Stephen Cho: DPRK’s ‘subjugation’ stance and revolution in south Korea

South Korean revolutionary outlines the change in posture by north Korea towards the occupied southern state and its client regime.

Stephen Cho of the South Korea International Forum and the World Anti-imperialist Platform believes that while the imperialists are driving humanity into the flames of global conflagration, they are opening up new revolutionary possibilities as they do so, from which the south Korean masses may be among the first to benefit.

Reproduced from Platform magazine, with thanks.


On 15 January 2024, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) made a historic declaration. At the Supreme People’s Assembly on this day, the chairman of the State Affairs Commission, Kim Jong Un, declared that his country would subjugate “the Republic of Korea” (ROK) in case of emergency. Here are the important points of Chairman Kim Jong Un’s speech regarding the situation in Korea.

First, Chairman Kim Jong Un stated: “The frequent remarks made by the US authorities about the ‘end of our regime’, the vast nuclear strategic assets permanently stationed in the peripheral area of the DPRK, the ceaseless war exercises staged on the largest scale with its followers, the military nexus between Japan and the Republic of Korea boosted at the instigation of the USA, etc are seriously threatening the security of our state moment by moment.”

And he stressed: “It is our party’s strategic plan to defend the country and greet a great revolutionary event through all-people resistance.”

The provocateurs of war in today’s world are always imperialism and its puppets. Comrade Kim Jong Un’s speech points to the fact that all armies and people will unite to defend the fatherland and bring about a great revolutionary event if war breaks out as a result of provocative manoeuvres aimed at invading north Korea. This great revolutionary event will necessarily involve subjugating the whole territory of the south.

Redefining south Korea and the DPRK’s posture towards it

Chairman Kim Jong Un went on to call “the ROK” “a group of outsiders’ top-class stooges”, defining it as an “enemy state”, a “belligerent state” and a “foreign country”. He expressed the DPRK’s readiness to “completely occupy, subjugate and reclaim the ROK and annex it as a part of the territory of our republic” in case of the outbreak of war on the peninsula.

Here, ‘the ROK’ becomes both an ‘enemy state’ and a ‘a group of outsiders’ top-class stooges’. This is not a logical contradiction, but a dialectical one: it is both ‘the ROK’ and an enemy state, but it is also ‘the ROK clan’ and puppets. Thus we can see that the DPRK still essentially maintains a one-state policy. In other words, it internally upholds its existing policy that the DPRK is the only legitimate state on the Korean peninsula and is prepared to subjugate the proxy ROK as an enemy state in the event of war.

Chairman Kim Jong Un also pointed out: “It is necessary to delete such expressions in the DPRK’s constitution as ‘northern half’ and ‘independence, peaceful reunification and great national unity’.” “We have dismantled all the organisations we established as solidarity bodies for peaceful reunification.” And further: “We should also completely remove the eyesore ‘Monument to the Three Charters for National Reunification’ standing at the southern gateway to the capital city of Pyongyang.”

These are tactical measures valid only until such a time as subjugation has been achieved. In fact, they outline a peaceful process: subjugation will inevitably lead to the establishment of a military government in the south, ruled by the Korean People’s Army. When revolutionary forces in the south have matured enough and a civil government is established through democratic elections, this people’s democratic government and the socialist government of the north will be able to build a unified federal state.

In other words, these measures, which seem to deny ‘peaceful reunification’, are temporary tactical measures to remove the obstacles to reunification, in force only until ‘an enemy country’ and ‘a group of stooges’ called ‘the ROK’ has ceased to exist. Once a people’s democratic government has come into power, then, and only then, can meaningful reunification in an atmosphere of peace and security – ie, federal reunification – be achieved.

The policy of peacefully building a unified federal state is still the strategic goal of the DPRK.

To this end, Chairman Kim Jong Un has made it clear that the military force of the north is “not a means of pre-emptive attack for realising unilateral ‘reunification by force of arms’”. In other words, the DPRK has no intention of reunifying the country by force – ie, of actively pursuing forceful reunification. If reunification doesn’t take place by force, then it will be a peaceful reunification by means of a federal system.

Chairman Kim Jong Un went on to stress: “The war will terribly destroy the entity called the Republic of Korea and put an end to its existence. And it will inflict an unimaginably crushing defeat upon the USA.”

Thus he showed that the DPRK has different approaches to ‘the ROK’ and to the USA. Comrade Kim Jong Un has made it clear that if war breaks out as a result of provocations against the DPRK, ‘the ROK’ itself will be ‘destroyed’ while the USA will suffer a significant blow, a ‘crushing defeat’. This suggests that the DPRK sees the possibility that the USA might not intervene in the war in what the southern puppets refer to as “HanGuk” (abbreviated from ‘Daehanminguk’, the name given to Korea by the republican movement of 1919, and somewhat ironically adopted by the puppets of the ROK regime).

US imperialism’s current military doctrine: proxy warfare

The USA today is following a military doctrine of proxy warfare against its peer competitors – as has been made clear by the way it is prosecuting its wars in Ukraine and Palestine. The same is likely to be true of a possible “war in HanGuk”. If the USA were to engage in a direct war with the DPRK, rather than in a proxy war via the stooge ‘HanGuk’ forces, it would risk a north Korean nuclear attack on the US mainland, which could escalate into mutually assured destruction (MAD) and the annihilation of humanity.

With this ‘declaration of subjugation’ by the DPRK, a possible war in south Korea during this decade, a ‘war in HanGuk’, would take on the character of an antifascist and anti-imperialist war, a war of subjugating one part of the country by another – an internal war. This compares with the Korean war of the 1950s, which was likewise an anti-imperialist and antifascist war, a national-liberation war, and a war for the reunification of the Fatherland. The essence of anti-imperialism, antifascism, and liberation will remain unchanged during a future war on the peninsula, notwithstanding the temporary acceptance of a two-state policy by the DPRK.

Once the lower of the two stages of the democratisation of south Korea – namely, antifascist democratisation – has been achieved via non-peaceful means of subjugation, then the higher stage, people’s democratisation, can be achieved peacefully. The process of making south Korea independent of the USA that must happen in between these two stages could be achieved via peaceful or non-peaceful means, depending on the USA’s reaction.

Under conditions where antifascist democratisation and anti-US independence have already been achieved, the process of establishing a unified federal government between the people’s democratic regime in the south and the socialist regime in the north can only be pursued by peaceful means.

The main points of Comrade Kim Jong Un’s speech in January had already been put forward in the report of the ninth enlarged plenum of the eighth WPK central committee in December. In both those documents, general secretary of the WPK and chairman of the State Affairs Commission Kim Jong Un has inherited the ideas and strategies of the revolution and of Korean reunification of his predecessors, President Kim Il Sung and chairman of the National Defence Commission Kim Jong Il, innovating upon them in order to adapt them to today’s situation and resolve the long-standing problems of the Korean peninsula.

These problems have existed for 78 years since the division of the country by the US imperialists in 1945, and the DPRK has made it clear that it is now prepared to use bold methods of subjugation – to fight a ‘war in HanGuk’ – in case of emergency.

Imperialists driving us into WW3, and opening up new revolutionary possibilities as they do so

This concept of a war of subjugation to oust the imperialist proxy regime in the south has opened a decisive period for the south Korean revolution

With the DPRK’s willingness to subjugate the occupied south by military means, the likelihood of a ‘war in HanGuk’ has increased. Moreover, the likelihood of war in Taiwan, which is bound to break out at the same time, has also increased. And as the likelihood of war breaking out in east Asia increases, the possibility of war spreading further across eastern Europe is increasing likewise.

Currently, the flames of World War 3 are spreading from eastern Europe to the middle east and look likely to ignite in east Asia too. But once the flames of have ignited east Asia, World War 3 will be in full swing and the ‘new cold war’ antagonism facing the anti-imperialist and imperialist camps alike will become clear. Human history will arrive at a new great turning point.

We can expect this new great transition in human history to prove a great transition for world revolution.