Soviet Union.

South Korea’s Nuclear Weapons Program

Concurrent and in coordination with the US deployment of nuclear warheads in South Korea, the ROK had initiated its own nuclear weapons program in the early 1970s. The official story is that the US exerted pressure on Seoul to abandon their nuclear weapons program and “sign the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) in April 1975 before it had produced any fissile material.” 23

The fact of the matter is that the ROK’s nuclear initiative was from the outset in the early 1970s  under the supervision of the US and was developed as a component part of the US deployment of nuclear weapons, with a view to threatening North Korea.

Moreover, while this program was officially ended in 1978, the US promoted scientific expertise as well as training of the ROK military in the use of nuclear weapons. And bear in mind: under the ROK-US CFC agreement, all operational units of the ROK are under joint command headed by a US General. This means that all the military facilities and bases established by the Korean military are de facto joint facilities. There are a total of 27 US military facilities in the ROK 24

The Official Removal of Nuclear Weapons from South Korea

According to military sources, the removal of nuclear weapons from South Korea was initiated in the mid 1970s:

 The nuclear weapons storage site at Osan Air base was deactivated in late 1977. This reduction continued over the following years and resulted in the number of nuclear weapons in South Korea dropping from some 540 in 1976 to approximately 150 artillery shells and bombs in 1985. By the time of the Presidential Nuclear Initiative in 1991, roughly 100 warheads remained, all of which had been withdrawn by December 1991. 25

According to official statements, the US withdrew its nuclear weapons from South Korea in December 1991.

The Planning of Nuclear Attacks against North Korea from the Continental US and from Strategic US Submarines

This withdrawal from Korea did not in any way modify the threat of nuclear war directed against the DPRK. On the contrary: it was tied to changes in US military strategy with regard to the deployment of nuclear warheads. Major North Korean cities were to be targeted with nuclear warheads from US continental locations and from US strategic submarines (SSBN)  rather than military facilities in South Korea:

After the withdrawal of [US] nuclear weapons from South Korea in December 1991, the 4th Fighter Wing at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base has been tasked with nuclear strike planning against North Korea. Since then, strike planning against North Korea with non-strategic nuclear weapons has been the responsibility of fighter wings based in the continental United States. One of these is the 4th Fighter Wing at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in North Carolina. …

We simulated fighting a war in Korea, using a Korean scenario. … The scenario…simulated a decision by the National Command Authority about considering using nuclear weapons….We identified aircraft, crews, and [weapon] loaders to load up tactical nuclear weapons onto our aircraft….

With a capability to strike targets in less than 15 minutes, the Trident D5 sea-launched ballistic missile is a “mission critical system” for U.S. Forces Korea. Ballistic Missile Submarines and Long-Range Bombers

In addition to non-strategic air delivered bombs, sea-launched ballistic missiles onboard strategic Ohio-class submarines (SSBNs) patrolling in the Pacific appear also to have a mission against North Korea. A DOD General Inspector report from 1998 listed the Trident system as a “mission critical system” identified by U.S. Pacific Command and U.S. Forces Korea as “being of particular importance to them.”

Although the primary mission of the Trident system is directed against targets in Russia and China, a D5 missile launched in a low-trajectory flight provides a unique very short notice (12-13 minutes) strike capability against time-critical targets in North Korea. No other U.S. nuclear weapon system can get a warhead on target that fast. Two-three SSBNs are on “hard alert” in the Pacific at any given time, holding Russian, Chinese and North Korean targets at risk from designated patrol areas.

Long-range strategic bombers may also be assigned a nuclear strike role against North Korea although little specific is known. An Air Force map (see below) suggests a B-2 strike role against North Korea. As the designated carrier of the B61-11 earth penetrating nuclear bomb, the B-2 is a strong candidate for potential nuclear strike missions against North Korean deeply buried underground facilities.

As the designated carrier of the B61-11 earth penetrating nuclear bomb [with an explosive capacity between one third and six times a Hiroshima bomb,see image right above] and a possible future Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator, the B-2 stealth bomber (below)could have an important role against targets in North Korea. Recent upgrades enable planning of a new B-2 nuclear strike mission in less than 8 hours. 26

Whereas officially the US deployment of nuclear weapons in South Korea lasted for 33 years, there is evidence that a large number of nuclear warheads are still stockpiled in South Korea.

“Although the South Korean government at the time confirmed the withdrawal, U.S. affirmations were not as clear. As a result, rumors persisted for a long time — particularly in North and South Korea — that nuclear weapons remained in South Korea. Yet the withdrawal was confirmed by Pacific Command in 1998 in a declassified portion of the CINCPAC Command History for 1991. 27 (The nuclear information project: withdrawal of US nuclear weapons from South Korea,)

Recent reports have hinted to a remaining stockpile of nuclear weapons in South Korea to be used on a pre-emptive basis against North Korea.  It is well understood that such an action would engulf the entire Korean peninsula in an area of intense nuclear radiation.

The Bush Administration’s 2001 Nuclear Posture Review: Pre-emptive Nuclear War.

The Bush administration in its 2001 Nuclear Posture Review established the contours of a new post 9/11 “pre-emptive” nuclear war doctrine, namely that nuclear weapons could be used as an instrument of “self-defense” against non-nuclear states

“Requirements for U.S. nuclear strike capabilities” directed against North Korea were established as part of  a Global Strike mission under the helm of  US Strategic Command Headquarters in Omaha Nebraska, the so-called CONPLAN 8022, which was directed against a number of “rogue states” including North Korea as well as China and Russia:

On November 18, 2005, the new Space and Global Strike command became operational at STRATCOM after passing testing in a nuclear war exercise involving North Korea.

Current U.S. Nuclear strike planning against North Korea appears to serve three roles: The first is a vaguely defined traditional deterrence role intended to influence North Korean behavior prior to hostilities.

This role was broadened somewhat by the 2001 Nuclear Posture Review to not only deter but also dissuade North Korea from pursuing weapons of mass destruction.

Why, after five decades of confronting North Korea with nuclear weapons, the Bush administration believes that additional nuclear capabilities will somehow dissuade North Korea from pursuing weapons of mass destruction [nuclear weapons program] is a mystery. 28

The Threat of Nuclear War. North Korea vs. the United States.

While the Western media in chorus focus on the North Korean nuclear threat, what prevails when reviewing Korean history is the asymmetry of nuclear capabilities.

The fact that the US has been threatening North Korea with nuclear war for over half a century is barely acknowledged by the Western media.

Where is the threat?

The asymmetry of nuclear weapons capabilities between the US and the DPRK must be emphasised,

According to ArmsControl.org (April 2013) the United States

possesses 5,113 nuclear warheads, including tactical, strategic, and non-deployed weapons.”

According to the latest official New START declaration, out of more than 5113 nuclear weapons,

the US deploys 1,654 strategic nuclear warheads on 792 deployed ICBMs, SLBMs, and strategic bombers… 29

Moreover, according to The Federation of American Scientists the U.S. possesses 500 tactical nuclear warheads.

On April 3, 2013 the U.S. State Department issued the latest fact sheet on its data exchange with Russia under New START, sharing the numbers of deployed nuclear warheads and New START-accountable delivery systems held by each country, 2. On May 3, 2010, the United States Department of Defense released for the first time the total number of nuclear warheads (5,113) in the U.S. stockpile. The Defense Department includes in this stockpile active warheads which are operational and deployed or ready to be deployed, and inactive warheads which are maintained “in a non-operational status, and have their tritium bottle removed.” Sources: Arms Control Association, Federation of American Scientists, International Panel on Fissile Materials, U.S. Department of Defense, and U.S. Department of State).30

In contrast  the DPRK, according to the same source:

“has separated enough plutonium for roughly 4-8 nuclear warheads. North Korea unveiled a centrifuge facility in 2010, buts ability to produce highly-enriched uranium for weapons remains unclear.” 31 (ArmsControl.org)

Morever, according to expert opinion:

“there is no evidence that North Korea has the means to lob a nuclear-armed missile at the United States or anyone else. So far, it has produced several atomic bombs and tested them, but it lacks the fuel and the technology to miniaturize a nuke and place it on a missile” 32

According to Siegfried Hecker, one of America’s preeminent nuclear scientists:

“Despite its recent threats, North Korea does not yet have much of a nuclear arsenal because it lacks fissile materials and has limited nuclear testing experience,” 33

The threat of nuclear war does not emanate from the the DPRK but from the US and its allies.

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the unspoken victim of US military aggression, has been incessantly portrayed as a war mongering nation, a menace to the American Homeland and a  “threat to World peace”. These stylized accusations have become part of a media consensus.

Meanwhile, Washington is now implementing a $32 billion refurbishing of strategic nuclear weapons as well as a revamping of its tactical nuclear weapons, which according to a 2002 Senate decision “are harmless to the surrounding civilian population.”

These continuous threats and actions of latent aggression directed against the DPRK should also be understood as part of the broader US military agenda in East Asia, directed against China and Russia.

It is important that people across the land, in the US, Western countries, come to realize that the United States rather than North Korea or Iran is a threat to global security. [Obama at the DMZ using the UN Flag in violation of the UN Security Council]

Obama  together with President Park Geun Hye at the DMZ

Korea’s Economic Development

The US military occupation of South Korea has largely supported and protected US economic and financial interests in Korea. From the very outset in 1945, there was no democratization of the South Korean economy. The exploitative Japanese factory system was adopted by the Korean business conglomerates, which were in part the outgrowth of the Japanese imperial system.

At the outset this system was based on extremely low wages, Korea’s manufacturing base was used to produce cheap labor exports for Western markets, In many respects, the earlier Korean manufacturing base was a form of “industrial colonialism” in derogation of the rights of Korean workers.

The rise of the South Korean business conglomerates (Chaebols) was the source of impressive economic growth performance starting in the 1970s. The Chaebols are conglomerates of many companies “clustered around one holding company”. The parent company is often controlled by single family or business clan. The latter in turn had close ties to officials in the ROK’s military governments.

South Korea’s industrial and technological revolution constituted a challenge to Western capitalism. Despite US military presence, the ROK was no longer a “developing country” with a “dependent” economy.  Inserted into a competitive World market, South Korean capitalism was competing with both Japanese and Western multinationals.

The 1997 Asian Crisis: Financial Warfare Directed against South Korea

The ROK had developed into a World capitalist power. It had acquired its own technological base, a highly developed banking system; it was categorised by the World Bank as a so-called “Asian tiger”.

Yet at the same time, the entire political fabric –which included the conduct of macroeconomic policy– was controlled by Washington and Wall Street, not to mention the military presence of US occupation forces.

The Asian crisis of 1997 was an important watershed. In late 1997, the imposition of an IMF bailout contributed to plunging South Korea, virtually overnight, into a deep recession. The social impact was devastating.

Through financial manipulation of  stock markets and foreign exchange markets by major financial actors, the Asian crisis contributed to weakening and undermining the Korean business establishment. The objective was to “tame the tiger”, dismantle the Korean business conglomerates, and restore US control and ownership over the Korean economy, its industrial base, its banking system.

The collapse of the won in late 1997 was triggered by “naked short selling” on the foreign exchange markets. It was tantamount to an act of economic warfare.

Several Korean business conglomerates were fractured, broken up or precipitated into bankruptcy on the orders of the IMF, which was acting on behalf of Wall Street.

Of the 30 largest chaebols, 11 collapsed between July 1997 and June 1999.

Following the IMF’s  December 1997 financial bailout, a large part of the Korean national economy, its high tech sectors, its industrial base, was “stolen” by US and Western capital under various fraudulent clauses negotiated by the ROK’s creditors.

Western corporations had gone on a shopping spree, buying up financial institutions and industrial assets at rock-bottom prices. The devaluation of the won, combined with the slide of the Seoul stock market, had dramatically depressed the dollar value of Korean assets.

Acting directly on behalf of Wall Street, the IMF had demanded the dismantling of the Daewoo Group including the sell-off of the 12 so-called troubled Daewoo affiliate companies. Daewoo Motors was up for grabs. This was not a spontaneous bankruptcy, it was the result of financial manipulation, with a view to transferring valuable productive assets into the hand of foreign investors. Daewoo obliged under the IMF agreement to sell off Daewoo Motor to General Motors (GM) in 2001. Similarly, the ROK’s largest corporation Hyundai was forced to restructure its holding company following the December 1997 bailout.

In April 1999 Hyundai announced a two-thirds reduction of the number of business units and “a plan to break up the group into five independent business groups”. This initiative was part of the debt reduction plan imposed by Western creditors and carried out by the IMF. It was implemented under what was called “the spin-off program” whereby the large Korean business conglomerates were to slated to be downsized and broken up into smaller business undertakings.

In the process, many of the high tech units belonging to the large Korean holding companies were bought out by Western capital.

South Korea’s banking landscape was also taken over by “US investors”. Korea First Bank (KFB), with a network of branches all over the country, was purchased at a negative price by the California based Newbridge Group in a fraudulent transaction. 34

A similar shady deal enabled the Carlyle Group –whose board of directors included former U.S. President George Herbert Walker Bush (Senior), his Secretary of State James A. Baker III, and former Defense Secretary Frank C. Carlucci — to take control of KorAm Bank in September 2000. KorAm was taken over in a Consortium led by The Carlyle Group in collaboration with JPMorgan Chase. KorAm Bank had been established in the early 1980s as a joint venture between Bank America and a group of Korean conglomerates. .

Three years later, CitiBank purchased  a 36.7 percent stake in KorAm from the Carlyle Group and then bought up all the remaining shares, in what was described as “Citibank’s biggest acquisition outside the Western Hemisphere”. 35

Following the 1997 Asian Crisis which triggered a multibillion dollar debt crisis, a new system of government had been established in South Korea, geared towards the fracture of Korea’s business conglomerates and the weakening of Korean national capitalism. In other words, the signing of the IMF bailout Agreement in December 1997 marks a significant transformation in the structure of the Korean State, whose regulatory financial agencies were used to serve the interests of  Korea’s external creditors.

Concluding Remarks: Towards Peace.

The US is still at war with Korea.

This US sponsored state of war is directed against both North and South Korea. It is characterised by persistent military threats (including the use of nuclear weapons) against the DPRK. It also threatens the ROK which has been under US military occupation since September 1945.

Currently there are 37,000 US troops in South Korea. Given the geography of the Korean peninsula, the use of nuclear weapons against North Korea would inevitably also engulf South Korea. This fact is known and understood by US military planners.

What has to be emphasized prior to forthcoming negotiations pertaining a “Peace Treaty” is that the US and the ROK are not “Allies”.

The “real alliance” is that which unifies and reunites North and South Korea against foreign intrusion and aggression.

What this signifies is that the US is in a state of war against the entire Korean Nation.

The formulation of the Peace Treaty, therefore, requires the holding of bilateral talks between the ROK and the DPRK with a view to formulating a “joint position” regarding the terms to be included in a “Peace Treaty”.

The terms of this Peace Treaty should under no circumstances be dictated by the US Aggressor, which is committed to maintaining its military presence on the Korean peninsula.

It is worth noting in this regard, US foreign policy and military planners have already established their own scenario of “reunification” predicated on maintaining US occupation troops in Korea. Similarly, what is envisaged by Washington is a framework which will enable “foreign investors” to penetrate and pillage the North Korean economy.

Washington’s objective is to impose the terms of Korea’s reunification. The NeoCons “Project for a New American Century” (PNAC) published in 2000 had intimated that in “post unification scenario”, the number of US troops (currently at 37,000) should be increased and that US military presence could be extended to North Korea.  In a reunified Korea,  the military mandate of the US garrison would be to implement so-called “stability operations in North Korea”:

While Korea unification might call for the reduction in American presence on the peninsula and a transformation of U.S force posture in Korea, the changes would really reflect a change in their mission – and changing technological realities – not the termination of their mission. Moreover, in any realistic post-unification scenario, U.S. forces are likely to have some role in stability operations in North Korea. It is premature to speculate on the precise size and composition of a post-unification U.S. presence in Korea, but it is not too early to recognize that the presence of American forces in Korea serves a larger and longer-range strategic purpose. For the present, any reduction in capabilities of the current U.S. garrison on the peninsula would be unwise. If anything, there is a need to bolster them, especially with respect to their ability to defend against missile attacks and to limit the effects of North Korea’s massive artillery capability. In time, or with unification, the structure of these units will change and their manpower levels fluctuate, but U.S. presence in this corner of Asia should continue. 36 (PNAC, Rebuilding America`s Defenses, Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century, p. 18, emphasis added)

Washington’s intentions are crystal clear.

It is important, therefore, that these talks be conducted by the ROK and DPRK without the participation or interference of outside parties. These discussions must address the withdrawal of all US occupation forces as well as the removal of economic sanctions directed against North Korea.

The exclusion of US military presence and the withdrawal of the 37,000 occupation forces should be a sine qua non requirement of a Peace Treaty.

Pursuant to a Peace Treaty, the ROK-US CFC agreement which places ROK forces under US command should be rescinded. All ROK troops would thereafter be brought under national ROK command.

This a fundamental shift: the present CFC agreement in essence allows the US Command to order South Korean troops to fight in a US sponsored war against North Korea, superseding and overriding the ROK President and Commander in Chief of the ROK Armed Forces.

Bilateral consultations should also be undertaken with a view to further developing economic, technological, cultural and educational cooperation between the ROK and the DPRK.

Economic sovereignty is a central issue. The shady transactions launched in the wake of the IMF bailout in 1997 must be addressed. These transactions were conducive to the illegal and fraudulent acquisition and ownership of a large part of South Korea’s high tech industry and banking by Western corporate capital.  Similarly the impacts of the insertion of the ROK into the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) must also be examined.

The Peace agreement would also be accompanied by the opening of the border between North and South.

Pursuant to the June 15th North–South Joint Declaration in August 2000, a joint ROK DPRK working commission should be established to set an agenda and a timeline for reunification.


Michel Chossudovsky’s Presentation to the Japanese Foreign Correspondent’s Club on US Aggression against the People of Korea, Tokyo, August 1, 2013 

Notes

1 Interview with General Wesley Clark, Democracy Now March 2, 2007.

2 Martin Hart-Landsberg, Korea: Division, Reunification, & U.S. Foreign Policy. Monthly Review Press. New York, 1998 pp. 65–6). The PRK was abolished by military decree in September 1945 by the USAMG.

3  Jay Hauben, Book Review of I.F. Stone’s “Hidden History of the Korean War”, OmnyNews, 2007, http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-hidden-history-of-the-korean-war/5342685

4  Ibid.                                           

5  Quoted in Stephen Lendman, America’s War on North Korea, Global Research, http://www.globalresearch.ca/americas-war-on-north-korea/5329374, April 1, 2013

6  Ibid

7  Bruce Cumings, Korea: Forgotten Nuclear Threats, 2005

8 Ibid

9  Quoted in Brian Willson, Korea and the Axis of Evil, Global Research, October 2006.

10  Ibid.

11  Associated Press Report, http://www.globalresearch.ca/us-coverup-extrajudicial-killings-in-south-korea/9518, July 6, 2008

12  Wikipedia

13  George F. Kennan, State Department Brief, Washington DC, 1948

14 Ibid.

15  The main PNAC document is entitled Rebuilding America`s Defenses, Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century, The PNAC website is:  http://www.newamericancentury.org

16  Chosun Ibo, April 13, 2013

17 See United States Forces Korea | Mission of the ROK/US Combined Forces Command.

18  See United States Forces Korea | USFK Leadership

19  U.S.- S. Korea Military Gameplan | Flashpoints | The Diplomat, April 4, 2013

20 President Harry S. Truman, Diary, July 25, 1945

21 See The nuclear information project: US Nuclear Weapons in Korea

22 Ibid.

23 Daniel A. Pinkston, “South Korea’s Nuclear Experiments,” CNS Research Story, 9 November 2004, http://cns.miis.edu

24 See List of United States Army installations in South Korea – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

25  The Nuclear Information Project: Withdrawal of US nuclear weapons from South Korea

26 Ibid

27 The Nuclear Information Project: Withdrawal of US nuclear weapons from South Korea, emphasis added

28 Ibid, emphasis added

29  ArmsControl.org, April, 2013

30 Ibid

31 Ibid

32 See  North Korea: What’s really happening – Salon.com April 5, 2013

33 Ibid

34  See Michel Chossudovsky, The Globalization of Poverty and the New World Order, Global Research, Montreal, 2003.

35 See Citibank expands in South Korea – The New York Times, November 2, 2004.

36. Project for A New American Century (PNAC), Rebuilding America`s Defenses, Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century, Washington DC 2000, p. 18, emphasis addedWhy Does North Korea Want Nukes?The original source of this article is Global ResearchCopyright © Prof Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, 2020


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Posted in USA, Human Rights, North Korea, South KoreaComments Off on America’s War against the People of Korea: The Historical Record of US War Crimes

Why this ‘Pandemic’ Is Looking More Like a Social Engineering Experiment

By: Richard Enos

Yesterday my wife, a native of Korea, made the arduous trip to her homeland from Toronto in order to help her mother, who had been diagnosed with Stage IV cancer, with the protocols of High-Dose Vitamin C and a natural eating regimen. This hopefully will be an inspiring story in itself as things continue to progress along.

However, the reason I bring it up is because of the difficulties my wife experienced in getting to Korea as a result of COVID-19 regulations, and how this has gotten me thinking even more deeply about the nature of this pandemic.

In order to go to Korea to assist her mother, my wife had to go to the Korean Consulate in Toronto, provide proof that she was not suffering from the Coronavirus, (with the documentation having a 48-hour expiry date), proof that her mother had been diagnosed with cancer, proof that she had enough money to sustain herself while in Korea, and proof that she would have a place to stay in Korea. Eventually satisfying all these conditions, she was given a visitor’s visa and set out to fly to Korea through Vancouver. Before boarding the flight to Korea, she was given a document in which she was asked to agree to finance her own quarantine in a special hotel for 14 days (about $1600) if deemed necessary and agree to abide unconditionally to all government measures including departure from Korea orders if the authorities deemed it appropriate.

Arriving in Korea, she told me she literally had to go through hoops from one counter to the next and get documents sent from her mother’s house certifying her family identity, then agree to pay a taxi over $100 in order to be ushered directly to her mother’s house, where she had to sign off on a strict 14-day quarantine in the house that would be monitored by the government and law enforcement on a daily basis.

What strikes me as odd, from this one experience that is absolutely factual and affects my family personally, is the amount of care, attention, precision, and gravity that was given in the case of a person (my wife) who had no signs of illness and furthermore had a doctor-certified test document saying that she did not have COVID-19. Measures like this worldwide would purport to solely be motivated by the prevention the death of world citizens, would they not? I would argue that, even based on mainstream-accepted ‘dangers’ about COVID-19 (themselves dubious at best), all these measures were useless, a complete waste of time, money, and valuable human resources.

For Saving Human Lives?

This all got me thinking. If that attention and the human and financial resources that have been spent on this ‘pandemic’ had been given to end world hunger, do any of you doubt that world hunger would have been eradicated by now?

The ‘official’ numbers of COVID-19 deaths worldwide, according to the website Worldometers.info, as of May 4th, is 251,421. I will not contest this figure for the moment, but later on will give evidence that this number is inflated. But let’s use this number for now.

Let’s compare it to the number of deaths worldwide from starvation since January 1st, according to the website theworldcounts.com: 3,073,421. Even as I type in this number it has already changed, as it does continuously every two seconds or so. My question is, if our world leaders are so concerned about human mortality, should they not be devoting at least 10 times the amount of financial and human resources that they are giving to this pandemic to ending world hunger? Should they not have come together and done this decades ago?

This is just one example. There are countless, which show us time and again that the true agenda of our political leaders is almost completely antithetical to the actual health and safety of the people of the world. And it should have all of us suspecting that the coordinated worldwide efforts to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 on the global population is not really about public health and safety but rather part of a different agenda.

Inflating Numbers, Maximizing Fear

Now as to that staunch figure of worldwide deaths from COVID-19, which tells us that over a quarter of a million people have died from the virus–not an insignificant number, when it gets stand-alone framing in big bold print on mainstream media 24/7. That, in combination with the ongoing ticker of new cases cropping up, is used strategically to maximize fear, thereby maximizing public compliance.

Evidence is coming out every day that these numbers and the way they are presented are not truthful and are conflating the level of danger (and thus the need for a lockdown).

For example, many of the deaths that are in the official number of COVID-19 deaths are actually co-morbidities, meaning that the person who died had other pre-existing health conditions that contributed to their death. There is no evidence of the extent of the impact, if any, of COVID-19 in the case of these co-morbidities. In fact, in some cases, even where an alternative cause is determined, it is still registered as a COVID-19 death.

This chart below of weekly pneumonia deaths reported shows a precipitous decline in the number of pneumonia deaths in the US which coincides with, you guessed it, the beginning of the reporting of COVID-19 deaths.

In other words, deaths that would have been determined to be caused by pneumonia in previous years are being called COVID-19 deaths, in some cases without that person even being tested for COVID-19! In effect, more and more evidence is pointing to the idea that there is nothing really happening in the world any different from any other year in terms of deaths from infectious flu-like diseases. Yet my wife has to go through all sorts of machinations in order to be permitted to visit her mother?

So much more can be said about particular ways that figures and projections are manipulated to create a perception of fear and danger for this pandemic, but for now let’s look at the larger mechanism at play here.

The Script Followed By Our Leaders

In the interests of having an informed and capable public, are our leaders keeping us updated on these inconsistencies, and helping us get an accurate picture of the true extent of the dangers involved with this particular disease? For the most part, no. Politicians of all stripes come onto the airwaves to make the same announcements everywhere: “Because you have been good boys and girls, we, your authority, has been able to start getting this crisis under control,” combined with “you are warned that you must continue to obey us to prevent a rebound in the number of infections.” Then they might criticize examples of “bad” citizens not complying.

Again, I simply need to reflect on my personal experience here in Ontario, Canada, to reinforce my theory. Most readers could do the same within their locality. With just a cursory glance at the official briefings here, I heard Ontario Premier Doug Ford try to convince viewers how deeply concerned he was about the safety and health of Ontarions. He was quick to rebuke those who protested in front of parliament in Toronto calling for an end to the lockdown as ‘a bunch of Yahoos.’

And on the subject of something that affects me personally with a 6-year old at home, namely the opening of schools, he has done his best to bring  gravitas to his proclamation that schools will continue to stay closed for the forseeable future, citing that ‘my No. 1 concern is protecting our kids out there.’ From stories I’ve heard about Doug Ford, he may be one of the last people I would trust to protect my child. And the notion that keeping kids cooped up at home and not in contact with their friends is keeping them safe ignores the known statistics about COVID-19, where children are in the lowest risk-class for infection and morbidity.

Social Engineering

Many theories floating around out there as to the true origins and purpose of COVID-19, based on evidence that it was man-made and the possibility that it was released intentionally, are certainly worth investigating. However, none of those have to be proven for us to be able to see that the pandemic is being used as a social engineering experiment. Now this is nothing new, as basically everything our leaders do is grounded in their attempts to see how much more power they can amass and how much more of our freedoms can be taken away. “Never let a good crisis go to waste,” as Churchill said.

In the case of COVID-19, we are dealing with a worldwide event, and perhaps the biggest social engineering experiment ever attempted. Those who have the ultimate power in the world, those who control our political leaders, are trying to determine how much the public will comply under the circumstances of a pandemic. You can see everything being said by our leaders is based on affirming that they are in control, that we must follow. When attempts to control things in Ontario went too far and the people pushed back, as when an Aurora mom was fined $880 for standing too long in a park with her baby, Doug Ford said bylaw officers “could have used a little bit different judgment.”

Without ceding his own power, he yielded some ground in order to reinforce his own legitimacy, using a famous Machiavellian political strategy. This type of push and pull has been happening all around the world as this pandemic continues to be employed to erode our freedoms. It is part of a bigger war that is being fought between forces with a dark agenda of control and those who are working to bring out the truth. The sooner we all start to see what is going with this pandemic in this larger context, the sooner the truth will shine for everyone to see, and empower us to restore our freedom.

Posted in Health, South KoreaComments Off on Why this ‘Pandemic’ Is Looking More Like a Social Engineering Experiment

N. Korea lashes South as Kim Jong Un praises China’s Xi Jinping

Kim sent Chinese leader Xi Jinping a diplomatic communication congratulating him for China’s “success” in controlling the novel coronavirus epidemic.

North Korea condemned the South Friday for holding military drills, saying the situation was returning to before the diplomatic rapprochement of 2018, as leader Kim Jong Un — whose health was the subject of intense speculation in recent weeks — reached out to traditional ally Beijing.

Kim sent Chinese leader Xi Jinping a diplomatic communication congratulating him for China’s “success” in controlling the novel coronavirus epidemic, the state news agency KCNA reported.

The nuclear-armed North has closed its borders to try to protect itself from the disease that first emerged in its giant neighbour, and insists it has not had any cases even as the virus has swept across the world.

Kim told Xi he was as pleased with China’s successes as his own, KCNA reported, adding he “sent militant greetings to every member of the Communist Party of China”.

Rumours swirled for weeks about Kim’s health after he failed to appear at the April 15 celebrations for the birthday of his grandfather, the North’s founder — the most important day in the country’s political calendar, until he reappeared at the weekend at a factory opening.

Kim’s temporary disappearance triggered a series of unconfirmed reports and fevered speculation over his condition, while the United States and South Korea insisted they had no information to believe the conjectures were true.

North Korea's Kim Jong Un
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visits a fertilizer factory in a KCNA picture released on May 2, 2020 which appeared to confirm he was still alive, despite weeks of speculation. Photo: KCNA VIA KNS / STR

China is the North’s key diplomatic backer and main provider of trade and aid.

Pyongyang’s nuclear talks with Washington have been largely at a standstill since Kim’s summit with US President Donald Trump in Hanoi broke up without a deal more than a year ago.

The North’s relations with Seoul have since entered a deep freeze, despite Kim holding three summits with the South’s President Moon Jae-in in 2018.

Pyongyang lashed out at Seoul on Friday for holding air-sea military drills in the Yellow Sea this week.

“Everything is now going back to the starting point before the north-south summit meeting in 2018,” a defence ministry spokesman said in a statement carried by KCNA.

Posted in China, North Korea, South KoreaComments Off on N. Korea lashes South as Kim Jong Un praises China’s Xi Jinping

South Korea Is a Model for Combatting COVID-19, Safely Holds Elections

It Should Now Take the Lead in Diplomacy with North Korea

By Kee B. Park and Christine Ann

inter-Korean

For the first time in two months, South Korea’s new coronavirus cases have dropped to single digits. Seoul has not only demonstrated that it can contain the pandemic, but that it can safely hold elections, which last week led to a landslide victory for President Moon Jae-in’s party in the parliamentary elections. Having earned the trust of the South Korean public and the admiration of the global community, now is the time for Moon to claim leadership over another issue that the Trump administration has woefully mismanaged: relations with North Korea.

The Trump administration’s approach to North Korea has been characterized by the president developing a personal relationship with Kim Jong Un, while imposing ever-stricter sanctions and continuing to hold joint military exercises with South Korea. This has failed to move the needle on North Korea’s nuclear weapons arsenal. Pyongyang continues to test weapons — even in the midst of a global pandemic — and shows no signs of wanting to engage with Washington.

But the universal threat of the coronavirus has created a vastly different landscape for President Moon to make progress with North Korea. Moon has all the leverage he needs to resolve a 70-year-old conflict and create a model for peace and stability in Northeast Asia.

From the beginning of his presidency, Moon — a human rights lawyer and former soldier who served in the DMZ — has made more headway than past South Korean leaders in improving inter-Korean relations. Five months after signing the Panmunjom Declaration in April 2018, Moon and Kim met in Pyongyang for a second summit and signed an inter-Korean military agreement that set forth a demilitarization process, including disarming soldiers in the Joint Security Area and demining portions of the DMZ. South Korea took concrete steps to revive inter-Korean cooperation, such as establishing a diplomatic compound in Kaesong and seeking to link the inter-Korean railroad at Dorasan Station at the DMZ.

Unfortunately, Moon’s pro-peace diplomacy with North Korea fell victim to Washington’s “maximum pressure” campaign on North Korea. In an October 2018 call to South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-HwaSecretary of State Mike Pompeo rebuked Seoul for moving too fast with Pyongyang and failing to move in lock step with Washington on denuclearization. When asked about South Korea’s possible lifting of sanctions on North Korea, President Trump told reporters,

“They won’t do that without our approval. They do nothing without our approval.”

Since Trump’s colossal failure to reach a deal with Kim in Hanoi last year, talks have frozen, not just between Washington and Pyongyang, but also between the two Koreas. Not only does Moon now have a clear mandate domestically, the global context has changed, paving the way for him to pursue his inter-Korean peace agenda, with or without Washington’s approval.

For one, South Korea doesn’t have to continue conducting military exercises with the United States, which has been the ire of the North Korean regime. On March 23, U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres called for a global ceasefire so that the world can address the pandemic. President Macron of France is pressing for the U.N. Security Council to back the Secretary-General’s call, securing the commitments of three of five permanent members: China, the United Kingdom and the United States. The American and South Korean militaries agreed to cancel this spring’s military exercises due to the pandemic; adhering to the global ceasefire gives President Moon cover to cancel them altogether.

In addition to the global ceasefire, there is growing consensus that sanctions must be lifted against particularly vulnerable countries such as North Korea. Michelle Bachelet, U.N. human rights chief and a physician, recently called for sectoral sanctions to “be eased or suspended” because they impede the delivery of vital medical and humanitarian aid. “In a context of global pandemic,” Bachelet explained, “impeding medical efforts in one country heightens the risk for all of us.”

With more than 2 million cases and nearly 150,000 deaths worldwide caused by COVID-19, the United States is acquiescing. On April 16, the U.S. Treasury Department announced sanctions exemptions for humanitarian assistance to North Korea, including “testing kits, respiratory devices, personal protective equipment, and medicine used in the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and recovery from COVID-19.”

With two years left in his presidency — and the U.S. and North Korea now entering the 70th year of being locked in a technical state of war — Moon should take this opportunity to advance peace on the Korean Peninsula. The brokenness of the U.S. approach in resolving the North Korean conflict begs for leadership, which President Moon must claim for the future of regional and worldwide security.

After all, if there is one key lesson to be taken away from the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s that South Korea can do some things better — much better — than the United States.

Posted in South KoreaComments Off on South Korea Is a Model for Combatting COVID-19, Safely Holds Elections

North Korea fires multiple projectiles: South’s military

Somalia: The Pentagon’s new ‘endless war’?

Nuclear-armed North Korea on Monday fired what Japan said appeared to be ballistic missiles, a week after a similar weapons test by Pyongyang.
Analysts say the North has been continuing to refine its weapons capabilities during its long-stalled nuclear discussions with the US, which have been at a standstill since the collapse of the Hanoi summit between leader Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump more than a year ago.

The North “appeared to have carried out joint firing drills involving various types of multiple rocket launchers”, the South’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said, expressing “strong regret” over Pyongyang’s actions. Initially they said three projectiles were involved, before changing the description to “multiple”.

The devices were fired northeastwards into the sea from South Hamgyong province and flew 200 kilometres (124 miles) at a maximum altitude of 50 kilometres, the JCS said.

That was slightly shorter but also slightly higher than last Monday’s firing.

A Japanese defence ministry spokesman said North Korea had launched what appeared to be “ballistic missile(s)” — which it is banned from doing under UN Security Council resolutions.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told parliament: “Repeated launches of items such as ballistic missiles have been a serious issue for the international community, including our country.

In an emergency meeting, South Korea’s security ministers said the North’s continued firing drills were “not helpful” to efforts for lasting peace on the Korean peninsula.

Three projectiles fired successfully from a single Transporter Erector Launcher (TEL) would be “a new milestone” for the North’s short-range ballistic missile programme, tweeted Ankit Panda, senior fellow at the Federation of American Scientists.

Vipin Narang of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology added: “Kim continues to test, improve, and operationalize his force.”

After last week’s launch the North’s state media said Kim had overseen a “long-range artillery” drill, carrying images of multiple launch rocket systems and several of a larger calibre rocket being fired in a forest.

The South’s military had said that launch appeared to be two short-range ballistic missiles.

Personal letter
Monday’s firing came days after Kim sent a personal letter to the South’s President Moon Jae-in, offering “comfort” for the rapid outbreak of the new coronavirus in the country.

South Korea has one of the world’s largest infection totals outside China with more than 7,300, while Pyongyang insists it has not had a single case.

That message had followed an unprecedented statement by Kim’s younger sister Yo Jong, berating Seoul’s “truly senseless” and “perfectly foolish” condemnation of Pyongyang’s weapons test last week.

The North carried out a series of weapons tests late last year, the last of them in November, which it often described as multiple launch rocket systems although others called them ballistic missiles.

It also conducted static engine tests, most recently in December.

Pyongyang set Washington a unilateral deadline of the end of 2019 to offer it fresh concessions on sanctions relief, and at a party meeting in late December Kim declared the North no longer considered itself bound by its moratoriums on nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile tests.

He also threatened a demonstration of a “new strategic weapon” soon.

Pyongyang is under multiple sets of sanctions over its weapons programmes from the United Nations Security Council, US, South Korea and others.

Heightened tensions in 2017 were followed by two years of nuclear diplomacy between Pyongyang and Washington, including three meetings between Kim and US President Donald Trump, but little tangible progress was made.

Posted in North Korea, South KoreaComments Off on North Korea fires multiple projectiles: South’s military

The Political Economy of Corruption in South Korea

Corruption kills people; Corruption ruins the economy; Corruption violates human rights

By Prof. Joseph H. Chung

Global Research,

The whole world is facing the deepening and widening corruption which challenges the very survival of the free democracy and the free market economy.

Korea has been suffering for last 70 years from the corruption culture. But owing to courageous fight of Korean people and the Candle-Light Revolution of 2016-2017, Korea is freeing painfully but steadily from the dark clouds of the corruption culture.

I hope that Korea’s experience will help developing countries for assuring the development of their economy without becoming the slave of corruption.

The literature on corruption is rich but it has two shortcomings. First, it is based on a definition of corruption which is too narrow to deal with the complexity of corruption. Second, it does not cover sufficiently the range of the impact of corruption on the society.

Most of the existing studies tend to define corruption as illegal activities which are designed to maximize personal gains at the expense of those of others. But, it must be pointed out that some of the laws and regulations are designed to justify corruption.

Therefore, I would define corruption as “illegal or immoral human activities designed to maximize personal or group gains at the expense of the welfare of other persons or other groups”.

The objective of this paper is to find, on the basis of Korea’s experience, appropriate measures that would facilitate the fight against corruption.

This paper has five sections.

Section 1 offers a typology of corruption based on the Korean experience of corruption. I have found that the useful way of classifying corruption is to relate it to the behaviour of individuals and organizations involved in corruption.

Section 2 deals with the evolution stage of corruption. I argue that the phenomenon of corruption evolves by stage. The level, the contents and the impact of corruption vary by stage. Therefore, to find appropriate measure of anti-corruption, it is important to know at what stage the process of corruption finds itself.

Section 3 discusses the strategy of protecting the benefits of corruption. It will be shown that, in Korea, the strategy of protecting the fruit of corruption is brutal and sophisticated.

Section 4 copes with the impact of corruption. Here, I will distinguish between economic impact and moral impact. It goes without saying that these two types of impact are related. In fact, I argue that these two types of impact combined can destroy a country

Finally, Section 5 will show how the Korean people have fought for last 70 years against corruption risking their lives and enduring the violation of their basic human rights. In this section, I will show also how President Moon is conducting a total war against the deep rooted corruption in Korea. In addition I will show some lessons we can learn from the Korea’s experience of corruption

Typology of Corruption

The corruption takes several forms depending upon the individuals and organizations involved in the process of corruption. I am sure that the following types of corruption take place in many other countries.

A. Outright theft of public funds

One of the most notorious scandals in Korea is the embezzlement of billions of dollars of public funds by the conservative presidents of the country, civil servants, heads of public corporations, directors of research institutions, and even owners of even kindergarten.

Chun Doo-hwan, 1983-March-11-02 (cropped).jpg

One of the notorious cases was the embezzlements of more than $ 200 million USD by former conservative president, General Chun Doo-hwan (image on the right). He was imprisoned for corruption and abuse of power. He was ordered by the court to pay back to the government the embezzled money. But he is still claiming that he has only $260 USD in his bank; he is making mockery of Korea’s judiciary system.

Under President Lee Myong-bak, billions of dollars of public money was suspected to be stolen through what are called the “4-River Projects” and “Resource Diplomacy.” These scandals remain to be investigated.

Another case of the theft of public money is that of private kindergartens which steal openly a good part of government subsidies for personal use including the purchase of jewellery and other personal use.

B. Transaction of privileges

The market of privileged rights is huge. To do business, one has to go through a long series of regulations. But, by paying bribes to government officials, one can get privileges of going over the laws and regulations.

For instance, by paying bribes to government officials, one can get more quickly a legal building permit or illegal building permit. With bribes, a land developer can transform greenbelt land into residential land.

The supply of these privileges is provided by the public authorities. The demand of these privileges is determined by the business. The price of these privileges is the monetary value of these privileges.

The market price of these privileges is the amount of bribery. It is by no means easy to have an idea about the amount of such bribery. But, for example, it is a known secret that the amount of bribery paid by the industry of construction is 5% of the amount of sales. The total amount of bribery could be tens of billions of dollars.

C. Theft of Information

In Korea, some of those who are involved in the supervision of stock market and land development are known to be wealthy after their retirement.

The high ranking civil servants of the ministry of construction know in advance the land-development plan and buy land in the name of someone else and assure huge capital gains by selling it.

A person working at the institution which supervises the stock market has access to confidential information on investment plan of companies and can make fortune by buying or selling the stocks. God knows how much illicit money is made by these thieves of confidential information.

D. Fraudulent procurement

The government and its numerous agents spend hundreds of billions of dollars every year to buy goods and services. For national defence alone, Korea spends a year $50 billion USD. It happens more often than not that the government and its agents pay an amount far above the real price for the procurement of goods and services.

The difference between the price paid and the real price is shared between the seller and the buyer. This is the “kick-back”. In the area of procurement of military equipment, the amount of kick-back is said to be 10% of the amount of military equipment bought.

E. Transaction of Freedom

Perhaps, another devastating form of corruption is the transaction of freedom. Under the corrupted judiciary system, those who have committed crimes and corruption can buy freedom with bribe money.

The police do not arrest people of power despite their obvious crimes and corruption in exchange of bribery. The bureau of prosecutors does not investigate clear cases of corruption, if the accused are leaders of business ready to pay bribes.

Even if the investigation shows undeniable proof of corruption, the prosecutor does not accuse the person involved.

Heads of the largest Chaebol were suspected several times for corruption but they were seldom sent to the court trial.

Even if they were judged guilty, they were soon liberated. In many cases, even if the prosecutor provides proof of guilt, the court makes ruling of not guilty.

F. Transaction of laws

It is a well known fact that the powerful Chaebols persuade the law makers to pass laws in their favour in exchange of disguised campaign funds.

Laws adopted by the National Assembly can affect the interests of business and other interest groups. The groups which are the most sensitive to laws are large corporations. Large corporations have, in fact, a specialized group whose job is to prevent laws harmful to them and foster those laws which are favourable to them. The laws that have been the most visible target of lobbying have been labour related laws.

Chaebols have been spending a lot of bribe money paid to law makers to prevent the adoption of pro-labour laws. This is one of the reasons for low wages and long hour of work in Korea

G. Transaction of jobs

Korea President Park UN 20130506 01 cropped.jpg

Another form of corruption is the transaction of jobs. In the case of a Casino in Gangwon Province, 80% of jobs were illegally given, in exchange of bribes, to those who were close to lawmakers or other persons close to the government of Park Geun-hye (image on the left).

It is suspected that Mrs Choi Soon-sil (now in prison for 20 years for corruption and illegally interfering in government policies) would have intervened, for large sum of bribe, in the nomination of cabinet ministers, judges and other high ranking officials.

Evolution Stages of Corruption

The corruption in Korea has evolved by the following stages:

  • Economic development and collusion of government-business.
  • Formation of oligarchy of corruption
  • Creation of corruption community

Stage 1. Economic Development and the emergence of bilateral collusion: government-business

One of the key factors of the economic miracle in Japan and Korea was the concept of Japan Incorporated (Japan Inc.) and that of Korea Incorporated (Korea Inc) by which I mean the situation in which the government and the business act as one single company. The government and the business become almost equal partners for economic policies and development.

The close cooperation government-business led inevitably to collusion in planning and executing the project of industrialization and economic development.

Park Chung-hee 1963's.png

The Second Candle-Light Revolution in Korea: The People’s Fight for the Survival of Clean Democracy

The story of collusion between President Park Chung-hee (image on the right) and Chung Joo-young, founder of the Hyundai Group and Lee Byung-chul, founder of the Samsung groups is almost a legend.

The stage of government-business collusion was almost identical to the period of take-off of the Korean economy (1960-1970), In fact, owing to the Korea Inc. and the bilateral collusion, Korea could free itself from absolute poverty in less than thirty years.

Stage 2. Formation of Oligarchy 

As the economy developed further and the process of planning of economic development was executed, the role of bureaucracy became essential for the success of planning. In particular, the Bureau of Economic Planning (EPB) became the key factor of success of economic planning. As a result, the daily participation of EPB bureaucrats and high ranking officials of the Ministry of Finance and other civil servants joined the collusion. This led to the trilateral collusion: politics-bureaucracy-business.

No doubt, the trilateral collusion made significant contribution to the Han-River economic miracle. But in the absence of close supervision of the collusion, the members of the collusion became attempted to appropriate some of the fruits of economic development.

To do so, the collusion members formed a close circle to hide their illegal or immoral activities. In fact, this close circle became an exclusive oligarchy. One of the functions of the oligarchy consisted in allocating privileges to big businesses in exchange of bribe money.

There were several ways of giving public resources to big businesses. The policy loans were the most lucrative gift to the businesses. The government made loans of huge amount of money at an interest rate of less than 5%, while the market rate was above 20%.

This money was designed to foster industrialization and exports. True, a part of these loans were used for the construction of factories and exports. But, in many cases, the businesses made a fortune by making loans of the money borrowed at an interest rate much higher than 5 %.

The big businesses were given tax incentives; they were allowed free entry to industrial complexes; they were given lands which were supposed to be used for industrial use but a part of these lands were used for land speculation. The Chaebols were given all sorts of permit and privileges; they were given huge amount of grants and subsidies for reasons which were not clear.

This stage of the formation of the oligarchy took place in 1980s and 1990s. We may remember that theses two decades were active in reordering the global economy into neo-liberalism, which gave more power to big business and considerably weakened the power of the government. Under this circumstance, it could have become easier for business to dictate policies in their favour by giving bribes.

It was also the period of the transformation of Korean industry into heavy and chemical industries allowing big businesses to have almost unlimited sources of funds.

Stage 3. Establishment of Corruption Community

The oligarchy might have felt the need for strengthening itself by sharing the illicit income with media, the academics and conservative civic groups. In this way, the network of corruption was expanded to form a community of corruption.

The community of corruption is designed to widen the network of corruption so that it can better defend themselves against the anti-corruption forces. Thus, the Korean society became doubly divided between conservatism and progressivism on the one hand and, on the other, between pro-corruption force and anti-corruption force.

The stage of the corruption community came in the 2000s during which the progressive government of Kim Dae-jung (1997-2002 and Rho Moo-hyun (2003-2008) governed the country.

During this period, the corruption community of conservatives had to slow down their activities of corruption. But, it invested money to widen and strengthen its network.

However, since Lee Myong-bak took power in 2008 and Park Geun-hye succeeded him in 2013, the conservative government ruled for 9 years (2008-2017).

During this period, the corruption community expanded and intensified its corruption activities.

In fact, the degree of corruption during this period was even greater than that of the corruption under the military dictatorship of Park Chung-hee and Chun Doo-hwan.

Lee Myung-bak 2013-01-29.jpg

As a result of their crimes, Park Geun-hye is sentenced 25-year imprisonment, while Lee Myong-bak (image on the left) is judged for 15-year imprisonment and accused for additional crimes of corruption.

Strategy of protecting the benefits of corruption

The strategy of protecting the interests of the corruption community included the following.

First, in order to silence the voice of opposition, the conservative government massacred a few hundred thousand innocent people under Rhee Sygnman, Park Chung-hee and Chun Doo-hwan.

Second, the freedom of press was completely silenced either through the brutal police force or through bribe money. The sad situation is that majority of press cannot survive without Chaebols’ advertising fees which are used as bribe money

In Korea, there are three dominant national newspapers: Chosun, Joong-ang, and Dong-ah (Cho-Joong-Dong). These newspapers may account for more than a half of the circulation of major newspapers.

They exited during the Japanese occupation of Korea (1910-1945) and they are known to be pro-Japan and pro-conservative; they have been suspected to play major roles in protecting the corruption community.

Third, ordinary Koreans who were suspected for being a part of pro-progressive and anti-corruption force were the targets of false accusation for being North Korean spy by the intelligence services; they were victims of police harassment and other unlawful means of oppression.

Fourth, authors of academic publications unfavourable to the conservative government were deprived of research funds.

In Korea, there is a group of academics, called “the New Right” who justifies the Japanese invasion of Korea. They have revised the modern history book in which they have written that Japan had come to Korea for its economic development for Koreans.

They deny the existence of the crime of sex slavery of 250,000 Korean teen age girls committed by Japanese soldiers during WWII.

The New Right academics along with the conservatives have given themselves the role of criticizing the progressive force for being “Red” (Pal-Gaeng-Ie) in order to induce voters to vote for the conservative party.

Fifth, about 10,000 artists, singer, movie actors and authors of novels who were not for conservative government were put on a black list and excluded from government grants. The director of the movie “Parasite” Bong Joon-ho was also on the black list along with his crew.

Sixth, the corruption community provides money to several civic pro-conservative movements including the association of Korea War veterans and various organizations of the elderly. These people participate, in street demonstrations, to criticize the progressives. They are paid by Chaebols for their participation.

Seventh, the intra-group marriage is another way of widening and strengthening the corruption community. The most visible cases are the marriages between families of leading conservative politicians and Chaebol families.

Negative Impact of Corruption

The major negative impact of corruption may be grouped into two groups: economic impact and moral impact.

A. Economic Impact

In the short run, corruption can weaken the competitiveness of national economy, while, in the long run, it may bring decades-long deflation as it has happened in Japan.

We may separate micro-economic impact and macro-economic impact.

Micro-economic impact my take various forms. The corrupted way of supervising competition may favour big businesses which may prevent the market from assuring fair competition leading to the loss of competitiveness of small- and medium-sized firms (SMEs).

The government’s bailout operation of insolvent firms in exchange of bribery would simply prolong the life of insolvent firms and, as a result, it could weaken the competitiveness of the Korean industries.

The corrupted system of government procurement may result in buying services and goods of unreliable quality. Korea bought    once a submarine which did not submerge in exchange of kick-back.

The macro-economic impact of corruption is as bad as the micro-economic impact.

The pro-export policy imposed upon by the oligarchy may make GDP increase, but exports do not create much the trickledown effects; it does not create jobs; it increases unemployment; it makes income distribution unfair and unequal..

In Korea, 99.9 % of the total number of firms is small-and medium-sized firms (SMEs). They create 87% of jobs. But, the oligarchy has adopted pro-Chaebol and anti-SME policies.

This policy has contributed to the increase in exports. At the same time, it has surely boosted the income of the Chaebols. The increase of Chaebols’ income meant more bribe money available.

Another feature of pro-Chaebol policy was the exploitation of the SMEs for the benefit of the Chaebols. The conservative government allowed the big companies to steal technologies developed by the SMEs, violate the contracts, delaying the payment due to the SMEs and cutting down unilaterally the price of products sub-contracted.

The results of these policies are serious enough; they have prevented the development of the SMEs; they have destroyed jobs accessible to ordinary people. The worst thing was that these policies have delayed the development of domestic industries and increased the possibility of chronic deflation.

B. Moral impact 

The moral impact of corruption is even more destructive than the economic impact.

In Korea, there is an old saying: “The downstream water becomes clean, if the upstream water is clean”

Korean people believe that the very root of corruption is the Blue House (Korean White House). In other words, the upstream water is muddy. Therefore the downstream water is muddy. So, the corruption is spread throughout the society

Under the conservative regime, the primary objective of corruption is to accumulate money.

Man becomes slave of money; the money is above the law, above the Confucian values and even above Jesus.

The social status is determined by money. The money determines the hierarchy of the society. The rich Chaebol chief becomes the king and his family becomes royal family. The king of kings is the head of Samsung Group. In fact, under the conservative government, Korea was called the Republic of Samsung.

Chaebols hire former ministers of the central government to show off that they are more important than the government, demonstrate their wealth and power. These poor former ministers are fatly paid for their lobbying in favour of pro-Chaebol policies.

The power of money has created the phenomenon of “Gap-jil” in which the rich and powerful mistreat the poor as inferior beings.

The world may remembers the 2014 incidence of “macadamia nut” in which, the second daughter of the funder of Air Korea insulted and hit one of the personnel on board of a plane for the stupid reason for not opening the bag of nuts.

Pastors of mega protestant churches which have an annual income of millions of USD seem to have the illusion of having become a king and abuse their money power and mistreat congregation members.

In fact, a number of pastors have been accused of stealing church money, but they went free without being accused for the crime. The bribe money has played its role.

In many companies, the employees are forced to do something which has nothing to do with their job descriptions.

The perilous moral impact of the corruption of the conservative leaders is translated into the worship of money and the destruction of honesty, the decency, the integrity and the loss of mutual respect and love.

Fight against corruption

If Korea remains one of the respected countries in the world for its economic performance, it is because Korean people fought back against dictatorship and corruption.

In fact, before the Candle-Light Revolution of 2016-2017, millions of Koreans had gone down to the street and fought bravely against corrupted conservative presidents: Rhee Shygnman (19th of April  1960), Park Chung-hee (16th of October 1979), Chun Do-hwn ( 18th of May 1980 and the month of June 1987).

Finally, from late 2016 to April 2017 for eight months, 17,000,000 individuals from all walks of life went down to the frozen streets and shouted:” Impeach the Park Geun -hye! Clean the corruption!”

The Candle-Light Revolution was successful in bringing back the progressive government after nine years of destructive conservative government. And Moon Jae-in became president.

The candlelight movement in Seoul, South Korea, mobilized for change of government (Credit: Women Cross DMZ)

President Moon is the third progressive presidents. The first was President Kim Dae-jung (1998-2002) and the second, President Rho Moo-hyun (2003-2008).

President Kim Dae-jung strengthened the anti-corruption force by encouraging the unionization of labour, vitalizing existing labour unions and fostering the development of progressive civic movements. In addition, he made a major reform of Chaebols asking them to specialize, to stop the circular intra-group financing and to be more transparent in counting.

It was President Rho Moo-hyun who tried hard to guarantee the freedom of media and accomplish a fundamental reform of the police, the office of prosecutors, the courts and the intelligence services.

Measures taken by President Rho were a real challenge to the community of corruption and they plotted his impeachment with fabricated reasons. He was not impeached after all. He finished his presidential term.

However, what worried the community of corruption the most was Rho’s political and ideological legacy of just society and egalitarian democracy.

In order to kill such legacy, the conservatives fabricated fake story that the first lady, Mrs. Rho, had received an expensive watch as bribery and hid it on a rice paddy. This story continued after the take-over of power by the conservative government of Lee Myong-bak.

The family of Rho was continuously harassed even after the retirement of Rho by the police, the conservative media and the office of prosecutors. This was a burden too heavy to endure for Rho and he killed himself.

This episode illustrates how deeply the conservatives were involved in the corruption and why they fabricated incredible story so that they could cling to the rich deriving from corruption.

President Moon Jae-in was President Rho’s chief of cabinet and he knows very well how difficult it is to clean the corruption culture accumulated for 70 years. But, he knows very well also that unless Korea gets rid of the corruption, it is difficult to survive as a normal and healthy nation.

President Moon has adopted the following measures to combat corruption which can be grouped into macro-measures and micro-measures.

Macro-measures anti-corruption

Macro-measures include the North-South peace process and the improved income distribution.

The North-South peace process has resulted in a peace situation in which North Korea no longer threats South Korea.

We remember that the conservative governments have been able to keep power largely due to the North-South tension allowing them to create an atmosphere of fear and win elections. They have been pretending that they are better qualified to deal with North Korea perhaps because of their long tradition of police and military dictatorship.

One of the major socio-economic policies of the Moon’s government is the policy of economic growth with fair income distribution.

Moon’s government increased the minimum wage, increased the national pension, instituted income allowance for the elderly, reduced the number of weekly labour hour, revised the real estate taxes and other measured to slow down the increase of income of the rich and increase the income of the poor.

This policy has the effect of providing a sound basis of economic growth. This policy also allows the poor to have more income and better resist corruption and “Gap-jil.)

Micro-measures of anti-corruption

Moon’s government has taken several micro-measures to tackle the corruption of the conservatives.

First, one of the roots of corruption is the influence peddling by the staff of the Blue House (Korean White House).

Since Moon took over the power, there has been no single case of influence peddling. The mother of President has met no person outside her family for last two years to avoid rumours of influence-peddling which can be fabricated by the conservative media.

Second, Moon has reduced greatly the functions of institutions of power. For instance, the function of the National Intelligence Service (former CIA) is reduced to the management of international information. Under the conservative government, its main function was to arrest those who oppose the government’s corruption by accusing them as North Korean spy.

Moreover, Moon abolished the Military Security Command whose function was to prevent unlawful activities with the armed forces. But, it was unlawfully involved in activities of spying those who criticized the conservative government.

Third, Moon’s government nominated a committee with the mission of re-investigating cases of obvious corruption and crimes committed by the community of corruption. For instance, there was the case of raping women by a deputy director of the Office of Prosecutor, but the case was not properly investigated partly because of bribes and partly because of his close relation with powerful people within the conservative government.

Fourth, some of the leaders of media who sided with the community of corruption for the oppression of labour unions of reporters were replaced.

Fifth, Moon’s government has passed a series of anti-corruption laws including the Kindergarten Law preventing the theft of public funds by founders of kindergartens.

Sixth, Dozens of the Blue House personnel who collaborated with the corruption community of the conservatives have been punished.

Seventh, Perhaps the most difficult fight President Moon has started is the fight against the Office of Prosecutors.

The Korean prosecutor system is the most powerful one in the world; it has the right of investigation of crime and corruption. True, he police also has the right of investigation, but it is the prosecutor’s office which has the final say. Moreover, the prosecutor has the monopoly of indictment right.

In the past, thousand cases of corruption and abuse of power have been accused. But few of them went beyond the office of prosecutor and to the court.

In short, Korea has not been able to win the war against corruption mainly because of the corrupted prosecutor’s monopoly of judiciary power.

In Korea, there is no power which can rule the prosecutor, not even the president. In a way, the prosecutor has been the most powerful and effective defender of the corruption culture.

To fight the prosecutor, Moon has been able to pass a law on the mechanism of supervising high ranking officials including prosecutors (Gong-Soo-Cheo). Moon has won a battle. But it is a long way to go before cleaning the corruption culture.

The ultimate defender of corruption is money. The conservatives have been stacking up corruption money for last 70 years amounting hundreds of billions of dollars hidden in cash, real estate, stocks throughout the world.

It may take more than 10 years, even 20 years of progressive government in power, before Korea can destroy completely the corruption culture.

Lessons

There are some lessons which can be drawn from Korea’s experience of corruption.

First, the corruption must be stopped at the first stage of the evolution of corruption, that is, the stage of the bilateral collusion.

Second, when the process of corruption attains the stage of oligarchy formation, it may take very hard measure to fight it.

Third, if we wait until the stage of the corruption community, it may take decades to clean it. This is the case of Korea

Fourth, one cannot rely always on the government for the elimination of corruption, because the government is often corrupted.

It is very fortunate that, in Korea, the progressive government of Moon is leading the fight against corruption. However, Moon needs the active cooperation of ordinary people to defeat corruption. The people are with him.

Posted in South KoreaComments Off on The Political Economy of Corruption in South Korea

The Costs of an Illegal Military Occupation: Trump Demands Five-Fold Increase in Payments from South Korea

Officials scramble to justify Trump’s demand for $4.7 billion

By Jason Ditz

South Korea has historically paid an unusually large percentage of the cost of keeping US forces there, and under pressure from President Trump, agreed earlier this year to a substantial increase, with South Korea agreeing to pay $924 million annually.

Since then, Trump had suggested a few times that he wanted more, and that South Korea could easily afford it. His new demand, however, shocked everyone on both sides as he is demanding over five times what South Korea is paying, $4.7 billion annually.

This is raising a lot of questions in South Korea about the viability of keeping the US around, but the bigger task is for US officials, who are trying to somehow justify a $4.7 billion price tag that seemingly came out of nowhere.

South Korea, after all, was paying a lot of the cost of US forces already, then agreed to pay more. It is going to take massive amounts of creative math to even argue that the US presence costs what Trump is now demanding. Early indications are that officials will try to argue that South Korea’s relative economic prosperity is because of the US presence and that the US deserves to take a cut.

But some officials are also worrying that this isn’t an isolated matter, and that what Trump is doing now in South Korea could be a bellwether for upcoming demands in Germany and Japan, other nations Trump has long been keen to get more money out of.

Though Trump seems to believe these nations have no choice but to pay up, they may ultimately decide the US troop presence simply isn’t affordable, and that other arrangements make more sense.

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.

Featured image is from Antiwar.com South Korea Should “Brexit” the United States

Posted in USA, South KoreaComments Off on The Costs of an Illegal Military Occupation: Trump Demands Five-Fold Increase in Payments from South Korea

A Joint-Russia-China Air Patrol Just Made South Korean-Japanese Tensions Worse

By Andrew Korybko

Global Research

The first-ever long-range joint air patrol between the Russian and Chinese Air Forces got off to a scandalous start after South Korea reportedly fired hundreds of warning shots to ward off what it says was Moscow’s violation of its sovereign airspace near the disputed Liancourt Rocks that it administers, which in turn prompted Tokyo to scold Seoul for responding since it said that only Japanese forces have the right to do so over the territory that their government also claims, thus worsening the already-tense relations between these two American military allies.

***

The first-ever long-range joint air patrol between the Russian and Chinese Air Forces was supposed to be a moment of celebration for both multipolar Great Powers, but it got off to a scandalous start after South Korea reportedly fired hundreds of warning shots to ward off what it says was Moscow’s violation of its sovereign airspace near the disputed Liancourt Rocks that it administers. Russia refuted the accusations and retorted that no such violation occurred, but slammed South Korea’s escort of its aircraft over neutral waters as amounting to “aerial hooliganism“. Japan, however, jumped into the unexpected diplomatic fray by scolding South Korea for responding to what it claims was a violation of its own airspace seeing as how Tokyo also lays claim to the area, which suddenly worsened these two American allies’ already-tense relations that have been damaged by the island nation’s recent decision to restrict the export of special chemicals to the peninsular country.

The South Korean-Japanese trade dispute was caused by Tokyo’s concerns that some of its partners’ companies are illegally transferring these chemicals to North Korea to aid in its chemical weapons program due to their dual use in that industry as well as the semi-conductor one that they’re officially supposed to be used for. Seoul, however, was skeptical from the get-go since it seemed to its policymakers that Tokyo is doing this in response to their court’s decision that their former colonizer pay reparations for its abuse of forced laborers during World War II, with it being thought that Japan is politicizing this trade dispute in order to compel South Korea into concessions on this super-emotive issue under pain of having its economy contract due to its inability to import the chemicals that are indispensable for use in an industry that accounts for roughly a quarter of its exports on the scale that’s needed to maintain growth.The Japan-Korea Trade Dispute Debunks Anti-Chinese Narratives

This weaponization of economic instruments for political ends greatly complicates the US’ efforts to forge a trilateral security arrangement in Northeast Asia between itself and its two military allies, and Japan’s latest scolding of South Korea surely doesn’t help at all in this respect. In fact, these two events are leading to a possibly irreconcilable rift between both of them, one that the US might not be able to repair. The Pentagon’s recently released “Indo-Pacific Strategy Report” says that “The U.S.-Japan Alliance is the cornerstone of peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific”, clearly indicating an overall strategic preference for Japan, which might have been emboldened by this to initiate its trade war with South Korea due to the expectation that the US wouldn’t dare chastise it out of fear of losing the reliability of its top partner for “containing” China. That calculation might of course change, but for now, the US is staying silent and letting its partners work it out themselves.

Such an approach suggests that the US also doesn’t want to risk offending South Korea, whose cooperation on North Korea’s nuclear disarmament is especially important for advancing American grand strategy too. Because of the different roles that both countries play in promoting American interests in Northeast Asia, Washington is hard-pressed to choose between them in picking a so-called “favorite” to throw its weight behind. The US must also tread carefully because it doesn’t want for these two latest events in South Korean-Japanese relations to result in Seoul swiftly pivoting towards Beijing in response, which is a distinct possibility that shouldn’t ever be precluded despite the seemingly low odds of it happening at this moment. Even so, the risk is nevertheless ever-present that this could occur just as unexpectedly as Japan’s export restrictions that suddenly worsened the regional situation.

Returning back to the matter at hand, Japan’s rebuke of South Korea’s self-professed right in firing warning shots to ward off the Russian warplanes that it said violated its airspace brought the Liancourt Rocks into their ever-widening disagreements as of late, meaning that it can now be included in the “full package” of this month’s issues alongside the lingering legacy of World War II, Japan’s claims that some South Korean companies are violating UN sanctions by illegally exporting dual-use chemicals to North Korea, and Tokyo’s trade restrictions on Seoul. The indisputable outcome is that two of America’s most important allies are now locked in a seemingly intractable and very complex dispute over history, international law, trade, and now geopolitics, with each of these issues being ultra-sensitive for their people and therefore reducing the chances that they can reach a “compromise” on ending one of the worst-ever rifts between the US’ top Asian partners.

Posted in China, Russia, South KoreaComments Off on A Joint-Russia-China Air Patrol Just Made South Korean-Japanese Tensions Worse

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