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(DV) Petersen: North Korea's Nuclear Ace







Going Nuclear
Northern Korea’s Ace 
by Kim Petersen
October 11, 2006

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“There can be no smooth and fair talks so long as the US pursues a sinister aim to strangulate the people of the DPRK through sanctions and bring down their system.”

-- Korean Central News Agency

When the military imperialists of the United States split up a homeland, occupied the southern half, and engaged in torture, rapes, and a massive slaughter of the civilian population; when they used biological and chemical weapons [1]; when their commanders appealed to use nuclear weapons [2]; then is it any wonder that the much maligned communist regime of the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (DPRK) would develop nuclear weapons to defend itself and its citizenry?

The western corporate media would seem to think so.

The US media has been quick to paint universal condemnation and isolation of the DPRK -- especially emphasizing the disapproval of China. [3] USA Today wrote that China had “angrily denounced the apparent test as ‘brazen.’” China’s “unusual rebuke” is to “denounce” the DPRK as “brazen.” USA Today then described China’s stern response as calling for a negotiated solution. Clearly, this is journalistic propaganda attempting to depict the worldwide response in an overblown manner.

China’s opposition to the DPRK’s attainment of nuclear status probably has more to do with the fear that Taiwan might follow the same nuclear footsteps as the DPRK rather than opposition to the DPRK having a deterrent factor to US aggression.

The US regime seeks to impose sanctions on the DPRK.

How is it that the country that is guilty of having committed the “supreme international crime” and continues to perpetrate its illegal aggression in Iraq and elsewhere has any credibility to call for sanctions against the DPRK?

The man the corporate media recognizes as president in the US, George W. Bush, complained, “The North Korean regime remains one of the world's leading proliferator of missile technology, including transfers to Iran and Syria.” Such a statement is especially galling (“brazen” would be an apt description) since the US is, far and away, the major arms proliferator in the world.

Bush said, “The United States condemns this provocative act” of testing a nuclear device.

What is it called when one state engages in militaristic actions and condemns another state when it does the same? Why should anyone give any credence to such arrogance?

The Chicago Tribune even speculated that the DPRK’s “audacious test” might not have been successful or whether the DPRK, in fact, had a “real weapon.” [4]

What would be the purpose of condemning a nuclear test and then reporting that it was not a nuclear test? For the DPRK, a nuclear bomb is a deterrent. If the DPRK does not, indeed, have a functioning nuclear weapon, then the DPRK has exposed itself and provided a pretext for the US to attack before the DPRK becomes a fully nuclear-weaponized state. If the DPRK does have a nuclear bomb, however, it would be murderous folly to launch an attack.

The Tribune lamented the DPRK becoming a member of the “exclusive club” of countries with confirmed nuclear weapons. The Tribune depicted the US’s task as containing the much maligned DPRK dictator Kim Jung Il’s “nuclear capability and [to] check the transfer of nuclear material or technology to other nations or even terrorist groups.”

No rationale or evidence is provided to back up the assertion that Kim would engage in nuclear proliferation. But it serves to raise fear in undiscerning people.

The Tribune further fueled this fear: “Many feared the test could radically alter the security situation in northeast Asia, not only along the tense border between North and South Korea, which still technically are at war, but also in Japan and beyond.”

Why should the security situation in northeast Asia not be “radically altered”? The Tribune writer described a “tense border” and stated northern and southern Korea are “technically … at war.” And what is meant by technically at war? Technically, the US has declared war against an abstraction, but it has not declared war against Iraq. Despite this, hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians have been slaughtered by US military, with minor assistance from its “coalition” partners and some Iraqi quislings. Meanwhile, much of the rest of the population lives in fear of the invader-occupation forces. Yet, aside from minor skirmishes, there has been no major combat between northern and southern halves of Korea since the armistice was signed in 1953.

The Tribune reported, “Japan might feel most threatened by North Korea's potential nuclear weapons program, which could lead the island nation to abandon some of its pacifist post-World War II policies and strengthen its military.”

Some Koreans have been regurgitating the same canard. Upon what is Japan’s feeling of being threatened based? Has Korea ever attacked Japan? Does history not reveal Japan to have been the belligerent aggressor state vis-à-vis Korea? Would Japan, therefore, upon such blatantly contrived fear, repudiate its vaunted pacifist constitution? It is well known that the US is seeking a greater Japanese role in its imperialistic rampages overseas. As such, the dissolution or diminishment of the Japanese constitution’s Article 9, which prevents the dispatch of Japanese troops overseas in an offensive capacity, is sought by the US and imperialistic collaborators among Japanese politicians.

Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe told his Korean hosts: “The development and possession of nuclear weapons by North Korea will, in a major way, transform the security environment in north Asia, and we will be entering a new, dangerous nuclear age.”

No country knows better first hand than Japan as to the deadly danger of nuclear weapons. But the danger is not new, and it is specious arguing that the DPRK’s possession of nuclear weapons has made the world more dangerous. It is quite likely the contrary. The DPRK’s possession of nuclear weapons might well avert a breakout of war and further blood-spilling again on the Korean peninsula through its deterrence factor.

What DPRK’s attainment of nuclear missile capability reveals, in fact, is the flawed aggressive policy of George W. Bush. The US has steadfastly refused to end the “tense” situation on the Korean peninsula by refusing to sign a peace treaty. The DPRK went nuclear during the presidency of Bush. [5]

The northern Korean regime had no choice but to attain nuclear weapon status. Without nuclear weapons the north had no massive deterrent. The lack of a nuclear deterrent had forced the DPRK to devote a great part of its economy to maintaining a large military to thwart the threat from the hyper-power.

Bush talked of “the resolve of the United States and our allies to achieve the de-nuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.” He did not mention that the US for more than four decades had stationed nuclear weapons in southern Korea, and only in 1991 were they removed. The removal was only confirmed in 1998. [6]

Bush declared, “The oppressed and impoverished people of North Korea deserve that brighter future.” Yes, they do. The oppressed and impoverished people of Iraq also deserve the same brighter future -- a future free from occupation. Koreans in the DPRK also deserve to live in freedom -- particularly freedom from fear of attack -- and freedom to choose their own economic and social system and their own leaders.

What does the future bode for Koreans? Lawrence Scheinman, an arms-control expert in the Clinton administration, opined: “By [the DPRK] giving up their ace card they now have nothing left to play.”

But the DPRK has not given up its “ace card”; it has merely revealed it. Besides, which smart card players would be willing to bet against an ace?

Kim Petersen, Co-Editor of Dissident Voice, lives on the outskirts of Seoul in southern Korea. He can be reached at: kim@dissidentvoice.org


[1] Korean Truth Commission, Report on U.S. Crimes in Korea: 1945-2001 (New York: 2001).

[2] Bruce Cummings, “Korea: forgotten nuclear threats,” Le Monde diplomatique, December 2004.

[3] Calum MacLeod, “In unusual rebuke, China denounces nuclear test,” USA Today, 10 October 2006. Stephen J. Hedges, “World searches for response to N. Korean nuclear test,” Chicago Tribune, 9 October 2006.

[4] Hedges, op. cit.

[5] Xinhua, “Bush rules out peace treaty with Pyongyang,” China Daily, 20 October 2003.

[6] Nuclear Brief, “The Withdrawal of U.S. Nuclear Weapons From South Korea,” The Nuclear Information Project, 28 September 2005.

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