‘N.Korea – useful enemy for US to justify militarization of region’
RT: Pyongyang says it wants to team up with Washington and carry out a joint investigation into the cyber-attack. Is that a realistic prospect?
Christine Ahn: Unfortunately, it’s not. North Korea is a very useful enemy for Washington to sell weapons and to justify its pivot to Asia. I was just in Okinawa about two weeks ago and I could really understand the role that the conflict on the Korean peninsula played to justify the buildup of the US Marines in Okinawa, but also the kind of ideological fear that imprints on the people that may have some reservations about the US leaving Okinawa. But basically it’s what is justifying the militarization of the Asia-Pacific by the US in its efforts to contain China.
RT:The FBI has basically announced that North Korea is guilty but we haven't seen the evidence, nor has there been an independent investigation. How can we know if Pyongyang really was behind the hacking?
Christine Hong, executive board member of the Korea Policy Institute: “The US maintains a policy not just of regime change towards North Korea since the inception of the North Korean state, but also with this administration a policy of strategic patience, which basically translates into non-engagement.”
CA: I don’t think we can. I’m not a cyber-security expert but basically all that I have read from them is that basically it’s very unlikely and very doubtful, there are a lot of red flags, including the language that is used. It’s as if somebody is trying to speak and write in the Korean language as if it’s their second language. So it doesn’t really line up. The thing that I found really interesting is that the last week before all this really blew up we had top FBI officials saying that North Korea doing this was very improbable. Now we have lots of individuals from the FBI or individuals from the White House, I think their evidence is very tenuous at best and just serves as a great opportunity then to further vilify North Korea that allows the militarization of the region. But the US and Washington do not have to sit down and negotiate with North Korea, which North Korea has been requesting for decades now.
RT:North Korea has even threatened the US with "grave consequences" if Washington refuses a joint probe and keeps blaming Pyongyang. What sort of action could the Communist country take?
CA: I don’t think that they would. Basically we hear a lot of rhetoric coming out, a lot of heated rhetoric from Pyongyang, but basically they have made the same overtures that they have made for decades, which is “we would like to have normalized relations with Washington DC, we would like to have a non-aggression pact in a form of the permanent peace treaty to replace the temporary armistice agreement, and we would like to have the lifting of sanctions.” It’s really interesting also that on the same day that the White House announced that this hacking by North Korea was also the same day that they announced the normalization with Cuba. I think in some ways it serves really a useful opportunity for the Obama administration to play its hand, to show that they can be somewhat conciliatory to a communist nation and at the same time very hard on another communist nation. It’s unfortunate because basically Obama has said that we have to stop doing something that hasn’t worked for the past 50 years. Yet, they are doing the same thing with North Korea today.
RT:Barack Obama has vowed to retaliate against North Korea but the country's already been living under crippling US sanctions for half a century. So how much worse could things get for them?
CA: For me, it’s the hardest part about this. If they now will be screening this movie and The Interview will be screening online, and basically it has no historical context for why North Korea is acting the way that it is, why it is pursuing nuclear weapons. It is because the US has never signed a peace treaty with North Korea, it’s still in a state of war. It’s really unfortunate to me that basically this narrative, these myths and lies about North Korea will still get perpetuated. That, unfortunately, worsens their likelihood of having normalized relations with the US, which as we know is the world’s superpower, but also controls so much of the global economy. So that has direct bearings on the day-to-day living situation of ordinary North Korean people. We need Americans to realize that its government’s actions that are actually creating the conditions that the North Koreans are facing on a day-to-day basis.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.