|Volume 53 Number 10, April 22, 2023
Press conference and picket in Seoul, March 7, 2023, calling for end to U.S.- ROK military exercises
The dangerous militarisation of the Korean Peninsula by the US continues as part of its hegemonic ambitions to dominate East Asia and threaten the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and also China. The US has been conducting ongoing military and nuclear exercises on land, sea and in the air, in and around the Korean Peninsula, into 2023, as it has continued its 70 years of interference and provocations on the Korean Peninsula following the ending of the Korean war in 1953.
According to reports, the exercises in March this year were not only the largest in many years but even the pretence that such exercises were "defensive" to the Republic of Korea (ROK) has now given way to open declarations that they are aimed at waging war against the DPRK, at "occupation of Pyongyang" and at a "beheading operation". As usual the US and its allies wheel out the false claims that it is the DPRK that is the threat to peace on the Korean Peninsula to justify their continued and ongoing military activities.
The DPRK, its leaders and people's government, far from being a threat to peace, have always stood for peaceful re-unification of the two Koreas and continue to take stands against the interference of the US and for peace worldwide. Unlike the US, Britain and other powers that condemn the DPRK's existence and its right to be, the DPRK has not invaded and occupied any country. That the DPRK defends itself against US nuclear weapons and nuclear blackmail is not a crime but is its right, as is the right of all nations and peoples to defend their self-determination and peaceful development. For this defence of the sovereignty of its socialist system, the DPRK is justly admired by justice- and peace-loving people in Britain and throughout the world.
On the other hand, the US still has an estimated 28,000 troops stationed on Korean soil. It is an occupying power left over from the 1950s. It was in 1950 that the US instigated the Korean war, and the US, Britain and their allies committed untold atrocities. In the war, three million people died and the division of the one nation of Korea continues to this day. The US remains the threat to peace on the Korean Peninsula. This year marks the 70th anniversary of the signing of the armistice agreement in 1953. It is an essential demand, decades overdue, that the US sign a peace treaty with the DPRK.
The US is staging ongoing "joint" exercises with the ROK using its nuclear strategic bombers, stealth fighters and a Carrier Strike Group, creating an extremely dangerous situation, to which the people of Korea, both north and south, are firmly opposed. The latest US exercise Freedom Shield simulated an all-out US invasion of the DPRK and was staged from March 13. On March 20, for five days, the US 51st combat air division of the 7th US air force and south Korean air force staged an air-to-air live firing and air-to-surface bombing drill in the West Sea of Korea, aimed at raising the capability of a precision strike at the DPRK's "core targets".
Then for four days from March 26, the Ssangyong drill was launched conducting a joint landing drill for "occupying a city" (a thinly-disguised Pyongyang) of the DPRK with involvement of ROK armed forces. This Ssangyong drill went through a new provocative phase called "decisive action", which involved dozens of warships and other vessels including the US navy's amphibious assaulting ship Makin Island laden with scores of F-35B stealth fighters, various types of fighters and amphibious assaulting armoured cars, the US 1st Marine Expeditionary Unit.
As part of these warmongering exercises, the US nuclear carrier Nimitz was to be additionally dispatched first from the US mainland in case of contingency on the Korean Peninsula, alongside the special warfare units of US allies such as Britain and Australia and the ROK armed forces. Reports say that Britain has deployed its Royal Marines to the Korean Peninsula this year for the first time since the Korean war to join the US in its war preparations against the DPRK. This warmongering provocation by Britain is no accident. The Royal Marines of 41 Independent Commando had carried out amphibious raids behind north Korean lines between 1950 and 1951 as part of the armed forces of the US and its allies, including Britain, fraudulently dispatched under the United Nations flag, which invaded and occupied Korea.
On March 30, two B-52H nuclear strategic bombers of the US air force flew over the Korean Peninsula to openly pose a threat to the DPRK. From March 30 to April 1, stealth fighters from the US navy's amphibious assaulting ship Makin Island conducted a drill for striking ground targets above Kangwon Province, a province divided by the border with the DPRK.
Following these exercises, the US also staged a joint naval drill with Japan and the ROK including the US navy's nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Nimitz which arrived at the US Pusan naval base in the ROK on March 28. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning denounced the two-day drills in the waters of the Sea of Japan as the main source of tensions on the Korean Peninsula, stressing that Seoul, Washington and Tokyo "should stop military pressure and create favourable conditions to de-escalate tensions and resume dialogue" in the region.
The US have also announced that they will lead these current ongoing war exercises up to the largest-ever "combined joint firepower annihilation drill" in June when the anniversary of the end of the Korean war occurs. On April 3, a KCNA commentary "War Maniacs' Reckless Move"  remarked: "This shows that their hostile acts against the DPRK have reached the worst phase". It added that this "reminds the people and army of the DPRK of June 1950".
This renewed crime against peace and humanity on the Korean Peninsula against the Korean people by the US, Britain and its allies is unconscionable and must rightly be condemned by the peoples of the world.
For its part, Workers' Weekly condemns the refusal of the British government to oppose and call for an end to these ongoing and large-scale military exercises and provocations against the DPRK and demands that Britain gets its marines and other forces out of the Korean Peninsula. Britain holds a prime responsibility to maintain the peace, a responsibility it also holds from its involvement in the Korean war and its crimes then on the Korean Peninsula. Britain should refuse to submit to the US-inspired policy of, war, sanctions and threats against the DPRK and its leadership.
The peace-loving people of Britain wish the DPRK and the Korean people every success in their striving to secure peace on the Korean Peninsula and to put an end to the more than 70 years of US-engineered division, tension and strife between north and south so that the Korean people can move forward united, peaceful and prosperous.
1. "War Maniacs' Reckless Move", KCNA commentary, April 2, 2023