Editorial, Workers World, June 4, 2009 issue
Anyone in the United States who pays attention to the corporate news media must think that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea just violated the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. Right?
Except that no such treaty exists.
Some 180 countries have signed it, but only 148 have ratified it. According to the Web site of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization, “All 44 States specifically listed in the Treaty—those with nuclear technology capabilities at the time of the final Treaty negotiations in 1996—must sign and ratify before the CTBT can enter into force.” (ctbto.org)
Nine out of those 44 nuclear states have not ratified the treaty, despite having signed it some 13 years ago. Therefore, the treaty is not and has never been in force.
The government that seems to protest the most when a country like the DPRK conducts tests sits in Washington. But guess what? The U.S. Senate has not ratified the treaty. In fact, it is Washington’s refusal that is the main obstacle to the CTBT treaty taking effect.
The U.S. tested the world’s first atomic bombs in 1945 and almost immediately dropped two of them on Japanese cities, killing 220,000 people on the spot and leaving another 200,000 so poisoned by radiation that they died soon after. From that time until it signed the treaty in 1996, the U.S. had tested 1,032 nuclear weapons.
That is more nuke tests than have been carried out by all the rest of the countries in the world combined, right up to the present.
So how can the world have any confidence in a nuclear test ban treaty if the country that has tested such a hugely disproportionate number of weapons won’t ratify it?
The DPRK has successfully conducted two underground tests of nuclear devices, one in 2006 and another on May 25. It has not dropped any bombs on anyone. In fact, its troops have never fought anywhere except in Korea, and then it was to expel foreign invaders.
The DPRK’s determination to devote substantial resources to building a nuclear deterrent reflects Korea’s tragic history. First invaded and annexed by colonial Japan, then occupied by U.S. troops at the end of World War II, Korea suffered enormously from the rise of imperialism in the 20th century.
The U.S. created a puppet military dictatorship in the south, which in 1948 declared itself the Republic of Korea. It was only then that the revolutionary forces, who had liberated the northern part of Korea from Japan’s iron grip, responded by declaring the establishment of the DPRK, not as a permanent state that would ratify the division of Korea, but as a recognition of reality. The goal of the DPRK, and of the Korean people as a whole, has always been to reunite the country. Within two years, however, the DPRK was fighting a new war against imperialist invaders—this time hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops.
Several million Koreans, civilians and soldiers, were killed in the 1950-53 war. Some 53,000 U.S. soldiers died. Though the war ended in a ceasefire with the two sides roughly where they had been at the start, the U.S. occupiers of southern Korea refused to sign a peace treaty with the DPRK. And that’s where things have stood ever since, with between 30,000 and 40,000 U.S. troops occupying the south at any one time.
Many countries—first among them the United States—have declared they had to have nuclear weapons for self-defense. None has a stronger claim to a nuclear deterrent than the DPRK, which for more than half a century has faced the constant threat of new aggression from the world’s most heavily armed imperialist superpower.
If Washington were sincere about wanting to move toward a nuclear-free world, it would start by signing a peace treaty with the DPRK, ratifying the CTBT and removing its occupation troops from Korea.
Articles copyright 1995-2009 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.
Workers World, 55 W. 17 St., NY, NY 10011
Support independent news http://www.workers.org/orders/donate.php