Philippines Socialists On The Korean Crisis: ‘Halt All War Preparations! Stop US Provocations And Intervention!

  • mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"”>In March 2012, combined US.-South Korean forces carried out the largest amphibious landing operation exercise in 20 years, involving 13 naval vessels, 52 amphibious armored vehicles, 40 fighter jets and helicopters and 9000 US troops.
    • mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"”>To cross the DMZ, the US has brought in mine-resistant vehicles originally constructed for action in Iraq and Afghanistan.
    • mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"”>Last year's war games included a computer-assisted simulation of an invasion of the North.
    • mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"”>In April 2012, South Korea disclosed that it had developed a cruise missile capable of a precision attack on any target in the North.
    • mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"”>In the summer, the Pentagon advertised its possession of "super bunker-busters" that could destroy the North's nuclear facilities.
    • mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"”>Last year, Japan also agreed to host a second US-designed missile defence radar, while South Korea is constructing a naval base on the island of Jeju that can accommodate Aegis destroyers, a key component of missile defence. This so-called missile "defence" would actually enable offensive operations by neutralising North Korea's missile deterrent.

    The redeployment shows the real meaning of the US "pivot to Asia". As Barack Obama winds down past wars in the Middle East, the US is preparing for new ones, this time and once again, in Asia.

    Philippines' role

    The Philippines has no direct interest in forcing regime change in North Korea. Our national interests are served through peaceful cooperation with our neighbours, not through escalating militarism and war. The responsibility and duty of the Philippines government is to do everything in its power to diffuse the current crisis. According to today’s newspaper reports, the Philippines has urged a “toning down of rhetoric” between North Korea and the United States to ease tensions in the region and ensure the safety of overseas Filipino workers on the Korean Peninsula.

    However, instead of practicing what it preaches, the Philippine government is (at this very moment) conducting joint military exercises with the US Hornet jet fighters have started to fly into the Philippines and a US military ship has docked in Manila Bay to bring equipment and US troops to participate in the war games. This will have the exact opposite effect of escalating the war preparations and heightening the tensions.

    The fact that the government has allowed the military exercises to go ahead during such a crisis is astonishing. Is this merely a big blunder by the government in mis-timing these exercises? Have our officials been distracted by the election fever? Or is this once again a case of the Philippines obediently rolling over and being bull-dozed by the interests of the US.? In any case these military exercises will be viewed by the North Korean government as a clear provocation against them, this time by the US., in alliance with the Philippines. This is of real concern to us.

    The Philippines is known to be a close ally of the US It has military agreements with the US., such as the Visiting Forces Agreement and therefore its ability to pursue a truly sovereign and independent foreign policy in the region, based on peaceful and prosperous relations with our neighbours, is severely constrained and even compromised. Once again, the current (and preceding) government’s unwillingness to follow a foreign policy independent of the US., could potentially pit us against our neighbours and place the security of our nation and its people in jeopardy.

    The Obama administration and South Korean President Park Geun-hye seem to be taking concrete steps to get ready for regime change. The North Korean government’s responses show that they are preparing for the worst. And the Philippines government, it seems, has predictably decided to obediently line up with the US., irrespective of the consequences for our nation and our people.

    PLM calls for the opening of direct political talks between North and South Korea, as the most urgent and necessary step, to stop the further escalation of the crisis into a full-scale war. We call on the Philippine government to act responsibly and to take all necessary measures to diffuse the escalating crisis, with the view to protecting our national interests, and the welfare of our overseas Filipino workers. This includes the immediate cessation of the ongoing joint military exercises with the US.


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