By: Pablo Jofré Leal / The Dawn News / April 21, 2017
Since Trump’s arrival to the White House, tension in the Korean Peninsula has reached extreme levels—not only with declarations, but also with movement of troops and naval units, and installation of missile systems, which make the world fear a conflict might break out in one of the hot areas of the planet.
To Washington, it’s time to use force against North Korea, and Trump is puffing out his chest as he warns them, in typical US style, not to defy their imperial order.
In this case, the US is annoyed by the fact that North Korea is moving on with its nuclear program, where one item is the development of atomic bombs. Like Israel, for example—a country that owns between 300 and 400 nuclear artifacts, that hasn’t signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty, that constantly invades its neighbors, that’s occupying Palestinian land and nevertheless is rewarded with money, arms and protection by Washington. This hypocritical double standard must be pointed out constantly.
Yet, Washington won’t stand Kim Jong Un’s decision to carry out his nuclear program, which is based on a missile program. North Korea knows that only by becoming strong they can resist Washington’s desire to destabilize them and overthrow their government, which is based on a dynastic structure that was consolidated after the Korean war (1950-1953), which divided the peninsula in two, with parallel 38 as its political, ideological and economic border.
The US government has decided to apply economic and diplomatic pressure against North Korea, along with its regional allies: Japan and North Korea, defining Pyonyang’s government as “the most dangerous and urgent threat to peace and security in Asia-Pacific”, according to words of the US Vice President, Mike Pence, pronounced on board of the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier in front of Japanese coasts. “Those who defy our determination or preparation should know that we’ll defeat any attack. The United States will always seek peace, but under President Trump, the shield stands guard and the sword stands ready”, he said.
It’s hard to believe that the US’ alleged search for peace is compatible with the mobilization of a war machinery that includes aircraft carriers, cruises, destroyers, submarines, and the alert of US military forces stationed in South Korea. This leads Pyongyang to the logical and strong-willed conclusion of preparing its weapons, including its nuclear arsenal, which is estimated to consist of around ten nuclear bombs.
North Korean nuclear artifacts are less potent than those the US dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and —according to Western intelligence reports, and reports from China and Russia— they are “too heavy to be carried on ballistic missiles for transport”, which explains why in recent years the tests of these artifacts have been carried out using Nodong missiles (with an estimated range of 1,300 kilometers) as the vector of transportation. The BM25 with a 4,000 kilometer range and the Taepodong 1 and Taepodong 2, known as Paektusan in North Korea —with ranges between 2 thousand and 8 thousand kilometers respectively. It’s also been reported that North Korea is developing a higher range missile, known as KN-08 or Hwasong-13 which can reach the coasts of Australia and the United States.
North Korea maintains that it’s prepared for full-scale war against the US aggression instead of falling under foreign pressure, which is the mistake Libya made: Gaddafi abandoned his nuclear program, yielding to the demand of international powers, and a few years later those same countries invaded the country taking advantage of its state of vulnerability. North Korea is determined not to fall for same trap.
Goals go beyond North Korea
Russia and China, meanwhile, have called to cool down the war-mongering climate and negotiate a solution, but justin case they’ve put their military forces on alert. Although the history of the North Korean nuclear program includes China and the former Soviet Union providing technological support, training of scientists and the building of, for example, the Centre of Scientific-Nuclear Research of Yongbyon, the military program has been strongly backed by one of the US allies in Central Asia: Pakistan, which possesses nuclear weapons. In exchange for the North Korean missile system, in the 90s Pakistan handed in vital data on the Uranium enrichment process, which were a great help for North Korea to build its first nuclear bomb.
The US is using North Korea and its nuclear arsenal as an excuse, while it demands greater military budgets from its regional partners and demand them to pay part of the bill because they enjoy the military protection the US provides them with the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system. The THAAD has made China restless, and it has pointed out that the THAAD affects its interests, and creates a power imbalance in the region that increases tensions.
On the other hand, China has its own conflicts regarding the sovereignty over its waters in the Meridional sea, which is disputed by Philippines, Brunei, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Taiwan. Beijing affirms that this maritime territory, with its islands and natural resources, belongs to the country.
To this we must add the dispute for the Diaoyu islands (as China calls them) or Senkaku islands (as Japan, who also claims sovereignty over them, calls them), which are surrounded by important gas and oil fields, apart from being one of the areas with the largest amount of sea traffic in the world. This conflict has caused great tension in the relationship between both countries, and it is the reason why Tokyo has increased its military budget to record levels: in 2016 it reached 41 billion dollars, almost entirely spent buying weapons to the US military-industrial complex.
China has declared its inability to influence North Korea’s decisions regarding the nuclear program and has called the US to relieve tensions instead of pressuring Pyongyang through actions that tend to provoke instead of seeking alternatives of dialogue, in which China is willing to participate. But China has also criticized North Korea, calling Pyongyang stubborn in its missile tests, and it has sanctioned the country by, for example, suspending the imports of coal in February 2017. This decision was harshly criticized by Pyongyang, which censored the fact that ‘its neighbor and friend dances to the rhythm of the United States, taking inhumane decision which affect its population using the UN sanctions as pretexts’.
Without a doubt, China’s declarations have prioritized the balance of power that it is establishing not only in Southeast Asia but also in its global strategy, which has meant extending its area of influence to Central Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America. To China, the fact that the dispute over the global hegemony is being fought so close to its territory is a distraction regarding its need to consolidate positions near the great gas and oil fields of the Middle East, its decision to gain more power in the African Horn, its investments in the African Maghreb and Sahel, as well as its investments in Latin American countries. Therefore, China requires that North Korea doesn’t disturb the regional balance, which would force China to spend resources and efforts against the United States and its allies.
For Russia, who also has its own conflicts with Japan over the Kuril islands and a strategic plan of influence towards the Pacific, the situation in the Korean Peninsula is a topic that must be dealt with, solved and cooled down. The Russian Chancellorship, through its Minister of Foreign Relations, Serguei Lavrov, maintained that the United States must abstain from taking unilateral decisions, as they did when they attacked the air base in Syria, “would be a very dangerous road. We don’t accept the reckless nuclear actions of Pyongyang, which violate UN resolutions, but that doesn’t mean that international law can be violated”.
This escalade of declarations and belligerent actions by Washington, which affirms that its sword “stands ready” to be used against North Korea, is a part of Trump’s policy of applying sanctions left and right. His government has also applied economic, military, political and diplomatic measures against Syria and Iran, and has even revised the Nuclear Agreements it had signed with the latter on July 2015, despite having promised to respect them.
The real danger to the world is not North Korea, and it wasn’t Syria, nor Libya. And also not Russia, Venezuela nor Iran, although Washington repeats this narrative endlessly. The real danger to the world is the US foreign policy and its desire for absolute hegemony, its hostility towards certain nations and the support it provides for terrible regimes (mainly Zionism and Wahhabism), and the fact that it can’t be stopped due to the complicity of the control organisms like the UN, NATO, and the EU, which dance to the rhythm of the military march played by the US.