North and South Korea

US rejects talks over North Korea, declaring “all options on table”

By Peter Symonds, 9 March 2017

China’s foreign minister warned that the US and North Korea are like “accelerating trains” on a collision course “with neither side willing to give way.”

As US deploys anti-missile system, China warns of nuclear arms race

By Peter Symonds, 8 March 2017

Using North Korean missile tests as a pretext, the US has begun deploying its THAAD anti-ballistic missile system in South Korea.

South Korea demonises North Korea over Malaysian murder

By Peter Symonds, 1 March 2017

The South Korean government is exploiting the killing of Kim Jong-nam to demand North Korea’s suspension from the UN and criminal charges against its leadership.

Did VX kill Kim Jong-nam?

By our reporter, 1 March 2017

The claim by Malaysian authorities that Kim Jong-nam was killed by the potent nerve agent VX raises many unanswered questions.

Lurid claims that North Korea used VX poison to kill Kim Jong-nam

By Peter Symonds, 25 February 2017

The murder of the North Korean leader’s half-brother is being exploited in the US to ramp up the demonisation of Pyongyang in preparation for further punitive measures.

The bizarre murder of North Korean leader’s half-brother

By Peter Symonds, 18 February 2017

If Kim Jong-un did order the assassination, it can only further undermine North Korea’s relations with China.

Japanese and US leaders condemn North Korean missile test

By Peter Symonds, 13 February 2017

Trump’s flat-footed performance at the press conference only heightens the danger that he will embark on a reckless course of action against North Korea.

Trump’s provocative tweets over North Korean missile threat

By Peter Symonds, 5 January 2017

Trump’s tweets are a further indication that he intends to put North Korea high on his foreign policy agenda as another means of exerting pressure on China.

American B-1 bombers send menacing warning to North Korea

By our reporter, 14 September 2016

The fly-past at South Korea’s Osan Air Base was also designed to send a message to Beijing to ramp up pressure on North Korea.

US and allies threaten North Korea with sanctions and military attack

By Peter Symonds, 12 September 2016

Another round of punitive measures over Pyongyang’s latest nuclear test will exacerbate tensions on the Korean Peninsula and heighten the danger of war.

North Korea carries out fifth nuclear test

By Ben McGrath and Peter Symonds, 10 September 2016

The test comes amid escalating geo-political tensions in Asia as the US seeks to reassert its dominance, heightening the danger of war.

North Korea tests submarine-launched missile

By Peter Symonds, 25 August 2016

The primary responsibility for escalating tensions on the Korean Peninsula lies with the US and its military build-up throughout Asia aimed against China.

US-South Korean war games inflame Asian tensions

By Peter Symonds, 23 August 2016

While nominally aimed against North Korea, the exercises consolidate Washington’s military alliance with Seoul as it makes preparations for conflict with China.

North Korean official defects as US pressure on Pyongyang intensifies

By Ben McGrath, 23 August 2016

Chinese-South Korean tensions rise over THAAD anti-missile deployment

By Ben McGrath, 15 August 2016

South Korea is lining up more explicitly with Washington and its war drive in the region, using North Korea’s nuclear tests as a pretext.

Opposition party in South Korea hit by corruption probe

By Ben McGrath, 12 July 2016

The investigation into the People’s Party is a politically-motivated attack by President Park Geun-hye’s administration.

US and South Korea agree on THAAD anti-missile system

By Ben McGrath, 11 July 2016

The installation will likely inflame tensions while continuing to stoke an arms race in East Asia.

US threatens harsh sanctions if North Korea conducts nuclear test

By Peter Symonds, 21 April 2016

The intensifying US pressure is not primarily directed at Pyongyang, but against Beijing, as part of the Obama administration’s “pivot to Asia.”

South Korea imposes extra sanctions on North Korea

By Ben McGrath, 15 March 2016

The South Korean sanctions go further than the recent UN resolution in strangling the North Korean economy and exacerbating Pyongyang’s political crisis.

US-South Korean militaries rehearse pre-emptive strikes on North Korea

By Peter Symonds, 8 March 2016

This year’s joint war games are based on a new operational plan that includes pre-emptive attacks on North Korean missile and nuclear sites and “decapitation” raids to kill its leaders.

UN Security Council imposes harsh US-sponsored sanctions on North Korea

By Peter Symonds, 4 March 2016

The punitive new measures will intensify North Korea’s economic and social crisis and greatly heighten tensions on the Korean Peninsula and throughout the region.

US, China agree to new UN sanctions on North Korea

By Ben McGrath, 1 March 2016

The draft resolution contains measures reportedly the strictest in 20 years and will further heighten tensions on the Korean Peninsula and throughout the region.

South Korea whips up fears over North Korea’s nuclear program

By Ben McGrath, 25 February 2016

Seoul’s denunciations of Pyongyang come before massive war games with the US, designed to simulate a takeover of the entire Korean Peninsula.

US blocked talks with North Korea before nuclear test

By Peter Symonds, 23 February 2016

For seven years, the Obama administration has stymied any resumption of the six-party negotiations to resolve the nuclear standoff with North Korea.

US military boosts anti-missile systems in South Korea

By Peter Symonds, 16 February 2016

Far from being a defensive move, the restructuring of US forces in South Korea is bound up with more aggressive war plans, agreed last year between Washington and Seoul.

US prepares harsh new sanctions on North Korea

By Peter Symonds, 12 February 2016

Washington and its allies are escalating a dangerous confrontation with Pyongyang following its recent nuclear test and rocket launch.

North Korean satellite launch heightens US-China tensions

By Peter Symonds, 8 February 2016

Washington immediately seized on the launch to intensify pressure on Beijing for tougher sanctions on Pyongyang and accelerate the US military build-up in Asia.

North Korea announces satellite launch

By Ben McGrath, 6 February 2016

The proposed launch has further raised tensions following Pyongyang’s fourth nuclear test and will undoubtedly be exploited by the US to justify its military buildup in Asia.

South Korea joins US-Japan intelligence link

By Ben McGrath, 1 February 2016

Seoul’s decision will further integrate South Korea into Washington’s plans for an anti-ballistic missile system aimed against China.

CSIS report: A blueprint for US war with China

By Peter Symonds, 25 January 2016

The study is a master plan for an accelerating arms race in Asia in preparation for a conflict that would draw in the entire region and the world.

South Korea’s opposition splits ahead of general election

By Ben McGrath, 14 January 2016

The departure of Kim Han-gil and the creation of new opposition parties constitute attempts to head off discontent among South Korean workers.

US flies B-52 strategic bomber close to Korean border

By Peter Symonds, 11 January 2016

Washington has seized on the latest North Korean nuclear test to accelerate its military build-up in the region against China as part of the US “pivot to Asia.”

South Korean union leader charged with sedition

By Ben McGrath, 9 January 2016

Not used since 1986, the charge of sedition represents a deepening of the Park government’s suppression of political dissent.

US, South Korea discuss deploying “strategic weapons”

By Ben McGrath, 8 January 2016

The stationing of nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula would be a major escalation of the US military build-up in Asia, directed primarily against China, not North Korea.

Split looms in South Korea’s opposition party

By Ben McGrath, 21 December 2015

Ahn Cheol-soo’s departure from the NPAD indicates the party is in disarray amid falling approval ratings after years of anti-working class policies while in power.

South Korean government pushes casualization of workforce

By Ben McGrath, 1 October 2015

With the aid of the trade unions, the government is proposing laws to allow companies to more easily fire workers, while slashing wages.

Hyundai autoworkers in South Korea strike for better wages

By Ben McGrath, 29 September 2015

Auto manufacturers like Hyundai and GM Korea are demanding wage cuts and speedups as well as the casualization of the workforce.

US military continues build-up in North East Asia

By Ben McGrath, 1 September 2015

The conclusion of war games saw the largest-ever joint live-fire drill between the US and South Korea.

North and South Korea agree to ease tensions following high-level talks

By Ben McGrath, 26 August 2015

With the US applying immense pressure to the North Korean regime, recent events demonstrate how a relatively minor episode can escalate rapidly into armed conflict.

Tensions remain high on Korean Peninsula

By Ben McGrath, 24 August 2015

Despite talks between North and South Korea, both sides continue to issue threats and counter-threats.

Tensions deepen on the Korean Peninsula following ultimatum by Pyongyang

By Ben McGrath, 22 August 2015

The underlying conflict between the US and China dramatically amplifies the dangers of any military clash on the Korean Peninsula.

North and South Korea exchange artillery fire across border

By Ben McGrath, 21 August 2015

The hostilities follow weeks of accusations and counter-accusations since two South Korean soldiers were maimed by landmines.

Further revelations in South Korean hacking scandal

By Ben McGrath, 25 July 2015

Suspicions that the NIS spied on political opponents continue to grow as more information comes to light.

South Korea’s intelligence agency purchased spyware from Hacking Team

By Ben McGrath, 16 July 2015

The latest revelation further underscores the anti-democratic character of the South Korean state and its spy agencies.

South Korean teachers union faces ban

By Ben McGrath, 4 June 2015

The anti-democratic court ruling is designed to prevent teachers and other public employees from voicing their political opinions.

South Korean unions hold one-day token strike

By Ben McGrath, 30 April 2015

Confronted by broad working class opposition to government austerity measures, the unions are confining workers to limited protests.

South Korea joins Chinese-led investment bank

By Ben McGrath, 31 March 2015

Seoul’s decision was welcomed by China and came in defiance of US pressure.

US and South Korea begin joint military exercises

By Ben McGrath, 2 March 2015

In the past few years, the US has used the war games to escalate tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

US rejects North Korea overtures

By Ben McGrath, 20 January 2015

North Korea has offered direct negotiations with the US, but Washington continues to whip up tensions on the Korean peninsula.

US, Japan, and South Korea sign intelligence sharing deal

By Ben McGrath, 31 December 2014

While the memorandum of understanding is nominally directed against North Korea, the US clearly wants an agreement that targets China as well.

South Korean court disbands opposition party

By Ben McGrath, 24 December 2014

The ruling is an attack on basic democratic rights, aimed at silencing political criticism and opposition.

Tokyo holds talks with North Korea over Japanese abductees

By Ben McGrath, 29 August 2014

Japan’s moves have provoked concerns in Washington that Tokyo’s diplomacy will cut across US strategy in North East Asia.

Tense standoff after North Korean-South Korean artillery exchange

By Peter Symonds, 1 April 2014

The incident highlights the fragile state of relations on the Korean Peninsula, one of a string of dangerous flashpoints in Asia.

US-South Korean war games threaten to inflame Korean Peninsula

By Peter Symonds, 18 January 2014

South Korea warned of “merciless retaliation” in the event of a North Korean “military provocation.”

South Korean police raid unions over railway strike

By Ben McGrath, 23 December 2013

The police operation is a clear attempt by the Park administration to crush working class opposition to the attacks on jobs and living standards.

Signs of China-North Korea tensions after Jang Song-thaek’s execution

By Peter Symonds, 16 December 2013

North Korea has reportedly recalled “large numbers” of businessmen from China following the purge of its no.2 leader.

North Korean regime executes no. 2 leader Jang Song-thaek

By Peter Symonds, 14 December 2013

The sudden purge of Jang Song-thaek is a clear sign of a profound political crisis in Pyongyang.

South Korean government demands dissolution of opposition party

By Ben McGrath, 12 November 2013

If imposed, a ban on the UPP would be the first since 1958 when US-backed dictator Rhee Syng-man outlawed the Progressive Party of his presidential challenger.

South Korean trade unions hold partial auto strikes

By Ben McGrath, 5 September 2013

Hyundai and Kia are demanding lower wages and costs, threatening to move production overseas.

Seoul to extend US control over South Korean military

By Ben McGrath, 1 August 2013

The US is sending a message that American troops and bases will not be leaving the Korean peninsula in the foreseeable future.

South Korean president conducts “charm offensive” in China

By Ben McGrath, 3 July 2013

The South Korean and Chinese presidents discussed North Korea’s nuclear programs as well as boosting economic relations.

US inflames North Korean missile scare

By Joseph Santolan, 11 April 2013

Washington has set in motion a regional game of geopolitical brinkmanship in which the stakes are the possibility of nuclear war.

Obama’s dangerous “counter-provocation” plan against North Korea

By Peter Symonds, 9 April 2013

Washington is not simply responding to Pyongyang’s threats, but is engaged in reckless provocations of its own that risk the outbreak of war.

South Korea prepares for war amid US-China stand-off

By Ben McGrath, 9 April 2013

As the US escalates tensions on the Korean peninsula, the South Korean bourgeoisie has moved to aggressively implement its own militaristic agenda.

China appeals for calm amid fears of war over US escalation in Korea

By Alex Lantier, 4 April 2013

Chinese officials appealed for calm on the Korean peninsula yesterday, as the United States deployed missiles and further military forces to East Asia.

US deployment of stealth bombers escalates military standoff in Korea

By Alex Lantier, 30 March 2013

On Thursday, US officials announced that B-2 stealth bombers had flown from Whiteman Air Force Base in the United States to South Korea.

Tensions rise on Korean peninsula

By Peter Symonds, 12 March 2013

As US and South Korean troops began joint exercises yesterday, North Korea nullified the 1953 armistice ending the Korea War.

Former dictator’s daughter takes over South Korean presidency

By Ben McGrath, 1 March 2013

Park Geun-hye’s installation marks a turn to the right by the South Korean ruling elite amid growing social discontent at home and rising tensions across East Asia.

South Korean president-elect moves to abandon welfare promises

By Ben McGrath, 5 February 2013

With the election over, Park Geun-hye is preparing to ditch her pledges to narrow the gap between rich and poor.

UN sanctions prompt North Korea to threaten nuclear test

By John Chan, 1 February 2013

The US will exploit any North Korean nuclear test to further expand its aggressive “pivot” to Asia directed against China.

South Korean companies plan sweeping job cuts

By Ben McGrath, 28 December 2012

Major South Korean companies are planning to cut thousands of jobs as the economy is battered by deepening world economic turmoil.

Daughter of former South Korean dictator wins presidency

By Ben McGrath, 20 December 2012

Park Geun-hye’s election represents a turn to authoritarian forms of rule by the South Korean corporate elite.

Signs of a North Korean power shift

By Peter Symonds, 30 July 2012

The abrupt removal of Vice Marshal Ri Yong-ho has been interpreted as a move by Kim Jong-un to tighten his grip over the country’s military.

South Korea: Dictator’s daughter announces presidential bid

By Ben McGrath, 18 July 2012

Park Geun-hye’s emergence is as the leading presidential candidate is a warning that more authoritarian forms of rule are being prepared.

Obama’s nuclear disarmament hoax

By Peter Symonds, 29 March 2012

The slogan of “disarmament” is one means used by the ruling classes to dupe working people as war is prepared.

Obama uses nuclear summit to issue new threats against North Korea and Iran

By Peter Symonds, 27 March 2012

While the international summit in South Korea is supposedly about nuclear disarmament and peace, Obama utilised it as a platform to threaten new wars of aggression in the Middle East and Asia.

South Korean Democrats make empty populist appeal

By Ben McGrath, 10 March 2012

The DUP is seeking to rebuild its electoral base by criticising the conglomerates and making limited proposals to restrict their activities.

The death of Kim Jong-il

By Peter Symonds, 20 December 2011

The death of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il has produced a mind-numbing deluge of articles in the international press presenting the regime in Pyongyang as a dangerous threat to stability in North East Asia.

South Korea ratifies free trade deal with US

By Ben McGrath, 28 November 2011

The vote in South Korea’s National Assembly underscored the sharp divisions within the political establishment over the FTA, which was first agreed in 2007.

Famine threatening millions in North Korea

By Will Morrow, 15 October 2011

The United Nations has warned that more than six million North Koreans—or one quarter of the population—are threatened with malnutrition.

Washington and Seoul ramp up tensions on Korean peninsula

By John Roberts, 4 March 2011

South Korea’s latest joint military exercises with the US dovetail with the Obama administration’s aggressive efforts to contain China’s influence in North East Asia.

Military tensions remain high on Korean peninsula

By John Chan, 30 December 2010

With strong backing from Washington, the South Korean government is continuing a series of provocative military drills that threaten to lead to conflict with North Korea.

Korean tensions ease—temporarily

By John Chan, 21 December 2010

The Obama administration engineered this crisis as part of its ongoing campaign directed primarily at undermining China’s growing influence in Asia.

South Korean military exercise raises danger of war

By John Chan, 20 December 2010

In a calculated and reckless provocation directed in the first instance against North Korea, the Obama administration has encouraged South Korea to proceed with live-fire drills in the vicinity of Yeonpyeong Island.

US and China in a diplomatic standoff over North Korea

By John Chan, 3 December 2010

While repeatedly declaring that China must intervene to contain North Korea, Washington and its allies have rebuffed China’s diplomatic efforts to calm the Korean confrontation.

US exploits Korean clash to step up pressure on China

By John Chan, 25 November 2010

The US decision to send an aircraft carrier to the highly sensitive Yellow Sea following Tuesday’s exchange of shelling between the two Koreas has heightened regional tensions.

Pentagon ratchets up Korea tensions over nuclear facility

By Bill Van Auken, 23 November 2010

An American scientist’s report on North Korea’s development of a new uranium enrichment plant has provoked dire warnings from top US military and political officials.

US naval exercise heightens tensions in Asia

By John Chan, 24 July 2010

The war games involve around 20 South Korean and US warships, including the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS George Washington, 200 aircraft and 8,000 military personnel.

Tense standoff between two Koreas

By Peter Symonds, 28 May 2010

The confrontation between North and South Korea over the sinking of a South Korean warship intensified this week after Seoul, backed by Washington, announced a series of retaliatory measures.

China’s plans to open up North Korea for foreign investment

By John Chan, 14 May 2010

The visit by North Korean leader Kim Jong-il to China last week was driven by the country’s acute economic crisis. China is exploiting the opportunity to open up the country for foreign investment.

Unexplained naval sinking produces political crisis in South Korea

By John Chan, 26 April 2010

President Lee Myung-bak is increasingly under pressure from sections of his right-wing Grand National Party and the military to take action against North Korea over the incident.

North Korean currency reform fuels social tensions

By John Chan, 19 February 2010

Social unrest has emerged in North Korea since the Stalinist regime’s currency reform produced an economic disaster.

Naval clash between two Koreas as Obama heads to Asia

By John Chan, 12 November 2009

Just days before US President Barack Obama commences his first major visit to Asia, a brief exchange of fire took place between South and North Korean naval vessels.

Former South Korean President Kim Dae-jung dies

By John Chan, 3 September 2009

Behind the rhetoric about “democracy” and “peace”, Kim represented the interests of sections of the Korean bourgeoisie who had been marginalised under the US-backed military dictatorship.

Bill Clinton’s visit to North Korea: a tactical shift in US foreign policy

By John Chan, 6 August 2009

Former US President Bill Clinton arrived in North Korea Tuesday to broker the release of two detained American journalists. Described by the Obama administration as a private mission, the visit signalled a tactical shift by Washington.

US warship shadows North Korean cargo vessel

By John Chan, 27 June 2009

While the Obama administration has hailed the “unity” of the UN Security Council in imposing new sanctions on North Korea, tensions between the US and China remain, especially over the interdiction of North Korean ships in international waters.

North Korean nuclear crisis enters a new stage

By John Chan, 19 June 2009

A UN Security Council resolution last Friday imposing harsher sanctions on North Korea and the subsequent threats by Pyongyang, indicate the prolonged crisis on the Korean Peninsula has entered a more dangerous phase.

US issues threat to North Korea

By Peter Symonds, 2 June 2009

US Defence Secretary Robert Gates told a regional security conference in Singapore that the US would not “stand idly by as North Korea builds its capability to wreak destruction on any target in Asia—or on us”.

North Korea threatens new nuclear tests

By John Chan, 7 May 2009

Tensions in North East Asia rose again last week after North Korea threatened to carry out further nuclear weapon and ballistic missile tests.

UN Security Council convened over North Korean missile test

By Patrick Martin, 6 April 2009

The United Nations Security Council held an emergency meeting Sunday in response to the test launching of a long-range missile by North Korea earlier in the day.