In all the stuff that is talked every day about the subject of North Korea, there is one thing that seems to have escaped almost everyone’s notice.
That is the responsibility of the United States for the very fact that North Korea still exists. The US spokespersons repeat ad infinitum that “it is not our problem, it is North Korea’s problem”, and this opinion appears to be shared by 99 per cent of those who utter an opinion on the subject. Yet this is absolutely not true.
I was very surprised a few months ago when I heard a youngish South Korean academic explaining the background to the current crisis. He spoke in calm, measured tones, and he is the only person I have heard in this cacophony of voices that assails us on the subject week after week, to have outlined the very basis of the problem, which is that certain conditions were attached to the ceasefire signed on July 27, 1953, designed to "ensure a complete cessation of hostilities and of all acts of armed force in Korea until a final peaceful settlement is achieved," and that the United States signally failed to observe these conditions.
Some of the difficult questions were dealt with successfully in the two-year negotiation leading to the Armistice, questions such as the position and extent of the Demilitarized Zone, and the repatriation of prisoners.
However --- and this is where this gets interesting --- the Armistice also recommended that the governments on both sides should hold within three months a high-level political conference to settle through negotiation the withdrawal of all foreign forces from Korea and the peaceful settlement of the Korean question. This question of military forces was placed under a so-called Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission, comprised of Switzerland, Sweden, Czechoslovakia and Poland.
The proposed conference was held in Geneva in April 1954, missing the three-month deadline by six months, and it involved US, USSR, France, China, along with North and South Korea. This conference ended without agreement, and in September 1956, the US notified the parties of its intention to introduce atomic weapons into Korea, and nine months later the US informed the North Korean representatives that the UNCommand no longer considered itself bound by Para 13 (d) of he Armistice, under which both sides agreed not to introduce new weapons into the country. With this the Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission had no further purpose, and withered away.
Herein, of course, lies the genesis of the entire North Korean drama, and the US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, must know that when he says, as he did at this week’s useless Vancouver summit of all the irrelevant actors, that the only problem is the nuclear posturing of North Korea, he is lying through his teeth. Even he must know that if the US would stop sabre-rattling, and get its thousands of well-armed troops and advanced weaponry the hell off the Korean peninsula, the issue would be 90 percent towards being solved.
Maybe I am naïve, maybe everyone knows who failed to observe the terms of the Armistice and refused to make a peace treaty, but it has seemed to me passing strange that in all the hours I have watched the comings and goings around this issue, I have heard only one man, and he an obscure South Korean academic, who has ever laid out the facts as they occurred, whereas all other spokespersons, especially those of the United States, continue to blithely ignore their responsibility for the problem. I recall that terrible US woman spokesperson at the UN, Nikki Haley, emoting in her characteristic way to the effect that if the North Koreans don’t watch themselves they could quite easily be blown up by the ignorant narcissist from whom she is taking her orders.
And while I am at it, how about our own silly posturing Foreign Minister, with her Ukrainian family background apparently deep in wartime support for the Nazis, which seems to account for her automatic anti-Russian obsession. At a time when we desperately need her to stand up to the dangers emanating from the White House, she seems to be pursuing a course of brown-nosing that is shameful to behold.
Just mentioning it…