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The News Line: Editorial US forced to back down over North Korea and agree talks IN A DRAMATIC about face, US Vice President Mike Pence stated yesterday that the Trump administration is now looking at holding diplomatic talks with North Korea without any pre-conditions. Speaking to the Washington Post on his way back from the Winter Olympic Games in South Korea, Pence raised the prospect of talks with North Korea and that the US was looking favourably at diplomatic engagement even without Pyongyang showing signs that it was pulling back or disengaging from its nuclear and missile development programme.

Pence’s surprise expression of a willingness to talk with North Korea without pre-conditions comes after South Korea has made plain its desire to seek rapprochement with the North following approaches from the North’s leader, Kim Jong-un seeking peaceful unification talks. This resulted in the historic participation of North Korea at the Olympics where they fielded a joint team and walked arm-in-arm during the opening ceremony.

This desire of the Korean people to come together in defiance of the threats by the Trump administration to completely destroy the North if it doesn’t capitulate to US imperialism and the steadfast refusal of the North Korean leadership to abandon its nuclear defence policy has clearly rattled the American government. Up until now the line pursued by the US has been a policy of maximum pressure on the North through savage sanctions.

It was made plain by the US that any talks would only take place under conditions that North Korea disarmed, abandoned its nuclear programme and was willing to roll-over and become a client state of American imperialism. Now Pence is saying that following talks with the South Korean president during his visit to the Olympics they had agreed that first South Korea would formally engage in talks with the North and soon after the US would be willing to engage in its own talks.

Pence stressed that pressure from sanctions would still be brought to bear on North Korea but that the Trump administration is now willing to sit down and talk while that pressure is still ongoing.
This represents a massive concession from US imperialism. Up until now the line pursued by the US has been a policy of maximum pressure on the North through savage sanctions. Last December the UN Security Council unanimously adopted a US proposal for sanctions against North Korea designed to strangle its energy supplies, wreck the country’s economy and force the regime of Kim Jong-un to surrender by driving the population into starvation. This proposal had the treacherous support of the Russian and Chinese Stalinist bureaucracies. At the same time, Trump announced his willingness to ‘totally destroy’ North Korea through a nuclear war.

North Korea has been viciously portrayed by imperialism and throughout the bourgeois media as a ‘rogue state’, led by Kim Jong-un who was held to be some madman intent on destroying the South.
Now it can be seen that far from being a warmongering out of control state, North Korea is pursuing the completely legitimate aim of peacefully uniting Korea, ending the split between the two halves of the country, a split imposed through imperialist war in the 1950s.

This desire at unification and the steadfast refusal of the North Korean leadership to disarm in the face of imperialist threats of nuclear Armageddon has the support of the people across both North and South. Both now see that US imperialism is the real enemy and that the sooner they are driven out of the Korean peninsula for good the better.

This heroic stand by the leadership and people of North Korea in the face of nuclear threat and its clear desire, most forcibly on show at the Olympics, for the peaceful re-unification of the country has forced this massive retreat by Washington and proved that far from being all-powerful, imperialism today is at weakest. The US retreat is a victory for all the Korean people, a victory that will be supported by the working class across the world who fully agree that the Korean people have an inalienable right to unite their own country and the right to manage their own affairs free from imperialist interference.


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