Korea: Progress Towards Peace

Recently, political shifts in the Korean peninsula have led to a brand new hope for peace and unification in Korea. This began with the participation of the DPRK in the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea and it culminated in the meeting between Kim Jong-Un and Moon Jae-In on the DMZ in April. More recently, Kim Jong-Un met with Donald Trump in Singapore. This was historic for multiple reasons, the most prominent being that Trump is the first sitting US president to meet with a leader of the DPRK. Not to give Donald Trump too much credit but, this meeting is a very momentous and positive occasion for peace in the Korean peninsula. The agreement to a mutual de-escalation of military posturing and a plan to formally end the Korean War is nothing but positive and should be welcomed by all peace-loving people of the world. That is why it is surprising (but also not) that the neoliberal establishment in the US media has not viewed this as a positive development. Their attitudes stem from their pure ideological opposition to whatever Donald Trump does and the fact that most in the American establishment are warmongers. Be it with Iran or the DPRK, the neoliberal establishment does not seek peace and never will.

Why does the neoliberal establishment not want peace in Korea? Well that can be attributed to a number reasons. To some, such as the pundits in the US media, it is out of this pure opposition to Donald Trump. This attitude is harmful because it is anti-peace, based upon orientalist views of the situation, and gives Donald Trump too much credit in the peace process. The current peace process in Korea is due to the actions of the Korean people and renewed sentiments within both Korean governments. The DPRK has long wished for peace and unification, having stretched the hand of diplomacy out to the South on numerous occasions, only to be turned away by numerous US-puppet governments. Even when they were accepted, the actions were minimal and did not lead to anything like we are seeing today. What is different about the South Korean government today is that there is a president that is committed to peace. Moon Jae-In has been a leader of the process, arranging the meeting on the DMZ and accepting openly the diplomacy of the North. The fact of the matter is that the United States has had little to do with this peace process. This is a hard pill to swallow for the American Exceptionalist establishment and even some of the American populace. This peace process would have happened regardless of who won the 2016 Presidential Election because, believe it or not, that was not the most ground shaking moment in world history. The administration of Moon Jae-In was elected in South Korea due to the people being fed up with US puppet governments relegating their country to nothing more than a pawn of US imperialism in Asia. Those policies of control over South Korea would have continued no matter who won the US election and the peace process would have still started. The US should not involve itself in every situation and the fact that it does has only led to chaos and destruction. That is not to say that the meeting between Kim and Trump is a bad thing, it is an excellent thing but, for different reasons than Americans would think.

The Trump-Kim summit in Singapore has a lot of meanings, both material and symbolic,  in the context of the Korean situation. First off, credit where credit is due, Trump meeting with Kim is a monumental step. In a symbolic sense, a sitting US president and a leader of the DPRK meeting is a huge step for peace. It provides people with a symbol of hope and a feeling that peace can be achieved, although, Moon and Kim meeting at the border is arguably a bigger step. In a more tangible sense, the meeting has produced some very positive effects. First is the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula. This is a good thing as it definitely cools down the situation. The DPRK even destroyed one of its nuclear weapons facilities to show its commitment to the policy. This is why it is absurd to suggest that the DPRK is not committed. Sure, it is true that the DPRK has backed out of many deals before but, in fairness, those were not necessarily fair deals. Even then, the process has come this far, why would they back down now? Furthermore, the entire sentiment of the DPRK backing down or lying is proof of the racist and orientalist attitudes many in the United States have towards this situation. The American system and culture has bred this sentiment that these countries cannot be trusted due to them not being Western or them not being a total lapdog of the US. We can see this with the ongoing situation in Iran. Given the willingness of the DPRK to de-escalate, does the US share the same sentiment? Well, it does in writing at least. The United States has agreed to halt military exercises, try and pull some troops from Korea, and remove the THAAD systems from the border. These would all be great if they occur but, the US has an actual worrying track record of not living up their ends of deals so, it is good to be cautious of these promises.

This all being said, what does the future of Korea look like? Well, that is hard to say. The peace process is still in its infancy and hopefully will lead to a lasting solution in the region. The only thing preventing that is the intervention of an imperialist power and that brings up another important point. Peace in Korea must be a Korean peace supported by the Korean people. The Korean people did not choose the partition they live under today, it was chosen for them by two colliding powers. While it is preferable for the peace to based on the Korean people, that sentiment has yet to manifest itself from the leaders discussing. With that, it is important that the talks between the US and North Korea be based upon mutual respect. The respect of both countries is important to any talk of peace going anywhere. America must swallow its pride for peace but, given the history of the United States and the state of the presidency today, that is probably too big of an ask.

It is the job of all peace-loving people of the world to campaign for peace in Korea. The partition of Korea was without the consent of the Korean people and the peace and reunification must be a Korean, not American, or Chinese, or Russian. It is not and never will be the job of the United States or any other power to dictate the politics of other countries. It is baffling how much the Americans do not want peace. They cry human rights in the DPRK and refuse to even acknowledge the DPRK as a sovereign state. While human rights are a very important issue in the DPRK, how is not respecting them going to fix those problems? Diplomacy is built on mutual respect. Also, who is the United States to talk to anyone about human rights? The United States has killed more people with its foreign policy than any leader of the DPRK has ever been accused of killing. The hypocrisy of the American establishment must be called out by all who love peace. The world has a shot at peace, we cannot allow for the imperialists to meddle with the situation.

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