C. Kim is a Korean American anti-war activist and organizer with the ANSWER Coalition (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism). They posted the following reflection on their personal Facebook page.
This is long, but I need to get it off my chest because I am seeing way too many well-meaning folks allowing their opposition to Trump to turn into inadvertent opposition to the reunification of the Korean Peninsula.
Know your history. Korea was colonized by Japan for 35 years. This was a brutally violent occupation. Ex: Koreans were flogged for speaking Korean. Over 100,000 Korean women were abducted and made to be sex slaves for the Japanese Imperial Army.
Then, at the end of WWII, two young U.S. naval officers hastily and arbitrarily divided Korea using a small National Geographic map, thereby forcibly separating millions of families. My family is no exception. My grandmother was in the south but her sisters were north of the 38th parallel at the time. They never saw each other again. My grandmother is now in her 90s. One foreign occupation was replaced by another. You think the U.S. military cared about Koreans? Ha! MacArthur left the Japanese colonial forces in place until U.S. colonial forces could replace them. Read Proclamation No. 1.
Fast forward five years to the Korean War. The U.S. military dropped more bombs on the Korean Peninsula than it did in the entire “Pacific Theater” during WWII. Not a single two-story building was left standing. The U.S. military literally struggled to find more targets to bomb.
For over 60 years, the Korean border has been one of most heavily militarized borders in history with anywhere between 30,000 to 70,000 U.S. troops in South Korea. This is not benevolent protection. This is classic imperialism. Read about the naval base on Jeju Island. Read about THAAD. Read about KorUS FTA.
Meanwhile, North and South Korea share the same unofficial nation anthem (아리랑). “Our Wish is Reunification” is a folk song all Koreans know. Joint sports teams are created to tell the world that Koreans desire self-determination.
The DPRK is not a utopia. But it is not what the media makes it out to be either. When people buy into the anti-DPRK hysteria, those folks are buying into fake news. 6 corporations control 90% of the media in the U.S, and alarmist stories about the DPRK is great clickbait. Koreans who defect from the DPRK to the ROK are often quoted to support this junk news. Interesting that the media leaves out that defectors must adhere to predetermined talking points demonizing the DPRK in order to remain and financially survive in the ROK. And where are the stories about the job crisis in South Korea? Where are the stories about the rise of the men’s rights movement in the south? Where are the stories about how almost every ROK president has landed in jail for rampant corruption?
Am I overjoyed by the prospect of One Korea? Yes, of course! Do I credit Trump? Hell no! Trump doesn’t care about Koreans. He called white supremacists “good people.” His impetus for the Korea Summit is about furthering U.S. capitalist interests in Asia. I credit the activists who have been relentlessly fighting for reunification and an end to the Korean War for decades.
U.S. imperialism has stood in the way of reunification of the Korean Peninsula for the better part of a century. I will not thank the bully for making some vague promise to back off. I will not thank the bully for ceasing to terrorize Koreans with military exercises.
The idea that one cannot support reunification without supporting Trump highlights the shortcomings of liberalism. It boils down to taking the position that (unwarranted) loyalty to the Democratic Party is more important than the basic human right of self-determination.