Let’s put some context into North Korea’s decision to keep on testing missiles in the face of U.S. threats.
First, the DPRK felt provoked by South Korea’s decision to further deploy THAAD, reported on August 20, 2017 in China’s Xinhua news article, “DPRK slams ROK’s decision to deploy additional THAAD launch pads.” From Pyongyang, “The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) on Sunday slammed the Republic of Korea’s decision to deploy four additional launch pads of the Terminal High Altitude Areas Defense (THAAD) system under alleged threat from DPRK missiles.”
Of course, increasing tensions between the DPRK and the U.S. didn’t start there, but it’s important to keep in mind that there is a kind of retaliation process going on here, of responses to provocations.
Then there have been the annual Ulchi-Freedom Guardian war games between the U.S. and South Korea, different this year from the usual routine, due to purportedly including a nuclear attack scenario for the first time against the DPRK. These simulations started August 21, and are slated to continue over a 10-day period until August 31.
Attending in Seoul were U.S. Adm. Harry Harris, U.S. Pacific Command Head; Gen. John Hyten, Commander of U.S. Strategic Command (he oversees “strategic” nuclear assets, including U.S. nuclear bombers, balllistic missile submarines, and land-based ICBMs); and Lt. General Samuel Greaves of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency.
Although the Ulchi-Freedom Guardian games, are primarily computer-based simulations, 17,500 U.S. troops are also involved, including 14,500 troops permanently based in South Korea, and an additional 3,000 being shipped in from the mainland. South Koreans have more than 50,000 troops involved in the simulations, supported by half a million bureaucrats.
Responding to feeling threatened, the DPRK launched a missile test Saturday, August 26, over Hokkaido. Although it is obviously a response to the provocations of THAAD in South Korea, Trump’s incendiary threats, and the Ulchi-Freedom Guardian games proceeding despite their protests, perhaps this Scud-like missile test also signals hostile intentions towards Japan, which isn’t all that surprising in the historical context of unresolved animosity between the DPRK and Japan, related to its occupation of Korea. In 1904-1905, Korea became a protectorate of Japan, after Japan won the Russo-Japanese war. The Chosun dynasty in Korea, which had endured over 500 years, was abolished by Japan in 1910, and the Manchukuo puppet state was established in 1932. The Japanese insisted that Koreans speak Japanese; their own language was forbidden.
Resentment against Japanese collaborators among Korean’s ruling class was the major cause of the civil war in Korea that the U.S. then got involved in, eventually leading to China’s coming in as well. According to Bruce Cumings, in his book, The Korean War, the death toll from the hot Korean War of 1950-53: 520,000 North Korean soldiers, one million civilians, 900,000 Chinese soldiers, 415,004 South Koreans, 36,940 Americans, and 3,094 other UN allies.
Are we really willing to go down that road again? I am filled with despair at the very prospect – we must evolve past further wars.
Might the U.S. cancel these provocative war games, instead of ratcheting up the tensions? Does anyone believe that increased pressure will allay the fears and desire to defend itself of the DPRK, which has led to these missile tests?
Here’s another scenario that is entirely possible… a saner course, which would not lead to more and more death, in the way that wars tend to seed future wars.
What I propose is a healing and reconciliation day to honor all those who have died… both the North Koreans and South Koreans, the Chinese, Americans, and others who died in this war. It could be a day of prayer, self-examination, reflection, a day of grieving for a past that could still repeat itself if we don’t take steps to heal.
There would be a place and a time to express the wounds of the psyche from war… from the occupation of the Japanese, from the continual assault of the ever-escalating U.S. presence in South Korea, and the damage done to the environment, not just with carpet bombing by the U.S. of the DPRK, but with the ongoing militarization, such as the military port built on Jeju Island, despite ongoing resistance by local Koreans.
All sorts of projects of economic cooperation could be started, too. Admitting where we were wrong, and making amends in some way, could be part of the healing and reconciliation process. Lifting economic sanctions, and taking steps to bring the DPRK more involved in international trade could actually change the dynamics. However, the United States has to drawdown on using an aggressive military approach in its relations with other countries for this to work.
Okay, perhaps this process would take more than a day, but it could be started in a day, with the intention of healing everyone’s wounds, so that trust could replace fear, and that we might all start caring more about each other, and putting this all in the past.
It could all start with one simple step, South Korean president Moon Jae-In signs the armistice of 1953 (which was already signed by the DPRK, China, and the U.S.), declaring peace.
[DS added the video reports.]
‘The US has a dominance problem’ – analyst
RT America on Aug 29, 2017
President Trump said “all options are on the table” in response to North Korea’s most recent missile launch. Investigative journalist Gareth Porter joins RT America’s Anya Parampil to discuss the possibility of further military escalation and even confrontation between the US and the “hermit kingdom.”
North Korea Fires Missile Over Japan: What Happens Next?
TheRealNews on Aug 29, 2017
The U.N. Security Council will likely try to pass another round of sanctions, but sanctions have done nothing to stop North Korea from advancing its nuclear missile program, and will probably exacerbate an already volatile situation, says Christine Ahn of Women Cross DMZ
If “talking is not the answer” on North Korea, what is?
RT America on Aug 30, 2017
The UN Security Council has unanimously condemned the latest North Korean missile launch over the territory of Japan, but there is no consensus on how to de-escalate the situation. This will be the main challenge to the new US ambassador to South Korea, RT America’s Ashlee Banks reports.
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