An exclusive Pravda interview with Alejandro Cao de Benos, Special Delegate, Committee for Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries, Government of the DPR of Korea, President of the Korean Friendship Association (KFA).
1. It is true that technically a state of war has existed between North and South since the conflict in the 1950s?
Yes. Technically the DPR of Korea is still at war not with South Korea, but the U.S.A., since they are the ones that initiated the conflict and the maximum commanders of the troops that fought under the abused banner of the United Nations.
U.S.A. is the one that signed the armistice and the one that has denied the peace until now. This is the main reason why the DPRK has to protect itself.
2. What affect will the current crisis have on North and South relations and efforts at reconciliation?
Terrible effects. Since the ultra-conservative government of Lee Myung Bak took office, all inter-Korean agreements stopped. For serving the interests of the USA, he destroyed all progress and created the present tense situation that could lead to a new Korean war.
From year 2000 and during the progressive governments of President Kim Dae Jung and Roh Moo Hyun one could witness that Korea’s reunification was very near.
On 2007 Pyongyang was so full of South Korean politicians, religious people, businessmen, cultural delegates, students that was hard to find place in the hotels. We had up to 3 daily flights between Inchon and Pyongyang.
3. What forces do you believe are creating a scenario of tension and possible war? Should the international community believe that this was a false flag attack?
Clearly U.S.A. is the one in charge of this bad environment. It has been demonstrated how much they can lie and force satellite countries to fight in their wars. Iraq was one of the latest fabricated cases.
They are trying to occupy Iran next, but in the case of DPRK, since we are armed with nuclear deterrence they will not attack directly but try to further strangle our economy and pressure our system.
Anyone with a basic military knowledge will know that you do not mark a torpedo by hand with a blue marker. Furthermore the news from South Korean media from the beginning of the sinking of Cheonan until today are completely contradictory. Specially when Yonhap South Korean News Agency reported that the torpedo had ‘Chinese Characters’.
North Korea never uses Chinese alphabet, but is South Korea the one that uses such letters in their manufactured weapons.
Countries that are not under USA control, like Russia and China, sent their own independent teams of experts and they agree that at the moment the evidence is not convincing at all.
4. Can you tell our readers exactly what would the DPRK gain by attacking a ship from the South?
Absolutely nothing. If DPRK attacked the ship, it will gain the hate from the South Korean people.
In DPRK, the South Korean people are considered ‘brothers’, and although we have different social systems we wish and fight for the peaceful reunification respecting each others’ ideas.The key for reunification is ‘Uriminzzokiri’, that means ‘By our nation-Korea- itself’ (Without foreign interference).
It is U.S.A. the one that has to go out of South Korean territory and stop trying to control foreign land and sovereign governments. When the South Korean people can be free of U.S.A. occupation, all problems between North and South will be resolved by dialogue and understanding.
5. Why do you believe that inspection of the damage by DPRK was denied by the South? Are those investigating the incident in the least bit impartial?
If there is a Court of Justice, and DPRK is the supposed criminal, the prosecutor (in this case South Korea), is the one that has to provide enough evidence and witnesses to justify such claim. It is not that DPRK has to show continuously its innocence.
In the case of Cheonan, DPRK was accused with a fake court, a fake case and childish fabricated evidence. Not only that, but by denying the DPRK investigation team amounts to denying the presence of the accused in the court to explain himself.
Many weapons in DPRK have original links to Soviet technology. Including our main assault rifles that are a special modified version of Kalashnikov, so the only independent military team with credibility will be Russia.
6. Many inidividuals are being told they should be concerned that DPRK has nuclear capability. What would you say to them in that regard? Should they worry that you are going to attack anyone?
Absolutely not. U.S.A. has the biggest stockpile of nuclear weapons in the world, and the only nation that used it against civilians in the world’s history. So judging from previous criminal behavior, people should be much more concerned about them.
Now the ex-Soviet Union Republics are witnessing internal conflicts, religious confrontation and terrorism, some of them linked to the imperialist interests of Washington. During the cold war there was no nuclear confrontation, but indeed existed a balance that prevented the fight. Korea has demonstrated that, once again, after showing its ICBM capabilities by launching artificial satellites and the nuclear underground tests.
As soon as ex-President Bush confirmed that DPRK was a nuclear power, he changed his policy from ‘preemptive military strike’ to ‘conversations and negotiations’ at the end of his term in office.
7. What would you say about Israeli accusations that DPRK is sharing nuclear technology with other countries?
This is nonsense. DPRK is a responsible country, and although it could earn billions by selling its top military developments to other nations, it knows it could also use by terrorist or guerrillas to kill innocent people. For that reason DPRK does not give support for such organizations.
Example: DPRK has military relations with Iran since many years ago. If our country gave such knowledge to them, they would have the missiles since long time ago.
On the other hand, U.S.A. gave their nuclear technology to Israel. Or France, that gets nuclear material from Spain power stations and enrich it at home to be used in its own arsenal.
8. Can you comment on the label being given to your country by the Empire as part of the “axis of evil” and a “rogue state”?
This was just a typical ‘Hollywood label, cowboy style’, to make DPRK look like a bad nation and arise support from pro-American countries. A person without evidence, without intelligence like Bush, only has left a bad mouth to insult you.
I remember very well during the initial anti-DPRK speeches how Bush Jr. in its public appearances and interviews used to joke and insult our Great Leader Kim Jong Il. But on 7th December 2007, CNN reports how Bush wrote a letter and treat him with a respectful ‘Mr. Chairman Kim Jong Il’, asking please to continue the nuclear negotiations. We cannot forget as well that was Bush, and not Obama, the one that removed DPRK from the ‘Terrorist list of nations’.
How can it be explained? DPRK before having nuclear capabilities was a terrorist and dangerous country, to be ‘invaded’ and ‘liberated’ by the freedom US fighters, but after showing our nuclear weapons we are removed from it. Should not be the opposite way?
9. What do you know of the following report: “The metallic debris and chemical residue appear to be consistent with a type of torpedo made in Germany, indicating the North may have been trying to disguise its involvement by avoiding arms made by allies China and Russia, Yonhap quoted the official as saying.”
Wouldn’t DPRK acquiring and successfully firing a German torpedo from a Russian or Chinese sub border on fantasy; aren’t the physical technical and human know-how difficulties are from huge to impossible?
Impossible. If nowadays DPRK was relying on weapons from third countries, it will be invaded since long time ago. We are under military and economic embargo since so long (included technology embargo signed by China), that if we had to buy any weapons overseas we will not have a single bullet by now.
U.S.A. and South Korea are always creating all kind of propaganda by saying that in isolated North Korea there is starvation, collapse and the country is technologically outdated.
Then this is contradictory to the fantasy that we could get a Russian sub in Dalian with a German torpedo and cheat all navy radars and technology from South Korea and U.S.A.
10. How would you characterize DPRK’s relations with the Russian Federation and how would you characterize them with the progressive countries of Latin America/South America? How would you characterize your relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran?
Relations with the Russian Federation are rooted in the historical fights against the Japanese Empire and the support provided for the liberation of Korea against U.S.A.
There was a time in the 90’s that due to the Perestroika, during social and political changes that relations stopped in many fronts, specially in the political and commercial aspects. But since some years ago, Russia has initiated a new approach and now diplomacy between both countries is advancing very fast.
Russia realizes that is important to preserve its culture and sovereignty in front of the imperialist U.S. behavior, and maintain foreign relations based on peace, friendship and non-interference in internal affairs, same principles that DPRK fully shares.
By having conversations with Russian diplomats in Pyongyang and Korean comrades in charge of Russian relations, I came to realize that both countries have many fields in common and that we can help each other. Exchange and projects between both countries are increasing day by day.
There are also excellent relations with the progressive governments in South America. DPRK opened a new embassy in Brazil and we have continuous contacts with Cuba, Venezuela or Bolivia. We have many ongoing scientific, medical and agricultural agreements.
Iran has the biggest embassy in the DPRK and relations are also very close, although mainly focused on government-to-government agreements. We hope in the near future to get more interest and also develop relations with the private business sector of Iran.
11. How much do you think the current crisis is tied to efforts to make the Americans leave their bases in the region? It has just been reported now that efforts to expel the Americans from Okinama have been abandoned…
The present situation is completely linked to the control of U.S.A. over North-East Asia. Korea is very important strategically. Gate to the giants Russia and China and full of natural resources.
For that reason U.S.A. will try every effort to justify its bases in Japan and South Korea. If it is necessary it would create a conflict (like Cheonan) to show how its ‘protection’ is badly needed.The present South Korean government is just a puppet from the White House. Then South Korea is the perfect excuse to increase the number of troops and military exercises.
12. Pressure has been placed on the People’s Republic of China to respond to the crisis. As a result the following was reported, can you comment on this“China dismissed the official scenario presented by the Americans and their South Korean allies as not credible. This conclusion was based on an independent technical assessment by the Chinese military, according to a Beijing-based military affairs consultant to the People’s Liberation Army.”
What was the USS Salvor, a mine laying vessel, doing in the area away from its Pearl Harbor base?
China is always playing two faces. In one side it has to please its economical partner U.S.A. It needs its support to continue being a member of the capitalist club.
On the other side China knows the importance of DPRK and the necessity of a ‘buffer zone’, so Americans will not get too close and take full control of the area.
The result of a new Korean War will be of epic destructive proportions, and many countries would have to be involved in it. Beijing knows that if they support every political action against DPRK, they will lose an important military ally.
Regarding U.S. vessels and submarines is nothing new, there are several continuously controlling the seas of Korea. The sinking of Cheonan could easily be from a mine or a torpedo from friendly fire. This will be in accordance with the initial press reports from South Korea, that from the debris they could only rescue some fragments with Chinese characters.
Curiously enough a new South Korean torpedo factory was inaugurated officially on 25th May in Jinhae.
13. The propaganda in the western media has it that people in the DPRK are unhappy, starving and would like nothing better than to be either in the South or somewhere else. Can you comment on the current situation within your country?
If this was true, there will be no people living in DPRK. Again the double capitalist standard applies here. Thousands of times, U.S.A has been talking about the defeat of communism and how some people revolted against its socialist system. It happened in Romania, Poland, etc. Then, DPRK, being a small country with only 24 million people, why they did not do the same?
Now we are in 2010 and the country remains politically as strong and unshakable as ever. Our Great Leader Kim Jong Il is loved by all people and we all feel like a big united family. There is not a single revolt, slogan or anti-government organization inside the country.
Since year 2000 the economy is recovering fast, and we expect in 2012 to unveil many developments and open the gates to become an economic power.
It is true that DPRK had much difficulties and lack of food from 1995 to 2000. The disappearance of the socialist system made us lose all our trading partners, the flooding destroyed the little arable land we have (only 15% of the territory), and the blockade from USA was intensified. Even under such terrible conditions our country and system prevailed.
During that time China opened its borders on a humanitarian basis, thousands of people went there, and when the situation was re established they returned, except for few that lured by some Chinese tales of glory and fortune decided to try the capitalism. Now those few lost the face to return and have to beg for food or became victims of the criminal sex trade in China, a social disease that is unknown in DPRK.
14. South Korean President Lee Myung Bak…a US puppet government?
Absolutely. Just have to compare the situation of Korea during President Kim Dae Jung (Nobel peace prize) and now.
15. Bottom line, yes or no, did the DPRK have anything to do with the sinking of that ship?
DPRK had nothing to do with the sinking of the Cheonan. It makes no sense both from a North Korean military point of view and from the heart feelings of its people, including all of its Army. Our enemies are the US government, its imperialist troops and the political puppets, not the Korean brothers in the South or the US citizens, that many were born but did not choose to attack and occupy other nations.
*Interview conducted by – Lisa Karpova