Saturday, 20 November 2021

Solidarity in Spain


by New Worker correspondent

Korean Friendship Association activists gathered in Spain last weekend for an international meeting of the KFA in sunny Barcelona, which is Spain's second largest city and the capital of the autonomous region of Catalonia. The meeting took place in a community centre, run by the Communist Party of the People of Spain (PCPE), in a working-class area of the city.
    The conference marked the 21st anniversary of the foundation of the KFA. The atmosphere of the meeting was militant and upbeat. There have been many provocations and attempts to shut down KFA over the years, such as denying the right of KFA President Alejandro Cao De Benos to travel by confiscating his passport. Despite these vicious moves KFA has survived and is expanding rapidly, with over 17,000 members registered worldwide.
    The meeting was attended by activists, officials and KFA members from various parts of Spain, plus delegations from Germany and Britain.
    Dermot Hudson, the chair of the KFA UK, said: “Over the past two years both KFA and KFA UK have come under attack from hostile forces but we have survived! KFA is attacked because we tell the truth about People's Korea. We defend People's Korea with No ifs or buts, often 24/7. We defend People's Korea with enthusiasm, we are not half-hearted about it. That is why they hate us so much. Our enemies want to shut down KFA and silence the voice of truth defending People's Korea.”

Friday, 12 November 2021

For peace on the Korean peninsula

 by New Worker correspondent

Korean solidarity campaigners met at the NCP’s Party Centre in London last weekend for a seminar to discuss the prospects for peace on the Korean peninsula and the way forward for the solidarity campaign in Britain.
    NCP leader Andy Brooks, who chaired the Friends of Korea event, welcomed everyone to the meeting which was the first public event at the Centre since the lockdowns began in 2020. Most of them had visited Democratic Korea and all were supporters of the Friends of Korea committee that has been campaigning for the peaceful re-unification of the Korean peninsula for over 20 years.
    This was stressed by Michael Chant, the secretary of the Committee, who emphasised the importance of taking a stand in support of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s right to exist and choose its own path of development, striving for peace and for the reunification of the Korean peninsula, and, as he said, “supporting the just stands of the DPRK internationally at this crucial time in the face of hostility from the United States and other big powers, including Britain”.
    Though the imperialists have toned down their hate campaign their hostility still remains. “At the moment the imperialist mainstream media have tended to take the DPRK out of the news “ Dermot Hudson from the Korean Friendship Association said “although the hostile propaganda against the DPRK continues. Recently , the DPRK tested missiles which would have once led to hysterical headlines in the imperialist media for days on end. But this time it did not do so . This is because the imperialists have experienced a policy failure on the Korean peninsula ; military pressure and threats have not worked, sanctions have not worked and engagement such as Trump’s ‘big deal ‘ have not worked. The imperialist media does not like to talk about failure only success”.
    Others shared their own views on the Korean issue including Keith Bennett, a veteran Korean solidarity campaigner, who helped draw up the Friends of Korea founding statement many years ago and everyone agreed on the need to redouble our efforts in the coming year.
    The Co-ordinating Committee of the Friends of Korea is an umbrella organisation which brings together all the major movements active in Korean friendship and solidarity work in Britain today. It includes the NCP and the RCPB (ML), the Socialist Labour Party and the Korean Friendship Association. The Committee is chaired by Andy Brooks and the secretary is Michael Chant. The committee organises meetings throughout the year, which are publicised by the supporting movements and on the Friends of Korea blog.

On the situation on the Korean peninsula

 by Dermot Hudson

a contribution made at a Friends of Korea seminar in London on Saturday 6th November 2021 

The subject of the situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and around the Korean peninsula is a big and comprehensive one . At the moment the imperialist mainstream media have tended to ‘take the DPRK out of the news ‘, not mentioning it much , although the hostile propaganda against the DPRK continues. Recently, the DPRK tested missiles which would have once led to hysterical headlines in the imperialist media for days on end but this time it did not do so . This is because the imperialists have experienced a policy failure on the Korean peninsula ; military pressure and threats have not worked, sanctions have not worked and engagement such as Trump’s ‘big deal ‘ have not worked.The imperialist media does not like to talk about failure only success.

The current situation on the Korean peninsula is distinguished by the rapid progress of the DPRK in all fields despite the sanctions and by the continuation of the hostile policies of the US under the Biden administration.

From the 1st November to the 5th November the US and south Korea staged aerial wargames involving F15 and F16 fighters . These wargames were not announced prior and did not have a title.

The DPRK has recently celebrated the 73rd anniversary of the foundation of the DPRK and the 76th anniversary of the foundation of the Workers Party of Korea . The 73rd anniversary of the foundation of the DPRK was marked by a splendid parade of the Worker- Peasant Red Guard and Ministry of Public Security of the DPRK including for the first time in a DPRK parade fire engines and also dogs .

Today the DPRK is the only country in the world or one of the few countries in the world that does not have a case of COVID-19.This is confirmed by the World Health Organisation . This is due to the strict anti -epidemic measures of the DPRK government .

Self-reliance works ; the DPRK has been able to shut its borders for 21 months and still survive. Some countries would not survive for a few days let alone nearly two years . At present the UK is suffering from some shortages which some say are due to Brexit. Self-reliance works we should be shouting from the rooftops .

Despite false reports by the BBC , the DPRK has reaped a bumper harvest . Respected Marshal Kim Jong Un sent a message of thanks to farmworkers who achieved a bumper harvest despite the flooding in August . KFA UK had a Facebook posting debunking the false report of the BBC.

The Korean people are working in the spirit of self-reliance to implement the decisions of the 8th Congress of the Workers Party of Korea which was held in January this year 

The key decisions of the Congress can be summarised as follows

  • Strengthening the independence of the economy

  • Tightening up the economic planning system

  • Improving people’s living standards

  • Implementing the people-orientated policy

  • Improving national defence

  • Combatting and eliminating anti-socialist and non -socialist practices

At the 8th Congress respected Marshal Kim Jong Un pointed out that “'The independent, planned and people-oriented characters of the national economy should be strengthened. To this end, it is necessary to raise the functions of the state that organizes economic affairs, and ensure unified management of products on the principle of making sure that the fruition of the economic activities is channelled into promoting the well-being of the people

This essentially defines the nature of the DPRK as an independent economy, a people orientated economy and a planned economy rather than a market economy . It basically rejects ‘reform ‘ and ‘opening up ‘ . People like NKNews and Andrei Lankov who have spent about 10 years trying to say that the DPRK is becoming capitalist etc . This is a new form of anti DPRK propaganda aimed at denying support for the DPRK among socialist and communists by falsely portraying it as the same as the capitalist countries , although this does echo the earlier ‘convergence theory ‘ of the imperialists and former Trotskyites like James Burnham .

We must take note that the Biden administration may avoid direct confrontation with the DPRK but instead opt for a non physical , ideological confrontation with the DPRK which would include a renewed human rights offensive against the DPRK plus pressure on the DPRK to ‘reform ‘ and ‘open up’ .

Among the people-orientated measures is housing construction including the construction of 10,000 new homes in Pyongyang and housing in rural areas . This will be given to people free of charge .

In Samjiyon city in the far north of the DPRK last month over 1,000 people moved to new homes . In Namdong ri , south Pyongyan Province 700 families moved into new homes .

At the 3rd Plenary meeting of the 8th Central Committee of the Workers Party of Korea the epochal decision was taken to supply , free of charge, dairy products to all nursery and kindergarten children , Previously they had supplied Soya Milk to all children . This was a decision of Chairman Kim Jong Il in the days of the Arduous March .It is a slander that children are malnourished in the DPRK .

Other achievements such as the creation of 2,000 hectares of new land and increases in production in many industries have been achieved . In September many units fulfilled their 3rd quarterly plans .

With regard to the question of policy towards the USA respected Marshal Kim Jong Un made a very important speech On the Orientation of Present Struggle for a Fresh Development of Socialist Construction at the 5th Session of the 14th Supreme People's Assembly of the DPRK on the 29th of September . He exposed the US fake peace offensive saying that “is no more than a petty trick for deceiving the international community and hiding its hostile acts and an extension of the hostile policy pursued by the successive U.S. administrations”.

He also called for the south Korean authorities to change their attitudes and at the same time called for the reopening of the inter-Korean communication lines . This was put into effect on the 4th of October.

Similarly comrade Kim Yo Jong , vice department director of the Central Committee of the Workers Party of Korea (WPK and a newly elected member of the State Affairs Commission of the DPRK in a statement on the 27th of September said that the DPRK was willing to enter into dialogue and negotiations with south Korea , even to hold a 6th inter -Korean summit and sign an end of war declaration. However the US and south Korea must end their double standards for this to happen .

Peace is On Our Bayonets ! The DPRK ‘s self defence potential has been further boosted.

On the 16th September 2021 a Rail borne missile was successfully launched, greatly improving the tactical mobility of the DPRK ‘s strategic force . The DPRK is one of the few countries to have rail borne missiles.

A hypersonic missile was tested on the 29th September . On the 1st October an anti-aircraft missile was tested and on the 20th October a new type of Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile was tested.

The National Defence Exhibition at the Three Revolutions Exhibition was opened in October.The opening was accompanied by a fly past of jets and helicopters , a sky driver and a martial arts display . Marshal Kim Jong Un made a keynote speech in which he said the DPRK ‘s weapons are not targeted against any country and they are a deterrent . He dismissed the idea that the US was not hostile .

So to conclude the US hostile policy continues and although the DPRK is not in the news we must continue to step up solidarity .KFA UK has played its part by holding many online meetings and taking the initiative of launching an online monthly journal ‘ People’s Korea Today ‘.

Taking a Stand in Support of the DPRK’s Right to Be

by Michael Chant

a contribution made at a Friends of Korea seminar in London on Saturday 6th November 2021 

Friends of Korea would once again like to emphasise the importance of taking a stand in support of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s right to exist and choose its own path of development, striving for peace and for the reunification of the Korean Peninsula; and of supporting the just stands of the DPRK internationally at this crucial time in the face of hostility from the United States and other big powers, including Britain.

For us, the priority is to provide information, combat disinformation and defend the DPRK’s right to be and the right to of the people to decide their own future. We have that duty in Britain, and that is the programme of the Friends of Korea. Thus we hope this seminar today, with its speakers and participants, will contribute towards this aim.

The first thing to grasp is who is hostile to whom. The US and Britain make wild accusations against the DPRK but any sober assessment of the situation shows that the danger comes from the US and its allies. The US stresses its role as the “indispensable nation”, and lashes out to combat any challenge to this. The US has entered into several known military agreements to surround and threaten the DPRK, China and indeed all the peoples in the Asia Pacific region. Already the US stations tens of thousands of troops and war materiel and equipment in Japan, south Korea and several south Pacific islands. The US military regularly sends warships and planes to prowl the waters surrounding China and the Korean Peninsula to probe and test the defences of both countries. The US is refusing to permit a peaceful political settlement of any issue in the Asia Pacific region.

These are not only measures against the DPRK, China and the whole Asia Pacific region, but are in fact directed against the interests of the peoples everywhere, and all these hostile measures are an affront to all who take an anti-war stand. This is a stand that Friends of Korea firmly takes. In fact, the US maintains a large military presence of bases, troops and war equipment in south Korea that is used to intimidate and blockade the DPRK, as well of course as threatening China. This is also aimed at suppressing the people’s democratic movement in the south of the Korean Peninsula for the peaceful reunification of the Korean nation.

Of note in this context is the AUKUS military pact. AUKUS is a trilateral military pact announced on September 15 involving Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States. The pact includes war preparations to attack the DPRK and China, and an agreement for Australia to buy nuclear powered submarines from the US war economy. The three war partners are to co-operate in sending warships and planes throughout the Asia Pacific region and co-ordinate spying and cyber-activity directed at the DPRK, China and all peoples of the region. Britain recently ordered its Royal Navy/Royal Air Force Carrier Strike Group led by the new multi-billion dollar HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier to sail provocatively close to China through the Taiwan Straits on September 27, mirroring the US move in August.

Britain is also participating in the illegal sanctions the European Union has imposed against the DPRK, despite having withdrawn from the EU. It is doing so specifically with the “Democratic People's Republic of Korea (Sanctions) (EU Exit) Regulations”.

These hostile activities have constantly been addressed by the DPRK, and it is this that provides the aim of its defence and military capabilities. In the face of this hostility, the DPRK has waged its struggle for its right to be during the last 70 years and more in the face of US aggression, war and brutal sanctions. The principled stand of the DPRK is to uphold its sovereignty and dignity under all conditions.

The 8th Congress of the Workers' Party of Korea held in January addressed this question. The main thrust of the 8th Congress in this regard was that it reiterated the DPRK's determination to uphold its self-reliant Juche outlook, strengthen its independent economy to counter the brutal sanctions regime of the Anglo-Americans, and defend itself against threats and aggression from the US and others.

Noting in January that whoever became the US President, the real intentions of its policy toward the DPRK would never change, the report to the Congress stressed the need for an adroit strategy towards the US, at the same time as steadily expanding solidarity with the anti-imperialist, independent forces. The report also referred to the need to frustrate the reactionary offensive of the enemy and raise the prestige of the DPRK by enhancing the role of the external information sector. It stressed the need for the field of external work to further develop relations with the socialist countries, consolidate unity and co-operation with the revolutionary and progressive parties which aspire for independence, and for launching a dynamic joint struggle against imperialism on a worldwide scale so as to make the external environment of the DPRK ever-more favourable, it was reported.

The report expressed the steadfast determination of the WPK to reliably defend the peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula as well as of the rest of the world. There is no country on this planet, it said, which is permanently exposed to the threat of war as is the DPRK, nor a country as strong in its people's desire for peace. Friends of Korea is fully behind these affirmations and sentiments expressed in the WPK report.

More recently, on October 11, in his commemorative speech at the Defence Development Exhibition, respected leader Kim Jong Un noted that the exhibition was an opportunity to see how the defence capability of the DPRK had developed. The DPRK is holding fast to the principle of self-defence, and developing military science and the munitions industry in this context, especially over the past five years, he emphasised.

Kim Jong Un said: “The core of our Party's defence policy is to defend our country and people by our own efforts, and contain any threat and challenge. It is to reliably and steadfastly safeguard peace by means of a steadily-developing, powerful defence capability.”

He pointed out that historically the Korean nation had suffered invasion by foreign forces, and has had to build socialism under the constant threats by hostile forces. In view of this lesson of the history of the nation and the demand and special character of the Korean revolution, he said, the building up of national defence is an indispensable and vital state affair which the Workers’ Party of Korea, together with the DPRK government and people, must not neglect for even a moment.

The DPRK leader underlined that the rapid development of military techniques and hardware is changing the aspect of military operations and the security environment of states in every region of the present world. “The military danger facing our state due to the military tension prevailing around the Korean peninsula is different from that ten or five, nay, three years ago,” he said.

“Seeing the contents of various military exercises the United States and south Korea frequently wage on the pretext of coping with what they call threats while talking about peace, cooperation and prosperity in public and south Korea's attempt to modernise its armaments which has recently become intolerably undisguised,” he said, “we can easily guess how military environment will change in the region of the Korean peninsula tomorrow. Recently, south Korea has been trying to upgrade the fighting efficiency of its army under the powerful sponsorship of the United States, bringing in a large number of cutting-edge weapons of various kinds including stealth joint strike fighters and high altitude unmanned reconnaissance aircraft.”

In fact, as the speech explained, the south is focusing on modernising its strike weapons of different kinds. It is developing various warheads and extending the range of its missiles so as to upgrade its overall missile capacity. The military objective of these strike weapons is clear. It is the DPRK. The south is also working to develop the combat efficiency of its submarines and is developing fighter aircraft. “South Korea's attempt,” the speech said, “is too dangerous to be left to itself, but what is more dangerous is its justification for modernising its armaments and its hypocritical double-dealing attitude.”

What of relations between the DPRK and the Republic of Korea in this context? It can be said that whenever the Korean people have made headway in building inter-Korean relations and strengthening the movement for reunification, the US imperialists have intervened to sabotage these efforts. This remains the case.

The 8th Congress of the WPK had noted that in terms of its relations with the US, the DPRK has no illusions and will engage in relations on the basis of "goodwill for goodwill and power for power". The Congress had laid down that the DPRK will be developing and strengthening its international relations in support of the cause of peace and justice everywhere, extending a hand of friendship to all who reciprocate. As Kim Jong Un said at the Defence Development Exhibition, “Our arch-enemy is war itself, not south Korea, the United States or any other specific state or forces.”

In conclusion, it can be said that the DPRK conducts its foreign relations on the basis of principle and upholding its right to be. Contrary to the disinformation carried by the imperialist system of states that the DPRK is a violator of human rights, it is the draconian sanctions imposed by the US, Britain, and others that constitute gross human rights violations, acts of war and collective punishment against the people of the DPRK, which is doing its utmost to defend the rights of its people against this aggression.

The decisive factor in the future of Korea is the Korean people themselves, not anyone or any other power, and their drive for peace and reunification is bound to eventually succeed.

Finally, Friends of Korea would like to emphasise once again the importance of speaking out in defence of the DPRK and its right to be. This is crucial in the context of the continued attacks on it by the US imperialists and their allies including the British government.

We stand as one with the DPRK in its right to pursue its own path of social development, which they must be allowed to do without the threat of war, aggression, sanctions and interference of any kind. We have every confidence in the resilience of the DPRK and the justice of its cause. Friends of Korea will redouble its efforts in its work to embody the friendship and solidarity of democratic people in this country in support of the DPRK’s right to be. This is a matter of war and peace, with the DPRK contributing to the cause of peace on the Korean Peninsula, in the Asia Pacific region and internationally.

Tuesday, 19 October 2021

Solidarity with Korea in London

 by New Worker correspondent

London comrades returned to the Chadswell Centre in Euston to celebrate the 76th anniversary of the foundation of the Workers Party of Korea (WPK) at a meeting called by the Korean Friendship Association last weekend. Chaired by Dermot Hudson, the meeting heard a variety of speakers, including NCP London Organiser Theo Russell, talk about the achievements of the Korean revolution over the years.
    Dermot Hudson pointed out that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) is the only country in the world without a single death or indeed a single case of COVID‑19, and Theo Russell drew attention to the role played by the WPK in rallying the socialist and communist forces after the counter-revolutionary wave that swept away the Soviet Union and the people’s democracies of eastern Europe.
    The DPRK Embassy in London sent a paper to the meeting that stressed the leadership of the WPK general secretary Kim Jong Un and the role of the WPK in raising living standards, which was followed by a general discussion about the current situation and future solidarity work.

Tuesday, 5 October 2021

Defending Korea in the West Country

Alan Bolon explains Juche

by New Worker correspondent

The first ever meeting of KFA West of England was held in Taunton, in Somerset, on Sunday. Chaired by Dermot Hudson, the meeting heard a presentation on the Juche philosophy by Alan Bolon and discussed ways of building solidarity with Democratic Korea in the West Country.

Wednesday, 22 September 2021

A Test for Peace

Last weekend Democratic Korea announced it had successfully tested cruise missiles capable of hitting targets located about 1,500 kilometres away. These “strategic weapons of great significance” are part of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s (DPRK’s) modern arsenal developed to counter any threat from US imperialism in the future.The world will only enjoy true peace and security when the big powers, the USA in particular, are disarmed. World-wide nuclear disarmament is therefore the solution for the establishment of global peace and security, and this must first start with those world powers who own such weapons,
    Eight countries openly possess nuclear weapons. These include the Big Five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council. The USA has an immense arsenal, as does Britain. France also possesses substantial stocks of nuclear weapons. So do China and Russia, along with India, Pakistan and the DPRK.
    The USA is the only country to have ever used nuclear weapons on a civilian population. Since the Second World War they have threatened to use nuclear weapons against other countries – including those that don't possess nuclear weapons – whereas People’s China and Democratic Korea are the only nuclear powers to pledge not to be the first to use nuclear weapons at any time or under any circumstance.
Although this test is clearly a response to the joint US/south Korean war-games last month, there’s been the usual bleating from the Americans and their Japanese and south Korean lackeys. They conveniently forget to mention the fact that the USA has lifted a 42-year-old restriction on the south Korean missile development programme, allowing the puppet regime to develop ballistic missiles capable of reaching targets far beyond the Korean Peninsula, or that the south Koreans test-fired one of their own submarine-launched ballistic missile last weekend.
    The Americans think they can ignore and isolate the people’s government in north Korea. They want to perpetuate the division of Korea to strengthen US hegemony over East Asia and turn the Pacific into an American lake. But they can’t ignore the DPRK.

Kim Jong Il, who led the DPRK through thick and thin to overcome natural disasters, imperialist blockade and diplomatic isolation until his death in 2011, famously said that “there can be no world without Korea”. He was right. The world, the imperialist world, must not, and indeed cannot, forget the criminal partition of the Korean peninsula through the US occupation of the south after the Second World War. This unjust and unlawful division remains a constant source of tension today. We stand by the DPRK and condemn the imperialist aims and threats.