Responsible actions needed to ensure peace on the Korean Peninsula — a Chinese perspective

Global Research, May 01, 2017
People’s Daily 30 April 2017

Given the continued escalation of tensions on the Korean Peninsula over the past months, all concerned parties should implement the resolutions adopted by the UN Security Council in a more strict manner and return to peaceful negotiations, the People’s Daily said in an editorial published on Sunday.

The commentary came after Friday’s ministerial meeting on the nuclear issue of the Korean Peninsula hosted by the UN Security Council at the UN headquarters in New York.

The latest developments on the peninsula highlighted an imperative need for all parties to intensify their efforts to bring stakeholders to dialogue table, added the commentary published under the pen name Zhong Sheng, which is often used to express the paper’s views on foreign policy.

It is reasonable for the DPRK to pursue its own security, but its nuclear and missile ambitions have put itself and the whole region into dire peril, stressed the article titled “Responsible actions are needed to ensure peace of Korean Peninsula”.

The country has been immersed itself into a strong sense of insecurity given historic reasons and reality, the paper added.

The DPRK must not be obsessed in a wrong path of repeated nuclear tests and missile launches that resulted in rounds of sanctions, the commentary said, calling on the country to respect and comply with the relevant Security Council resolutions.

The article pointed out that the Republic of Korea(ROK) and the US also added fuel to the escalated tensions since the two allies, who have been maintaining a high-handed pressure on the nuclear issue of the Korean Peninsula, revealed a strategic intention to crush the DPRK.

It is almost impossible to ease the crisis on the peninsula if the ROK and the US continue their fantasy to settle the problem with more military actions but turn a blind eye to reasonable appeals of the DPRK, the paper stressed.

China is not a directly-concerned party of the peninsula crisis, and it does not hold the key to solving the nuclear issue on the peninsula, the commentary admitted.

But it emphasized that no matter what happens, China will never waiver in its clear-cut position regarding the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula, which means it will stay committed to the goal of denuclearization as well as the path of dialogue and negotiation.

In the next step, the DPRK should refrain from further nuclear test or missile launches, the article urged, adding that the ROK and the US, for their part, also need to stop launching or expanding their military drills or deployment against the DPRK.

All stakeholders need to comprehensively understand and fully implement the DPRK-related resolutions adopted by the Security Council, the paper said. The international community needs to step up their anti-proliferation efforts against the DPRK action. Meanwhile,all parties also need to do more to persuade stakeholders back to peaceful dialogues, it added.

China will, with its utmost sincerity and efforts, safeguard the peace and stability of Northeast Asia and realize the goal to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula along with relevant parties, the paper vowed, stressing that though a peace lover, the country is fearless of any provocations or tests.

China has proposed the “dual-track approach” and “suspension for suspension” plan for peaceful settlement of the issue, in an attempt to help the parties breakout of the security dilemma and return to the negotiating table.

The objective, reasonable and feasible proposals, according to the editorial, not only conform to the requirements of the UN resolutions, but also meet the fundamental interest of all parties including the US and the DPRK.

Translated from Chinese, People’s Daily, April 2017.

America’s war against the people of Korea: The historical record of U.S. war crimes

…we have about 50% of the world’s wealth but only 6.3% of its population. This disparity is particularly great as between ourselves and the peoples of Asia. …Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity without positive detriment to our national security. To do so, we will have to dispense with all sentimentality and day-dreaming; and our attention will have to be concentrated everywhere on our immediate national objectives…

We should dispense with the aspiration to “be liked” or to be regarded as the repository of a high-minded international altruism. We should stop putting ourselves in the position of being our brothers’ keeper and refrain from offering moral and ideological advice. We should cease to talk about vague and—for the Far East—unreal objectives such as human rights, the raising of the living standards, and democratization. The day is not far off when we are going to have to deal in straight power concepts. The less we are then hampered by idealistic slogans, the better.

George F. Kennan, State Department Brief, Washington DC, 1948


Global Research, April 30, 2017
Global Research 13 September 2013

The following text by Michel Chossudovsky was presented in Seoul, South Korea in the context of the Korea Armistice Day Commemoration, 27 July 2013

A Message for Peace. Towards a Peace Agreement and the Withdrawal of US Troops from Korea.

Introduction

Armistice Day, 27 July 1953 is day of Remembrance for the People of Korea.

It is a landmark date in the historical struggle for national reunification and sovereignty.

I am privileged to have this opportunity of participating in the 60th anniversary commemoration of Armistice Day on July 27, 2013.

I am much indebted to the “Anti-War, Peace Actualized, People Action” movement for this opportunity to contribute to the debate on peace and reunification.

An armistice is an agreement by the warring parties to stop fighting. It does signify the end of war.

What underlies the 1953 Armistice Agreement is that one of the warring parties, namely the US has consistently threatened to wage war on the DPRK for the last 60 years.

The US has on countless occasions violated the Armistice Agreement. It has remained on a war footing. Casually ignored by the Western media and the international community, the US has actively deployed nuclear weapons targeted at North Korea for more than half a century in violation of article 13b) of the Armistice agreement. 

The armistice remains in force. The US is still at war with Korea. It is not a peace treaty, a peace agreement was never signed.

The US has used the Armistice agreement to justify the presence of 37,000 American troops on Korean soil under a bogus United Nations mandate, as well as establish an environment of continuous and ongoing military threats. This situation of “latent warfare” has lasted for the last 60 years. It is important to emphasize that this US garrison in South Korea is the only U.S. military presence based permanently on the Asian continent.

Our objective in this venue is to call for a far-reaching peace treaty, which will not only render the armistice agreement signed on July 27, 1953 null and void, but will also lay the foundations for the speedy withdrawal of US troops from Korea as well as lay the foundations for the reunification of the Korean nation.

Michel Chossudovsky Presentation: 60th anniversary commemoration of Armistice Day on July 27, 2013, Seoul, ROK. 

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Armistice Day in a Broader Historical Perspective.

This commemoration is particularly significant in view of mounting US threats directed not only against Korea, but also against China and Russia as part of Washington’s “Asia Pivot”, not to mention the illegal occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq, the US-NATO wars against Libya and Syria, the military threats directed against Iran, the longstanding struggle of the Palestinian people against Israel, the US sponsored wars and insurrections in sub-Saharan Africa.

Armistice Day July 27, 1953, is a significant landmark in the history of US led wars.  Under the Truman Doctrine formulated in the late 1940s, the Korean War (1950-1953) had set the stage for a global process of militarization and US led wars. “Peace-making” in terms of a peace agreement is in direct contradiction with Washington “war-making” agenda.

Washington has formulated a global military agenda. In the words of four star General Wesley Clark (Ret) [image right], quoting a senior Pentagon official:

“We’re going to take out seven countries in 5 years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran” (Democracy Now March 2, 2007)

The Korean War (1950-1953) was the first major military operation  undertaken by the US in the wake of  World War II,  launched at the very outset of  what was euphemistically called “The Cold War”. In many respects it was a continuation of World War II, whereby Korean lands under Japanese colonial occupation were, from one day to the next, handed over to a new colonial power, the United States of America.

At the Potsdam Conference (July–August 1945), the US and the Soviet Union agreed to dividing Korea, along the 38th parallel.

There was no “Liberation” of Korea following the entry of US forces. Quite the opposite.

As we recall, a US military government was established in South Korea on September 8, 1945, three weeks after the surrender of Japan on August 15th 1945. Moreover,  Japanese officials in South Korea assisted the US Army Military Government (USAMG) (1945-48) led by General Hodge in ensuring this transition. Japanese colonial administrators in Seoul as well as their Korean police officials worked hand in glove with the new colonial masters.

From the outset, the US military government refused to recognize the provisional government of the People’s Republic of Korea (PRK), which was committed to major social reforms including land distribution, laws protecting the rights of workers, minimum wage legislation and  the reunification of North and South Korea.

The PRK was non-aligned with an anti-colonial mandate, calling for the “establishment of close relations with the United States, USSR, England, and China, and positive opposition to any foreign influences interfering with the domestic affairs of the state.”2

The PRK was abolished by military decree in September 1945 by the USAMG. There was no democracy, no liberation no independence.

While Japan was treated as a defeated Empire, South Korea was identified as a colonial territory to be administered under US military rule and US occupation forces.

America’s handpicked appointee Sygman Rhee [left] was flown into Seoul in October 1945, in General Douglas MacArthur’s personal airplane.

The Korean War (1950-1953)

The crimes committed by the US against the people of Korea in the course of the Korean War but also in its aftermath are unprecedented in modern history.

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North Korea in the crosshairs: lively input from James Bradley, Ken O’Keefe, Mohammad Marandi (VIDEO)

From CrossTalk, RT

https://www.rt.com/shows/crosstalk/386416-north-korea-absent-diplomacy/video/

North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un © KCNA / Reuters

We have heard it all before – all options are on the table – and of course, that means using force. This time, North Korea is in the crosshairs, with the usual bellicose language and threats being meted out. What is completely absent, however, is diplomacy.

CrossTalking with James Bradley, Ken O’Keefe, and Mohammad Marandi.

https://www.rt.com/shows/crosstalk/386416-north-korea-absent-diplomacy/

Russian Foreign Minister comments on Pence, McMasters statements, and chemical weapon investigation problems

From Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Russian Federation
April 17, 2017

Excerpts:

Question: Can you comment on rising tensions on the Korean Peninsula, taking into account US Vice President Mike Pence’s comment that the era of strategic patience is over in relations with North Korea and that all options are on the table to achieve security in the region?

Sergey Lavrov: I wouldn’t describe relations between North Korea and the Obama administration as an era of strategic patience, because the United States greatly restricted North Korea’s ability to develop the industries that could promote the nuclear or energy sectors. The UN Security Council adopted harsh sanctions against North Korea and condemned its policy.

If the figure of speech used by the US Vice President can be understood as a threat of a unilateral military solution, it is a highly risky path. We condemn Pyongyang’s opportunistic nuclear missile plans, which violate the numerous UN Security Council resolutions. But this does not mean that other countries can violate international law and use military force contrary to the UN Charter. I strongly hope that no unilateral actions will be taken similar to those we have recently seen in Syria, and that the United States will pursue the line President Donald Trump put forth during his election campaign.

Question: Can you comment on the statement by the US National Security Adviser Army Lieutenant General McMaster that “it’s time though, now, to have those tough discussions” with Russia over its support for Syria’s government and its “subversive actions” in Europe?

Sergey Lavrov: This is a complex question. I have no desire to comment on the unsubstantiated accusations made against Russia. First they concerned Ukraine, and now the focus has shifted to Syria. I have seen media reports that US or British officials are saying that they could cooperate with Russia if it [behaved] in Ukraine and, Syria, and now the Korean Peninsula has been added to the list. It appears that we must do something for somebody on the Korean Peninsula too, although we did not create the chaos that is reigning there. ISIS, and before it, al-Qaeda and Jabhat al-Nusra, are the offspring of opportunistic projects that involved our Western partners, primarily many US administrations, which began by supporting the mujahedeen in Afghanistan and praising them as freedom fighters, and continued this policy in Iraq and Libya. And now that these countries have been ruined, it appears that we must pay for the consequences. This is not how partners act. This approach is not acceptable to us. We will not listen to what President Trump’s adviser has said, but what President Trump himself has said, that he is optimistic when it comes to improving relations with Russia. We are ready for this.

Question: What issues are on the agenda of the upcoming Geneva meeting on the intra-Syrian settlement? Will it be political issues only, or will military issues also be discussed, in light of the recent air strike on the Syrian airfield and the coalition landing operation near Deir Ez-Zor?

Sergey Lavrov: The talks in Geneva will be held after May 3–4, that is, following a regular meeting in Astana. We hope that the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Syria, Mr Staffan de Mistura, will find a suitable date. It has been suggested that since the holy month of Ramadan begins in late May, it would be expedient to postpone the talks until after it ends. We are convinced that we must not lose momentum, especially in a situation when the political process has been brought into question. I am referring to the strike on the Shayrat airfield and the intention of many players in Syria, among the external opposition and in many countries in and outside the region, to use this situation to place the blame squarely on Bashar al-Assad. They seek to deviate from a political settlement through the expression of the will of the Syrian people themselves to conduct unilateral actions to overthrow the Syrian government. It is an alarming trend. As I have said, in pursuit of this goal, they are using the April 4 chemical weapons incident in Idlib, which was followed by the illegal US air strike on the airfield from which planes allegedly carrying chemical weapons took off. I have said repeatedly that we demand that an objective and unbiased investigation be carried out under the auspices of the OPCW with assistance from independent experts, and that this investigation be fully transparent.

I would like to remind you that we have pointed out a very strange coincidence: that the two groups of the OPCW Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) on the potential use of chemical weapons in Syria are chaired by UK citizens. We have said that this runs contrary to the principles of an international organisation, the structures of which must be maximally balanced. We have not received any response as yet, but we can regard a recent statement by UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson as an indirect response. He said in an interview that Damascus and Russia and Iran, which support it, are to blame for the chemical attack.  By way of evidence, he said that British scientists have analysed samples from the site of the attack, and that these have tested positive for sarin or a sarin-like substance. That’s an interesting coincidence: British citizens chairing the OPCW FFM don’t tell anyone anything, while British scientists have already analysed samples taken at the site of the incident. I believe we will be sending a request to the OPCW today demanding an explanation. I expect they will have to answer this time.

The situation is not simple at all. We hope that the majority of countries see what is going on. We will not permit anyone to derail the efforts to attain a political settlement in Syria under the UN Security Council resolution.

http://www.mid.ru/en/foreign_policy/news/-/asset_publisher/cKNonkJE02Bw/content/id/2729221

South Korea to quadruple reward fee for North Korean defectors to $860,000

From CNN
March 5, 2017

Seoul South Korea is quadrupling its reward fee for defectors from North Korea who are willing to hand over classified information on the reclusive country’s military secrets.

The Ministry of Unification announced Sunday that it would pay up to 1 billion won ($860,000) — eclipsing the previous maximum of 250 million won.
A bill outlining the changes is set to be submitted and would offer substantial financial rewards for those able to provide intelligence and knowledge, which could enhance South Korea’s security, according to the ministry.
The bill will be considered in the National Assembly between February 28 and March 9, a Unification Ministry official said.

North Korea: The Grand Deception Revealed — Report of the October 2003 National Lawyers Guild/American Association of Jurists Delegation to the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea

From 4th Media

DPRK (aka, “NORTH KOREA”): THE GRAND DECEPTION REVEALED

The Preliminary Report of the October 2003 National Lawyers Guild/American Association of Jurists Delegation to the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea
I. The Delegation and its Purpose
II. First Impressions
III. The Role of Lawyers
IV. War Crimes
V. The Demilitarized Zone (DMZ)
VI. The Countryside and Hours of Talk
VII. The Circus
VIII. Human Exchanges
IX. Particular Observations
A. The Juche idea of Socialism
B. The Role of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il
C. The Legal System
D. Education
E. Health Care
F. Housing
G. Work Conditions
H. Political System
I. Military Service
J. Reunification
K. The Role of Women
X. War and Peace
XI. Final Observations and Future Activities

I. The Delegation and its Purpose

On September 29th, 2003 four lawyers from the National Lawyers Guild of the United States, Peter Erlinder, Professor of Law at the William Mitchell School of Law in St. Paul, Minnesota, Neil Berman, Attorney in Boston, Massachusetts and Eric Sirotkin and Jennie Lusk, Attorneys in Albuquerque, New Mexico as well as a member of the American Association of Jurists, Christopher Black, Barrister in Toronto, Canada, traveled to North Korea, formally the Democratic Peoples’ Republic of Korea (DPRK) at the invitation of the Korean Democratic Lawyers Association (KDLA).

We came to North Korea in order to increase bonds between lawyers in North Korea and the west, as well as to increase understanding between the peoples of North America and North Korea in order to reduce the risk of war between the DPRK and the United States of America.

The visit had several specific purposes: (1) to develop personal and professional relationships with lawyers in North Korea with a view toward understanding their legal system and its role in society, (2) to determine and understand the views of the people of the DPRK with respect to war and peace and its link to the problem of reunification of the “two” Koreas, and (3) to observe as best we could the real situation for the people of the DKRP in the context of the information being propagated in the western press of an Orwellian, totalitarian, impoverished and starving society – allegations which have been used by the United States to justify all its recent wars of aggression. We felt it essential to let the North Koreans know that many Americans and Canadians have a deep desire for peace and oppose the rhetorical “axis of evil” posture announced by the current U.S. administration.

Most of us met in Beijing as virtual strangers, but we parted company days later as friends, transformed by our experience. We came from different backgrounds, different areas of law and represented several political and philosophical points of view. We had one essential thing in common; the real fear of a war between the United States and the DPRK and a deep desire to know the truth.

All felt misled over the years by the U.S. government through its misinformation used to justify wars against Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq. We no longer accept bald allegations of “widespread violations of human rights”, the need for a “war on terrorism”, war to destroy “weapons of mass destruction,” or the need to fight wars to preserve and expand our Western way of life. As world citizens we felt obliged to reveal the truth and to take steps to build, rather than destroy, relationships, even with those whom we may disagree.

The delegation met with KDLA members, government officials and military officers, and discussed comparative judicial systems and strategies for building bridges for peace between DPRK and the United States. We toured Pyongyang, traveled hundreds of kilometers into the countryside, visited the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) on the Northern side at the infamous joint use area of Panmunjom, and interviewed U.S. soldiers and business consultants from around the world who, much to our surprise, were discovered working in North Korea,

II. First Impressions

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North Korea: The Grand Deception revealed. The people of the DPRK want peace

Global Research, March 15, 2017
New Eastern Outlook 13 March 2017

In 2003 I had, along with some American lawyers, members of the National Lawyers Guild, the good fortune to be able to travel to North Korea, that is the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea, in order to experience first hand that nation, its socialist system and its people.

The joint report issued on our return was titled “The Grand Deception Revealed.” [1] That title was chosen because we discovered that the negative western propaganda myth about North Korea is a grand deception designed to blind the peoples of the world to the accomplishments of the Korean people in the north who have successfully created their own circumstances, their own independent socio-economic system, based on socialist principles, free of the domination of the western powers.

At one of our first dinners in Pyongyang our host, Ri Myong Kuk, a lawyer, stated, on behalf of the government, and in passionate terms, that the DPRK’s Nuclear Deterrent Force was necessary in light of US world actions and threats against the DPRK. He stated, and this was repeated to me in a high level meeting with DPRK government officials later on in the trip, that if the Americans would sign a peace treaty and non-aggression agreement with the DPRK, it would de-legitimize the American occupation and lead to reunification. Consequently there would be no need for nuclear weapons.

He stated sincerely that,

“It’s important that lawyers are gathering to talk about this as lawyers regulate the social interactions within society and within the world,”

and added just as sincerely that, “the path to peace requires an open heart.”

It appeared to us then and it is apparent now, in absolute contradiction to the claims of the western media, that the people of the DPRK want peace more than anything else so they can get on with their lives and endeavours without the constant threat of nuclear annihilation by the United States. But annihilation is what they in fact face and whose fault is that? Not theirs.

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We were shown American documents captured in the Korean War that are compelling evidence that the US planned an attack on North Korea in 1950. The attack was carried out using American and south Korean forces with the assistance of Japanese Army officers who had invaded and occupied Korea decades before. The North Korean defence and counter-attack was then claimed by the US to be “aggression” which the United States manipulated in the media to get the UN to support a “police operation,” the euphemism they chose to use to carry on what was in fact their war of aggression against North Korea. Three years of war and 3.5 million Korean deaths followed and the US has threatened them with imminent war and annihilation ever since.

The UN vote in favour of a “police action” in 1950 was itself illegal since Russia was absent for the vote in the Security Council. The quorum required for the Security Council under its Rules of Procedure, is all member delegations so that all members must be present or a session cannot proceed. The Americans used a Russian boycott of the Security Council as their opportunity. The Russian boycott took place in defence of the position of the Peoples Republic of China that it should have the China seat at the Security Council table, not the defeated Kuomintang government. The Americans refused to do the right thing, so the Russians refused to sit at the table until the legitimate Chinese government could.

The Americans used this opportunity to carry out a type of coup in the UN, to take over its machinery for its own interests by arranging with the British, French and Kuomintang Chinese to back their actions in Korea by a vote in the absence of the Russians. The allies did as the Americans asked and voted for war with Korea, but the vote was invalid, and the “police action” was not a peace-keeping operation nor justified under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, since article 51states that all nations have the right of self defence against an armed attack, which is what the North Koreans faced and had reacted to. But the Americans have never cared much about legalities and they did not then for the American plan in its entirety was to conquer and occupy North Korea as a step towards the invasions of Manchuria and Siberia and the law was not going to get in their way.

Many in the west have little idea of the destruction carried out in Korea by the Americans and their allies; that Pyongyang was carpet bombed into oblivion, that civilians fleeing the carnage were strafed by American planes. The New York Times stated at the time that 17,000,000 pounds of napalm were used in Korea just in the first 20 months of the war. More bomb tonnage was dropped on Korea by the US than the US dropped on Japan in World War Two.

American forces hunted down and murdered not only communist party members but also their families. At Sinchon we saw the evidence that American soldiers forced 500 civilians into a ditch, doused them with gasoline and set them on fire. We stood in an air raid shelter with walls still blackened with the burnt flesh of 900 civilians, including women and children who had sought safety during an American attack. American soldiers were seen pouring gasoline down the air vents of the shelter and burning them all to death. This is the reality of the American occupation for Koreans. This is the reality they fear still and never want to repeat. Can we blame them?

But even with this history, Koreans are willing to open their hearts to former enemies. Major Kim Myong Hwan, who was then the main negotiator at Panmunjom on the DMZ line, told us that his dream was to be a writer, a poet, a journalist, but said in sombre tones, that he and his five brothers “walk the line” at the DMZ as soldiers because of what happened to his family. He said their struggle was not against the American people but their government. He was lonely for his family lost at Sinchon; his grandfather strung up a pole and tortured, his grandmother bayoneted in the stomach and left to die. He said,

“You see, we have to do it. We have to defend ourselves. We do not oppose the American people. We oppose the American policy of hostility and its efforts to exercise control over the whole world and inflict calamity on people.”

It was the opinion of the delegation that by maintaining instability in Asia, the U.S. can maintain a massive military presence and keep China at bay in its relations with South and North Korea and Japan and use it as a lever against China and Russia. 

With the continuing pressure within Japan to remove the U.S. bases in Okinawa, the Korean military operations and war exercises remain a central point of American efforts to dominate the region

The question is not whether the DPRK has nuclear weapons which it is legally entitled to have, but whether the United States, which has nuclear arms capability on the Korean peninsula, and which is now installing its THADD missile defence system there, a system that threatens the security of Russia and China, is willing to work with the North toward a peace treaty. We found North Koreans avid for peace and not attached to having nuclear weapons if peace can be established. But the American position remains as arrogant, aggressive threatening and dangerous as ever.

In this age of American “regime change,” “pre-emptive war” doctrines, and American efforts to develop low yield nuclear weapons as well as their abandonment and manipulation of international law it was not surprising that the DPRK plays the nuclear card. What choice do the Koreans have since United States threatens nuclear war on a daily basis and the two countries that logic dictates would support them against American aggression, Russia and China, join with the Americans in condemning the Koreans for arming themselves with the only weapon that can act as a deterrent against attack.

The reason for this is unclear since the Russians and Chinese have nuclear weapons and built them to act as a deterrent to an attack by the United States just as North Korea is doing. Some of their government statements indicate that they fear not being in control of the situation and that if North Korea’s acts of defence draw a US attack, they will be attacked as well. One can understand that anxiety. But it begs the question why they cannot support North Korea’s right to self-defence and put more pressure on the Americans to conclude a peace treaty, a non-aggression agreement, and to withdraw their nuclear and armed forces from the Korean peninsula. But the great tragedy is the clear inability of the American people to think for themselves, in the face of continual deceptions, and to demand that their leaders exhaust all avenues of dialogue and peacemaking before even contemplating aggression on the Korean Peninsula.

The fundamental foundation of North Korean policy is to achieve a non-aggression pact and peace treaty with the United States. The North Koreans repeatedly stated that they did not want to attack anyone, hurt anyone or be at war with anyone. But they have seen what has happened to Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and countless other countries and they have no intention of having that happen to them. It is clear that any U.S. invasion would be defended vigorously and that the nation can endure a long, arduous struggle.

At another location on the DMZ we met a Colonel who set up field glasses through which we could see across the divide between north and south. We could see a concrete wall built on the South side, a violation of truce agreements. The major described such a permanent structure as a “disgrace for the Korean people who are a homogenous people.” A loud speaker continuously blared propaganda and music from speakers on the south side. The irritating noise goes on for 22 hours a day, he said. Suddenly, in another surreal moment, the bunker’s loudspeakers began belting out the William Tell overture, better known in America as the theme from the Lone Ranger. The Colonel urged us to help people see what is really going on in the DPRK, instead of basing their opinions on misinformation. He told us “We know that like us the peace loving people in America have children, parents and families.” We told him of our mission to return with a message for peace and that we hope to return someday and “walk with him together freely in these beautiful hills.” He paused and said, “I too believe it is possible.”

So while the people of the DPRK hope for peace and security the United States and its puppet regime in the south of the Korean peninsular wage war, carrying out for the next three months the largest war games ever conducted there, involving air craft carriers, nuclear armed submarines and stealth bombers, aircraft and large numbers of troops, artillery and armour.

The propaganda campaign has been taken to dangerous levels in the media with accusations that the North murdered a relative of the leader of the DPRK in Malaysia, though there is no proof of this, and no motive for the north to do it. The only ones to benefit from the murder are the Americans and their controlled media using it to whip up hysteria about the North and now allegations of the North having chemical weapons of mass destruction. Yes, friends, they think we were all born yesterday and that we haven’t learned a thing or two about the character of the American leadership and the nature of their propaganda. Is it any wonder that the North Koreans fear that any day these on going war “games” can be switched to the real thing, that these “games” are just a cover for an attack, and in the meantime to create an atmosphere of terror for the Korean people?

There is a lot that can be said about the real nature of the DPRK, its people and socio-economic system, its culture. But there is no space for that here. I hope people can visit as our group did and experience for themselves what we experienced. Instead I will close with the concluding paragraph of the joint report made on our return from the DPRK and hope that people take it in, think about it, and act to bring on its call for peace.

The people of the world have to be told the complete story about Korea and our government’s role in fostering imbalance and conflict. Action must be taken by lawyers, community groups, peace activists, and all citizens of the planet, to prevent the U.S. government from successfully generating a propaganda campaign to support aggression in North Korea. The American people have been subjected to a grand deception. There is too much at stake to get fooled again. This peace delegation learned in the DPRK a significant piece of truth essential in international relations. It’s how broader communication, negotiation followed by maintained promises, and a deep commitment to peace can save the world – literally – from a dark nuclear future. Experience and truth free us from the threat of war. Our foray into North Korea, this report and our on-going project are small efforts to make and set us free.

Christopher Black is an international criminal lawyer based in Toronto. He is known for a number of high-profile war crimes cases and recently published his novel “Beneath the Clouds. He writes essays on international law, politics and world events, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”