Webinar, Korea’s Struggle for Independence, Peace and Reunification — 21 November, 2021

From International Manifesto Group

Sun, November 21, 2021

8:00 AM – 10:00 AM PST

Register here

Our webinar takes a timely look beneath and behind western stereotypes of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

About this event

North Korea seems only to hit Western headlines when it conducts weapons tests and that was so again this fall. As usual, media reports were stripped of context and North Korea presented as a threat to peace.

Our webinar takes a timely look beneath and behind western stereotypes of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea – as totalitarian, autarkic, economically bankrupt, led by a dynasty and a cult, and a nuclear bad-boy – to probe the realities, old and new, by addressing key questions including the ongoing Korean War; the nature and motivations of the Workers’ Party of Korea governments; the reasons for its nuclear arsenal; the need to end sanctions; the history and present of the US nuclear threat in East Asia; and the path to national reunification, to which the Korean people, whether in the north, south or diaspora, remain committed.

Speakers

Dr. Kiyul Chung is a lifelong fighter for Korean reunification and anti-imperialist causes generally. He is the Editor-in-Chief at The 21st Century and a Visiting Professor at a number of universities, including Beijing’s Tsinghua University, Tokyo’s Korea University and Pyongyang’s Kim Il Sung University. Earlier, he was also Visiting Professor at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. Dr. Chung was born in Korea and left to pursue his graduate studies in the United States in 1980. He was based in the USA for the next quarter century, where he earned his MA and PhD degrees, and played a leading role in the progressive Korean communty. He returned to Korea in 2005 as Adjunct Professor at the Methodist University and Senior Lecturer at Hanshin University, both in Seoul, but moved shortly to Beijing, to take up academic posts there. Dr. Chung was a key organiser of a 1989 international peace march for Korean reunification that aimed to march from the northernmost to the southernmost points of the Korean peninsula, but was prevented from crossing the DMZ by the US occupation forces and the south Korean authorities, as well as the Korea Truth Commission’s International War Crimes Tribunal, held in New York in 2001. With a background in religious philosophy, Dr. Chung’s books include ‘The Donghak Concept of God/Heaven: Religion and Social Transformation’, which, by presenting Donghak (the origin of the indigenous Korean Chondoist religion) as a case study of religion for social transformation, examines why Korean religious and intellectual traditions have been almost nonexistent and, if existent, distorted, misrepresented, or misunderstood in Western religious and philosophical studies.

Xiangyu Zhong Xiangyu is a Marxist-Leninist political commentator and a Chinese hip hop artist based in Taiwan Province. Anti-imperialism and class struggle are common themes in his music.

K.J. Noh is a peace activist, independent scholar, teacher and expert in the geopolitics of Asia. He is a frequent contributor to CounterPunch and Dissident Voice and a member of Veterans For Peace.

Dr. Hugh Goodacre is a lecturer in the Department of Economics, University College London and Director of the Institute for Independence Studies (IIS). The IIS promotes the study and application of ideologies of national and social emancipation, particularly those created by oppressed peoples through their own struggles, locating them in a non-Eurocentric conception of scientific socialism. He founded the Korea Friendship Committee (KFC) in the UK in 1982 and served as its Joint Secretary for many years. He first visited the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) in 1983 and is one of a handful of UK citizens to have engaged in extensive discussions with President Kim Il Sung. His decades of work on Korean affairs have embraced people-to-people exchanges, anti-sanctions campaigning and research on and study of the Juche idea. His most recent publication is, ‘The Economic Thought of William Petty – Exploring the Colonialist Roots of Economics’, published by Routledge.

Sara Flounders is a longstanding political activist and author based in New York City. She is a leader of the United National Antiwar Coalition and the International Action Center, and is the author of numerous books, including Capitalism on a Ventilator: The Impact of COVID-19 in China and the US (co-authored with Lee SiuHin) and NATO in the Balkans: Voices of Opposition (co-authored with Ramsey Clark). She writes regularly for Workers World.

Keith Bennett is an active member of the International Manifesto Group and a consultant specialising in Chinese and Korean affairs. He is the Deputy Chair of the Kim Il Sung Kim Jong Il Foundation (KKF) and the Deputy Secretary General of the European Regional Society for the Study of the Juche Idea. He has closely followed events in Korea and the Korean road to socialism for nearly half a century and first visited the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) in 1983 as a delegate to the World Conference of Journalists Against Imperialism. He has subsequently visited the country on some 50 occasions and was twice awarded the DPRK Order of Friendship by President Kim Il Sung. He has delivered papers on the Juche idea and on Korean reunification at conferences in Europe, Asia and Latin America.

Derek R. Ford is assistant professor of education studies at DePauw University, Indiana, USA. Ford has written six books, the latest of which is Marxism, Pedagogy, and the General Intellect: Beyond the Knowledge Economy (Palgrave, 2021), and is currently the editor of LiberationSchool.org. He led the last US delegation to the DPRK before the travel ban in 2017, organized the only US university exchange program with Korea University in Japan, and served on the program committee of the Global Peace Forum on Korea.

Moderator – Radhika Desai is a Professor at the Department of Political Studies, and Director, Geopolitical Economy Research Group, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada. She is the author of Geopolitical Economy: After US Hegemony, Globalization and Empire (2013), Slouching Towards Ayodhya: From Congress to Hindutva in Indian Politics (2nd rev ed, 2004) and Intellectuals and Socialism: ‘Social Democrats’ and the Labour Party (1994), a New Statesman and Society Book of the Month, and editor or co-editor of Russia, Ukraine and Contemporary Imperialism, a special issue of International Critical Thought (2016), Theoretical Engagements in Geopolitical Economy (2015), Analytical Gains from Geopolitical Economy (2015), Revitalizing Marxist Theory for Today’s Capitalism (2010) and Developmental and Cultural Nationalisms (2009).

This panel discussion is organized by the International Manifesto Group. The IMG began discussing the fast-changing political and geopolitical economy of the world order and its national and regional components at the beginning of the pandemic. We are from around the world – North and South America, Europe and Africa, West Asia, Russia, China, East, South East and South Asia – and aim to be even more inclusive. We represent a diversity of currents of socialist thought. We meet fortnightly and hold zoom events on major issues. These are published on this website. The core of our analysis is our Manifesto, ‘Through Pluripolarity to Socialism’, and we believe engagement with its themes to develop them further is important for further left advance.

Co-sponsors include:

Nodutdol is a New York-based community of first through fourth generation Koreans living in the U.S. We are a community that has families in both, the south and north of Korea. They are diverse in our backgrounds and perspectives, but bound together by our shared sense of the Korean homeland that continues to suffer under division [with the understanding that the concept of ‘home’ may vary]. They are part of the Korean diaspora spread throughout the globe made up of artists, filmmakers, teachers, students, workers, professionals, young families, etc. who believe in social justice.

Qiao Collective is a diaspora Chinese media collective challenging U.S. aggression on China. Qiao aims to challenge rising U.S. aggression towards the People’s Republic of China and to equip the U.S. anti-war movement with the tools and analysis to better combat the stoking of a New Cold War conflict with China. They seek to be a bridge between the U.S. left and China’s rich Marxist, anti-imperialist political work and thought in order to foster critical consideration of the role of China and socialism with Chinese characteristics in contemporary geopolitics. Qiao aims to disrupt Western misinformation and propaganda and to affirm the basic humanity, subjectivity, and political agency of Chinese people.

Friends of Socialist China is a platform based on supporting the People’s Republic of China and promoting understanding of Chinese socialism.

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.

Continue reading

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