The Militant (logo)  

Vol. 81/No. 38      October 16, 2017

(front page)

US rulers’ sanctions on NKorea hit workers,
farmers hardest

While his rhetoric sometimes sounds bombastic, President Donald Trump and his administration’s policy toward North Korea is largely the same approach promoted when Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton occupied the White House — slapping economic sanctions against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. The goal is to force Pyongyang to give up its nuclear arsenal.

If “forced to,” Trump told the United Nations General Assembly Sept. 19, “we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea.” He demeaned North Korean leader Kim Jung Un as a “rocket man” who is “on a suicide mission.”

In 1994, President Bill Clinton said that he wouldn’t allow the DPRK to produce enriched plutonium to make nuclear weapons and that he was prepared to use military force to stop it.

“I will surely and definitely tame the mentally deranged U.S. dotard with fire,” Kim replied in kind to Washington a few days after Trump’s U.N. speech. “I am now thinking hard about what response he could have expected when he allowed such eccentric words to trip off his tongue.”

But the two governments are not on the verge of a new war. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson admitted Sept. 30 that Washington and the DPRK are talking “directly, through out own channels.”

To get its way, Washington is tightening the economic screws on North Korea — increasingly with the aid of the government of China. The main victims of the economic assault are the working people of Korea. So far, the leaders of the DPRK don’t feel what Washington offers in exchange is sufficient to convince them to stop developing nuclear weapons and delivery systems.

Since a 1953 cease-fire was signed, the U.S. government has refused to sign a peace treaty with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. There are some 28,500 U.S. troops based in the South, and Washington organizes provocative war games several times a year, including simulations of eliminating DPRK leaders.

In one of the most recent provocations, two U.S. B-1B bombers crossed over the Demilitarized Zone into North Korean airspace Sept. 23. Pyongyang ignored the violation, prompting South Korean spy agency officials to say the DPRK “is careful to avoid unintended provocations or clashes.”

In July Washington banned travel by U.S. citizens to North Korea beginning in September. On Sept. 3, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea carried out what it said was an underground test of a hydrogen bomb. On Sept. 11, at the urging of Washington, the U.N. Security Council imposed its harshest sanctions yet. This includes reducing oil exports to North Korea by 30 percent, banning all North Korean textile exports, restricting the hiring of overseas labor from North Korea, and expanding the inspection of North Korean ships on the high seas.

Beijing — North Korea’s main trading partner — has begun implementing more sanctions. South Korean newspaper Hankyoreh reported Sept. 29 that Beijing has ordered North Korean businesses in China and Chinese-North Korean joint ventures to shut down by early January. It has also begun restricting coal, seafood and garment imports from North Korea and exports of some petroleum products.

While Washington demands that Pyongyang give up its nuclear weapons, President Trump says nothing about the U.S. nuclear arsenal. The U.S. rulers have enough nuclear weaponry to destroy the planet many times over.

Washington is the only government in the world that has ever used a nuclear weapon, dropping atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. During the Korean War, President Harry Truman had nuclear weapons transported to the Korean Peninsula and threatened to use them against North Korean and Chinese combatants who were fighting to defend the Korean people’s right to a united, undivided nation. Neither China nor North Korea had a single nuclear weapon at the time. Worried about the political price the U.S. rulers would pay if they used nukes again, in the end Truman ordered the bombs returned to the U.S.

“Working people the world over aspire to an earth that’s free of these and other weapons of mass destruction,” the Socialist Workers Party and Young Socialists said in a message of solidarity to the people of the DPRK Sept. 8.

“The Socialist Workers Party and Young Socialists join with others across the world to demand: U.S. troops, ships, planes, and THAAD missile and radar systems out of Korea! For a Korean Peninsula and Pacific and Asia free of nuclear weapons! Korea is one!”  
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