President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un announced they’ve set Feb. 27-28 in Hanoi, Vietnam, for their second face-to-face summit meeting on denuclearization of Korea. Teams of U.S. and North Korean negotiators have been meeting to prepare the talks.
Stephen Biegun, the State Department’s special representative for North Korea, returned to South Korea Feb. 8 after three days of discussions in Pyongyang. This was the longest disclosed visit by a U.S. government figure to North Korea since Trump took office. Trump and Kim’s first summit took place in Singapore last June.
For more than 70 years the U.S. rulers have kept their boot on the neck of the Korean people. In 1945 Washington — with the complicity of the Stalinist regime in Moscow — divided Korea in half. U.S. troops occupied the South. They put down in blood a powerful revolutionary upsurge by workers and farmers and imposed the brutal dictatorship of Syngman Rhee there.
After significant defeats at the hands of North Korean forces at the outset of the Korean War in 1950, U.S.-led forces drove toward the northern border with China. Massive U.S. bombing and widespread napalm attacks destroyed much of the country. But Korean workers and peasants, aided by Chinese volunteers, pushed U.S forces back to the 38th parallel, leading to a stalemate in 1953. It was the first ever military defeat for US. imperialism. Washington and Pyongyang signed an armistice, but the U.S. government refused to sign a peace treaty ending the war, and has continued to do so ever since.
‘For nuclear-free Korean Peninsula!’
“Working people should take the opportunity of this coming round of negotiations to press the U.S. rulers to sign a peace treaty and reach agreement with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea on a Korea free of all nuclear weapons, of any origin, and take all practical steps to that end,” Seth Galinsky, Socialist Workers Party candidate for Public Advocate in New York City, said in a statement Feb. 11.
“A world free of all nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction opens more favorable conditions for workers and farmers everywhere to combat the carnage produced by the capitalists’ system of exploitation and oppression,” Galinsky said. “For a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula! End all economic sanctions against the Korean people! Sign a peace treaty with the DPRK now!”
Even while the negotiations continue, Washington has maintained its punishing economic and financial sanctions against the North, sanctions that hit working people the hardest. Washington has insisted it will continue these sanctions until North Korean leaders destroy all their nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missile capacity.
But Biegun told a select audience of Korea “experts” at a Stanford University talk before he left for Korea that while the U.S. government statement that “we will not lift sanctions until denuclearization is complete” is correct, “we didn’t say we won’t do anything until you do everything.”
“President Trump is ready to end this war. It is over,” Biegun said. “We are not going to invade North Korea. We are not seeking to topple the North Korean regime.”
Biegun noted that Kim announced to the people of North Korea that he has decided to come to an agreement with Washington.
The talks and insistence by both Trump and Kim that they will reach a denuclearization agreement have spurred a number of steps forward for working people on the peninsula. Meetings of family members separated by the two countries for decades have taken place. Discussions have begun between leaders in the North and South over joint rail projects to boost trade and travel. DPRK leaders have taken steps to return to the U.S. the remains of soldiers offered up as cannon fodder by Washington during their bloody assault on Korea.
These steps have boosted renewal of sentiment for reunification of the country.
“Korea is one!” Galinsky said in his statement.