[Marxism] Marty Hart-Landsberg on Korea situation (from pen-l)

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sun Apr 5 12:34:02 MDT 2009

The Obama administration seems uninterested in actually finding ways to 
ease tensions on the Korean peninsula---another example of the new 
administration's determination to embrace many of the previous 
administrations foreign policy objectives.

North Korea launched a rocket/satellite launch vehicle early Sunday 
morning.  President Obama responded with claims that this launch 
violated international rules and has called on the Security Council to 
take action.  This cannot end well.

I am on the steering committee of a group called Alliance of Scholars 
Concerned about Korea.  Here is the statement that we issued (and are 
gathering signatures for) on the North Korean missile launch---I am not 
looking for signatures here---just wanted to share information.


Scholars around the World Express Concerns about Current Crisis in 
Northeast Asia

Despite some hopeful signs in the last two years, the Korean peninsula 
is again teetering toward crisis. The Six Party Talks are stymied. 
Progress toward normalizing relations between the United States and 
North Korea has stalled. Relations between the two Koreas have deteriorated.

In this context, North Korea's rocket launch this week and the 
overreaction to it threaten to trigger another round of escalation.

We urge all the governments in the region to remain calm and turn to 
dialogue and diplomacy to stop the peninsula from degenerating into a 
conflict. We believe that this crisis is a reminder of the absolute 
imperative of achieving permanent peace in the region.

Frustrated by the lack of progress in the Six Party Talks and genuinely 
interested in advancing its space program, Pyongyang is making its 
second attempt to put a satellite into orbit. This time, North Korea has 
signed the appropriate international protocols governing satellites and 
given the proper notification. The UN resolution sanctioning North Korea 
after its 2006 nuclear test does not explicitly forbid satellite 
launches. That North Korea is attempting to abide by this resolution 
suggests that Pyongyang still wants to engage with the international 

We are concerned about the growing militarism in Northeast Asia, 
including increased military spending, destabilizing U.S. military 
exercises around the peninsula, and the bellicose rhetoric from North 
Korea. Japan has taken the current crisis as an opportunity to 
accelerate its missile defense programs; South Korea is solidifying its 
uncompromising position. We believe that an overreaction to North 
Korea's rocket launch would only fuel North Korea's suspicions and make 
further negotiations difficult. Talk of sanctions would only help end 
dialogue in the region.

We call on the region's governments to reaffirm the principles declared 
in the September 19 Joint Statement of the Six Party talks as well as 
the roadmap identified in the February 13 agreement. The six countries 
should abide by their commitments and move forward not only on 
denuclearization but also with the larger engagement package, which 
includes a peace treaty to replace the Korean War armistice, concrete 
steps toward normalization, and a roadmap that Pyongyang can follow to 
become integrated in the global economy and a peace structure. A narrow 
focus on non-proliferation is a recipe for prolonged, fitful, and 
probably fruitless negotiations. Only by expanding the number of options 
on the table can the Six Party Talks make headway.

All avenues of communication and exchange, including bilateral ones, 
must be pursued. A bold move to open dialogue must begin now.

ASCK Steering Committee (institutional affiliation for the purpose of 

Alexis Dudden (University of Connecticut)
Henry Em (New York University)
John Feffer (Foreign Policy in Focus)
Marty Hart-Landsberg (Lewis and Clark College)
Suzy Kim (Boston College)
Jae-Jung Suh (Johns Hopkins University)
Seung Hye Suh (Scripps College)
Jun Yoo (University of Hawai'i)

A more detailed discussion of events can be found at: 

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