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Vol. 81/No. 17      May 1, 2017

(front page)

US armada heads to Korea, Washington
threatens to act

As a U.S. Navy armada steamed to the Korean Peninsula, Washington continues to threaten to take unilateral military action against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea if they conduct a sixth nuclear weapons test.

The armada is led by the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, carrying over 60 warplanes and some 7,500 troops, along with destroyers, cruisers and submarines. Upon entering the East China Sea the strike force will be joined by several Japanese destroyers.

Washington has 28,000 troops stationed in South Korea, where they have been engaged in a seven-week-long series of military exercises, including special forces units practicing the “decapitation” of the North Korean leadership.

Speaking at the heavily fortified Demilitarized Zone — the border created when the U.S.-led Korean War ended in a deadlock in 1953, and now divides North and South Korea — Vice President Michael Pence declared April 17, “All options are on the table.” At the same time, the administration of Donald Trump, with bipartisan support, has stepped up efforts to convince Beijing to keep out of Washington’s way.

Seeking to lower tensions in the area, China has put some pressure on North Korea, reducing imports of its coal. But both Chinese exports and imports with North Korea continue to grow, rising 37 percent in the first quarter of 2017. Above all, Beijing seeks to prevent the overthrow of the government in North Korea, bringing U.S. troops to its border on the Yalu River.

North Korea shows no signs of backing off from defending its national sovereignty, attempting to test-fire a medium range missile that same day.

Beijing expressed its opposition to heightened military tensions in the region blaming Washington, Seoul and Pyongyang.

Reinforcing the threat of Washington’s armada is the U.S. rulers’ use of deadly missiles elsewhere in the world. U.S. war boats fired 59 missiles at a Syrian government air base April 6. And a U.S. warplane dropped the Pentagon’s 21,000 pound “mother of all bombs” — its largest bomb short of nuclear weapons — in Afghanistan April 13. Pointing to Pyongyang, the Wall Street Journal editorialized, “Let’s hope the right people noticed this blast.”

Announcing the sending of the armada April 11, Trump said North Korea was a problem that “will be taken care of.” He added, “We have submarines. Very powerful. Far more powerful than the aircraft carrier.” The Pentagon deploys an estimated 1,000 nuclear warheads on submarines patrolling the world’s waterways.

At the same time that the U.S. rulers are threatening to attack the North, Washington is installing a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system in South Korea, in the face of ongoing protests there (see photo box). This “defense system” helps to fortify the U.S. military foothold on the peninsula and intensifies its pressure on the DPRK and China.

For years Democratic and Republican administrations alike have demonized North Korea, imposed sanctions and threatened military action against the 25 million people there.

Socialist Workers Party protests
The Socialist Workers Party spoke out against Washington’s threats. An April 15 statement demanding U.S. get out of the region by Osborne Hart, Socialist Workers Party candidate for mayor in New York, is being widely circulated across the country and beyond. (See adjacent statement.)

“We pledge our unconditional solidarity with the struggle to reunify Korea, which Washington partitioned in 1945, waged a murderous war against from 1950 to 1953, and with which the US government has refused to sign a peace treaty to this day,” Steve Clark wrote on behalf of the SWP National Committee to Kim Jong Un, chairman of the Workers’ Party of Korea, on the occasion of the country’s April 15 holiday.

“As Socialist Workers Party members campaign on workers’ doorsteps; as we join protests demanding “Amnesty Now! Stop the Deportations!” in defense of foreign born workers; as we walk the picket lines with striking silver miners in Idaho and other workers — we explain that assaults on the rights and living and job conditions of working people at home are inflicted by the same wealthy families responsible for Washington’s war moves against our sisters and brothers the world over.

“On this DPRK national holiday, the Socialist Workers Party and Young Socialists join with others around the world in demanding: End all economic and banking sanctions against the DPRK by Washington and by every government in Asia and the world!” Clark said. “US troops, ships, planes, and THAAD missiles and radar systems out of Korea’s soil, skies, and waters! For a Korean Peninsula and Pacific Ocean free of nuclear weapons. Korea is one!
Related articles:
Socialist Workers Party: ‘US hands off Korea!’
All US troops, warships, fighter bombers out now!
US THAAD anti-missile battery out of Korea!
SWP in 1950: ‘Stop US Korea War! US troops out now!’
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