Photo: Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un meet in Singapore in June 2018
By Kim Hyun Sang
After months of stalled negotiations, the government of North Korea (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, or DPRK) has stated that they are open to continue talks with the US over sanctions relief and denuclearization.
In a statement to the state-run Korean Central News Agency, First Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui said, “We [are willing] to sit with the US side for comprehensive discussions of the issues we have so far taken up at [a] time and place to be agreed [upon by] late in September.”
However, she also warned the US, urging the Trump administration to come to the negotiating table with more acceptable proposals. In the same statement, Choe stated that America needed to come up with proposals other than the Libya model proposed in the failed Hanoi summit, otherwise negotiations between the two countries would end.
Talks between the US and North Korea fell apart at February’s Hanoi summit when President Donald Trump, on the advice of former National Security Advisor John Bolton, passed Chairman Kim Jong Un a paper demanding that he give up his nuclear weapons and bomb fuel upfront in exchange for sanctions relief.
Since then, North Korea has been test-firing short-range missiles in response to joint US-South Korean military exercises. In addition, Trump has since fired Bolton, citing major differences in how each wanted to handle countries that displease US imperialism.
The US and North Korea have agreed to restart these talks in late September. While it is a positive step towards reconciliation among the Korean people, the nefarious presence the US has in the Korean Peninsula cannot be understated.
Since Korea’s liberation from Japan in 1945, the US military has occupied the southern half of Korea. When the broad masses of Korea attempted to form a popular provisional republic, the US military under General John Hodge refused to recognize this new government. Instead, Japanese collaborators and colonial authorities were reinstated and the People’s Republic was forcibly suppressed.
In 1948, the Republic of Korea was founded in the South after anticommunists backed by the US held separate elections from the north despite most Koreans’ wishes for a united nation. When Koreans rebelled against this new regime, the South Korean and US governments cracked down hard on local populations like Jeju, where the military and rightwing gangs annihilated a large percentage of the population.
Shortly after the proclamation of the Republic of Korea, the DPRK was founded in the north. This is the origin of Korea’s national division which continues today.
Currently, the principal contradiction in Korea is between the two countries and US imperialism, who originally divided the Korean Peninsula and continues to maintain this division through their puppets in the south. The principal aspect of this contradiction being the effect that US finance capital has on both south, where it is used to dominate the country’s economy, and the north, where it is used to leverage harmful sanctions and isolate the country.
Now that North Korea and the US have agreed to continue talking, it is once again possible for the Korean War to officially end. The Korean War has never unofficially ended, as only an Armistice Agreement was signed between the US, China, and North Korea. Renewed negotiations can also potentially bring sanctions relief to North Korea should they agree to a deal with the US.
Sanctions relief holds great significance in the Korean Peninsula, as the UN sanctions prevent further inter-Korean economic cooperation between the north and south. However liberation will not come from any potential agreement involving the US, only with the reunification of the Korean nation and complete expulsion of imperialism (mainly US imperialism) can the Korean people move towards the socialist revolution that the masses so desperately yearn for.