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Date: Sat, 4 Apr 98 11:59:51 CST
From: Workers World <ww@wwpublish.com>
Organization: WW Publishers
Subject: What's behind collapse of Korea talks?
Article: 31648
To: undisclosed-recipients:;
Message-ID: <bulk.10758.19980406121807@chumbly.math.missouri.edu>

What's behind collapse of Korea talks?

By John Catalinotto, Workers' World, 9 April 1998

Why have the four-party peace talks on Korea bogged down?

The U.S. news media are, as always, full of complaints on the intransigence of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea—socialist north Korea.

The talks collapsed in Geneva, Switzerland, on March 21. They were aimed at finally reaching a peace treaty to end the 1950-53 war on the Korean peninsula. The DPRK, the U.S., south Korea and China were participating in the talks.

There are still 37,000 U.S. troops along with nuclear weapons in south Korea. U.S. generals have the effective command of the south Korean troops, too.

The presence of foreign occupation troops is the main issue dividing Korea. Yet Washington refuses to even discuss the removal of these troops.

After more than three years of preliminary meetings, the DPRK has finally said the talks can go nowhere unless the U.S. agrees to discuss this question.

Pyongyang's chief negotiator, Deputy Foreign Minister Kim Gye Gwan, said his country saw no point in continuing the talks. Let me make our position very clear. We have no more interest if the four-party talks are not going to address the fundamental issues.

We even came up with a proposal that perhaps we could alter the wording to demonstrate our flexibility—or if that was not possible, we just wanted assurances that such issues can be negotiated in the process of the four-party talks,'' Kim said. But they say they cannot negotiate these fundamental issues. I feel cheated.''

Meanwhile, in March Washington announced several military moves that increase the danger of war on the Korean peninsula.

The Pentagon has announced it plans to bring J-Star flying command aircraft, similar to AWACs, to south Korea in the near future. It also has brought 25 F-15E jet fighters and two AC-130 helicopters from the U.S. mainland to south Korea.

The United States also recently reorganized its 8th Army— the nucleus of its force in south Korea—into a field army system, closer to a war footing.

The Pentagon recently dispatched B-2 stealth bombers to Guam. Strategic nuclear bombers frequently fly to south Korea from Guam for military maneuvers that threaten a surprise attack on the DPRK.

In addition, south Korean forces held military exercises simulating attacks on mountainous inland areas around Mount Unjang in North Jolla Province from March 12 to 21, according to a radio report from Seoul.

South Korea is in political turmoil from the collapse of its export-oriented economy. U.S. corporations and banks are lining up to buy up Korean companies at fire-sale prices.

Last year U.S. Secretary of Defense William Cohen said during an Asian trip that Washington had no intention of withdrawing its troops from Asian bases—meaning south Korean and Japanese bases, including those in Okinawa—even if asked to by the host country.

Commenting on this U.S. intransigence, a news analyst for the DPRK's Workers Daily wrote March 27 that the United States seeks to maintain its military prerogative in the region to maintain colonial domination over south Korea.