Anyone who examines or comments on the Korean peninsula’s political situation is aware of its people’s painful history as victims of colonization. Unfortunately, many assume said colonization ended with the Second World War. While the last colonial power in southern Korea was indeed removed in 1945, the northern half of peninsula simply switched colonial masters – from Imperial Japan to the Soviet Union and (now solely) Communist China.
Many would certainly balk at such a statement. They would acknowledge that the Stalinist regime in northern Korea is dependent upon Communist China – some will even go so far as to call the regime a satellite state or client state – but a colony? Yet, if examined historically and objectively, the fact is, father Kim Il-sung and son Kim Jong-il are not Korean revolutionaries, or even Korean tyrants. Instead, the younger Kim is, as the elder Kim was, merely an agent of their Communist colonial masters.
Let us begin with Kim Il-sung. His base of operations was not in Korea resisting the Japanese occupation, but instead in the Soviet Union itself – Kim Jong-il was actually born in Siberia in 1941 (BBC). The so-called Democratic People’s Republic didn’t establish itself in northern Korea until three years after the Soviet Red Army cleared the way in 1945 (CNN) – even the Stalinist “Worker’s Party” marks its founding a month after the end of World War II.
Lest anyone forget, any regime installed by Joseph Stalin had one priority: Joseph Stalin. Thus, Kim Il-sung’s power (and indeed, his ability to draw breath) depended on obliging not the Korean people, but his Moscow master. He even had to get Stalin’s approval for his plans to invade the southern half of Korea in 1950 (CNN – Cold War, Episode 5: Korea).
When said approval came, the Korean War began. Most know how the war ended: a Korean peninsula divided by a demilitarized zone at the behest of the superpowers. Far fewer are aware of why it ended as such, for a divided Korea was far from inevitable. In fact, in the fall of 1951, American and allied forces had nearly liberated all of Korea, not just the southern half, from the Kim puppet regime. At this point, Stalin delegated colonial authority to Mao Zedong, and Mao grabbed it with both hands; he sent in hundreds of thousands of “volunteers” to overwhelm the American and allied forces and drive them back to the present dividing line. Without Mao Zedong and his Chinese Communist Party, the “Democratic People’s Republic” would not exist, and Korea would have been free, democratic, and whole. Instead, northern Korea shifted from a Soviet colony to a Communist Chinese colony. By the 1990s, with the Soviet Union disintegrated, Communist China became the sole source of support for Kim Il-sung and, later, Kim Jong-il.
Today, Communist China still provides the bulk of “international aid” to the Pyongyang regime, and while the northern Stalinists will gladly take whatever the dovish government of southern Korea will give them, Stalinist-in-chief Kim Jong-il has repeatedly sought counsel and support not from Seoul – where in fact he has never stepped foot – but to Beijing and his Communist masters (fifteenth item, CNN, Voice of America via Epoch Times).
Of course, many smaller nations have larger allies, even larger allies with troops stationed on their territory. What makes those nations free and northern Korea a colony? The Communists themselves answered that question with their brazen “historical” claim to Koguryo, the ancient Korean kingdom whose boundaries just happen to include “most of modern North Korea” (London Telegraph via Washington Times). The significance of this is plain: the Communists used the same type of pseudo-history to justify seizing Tibet in 1950. With precedent in place, the message was sent: Kim Jong-il will do our bidding, or we’ll simply take northern Korea for our own.
This has been mistakenly assumed to be a veiled reference to Kim’s ambition for nuclear weapons. In fact, the real purpose is to ensure the regime itself is not replaced by one friendlier to democracy (to say nothing of democratic reunification). The Chinese Communist Party has called its relationship with the Kim Jong-il regime as close as “lips and teeth.” In fact, one analyst, CNN’s Willy Lam, noted that the Communists believe “any attack on North Korea – even a limited offensive to wipe out its nuclear installations – would be a challenge to Chinese power and even sovereignty.”
One does not use the word “sovereignty” to warn off attacks against allies. That word is saved for attacks on one’s own territory – or one’s colonies.
However, if the Communists have that much control over Kim Jong-il, why go through the charade of the six-party talks regarding his development of nuclear weapons? There are, in fact, several reasons for this.
First of all, so long as Kim appears to be “on his own,” the Communists can be rendered blameless for anything he does. Thus, the Communists can establish a powerful, hostile force against America without suffering any consequences. If Stalin, Khrushchev, or Brezhnev could have done something similar in Eastern Europe, they almost certainly would have.
Secondly, there is southern Korea to consider. For obvious and justifiable reasons, all Koreans know of their people’s past suffering under Japanese rule. For that reason, anything that smacks of colonialism will wipe out the Communists’ charm offensive on the southern half of the peninsula. As it is, the Communists have the best of both worlds – they can stand by their “ally,” thus scoring points with the Korean left, while ostensibly nudging Kim Jong-il to the table, winning underserved plaudits from everyone else. The result has been terrific for the Communists: the rising generation in southern Korea is more supportive of Kim Jong-il than the nation that stopped his father from plunging the entire peninsula into darkness (One Free Korea) – the U.S.
Finally, there is the matter of global geopolitics. In their efforts to build a global anti-American coalition, the Communists have adeptly stolen the “anti-colonial” message and claimed it as their own. Honesty about their Korean colony would expose them as hypocrites to their African, Asian, and Latin American friends, and risk much of what they have gained diplomatically. Better to go through the illusion that northern Korea is separate.
However, a separate northern Korea is an illusion. In reality, both the “Worker’s Party” and the “Democratic People’s Republic” were created by under the shelter of the Communists in Moscow, and have been preserved and maintained by the Chinese Communist Party for over fifty years – on territory the Chinese Communists claim to be theirs by historical right anyway. That is not a satellite, or a client state; that is a de facto colony.
For northern Korea, the war to end fascism merely replaced one occupying army with another. In place of the brutal regime from Tokyo came a brutal regime from Moscow and Beijing. De-colonization has reached Africa, Latin America, and most of Asia, but for the northern half of Korea, the colonial era is still alive and well. The sooner the free world recognizes this, the sooner it can end the fantasy of six-party talks and work to end the Chinese Communist Party’s brutalization of the Chinese and Korean peoples. America will never be secure until China and Korea – all of Korea – are free.