Tensions around Korea are making many people nervous. Some are reminded of the Cuban missile crisis.
North Korea has recently placed its armed forces on “Combat ready” status.
It has also stated it will resume operation of its Yongbyon nuclear reactor. There are mounting concerns that it might launch a missile on the east coast or conduct a fourth nuclear test.
Socialists cannot support such warlike rhetoric. This has nothing to do with socialism or anti-imperialism and cannot possibly bring peace to Korea.
However, North Korea’s warlike deeds are a result rather than the cause of the current crisis.
True responsibility lies with the US, the world’s strongest military power, and its allies including South Korea, whose military spending exceeds North Korea’s entire GDP.
Behind the North’s posturing is the recent surge in the level of US bullying.
The annual Key Resolve and Foal Eagle military exercises that began in March were markedly more intense than in previous years.
The US showcased its ability to instantly bring nuclear ruin to North Korea by deploying its nuclear submarines, B-52s, B-2 stealth bombers and F-22 raptors.
For Washington to speak of “denuclearisation in the Korean peninsula” and of “a world without nuclear weapons” is therefore hypocritical in the extreme.
Washington used North Korea’s missile threats as an excuse to move sea-based X-band radar and warships armed with interceptor missiles into the vicinity.
So there is some truth in Jung Sae-hyun’s observation that “North Korea must have felt the threat of annihilation”.
Part of Washington’s motive must have been to silence opinion in Korea and Japan saying that they should have their own nuclear weapons.
It wanted to display its commitment to provide a “nuclear umbrella” for its allies.
Also important, no doubt, was the need to demonstrate clearly its muscle and clout in the region to China, its potential rival.
The US and its reckless show of military strength aimed at demonstrating its hegemony in East Asia is mainly to blame for the current situation.