BY HILDA CUZCO
Portraying the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) as the aggressor, Washington and Seoul have stepped up their propaganda that the DPRK is preparing to provoke a war against South Korea. At the same time Pyongyang has made it crystal clear that is more than ready to defend its sovereignty against assault by Washington and its allies in the Korean peninsula.
The New York Times and other big-business media reported that up to 300 North Korean troops entered the "demilitarized zone" (DMZ) that separates the DPRK from South Korea April 12-14. A 1953 armistice agreement was negotiated that imposed a cease- fire and created the DMZ. No more than 35 soldiers and 5 officers with side arms are to enter the zone from either side. The treaty was signed after North Korean troops with the aid of Chinese volunteers fought the invading imperialist armies led by Washington to a stalemate .
Kim Kwang Jin, first vice minister of the DPRK's armed forces, said in a March 29 statement that "the armistice on the Korean peninsula is reaching its limit.
"The chief executive of south Korea recently cried out over `possible military adventuré of the north and `unpredictable danger.' He even said the `south-north Korean issues can be settled only through military strength.' Meanwhile, ill-boding military movements that can be seen on the eve of war are being made extensively in the area south of the military demarcation line."
Seoul, Kwang Jin continued, "had staged a large-scale aerial `surprise attack' exercise against the north" at the beginning of the year. "In February," the statement said, "they held a joint naval exercise code-named Valiant Usher 96-2K involving many warships and fighter planes. At this moment, they are staging a large-scale combined exercise dubbed Hoguk 96."
The statement pointed out that the "south Korean authorities regarded the temporary difficulties facing fellow countrymen in the wake of flood damage as a chance for northward invasion and to spread false rumors about `collapse' of the north while obstructing international humanitarian assistance to the DPRK."
This was in reference to massive floods last year that destroyed large parts of the country's northwest region, its main source of rice, the basic food staple for the DPRK's population of 21 million. The North Korean government has asked the United Nations for international assistance of 1.2 million tons of grain by October to alleviate the hardships. Both Seoul and Washington are sabotaging the food relief effort.
The moves by Seoul are "part of a provocation for war," said the statement by Kwang Jin.
To counter Seoul's actions, backed by the 37,000-strong U.S. force deployed along the DMZ, the DPRK government announced it would carry out its own military maneuvers in the area.
"If the south Korean puppets dare encroach upon an inch of our land and a blade of our grass," the statement concluded, "our army will take a powerful self-defensive step to defeat them. Our army and our people are resolved to smash the enemy's aggression, full of confidence and revolutionary optimism."
The capitalist media responded with accusations of aggression by Pyongyang.
On his way to Tokyo, U.S. president William Clinton stopped
in Seoul and met with president Kim Young Sam April 16. While
there, Clinton announced the White House has definitively turned
down Pyongyang's proposal for a separate peace treaty with
Washington. The U.S. president proposed instead negotiations
between Washington, Seoul, Pyongyang, and Beijing that may lead
to a peace treaty that would replace the armistice accord. At the
same time, Clinton pledged "the steadfast U.S. commitment" to
keeping the U.S. troops in South Korea backing the 650,000 troops
Seoul has stationed near the DMZ.
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