US Bullying of North Korea, Iran Reveals Washington Aggression

First Iran, now it’s North Korea. The US global minstrel show of pseudo-handshakes and offers of talks just keeps on rolling, despite the laughable see-through fraudulence.

Remember earlier this year, American Vice President Joe Biden startled the international media with an offer of “direct talks” with Iran to resolve the “nuclear dispute”.

The real reason for why that apparent offer was startling was because it amounted to such transparent nonsense. The barefaced ability to lie by Washington knows no shame. Biden’s overture for talks with Iran was made at the same time that the US tightens illegal sanctions afflicting Iranian civilians, while continuing to threaten the Islamic Republic with war, along with its Israeli surrogate, and as Washington steps up diplomatic and material support for proxy terrorist groups, such as the MKO (Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization), operating within Iran.

Washington’s fatuous rhetoric and posturing is an insult to people’s intelligence. Yet it continues to declaim such asinine verbiage. The latest star-turn in its absurd diplomacy is the “offer” of “dialogue” extended to North Korea by US Secretary of State John Kerry.

After weeks of rising war tensions on the Korean Peninsula, Kerry again appeared to give a startling gesture of goodwill. On a recent trip to East Asia, the top US diplomat said: “The United States remains open to authentic and credible negotiations on denuclearization, but the burden is on Pyongyang [the capital of North Korea].”

Kerry urged North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to “return to the negotiating table.” Is [this] the same table that US President Barack Obama continually warns us that no options are off [it]?

The latest US offer of talks came as a surprise because Washington does not have any diplomatic relations with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). US policy has long been one of isolating the Northern state through crippling sanctions and, through military exercises with US-backed South Korea, piling pressure on the government in Pyongyang to surrender its nuclear capability.

Fortunately, as with Iran, North Korea is not buying this risible American charade. The government in Pyongyang responded tersely to dismiss the offer made by the US.

“Dialogue cannot coexist with war,” was how the DPRK official news agency, KCNA, aptly put it. That is the essential truth and correct assessment of the US position, not only towards North Korea, but also towards Iran.

Iran, by the way, does not have nuclear weapons. North Korea is believed to have nuclear weapons capability, but it is doubtful that the country has the missile means of delivery. Nevertheless, the US and its Western allies, including the media, insist on demonizing Iran and North Korea as having sinister “nuclear ambitions” without providing a shred of proof.

The US has the temerity to assert that “the burden is on Pyongyang” in the same way that it arrogantly insists that Tehran must “show good faith” about its legally entitled nuclear program.

This astounding US arrogance turns reality on its head. Just who is the real aggressor? Don’t expect to find an answer in the Western corporate media whose goldfish-bowl memory and art of deception are designed to augment this reality-inversion.

After dismissing the US “offer” of talks, North Korea has since issued its own demands for any negotiations to take place. These conditions are perfectly logical, reasonable and just. They also point up the real reasons for why the Korean Peninsula is continually wracked by the threat of nuclear war.

North Korea wants: 1) Recently imposed United Nations sanctions to be revoked. These sanctions were imposed at the behest of Washington over the DPRK’s launch of a space satellite in December. The US maligned that launch by falsely labeling it a “ballistic missile test”. The provocative and unjustified sanctions spurred North Korea to conduct an underground nuclear weapon test on 12 February. Since North Korea withdrew its membership of the Non-Proliferation Treaty last decade, there is no legal constraint on it to conduct such a test. And given the level of continual threat towards North Korea from the US, the former is well justified in developing military defenses, including nuclear weapons.

Condition 2) for North Korea to entertain talks with the US and its Southern ally is for these latter states to immediately halt all threats of war that are implicit in the perennial war maneuvers on and off the Korean Peninsula. These so-called “war games” carried out by the US and South Korea often simulate invasion of North Korea. That is an outrageous, criminal de facto act of war. And yet it is committed every year, and sometimes several times a year.

Condition 3) is for the US to withdraw its nuclear weapons capability from the Korean Peninsula. Bear in mind that it was the US that first instated nuclear weapons on the Peninsula during the Korean War (1950-53). While the US did technically remove nuclear missiles some years back from South Korean soil, it effectively can reintroduce weapons of mass destruction at any moment and it retains North Korea within its target sites. The recent build-up of US nuclear-capable submarines and Aegis-class destroyers in the South and East China Seas, and the simulated bombing raids by B-2, B-52 and F-22 warplanes, all represent clear and present danger of nuclear annihilation to the DPRK. Note too that Washington has been busily integrating a hemispheric missile system between South Korea, Japan and the Pacific West Coast of the US. This missile system targets North Korea, as well as China and Russia.

Finally, what North Korea wants probably above all else as a guarantee for meaningful negotiations, is for the US to end the Korean War with a proper peace treaty. Since the war ended in 1953, the cessation of hostilities was only marked by an armistice, which in effect is a ceasefire. In other words, the US is technically still at war with North Korea and can at any moment resume bombing of that country. During the Korean War, the US dropped more explosives and napalm on the Northern population than it did in the whole of the Pacific War with imperial Japan. Up to a third of the Northern [Korean] population — some 3 million people — were annihilated by American bombs. Given that experience of genocide, is it any wonder that North Korea remains deeply wary of the US and its allies, especially with the ever-present threat of more war looming.

For the past 60 years, the DPRK has been demanding this basic entitlement of a full peace treaty, including a non-aggression pact. For 60 years, every US President has refused to countenance any such treaty.

It is a shame that Russia and China have signed up to the recent round of US-led sanctions against North Korea. Moscow and Beijing appear to have bought into the upside-down worldview that the US and its Western media are peddling. Rather than adding to pressure on North Korea, Russian and Chinese leaders need to go back and refresh their memories on the history of aggression and genocide in East Asia and the Pacific. Then they would rightly redirect the pressure on the true aggressor – Washington.

Peace in East Asia, as in the Middle East, depends on a unilateral withdrawal of American militarism, aggression and its self-styled right to inflict nuclear war on others. The burden is not on North Korea or Iran. Far from it, the burden is where it has always been — on the USA.

Finian Cunningham has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages. He is a Master’s graduate in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a scientific editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, England, before pursuing a career in newspaper journalism. He is also a musician and songwriter. For nearly 20 years, he worked as an editor and writer in major news media organisations, including The Mirror, Irish Times and Independent. Read other articles by Finian.