The following statement by the National Peace and Solidarity Commission of the Communist Party USA was released on Oct. 30. As the World went to press, China’s Foreign Ministry announced that North Korea had agreed to participate in a new round of six-party talks.

In the aftermath of the Oct. 9 nuclear test by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea), many in the region and around the world now worry about the acceleration of nuclear proliferation and the threat to peaceful coexistence in Northeast Asia. The greatest threat is a nuclear showdown with the United States.

North Korea’s action was an unproductive, provocative and dangerous move that serves the interests of those in the Bush administration who strive to strengthen the U.S. military domination of the region and advocate the possible use of a so-called limited nuclear strike on North Korea.

In the U.S., we are focused on mobilizing the peace sentiments to defeat the Republicans in the midterm elections. The Bush administration’s aggressive war on Iraq and adamant refusal to respect diplomatic efforts with North Korea has set the framework for this crisis. A defeat of the Republicans in the congressional elections next week can be a big step back from the policies that have brought the world to the edge of nuclear confrontation.

The North Korean nuclear test was a dangerous step toward diminishing the authority of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). But the NPT was already undermined by the Bush administration’s policies of confrontation, aggressive war and nuclear arms production and trade. The U.S. has never lived up to its responsibility under the treaty to work with the other nuclear powers to disarm. A Northeast Asian nuclear arms race is now a frightening possibility.

Solidarity with the people of the entire Korean peninsula demands that we look at the circumstances surrounding the dangerous steps taken by North Korea and the repercussions, especially in relation to the Bush administration.

The U.S. has been involved in six-party talks with South Korea, Japan, Russia, the People’s Republic of China and North Korea. The talks were initiated by China to establish the framework for a nuclear-free Korean peninsula. Each time the negotiations have moved forward, the Bush administration undermined the progress with new demands, undercutting past decisions and issuing new sanctions.

In the Bush administration’s Nuclear Posture Review, submitted to Congress in December 2001, North Korea was among its potential nuclear first-strike targets, a policy it has never renounced.

The history of U.S.-Korea relations since 1950 is one in which the U.S. has threatened a nuclear attack eight times. A peace treaty to officially end the Korean War has never been signed. The Korean border is the most militarized in the world. The U.S. military has brought nuclear bombs, missiles and mines into South Korea. Now there is a new drive to expand the U.S. military presence of tens of thousands of U.S. troops. The North and South Korean people have lived under a heightened U.S. military threat for decades.

Driven by Cold War anticommunism, the U.S. established economic sanctions in the 1950s with new sanctions, only adding to the pressures on the North Korean economy and, therefore, on the daily lives of the North Korean people. All of these factors only prove the point: military occupation, economic sanctions and threats of nuclear attack drive nuclear proliferation.

The goal of having nuclear weapons can never be justified. The attempts to drive back U.S. military and economic aggression with threats of a nuclear confrontation only bring more danger and suffering for the people of the Korean peninsula and the world as a whole.

The only way to end this crisis is with open, direct bilateral negotiations between the U.S. and North Korea.

The only way to stop nuclear proliferation is for the Bush administration to abide by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, starting with implementing Title 6: Disarm nuclear warheads and end the research, development and sale of nuclear weapons.

The U.S. is the only country to ever use nuclear weapons, and now we must be the people who stop our government from ever using it again. We must wage a fight to dismantle the U.S. nuclear stockpile.

If we are successful in shifting the control of Congress from Republican to Democratic, the day after elections we must demand that Congress call hearings to compel the Bush administration to begin bilateral negotiations with North Korea, to meet our obligations under the NPT, and ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty!

Changing the composition of Congress will be the first step towards curbing the neo-conservative foreign policy of confrontation, pre-emptive, first-strike war and of undermining international law and arms treaties.

The struggle to save our planet from being destroyed by war and nuclear conflagration is one of the most important missions of the Communist Party and all people who believe that war is not the answer to the world’s complex problems.