Hilfe & Kontakt

Korean Conflict: Back-story they don't want you to know

Von: EconomicDemocracy Coop (econdemocracy@gmail.com) [Profil]
Datum: 28.05.2010 06:35
Message-ID: <c4132bcc-ee2e-440c-84d8-aea5c63342ea@j9g2000vbp.googlegroups.com>
Newsgroup: alt.peace alt.politics alt.activismtalk.politics.misc misc.headlines
Prof. Bruce Cumings:Twenty-five years ago, I had a private dinner with
Kim Dae-jung when he was a dissident and before he became president in
1998, and I remember so well that he said, "Not one more Korean should
die for the division of this country." So weíre talking about a very
old conflict.

And this particular incident is just ripped out of context, the
context of a continuing war that has never ended. Just an armistice
holds the peace. But in the case of this particular incident, which
happened very close to the North Korean border, weíve had incidents
like this, somewhat different ones, but with large loss of life, going
back more than ten years.

In 1999, a North Korean ship went down with thirty sailors lost and
maybe seventy wounded. Thatís a larger total of casualties than this

And last November [2009], a North Korean ship went down in flames. We
donít know how many people died in that. This is a no manís land, or
waters, off the west coast of Korea that both North and South claim.
And the Cheonan ship was sailing in those waters when it was hit by a

We have no idea what went on before that. In the past, these several
incidents, people have not tried to inquire as to who started it. We
donít know whether the Cheonan had fired on some North Korean ship,
and then a North Korean submarine hit it with a torpedo.

...But I do think, regardless of whether the North Koreans fired it or
not, this incident is being blown way out of proportion. Secretary of
State Clinton referred to it a couple days ago as unprovoked
aggression, which of course is what we accused the North of when the
Korean War started sixty years ago. I noticed in your clip sheís now
simply calling it a provocation.

..But the fact is, you have a structure in Korea thatís ongoing since
the Korean War, where these incidents can happen and you can have a
ratcheted-up escalation that might result in a second Korean War. So
itís imperative to try to end this war and find a way to have a
dialogue with the North, so that the Peninsula can be denuclearized
and these incidents donít come along every once in awhile and raise
such a threat to peace.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Now, Bruce Cumings, Secretary of State Clinton and, of
course, teh South Korean government is saying that the investigation
was thorough and complete and that there is no doubt. Youíre saying
that youíre questioning that. What are some of the key aspects of why
youíre questioning how valid the investigation has been up 'til now?

BRUCE CUMINGS: All I'm saying is weíre only relying on an
investigation that hasnít been released by either the South Korean or
the American government. Theyíve released excerpts, but they havenít
givenóitís apparently a very long report, over a hundred pages. Itís
been given to the Russians and the Chinese. It would be interesting to
read that report and look at the evidence. The fact that a North
Korean torpedo cut the ship in half doesnít mean a whole lot, in that
North Korean torpedoes are lying all over the bottom of this West Sea,
which is very shallow as a result of previous North Korean ships
having been sunk by the Southern side.

..I think ití..a 95 percent case that the US and South Korea are right
that North Korea fired this torpedo. Letís say they did. The fact is,
our government has not pointed out the background that I just pointed
out, the sinking last November [2009 of a North Korean ship], the
clashes in 1999 and 2002. This is a no manís land, where the US and
South Korea demarcated a so-called Northern limit line
unilaterally.The North has never accepted it. The North says that this
area is under the joint jurisdiction of the North and South Korean
militaries. So you have an incident waiting to happen. Weíve had many
before. And American intelligence people know that in the late spring,
crabs turn up by the thousands in this area, and the North Koreans and
South Korean fishermen fight over the region.

I, myself, expected some sort of an incident this spring. It just came
a little bit early. And it may have come in March because the US just
completed Operation Full Eagle, which is an annual joint military
exercise with the South Koreans, including naval exercises south of
this particular region. About 26,000 soldiers were involved in this.
The North Koreans hate these exercises and see them as a prelude to a
possible attack. That also hasnít been reported in our press.

So thereís a context here which maked this incident a very unfortunate
one in the loss of life, but itís not unprecedented in loss of life,
and it should never have been blown so out of proportion that now you
essentially have all the progress of the last ten years in North-South
relations destroyed.

..AMY GOODMAN: Last question, fifteen seconds, what should the US do
right now?

BRUCE CUMINGS: The US should go back to about 1999, 2000, when, led by
President Kim Dae-jung, President Clinton had not only kept their
plutonium frozen for seven years, but was on the verge of also buying
out their missiles.

AMY GOODMAN: We have five seconds.

BRUCE CUMINGS: Secretary of State Albright went to meetówent to meet
Kim Jong-il back then in 2000. I think we should dust off those plans
and try to revive a détente on the Peninsula.

AMY GOODMAN: Weíll leave it there. Professor Cumings, thank you.


Comment: Washington could agree to ending the war rather than
armistice, and by meeting such security needs probably would weaken
the North Korean regime, taking away the argument that North Koreans
(whether they like their government or not) understand all too well: a
gun pointed at them by the US brings them to huddle under the North
Korean government. So the "hard line" by Washington only mnakes the
North Koreans probalby stronger, so why not take a more rational
stance? Partly fear of being called "soft" but also the weaker North
Korea would even if the regime fell, would it be a "Win" for
Washington? Maybe not, if that means less hegemony and control and
military bases in the area. Maybe Washington's hegemony is better with
the conflict, than if the Koreas re-united (with an end to the North's
dictatorship) and an economic powerhouse that is not depending on the
US, and without US bases, came instead? Background like the above and
other earlier posts, like the one below from 2003:

and PROVOKING NORTH KOREA: Did Bush Administration Policy on North
Korea Help Provoke Ballistic Missile Tests?

This post, "9 things you should know" post is being forwarded here..it
has been posted on the politics/activism groups..References are
and at bottom.

WARNING: Do not let the militarists play the game with you, that if
want peace and if you expose Bush's lies, then you "must
be a lover of North Korea" These same jokers called the
peace movement "soft on Saddam" when I personally opposed
aid to Saddam in the 80s (and was called soft on Iran in this
silly game of theirs) while Reagan/Rumsfeld kissed Saddam's rear
end AFTER the gassing of the kurds. So I have no time to
argue with childish attacks (who try to change the subject
from the facts outlined below, to "are you tough on
north korea or are you soft on them" when their own militarism
threatens  the entire Korean peninsula, threatens the stability
of the region, and their militaristic rhetoric only
encourages more and more countries to get WMD. We do
not normally read this group but see email contact at bottom.)

POST: Hidden Facts about "Bush vs. North Korea"

You don't have to like the leadership of any country, and
certainly not North Korea's to appreciate the following, just
to care about the lives of all peoples and world peace -- and
the truth -- facts too inconvenient to merit mention in our papers.

By hiding history and relevant background, the Bush clique
and the media make those North Koreans look "oh so inscrutable" and
"hard to understand" if not "irrational" but basic background
shows they are not at all hard to understand. Websites are given

#1 You would easily forget, or for younger viewers, you would almost
never know this seldom mentioned fact in articles about North Korea,
but the Korean War has never ended. There was an armistice signed on
July 27, 1953, but  a peace treaty was never signed.

More than 5 million people were killed or wounded or disappeared
during the three year-war Korean War. Today 700,000 South
Korean troops, 1.1 million North Korean Troops, and 37,000 US
troops stand in the peninsula.

#2 Put that fact together with Bush calling your country part of the
"axis of evil" if you are in North Korea's shoes, and things
start to make more sense, but wait, there is more...

#3 The little-known event in Geneva. Professor Martin Hart-Landsberg
(see URL below) elaborates:

Q: What was the understanding 50 years ago?

A: Well, the understanding was that there would be a peace treaty
following a conference in Geneva, that would follow the armistice. The
US insisted on only formally ending the fighting and not in fact
signing a peace treaty with North Korea at the time. And one of the
little known facts of history, is that shortly -- about half a year
after the armistice was signed, there was a conference in Geneva that
was supposed to settle the issue of Korea, help promote a peaceful
reunification of Korea, and the U.S. single handedly undermined that
conference. If you read the memos of the representatives from England,
from Canada, from Belgium, they're all quite clear. The North Koreans
proposed country-wide elections, North and South, to elect a new
Korean government. And the U.S. having just fought a war essentially
to hold onto [ie, control -ed.] the South,was not interested in that,
and basically brought the conference to a close, and has been content
really ever since, to maintain a state of hostilities in Korea.

* So the articles almost universally talk about North Korea
"starting" the crisis -- when in fact our "leaders" in Washington
have sabotaged the signing of a formal end of hostilities, have
kept a state of war with North Korea, and have not only in actions
but openly targeted North Korea as "axis of evil" for "regime change"
and "not ruling out" military "action" (that is, a unilateral
first-strike military assault) on North Korea. We haven't
mentioned the Embargo designed to destroy North Korea yet..in which
the gun to North Korea's head (as usual, the leadership isn't
suffering but it's people -- and the people of South Korea) have their
lives at risk due to Washington's threats...

#4 We are told Washington does not want to be "blackmailed" but just
exactly is blackmailing whom?

Everyone in the world (except maybe US citizens kept in the dark by
our media) understands the lesson of Iraq: if you disarm, give in and
let us interview your scientists, give in and let us fly U2 overhead,
give in and dismantle Al Saud missiles, give in and allow inspectors
you are mostly disarmed -- then you're helpless and you will be
demolished at will and "regime changed" (and thousands of your
innocent civilians women, men, children,and babies, slaughtered by
Washington's firepower)

A very ugly lesson Bush taught the world: "disarming is a
big, big mistake" And the world, including North Korea, but others,
from many countries have pointed this out: only by having
a strong deterrent force can you protect yourself from unilateral
attack, invasion, and overthrow by Washington.

#5 North Korea is facing the Embargo and the non-WMD
defense it has is it's army of over 1 million plus conventional
missles...all of which are very expensive.  A typical cartoon
seen on the internet shows starving North Koreans and the
leadership saying "hey, we need money for weapons to protect our
people" but this cartoon gets it exactly backwards: the North Korean
leadership (which, though like much of Asia, is not democratic
but is not stupid, and does enjoy much support from its people),
they want to cut military spending.

Now, given a strong economic embargo against the North, and given
Washington refusing to sign a non-aggression treaty and
to normalize relations with North Korea, and saber-rattling about
"Axis of evil"...and the conventional defense the North has being
very expensive..then a nuclear defense is the only cheaper option.
And the North has said loud and clear: please give us
non-aggression nd normalizing relations, so we can be secure
and cut our military spending, but if you refuse to end the threats
against our existence, and the costs of conventional defense are so
high, we will be forced to look for cheaper, non-conventional defense"

Suddenly it's not so "inscrutable" to understand, if you put
yourself in the shows of North Korea.

MARTIN HART-LANDSBERG: I think one of the problems here is that the
U.S. has sort of successfully constructed this whole issue as the
problem of the North Korean nuclear weapons program. And the North
Koreans have been trying, not always successfully to I think more
accurately construct the issue as a problem of U.S.-North Korean
relations. And that is the fact that the U.S. has refused to normalize
relations with North Korea. The US has refused to sign a peace treaty
ending the Korean War, and the U.S. has refused to drop its embargo,
which has also -- the U.S. has also put pressure on Japan
essentially not to normalize relations, not to drop its economic
embargo. So the North has been trying very hard to say, look, this is
an unnatural state and given the situation in our economy, we need
investment, we need normalization. We need the U.S. to agree to sit
down with us and change this situation and the U.S. has basically
refused. So the North Koreans have been saying, look, we need to sit
down, U.S.-North Korea resolve these things. Everything is on the
table. As recently as April of this year they said, you have your
concerns, we have our concerns. Let's settle this and we're willing to
open up our whole nuclear program. We're willing to even halt
missile exports if you would do these few simple things: Normalize
relations, sign a peace treaty, drop your economic embargo. The
U.S. has refused...


"..And I think it's very important when people talk about North Korea
having generated the nuclear crisis bringing nuclear threats to the
peninsula, to get some history. And that history is that the

'80'S AND INTO THE early 90's..

".. through their Team Spirit War Games, THE U.S. PRACTICED SIMULATED
North Koreans have a long history of having been forced to deal with
in fact the nuclear threat that the U.S. has brought. And North
Korea's reactions and responses have really all been conditioned by
the fact that they have been under threat of nuclear attack, ...[and]
are forced to put a tremendous amount of resources into the military
to try and maintain their independence...They want to resolve the
problem with direct talks. And this seems to me, while those talks may
be difficult it's a perfectly reasonable response. Let's normalize
relations, let's end the Korean war, let's create a context for peace
on the Korean peninsula. But the U.S. has refused to see that wider
historical context for reasons that we talk about in a minute if you

Another Guest on Democracy Now: EUNG HYE SUH: And I would add to that
that in the Pentagon's Nuclear Posture Review which was released in
TARGET OF NUCLEAR *FIRST* *STRIKE*. [all emphasis added -ed.]

#7 Yes, but what about North Korea and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation
Treaty (NPT)?

Right now the world is also paying attention to the major meeting in
Nebraska this (Thursday August 7, 2003) by Washington, to push for
building even more, new types of nuclear weapons (just the US media,
and thus public isn't paying attention to it) When Washington pushes
for other countries to give up nuclear ambitions, the world will
respond in the predictable way, seeing Washington not only keep it's
nuclear weapons, but working to build even more new ones. The US

public, mostly in the dark about this, will wonder how strangely the
world reaction is -- yet again.

By the way, Washington is in violation of the non-proliferation treaty
(NPT) -- we only hear about the half that says non-nuclear states must
stay non-nuclear -- we almost never year about the other half, as you
may or may not be aware, that states those countries having nuclear
weapons must work to reduce and move towards eliminating
them. Needless to say, expanding one's nuclear capabilities and
building new types of nuclear weapons beyond even the already deadly
ones that exist, is a violation.

Again, the world sees this, and US public is kept in the dark, and so
it wonders what a strange irrational world out there is, that doesn't
want to obey the NPT, and wants to get nuclear weapons -- the actions
of our own government being not very well known to the US public.

[See: http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=03/08/05/1455235,
"U.S. Marks Hiroshima Anniversary By Holding Top Secret Summit to
Discuss Expanding Nation's Nuclear Arsenal"]

#8 "Ok, Bush/Washington is guilty too, and they should
stop threatening North Korea with nuclear weapons. They should
sit down and have a peace treaty, and then press the North. They are
handling it bad. But North Korea still started it, by leaving
the NPT, right?"

Answer: During his State of the Union address on January 29, 2002,
President Bush singled out North Korea as part of his so-called "Axis
of Evil" That came months *before* the supposed "admission" by North
Korea in October of 2002 that they would pursue or are pursuing a
nuclear program.

Thus, after the above history of threatening
North Korea by refusing to sign a peace treaty, after
threatening North Korea in the past with nuclear missiles, and after
threatening North Korea in December 2001  with Nuclear First Strike --
Bush yet again increased the saber-rattling rhetoric on January
2002, months before the alleged (and disputed) first sign
from North Korea they may pursue a nuclear  defense.

This doesn't make North Korea of a pure innocent virgin role. No, the
issue is simply that given this background, the media and political
portrayal of some kind of "irrational" or hard to understand nature on
the part of North Korea is pure bunk. It's very easy to understand how
and why they would react when they are under severe and repeated
threat by the most powerful (and recently, most interventionist) power
in world history.

#9 "I didn't know that. So again important history has been omitted
This repeated history of threats by Bush is not good for South Koreans
or American any more than for North Koreas citizens. But North Korea
did threaten to withdraw from the NPR in 1994, which pre-dates this"

In fact, the conflict in U.S.-North Korean relations over the nuclear
issue first arose on January 26, 1993, when President Clinton
announced that the U.S. military would conduct war games in South

This was followed the next month by the news that some of the NUCLEAR
NORTH KOREA. By March, massive Team Spirit war games involving
bombers, cruise missiles and naval vessels were underway. Interpreting
this as a provocation (and serious, conventional *and* nuclear
threat), North Korea responded by signalling that it would withdraw
from the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). However talks with
U.S. officials in June 1993 led to North Korea rescinding its
announcement. [See various articles by Gregory Elich, some
with over 100 footnotes]

So Clinton was also a saber-rattler to keep US troops and control
over the Korean Peninsula rather than allow peace treaty,
of the Koreas, and an end to Washington's hegemony.

Additionally, BBC reports indicate that North Korea
had another reason since Bush coming to office to
re-think its rescinding its announcement to leave the NPT:
North Korea was promised the shipment of a lot
of oil (not as "donation" but as part of the agreement
to scrap parts of its nuclear program that could provide
energy to heat during the cold winters). This was delayed
and delayed and delayed. They had promised to freeze various
nuclear reactor areas in return for oil (and non-weapons
nuclear facilities) to help meet their energy needs. When
these didn't materialize, they said, wait a minute,
if you're not keeping your end of the deal, we're not
keeping ours -- we will re-start our  Yongbyon facility.
All of this is on top of the economic embargo complicating
North Korea meeting its energy needs.

Various claims of "but they made us suspect they were not honoring
other parts, first" etc can be made but again, the above is not to
claim North Korea is of a pure innocent virgin nature, but the issue
simply that given this background, the media and political portrayal
of some kind of "irrational" or hard to understand nature on the part
of North Korea is pure bunk.

Again, that it's very easy to understand how and why they would react
when they are under severe and repeated threat by the

* * * *

Amy Goodman: Seung Hye Suh, talk about your own background. Where your
family is from?

SEUNG HYE SUH: Sure. Well I have family from both sides of the DMZ.--
my father was born in what's now the D.P.R.K. [North Korea] my mother
in, what's now the Republic of Korea [South Korea]. But for us,
there's really only one country. They were born prior to the
division of the country and so when people say well, which is your
home, I feel like the entire Korean peninsula is my home.

AMY GOODMAN: Though you were born here in the United States?


AMY GOODMAN: And the feeling of South Koreans right now. The U.S. has
ramped up the pressure on North Korea. Presumably the ones who would
feel most threatened are the South Koreans. Who do they feel most
threatened by?

SEUNG HYE SUH: The South Korean people recognize that any war that
breaks out is going to be disastrous for the entire peninsula. It's
about a 30 minute plane ride between Seoul and Pyongyung. About a 45
minute drive from Seoul to the DMZ. And anything that happens on the
Korean peninsula will result in millions of deaths. And right now it
looks like the United States is threatening the D.P.R.K. with a
nuclear first strike.

AMY GOODMAN: What's its interest in provoking that kind of conflict?

MARTIN HART-LANDSBERG: Well, I think the first thing is that the
U.S. has interest in maintaining hostilities on the Korean
peninsula. And that has been both to support conservative governments
in the South, to have a reason to maintain troops in the Asian
peninsula. After the Soviet Union collapsed, it was to maintain
military spending, support for a missile defense program...

AMY GOODMAN: And what does this mean for countries like China and
Japan? In Japan--I don't know if there is any relation to what
happened on Friday--a brawl on the floor of the Japanese parliament,
over the call by the leader in the parliament to support sending of
troops to Iraq.

MARTIN HART-LANDSBERG: Well, I think there's no doubt that a -- this
U.S. policy which has raised hostilities in the Korean peninsula, is
having very negative effects everywhere. It's definitely strengthening
militarism in Japan... It's definitely causing the Chinese and South
Koreans to think about, you know, militarizing. So in essence anything
that adds to this hostility has given an excuse and cover for
militarists in the United States, in Japan, China, everywhere. So the
costs are very high. What's important is that the American people need
to see the costs of this policy for us as well in the militarism, in
the war on terror and in the possible fact that we may well have a

AMY GOODMAN: And Seung Hye Suh, how are you organizing? As a
Korean-American here? This weekend you had the protests in Washington.

SEUNG HYE SUH: Right. The protest this weekend is just part of our
ongoing campaign to ask for an end to the Korean war. To say that we
need to bring peace to the Korean peninsula and unification to
Korea. We're also organizing within Korean communities across the
country, as well as educating and organizing in the broader American
society, and we're really trying to link this issue to things that are
going on around the world. If you look at what the United States has
done in Iraq and the message that that sends to the D.P.R.K. which is,
if you disarm we can attack you.

AMY GOODMAN: And finally, on the issue of organizing here, have you
made any links, bridges to Korean war veterans, U.S./Korean war

SEUNG HYE SUH: Well, actually there are some U.S. Korean war veterans
who are entirely in support of our movement. And I don't think any of
them were at our demonstration yesterday. But we are in conversation
with Korean war veterans in South Korea, was well as in the U.S. armed
forces, who understand that what a horror war is and that we need to
everything we can to avoid it.


Martin Hart-Landsberg, author of Korea: Division, Reunification and
U.S. Foreign Policy. He teaches economics at Lewis and Clark College.

Seung Hye Suh, an organizer with Nodutdol.com for Korean Community
Development. They recently organized Commemoration for Change
[http://www.july27.org]: a weekend of action to stop war on the Korean


For additional background, see interview with Professor Han S. Park,
Director of the Center for the Study of Global Issues at the
University of Georgia. [He avoids  directly talking about
the history of nuclear threats by Washington against North
Korea, etc, but otherwise at least gives some of the
important background  supplementing the above]:


Press "play" or, due to slow server, best to let is download
in the background until done, then listen to the 10M file from your


[ Auf dieses Posting antworten ]