Provocation: South Korea, Under Obama’s Guidance, Cuts Power and Water to the DPRK’s Kaesong Industrial Region

by Scott Creighton

“The director of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency stated the launch (DPRK’s Kwangmyŏngsŏng-4 satellite) was not a test of an intercontinental ballistic missile.” Vice Admiral James Syring, director of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency

In the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), over 53,000 workers woke up Friday morning without a job. Compare that sudden shock to what happened this week at the Carrier Air Conditioner plant which told their 1,400 workers they would be out of work in a year or so.  It’s not good news anyway you cut it, but at least the Carrier employees have a little time to make adjustments. In North Korea, such considerations were not made available to the workers.

Before you jump to cliched conclusions about what communist states really think about their workers, process this little tidbit of information: the DPRK did not close the facilities where these people worked and earned the incomes they and their families depend on… the South Koreans did that at the behest of Barack Obama and Sec. of State Kerry.

On the western tip of the border between North and South Korea there rests something called the Kaesong Industrial Region.

It was started in 2002 when the DPRK was trying to improve relationships with South Korea. They got together with the Ministry of Unification (South Korean government institution dedicated to the reunification of the two Koreas) and came up with the idea of a shared industrial zone where South Korean businesses could take advantage of cheaper North Korean labor in order to make various products for the global market that could compete with inexpensive Chinese labor.

They thought that by having a shared business interest, the two nations would inch a little closer to normalized relations and in the end that would bring them closer to unification.

In 2003 the Ministry signed a 50-year lease on the property with the DPRK and several South Korean companies came in and started building the industrial zone. Work was completed late in 2004.

By April of 2013 there were 123 companies from South Korea doing business in the zone employing 53,000 DPRK workers with about 8oo South Koreans working there as well.

US economic sanctions prohibit the production of various high-end electronics in the zone like computers and cell phones.

In 2009, the DPRK demanded a raise for their employees working in the zone. They had been making $75 a month and the North demanded it be increased to $300. A settlement was reached and their salary was increased to about $160.

Given the nature of the project, there have been a number of times in the past when work was suspended due to relations between the north and south. The Cheonan incident did not, however, effect production though I am sure Hillary wished it had.

Thursday night, South Korea shut off water and electricity to the zone due, they said, to the DPRK’s testing of a ballistic missile last weekend. Several media outlets are still reporting, mistakenly, that North Korea launched a ballistic missile in order to test a new rocket that could be used to strike the mainland of the United States.

That’s propaganda. The north launched a satellite into orbit. It had nothing to do with ballistic missile tests. And that conclusion comes directly from our official sources, not theirs.

“The director of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency stated the launch (DPRK’s Kwangmyŏngsŏng-4 satellite) was not a test of an intercontinental ballistic missile.” Vice Admiral James Syring, director of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency

Regardless of that fact, President Obama rushed to make contact with South Korea in order to ratchet up tensions between the two nations. Never let a good manufactured crisis go to waste. He will meet with South Korea next week to discuss an even bigger provocation:

U.S. President Barack Obama spoke with the leaders of South Korea and Japan by phone on Monday night and reassured them of Washington’s support, while also calling for a strong international response to the launch, the White House said.

Obama will also address North Korea’s “provocations” when he hosts the leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in California early next week, aides said.” Reuters

 

South Korea will begin talks with Washington as early as next week on deploying an advanced U.S. missile defense system following North Korea’s rocket launch, an official said on Friday, as Seoul cut power to a factory park run jointly with the NorthReuters

As you can see, President Obama was calling for “strong international reactions” from South Korea to the “launch” of this satellite and 3 days later, South Korea provides that strong reaction he was calling for with the cutting of power and water to the Kaesong Industrial Region. It is unrealistic to imagine Obama’s demand fell on deaf ears in South Korea given the timing of these events.

The provocation of these acts is unprecedented in the long history of the Kaesong Industrial Region especially when you consider the manufactured crisis which preceded them.

The DPRK has every right to launch the Kwangmyŏngsŏng-4 satellite into orbit. The act does not pose a threat to our national security or that of South Korea. According to international law, they complied by informing the global community of the launch and provided tracking data to all relevant agencies. It never posed one single threat to the United States or South Korea nor did the rocket debris as it fell harmlessly back to earth.

It is an earth observation satellite with no military applications:

Earth observation satellites are satellites specifically designed for Earth observation from orbit, similar to spy satellites but intended for non-military uses such as environmental monitoring, meteorology, map making etc.” Wiki

They used a Unha delivery system rocket to get the satellite into orbit. They have used this system in the past with varying degrees of success.  In 2009 they tested the rocket in an attempt to get something into orbit and it failed. In 2012, they successfully put a satellite into orbit using the same system, but it tumbled out of control. Last weekend they tried again and this time, the satellite, though initially reported as tumbling again, is reportedly stable and performing as planned (though US intel says it’s not transmitting)

What this success represents, the real threat that it presents to global interests, is the progress of another nation reaching satellite deploying capabilities. They are breaking into a field that we and a very few other nations hold a monopoly on.

That is too say nothing of the symbolic importance of the successful launch to the people of the DPRK.

During the Republican Primary debate last week, a moderator continued to ask questions of the candidates regarding whether or not they would have unilaterally bombed the Kwangmyŏngsŏng-4 satellite as it sat ready for launch on the pad in North Korea. She seemed miffed when several of them refused to say he would have committed an act of war against a nation for such behavior.

President Obama, not to be outdone, has now inflicted a terrible wound on the reconciliation process that was underway in Korea.

By asking the South Koreans to cut power and water to the Kaesong Industrial Region for this perceived provocation from the north, Obama has set back relations between the two nations 12 to 13 years all because North Korea adhered to international law and launched an earth observation satellite into orbit without the master’s permission.

Doing so, Barack Obama has not only set back relations between the two countries and forced 53,800+ Koreans from both sides into unemployment, but he has also knee-capped over 220 South Korean businesses… all for nothing other than further destabilizing that region to go along with the destabilization he created in places like Libya, Syria and Ukraine.

Unfortunately, the only real “liberal” voice we have out there right now, candidate Bernie Sanders, recently said that North Korea poses the greatest threat to the United States because it’s run by a “crazy man”. That is totally absurd. North Korea couldn’t care less about what we are doing so long as we aren’t ruining their efforts to mend ties with South Korea or putting offensive weapon systems on their borders… like Obama is planning to do after meeting with South Korean officials next week.

Had I been asked what I thought was the greatest threat to the American way of life during a “debate” with Killary Clinton, I would have said the TPP, the TTIP and the neocon Project for a New American Century. After all, the oath of office includes defending the nation from enemies both foreign AND domestic, doesn’t it?

Or maybe I would have cited whatever magical process it was that suspended the laws of physics on Sept. 11th, 2001. Or maybe the agency that sent some anthrax to congressmen who voted against the Patriot Act.

I guess any number of those would suffice in regards to things that pose a greater threat to the US than the DPRK and their little satellite does. But that’s just me.

I am deeply disappointed in Bernie Sanders for tacitly supporting the latest Obama regime change propaganda targeting North Korea but then again… when hasn’t Bernie supported Obama’s regime change programs?

34 Responses

  1. What’s the alternative, let the fascists stay in power forever? Instead of food they concentrate what little wealth the country has on its military. The military is the only thing keeping the DPRK in power. If they won’t collapse on their own due to sanctions or revolution, I say lets provoke them into starting a war. I don’t know how long the war would last but I do know their resources and friends are severely limited. I don’t think they would last long and then it would all finally be over.

    • “Instead of food they concentrate what little wealth the country has on its military” What? thats not happening in the good old USSA??? Those dam homeless just want to be hungry….The govt would feed them but they need the $$ for more wars….How many more will die cause of brainwash morons like eric??? Hey eric..heres your rifle, we’ll call the NK and tell them your on your way to kick their butts…

    • Provoke them into starting a war? How did that work out with FDR and Japan? Do you know how many US soldiers suffered and died as a result? How many Japanese citizens? Dear God man, think about that for a minute. And think about this: what good did it do? Japan was OK for a while, but they are steadily getting more fascist with every day and now they are starting to arm themselves again. That’s great huh? How did that plan work out with Saddam and Iran? How many million died during that plan and what happened in the end? Saddam was still there for decades until Bush lied 935 times. And of course, you do know China and RUSSIA both back North Korea, right? How “limited” are they? You want to start WWIII? the DPRK has nukes, Eric. That and a standing army of about 3 million troops. You want to see the ROK wiped off the map?

      Let’s say for a second that all the military analysts are wrong and no one comes to help North Korea in their time of need and we get to wage yet another “humanitarian bombing” campaign on them without interruption. Let’s say 500,000 dead North Korean citizens and a completely destroyed civilian infrastructure kills another 500,000 from starvation, sickness, whatever. Then they get to have the same kind of “government” we established in places like Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya recently. So another 100,000 get disappeared, tortured to death, rounded up and put in work camps. Whatever…

      Is it finally over then or is it just beginning like we see in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya recently (and there are MANY more examples throughout history to choose from)?

      You do not make life better for people by bombing them. That never happens. Ever. Open the closed doors and lift sanctions so the people of North Korea can get to know the rest of the world and we can get to know them and in the end, cultures will merge and peace will find a way. Bombing them only serves the MIC and the financial masters of the universe who profit from creating chaos and destruction and then rebuilding in their own image. And we can’t buy into their business model. We have to see with better eyes than that.

  2. Oh yes another war!It won’t last long and won’t cost much either,and they’ll shower us with flowers out of sheer gratitude at having their country blown to bits,just like Iraq.That’s just what we need,although I must admit to being a bit confused here.I thought the North Koreans were murderous, diabolical,dirty,red,commie,bastard,scum.At least,that’s what I always heard from the flag waving “freedom lovers” of western civilization.If you’re concerned about fascists,I suggest you start looking at Wall Street,at the Pentagon,at Langley,and at the present field of U.S. presidential candidates.Also Scott,in relation to your comment about Sanders in the last paragraph, http://bellaciao.org/en/spip.php?article23471

    • What’s your solution to the problem in North Korea? The people are clearly incapable of freeing themselves. So what’s to be done?

      • Oh. I’m sorry. are we supposed to “free” everyone like in did in Libya and Iraq and are doing in Syria right now? How’s that worked out? How about how we freed the Cambodian people? Or for that matter, the Iranians in ’53 when we freed them from their democratically elected president and gave them the Shah of Iran in exchange? Or maybe when we freed the people of Chile in ’73 from their left-leaning president? How did Pinochet work out? What exactly are we “freeing” them from in North Korea? And why is it we spend so much time worrying about “freeing” the people in nation states that don’t adhere to our IMF/World Bank policies, while letting dictators like the new one in Egypt, the House of Saud, the junta in Thailand.. go unchecked? Why don’t we “free” the occupied people of Palestine? They could use some help and they actually want it as opposed to the North Koreans, the Libyans, the Syrians, etc. etc. etc. How do you feel about freeing the Palestinians?

      • Come on eric..lets free our selfs first…

        • I feel very free relative to the people of NK. If people who’ve escaped tell the truth then it’s hell on earth for the average NK citizen. Not to mention they threaten our allies South Korea and Japan.

          • Just asking, but what if many of the people who fled North Korea were actually individuals like the anti-Castro Cubans who came to live in Miami and who painted horrible pictures of life in Cuba under that government because they hated the new country and wanted to return to the dictatorship of Batista regime? There are many Iranians who say they were “free” living under the Shah’s brutal regime in Iran. Mainly because they were part of the exclusive club which was ousted from power after the revolution. Life in Iran is pretty nice right now. Same can be said for any pro-US dictatorship when it falls. Some people leave and make up all kinds of horrific stories, which do get a lot of attention because the narrative is one supported by the corporate media.

            All I am saying is, North Korea is one of the most secluded places on earth, right? We don’t know exactly what is happening in there. It’s not being made any better by our sanctions either. Compare it to life in Iraq under Saddam. Albright said it was “worth it” to kill 500,000 children with sanctions, simply because we wanted Saddam out and our oil companies in. So as bad as people say life was under Saddam, wasn’t it made all that much worse by our meddling in their business? Could it be possible that the same can be said of life in the DPRK?

            Now, as bad as we are told it is living in the DPRK, let’s compare that to the Shining City on the Hill. We are now mandated to buy insurance from private companies that many don’t want or need at ever increasing prices for less and less service each year. We have by far the highest percentage of our own citizens locked up in prisons, many for victim-less crimes like being addicted to drugs or selling pot. Those prisons are rapidly becoming privatized so that big business can make a profit from it. The “American Dream” is steadily slipping further and further out of reach while banks and bankers are literally considered Too Big Too Fail and Too Big Too Jail by our “Justice Department”. We condone torture and even run TV shows trying to get the general population to support it. We are currently militarizing our police departments to the point where there are more US citizens killed per year by police than any other Westernized industrialized nation of the world. By far. Not even close. We are watched by Big Brother. Our data is mined by Big Business and sold. We are now monitored from the cradle to the grave and that information is used against us in so many ways, we are only beginning to come to terms with it.

            Does any of that sound remotely like the stories we are told about North Korea?

            Now the difference is… we KNOW it’s true about the US. We are TOLD it is about North Korea.

            How do we fix it?

            Didn’t Nixon go to China after telling us for years we had to sacrifice our troops in Vietnam because they were sure if we didn’t stop communism there, the domino effect would make it spread across the world? And what does Nixon himself do right after pulling out of Nam? He goes to China, sits down and has multinational and unilateral discussions with them, and helps bring China back into the fold of international trade and relations.

            Look at what the Koreans themselves were in the process of doing. They were normalizing relations until we stepped in.

            Regime change ops and “humanitarian” bombing campaigns are not the only form of diplomacy. In fact, they aren’t diplomacy at all. They are used when TPTB understand they don’t want gradual assimilation of a nation state, but would rather slam the brick of neoliberal economic ideology on it so they can rape and pillage the economy, the resources and the state owned industries just as fast as they possible can, just like they did in Iraq, Iran, Chile, Libya, Afghanistan, Bolivia, Poland, Indonesia, the former Soviet Union… etc etc etc.

            That’s what we can do and that’s WHY they don’t do it. You notice, they are trying the slower method with Cuba now, right? Same thing could be done with North Korea and probably it will be done that way eventually because the Chinese are not going to allow us force a regime change on them like we did in Syria and Libya recently. They don’t want the region to be destabilized nor do they want to see South Korea crumble either.

            • Well I can’t argue that China is in control of the region. As for whether or not NK escapees are like Batistans; I thought about that and while it is very possible, I always think about the sattelite image of earth at night. It shows all the world lit up with man made light. All the world except for NK which is dark. That’s a pretty telling state of affairs. That and to my knowledge, no one who escapes has good things to say. And I’m not altogether convinced China wouldn’t welcome an excuse to take NK for itself. It isn’t the best neighbor or friend to China. Its only real value serves as a buffer to democratic SK and the western powers that occupy it.
              Lastly, I’m also not saying that any certain government should be in control of a military action. I was against both gulf wars because I knew rumsfeld, cheney, and co. would screw up beyond all belief. Not to mention that the wars were largely unnecessary in the first place. But I think of the decades of suffering and wasted human lives in NK and it makes me want someone to do something!

  3. Even if I agreed that the people of N.K. were “slaves”(and I don’t),just how is it the responsibility of the U.S. or anyone else to “free” them?As far as I know,we have never freed anybody,but have instead offered alternative methods of servitude,like private central bank wage/debt slavery.North Korea is a manufactured and maintained(by endless propaganda) enemy,and in my opinion,no threat whatsoever to the U.S.So the “problem” that requires a “solution” is in itself fraudulent,a psyop,a hoax.The U.S. should withdraw all military forces,all the guys and all of their shit from the Korean peninsula,and and bring them home.If necessary,construct new or expand existing bases for the returning personnel,with the money channeled through these locations flowing into the local domestic economy.Let North and South Korea work out their differences on their own.Finally,and I know it sounds cliché,but let’s start minding our own business for once.

  4. Dear Mr. Crieghton,

    This is Kiyul Chung, Editor in Chief at The 4th Media (http://www.4thmedia.org/).

    Thank you for a great article, very much appreciative.

    We are indeed in deep gratitude to your courageous voice!

    Your article is just reprinted on The 4th Media’s World News Section with a bit different title, but fundamentally same in spirit.

    A photo was also selected for the article which we believe well describes/depicts the core content of your article.

    Wish to get in touch with you thru email, if allowed.

    My email address is chiefeditor@4thmedia.org.

    Looking forward to working with you in the future!

    Sincerely,

    Prof Chung

    **********************
    Kiyul Chung, PhD
    Editor in Chief, The 4th Media
    Visiting Professor, Tsinghua University, Beijing
    Visiting Professor, Kim Il Sung University, Pyongyang
    Adjunct Professor, Korea University, Tokyo

    • Thank you for letting me know, Prof. Chung. I’m glad you published the article on your site and hope it helps bring attention to the issue of the provocations being leveled at both the DPRK and the ROK by Western influences. We have to remember that any attempt to undermine the peace in that region will have an adverse effect on not only the people of North Korea but also on those of our ally in South Korea. I hope that what is happening now is just another attempt to justify stricter sanctions on the DPRK, that those efforts will fail and that they eventually reopen the industrial zone before tensions between the two Koreas increase to the point of violence. As the history of our destabilization efforts has shown us, it’s never just one nation in a region that ultimately pays the price of these colonialist endeavors.

      This is the first time I have been made aware of 4th Media and I have to say I’m honored you chose my article for publication.

      For those of you who don’t know about the website, I urge you to check it out. You can find my article on their site, here. Thanks again Prof. Chung.

  5. “We are indeed in deep gratitude to your courageous voice!”

    Ditto …

  6. “Had I been asked what I thought was the greatest threat to the American way of life…TPP, TTIP, neo-cons…”

    Well, that and perhaps Turkey and Saudi Arabi [with USA backing] amassing 350,000 soldiers to invade a sovereign nation to overthrow the democratically elected leader in direct opposition to Russia, Iran [and likely China].

  7. Eric-

    The US already freed the shit out of North Korea during Freedom Fest 50-53. Although the Army and CIA participated in endless atrocities, the main agents of the free were the US Air Force. This was the Golden Age of Napalm, and it was liberally distributed over North Korea. EVERY city and town in North Korea was burnt to ashes, and most of the villages as well.
    The Air Force actually stopped bombing North Korea for a period of months- not out of any humanitarian concerns, but because there was literally noting left to bomb.

    As a result of this bombing over 20% of the North Korean population died.
    Imagine the US with 65-70 million dead and every town larger than Weed or Edgartown burned to the ground. That’s what American freedom means to the North Koreans.

    • Well, the north did start the war by invading the south. Aside from that, yes there were many great atrocities carried out directly by or at the behest of the U.S. occupiers. But look back and see all this through their eyes. Communism was a real threat. Stalin was a ruthless genocidal maniac. The west desperately needed South Korea to remain friendly to the west. Both South Korea and Japan were a bulwark to total communism in the region. The west feared that a communist Korean peninsula would lead to the fall of a newly democratic Japan and a total loss of the region. The South Koreans had just been freed from Japanese rule by the Americans and Soviets. Both of whom were eager to leave the peninsula. The Americans did repress communist uprisings but that was only natural considering the U.S. was in a de facto war with communism. I’m not saying anyone was right or just in their actions. But I can see it from their point of view and understand the reasons things happened, while not agreeing with or minimizing their crimes in any way.

      • You can “understand” their actions, dropping napalm on villagers (men, women and children) in North Korea, because of their “point of view”? You can “understand” how that happened? I can’t. To me it’s no different that the Nazis rounding up communists and other leftists and putting them in work camps and working them until they were dead. But I guess that’s just me. One might make the argument that at least napalm is more humane because it’s faster than slowly starving to death while working 19 hours a day, but it’s still a tough sell.

        • I don’t know what to tell you besides the fact that people in the west did not like Stalin and they didn’t want communism to spread. They fought wars to that effect. In the face of Stalin’s Holodomor, I can see their point. That dude was evil.

            • Thank you for the link. I didn’t realize the propagandists settled on “6 million” as the number who died as a result of the “hunger-extermination” in Ukraine. Why is it always “6 million”? What is it with that number? I know they said “6 million” Jews died after WWI then it was “6 million Ukrainians” then “6 million” in the holocaust. I wonder how long it will be before they claim Kim Jung killed “6 million” in North Korea and “ISIS” killed “6 million” in Syria. Thanks for the link.

            • It’s quite fascinating. I love reading about the history of yellow journalism. After all, that’s pretty much what I do here: try to counter current yellow journalism as best I can. Looking back over the history of similar campaigns, often rooted in the same, fascist ideology, kinda gives me a sense of belonging to something bigger than myself, you know?

              • That book is simply Communist propaganda. It is as accurate as the New York Times account of 9/11.

                • A glib assertion based on what exactly?

                  • The Ukrainian government of the 1930’s was an occupation government- similar to the Mongol occupation government of China in the 13th century but even more destructive and vicious. It’s crimes were myriad, and constitute a great embarrassment to the present Owners of our society.
                    They have endeavored to write these crimes out of history, and have largely succeeded, primarily due to the spread of ‘hate crimes’ laws, which preclude any serious discussion of collectivization in Ukraine.

                    Collectivization, although it sort of worked in Russia, was a disaster for the peoples of central Asia, due to the largely nomadic nature of their existence. They lost all their animals and their way of life as well.
                    Only in Ukraine, however, did collectivization rise to the level of purposeful, sustained mass murder. This was due primarily to ethnic tensions- ideology and politics played almost no role.

                    • Ukraine was the wealthiest and most prosperous republic of the USSR when it ‘collapsed’ so I don’t know where you’re getting your folk lore from.

                      “This was due primarily to ethnic tensions- ideology and politics played almost no role”

                      This seems to run counter to your prior assertion that the West was justified in fighting the USSR.

                    • I’m curious… all this talk of “collectivization”… you wouldn’t happen to be a fan of Ayn Rand, would you?

            • Thank you I’ll have a look. I’ve read quite a bit about the idea the Holodomor is a myth but I haven’t seen this material. I will say that it will take quite a lot to convince me it is seeing as there is so much evidence supporting that it happened. Just a question though, do you also believe the Jewish holocaust during ww2 to be a myth? There is quote a lot of material which supports the idea that it too was a myth. Are you a holocaust denier?

              • I think the point re the Holodomor is that what did happen, didn’t happen the way that we are taught.

                At best the story we are told lacks any context. At the very best.

                Like the current NK propaganda. All these stories of mass starvation etc as though its a deliberate policy completely down to cruelty of the regime.

                Never about our sanctions is it? Our sanctions which are deliberately designed to cause starvation and public health degradation.

                And why can’t the NORKs launch their own satellites? Who says so?

  8. […] willyloman onProvocation: South Korea, Unde… […]

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