U.S. War Drills Are Crimes
Incident at Yonphyong Islet
U.S. and Japan Launch Largest-Ever
The U.S. has organized and commanded the biggest ever joint military drills with Japan. The war drills began December 3 and will continue until December 10. These follow immediately after the largest joint war drills organized by the U.S. with south Korea. The U.S. openly states that the war drills are a show of force, specifically threatening the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Given both drills are also being conducted in close proximity to China’s coast, they are also part of U.S. war preparations against China and for domination of all of Asia. U.S. war drills are crimes against the peace and mist end now! They serve aggression and U.S. striving for domination, which are grave threats to peace in the region and worldwide.
The "Keen Sword" drills with Japan mark the 50th anniversary of the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the United States and Japan. The treaty guaranteed continued U.S. occupation of Japan, with more than 45,000 troops and numerous bases. For the current war drill, around 34,000 Japanese military personnel with 40 warships and 250 aircraft are joining more than 10,000 U.S. troops with 20 warships and 150 aircraft in the drill off Japan's southern islands. The location, like those of the U.S.-south Korea war drills, is close to the Korean and Chinese coasts.
The war drills include live-fire training, integrated air and missile operations, base security, close air support, maritime maneuvers and search and rescue. While the activities are said to be for defensive purposes, it is known that the U.S., many thousand of miles from its own shores, is engaged in the crime of preparation for aggressive war in the region.
This is further indicated by the fact that south Korean military forces for the first time joined with the U.S. and Japan. As well, Japan sent soldiers to the joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises in July.
The U.S.-south Korean war drills were said to be the largest ever and included the U.S. aircraft carrier the USS George Washington, along with dozens of other ships and thousands of troops. The George Washington can carry 80 aircraft including fighter-bombers. The U.S.-Japan joint war drills will be much bigger according to the U.S.
The Japanese military has also been on high alert since the November 23 artillery exchange between the two Koreas. Prime Minister Naoto Kan instructed his ministers to stay in Tokyo during the US-south Korea war drill in the Yellow Sea to prepare for any emergencies.
While the U.S. is stepping up its military threats and aggressive moves, drawing Japan and south Korea into these war plans, China has proposed that an emergency meeting take place with the six nations involved in long-stalled talks for removing nuclear weapons from the Korean peninsula. The six include the U.S., China, Japan, Russia and south and north Korea.
The U.S. has refused, instead conducting these massive war drills. The U.S. has also invited only Japan and south Korea to Washington, DC for talks on December 6.
U.S. War Drills Are Crimes Against the Peace! End Them Now! [TOP]
During the just-concluded US-Republic of Korea (ROK) military exercises in the Yellow Sea, Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan asked his cabinet ministers to remain in Tokyo, in case of any unforeseen incident that required immediate action.
After the recent exchange of fire between the two Koreas, the Japanese government has strengthened its security vigilance by dispatching more patrol aircraft to the region. The Air Self-Defense Force at Hanamatsu Airbase has also been put on 24-hour standby. Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshito Sengoku remarked at a press conference, "I don't think the present situation is close to a military attack," but it's clear that the Japanese leaders are worried about the possibility.
The U.S.-Japanese role in a new Korean conflict should not be underestimated. In fact, as early as in the 1990s, the U.S. was preparing to fight a second Korean War. According to historical records, in 1993 the U.S. military began to consult Japan about its support if "something happened in North Korea."
After Morihiro Hosokawa took office as Japanese Prime Minister in 1993, his administration studied the measures necessary in case of an "emergency on the Korean Peninsula," and, in particular, what actions the Japanese Self-Defense Forces would take. The study was completed in March 1994, with the code name "Operation 00."
At the same time, the U.S. envisaged that in the case of a second Korean War, it would gather 400,000 troops, about 200 ships and 1,600 aircraft in South Korea and Japan. The U.S. asked Japan to act as a forward base in the event of war.
In March 1994, Japan received dozens of documents from the U.S., listing more than 1000 requirements, including "de-mining the territorial waters of South Korea" and other military or quasi-military tasks. In December 1995, the Japanese categorized the US requirements into 1,059 items, involving eight categories that Japan provided for the US military: Airports, ports, transport, supply, mine clearance, communications and security.
Of course, numerous strategic plans are constantly drawn up by national militaries to cope with all possible scenarios. But this one was actually part of U.S. global strategy, and was an important measure to strengthen the U.S.-Japan military alliance.
Scholars of international relations generally believe that alliances are fundamentally formed in order to counter a common threat to the member states. The clearer the threat is, the more vital the alliance is. However, with the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, the U.S.-Japan alliance lost its common enemy. Combined with the economic conflicts between Japan and the U.S., the U.S. was compelled to find a specific threat for the U.S.-Japan alliance as soon as possible.
By doing so, it could end the belief in Japan that an alliance with the U.S. was no longer needed after the Cold War, and make the Japanese feel that they were facing a threat that they could not handle alone. In deliberately exaggerating the severity of the threat posed by north Korea, the U.S. convinced the Japanese that the security provided by the alliance against this common threat was greater than the costs Japan had to pay for the alliance.
The author is a researcher with the Institute of Japanese Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. firstname.lastname@example.org
Some observers believe the firing of live shells into the waters of the DPRK November 23, provoking a military exchange was timed to influence the outcome of the governor's election in Okinawa, Japan just five days later.
The Okinawa gubernatorial election November 28 was between the conservative incumbent Hirokazu Nakaima and the former Mayor of Ginowan City, Yoichi Iha. Ginowan City is at the heart of the campaign to remove U.S. troops from the island, as U.S. marines and their airport occupy the entire city center. Mayor Iha is a spokesperson for those Japanese who see their future in East Asia without U.S. bases, troops and weapons of mass destruction, who consider that problems and relations amongst the peoples of China, Korea and Japan can be settled without resorting to war, war preparations and continual talk of war.
Right from the beginning of the election campaign, the pro-war ruling elite in Tokyo conspired against Mayor Iha. In an unusual move, the two main imperialist parties, Jiminto and Minshuto united behind Jiminto Governor Nakaima who is a former top bureaucrat in the Ministry of Trade and was involved in a very public argument with a former Minshuto Prime Minister. Explaining its position of not running in the election, Minshuto said, "[The party] could not find a suitable candidate to run under its banner."
Small parties and anti-war activists united behind Mayor Iha and even though he was given scant hope at the beginning, he quickly gained ground to within a dead heat with Nakaima. An alarmed ruling elite began to send loads of money and operatives from Tokyo to bolster the governor's campaign. They also softened his pro-U.S. military stance by suggesting he was in fact opposed to relocating the U.S. Marine's Futenma base to an area within Okinawa and that it should be transferred to another prefecture, even though relocation within Okinawa has been his position for years. The governor's about face on base relocation did not turn the tide in his favor. To bolster his chances for re-election it appears two dramatic events were staged to give the impression that East Asia is an out-of-control powder keg and without U.S. military bases, troops and warships, Japan may well be overrun by China and the DPRK.
Video Mysteriously Released to CNN
On November 5, a Japanese military officer released a "classified" video to CNN, supposedly against the direct orders of the government and military. The video purportedly shows a Chinese fishing boat ramming a Japanese warship in a disputed area of the East China Sea about 400 kilometers (240 miles) west of Okinawa and 170 kilometers (about 100 miles) north of Taiwan, where Japanese warships regularly harass fishing boats from China and Taiwan. The release of the video caused a sensation in Japan as the fishing boat captain had originally been detained for the incident but after widespread Chinese protests was released. November 6, in concert with repeated showings of the video on Japanese television, the arch-chauvinist governor of Tokyo Shintaro Ishihara organized an anti-China demonstration at which hooligans called for attacks on Chinese tourists in Japan.
China considers the islands in the disputed area part of Taiwan while Japan calls them an extension of Okinawa and subject to "domestic law." Even though this recent case and the broader issue of sharing the waters are under consideration through diplomacy and international law, the Japanese media and militarist politicians often use the dispute to whip up anti-China hysteria when it suits a particular purpose as it did during the election.
In Okinawa, pro-war campaigners used the clash at sea and video to hail the importance of the U.S./Japan military alliance and that the anti-war stance of Mayor Iha demanding the complete removal of U.S. bases from Okinawa and Japan was reckless and would undermine the alliance and leave Japan at the mercy of a resurgent China.
However, the pro-war arguments and anti-China fear-mongering are not convincing for most Okinawans who see instead the possibilities of trade and tourism with China as greatly assisting the local economy, which is presently in the doldrums in large measure because the U.S. military controls much of its land base. Polls consistently put 70 to 80 per cent of the people in support of removing U.S. bases from Okinawa.
Provocation Against the Democratic People's Republic of Korea
The second incident November 23 was more dramatic and reckless, with the U.S. and its Korean puppets organizing war games off the west coast of the DPRK and shooting live shells into its territorial waters. This provocation unleashed a battle with the DPRK military, which opened fire to defend the nation's sovereignty. The ensuing hysteria in the Japanese media attempted to overwhelm all election anti-war discussion that U.S. military bases, troops and naval armadas should leave Japan, Korea and East Asia. Apparently, it even intimidated some anti-war campaigners. This is one of the aims of such staged provocations. They not only inflame pro-war activists; they are designed to put a chill in the ranks of those opposed to war and U.S. imperialism. They are meant to infect the opposition with self-doubt as to the rightness of their anti-war cause, dent its enthusiasm, sow confusion among activists and open the movement up to conciliation with warmongers and social chauvinists.
The governor and ruling elite attempted to change the focus of the election from the very real action of removing the bases from Okinawa to a more abstract one of rejecting or not the U.S./Japan military alliance. The local media reported that Governor Nakaima "began attacking his rival Iha by saying, '(Iha) opposes the Japan/U.S. Security Treaty. He intends to solve the base issue from the viewpoint of a certain ideology. Iha's solution to the base issue is based on the position of the Communist Party of Japan.'"
Apparently the tactics worked in this election, as the participation rate in voting fell from the last election. Governor Nakaima was re-elected with 335,708 votes to 297,082 votes for Mayor Iha.
In spite of the defeat, anti-war activists have vowed to continue the struggle. The staged provocations during the campaign have taught the people to be even more alert to the cunning of the pro-war forces. A distant incident that may appear on the surface not to be connected with a particular struggle may very well have been planned to influence life somewhere else in a very real way. Everyone in the anti-war movement should be very conscious of imperialist provocations and staged incidents.
Many in Asia have become convinced that the presence of U.S. bases and troops throughout East Asia is an ugly fly in the ointment, the instigator of war that must be removed if any real future is to be possible for the people, if any progress is to be made toward anti-war governments, reunification in Korea and China and peaceful development in the region.
Korean People's Army Vows to Defend Territorial Integrity of the DPRK
On November 23, the Supreme Command of the Korean People's Army (KPA) issued a communiqué denouncing the south Korean U.S. puppet regime for its "reckless military provocation" of firing dozens of artillery shells inside the territorial waters of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) around Yeonpyeong Islet in the West Sea. In its communiqué, the KPA Supreme Command condemned the war preparations and military exercises codenamed "Hoguk" that the U.S. and south Korean military are carrying out around Yeonpyeong Islet as an act of aggression against the DPRK and an escalation of tensions on the Korean peninsula.
The communiqué also noted that the military provocation carried out by south Korea on November 23 was "a sinister attempt to defend the 'Northern Limit Line'" and that south Korean naval vessels have often entered into DPRK territorial waters under the pretext of "intercepting fishing boats" from the north.
The KPA Supreme Command stated that in light of the most recent military provocations from the south, the "revolutionary armed forces of the DPRK standing guard over the inviolable territorial waters of the country" responded with a "prompt powerful physical strike" and unequivocally affirmed that "should the south Korean puppet group dare intrude into the territorial waters of the DPRK even 0.001 mm, the revolutionary armed forces of the DPRK will unhesitatingly continue taking merciless military counter-actions against it." The KPA Supreme Command underscored that it does not make idle threats.
The communiqué ends by reiterating that the DPRK does not accept the "Northern Limit Line" as the maritime demarcation line in the West Sea of Korea and that south Korea best take note of that.
Statement of the Foreign Ministry of the DPRK
November 24, 2010: As already reported by the Supreme Command of the Korean People's Army, the revolutionary armed forces of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) on November 23 took decisive self-defensive measures to cope with [south Korea’s] reckless military provocation of firing shells inside the territorial waters of the DPRK around Yonphyong Islet in the West Sea of Korea.
The army of the DPRK had warned several times that if even a single shell was fired inside the territorial waters of the DPRK during the aggressive and infamous war exercises [by the U.S. and south Korea], around Yongphyong Islet, it would take prompt retaliatory action.
At 8:00 am on November 23, the very day the incident occurred, the head of the delegation of the DPRK to the inter-Korean military talks sent a telephone message to the head of the delegation of the [south Korean] side once again strongly urging it to cancel the plan for staging the above-said firing drill in sensitive waters around the islet.
This notwithstanding, [the south Korean government] committed an extremely reckless military provocation, firing dozens of shells from the islet inside the territorial waters of the DPRK around one o'clock in the afternoon.
The shells fired were from an islet so close to the territory of the DPRK that it can be seen clearly with the naked eye despite the surrounding mountains, islets and terrain. This cannot be construed as anything other than a politically motivated provocation.
The [south Korean government] claimed afterward that they fired shells southward from the islet and not toward the DPRK. This is a bid to deflect from the fact that Yonphyong Islet is located deep inside the territorial waters of the DPRK well north of the maritime military demarcation line. If live shells are fired from the islet, they are bound to drop inside the territorial waters of the DPRK side no matter which direction they are fired in because of such geographical features.
The [south Korean government] sought by this action to create the impression that if there was no response on the part of the DPRK, this meant it recognized the waters off the islet as [south Korean] "territorial waters." Herein lies the crafty and vicious nature of the provocation.
The army of the DPRK took a prompt and powerful self-defense measure by striking at [south Korea’s] artillery positions because it does not make empty threats. This incident is one more dangerous development that has taken place because of the illegal “northern limit line” unilaterally fixed by [U.S. General Mark] Clark, UN forces commander, as he pleased on August 30, 1953, after the conclusion of the Korean Armistice Agreement.
The U.S. and its followers as well as heads of various international bodies should drop their bad habit of thoughtlessly accusing somebody before learning the truth of an incident. If they shield south Korea for its criminal acts, without principle, just for being their ally, this is little short of throwing oil on the fire.
The DPRK, which sets great store in peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula, is now exercising superhuman self-control, but the artillery pieces of the army of the DPRK, the defender of justice, remain at alert, ready to fire.
On November 29, the DPRK said the ongoing joint war drills by the U.S. and south Korea were a fresh provocation to peace and stability on the Korean peninsula. The four-day exercises were condemned as a criminal move that could bring the situation in the region to an explosion.
(Korean Central News Agency)
We, the International League of Peoples' Struggle, condemn in the strongest possible terms the recent and ongoing provocations being made by the U.S. and the south Korean puppet government against the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).
We refer to the mobilization of 70,000 troops for a week of military maneuvers just off the border of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in order to simulate an invasion of the DPRK taking place since November 23.
The south Korean puppet forces fired many shells into the territorial waters of the DPRK on November 23 at 1:00 p.m. Only after an hour and a half did the DPRK retaliate in self-defense by firing shells at the Yonphyong Islet held by south Korea.
The south Korean puppet forces have made the provocations obviously at the instigation of the U.S. U.S. officials and mass media have misrepresented the DPRK as the one making the provocations and have quickly beaten the war drums for the deployment of U.S. forces and weapons of mass destruction against the DPRK.
In a far bigger act of war provocation, the U.S. has announced plans to send the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS George Washington and its battle group including war ships, destroyers and hundreds of fighter jets into the area to participate in new military exercises to threaten the DPRK.
Let us recall that the U.S. military forces have been involved in all the war maneuvers by south Korea, going back to the 1950-53 war, have killed millions of Korean people and have occupied south Korea since the end of World War II.
We demand that the U.S. withdraw its 30,000 troops from south Korea in order to allow the peaceful reunification of Korea and let the Korean people exercise their right to national self-determination.
We demand that the U.S. and South Korea immediately stop their war maneuvers and exercises against the DPRK. They must remove their war ships from the territorial waters of the DPRK. The U.S. must end the sanctions it has instigated against the DPRK.
Long Live the Democratic People's Republic of Korea! [TOP]