Setting the Rules for DPRK

They want to change the verdict of history—America, South Korea and Japan. Regardless of what the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) is doing or not doing the result of Korean war seems unchangeable as the result of World War II. America’s dubious activities since the late fifties have not resulted in a regime change in North Korea and they cannot do it in a country with high nationalistic spirit. Vietnam defeated America without possessing nuclear weapons. But those were the days of cold war. And both Soviet Russia and China backed Vietnam morally and militarily, not allowing the United States to repeat another tragedy of Hiroshima-Nagasaki, albeit Vietnam was devastated by carpet-bombing and South in particular became the worst killing fields after World War II. No doubt the issue of DPRK is somewhat different. This time America is all set to nuke that small nation but the risk is enormous. North has nuclear weapons and it is no hoax though DPRK’s pursuit of nuclear capability is more than a military strategy.

With Middle East and Afghan theatres becoming less hot, Washington has stepped up its propaganda of nuclear threat from North Korea while refusing to resolve the Korean Peninsula stand off. The hard fact is that legally they are still at war—North Korea and America. The Korean Peninsula has never ended its state of war since 1953 when the warring parties just entered into a truce. After the failure of six-party mechanism to reach an amicable solution, China looks reluctant to take assertive actions though Beijing has not abandoned the DPRK yet. In truth without China there will not be relative peace or stability on the peninsula today or in the future.

The demise of Soviet Russia was a great blow to North Korea. Even China recently admitted in no uncertain terms that the absence of Soviet military help was the main reason that forced North Korea to implement its military first policy at any cost. Gaddafi obliged America and Europe by abandoning his nuclear development plan and ended up in tragic and brutal death. The moment he lost nuclear deterrent factor he lost Libya. DPRK is unlikely to change unless it gets assurance that destabilisation game would stop once and for all. Pyongyang believes in the strategy that bargaining with its enemies is not possible from a position of weakness. Both America and Japan understand it—they cannot destroy North Korea without being seriously hurt.

In the eyes of the Chinese Washington’s strategic containment of North Korea is closely linked to America’s global policy of containing China as well. For one thing Beijing attaches equal importance to its relationships, particularly business relationships with Washington, Seol and Pyongyang. And China too has changed a lot since the 1950s. Today’s China is no longer the country it was during the Korean war. Barring limited support to North Korea, it has done everything possible in slowing down the DPRK’s pace of possessing nuclear weapons. If North Korea faces nuclear holocaust China could hardly avoid its disastrous fallout and yet China is unlikely to engage itself in the conflict in the wake of a full-scale American invasion.

The strategists in Washington do not want a solution that would honour dignity and sovereignty of North Korea. They are not in favour of a holistic approach to deal with a bitter legacy left by history.

The United States is virtually insisting on China’s drastic actions against Pyongyang so that they could demolish North Korea while effecting a regime change as a first step before reunifying two Koreas on their terms. The problem with China is that it cannot forcefully oppose America any more even at the UN Security Council because of the rapidly changing world order in which China is already a major player but it is no game-changer yet. During the voting at the UN Security Council on a resolution condemning North Korea’s recent nuclear test, China didn’t abstain. Nor did it find any justification to oppose the move. On the contrary it voted for the UN Security Council Resolution with a rider that basic concerns such as excessive provocation against Pyong-yang and six-party negotiations were met.

Those who think North Korea would give up its quest for self-defence capabilities unilaterally due to UN resolutions and sanctions proved wrong time and again. Unrelenting sanctions won’t work. After all they have not worked in case of Iran.
Whether nuclear weapons and missiles can ensure North Korea’s security for long is open to question because America has succeeded in isolating DPRK globally by projecting it as a dictatorial devil. Even China is urging North Korea not to believe that to use only nuclear weapons and missiles will succeed unless they get substantial support in the international community.

As for the Communist Left of India the Korean crisis is a distant issue which it is not. At no point of time communists in India took North Korea seriously. But this small country with very limited technical and scientific manpower is ahead of many countries with huge material and human resources, in developing nuclear capabilities for self-defence. Unless American policy of encircling North Korea is opposed by popular protests across the globe, a nuclear conflict is inevitable because the US position is unlikely to change. The communist left in India doesn’t think it is their moral duty to oppose America’s continuing war preparations against North Korea. Vietnam’s military strategy was superb but that was not the only reason for their victory. International public opinion was in favour of them. Democrats, liberals, socialists, communists—all opposed America’s Vietnam war and took to the streets for peace throughout the world. America was isolated but this time it is not America but North Korea looks isolated. A further isolation may worsen the situation for the people of North Korea. As both Russia and China are inclined to exert measured pressures on DPRK to make a compromise with Washington, rather a deal to systematically dismantle the present regime in Pyongyang, only mass upsurge against American bellicosity can make North Korea’s policy of ‘Nuclear for peace’ strategy successful. In the end what matters are the strategic interests the stakeholders have in the region, not the niceties, about diplomatic parleys. Both trouble makers and trouble-shooters need a channel for them to voice their anxieties but no viable channel is emerging.

Vol. 45, No. 43, -May 5-11, 2013

Your Comment if any