PH should oppose US war in Korean Peninsula
The threat of a nuclear war in the Korean Peninsula is a real and present danger. Not since the 1962 Cuban missile crisis, when the United States threatened to bomb Cuba to extinction for harboring Soviet missiles, has there been so much concern about the possibility of a nuclear war.
Despite his isolationist declarations, US President Donald Trump’s war plans to promote US global interests are deadly serious. Trump’s threat to attack North Korea was triggered by the latter’s attempts to develop nuclear weapons. North Korea left the international nonproliferation treaty in 2003, and since 2006 has been subjected to US-supervised sanctions.
The border separating North Korea and South Korea is the most militarized border in the world. American military power is overwhelming, but North Korea does possess some deterrents. Both sides possess nuclear weapons. If war broke out the casualties would be high on both sides. The last war on the Korean peninsula, from 1950 to 1953, resulted in over 2 million civilian casualties.
At various times in the past 20 years, the Pentagon has estimated that 1 million Korean civilians, divided evenly between North and South, would die in the first days of an all-out war. More than 25 million people live in metropolitan Seoul, South Korea’s capital. The Pentagon refers to the area as the “kill box.”
While China has been an ally of North Korea, it’s unclear whether China will intervene militarily in North Korea’s defense. Trump’s war cry against North Korea is also aimed as a warning against China.
War is very much a part of the United States’ “pivot to Asia” strategy which has resulted in the unprecedented militarization of the region. We have to oppose Trump’s “war strategy” in the region—for the sake of the Korean people, for the unity and self-determination of the Korean people and, ultimately, for the sake of humanity and our environment.
We demand that President Duterte respond to Trump’s statements by distancing the Philippines from America’s foreign policy—that is, Trump’s rushing to war. This means a stop to all joint military exercises with the United States and the scrapping of all military treaties with America, especially the Visiting Forces Agreement and the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement. The Duterte administration must make known its opposition to the US war plans in the Korean Peninsula and take every possible diplomatic initiative to prevent a war.
The Philippines is the chair of Asean and it can use this position to muster support against a war in the Korean Peninsula and to promote Korea’s unification and thus demonstrate its commitment to a genuinely sovereign and independent foreign policy.
REI MELENCIO, International Desk, Partido Lakas ng Masa, [email protected]
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