‘US flexing muscle to intimidate N. Korea, media drum beats of war’

‘US flexing muscle to intimidate N. Korea, media drum beats of war’
By reportedly deploying aircraft carriers and strategic bombers close to North Korea the US is creating a dangerous situation, where any misstep can create a confrontation that could quickly escalate to a full-scale war, says writer and activist Hyun Lee.

RT talked with Hyun Lee a member of the Nodutdol for Korean Community Development and the National Campaign to End the Korean War.

Washington promises a strong reaction to Pyongyang's warning it'll carry out a nuclear weapons test this weekend.

Earlier, the US dropped the biggest non-nuclear bomb in its arsenal on and alleged ISIS camp in Afghanistan, in a vivid display of military might. The so-called 'Mother of All Bombs' is as tall as a three-storey building weighs 8.5 tons and reaps destruction over a 1.5-kilometer area.

With tension rising, many media outlets are getting increasingly heated in their coverage too. For example, NBC quoted unnamed intelligence officials saying the US has positioned two destroyers capable of shooting Tomahawk cruise missiles close to the North Korean nuclear test site.

Is the US beating the drumbeat of war? RT asked Hyun Lee a member of Nodutdol for Korean Community Development and the National Campaign to End the Korean War.

Hyun Lee: Yes, it seems the US media is beating the drumbeat of war. What the US is worried about, why North Korea is a top priority for the US – is that US officials are concerned North Korea may test-launch an ICBM, Intercontinental ballistic missile, on the anniversary of the birthday of North Korea’s founding leader, which is tomorrow, April 15; or on the anniversary of the founding of the Korean People's Army, which is on April 25. This is what Washington officials are particularly worried about. This is what they are trying to prevent from happening. I think the more important question is how we got to the current situation.

For decades the US has maintained a threat of a nuclear first strike again North Korea, while at the same time, trying to cause the collapse of the North Korean regime through crippling sanctions, through military exercises that are very provocative, that also include plans for the decapitation of the North Korean leadership. So in response, North Korea has turned to developing nuclear weapons to create a deterrence. So can we blame Kim Jong-un for not wanting to end up like Saddam Hussein, or like Muammar Gaddafi?

We should also note that there is a double standard in US condemnation of North Korean missile tests. There is no international law against missile tests. It is every country’s sovereign right to do so. Also, the US consistently tests missiles. Just in 2015 alone, the US conducted tests of the Minuteman III, which is an ICBM, five times. So there is definitely a double standard at play here.

RT:  It seems that Trump’s policy toward North Korea is quite clear, isn’t it?

HL: Yes, definitely. Supposedly Trump’s policy review on North Korea is now complete. It was reported in the US media last weekend that his policy may include redeploying nuclear weapons in South Korea as well as taking military action to decapitate the North Korean leadership. I believe what is happening right now is that the US is flexing its muscle in order to intimidate North Korea. We have been here before in the past. By deploying aircraft carriers and strategic bombers to the region – what the US is doing it is creating a situation of tension, where even the slightest misstep can create a confrontation that can quickly escalate to full-scale war. This is very dangerous.

We should know that, according to global intelligence from Stratfor, the US just does not have sufficient intelligence to know the location of all of North Korea’s nuclear arsenal. And according to them, the only military option available to the US to guarantee the removal of the threat of a North Korean nuclear attack is actually the use of US nuclear weapons preemptively, or invasion or occupation of North Korea.

Now, is this the path that the US wants to go down? Can it actually risk going down this path after decades of bungling military actions in the Middle East that have completely destabilize that region? Especially now at a time, when in South Korea there is a vacuum of political leadership: the South Korean president was just impeached; there is supposed to be an election in a month from now; there is a vacuum there. The South Korean people will obviously be the ones who pay the greatest price for any type of US military action. This is unthinkable. This is not in the interest of the US or South Korea, or anyone in the region.

RT:  Is the US capable of finding a solution out of this crisis? If yes, what are the ways to do that, do you think?

HL: Yes, of course. It is in the US' power to find a solution out of this crisis. North Korea is the only country with nuclear weapons that supported the UN resolution last year to begin negotiations on a Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty. The right way for the US to solve this current crisis is through dialogue and diplomacy that would mean stopping the US’ provocative war exercises, abandoning its nuclear first prerogative; also signing an armistice to finally bring an end to the Korean war and then in exchange for North Korea to stop its nuclear weapons development meaning no more missile tests, no more nuclear tests, and also a commitment to non-proliferation.

RT:  Do you think that the way Western media portrays North Korean actions is one-sided?

HL: Yes, the US media likes to only focus on the so-called North Korean threat, but a lot of what the Western media talks about in terms of North Korea is really based on distorted facts and factual inaccuracies about the historical context of how we’ve gotten in this crisis. I think it is very important for us to understand the history of how the US has maintained a first strike advantage and the threat of a nuclear attack against North Korea.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.