Steps taken by the U.S. and North Korean governments to establish talks about ridding the Korean Peninsula of nuclear weapons are being welcomed by working people there, in Japan and across the Pacific. Whatever the U.S. capitalist rulers’ motivation — which is always to defend their imperialist interests — the removal of nuclear weapons and fingers off the triggers of the thousands of conventional weapons pointed across each side of the Korean border would improve conditions for working people to fight for their interests.
An agreement would improve prospects to push forward the fight to end the division between North and South Korea. A message sent April 13 to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea by Steve Clark for the Socialist Workers Party states that the party stands “in solidarity with the seventy-three-year-long struggle to reunify Korea, which Washington partitioned after World War II as it drowned popular uprisings of Korean working people in blood.”
The U.S. rulers have stationed their forces there ever since, and waged a devastating war on the Korean people from 1950-53. They should halt the provocative joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises, and withdraw all U.S. troops, missiles, warships and other weapons from the peninsula.
The talks open prospects for an end to sanctions that the U.S. rulers and their allies have used to squeeze North Korea’s working people. These punitive measures should be ended immediately and unconditionally, lessening the relative isolation of working people in North Korea from fellow workers worldwide. The DPRK’s decision to put the push for economic development to the fore today — a decision that requires an agreement with Washington, an end to sanctions and collaboration with the South — could open the door to advancing the interests of workers in the region.
Ridding Korea of nuclear weapons can reinforce deep opposition among working people inside Japan to the capitalist rulers there obtaining their own nuclear arsenal or stationing U.S. nuclear weapons on Japanese soil. It would slow down moves by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to remove parts of the country’s constitution that limit the use of the rulers’ military power as they seek to assert their interests against rivals.
The same wealthy U.S. rulers who are responsible for the social and economic crisis bearing down on workers and farmers maintain a huge nuclear arsenal to enforce their class interests. The SWP demands the U.S. rulers unilaterally destroy their nuclear arms.
As the talks between the two governments come closer, working people should stand in solidarity with fellow toilers in Korea. That requires demanding “an end to Washington nuclear ‘umbrella’ and deployment of nuclear armed warships and submarines in the surrounding skies and seas,” the SWP message says. For a Korean Peninsula, Japan and Pacific Ocean free of nuclear weapons! Korea is one!