On Friday, April 27, at the ‘Truce Village’ of Panmunjom in the demilitarized zone, the two Korean leaders - North Korea’s President Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae In - held an historic meeting to discuss ways of bringing peace to the Korean peninsula.
North and South Korea have been divided since the end of the Korean War in July 1953, when an armistice was signed by US Lt. Gen. Harrison Jr. on behalf of United Nations Command (UNC) and North Korean General Nam II representing the Korean People’s Army (KPY) and the Chinese People’s Volunteer Army (PVA) to bring about a complete cessation of hostilities until a final peace settlement was achieved on the peninsula.
The armistice among many other points mandated neither side introduce new weapons into Korea except for piece-for-piece replacement. The armistice also established a demilitarised zone which divided the Korean peninsula into two states, despite Korea having been a united entity for thousands of years. Additionally the Armistice Agreement called for a conference to be held within three months of the signing of the agreement in order “to ensure the peaceful settlement of the Korean question”. After numerous delays the conference was finally held in Geneva, Switzerland in April 1954.
At that conference Chinese Premier (then FM) Zhou Enlai suggested a peace treaty be drawn up to bring hostilities on the peninsula to an end. Sadly, the US opposed the proposal and a peace treaty has never been drawn up.
In January1958the U.S. unilaterally abrogated the section regarding the non- introduction of new weapons into Korea. It began deploying nuclear armed Honest John missiles, 280mm atomic cannons and cruise missiles with a capacity to hit China and Russia into South Korea.
The meeting between the two Korean leaders on April 27, 2018 is thus an attempt to take the future of Korea into the hands of the Korean people and finally end the war and unite the Korean peninsula which is being kept divided by foreign interests. The two leaders also agreed on the need to rid their peninsula of nuclear weapons.
The meeting signifies, hopefully for the Korean people, the will of its leadership to put an end to foreign interference in what is basically a Korean issue and formulate a home-grown solution to issues which are keeping their people apart.
The special mention denuclearising of the peninsula is not something that will go down well with the US. The introduction of nuclear missiles by the US, into the Korean peninsula despite the armistice agreement was not for the benefit of the Korean people. At that time, the US was the big nuclear power in the world, with the Soviet Union carrying out its first nuclear test only on August 29, 1949! The introduction of atomic/nuclear weapons into the Korean peninsula was simply a means of continuing and furthering US hegemonic designs in the Asia Pacific area and an attempt to intimidate China and the then Soviet Union whom it saw as its rivals in the region.
North Korea’s nuclear programme began in the late 1970s and was a response to the introduction of US nuclear armaments into the peninsula. North Korea looks on its nuclear ‘arsenal’ as a means of securing its national security. The continued US denunciation of North Korea’s nuclear programme and atomic weapons, is more an effort to cover the ‘Original Sin’ committed by the US through having unilaterally abrogated the Armistice Agreement and nuclearizing the Korean peninsula.
After all, though the US claims to fear nuclear weapons in the hands of so-called mad men, It is the US alone, which used nuclear weapons as a weapon of war.
It is unrealistic to expect North Korea to unilaterally dismantle its nuclear programme without a sense of security, an improvement in US-N Korea relations, the elimination of the US nuclear umbrella over South Korea and withdrawal of US nuclear weapons from the peninsula. Given the US interests in the region it is difficult to see the US agreeing to North Korea’s conditions. The reality is the US will block all acts running counter to its selfish interests, however justiciable they may be.