News compilation and comment on A Socialist In Canada, April 29, 2018 (updated and with postscripts)
* Panmunjeom Declaration aims to usher in a new era of peace on the Korean Peninsula, by Lee Je-hoon, senior staff writer, The Hankyoreh, April 27, 2018
* Halting hostile activity between South and North Korea is a key feature of Panmunjeom Declaration, by Park Byong-su, senior staff writer, The Hankyoreh, April 28, 2018
* Korean Public Service and Transport Workers’ Union hails Panmunjom Declaration, published by Zoom In Korea, April 27, 2018
* North and South Korea agree on complete denuclearization, RT, April 27, 2018
* Korea promises to close nuke test site in May, RT, April 29, 2018
* North and South Korea historic meeting: The politics behind the summit, interview with Tim Beal and Gregory Elich, broadcast on the program ‘Loud And Clear’ on Sputnik Radio, hosted by Brian Becker and John Kiriakou, in Washington DC, April 28, 2018 (26 minutes, interview begins at three-minute mark following news headlines)
In one of the most important diplomatic breakthroughs in a generation, the leaders of North and South Korea met and pledged to denuclearize the peninsula and to formally end the Korean War. Even the most optimistic observers were surprised at the scope of the meeting, which took place on the South Korean side of the border at Panmunjom. President Trump later issued a statement saying that he was looking forward to meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in the coming weeks or months.
(Gregory Elich is a member of the Solidarity Committee for Democracy and Peace in Korea, a Korea Policy Institute associate and a member of the ‘Task Force to Stop THAAD in Korea and Militarism in Asia and the Pacific’. He is the author of the 2006 book Strange Liberators: Militarism, Mayhem, and the Pursuit of Profit. His website is here. Tim Beal recently retired from Victoria University of Wellington where he taught for many years. His second book on Korea is Crisis in Korea: America, China and the Risk of War, published in 2011. His website Asian Geopolitics is here.)
* A history of US nuclear weapons in South Korea, by Hans M. Kristensen and Robert S. Norris, published in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, Volume 73, Issue #6 in 2017, pages 349-357, online Oct 26, 2017
During the Cold War, the United States deployed nuclear weapons in South Korea continuously for 33 years, from 1958 to 1991. The South Korean-based nuclear arsenal peaked at an all-time high of approximately 950 warheads in 1967. Since the last U.S. nuclear weapons were withdrawn from South Korea in 1991, the United States has protected South Korea and Japan under a “nuclear umbrella” using nuclear bombers and submarines based elsewhere…
* What does ‘denuclearization’ mean in the negotiations for an end to the Korean War?, by Dave Lindorff, published on This Can’t Be Happening, April 29, 2018 (Dave Lindorff is the founding editor in 2004 of the online This Can’t Be Happening.)
Media news reports and commentary as well as political statements coming out of Washington on the surprising blossoming of peace talks between North and South Korea tend to focus on the question of whether North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is really “serious” about eliminating his recently developed nuclear weapons arsenal, or whether he will just try to keep what he has while decrying US military threats to his regime. Missing in all the verbiage has been any reporting on the long US history of nuclear weapons in South Korea, where the US still, 65 years after the end of fighting on the peninsula, maintains at least three military bases and 28,000 combat-ready troops…
* Will the U.S. drop sanctions and economic embargo against North Korea?, interview with Tim Shorrock, broadcast on Democracy Now!, April 30, 2018 (Interview begins at 14’30” mark, with transcript. Tim Shorrock is a correspondent in Seoul for The Nation and the Korea Center for Investigative Journalism. Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman refers to North Korean President Kim Jong-un as a “dictator” while referring to Donald Trump as “President Trump”.)
* Nearly 80 per cent of South Koreans say they trust Kim Jong Un, by Kanga Kong, Bloomberg News, May 1, 2018
Comment by Roger Annis:
Western media and governments are sounding a mix of skepticism, caution and downright concern over the peace agreement reached on April 27 between the two Koreas. In some media, the concern is sounding like panic. They don’t like the precedent which may be set by peace breaking out in Korea. Could this happen elsewhere in the world? A world of peace would be disastrous for arms production and sales. It would interfere with projections of Western imperialist power and dominance in the world.
A comic subset in Western media is the talk that the Korea agreement is the result of the war threats of Donald Trump. We are told that Trump therefore merits the Nobel Peace Prize! This brings to mind the farcical awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009 to the then, newly-elected President Barack Obama. He went on to infamy as the ‘drone president’ who escalated U.S. wars beyond the murderous rampages of his predecessors George W Bush and Bill Clinton.
The New York Times is reporting on April 29 that Kim Jong-un, the president of the People’s Democratic Republic of Korea, raised at the Panmunjom summit meeting the prospect that the DPRK would eliminate its nuclear weapons arsenal in exchange for a commitment by the U.S. to never militarily attack the Korean people. There is a precedent for such a move–the agreement between the U.S. and the Soviet Union in 1962 which put an end to the Cuban Missile Crisis of that year. From Wikipedia:
… After a long period of tense negotiations, an agreement was reached between U.S. President John F. Kennedy and Khrushchev. Publicly, the Soviets would dismantle their offensive weapons in Cuba and return them to the Soviet Union, subject to United Nations verification, in exchange for a U.S. public declaration and agreement to avoid invading Cuba again. Secretly, the United States also agreed that it would dismantle all U.S.-built Jupiter MRBMs, which had been deployed in Turkey against the Soviet Union; there has been debate on whether or not Italy was included in the agreement as well.
The Times reports its story with its typical mix of cynicism in which the DPRK, not the aggressor U.S. and its allies who waged a near-genocidal war against the Korean people from 1950-53, are deemed responsible for all the danger and instability on the Korean Peninsula.