Colonialism & Occupation, Geopolitics, Media Analysis, World History

Remember the Forgotten War: The US, South Korea, and Japan Continue to Antagonize North Korea with Joint Military Exercises off the Korean Peninsula

Timothy Alexander Guzman, Silent Crow News – Antagonizing North Korea should be considered an American pastime.  Back in 2017, the Ulchi-Freedom Guardian exercises took place with 17,500 US and South Korean troops.  Pyongyang condemned the exercise according to North Korea’s official newspaper, Rodong Sinmunas “the most explicit expression of hostility against us.”  In response, North Korea fired three missiles from the Kangwon Province located in the southeast.  Although all three missiles failed the test according to the US Pacific command, North Korea launched another missile on August 29th, this time it passed over Hokkaido, Japan crashing into the Pacific Ocean proving that despite its previous missile launch failures, they can hit Japan at will. 

The US and its allies are at it again according to Reuters North Korea denounces ‘gang bosses’ of US and allies amid drills reported that “the United States, South Korea and Japan staged joint naval missile defence drills off the Korean peninsula on Tuesday, as North Korea denounced the “gang bosses” of Washington and its allies for increasing the risk of nuclear war.”  The exercises were conducted on international waters close to South Korea’s Jeju Island as an attempt to “detect and track targets, and share information in the event of provocation by Pyongyang,”it’s clearly another provocation by the US and its allies. 

‘Gang Bosses’ Continue to Conduct Joint Military Exercises Antagonizing North Korea 

North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un has called for modernizing their weapons capability and equipment of the navy and criticized U.S. forces and their strategic assets in the Asia-Pacific region. According to the Reuters article,In a speech to mark Navy Day, Kim said the “gang bosses” of the United States, Japan and South Korea announced regular joint military exercises, news agency KCNA reported, apparently referring to their Aug. 18 summit at Camp David, Maryland” It was reported by KCNA that Kim Jong Un declared that “Owing to the reckless confrontational moves of the U.S. and other hostile forces, the waters off the Korean Peninsula have been reduced to the world’s biggest war hardware concentration spot, the most unstable waters with the danger of a nuclear war.”

An earlier report from August 20th, the Associated Press (AP) ‘North Korea’s Kim watches cruise missile launches as US, South Korean troops begin annual drills’ said that “North Korean leader Kim Jong Un observed the test-firing of strategic cruise missiles, state media reported Monday, as the U.S. and South Korean militaries kicked off major annual drills that the North views as an invasion rehearsal.” North Korea’s missile test is a reaction to the US-led military exercises “The North’s report on missile tests came three days after the leaders of the U.S., South Korea and Japan held their first stand-alone trilateral summit and agreed to increase their cooperation on their ballistic missile defenses to counter North Korea’s evolving nuclear and missile threats.”  The US, South Korea and Japan’s provocations towards North Korea is evident as “North Korea in past years has slammed major U.S.-South Korean drills as practice for an invasion and has responded to them with missile tests.”  US and South Korean officials continue that same old lie that their military exercises are defensive in nature, “U.S. and South Korean officials maintain the exercises are defensive in nature and they have no intention of attacking the North.”  The US, South Korea and Japan agreed to a “trilateral working group” to combat North Korea’s cyber threats and to “block its cyber-enabled evasion of sanctions.”

Western media is always asking ‘Why is North Korea acting in this manner? according to the AP, “North Korea has said the three countries’ push to strengthen their security cooperation is compelling it to reinforce its own military capability.”  The answer is clear, if the US and its allies continue their exercises, North Korea will continue to prepare for a military confrontation that will see a repeat of another war.

The Lead-Up to the Korean War

The US, South Korea and Japan’s hostility towards North Korea goes back to the Korean War (1950-1953), a major war in what was known as the start of the ‘Cold War’ between the US and the USSR that began at the end of World War II. Korea was originally annexed by Japan under the 1910 Japan–Korea Annexation Treaty, then they were under US control since Japan had lost the second world war after the atomic bombing of two major cities, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki by their future ally, the United States.  

The US president at the time was Harry S. Truman, a Democrat from the state of Missouri initiated the Truman Doctrine that took center stage throughout Asia especially in Southeast Asia including, the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, and in the former French colonies of Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam which were under Japanese military occupation at the height of World War II. 

Then at the Potsdam Conference which took place in the summer of 1945 between the US and the USSR allowing them to divide Korea into North and South on the 38th parallel. At the time, both North and South Korea claimed that they were the legitimate government for all of Korea.  North Korea had the support of the USSR and China who entered the war on October 19th, 1950 after UN forces had already invaded North Korea. The US and its allies that included UN troops from Great Britain, Belgium, Canada, France, the Netherlands, Colombia, Ethiopia, South Africa, New Zealand, Turkey, Greece, Thailand, Philippines and Luxembourg supported South Korea.

On September 8th, 1945, South Korea was established as a US military run-government known as the US Army Military Government (USAMGIK) under Lieutenant-General John R. Hodge as its military governor until 1948 with former Japanese colonial officials and a newly installed South Korean puppet government.  The new South Korean government did not recognize the People’s Republic of Korea (PRK), a Soviet-backed provisional government who helped install Kim Il-Sung, a pro-communist, former anti-Japanese guerrilla leader, and a former Red Army officer as North Korea’s leader, but the PRK was short-lived because on December 12th, 1945, the US military governor Hodge had refused to recognize the PRK and outlawed the North Korean Provisional government thus opening the door for a decades-long tensions between North and South Korea. 

Then South Korea became a de-facto colony under the US military occupation who hand-picked  a new leader that would basically do whatever Washington wanted him to do and that was ‘Sygman Rhee, a conservative Christian and an anti-communist who returned to Korea on July 20th, 1948 and was soon elected as the first president of the Republic of Korea. 

In the first years of his presidency Rhee ordered his newly-elected government to crush communist-inspired revolutions that began on Jeju Island that resulted in the deaths of between 60,000 to 80,000 people according to various estimates.  The Jeju Island uprising began on April 1948 due to elections that were to take place under the UN Temporary Commission on Korea (UNTCOK) in the US-occupied South Korea because the protesters believed that would solidify Korea’s permanent division, so the Workers’ Party of South Korea (WPSK) organized a general strike that began on February 1948 and then they eventually launched an insurgency in April 1948 against the police and members of the Northwest Youth league due to their involvement in suppressing the WPSK from the start.  

On August 1948, Rhee, an anti-communist and pro-American president was determined to end the uprising so he declared martial law in November of that same year and began an “eradication campaign” against what he considered “rebel forces.”  So another wave of massacres by the Rhee government occurred in the city of Mungyeong where it was reported that between 86 and 88 people including more than 32 children were killed.  Rhee also launched an assault against the Bodo League, a ‘re-education’ movement where estimates range from 60,000 to 200,000 people were murdered for being suspected communist supporters.

By June 7th, 1950, Kim Il Sung called for a consultative conference in Haeju in Mid-June, on June 11th, North Korea even sent diplomats to South Korea in efforts to establish some sort of peace but Rhee had rejected the proposal.  Sung even called for new elections at the beginning of August 1950 for all of Korea, but it all failed.  On June 25th, 1950, after numerous failed attempts of peace and reunification, although there were already clashes between the North and South on the border of the 38th parallel, North Korea had decided to invade South Korea and the war began. 

The Aftermath of Korean War

The war was horrible, a nightmare for the Korean people.  What happened to both sides of the conflict is unspeakable for those who lived through it.  According to the Wilson Center, North Korea had lost at least 20% of its population during the Korean War. Another 1.3 million South Korean civilians with 415,000 were killed. The US lost more than 37,000 troops with another 92,000 wounded and 8,000 missing.

In 2018, The New York Times decided to publish an article on the Korean war despite being one of the mainstream media’s propaganda news organizations who has supported US based wars and regime change called, Korean War, a ‘Forgotten’ Conflict That Shaped the Modern World’, here is their description:   

The war devastated Korea. Historians said that between three million and four million people were killed, although firm figures have never been produced, particularly by the North Korean government. As many as 70 percent of the dead may have been civilians.

Destruction was particularly acute in the North, which was subjected to years of American bombing, including with napalm. Roughly 25 percent of its prewar population was killed, Professor Cumings said, and many of the survivors lived underground by the war’s end.  “North Korea was flattened,” he said. “The North Koreans see the American bombing as a Holocaust, and every child is taught about it

A website that reports on the dangers of a nuclear war called published ‘We Burned Down Every Town in North Korea” written by its editor, John LaForge based on Robert Neer’s book ‘Napalm’ described how much napalm was dropped on Korea in the course of the war and it was horrifying:

The literal mass destruction of North Korea and today’s threats of more should be considered in the context of the living memory of the older genera­tion. Robert Neer’s 2013 book Napalm (Belknap Press of Harvard Univ. Press), reports that Gen. Le­May, head of 21st Bomber Command, wrote, “We killed off over a million civilian Koreans and drove several million more from their homes…” Eighth Army chemical officer Donald Bode reportedly said, on an “average good day” pilots in the Korean War “dropped 70,000 gallons of napalm: 45,000 from the US Air Force, 10,000-20,000 by its Navy, and 4,000-5,000 by Marines”—who nicknamed the burning jellied gasoline “cooking oil.”

Neer reports that more bombs were dropped on Korea than in the whole of the Pacific theater during World War II—635,000 tons, versus 503,000 tons. “Pyongyang, a city of half a million people before 1950, was said to have had only two buildings left intact,” according to Neer

The Asia Times US destruction of North Korea must not be forgotten’ by Brett Wilkins describes how Koreans felt after Japan was defeated, “Koreans, who had suffered 35 years of brutal Japanese colonial occupation prior to Tokyo’s defeat in World War II, celebrated what they believed was their liberation by victorious US and Soviet forces.”  However, the North and South were soon divided between the US and the USSR since the Cold War was already in effect.  In an interesting survey conducted in 1946, many Koreans preferred socialism or communism over capitalism.  “survey of Koreans in the summer of 1946 found that 77% preferred socialism or communism while only 14% favored capitalism.”  Perhaps, the US and South Korean officials did not like that result from the survey because it showed that South Koreans can support socialism or communism in the future, so by 1950 State repression under Rhee began:

By early 1950 there were more than 100,000 political prisoners in the South. Summary executions of leftists, both real and imagined, claimed tens of thousands of lives as the South’s police-state reign of terror rivaled the outrages of the communist North.  As efforts to negotiate a unified Korean state failed, nascent anti-government insurgencies grew in the South, notably on Jeju Island. They were brutally repressed

US bombers were ordered to destroy all North Korea’s cities, towns, villages, dams, bridges, rice fields that would make life difficult for ordinary citizens because the “one area in which US forces enjoyed near total supremacy was in the air.”  There were military officials who were hellbent on destroying Korea “General George Stratemeyer ordered US bombers to “destroy every means of communications and every installation, factory, city, and village” in North Korea.”

The US bombing campaign is described as a genocide, a war crime.  They even targeted rice fields, a food source for the Korean people:

More bombs were dropped on Korea than during the entire World War II Pacific campaign. US carpet bombing of North Korea included napalm, incendiary and fragmentation bombs that killed and maimed by the thousands and left cities, towns, villages, and countryside in scorched and shattered ruins.  In the North’s capital Pyongyang, only around 50,000 people out of a prewar population of 500,000 remained in 1953, the year the war fizzled out.

When all the cities, towns and industrial sites were destroyed, US warplanes bombed dams, reservoirs, and rice fields, flooding the countryside, and destroying the nation’s food supply. Only emergency aid from China, the Soviet Union and other socialist nations averted famine 

One incident that is considered an atrocity happened at No Gun Ri in South Korea:

Fearing Northern troops could infiltrate Southern lines disguised as civilians, fighter pilots bombed and strafed refugees as they fled south. In one of the most infamous atrocities of the war,  between 163 and 400 men, women and children were gunned down at No Gun Ri in South Korea over three days in July 1950.

Retreating South Korean and US troops also blew up bridges teeming with refugees, and during their retreat from the North, they burned villages and towns in a “scorched earth” policy to deny the advancing enemy quarters and supplies

In the end, the US did not achieve its goals of defeating and conquering Noth Korea although the war was a tragedy for everyone involved.  The Korean people suffered for many years after the war had ended.

The hatred of the US and Japan is deep in the hearts of the Noth Korean leadership and its people because of the atrocities committed by those in power in Washington and Seoul and to an extent, Tokyo who was guilty in enforcing a brutal colonial occupation for more than 35 years.    

If you are wondering why North Korea is always testing its nuclear capabilities against their adversaries, the US, South Korea, and Japan, look back at the history of the Korean war. 

The Unspoken Truth: US and South Korean War Crimes

Mass Executions in South Korea Discovered

The South Korean government had established a Truth and Reconciliation Commission on December 1, 2005, to investigate Japan’s Imperial conquest of Korea to its US-backed South Korean dictatorships until 1993.  A 2008 article originally from The Associated Press (AP) and published by the Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan in Focus Children ‘executed’ in 1950 South Korean killingsbased on the results of the commission’s findings, although not surprising, found that “digging into the grim hidden history of mass political executions in South Korea have confirmed that dozens of children were among many thousands shot by their own government early in the Korean War.”   

The investigation had “verified more than two dozen mass killings of leftists and supposed sympathizers, among at least 100,000 people estimated to have been hastily shot and dumped into makeshift trenches, abandoned mines or the sea after communist North Korea invaded the south in June 1950.”  The US held classified files for more than 50 years.  Why did the US government withheld classified files you may ask?  Well US officers were present during the mass executions, in fact, one US officer had ordered the mass execution of political prisoners:

The killings, details of which were buried in classified U.S. files for a half-century, were intended to keep southern leftists from aiding the invaders at a time when the rightist, U.S.-allied government was in danger of being overrun by communist forces.

Family survivors last month met with the U.S. Embassy for the first time, saying afterward they demanded an apology for alleged “direct and indirect” American involvement in the killings.  Declassified records show U.S. officers were present at one killing field and that at least one U.S. officer sanctioned another mass political execution if prisoners otherwise would be freed by the North Koreans. Uncounted hundreds were subsequently killed, witnesses reported

The horror described by the commission and the Koreans themselves who witnessed the atrocities firsthand is quite disturbing, “at a cobalt mine in the far south, they penetrated just 36 feet into a vertical shaft, recovering 107 skeletons from among 3,500 bodies believed dumped there.”  They discovered that “Some mass killings were carried out before the war” and in late 1950, the US and South Korean forces had “recaptured Seoul and the southerners rounded up and shot alleged northern collaborators.”  They even executed entire families for having different political ideals, “The executioners at times cold-bloodedly killed families of suspected leftists, the commission has found.”

Since the end of the Korean War, The US regime change operatives has been in the process of trying to destroy North Korea by any means.  An important reminder, North Korea has nuclear weapons and a formidable military with more than 1.3 million active military members with another 500,000 + reserve personal that would fight to the end rather than surrender their sovereignty to a Western superpower who wants nothing more but total domination of North Korea.  Washington would prefer North Korea to be subservient, just like South Korea since the day they installed Sygman Rhee.  The memory of the Korean war is still entrenched in the minds of the North Korean people, if the US and its allies continue to antagonize North Korea, it will result in another all-out war, but this time, with the possible use of nuclear weapons.       

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