South Korea

South Korean government begins phony reform of military intelligence agency

By Ben McGrath, 11 August 2018

The basic framework of a police state will remain in place regardless of the cosmetic changes made by Moon Jae-in’s administration.

Leaked report reveals plans for martial law in South Korea

By Ben McGrath, 23 July 2018

The muted response to a secret military blueprint demonstrates that no faction within the country’s capitalist class defends even basic democratic rights.

Trump offers North Korea “incremental” denuclearisation ahead of planned summit

By James Cogan, 23 May 2018

Trump and the South Korean president both exuded optimism that talks would ultimately proceed on US terms, even if not on June 12.

US blames China for renewed tensions with North Korea

By James Cogan, 18 May 2018

Citing the “Libyan model,” Trump implied that North Korea would face “total decimation” if no agreement is reached.

North Korea denounces US “provocation” and threatens to cancel talks with Trump

By James Cogan, 16 May 2018

The Trump administration has, to a great extent, boxed both itself and North Korea into a corner.

Union sellout facilitates South Korean General Motors restructuring plans

By Ben McGrath, 16 May 2018

The KMWU isolated workers and forced through the approval of an agreement enabling a pro-business restructuring by the auto corporation.

Overtures continue ahead of Trump-North Korea summit

By James Cogan, 14 May 2018

Secretary of State Pompeo indicated that the US objective is to bring the North Korean regime within its sphere of influence.

Japan, China and South Korea hold talks on North Korea and trade

By Ben McGrath, 11 May 2018

While North Korea dominated the summit, concerns over US protectionist measures may result in improved relations between the three Asian neighbors.

North Korea releases American prisoners ahead of summit with Trump

By James Cogan, 10 May 2018

Trump hailed the release as another step forward in his administration’s push to bring North Korea under US influence.

Trump to meet North Korean leader in “three or four weeks”

By James Cogan, 30 April 2018

Any talks could entirely break down over the definition of “denuclearisation” and a “nuclear-free Korean Peninsula.”

North and South Korea hold “peace” summit

By James Cogan, 27 April 2018

Any concrete development toward a rapprochement on the Korean Peninsula on US-dictated terms will be viewed with immense concern in Beijing.

US and North Korean officials discuss Trump-Kim summit

By Peter Symonds, 14 April 2018

The cynical character of Trump’s decision to meet with Kim Jong-un is underscored by the fact that two militarists—Pompeo and Bolton—are in charge of preparing the summit.

Ex-South Korean President Park sentenced to 24 years jail

By Ben McGrath, 12 April 2018

The government is using an anti-corruption campaign to divert attention from the real causes of the country’s worsening social crisis.

US and South Korea hold war games ahead of talks

By Peter Symonds, 7 April 2018

While scaled back, the joint exercises still involve 300,000 troops and advanced weaponry amid continuing tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

Tokyo wary of dialogue with North Korea

By Ben McGrath, 2 April 2018

An agreement between the US and North Korea, while highly unlikely, would undermine Japan’s pretext for remilitarization to prosecute its imperialist interests.

Thousands to be sacked at GM factory in South Korea

By Ben McGrath, 15 February 2018

General Motors is demanding additional cuts to auto workers’ wages and conditions as it threatens to pull out of South Korea entirely.

Talks between North and South Korea to proceed

By Peter Symonds, 6 January 2018

The meeting will take place under conditions of extreme tension as a result of the Trump administration’s campaign of “maximum pressure” to force North Korea to abandon its nuclear arsenal.

North and South Korea propose to hold talks

By Peter Symonds, 3 January 2018

The proposal came amid high tensions on the Korean Peninsula after bellicose US threats and crippling sanctions against North Korea.

Tensions between South Korea and Japan reemerge over “comfort women”

By Ben McGrath, 3 January 2018

The ruling Democratic Party of Korea and its predecessors have long used anti-Japanese sentiment to distract the public from their anti-working class policies.

US president accuses China of illegal oil transfer to North Korea

By Peter Symonds, 30 December 2017

Trump’s tweet declaring Beijing was “caught RED HANDED” smacks of a contrived provocation aimed at ramping up tensions with China and North Korea.

South Korea’s deadliest fire in a decade leaves 29 dead

By Ben McGrath, 27 December 2017

The tragedy highlights the ruling elite’s utter disregard for safety and public planning in the quest for profits.

South Korean and Chinese leaders meet over North Korea, economic ties

By Ben McGrath, 21 December 2017

The summit between the two presidents will do nothing to alleviate the growing danger of war in Northeast Asia.

Trump’s Asia tour leaves region on brink of trade war and military conflict

By James Cogan, 15 November 2017

President Trump’s bellicose rhetoric, on both North Korea and trade, cannot obscure the fact that his trip marks a new nadir in the strategic position of US imperialism.

In Seoul, Trump delivers war ultimatum to North Korea

By James Cogan, 8 November 2017

The casualties and horrors of a second Korean War, in 2017, could make those of nearly 70 years ago pale in comparison.

Surrounded by generals, Trump remarks on “the calm before the storm”

By Peter Symonds, 7 October 2017

Trump’s menacing comment—almost certainly directed against North Korea—is another warning that the US is on the brink of launching a catastrophic war.

Australian Labor leaders endorse Trump’s war drive against North Korea

By Mike Head, 28 September 2017

Labor leader Shorten in effect gave a pledge that a Labor government would continue Australia’s unconditional support for Washington in any war with North Korea.

South Korea backs Trump’s threats to “totally destroy” North Korea

By Ben McGrath, 26 September 2017

The Moon Jae-in administration in Seoul is deepening its military cooperation with the US while continuing to posture as an advocate of peace on the Korean Peninsula.

South Korea assassination squad to target Pyongyang leadership

By Ben McGrath, 18 September 2017

This “decapitation squad” is part of a broader plan for preemptive war against North Korea that would have devastating consequences for the region.

UN Security Council imposes severe sanctions on North Korea

By Peter Symonds, 12 September 2017

Far from easing tensions in North East Asia, the UN resolution sets the stage for further US provocations and heightens the danger of military conflict.

US completes anti-missile deployment in South Korea amid heightened war danger

By Ben McGrath, 8 September 2017

Under pressure from Washington, South Korean President Moon has moved away from his previous calls for dialogue with North Korea and toward increasingly hawkish positions.

US pushes ahead with provocative war games in South Korea

By Peter Symonds, 21 August 2017

By proceeding with the Ulchi-Freedom Guardian exercises, the US is once again deliberately inflaming its confrontation with North Korea.

Tensions overshadow US, South Korea trade negotiations

By Ben McGrath, 9 August 2017

The Trump administration is using the demand for a new FTA to pressure Seoul to toe Washington’s line on China and North Korea.

GM Korea autoworkers vote to strike

By Ben McGrath, 14 July 2017

While autoworkers are determined to improve their wages and conditions, the unions, which are tied to the Democratic Party of Korea (DPK), have no intention of conducting a genuine struggle.

South Korean president aligns with US war plans against North Korea

By Ben McGrath, 3 July 2017

With his election out of the way, President Moon sought to reassure Washington that he remained committed to the military alliance.

South Korean president tries to smooth disagreements with Washington

By Ben McGrath, 22 June 2017

Seoul has suggested reaching out to Pyongyang as the US ramps up pressure on North Korea.

South Korean president offers phony welfare pledges

By Ben McGrath, 20 June 2017

The new government’s promises are a smokescreen to obscure its pro-capitalist policies, counter mounting discontent and prevent the eruption of social unrest.

South Korea delays THAAD battery installation

By Ben McGrath, 13 June 2017

Washington is concerned that the new government in Seoul is pursuing closer relations with China.

US anti-missile test sends warning to North Korea

By Peter Symonds, 31 May 2017

The successful interception of a dummy ICBM demonstrates to North Korea and also China that the US can launch a nuclear attack and counter any attempt to retaliate.

US, South Korea emphasise alliance after North Korean missile test

By Ben McGrath, 15 May 2017

Concerns persist in Washington that the new Moon administration in Seoul could undermine attempts to pressure Pyongyang.

As war tensions continue, signs emerge of talks with North Korea

By Peter Symonds, 11 May 2017

The Trump administration appears to be giving China a short window of opportunity to bully North Korea into accepting US demands.

Democrat Moon Jae-in wins South Korean presidential election

By Ben McGrath, 10 May 2017

Backed by sections of the ruling class, Moon’s election is aimed at defusing widespread concern over social inequality and war, and blocking any movement against the profit system.

South Korean presidential frontrunner stresses agreement with Trump

By Ben McGrath, 8 May 2017

On the eve of South Korea’s election, DPK candidate Moon Jae-in is attempting to placate fears in Washington that he will cut across war plans in the region.

South Korean election candidates back US war preparations

By Ben McGrath, 2 May 2017

Widespread opposition to the THAAD antiballistic missile battery and the drive to war can find no expression in the presidential contest.

US warns of “catastrophic consequences” if North Korea is not brought to heel

By Peter Symonds, 29 April 2017

Tillerson’s speech to the UN is, in effect, an ultimatum to the world: the only way to avoid war is to accept US diktats and compel North Korea to capitulate.

South Korean presidential candidates move further to the right on North Korea

By Ben McGrath, 26 April 2017

Moon Jae-in of the DPK has sought to prove his pro-US credentials by calling for an additional military buildup.

Tense standoff continues on Korean peninsula

By Peter Symonds, 22 April 2017

The media is fueling tensions with speculation that North Korea could conduct a nuclear or missile test to mark its Military Foundation Day next Tuesday.

US threats of war against North Korea continue

By Peter Symonds, 17 April 2017

The Trump administration is continuing to warn that military force could be used in response to any nuclear or missile test by Pyongyang.

China appeals to US to back down from war with North Korea

By James Cogan, 15 April 2017

Amid media claims that North Korea is on the verge of another weapons test, the US military is continuing its provocative operations in North East Asia.

South Korean presidential candidates line up behind US war drive

By Ben McGrath, 12 April 2017

As tensions with North Korea rise, the leading “democratic” contenders, Moon Jae-in and Ahn Cheol-soo, have taken a pro-militarist and pro-US stance.

After Park’s ouster, South Korean pseudo-left orients to pro-US opposition

By Ben McGrath, 4 April 2017

The state-capitalist Workers’ Solidarity group is backing the campaign to install a new president favorable to the US war drive against China.

Former South Korean president arrested

By Ben McGrath, 3 April 2017

In the wake of Park’s impeachment and arrest, political parties are jockeying for the May 9 presidential election.

China warns US strategic bomber in East China Sea

By Peter Symonds, 25 March 2017

The war plane was one of two B-1Bs deployed from Guam to join massive war games underway in South Korea amid high tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

Constitutional Court removes South Korean President Park from office

By Ben McGrath, 11 March 2017

While millions will welcome Park’s removal, her rivals in the ruling elite are just as hostile to popular sentiment for social equality and against the war drive in Asia.

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.”

Court hears final arguments in South Korean president’s trial

By Ben McGrath, 6 March 2017

Park’s impeachment is a sign of the struggle within the political establishment over how to balance between the US and China amid sharpening tensions between the two powers.

US, South Korea mount massive joint military exercises

By Peter Symonds, 2 March 2017

This year’s war games take place amid an already tense stand-off with North Korea over its nuclear and missile testing and alleged assassination of Kim Jong-nam.

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.

US-backed UN statement condemns North Korean missile test

By Peter Symonds, 16 February 2017

The UN warned of “further significant steps” if Pyongyang did not halt its testing and called on UN members “to redouble their efforts” to implement existing sanctions.

Impeachment trial of South Korean president begins

By Ben McGrath, 5 January 2017

Key witnesses in the proceedings have been called to testify Thursday and next Tuesday, with a decision likely this or next month.

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.

South Korean President Park impeached

By Ben McGrath and Peter Symonds, 10 December 2016

The anti-Park protests—the largest in South Korea’s history—reflect widespread popular hostility and anger towards the president over broader social and political issues.

South Korean opposition sets presidential impeachment vote for Friday

By Ben McGrath, 5 December 2016

The largest protests in South Korean history took place over the weekend after a scheduled vote to impeach President Park Geun-hye was delayed.

South Korean president offers to resign

By Ben McGrath, 1 December 2016

President Park has lost support from nearly all sections of the political establishment, with even close supporters in her own party calling on her to step down.

Deepening social crisis underpins South Korean protests

By Ben McGrath, 29 November 2016

The hostility to Park is being fuelled not only by allegations of corruption but more broadly by her government's attack on working and living conditions.

Nearly two million people demand South Korean president’s removal

By Ben McGrath, 28 November 2016

With a vote on President Park’s impeachment looming, last weekend’s protests are a sign of growing social and political discontent.

South Korean opposition parties call for President Park’s impeachment

By Ben McGrath, 23 November 2016

Another mass protest in Seoul on Saturday involving hundreds of thousands of people has continued to put pressure on Park to resign.

One million protestors in Seoul demand Korean president resign

By Ben McGrath, 15 November 2016

The pressure on President Park to step down is growing after the South Korean capital’s largest protest in 30 years.

Mass protests call on Korean president to resign

By Ben McGrath, 7 November 2016

Park’s approval rating has fallen to 5 percent, the lowest of any South Korean president, as a result of the corruption scandal involving her personal confidante, Choi Soon-sil.

South Korea’s president in crisis over corruption scandals

By Ben McGrath, 2 November 2016

Intense conflicts in ruling circles are behind accusations that President Park Gen-hye and her confidantes were involved in illegal activity.

Workers’ strikes spreading throughout South Korea

By Ben McGrath, 29 September 2016

The South Korean working class is fighting against government-led attempts to cut wages in public and private businesses.

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.

South Korea’s Hanjin Shipping bankruptcy has global impact

By Ben McGrath, 9 September 2016

The company’s financial problems are a further indication of the economic instability facing the world economy.

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.

Massive job cuts planned in South Korean shipbuilding industry

By Ben McGrath, 22 August 2016

Workers are bearing the brunt of the industry’s financial instability, while the trade unions work to prevent a unified struggle.

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.

South Korean Democrats posture as opponents of US anti-ballistic missile system

By Ben McGrath, 8 August 2016

The MPK’s criticisms of the THAAD system are driven by concerns over possible Chinese economic retaliation and also seek to block the development of anti-war opposition.

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.

Korean survivors concerned about Obama’s visit to Hiroshima

By Ben McGrath, 31 May 2016

Victims of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki fear they will continue to be ignored following the US president’s trip.

South Korea’s Democrats narrowly defeat ruling conservatives in national election

By Ben McGrath, 15 April 2016

The Minjoo Party of Korea’s victory is not an endorsement of their policies but a sign of frustration with deteriorating economic conditions.

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.

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 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.

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.

Japan and South Korea reach agreement over comfort women

By Ben McGrath, 30 December 2015

The deal will be welcomed in Washington which has been pressing its two allies to mend their rift and collaborate more closely in the US “pivot to Asia” against China.

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 workers and farmers denounce Park government

By Ben McGrath, 8 December 2015

Saturday’s protestors criticized laws that will increase the casualization of the workforce and demanded President Park’s resignation.

South Korean government pushes new anti-democratic laws

By Ben McGrath, 26 November 2015

Exploiting the Paris attacks, Park Geun-hye’s administration is seeking anti-terror legislation that will be used more broadly against the working class.

Large anti-government protests in South Korea

By Ben McGrath, 17 November 2015

The demonstration indicated the anger among workers and youth over new labor laws and the rewriting of school history texts.

South Korean government to revise school history texts

By Ben McGrath, 5 November 2015

The government is seeking to glorify past regimes while whipping up anti-North Korean propaganda among the country’s youth.

Leaders of Japan, China and South Korea meet in Seoul

By Ben McGrath, 2 November 2015

The lack of any reference by China to maritime disputes or Japan’s whitewashing of the crimes of its military in the 1930s and 1940s was a significant concession to Tokyo.

US, South Korean leaders hold summit

By Ben McGrath, 21 October 2015

The US is seeking to apply pressure to South Korea to pursue an agenda more in line with Washington’s “pivot to Asia” against China.

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.