WITH the crisis of capitalism deepening and the US economy showing not the slightest signs of recovery, it is only natural that the US is now flexing its military muscle in the Sea of Japan, and attempting, despite its military setbacks in Afghanistan, to intimidate North Korea and the peoples of the Far East into making the major concessions that it is demanding.
The military mobilisation called ‘Invincible Spirit’ is directed principally against China and then against North Korea, which borders China, and is also very close to the strategic Russian port city of Vladivostok.
The issues are that the US wants North Korea to give up its nuclear weaponry, as a preliminary to it following East Germany (the German Democratic Republic) into the history books. It also wishes to threaten China into a speedy major revaluation of its currency, so as to weaken its exporting power, and to strengthen the position of US capital inside China.
It is also warning China that it must give up any notion that it could stop its massive purchasing of US debt, that is currently keeping US capitalism from breaking up on the rocks of the world crisis.
Further, it is telling China to curb its growing strategic relationship with Russia that threatens US imperialist interests in the Far East.
The United States and South Korea began the massive joint military exercise in the Sea of Japan on Sunday. The US had planned to hold it in the Yellow Sea, which China regards as its doorstep. After Chinese protests, it transferred to the Sea of Japan but US spokesmen have said that the US reserves the right to have its next exercise in the Yellow Sea.
The manoeuvres are taking place despite warnings from the Chinese Stalinist leadership that North Korea could rise to the challenge, and display some of its own military power in the face of the threat from the aircraft carrier-led battle group made up of 20 ships, 200 planes and 8,000 US and South Korean soldiers and sailors.
North and South Korea are still technically in a state of war with each other, after the US-led imperialist forces were driven back from the Chinese border by the Chinese Red Army, and forced into signing an armistice agreement at Panmunjon in July 1953.
The latest message from the US imperialists was delivered by Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, who declared that, ‘The point of the exercise is, I think, to ensure that our relationship with the South is very strong. . . and also to send the message to the North Koreans that their behaviour is completely counter to international norms, and completely unacceptable.’
North Korea responded on Saturday by pledging that it will counter the military exercise with ‘powerful nuclear deterrence’.
Leading the US armada is the 97,000-ton nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, the USS George Washington, which carries nuclear weapons, and a group of F-22 fighter planes that the US states cannot be detected by North Korean radar, and could be used to knock out key North Korean ‘assets’, such as nuclear power plants and power stations.
North Korea is being blamed for the torpedoing, on March 26, of the South Korean warship, Cheonan, which killed 46 South Korean sailors. The UN Security Council condemned this attack but its resolution did not name North Korea as the state that organised the sinking.
Workers in the UK must support North Korea and demand an end to the US-organised military exercises, and that all US troops withdraw from South Korea with all of their weapons, including nuclear devices, so that the people of Korea can go forward to a United Socialist Korea, and end the imperialist domination of the Korean peninsula.