On Saturday, April 23, U.S. officials denounced North Korea’s firing of a test ballistics missile from an underwater submarine. What the U.S. didn’t mention is that the U.S. and South Korean military are currently engaged in the largest war exercises ever, targeting the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea, as North Korea is formally known.
The U.S.-led war simulation, which began March 7 and runs through the end of April, involves more than 315,000 U.S. and South Korean troops, as well as aircraft carriers, F-16s, F-22 raptor jets, B-52s and nuclear-capable B-2 bombers.
The openly stated objective of Operations Plan 5015 — and “Key Resolve” and “Foal Eagle” drills — is preparing for a “preemptive strike on the North’s core military facilities and weapons as well as its top leaders,” according to the Korea Times.
It is an outrageous and ominous threat against not only President Kim Jong Un, but the government and people as a whole.
The DPRK’s ballistic-missile firing and four recent nuclear-bomb tests are a response to the U.S.-South Korea war “games” that were first announced in January 2016.
At the United Nations New York headquarters on April 23, the same day as the ballistics firing, North Korea’s Foreign Minister Ri Su Yong called on the United States to stop its war exercises. He said if the U.S. does so, North Korea will respond in kind.
DPRK officials rarely conduct press conferences in the United States. The growing U.S. aggression and expanded sanctions prompted his public appeal.
The foreign minister told Associated Press, “How great would it be if the world were to say to the United States and the American government not to conduct any more military exercises in the Korean Peninsula … But there is not a single country that says this to the U.S.
“These big countries alone or together are telling us that we should calm down,” he said. “For us this is like a sentence, that we should accept our death and refuse our right to sovereignty.”
North Korea’s leaders, government and people are constantly the target of humiliating and racist portrayals. They are portrayed as unstable, mad and irrational, a danger to United States national security. The demonization turns reality on its head, painting the U.S. as the victim and the DPRK as the aggressor.
The truth is that ever since the United States virtually obliterated the DPRK with its 1950-1953 carpet-bombing war, the U.S. has continuously threatened the existence of socialist North Korea.
In those three years, 638,000 tons of bombs and 33,000 tons of napalm were dropped on Korea by the U.S.-led United Nations operation. The Encyclopedia Britannica estimates that the Korean people suffered 5 million casualties. Today, the permanent U.S. military occupation of South Korea endangers the entire Korean peninsula.
The threat of war is very much alive for the North Korean people. They live every day knowing the armistice is only a ceasefire, tested time and time again by US-South Korea war maneuvers.
Who maintains the right to a Pre-Emptive Nuclear Strike even against countries that have no nuclear weapons, but the United States? Who dropped the only nuclear bombs ever, deliberately targeting civilians in Japan and never apologizing nor acknowledging the absolute criminality of that act?
Rather than bowing to U.S. demands that the DPRK dismantle its nuclear weapons program, the country has insisted on its right to develop and strengthen its arsenal.
Not only the generation that survived the devastating war of 1950-1953, but their children, their grandchildren and great grandchildren are taught the history, about the atrocities and U.S. imperialism’s objective of trying to destroy their socialist system and homeland.
Resisting war threats, economic hardship and sanctions
In 1989, North Korea was entering what would soon become one of the most critical challenges to its survival, due to the break-up of the socialist camp in Eastern European and the Soviet Union.
Fair terms of trade that were the hallmark of cooperation in the socialist camp disappeared, leaving the DPRK without essential fuel and raw materials for agricultural and industrial production.
Then in 1994 and 1995, catastrophic floods washed away North Korea’s agriculture, destroying the topsoil, livestock and poultry. Only 15% of the DPRK’s land is arable, the rest is mountainous.
The Arduous March
The 1990s and early years of the 2000 decade signified profound hardship for the people. Cuba endured a similar crisis when over 80% of its trade and imports with the former socialist camp disappeared overnight. Its resistance and survival became known as the “Special Period.”
In the DPRK, the crisis was more severe because of the destruction of its arable land and the harsh winters. Tragically, hundreds of thousands of people died of famine. The United States cruelly used sanctions and withholding of aid to weaken the country.
Through a united resistance called “the Arduous March,” the government and people rallied in a monumental struggle of sheer determination, collective labor and sacrifice.
Recent years have seen a slow but steady recovery. Agriculture has recovered, and major housing and infrastructure projects were restarted in 2012. Tourism has grown considerably, with visitors from areas as diverse as Finland, Germany, Australia, China and the United States. This year the DPRK announced that five hydroelectric dams were just completed to help ease their energy problems.
The government just announced plans to double grain production with the aim of solving food shortages by 2030. But North Korea now faces new economic pressures from international sanctions.
On March 2, harsh United Nations sanctions were approved against the DPRK, instructing member states to inspect all planes and ships carrying North Korean exports or imports, prohibiting the sale of aviation fuel to the country, and banning other countries from training DPRK citizens in high technology, closing international bank accounts, among other moves.
These are highly provocative measures by potentially forcing inspection of DPRK’s vessels, something the government is unlikely to accept.
The U.S. Senate and House also passed sanctions bills in February, and the European Union expanded its anti-DPRK sanctions in late March to comply with the UN measure.
Ri Su Yong told AP in New York on Saturday, “If they believe they can actually frustrate us with sanctions, they are totally mistaken. The more pressure you put on to something, the more emotionally you react to stand up against it. And this is important for the American policymakers to be aware of.”
The Party for Socialism and Liberation calls for an end to the U.S. war drills, that the U.S. sign a peace treaty, lift all sanctions, and end the military occupation of South Korea.