Saturday, April 6, 2013

A possible Korean War part two is harmful to the Philippines

Let's go back in time. Get to know why the United States and North Korea continue their bickering inspite nearly half a century of armistice.

Korea was once a united nation. When Japan annexed Korea in 1910, it became a Japanese colony until World War two. Japan, as you know, was defeated by the combined powers of Russia and the United States. What happened in Germany, happened also with Korea. Korea was divided into two---a Communist-led North and a Capitalist South.

In 1948, the United Nations supervised an election which legitimately established two governments in one state---a Socialist government in the North and a Capitalist government in the South.  This led to a war in 1950, where the United States intervened because South Korea remained under their occupation. After three years of brutal fighting, the UNited States and North Korea entered into an armistice. It has been like that since the fifties.

Prior to the debacle the US military encountered in Vietnam, their first defeat post-war was actually in the Korean war. Former General Douglas Macarthur led that so-called defense of South Korea which involved nearly 400,000 soldiers. Within three months, the North Korean army has pushed the South Korean and US forces into the pusan perimeter, the Southern-most point after the 38th parallel. The US and SK armies have suffered heavy casualties by then. The war further intensified when the UN sent its forces to back US and SK Armies. In retaliation, the Chinese also sent its army and managed to counter the renewed US-SK forces. This led to the armistice of July 1953.

Now, sixty years later and the North Koreans are now threatening the US with a nuclear attack. This is extremely surprising since the situation right now is entirely different. First, there is no more Communist Russia that would support a North Korean initiative in case it happens and second, even the Chinese government is now partly Capitalist, yet because of the strategic importance of Korea, definitely the Chinese government would exercise its discretion and possibly support North Korea if a war should break out between the North and South.

Actually, it was the United States that first threatened the North with an atomic bomb attack. In defense, the North Koreans developed its own nuclear defense system.

The North Koreans demand only four conditions: First, that the United States cease its occupation of South Korea and start initiatives of forming one singular country with two systems---one, a Communist North and a Capitalist South, similar to that of China, where the Communist government of China recognizes Hongkong as a center of capitalism.

Two, that the US stop sending its troops for mock nuclear battles in South Korea to de-intensify the situation. Third, that the US allow the North Koreans to freely determine their future and lastly, that the US ends its imperialistic rule over the peninsula.

Now, why are the North Koreans flexing their muscles and trying to force the situation? I think the initiative has some semblance of support from Korean officials and businessmen in the South. Unknown to many, there are initiatives, mainly economic, that both sides began in earnest several years ago. In spite of the armistice, both sides have been actively exploring ways of economic cooperation, and these initiatives led to mainly positive results.

I think that what the North is doing right now is simply elevate the Korean problem into the world stage once more. What is really dangerous is the fact that the North Korean leader is still an enigma--there is still not enough time to determine his exact personality or his behavior towards the West. What is certain is that the Korean leader is also Western educated, and possibly trying to escalate the issue just to be heard.

Now, why is it that Filipinos should be interested in what is happening right now in the peninsula? Under the Mutual Defense treaty, a war entered by the United States is to be supported by the Philippines. Support will mean, transforming our bases once more as launching pad of military hardware unto places where the US intends to go to war. During the Afghan and Iraqi wars, Philippine military bases were immediately transformed into military installations, and in this conflict, what is important for the United States is the defense of Guam, which they think is the first area where North Korean missiles would strike.

NUmerous officials documents about the strategic defense of the United States points to an abandonment of the Philippines once the US deems it unwise to defend it in exchange of the continental states. Meaning, the Philippines will drag itself into a war which it is not directly involved in, and will probably suffer the consequences of such, even a loss of sovereignty, since it does not have a sophisticated defense system.

The Philippine government should immediately clarify this with its military ally, the US. Will the US give reparations to the Philippines in the event of a war in the Korean peninsula? Will the US pay for the use of Philippine territory? If, in the event of a strike in Philippine territory by the North Koreans, and the North destroys some military camps being occupied by an ally of the Philippines, will the US give reparations? These are questions which need some answers.

This war is not as trifle as the government is trying to portray. A war in the Korean peninsula is very close at home. This is not some Middle Eastern conflict. This is a conflict which is very proximate to the Philippines and quite dangerous, since, this country does not have adequate forces nor hardware to defend itself. It already happened in World War two, when the United States abandoned the defense of the Philippines in exchange for beefing up its internal security. Surely, this will happen again if war breaks out in the Korean peninsula.