North Korea's 23 million people has nearly half the population of the South, their standard of living is much lower and average life expectancy in men has not reached 70 years, ten years less than in the South. Governed by a hereditary Stalinist nomenclature has besieged fortress complex and fear of being invaded. In this context, what is the meaning of military maneuvers on the border from Seoul? It seems irresponsible and unnecessary. That should be reason enough for the resignation of the Ministry of Defense of South Korea.
THE UNFINISHED WAR OF KOREA
On August 9, 1945 Soviet troops according to an agreement between the allies, liberated the North of Korea, which was invaded by the Japanese. After the surrender of Japan to the U.S. on August 15, the two powers divided by the 38th parallel Korea into two occupation zones, as they did in Germany. Each administration imposed its kind of politic and economic administration, communist in the North and capitalist in South. Soon began the Cold War between the U.S. and the USSR.
In 1950 the People’s Republic of North Korea invaded South Korea, under the slogan of reunification of the country, socialist revolution and expelling foreign troops from the Korean Peninsula. The Security Council of UN -in absence of Soviet representant-approved the dispatch of troops to Korea for restoring the border in the parallel 38º.
(North Korean prisioners in Seul 1950)
These troops were mostly U.S. troops. USA has in addition to the Navy in the Pacific, a huge naval base in Okinawa (Japan). The troops of the UN mission were placed under the command of General MacArthur, a fanatical supporter of US colonialism in Southeast Asia and Philipins, who exceed the goals set by the UN and invaded Korea completely and even bombed the Chinese Manchuria. China responded with waves of soldiers "volunteers", which helped the North Koreans to regain lost territory back to the parallel 38 º. Korea was thus divided, after the armistice, since no peace treaty was signed, 1953.
The three-year war took more than three million Koreans dead or wounded, mostly civilians. U.S. held there since now a contingent of 32,000 troops.
Piongyang wants to negotiate bilaterally with the U.S., and demands to cease the threaten of been invaded again and the withdraw of USA troops from the peninsula in order to allow an inter-Korean dialogue about Reunification. To avoid it, U.S. insists on multilateral talks that include China, Russia, UN and South Korean. The only reunification that U.S. is willing to consent, would be an absorption of the north by the south, as happened to East Germany.
During the Clinton Administration and with the visit of Madeleine Albright to Piongyang, began a rapprochement and the hint of a possible negotiations and regulation of the relations between Washington and North Korea.
But after that, the new President, George Bush, a warmonger, threatened North Korea, Iran, Syria and Iraq and were included in their particular "axis of evil."
LESSONS OF THE INVASION OF IRAQ
Iraq allowed the entry of UN observers, and yet was bombed and invaded under the pretext of having some weapons of mass destruction that did not possess.
Seeing this, other countries threatened by Bush, took lessons for themselves: They believe that international institutions are being adulterated (as recognized by Amnesty International report of 2005) and in the service of the U.S. neo-colonial interests , if you collaborate with them, they will spy on you first (case of Australian Buttler inspector in Iraq, reporting for the CIA) and then you will be invaded, devastated, impoverished and despoiled, like it happened to Iraq.
The thesis: "If you can not defend by yourself, you will be bombed and invaded by U.S.," explains why Iran or the North Korean state have devoted enormous efforts and resources (in the case of North Korea is a poor country suffered a famine in 1997) to develop its own nuclear and missile programs.
North Korea, with his new missiles and the likely production of an atomic bomb (has carried out two underground tests), now can reach the troops, bases and U.S. ships deployed in a medium-range of his territory. This fact has drastically limited the Washington's ability to achieve a "military solution" in his disputes with North Korea.
North Korea took steps to ensure that any “new Bushes” will not be able to threaten her, and has declared herself ready to negotiate with U.S. bilateral arms reduction, in exchange for the guarantee that she never will be invaded.
The response that this isolated and suspicious regime got, is that military exercises are conducted annually "Team Spirit", between the armies of the United States and South Korea, in the border simulating a invasion and landing in the North. Besides these macro exercises, there are the constant military exercises of the South Korean Army and Navy.
On this occasion the military exercises have been deployed in the South Korean island of Yeonpyeong, located on the border between the two countries in the Yellow Sea, in waters disputed by both countries, near the west coast of the peninsula and just over 100 kilometers from Seoul.
The South Korean Army admitted that, they were having in Yeonpyeong ballistic tests, but shooting was pointed to the west and not north.
The North Korean agency, KCNA, said the South Korean military had been the first to shoot "tens of artillery howitzers”, forcing the North Korean Army to react, with a firing of to 200 artillery shoots, according to South Korean sources, to the island. The South Korean Army responded with another 80 shoots against North Korean artillery positions located on the west coast of the northern State and ordered the dispatch of fighter jets to the island.
The sad result is that three South Korean soldiers and two civilians were killed by shell fire from North Korean artillery, plus 17 wounded South Korean soldiers.
Antonio Romea. International Policy Analyst, based in Madrid.
Former Director of the Institute of International Studies (University Complutense) in Moscow.
Articles in Spanish press (ABC, El Mundo, El Correo, El Diario).