US and North Korea Trade Threats as Talks Stall

Photo: South Korean news program shows an image of North Korea’s rocket engine  ground test during a news program. The banner reads: “Very important test.”

By Kim Hyun Sang and Mike Talavera

On Sunday, North Korean authorities announced on state-run television that they had completed a “very important test” at the Sohae Satellite Launching Ground along the Chinese border. Experts have speculated that it was a static engine test, used to test fuel engines with a missile attachment without actually launching them into the air.

The test is one of several that has occurred since May of this year after the breakdown of negotiations between US President Donald Trump and Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un at the Hanoi Summit. Flexing its nuclear weapon capabilities has been one of the few negotiating tactics the DPRK has to push for relief from the extensive sanctions imposed on it by US imperialism.

After last weekend’s announcement about the test, Trump tweeted that Kim has “far too much to lose” and added that he “does not want to void his special relationship with the President of the United States.”

In response, Ri Su Yong, the Vice-Chairman of the Central Committee of the revisionist Workers’ Party of Korea warned that Trump should “think twice if he does not want to see bigger catastrophic consequences.”

The DPRK’s withdrawal from the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) in 2003 and its subsequent development of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons has been used by the US to lead other countries in severely restricting trade with North Korea, with some materials necessary for medical and agricultural industries being entirely cut off.

If it is true that North Korea’s dependence on its limited nuclear program increases the burden on its own people, then it is even more true for US imperialism which stockpiles a massive nuclear arsenal to assert its global dominance. The standoff with North Korea has exposed the people of the US to the same nuclear threat that US imperialism holds over the world. While US imperialists try to exploit this fear of a North Korean intercontinental missile attack to justify sanctions, they cannot stop the masses of the US from rising in response against US aggression.

It is right to rebel against imperialism, but history has shown that the anti-imperialist fights which succeed rely on people over weapons. Nuclear threats will not liberate the Korean peninsula any more than they will save US imperialism from the wrath of its gravediggers.

The recent bout of threats between the US and North Korea are taking place in the context of renewed calls for reunification of the Korean peninsula. In August, South Korean President Moon Jae In vowed to set the path for this goal to be accomplished by 2045, primarily through dismantling North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.

Neither nuclear blackmail nor denuclearization, however, can expel US imperialism from the Korean peninsula or resolve the class contradictions within North and South Korea. Socialist revolution must take up these tasks.