September 9 marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), which is being celebrated with revolutionary enthusiasm by the Korean people in the DPRK, all the patriotic forces in the Republic of Korea (ROK) and the diaspora, as well as peace and justice-loving people in Canada and the world. The 70th anniversary is taking place in the context of the drive of the Korean people to secure peace for their nation and put an end to more than 70 years of U.S.-engineered division, tension and strife and to move forward as a united, peaceful and prosperous country.
This year, on the initiative of Kim Jong Un, Chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the DPRK, he and President Moon Jae-in of the ROK on April 27 signed the Panmunjom Declaration. On June 12 in Singapore, Chairman Kim of the DPRK and U.S. President Donald Trump held the first DPRK-U.S. Summit, a historic meeting where both leaders pledged to put the past behind and move forward in a new relationship. They pledged to establish peaceful relations that would open the prospects for establishing a permanent peace in Korea, including denuclearizing the entire Korean Peninsula. It was the principled and selfless efforts of the DPRK and its leadership that enabled the Singapore Summit to be held in the wake of several threats by President Trump to cancel. Its holding reflects the bold leadership and commitment of Chairman Kim to find a peaceful political resolution to the 73-year crisis on the Korean Peninsula.
The founding of the DPRK on September 9, 1948 was an event of great historical significance for the Korean people and the peoples of the world. After decades of struggle against the Japanese occupiers (1910-1945), the Korean people, under the leadership of General Kim Il Sung and the Korean People’s Army, liberated their nation on August 15, 1945, and began building a modern democratic state from the ruins of war. Across the country, People’s Committees were formed and in August-September 1945 the Korean people elected their representatives to a People’s Assembly, which proclaimed the “Korean People’s Republic” on September 6, 1945.
However, the Republic was short-lived because the U.S. insisted on fulfilling its ambition to establish a foothold in north-east Asia on the Korean Peninsula after the defeat of Japan, even though the Korean people freed themselves from the Japanese occupiers without the presence of any U.S. troops. The U.S. included a term in the surrender signed by Japan on September 2, 1945, that the Korean Peninsula would be divided along the 38th parallel and that the defeated Japanese military in Korea would surrender to U.S. forces in the south, not to the Korean liberators. On September 8, two days after the declaration of the Republic, thousands of U.S. troops began to arrive in Korea. The new occupiers declared the Korean People’s Republic illegal and began to crush the People’s Committees by force. In the words of U.S. General Douglas MacArthur, Korea was to be an “anti-communist bulwark.”
Over the next three bloody years, through a campaign of mass terror and brutality, the illegal U.S. Military Government and their local agents criminalized, rounded up, tortured, imprisoned and murdered hundreds of thousands of suspected communists, “leftists” and other patriots who refused to submit to U.S. dictate.
The U.S. organized a fraudulent “free and fair” election in May 1948, which was boycotted en masse by the Korean people. The U.S. installed Syngman Rhee as President of the Republic of Korea by force of arms in July 1948.
In response to this crime by the U.S. against the Korean people and their drive for independence and reunification, Kim Il Sung declared the founding of the DPRK on September 9, 1948 in Pyongyang at a jubilant rally of more than one million people.
In order to capture the Korean Peninsula and use it to threaten aggression against China and the Soviet Union, in 1950 the U.S. instigated the Korean War and from 1950 to 1953 more than four million Korean civilians were killed and massive destruction caused to the economy and infrastructure. The United States and 17 other countries, including Canada, took part in this war of aggression against the Korean nation under the fig-leaf of the UN flag on the false pretext of collective self-defence against an attack by the north on the south.
The U.S. aggressors committed crimes against the peace, crimes against humanity and untold war crimes, including massacres of civilians, as well as the use of biological and chemical weapons and the fire-bombing of various northern cities, which resulted in many civilian casualties. The DPRK, though still in its infancy, with the help of the Chinese Volunteer Forces, organized the Korean people and defeated the U.S. in the war and forced it to sign the Korean Armistice Agreement, thus defending the sovereignty and honour of the Korean nation.
DPRK President Kim Il Sung said at the time: “The victory of our people in the Korean War was a victory of the revolutionary people over the imperialist forces, a victory of the revolutionary army over the aggressive forces of imperialism. It proved that the people who rise up for freedom, independence and progress, taking their destiny into their own hands under the leadership of a Marxist-Leninist party, will never be conquered by any imperialist forces of aggression. It also exposed the vulnerability and corruptness of U.S. imperialism, demonstrating to the oppressed nations of the world that U.S. imperialism is by no means an unconquerable enemy and that they too can definitely fight and defeat it.”
It is important to point out that the DPRK has committed no act of aggression against another country. The Korean War, which engulfed the entire Korean Peninsula, was provoked by the U.S. and its puppet regime in the south. Standing firm against the might of the U.S. military empire — known for its use of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons worldwide — the DPRK affirms not only its right to be, but the right of all nations and peoples to self-determination and peace. For this internationalist spirit, the DPRK is justly admired by all justice and peace-loving people in Canada and the world.
Contributions to the fight for Korean reunification
From the end of the Second World War to the present, the DPRK and its leadership have been instrumental in all proposals for the independent, peaceful reunification of Korea under the banner “By the Nation Itself.” This includes the proposal made by the DPRK’s founder, Kim Il Sung on July 4, 1972, which states that the three principles of Korean reunification are: “realizing independent reunification without outside interference, achieving great national unity by transcending differences in ideas, ideals and systems, and reunifying the divided land by peaceful means without recourse to armed force.”
In 1980, President Kim Il Sung proposed that the DPRK and ROK become a “confederal state republic through the establishment of a unified national government on condition that the north and the south recognize and tolerate each other’s ideas and social system, a government in which the two sides are represented on an equal footing and under which they exercise regional autonomy respectively with equal rights and duties.” He proposed that the name of this confederal state be the Democratic Confederal Republic of Koryo.
On April 6, 1993, Kim Il Sung published the 10-Point Programme of the Great Unity of the Whole Nation for the Reunification of the Country. This further elaborated the principles to achieve national reunification and set up a confederation where the systems in the DPRK and ROK could co-exist and work for a neutral state in the interests of the Korean people as an intermediate step towards complete reunification as desired by the Korean people.
These and other efforts by Kim Il Sung, and the efforts of his successor Kim Jong Il, led to the signing of the June 15 North-South Joint Declaration in 2000, the October 4, 2007 Agreement and, on the initiative of Chairman Kim Jong Un, the April 27, 2018 Panmunjom Declaration. These historic agreements have inspired and given impetus to the Korean people’s striving for peaceful independent reunification and are now irrevocably part of the political consciousness of the Korean people.
Today, despite the unjust and illegal U.S.-inspired political and economic sanctions passed by the UN Security Council against the DPRK, in addition to those imposed by the U.S., Canada and other imperialist states, the DPRK stands tall and continues to march forward. Under the leadership of Kim Jong Un, the DPRK continues to strengthen its independent and self-reliant economy and is building and extending its fraternal relations with other countries on the basis of a common cause of independence and peace for itself and all nations and peoples. It continues to exercise high political culture, implementing the terms of the DPRK-U.S. Summit and calling on the U.S. to keep its commitments as well.
(Photos: Naenara, Hankoreh)