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Korea: Key Link in Encirclement of China

The Korean War, or any war, has to be seen in the context of the strategic goals of the combatants as well as those of the allies on either side. What was the setting for the outbreak of the war and what is the situation today?

First, the background for the outbreak of the war. The United States emerged as a full- fledged imperial power at the turn of the 20th century. Its first aggression was against the decrepit Spanish empire.  The rebellions in Puerto Rico, Cuba and the Philippines offered an opportunity for U.S. imperialism to quickly defeat Spain, convert Central and South America into colonial preservers of the US and, most importantly, conquer the Philippines and use them as a springboard to “the illimitable markets of China.”

Preventing China from re-establishing itself as a dominant world economic power and guaranteeing its “open door” to U.S. imperialism has always been the basis of US Asian policy. Korea has always played a key role in this. However, the US isn’t the only power interested in China and Korea. Most of the 1905 war between Japan and Russia was fought in Korea. The Japanese won that war and annexed Korea as a colony and the basis of the Japanese Empire. From Korea, the Japanese invaded Manchuria and China. Russia and Japan constantly clashed over Japan’s intrusions into Siberia. This broke out into a full-scale war in 1938 with the Soviet Union crushing the Japanese army in the biggest tank battle in history up to that time. The Japanese then transferred 5 million crack imperial troops to Korea and the Siberian border where they remained until the end of WWII. Recognizing that they could not defeat the USSR, The Japanese turned to China and South Asia. The Japanese trained a Korean puppet army mainly recruited in the South, and an administration under the feudal lord, Syngman Rhee. The grandfather of the current South Korean president, Park, was a general in the Japanese Army.

Korea was basically agrarian and feudal in the south and industrial in the north.  A powerful anti-Japanese national liberation movement led by Kim Il Sung was primarily based in the North where it was aided by the Chinese Red Army, which was also fighting the Japanese, as well as the puppet Chiang.

When war broke out between Japan and the US, the hard-pressed Americans extracted a promise from the USSR to attack Japan within three months of the ending of the European War in return for American aid. Exactly on schedule the USSR declared war on Japan. The U.S. dropped the bomb on Hiroshima on August 6th. The USSR declared war on Japan on August 8th. It was not the bomb that ended the war so abruptly – it was the rapid destruction of the imperial army, and the liberation of all of Manchuria and the northern half of Korea. Both the U.S. imperial establishment and the Japanese fascists panicked as the Soviet Army poised to liberate the entire north of Asia. As horrible as the war was, the Japanese and Americans had a common interest in stopping the spread of communism in Asia. This was the real reason for the abrupt ending of the war.

The Americans quickly occupied the southern part of Korea in an agreement to disarm the Japanese and hold democratic elections to unify the country. The strategic goal of imperialism regarding China kicked in. The U.S. blocked the elections and installed the pro-Japanese butcher Rhee as president. The move to encircle China began again as the French invaded Vietnam, the British moved to invade Burma, and the Dutch attacked Indonesia.

Since Korea borders both China and Russia it is the most accessible invasion route. The U.S. built up its forces in Japan and Korea. The Soviet Union’s decision to boycott the United Nations over its exclusion of Red China gave the Americans an opportunity. In April of 1950 there were two large-scale incursions by South Korean troops. The Democratic Republic in the North issued a warning that any further incursions would mean full-scale war. On the 25th of June there was another large scale invasion. The North pulled back its troops for ten miles then unleashed a massive counter attack.

There has never been a peace treaty to end the war and it could begin again without notice. At this time it is the flash point and key link for the encirclement of China.

Political Report of the LRNA Resident Standing Committee, July 2013

September/October 2013. Vol23.Ed5

This article originated in Rally, Comrades!
P.O. Box 477113 Chicago, IL 60647 rally@lrna.org
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