Category: DPRK
US Ready to Talk With North Korea ‘Without Preconditions’ – Secretary of State
| December 12, 2017 | 8:35 pm | Donald Trump, DPRK | No comments
In this Aug. 10, 2017, file photo, a man watches a television screen showing U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un during a news program at the Seoul Train Station in Seoul, South Korea.

US Ready to Talk With North Korea ‘Without Preconditions’ – Secretary of State

© AP Photo/ Ahn Young-joon

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The US is ready to begin negotiations and work on a roadmap with North Korea without preconditions, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Tuesday.

“We are ready to talk any time North Korea would like to talk. And we are ready to have a first meeting without preconditions. Let’s just meet,” Tillerson said on Tuesday at an 2017 Atlantic Council-Korea Foundation Forum meeting in Washington. “And then we can begin lay out a road map of what we might be willing to work towards.”

The statement would seem to represent a change of approach for the US, which had demanded that Pyongyang halt its nuclear program before any negotiations could occur.

“We need DPRK [North Korea] to come to the table for talks. We are ready to talk any time they’d like to talk,” Tillerson said. “But they have to come to the table with the view that they do want to make a different choice. Let’s just meet and let’s talk about the weather if you want. We can talk about whether it’s going to be a square table or a round table.”

“Then we can begin to lay out a map, a road map, of what we might be willing to work towards,” Tillerson said, suggesting that initial contacts could revolve around establishing ground rules for any formal negotiations.

‘Without preconditions’ shouldn’t be taken as carte blanche, however, Tillerson noted. “It’s going to be tough to talk if in the middle of our talks you decide to test another device. I think they clearly understand that if we are going to talk, we have to have a period of quiet,” he said. North Korea has conducted 23 missile tests since February and tested a nuclear device in September.

But Tillerson is, apparently, espousing a less demanding position. In August, he told reporters, “We don’t think having a dialogue where the North Koreans come to the table assuming they’re going to maintain their nuclear weapons is productive.”

The secretary of state’s comments come a few days after the UN envoy to North Korea, Jeffrey Feltman, returned from visiting Pyongyang. Feltman is expected to brief the UN Security Council on his trip later on Tuesday.

US President Donald Trump has repeatedly expressed skepticism regarding negotiating with North Korea. Washington and Pyongyang haven’t sat down for formal negotiations since 2009.

One of the most important talks between Washington and Pyongyang occurred in 1994 when former US President Jimmy Carter visited Pyongyang to negotiate a deal with Kim II-sung, the grandfather of current North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Carter’s trip halted the first North Korean crisis and helped pave the way for the 1994 Agreed Framework, in which Pyongyang agreed to freeze operation and construction of nuclear reactors believed to be part of a secret nuclear weapons program in exchange for two proliferation-resistant nuclear power reactors. The agreement also stated that the US would supply North Korea with fuel oil until the reactors were constructed.

At the Atlantic Council-Korea Foundation Forum, Tillerson also revealed that the US and China have discussed how they would secure nuclear weapons in North Korea if the country suffered some kind of “instability.”

“We also have had conversations about in the event that something happened, could happen internal to North Korea — might be nothing that we from the outside initiate — that if that unleashed some instability, the most important thing to us would be securing those nuclear weapons they’ve already developed,” he commented. “We’ve had conversations with the Chinese about how that might be done.”

Last week, a Cathay Pacific flight crew announced that they saw North Korea’s latest missile test last Wednesday as they were flying over Japan.

Analysts agree that the latest test, of an intercontinental ballistic missile, shows that North Korea has improved its potential range, but doubts remain as to the country’s actual missile power. A Manila Times report speculates that a light dummy warhead was used for the test; a missile carrying a significantly heavier nuclear warhead would most likely not have been able to travel as far. In addition, analysts are skeptical that Pyongyang has mastered the technology needed to shield the warhead from extreme temperatures and stresses as the missile barrels back to Earth.

On Tuesday, armed forces from the US, Japan and South Korea combined to conduct an air power drill intended to assess their combat capabilities.

The operation took place in the East China Sea and consisted of Japanese F-15 fighters participating in joint exercises with US B1-B bombers, F-35 joint strike fighters and F-18 multirole jets, Reuters reported.

“The drill was meant to bolster joint operations and raise combat skills,” Japan’s Air Self Defense Force said in a statement.

The trilateral air drill is one of the largest in a series of drills to pressure North Korea to denuclearize and comes after a two-day exercise where the same nations launched missile-detecting operations.

US STRATCOM Head Ready to Resist Possible Illegal Order to Use Nuclear Weapons
| November 18, 2017 | 8:37 pm | Donald Trump, DPRK, struggle against nuclear war | No comments
a giant nuclear-equipped USAF B-52 bomber lifts off from the snow covered RAF Fairford runway in Gloucestershire, England, en route to the Gulf

US STRATCOM Head Ready to Resist Possible Illegal Order to Use Nuclear Weapons

© AFP 2017/ Gerald Penny

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Air Force Gen. John Hyten, commander of the US Strategic Command (STRATCOM) said on Saturday he was ready to disobey a possible presidential unlawful order to use nuclear weapons.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Air Force Gen. John Hyten said at the Halifax International Security Forum in Canada that the law of armed conflict set a number of criteria to determine legality of a military action such as necessity, distinction, proportionality, unnecessary suffering and others.

“I provide advice to the president, he will tell me what to do… And if it’s illegal, guess what’s going to happen? I’m going to say, ‘Mr. President, that’s illegal.’ And guess what he’s going to do? He’s going to say, ‘What would be legal?’ And we’ll come up [with] options, with a mix of capabilities to respond to whatever the situation is, and that’s the way it works. It’s not that complicated,” Hyten said, as quoted by the CBS News broadcaster.

“If you execute an unlawful order, you will go to jail. You could go to jail for the rest of your life,” he added.

Earlier this week, the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee raised the issue of whether incumbent President Donald Trump should retain an authority to order a nuclear strike. The Senate focused on the problem after Trump’s harsh remarks about North Korea, which included the promise to to unleash “fire and fury” and to “totally destroy” the country if necessary.

US military leaders would reject illegal order for nuclear strike, senators told

US military leaders would reject illegal order for nuclear strike, senators told

As senators raise concerns about ‘unstable’ Donald Trump’s decision-making, former commander says military is ‘not obligated to follow illegal orders’

Robert Kehler, right, addresses the Senate foreign relations committee.

Robert Kehler, right, addresses the Senate foreign relations committee. Photograph: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

As senators raise concerns about ‘unstable’ Donald Trump’s decision-making, former commander says military is ‘not obligated to follow illegal orders.

US military commanders would refuse a presidential order to carry out a nuclear first strike that they thought was illegal, senators were told on Tuesday.

Bob Corker, the Republican chairman of the chamber’s foreign relations committee, has expressed fears that the president is taking the country “on the path to world war III”.

Separately CNN reported on Tuesday that a “Nato partner country” had raised concerns about Trump’s command of the US nuclear launch system, under which the president alone can order a launch.

Opening the hearing, Corker – who has recently been engaged in bitter exchanges with Trump over his fitness for office – noted that “the president has the sole authority to give that order, whether we are responding to a nuclear attack or not”.

“Once that order is given and verified, there is no way to revoke it,” the Tennessee senator said. “To be clear, I would not support changes that would reduce our deterrence of adversaries or reassurance of our allies. But I would like to explore, as our predecessors in the House did 41 years ago, the realities of this system.”

Chris Murphy, Democratic senator from Connecticut, said: “We are concerned that the president of the United States is so unstable, is so volatile, has a decision-making process that is so quixotic, that he might order a nuclear weapons strike that is wildly out of step with US national security interests.”

Retired Gen Robert Kehler, commander of US Strategic Command (StratCom) from 2011 to 2013, told the Senate committee that he would have refused to carry out a nuclear first strike on presidential orders if he believed it did not meet the requirements of proportionality and necessity under the law of armed conflict.

“I would have said: I’m not ready to proceed,” Kehler said.

“Then what happens?” he was asked.

“I don’t know,” he replied. “Fortunately, these are all hypothetical scenarios. There is the human factor in our system. There is a human element to this.

“It would be a very interesting constitutional situation, I believe. The military is obligated to follow legal orders but is not obligated to follow illegal orders,” Kehler said, adding that he always made sure he had legal advisers at hand when he was at Strategic Command.

Ed Markey, a Democratic senator from Massachusetts who is sponsoring legislation that would limit the president’s authority to launch a first nuclear strike, said he was not reassured by Kehler’s arguments.

“I don’t have confidence that a military chain of command would reject an order by the president to launch nuclear weapons in a preventative nuclear war situation,” Markey told the Guardian after Tuesday’s hearing.

“I think that would be abdicating the responsibility of the US Congress to a group of generals who in many instances would have been appointed by the commander-in-chief, Donald Trump. That’s a very thin reed on which to have the fate of the planet being dependent.”

The president and his top officials have said repeatedly that North Korea would not be allowed to threaten the US with nuclear weapons, but as Pyongyang has persisted with its nuclear and missile tests, it has been unclear what the administration would do to stop the regime.

In August, the national security adviser, HR McMaster, raised the prospect of a “preventative war”, but many observers of the Korean standoff said any conflict was highly likely to quickly escalate into a nuclear exchange.

Under the US constitution, only Congress has the power to declare war, but the president, as commander-in-chief of the armed forces, has the authority to respond to an actual or imminent threat. Much of the Senate committee hearing was taken up by discussion of what constituted an imminent threat and who could make that determination.

Peter Feaver, a politics professor at Duke University and a specialist on presidential war powers, said: “I would say distinguish between scenarios where the military wake up the president versus scenarios where the presidents wake up the military.”

Feaver added: “In the context where the president is waking up the military in an extreme funk, saying ‘I’m angry and I want something done’, he would require a lot of people cooperating with him to make the strike happen. And they would be asking the questions that would slow down that process.”

Arms control experts however, expressed doubt that lawyers would always be involved in the decision.

“The system is designed entirely for speed, not deliberation,” said Stephen Young, a senior analyst at the Union of Concerned Scientists.

“Certainly in the case of responding to an incoming attack, the lawyers are not involved. It is not clear it would be any different for a nuclear first strike, despite Gen Kehler’s statements.”

Houston Demonstration: No War against Korea! Monday, December 4
| November 15, 2017 | 7:59 pm | Donald Trump, DPRK, Houston Socialist Movement | No comments
Dear Sisters and Brothers,
For more than seven decades, the U.S. government has brought death, destruction, and instability to the Korean Peninsula. At the end of the Second World War, Washington divided the peninsula and sent troops to occupy southern Korea to prevent the country from choosing a non-capitalist path of development. The U.S. then installed a right-wing dictator in southern Korea and supported a reign of terror which killed more than 100,000 communists and their supporters during the next five years.
After large-scale fighting between the new socialist regime in northern Korea and the dictatorship in southern Korea began in 1950, Washington sent tens of thousands of troops to defend its new client state and destroy as much of northern Korea as possible. Between 4 and 5 million people died before an armistice was arranged in 1953. Since then, the U.S. has remained committed to preventing the reunification of the Korean Peninsula under communist leadership and preserving its vassal state in Seoul. About 25,000 U.S. troops are still stationed in southern Korea today.
In recent months, it has become increasingly clear that the Trump administration is seriously considering a new war against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. This could lead to a major conventional war or even a nuclear conflagration with millions of deaths. If the People’s Republic of China acts to defend the DPRK from U.S. aggression–and Washington retaliated against Beijing– a global nuclear catastrophe could ensue, with scores or hundreds of millions of deaths. Such a war must be prevented. Now is the time for people in the United States to stand up and say “No!” to war against Korea.
A demonstration against war in Korea will be held on Monday, December 4, at 12 pm, on the sidewalk outside the office of U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, 808 Travis St., in Houston. Together, we will demand: No War against Korea! Stop Nuclear Catastrophe! Stand Up for Global Peace and Justice! This action is being organized by the No War against Korea Coalition, which includes Houston Socialist Movement, Party for Socialism and Liberation, and other organizations (list in formation). We urge the broadest possible participation in this important anti-war action. If your organization would like to help mobilize for this event or if you would like more information, please call us at 832.692.2306.
In Solidarity,
No War against Korea Coalition
The Communist Party of Canada’s contribution to the 19th International Meeting of Communist and Workers’ Parties

CPC contribution to 19th International Meeting of Communist & Workers’ Parties

October 4, 2017

The Communist Party of Canada’s contribution to the 19th International Meeting of Communist and Workers’ Parties

We are honoured to bring greetings to this historic gathering on the centenary of the Great October Socialist Revolution.

Great October is the historic marker between all class divided, exploitative and oppressive societies heretofore; and the end of the exploitation of one human being by another achieved with the victory of Soviet power in Russia.  The epoch of the transition from capitalism to socialism was irrevocably opened for the working class to pass through, according to the objective and subjective conditions in each country. 

As Lenin said, the road to socialism is not straight like the Nevsky Prospect.  The loss of the USSR showed that the transition period is intense – a life and death struggle with imperialism, in which socialist states can be overthrown and great setbacks sustained.  But the political struggle of the working class and its allies for socialism cannot be stopped and will prevail, because the working class is the grave-digger of capitalism, as Marx proved.  This is the irreconcilable contradiction of capitalism that foretells its inevitable passing.

Imperialism has seized the moment to drive the world to the brink of world war and environmental devastation, and to unleash the forces of reaction and fascism aimed to destroy socialism, to overthrow socialist and progressive governments, to eliminate the Communist and Workers’ parties.

US imperialism’s threat to “totally destroy” DPRK, to overthrow governments in Venezuela and Syria, and to effect regime change in Cuba, is an invitation to world war and nuclear catastrophe.  US imperialism is sliding towards fascism.  The growth of fascist movements and parties globally, of austerity, xenophobia, racism and misogyny, is imperialism’s response to the changed balance of forces after 1991.

We live in a very dangerous time, facing the stark choice of socialism or barbarism.   We must soberly assess how to roll-back the threat of fascism, reaction and war, and how to advance the struggle for fundamental social transformation which working people increasingly seek, despite growing anti-communist campaigns.

In Canada, nascent fascist movements are also blooming, given new life by developments in the US and Europe.  These include Soldiers of Odin, PEGIDA, and La Meute.  They prey on the insecurity and fear of working people who are victims of the capitalist crises and who are aware that there is no recovery for them, while the biggest corporations rake in super-profits, lay-off workers, drive down wages and pensions, and demand social spending cuts.  Social democratic governments and parties, including in Canada, continue to offer prescriptions to better manage capitalism.

In Canada, the Trudeau government was elected on a platform promising peace, jobs, democracy, equality, and redress for Indigenous Peoples, most of which they have abandoned.  Trudeau has bowed to US demands to increase support for NATO and NORAD, and will increase military spending by 70%.  Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland (grand-daughter of a Ukrainian fascist collaborator) has stick-handled the government’s pro-US positions, including threats to Venezuela, and permanent stationing of Canadian troops in Latvia and Ukraine.   We vigorously oppose these policies, and campaign for peace and disarmament, withdrawal from NATO and NORAD, and cutting current military spending by 75%.  We are working hard to build the peace movement, and in particular the Canadian Peace Congress, affiliate of the World Peace Council.

The climate change crisis, causing major disasters this year, has forced itself onto the global agenda.  The struggle for climate justice must be a priority for our movement.  Socialism will prevail, provided the globe has not been destroyed by war and environmental devastation.

The NAFTA negotiations are collapsing, killed by US protectionism.  A revived Trans Pacific Trade and Investment Partnership is on the horizon.  We have campaigned hard against these deals and capitalist globalization generally, designed to cement corporate control of the world’s resources and markets, eliminating national sovereignty.

We fight for mutually beneficial, multi-lateral trade that includes long-term credits for developing countries.

We have closely followed developments in Catalonia and Kurdistan.  Like other parties, we condemn the use of force by the Spanish government against the Catalan people and their struggle for national self-determination, a right that Lenin invoked as inviolable for Marxist Leninists.

Canada is a multi-national state, created at the point of a gun, after British colonialism defeated France in North America in 1763 and then subdued the French speaking populations in what is now Quebec.  During capitalism’s rise, colonial governments aimed to exterminate or forcibly assimilate Indigenous Peoples.  This unequal and involuntary union of oppressed and oppressor has been maintained by force and violence of the Canadian state ever since.

While the CPC does not support the option of Quebec secession, because it will weaken the struggle of the working class as a whole against capitalism and for socialism, we unequivocally support the right of Quebec and other nations in Canada to self-determination and to secession if they so choose.  This puts the onus on the English speaking nation to offer a new, equal and voluntary partnership as the basis for unity in Canada, one which recognizes the national rights of all, including the right of each to leave, in a new democratic Constitution.  This is the option we favour and campaign for.

In conclusion comrades, we thank the CPRF for hosting this historic meeting in Leningrad, the cradle of the Great October Socialist Revolution.

We express our confidence in the unity and coordinated action of the Communist and Workers’ parties, in our historic struggle for socialism, peace, and a sustainable global environment.

Long live Marxism-Leninism!

Hasta la Victoria Siempre!

Delivered by CPC leader Elizabeth Rowley on behalf of the Central Executive Committee of the Communist Party of Canada to the 19th Meeting of Communist and Workers’ Parties held in Leningrad, November 2-3rd, 2017.

Lawmakers Introduce Bill to Prevent Trump From Preemptive Strike on North Korea
| October 28, 2017 | 9:25 pm | Donald Trump, DPRK | No comments

Lawmakers Introduce Bill to Prevent Trump From Preemptive Strike on North Korea

© AFP 2017/ Paul CROCK

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Over 60 US representatives and senators have introduced a bill that would prevent US President Donald Trump from launching a preemptive attack on North Korea without securing Congressional approval beforehand.

The elegant and creatively named “No Unconstitutional Strike Against North Korea Act of 2017” would prohibit any executive funds from being used to strike the DPRK without the approval of Congress, according to a press release from Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee.

The bill would, however, make an exception if the strike was made to repel a sudden attack, to defend American allies in the region or to protect or rescue US personnel. Fifty-nine of the 61 co-sponsors are Democrats; only two Republican co-sponsors, Reps Thomas Massie (KY) and Walter Jones (NC), have signed on.

The bicameral bill was authored by Conyers as well as Sen. Edward Markey (D-MA) — both US military veterans — with the 88-year-old Conyers being one of two Korean War veterans currently serving in Congress. “As a veteran of the Korean War, I am ashamed that our commander in chief is conducting himself in a reckless manner that endangers our troops stationed in South Korea and our regional allies,” Conyers said in the press release.

“That is why Congress is standing up today to ensure that this administration understands that the Constitution does not permit military attacks without congressional approval.”

Instead, the bill calls for Trump and the White House to pursue a diplomatic resolution to the current crisis on the Korean Peninsula, which has seen an increasingly tense series of military buildups and exercises, as well as North Korean missile and nuclear tests.

The flames have been stoked by Trump’s belligerent rhetoric, such as when, in a speech before the UN General Assembly, he threatened to “totally destroy North Korea” if the communist country attacked the US or its allies.

On Twitter, Trump wrote that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un “won’t be around much longer,” and in an August press conference Trump vowed to meet any future North Korean threats with “fire and fury the likes of which the world has never seen.”

“During the campaign,” Conyers said, “people feared a President Trump with the power to initiate a nuclear conflict — less than a year later, those fears are far too close to being realized. Trump must immediately cease talk of pre-emptive war and commit to the diplomatic path advocated by both American experts and the South Korean government.”

The US Constitution gives Congress, not the White House, the power to declare war. Conyers’ and Markey’s letter cites the words of then-President George Washington in a 1793 letter to then-governor of South Carolina William Moultrie. “The Constitution vests the power of declaring War with Congress, therefore no offensive expedition of importance can be undertaken until after they shall have deliberated upon the subject, and authorized such a measure,” Washington wrote.

However, pre-emptive strikes have typically been exempt from this separation of powers. The letter of the law, the War Powers Act of 1973, gives the president the power to use military force so long as he notifies Congress within 48 hours of the commitment and the operation lasts 60 days or less.

‘Pressure’ on US Needed to Solve N Korea Crisis Diplomatically – Peace Activist

‘Pressure’ on US Needed to Solve N Korea Crisis Diplomatically – Peace Activist

A man watches a television news programme showing US President Donald Trump (C) and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (L) at a railway station in Seoul on August 9, 2017

‘Pressure’ on US Needed to Solve N Korea Crisis Diplomatically – Peace Activist

© AFP 2017/ JUNG Yeon-Je

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Amid the ongoing tensions over North Korea, the US is reportedly preparing to put its nuclear-armed B-52 bombers back on 24-hour alert, a measure unseen since 1991. Arthur West, Chairman of the Scottish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, explained why this decision is rather dangerous and what should be done instead to resolve the crisis.

Sputnik: Despite North Korea making significant progress with their nuclear weapons program… is this necessarily the right response from the US? What affect will this move have on the already delicate situation?

Arthur West (AW): The response by the United States is deeply depressing. I’m afraid it’s a very worrying development and I think it could escalate tensions. The response should be concentrated on a diplomatic solution to the issues.

Sputnik: From your perspective, instead of this constant ‘one upping’ of each other from the US and North Korea, what should be done to alleviate tensions between North Korea and the West? 

AW: Other countries in the world, such as the UK, should start to put pressure on America to find a diplomatic outcome to the current situation. I think that the US president and his administration should accept that any escalation will have absolutely disastrous consequences; I mean what happened in Hiroshima at the end of War World II in terms of casualties and damage.

So, there should be pressure on the United States to get into a diplomatic solution and also such countries as China and Japan should have got something to offer in terms of talks to resolve the situation.

Sputnik: Is there a worry that the provocative actions we’ve seen over the past days and weeks could inspire other countries to develop nuclear programs in a similar way to North Korea? What affect would this have on any international nuclear disarmament efforts?

AW: There is a real degree of hypocrisy here from the like of the US and the UK that speak about modernizing nuclear own weapons systems and yet they are calling on countries like North Korea to move away from nuclear weapons. So I think if we go down the current path yes it could encourage other countries to look at developing nuclear weapons and we don’t want that.

In September, 122 countries voted in the United Nations to have a global ban treaty in relation to nuclear weapons. Disappointingly, the US and the UK ignored these talks, but 122 countries voted in favor.

We need to use forums and structures, such as the UN global ban treaty, to try and move things forward. Certainly at CND we are putting pressure on the UK government to start to take that treaty seriously because over the next couple of years countries will be signing and ratifying that treaty. That offers a one way forward from the current situation towards a nuclear weapons free world.