Why Is Korea Not Reunified Already?
By Michael Billington – EIR
There is no legitimate reason why Korea has not already been reunified, or why there must now be a festering crisis over North Korea, threatening to spark a war that would devastate most of Asia and could possibly provoke a global nuclear war. The overtly British assets in the White House over the past 16 years—George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and Barack Obama—intentionally created the crisis, not because of any actions by North Korea, but in order to provoke confrontation or even war between the United States and China, to sustain the British division of the world into East against West. Likewise, we see the desperate effort by the British today to stop President Trump’s intended cooperation with Russia—using British-manufactured crises in Ukraine and Syria aimed at maintaining U.S.-Russia antagonism and possible war.
As this article will demonstrate, the foundation for a peaceful resolution to the Korea conflict—including ending North Korea’s nuclear weapons program—was firmly established in 1994, and was functioning reasonably well until the Bush-Cheney White House shut it down unilaterally, based on lies of the sort later made famous by Tony Blair’s fabrication of Saddam Hussein’s supposed weapons of mass destruction. Subsequent steps taken by Russia, China, Japan, and both North and South Korea, nearly saved the peace process, and set the pace for a peaceful reunification of the Koreas. Again, however, Bush, Cheney, and then Obama intervened to crush that effort, in favor of confrontation and military build up for war.
The Agreed Framework
North Korea had been a member of the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons Treaty (NPT) since 1985, but the International Atomic Energy Agency IAEA) believed in the early 1990s that Pyongyang was hiding some quantity of plutonium (produced at its graphite moderated nuclear reactor) from IAEA inspectors. A back-and-forth took place with the IAEA and the Clinton Administration, leading to a serious threat from Washington, then represented by Clinton’s Defense Secretary William Perry, that a military strike was being planned to take out the Yongbyon nuclear plant which produced the plutonium.
Former President Jimmy Carter then made a personal trip to North Korea and met with Kim Il-sung (the supreme leader of North Korea from the time of its creation after World War II), resulting in an agreement to reach a deal with Washington.
In the resulting “Agreed Framework” of October 1994, North Korea agreed to shut down the 5 megawatt (MW) plutonium-generating nuclear plant and stop construction on two others of 50 MW and 200 MW, and the United States and South Korea would provide a 1,000 MW light-water nuclear reactor that would not produce weapons-grade plutonium. Oil would be provided to the North until the new nuclear reactor came on line. Most important, talks toward normalization of relations would take place immediately, and the United States committed to neither use nor threaten to use nuclear weapons against North Korea while the talks were underway (the Korean War of the 1950s never officially ended—an armistice was signed, but never a peace treaty). Both sides agreed that the Korean Peninsula, North and South, would remain free of nuclear weapons. The IAEA would make routine inspections of the North to confirm compliance.
In 1998, Kim Dae-jung was elected President of South Korea. He had been a leading opponent of the conservative governments in Seoul, was imprisoned several times, and had even been condemned to death at one point. But circumstances changed, and he was elected. He moved immediately to implement a “Sunshine Policy,” opening up relations with North Korea. In 2000, he made an historic visit to North Korea and met with supreme leader Kim Jong-il, who had succeeded Kim Ilsung after his father’s death in 1994, soon after meeting with Jimmy Carter. Dramatic motion toward peace and cooperation on the Korean peninsula was nearly assured. Former Defense Secretary Perry has just written, in an April 15 article in Politico magazine, that during Clinton’s second term, he and others were negotiating a further deal with Pyongyang aimed at a long-term solution for peace on the peninsula. “With allies in South Korea and Japan,” Perry wrote, “we discussed a bargain that offered a highly desirable outcome: normalization of relations with North Korea in exchange for its giving up its quest for nuclear weapons. We were tantalizingly close to an agreement, including a presidential visit to Pyongyang, when the clock ran out on Clinton’s term.”
What happened next was one of the most bloodthirsty and insane acts in history. George Bush’s Secretary of Defense Colin Powell, who clearly had more sense than his boss, openly declared on March 6, 2001 that the new Administration intended to “engage with North Korea to pick up where President Clinton left off. Some promising elements were left on the table and we will be examining those elements.” But the very next day, President Bush—under the influence of his controller, Vice-President Dick Cheney, and with support from Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Rumsfeld’s deputy —snubbed the visiting South Korean President Kim Dae-jung, announced that there would be no engagement with “dictator” Kim Jung-il (sound familiar?), and essentially scrapped the entire Agreed Framework.
Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Wolfowitz were, of course, the team of neoconservatives that gave us the war on Iraq on false pretenses, based on Tony Blair’s lies, unleashing the destruction of Southwest Asia.
The result of this insanity can be seen today—North Korea now has an estimated 10-20 nuclear weapons. This should not be seen as a terrible blunder by the neocons: It must be seen as their intention. As long as North Korea could be presented as a threat, the United States’ expansion of military power in a ring around China could be maintained and expanded. The British imperial division of the world, East against West, could be sustained.
Progress Without British/U.S. Support
President Kim Dae-jung was undaunted in his pursuit of the Sunshine Policy towards North Korea. At the time, Lyndon LaRouche and representatives of his movement were meeting regularly with people in and around Kim Dae-jung’s administration, promoting the idea initiated by LaRouche in 1992 called the “New Silk Road.” The concept, following the collapse of the Soviet Union, was that a series of economic development corridors connecting Europe and Asia through high-speed rail lines—passing through Russia and the Central Asian republics—would create the conditions for “peace through development,” uniting former adversaries in mutually beneficial infrastructure and investment projects. From the beginning of this initiative, LaRouche identified the New Silk Road as proceeding from “Pusan to Rotterdam,” noting the importance of resolving the conflict on the Korean peninsula through mutual development between North and South Korea, together with Russia, China and Japan.
In 2002 this effort nearly achieved success, when the two Koreas opened the gates dividing North and South, began clearing the land mines on both sides of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), and began rebuilding the severed rail connections between North and South.
The September 27, 2002 issue of EIR carried an article by EIR’s Kathy Wolfe, who had been organizing for LaRouche’s ideas in South Korea, which read:
“At 11 a.m. on Sept. 18, North and South Korea cut open the DMZ barbed-wire fences which have divided them for 50 years, in ground-breaking ceremonies to rebuild the “Iron Silk Road”—the trans-Korean rail and road links severed since the Korean War.
“In the west, where the Seoul-Pyongyang Kyongui line is being rebuilt toward China, South Korean soldiers unlocked the ten-foothigh fence that runs the 250-kilometer length of the DMZ, at Dorasan Station in Paju, as thousands applauded. Simultaneously, 14.2 kilometers to the north, North Korea opened its fence at Kaesong Station. On the peninsula’s east coast, where the Donghae-Wonsan line is being rebuilt toward Russia’s Vladivostok, North Korean Prime Minister Hong Song-nam, Railway Minister Kim Yong-sam, and 3,000 guests cut the north fence of the DMZ at Onjong-ri at the foot of Mt. Kumgang (Diamond Mountain). Some 27 km to the south, South Korea opened its east coast fence in Kosung at the Unification Observatory, as crowds gazed north toward the revered Diamond Mountain.
“At all four points, ceremonies with fireworks and music exploded. . . . They joined a chorus singing the emotional “Our Wish Is Unification,” as a train decked with a unification flag and flowers rolled slowly toward the fence where the rails end.
“In more ceremonies on Sept. 19, construction began: South and North Korean soldiers simultaneously entered the DMZ at all four points for mine-clearing operations. Near Dorasan, 50 soldiers with live ammunition and 50 engineering troops followed a German-made mine-sweeper along the rail lines in a massed procession of trucks, backhoes, bulldozers, and an ambulance.”
The two Kims, from the North and the South, also set up an industrial complex in the northern city of Kaesong, near the border; South Korean companies set up factories with North Korean employees, benefitting both sides and setting a course for closer cooperation. They also arranged for family visits; members of families long separated by the division of the country after World War II were able to visit each other. Other stirrings toward peace had taken place just days before these events, when Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi travelled to Pyongyang on September 17, 2002, to meet with Kim Jong-il. The two issued full apologies to each other—Japan for its invasion and occupation of Korea from 1910 to 1945, and North Korea for the abduction of eleven Japanese citizens. They also agreed to formal diplomatic normalization talks, to begin in October.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, who had held several summits with both Kim Jong-il and Koizumi leading up to the meeting, offered his full support for the New Silk Road process.
At the same time, China initiated six-party talks among the two Koreas, Russia, China, Japan, and the United States. It was hoped that the rail connections linking South Korea to China and Russia through North Korea would be up and runnng by the end of 2003, and that the road to reunification would lie just ahead. It was not to be.
Subverting the Six-Party Talks
The Bush Administration launched its war against Afghanistan in 2002 and another against Iraq in 2003. Over the next fourteen years, Bush and Obama would keep the United States in a state of permanent warfare, targeting the three secular nations in Southwest Asia—Iraq, Libya, and Syria—none of which was Islamist, while all were firmly anti-terror. These two Anglophile presidents also sustained the longest war in United States history, continuing still today, in Afghanistan.
In his 2002 State of the Union Address, as Japanese and South Korean leaders were meeting with North Korean leaders and preparing joint development projects, George W. Bush pronounced that North Korea was part of an “Axis of Evil,” together with Iraq and Iran. As former Secretary of Defense Perry said in the article quoted above, the North Korean leadership may be reckless, but it is “not crazy or suicidal.” It would never use its nuclear weapons offensively, he noted, since it knows “the American response would bring death to the leadership and devastation to its country.” To that must be added that Pyongyang is fully aware of what happened to both Iraq and Libya, which gave up their nuclear weapons programs voluntarily, only to then be bombed mercilessly, their leaders killed, and their countries left in the hands of warring terrorist factions. North Korea will never give up its nuclear weapons program unless it has normalized relations with the United States and has obtained a non-aggression pledge. This is in fact what Perry recommends to President Trump.
As in Southwest Asia, so also in East Asia: Bush and Obama played along with the six-party talks, but found every excuse to claim—almost always falsely—that North Korea was cheating. On this false basis, Obama imposed more and more sanctions while deploying more and more military forces into the region. Obama then officially adopted a policy called “strategic patience,” which really meant refusing all contact, increasing sanctions every time Pyongyang tested a missile or nuclear weapon, and “patiently” waiting for either a collapse of the regime or an excuse to start a war. As with Bush’s policy, it was an assured failure, by intention, aimed at justifying the build-up around China.
Obama’s “Pivot to Asia” was the most blatant case of this fraud. The claim that the Pivot, and his later deployment of THAAD missile systems to South Korea, were meant to deter North Korea, fooled neither Beijing nor Moscow. Under the Pivot policy, Obama deployed massive U.S. military power in a ring around China and the Russian Far East, while the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade policy was openly aimed at isolating China and slowing down its increasing dominance of economic relations in the region. This attempt at economic isolation was a colossal failure, since China was at the same time implementing Xi Jinping’s New Silk Road policy (the Belt and Road Initiative), bringing real development, not military coercion, to the nations of the region.
Sad Case of Park Geun-Hye
The other major tragedy brought on by Obama’s role in Asia was the destruction of President Park Geun-hye’s government in South Korea. Park is the daughter of Park Chung-hee, the leader who transformed South Korea during his presidency, from 1961-1979, from one of the poorest nations on Earth after the Korean war to what is today one of the leading industrial powers. His daughter Geun-hye was not a strong leader, but she had a vision, which she called “the Eurasian Vision,” that Korea, together with Russia and China, would play a key role in the development of the entire Eurasian continent. In September 2015, she attended the celebration of victory in World War II in Beijing, standing proudly on the podium with Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin.
Clearly this Eurasian Vision required a peaceful resolution of the conflict with North Korea, so that the rail and other connections between South Korea and Russia and China could be restored. It was also understood that South Korean technology and skilled North Korean labor could, together, contribute to the much needed development of the Russian Far East, to the benefit of all.
In fact, although her government maintained a “no official contact” policy towards the North, she had allowed an extraordinary consortium to be established between Russia, North Korea, and three leading companies in the South—Hyundai Merchant Marine, a logistics and container freight company; Posco, the largest South Korean steel company; and Korail, the Korean state rail corporation. The consortium sent Russian coal by rail to a new port structure built in the North Korean city of Rason, where it was shipped by Hyundai Merchant Marine to South Korea, then by Korail trains to Posco steel mills. This was in fact the model for a system of state-industry cooperation which could have led to a “peace through development” solution.
Then, in January 2016, after the fourth North Korean nuclear weapons test (a test that everyone knew would happen eventually for the reasons given above), President Park Geun-hye capitulated totally to the Obama policy. Not only did she order the closure of the consortium of North Korea, Russia, and the South Korean corporations, but she even closed the Kaesong Industrial Complex, which by this time was employing more than 50,000 North Koreans in 123 South Korean companies.
This left virtually no ties between North and South—political, economic, or social. While the legal removal of President Park from power through impeachment was not specifically over this policy, but over corruption issues internal to South Korea, the impeachment was nonetheless aided by her obvious failure, and weakness, in letting Obama’s policies poison Seoul’s relations with China, Russia, and North Korea, creating the threat of a war provoked by the United States—a war that would be devastating to South Korea.
The election to replace Park will be held May 9, creating the potential for a new approach.
Trump Rejects the Imperial Divide
The Trump campaign made very clear that he intended to be friends with Russia, much to the horror of London and the warmongers in both the Democratic and Republican parties. Although he was critical of China’s economic policies during the campaign, he has now established a close relationship with Xi Jinping, including their personal meeting in Florida in April.
Trump’s bombing of a Syrian airbase on April 6 went against his pledge to end Bush’s and Obama’s wars of aggression against nations which were no threat to our own and was a clear violation of international law. But it was done on the basis of lies provided by British intelligence, claiming to have proof that the Assad government was responsible for a chemical weapon attack—a total absurdity.
Similarly, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has been screaming for war against Syria and goading Trump to prepare for a preemptive attack on North Korea. Even if North Korea’s nuclear weapons were destroyed in a first strike, its conventional weapons could, and likely would, totally destroy the beautiful city of Seoul, only 35 miles from the well-fortified border, and other sites in South Korea.
Although it would be an act of lunacy to launch such an attack on North Korea, and it is highly unlikely that Trump could be induced to do so, there will be no solution to the conflict until the British are acknowledged as the source of the crisis, aiming to prevent President Trump from carrying out his expressed intention to bring the United States into a new relationship with both China and Russia.
The Russian Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN, Vladimir Safronkov, responded on April 12 to a typically virulent rant against both Syria and Russia by the British Permanent Representative Matthew Rycroft, CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire), in a manner which profoundly located the fundamental intention of the British Empire:
“The essence is,” Safronkov said, “and everyone in the UN knows this very well, is that you are afraid, you have been losing sleep, over the fact that we might be working together with the United States, cooperating with the United States—that is your fear. You are doing everything to make sure that this kind of cooperation be undermined.”
Safronkov’s statement is accurate. He is perhaps the first world leader to identify what Lyndon LaRouche has identified for more than 50 years: The British will stop at nothing to prevent the United States from breaking the imperial divide between West and East and creating with Russia and China the basis for a new paradigm based on the common aims of mankind.
Now is the time to make that break, to establish a new era of mankind based on development, and end the British Empire once and for all.