Next week, the Canadian foreign affairs minister is due to meet with the US Secretary of State to discuss relations with North Korea. Here is a letter I have drafted on behalf of the ILPS in Canada giving our position and making a recommendation to the Canadian government so as to defuse the situation and find just peace in Korea. Please note we have yet to discuss and refine this letter.
January 2, 2018
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Re: Canada’s position on North Korea
Dear Prime Minister,
We are now writing to you in the name of just peace because of the upcoming meeting in Vancouver to discuss the Korea question. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland are meeting in Vancouver on January 16, 2018. We wish Canada to be a factor for de-escalating the tensions in the Korean Peninsula and preventing further military action. We therefore urge Canada to refrain from any involvement in military exercises in that region in the future, withdraw from the embargo against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and recommend that the US stop its military exercises, scale down its military presence and sign a peace treaty with North Korea.
The joint military exercises that the US engages in along with South Korean and Japanese forces, with the assistance of other international partners such as Canada, are continuing provocations against North Korea. North Korea senses danger to its existence because of these practices and the increasing militarization that surrounds it on all sides; its official statements have repeatedly pointed out that its weapons development and testing is because of that situation. The trade embargo only increases the regime’s ire and causes hardship for its people. The solution, then, is to back down, stop the embargo and work towards the signing of a peace treaty. Only after the conclusion of the war between the US and North Korea can the Korean people find a way forward to reunification, justice and peace in the region.
Let us remember the historic record of the US’ meddling in Korea, which has been so unjust and destructive to have caused lasting rancour and anger. After the Korean people defeated the Japanese occupation (to be sure when it was weakened by allied intervention in the Asia-Pacific), and while Koreans were trying to sort out what kind of new republic to build, the US occupied Korea, planted and armed a vicious dictator, and oversaw the commission of mass crimes against humanity, especially in the south, which provoked the people’s army declare war. Confronted by such resistance that the UN forces were beat back, the US began bombarding Korea using napalm, leveling many cities including 28 cities in the north and killing millions (20% of the population). The participation of UN troops including those from Canada was unjust; it was aggressive action, rather than peacekeeping. While it has profited from guaranteeing exportation to South Korea, the US has maintained an aggressive stance and continued to militarize the region, without accepting the failure to conquer all Korea.
The current threats and focus on the DPRK’s weapons testing on the part of the US only exacerbate the situation. Therefore, the Canadian government ought to take a critical stance and urge President Trump and the US government to use restraint. Action on the part of the US and its allies presents a far more dangerous menace to world peace, especially owing to the large scale of US mobilization, its own nuclear arsenal of some 6,000 warheads and ongoing weapons development and testing, as well as its terrible record of mass destruction of life and societies abroad, including Nagasaki and Hiroshima. There needs to be more pressure to counter US militarization.
The International League of People’s Struggle takes this position according to its Charter and defense of the principles of sovereignty, the right to self-determination and just peace. Also, we regularly study the world situation and follow the work of our member and allied peoples’ organizations around the world. Whatever doubts any of us have about the DPRK, we stand by well established international principles and condemn any military solution to the Korea conflict and other conflicts.
Again, we call upon the Canadian government to withdraw from any participation in the military exercises around the Korean Peninsula, pull out of the trade embargo against the DPRK and call for the signing of a peace treaty between the US and the DPRK. Furthermore, we strongly recommend a critical stance on US militarization and US relations with North Korea. The Korean people should be left to reunite their country on terms they deem fit. To add, the Joint Agreement on Reunification between North and South Korea should be respected and the peace process resumed.
For the Vancouver Committee of the ILPS-Canada
Cc: Minister of Defense
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Canadian Ambassador to the Republic of Korea