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New Opposition Leader Comes Out Against THAAD
Choo Mi-ae, the new head of the main opposition Minjoo Party, smiles on her way to a luncheon meeting with new party leaders in Seoul on Sunday. Choo Mi-ae, the new head of the main opposition Minjoo Party, smiles on her way to a luncheon meeting with new party leaders in Seoul on Sunday.
The Minjoo Party's new leader Choo Mi-ae on Monday voiced strong opposition to the planned deployment of the U.S.' Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense batteries in Korea.
Her predecessor, interim party leader Kim Chong-in, was resigned to the deployment, calling it "inevitable" in the face of Pyongyang's ballistic missile threats.
But Choo has vowed to give the main opposition party a clear position on the issue, making the rejection of THAAD an official plank in its platform.
That is likely to draw sharper lines in the sand in the notoriously fractious National Assembly.
[THAAD] [Choo Mi-ae] [Minjoo]
Chatter from conservative politicians says S. Korea should acquire nuclear powered submarine
Posted on : Aug.30,2016 18:21 KST
But such a response to N. Korea’s SLBM would violate principle of denuclearizing Korean peninsula
Politicians from the ruling Saenuri Party have been calling for South Korea to acquire its own nuclear-powered submarines following North Korea’s recent successful test-launch of a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM).
But many observers are calling for a more circumspect approach, noting the weak rationale amid a debate over whether the introduction would violate the principle of denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula - as well as the more practical impossibility of introducing the submarines without US approval.
Saenuri Party floor leader Chung Jin-suk issued a call to consider introducing nuclear-powered submarines during an Aug. 29 meeting of the party’s supreme council.
“Given the difficulty of detecting the launch point for North Korean submarine-launched ballistic missiles, [the threat] is more serious than a surface-launched missile,” he explained.
Chung also noted that construction of three 4,000-ton nuclear-powered submarines had been pursued and abandoned during the Roh Moo-hyun presidency in 2003.
[SLBM] [Nuclear Submarine]
Nuclear submarine unrealistic for S. Korea
By Jun Ji-hye
While politicians are calling for the development of a nuclear-powered submarine amid mounting threats of North Korea's submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM), the military is taking a cautious stance, apparently wary of possible repercussions from the United States.
Members of the ruling Saenuri Party and some experts say the only measure to counter the North's SLBM threat is possessing nuclear subs that can operate at high speeds for long periods of time, but critics point out that the nation will face many problems if it is resolved to develop them.
The first question is whether the United States, which virtually controls the nuclear fuel reprocessing of South Korea, would approve of such reprocessing to operate a nuclear sub.
Some say that a revision of the Seoul-Washington nuclear cooperation deal, signed last year, would allow Seoul to produce uranium enriched to less than 20 percent when using U.S. ingredients, but critics point out that the agreement disallows nuclear fuel reprocessing for military purposes.
[Nuclear submarine] [US dominance]
'S. Korea needs 2 THAAD batteries'
By Kim Hyo-jin
Updated : 2016-08-30 18:43
South Korea needs at least two Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) batteries to better defend itself from North Korea's submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs), a U.S. arms expert said Tuesday.
Jeffrey Lewis, director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS), warned of the possibility that the North's submarines could attack South Korea out of the range covered by the THAAD radar to be deployed in the southeastern part of the country.
"THAAD has forward-looking radar with a 120-degree field of view. In the case of a single THAAD battery, North Korea's submarines would not have to travel very far out to sea to attack the THAAD system from behind the field of view of its radar," Lewis, also a founder of Arms Control Wonk, said in an article posted on the website.
"South Korea needs two THAAD batteries to better cover ocean approaches. That is an obvious solution to at least part of the problem posed by the KN-11."
Seoul slow in compensating firms in Gaeseong complex
By Choi Sung-jin
The Park Geun-hye administration has come under fire for dragging its feet in compensating companies forced out of the now-closed Gaeseong Industrial Complex (GIC).
A group of small firms that supplied subsidiary materials to manufacturers at the inter-Korean factory park held a news conference in front of the National Assembly Monday and called for more swift compensation for their financial damages.
Expelling refugee: Baloch case shows foreigner-averse tendency
Korea has turned its back on a famous asylum seeker. (We decided to withhold his identity for fear of his being further persecuted). His plea to be sent to a third country was also denied, so he was deported to Pakistan on July 29 and his supporters here have lost contact with him. They fear the worst because he promised to get in touch with them. He was a self-proclaimed and court-denied member of the Balochistan National Movement and was on the blacklist of Karachi's feared Inter-Services Intelligence.
[Refugee] [Defector] [Double standards]
“Peace through solidarity” - Korean artists reflect over Vietnam war atrocities
Posted on : Aug.29,2016 16:31 KST
Married artists Kim Seo-kyung and Kim Woon-sung who sculpted the comfort woman statue that current sits across from the Japanese embassy in Seoul, at an Aug. 27 talk in Tokyo titled “The Vietnam Pieta and the Comfort Woman Statue: How Should We Confront Our Country’s Abuses?” A comfort woman statue was set up temporarily near the podium.
Artists travel to Japan as that government is calling for removal of comfort woman statue across from Seoul embassy
The setting was the second-floor conference room at the Bunkyo Ward Residents’ Center in Tokyo at 6:30 pm on Aug. 27. Artists Kim Seo-kyung, 51, and Kim Woon-sung, 52, who sculpted the comfort woman statue that current sits across from the Japanese embassy in Seoul, were holding a talk titled “The Vietnam Pieta and the Comfort Woman Statue: How Should We Confront Our Country’s Abuses?” The room was packed with around 150 residents, suggesting the Japanese community’s high level of interest in the statue. For a Jan. 2015 exhibition on “nonfreedom of expression” held in Tokyo, the Kims were accompanied during their talk by the statue, on display for the first time in Japan.
But the focal point on Aug. 27 was not on the statue, but on efforts by South Koreans to reckon with their own role in abuses through the so-called “Vietnam Pieta.”
“I didn’t really know much about the Vietnam War,” explained Kim Woon-sung on the married couple’s reason for sculpting the pieta. “South Korea and Vietnam were countries that didn’t have any animosity or territorial issues. It was going to Vietnam on a Peace Trip that I learned how many civilian massacres had been perpetrated there by South Korean troops.”
Lists of victims massacred by South Korean forces had been inscribed on monuments of resentment and hatred in the Vietnamese villages Kim visited.
“There were things like ‘baby, age zero’ written in Vietnamese [without names]. I felt tremendous sadness, and I was so ashamed,” he recalled. “We made the Vietnam pieta with the idea that we should offer some kind of apology and reflection.”
[Comfort women] [Vietnam] [Massacres]
“We are not ‘dogs and pigs’” -- Seongju residents form human chain opposing THAAD
Posted on : Aug.29,2016 16:40 KST
Around 3,000 residents of Seongju, North Gyeongsang Province form a human chain calling for peace and the cancellation of the decision to deploy THAAD, Aug. 27. (provided by Seongju Struggle)
More than a month after selection as THAAD site, locals still asking. “Why does the state trample upon our legitimate rights?”
More than 3,000 residents of Seongju County formed a human chain to demand that the South Korean government cancel its decision to deploy THAAD.
At 6 pm on Aug. 27, the Seongju Action Committee for Repealing the Decision to Deploy THAAD organized a human chain to call for reversing the THAAD decision and establishing peace.
3 alternate THAAD sites picked
By Jun Ji-hye
The Ministry of National Defense has picked three alternate sites for the deployment of a U.S. anti-missile system and started evaluations Monday, according to officials.
The move came a week after the chief of Seongju County, North Gyeongsang Province, officially asked the ministry to pick an alternate site within the county for the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery, citing that the initially planned location, Seongsan-ri, is too close to a residential area.
The three sites are a country club owned by Lotte Group in Chojeon-myeon, Mt. Yeomsok in Geumsu-myeon and Mt. Kkachi in Suryun-myeon.
"We have selected three candidates after the consultation with the local government," a ministry official said on condition of anonymity. "South Korea and the United States' joint working-level group began a process to evaluate the three places, including on-the-spot inspections."
N. Korea provocations will lead to self-destruction: Park
By Kang Seung-woo
President Park Geun-hye ordered a stern retaliation against North Korea's growing provocations to make sure that they would lead to the regime's self-destruction, Monday.
"The military should maintain unyielding readiness to counter any provocations from the North to ensure that such attempts would be self-destructive," Park said in a meeting with her senior secretaries at Cheong Wa Dae.
Tourists in China warned about N. Korea abductions
By Kang Seung-woo
The South Korean embassy in China recently warned tourists there to stay vigilant against North Korean terrorist attacks or kidnappings, a source said, Monday.
The move followed recent defections of high-ranking North Korean diplomats, including Thae Yong-ho, the North's deputy ambassador to the U.K. who fled to Seoul with his family in late July.
The embassy also issued a similar warning on July 22 in response to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's alleged orders to harm or abduct South Koreans in retaliation for the group defection of 13 North Koreans restaurant workers in April.
"Given the recent defection of a high-level North Korean official and North Korea's threats of provocations, there seem to be high possibilities of terrorist attacks and abductions of South Korean residents and travelers in China," the embassy said in a warning message conveyed to South Korean expatriate groups and other associated organizations in China.
New opposition leader to deepen THAAD conflict
Rep. Choo Mi-ae celebrates after being elected as the Minjoo Party of Korea's new leader. / Yonhap
Choo wants to avoid US-China clash on peninsula
By Kim Hyo-jin
The main opposition Minjoo Party of Korea (MPK) is predicted to take a hard-line stance against the country hosting the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system, as Rep. Choo Mi-ae has become the party chairwoman.
Her leadership is raising the prospect of political wrangling over the deployment of the U.S. anti-missile defense system with the ruling Saenuri Party.
On Saturday, Choo, a five-term lawmaker whose district is in eastern Seoul, was elected as the new chairwoman to replace Kim Chong-in, the party's interim head who has been maintaining an overall neutral political stance.
Choo vowed during the chairmanship race to officially oppose the government's decision to deploy a THAAD battery on Korean soil.
"I will make opposition to the THAAD battery the party's official position," she said in an acceptance speech after the ballot, Saturday, reiterating her stance against the anti-missile system. "We cannot let China and the U.S. clash on the Korean Peninsula."
[THAAD] [Dilemma] [China confrontation]
Senior N.Korean Defector 'Was Motivated by His Kids'
The National Intelligence Service here on Monday said the North Korean Embassy in London's No. 2 man defected because he feared for the future of his children if they went to North Korea.
Pyongyang recently ordered diplomats overseas to send any children over 25 back to North Korea, and Thae Yong-ho's eldest son is 26.
"We understand that Thae made up his mind to defect after that," a senior NIS officer told the National Assembly.
But Thae had become disillusioned about the regime for some time and toyed with the idea of defecting, a lawmaker quoted the officer as saying.
More details about Thae's defection will become available next month.
Thae's eldest son has a degree in public health from Hammersmith Hospital in West London, according to the British press.
His second son Kum-hyok (19) attended Acton High School in West London, where he was a straight-A student, and had landed a place at Imperial College to study math and computer engineering.
[Defector] [Thae Yong Ho]
With her inner circle, Pres. Park pretty much surrounded by criminal suspects
Posted on : Aug.23,2016 17:23 KST
Many of the president’s closest associates are under investigation for corruption and abuses of power
Saenuri Party leader Lee Jung-hyun, lawmakers Choi Kyoung-hwan and Yoon Sang-hyun and Senior Secretary to the President for Civil Affairs Woo Byung-woo are all trusted associates of South Korean President Park Geun-hye.
These figures all have something else in common - they can’t get out of an investigation by the public prosecutors. Park is basically surrounded by criminal suspects.
After the Sewol ferry sinking in Apr. 2014, Lee Jung-hyun placed a call to Kim Si-gon, chief of the KBS newsroom. Lee was the Senior Secretary to the President for Public Relations at the time.
During the phone call, Lee strongly pressured Kim - the newsroom chief at a public broadcaster - to refrain from running stories that were critical of the government. “Do you think it‘s appropriate to bash the coast guard and the government when the whole country is having a hard time?” Lee asked. This was a violation of Article 4 of the Broadcasting Act, which states that “No one shall regulate or interfere with the broadcast programming unless as prescribed by this Act or other Acts.”
[Park Geun-hye] [Corruption]
Pres. Park’s words and actions trying to drum up security threats
Posted on : Aug.23,2016 17:18 KST
Senior Secretary to the President for Civil Affairs Woo Byung-woo listens to President Park Geun-hye’s address at a Cabinet Meeting at the Blue House on Aug. 22. (Blue House photo pool)
Harsh words about North Korea’s unraveling come alongside claims of THAAD’s necessity and government agency mobilization
South Korean President Park Geun-hye played up the possibility of the North Korean regime collapsing and the threat of a North Korean provocation, claiming that “there are signs of serious division [inside North Korea] and that there is an increasing likelihood of unrest in the regime.”
Amid a worsening controversy involving Senior Secretary to the President for Civil Affairs Woo Byung-woo, Park appears to be attempting to redirect public attention to a security crisis.
With Park paranoid that “the corrupt establishment and leftists are out to get her” (in the words of a Blue House official), Park may have issued the command for her supporters to become fully mobilized.
THAAD stalemate deepening
A placard that reads "Peace, not THAAD" is hung at an intersection of Seongju and Gimcheon, North Gyeongsang Province, Tuesday. / Yonhap
By Jun Ji-hye
The government's plan to deploy a U.S. anti-missile system here is slipping into chaos as it is stuck in not-in-my-backyard (NIMBY) opposition.
The initial plan for the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery in Seongju County, North Gyeongsang Province, by next year has hit another snag after the county chief officially asked the defense ministry to pick an alternative site within the county.
President's sister under investigation over fraud
President Park Geun-hye's estranged younger sister is under investigation over fraud, prosecutors said Tuesday.
According to the Seoul Central District Prosecutor's Office, an investigation is ongoing into Park Geun-ryoung, 62, over suspicion that she swindled an investor out of 100 million won ($89,000). After questioning witnesses, prosecutors might summon her for questioning.
[Park Geun-hye] [Corruption]
S. Korean Army holds joint drill to counter possible N. Korea terror attacks
The South Korean Army on Tuesday conducted a joint military drill with police, government officials and private experts to counter possible terrorist attacks by North Korea, officials said.
South Korea's 2nd Operations Command said that the joint anti-terror exercise was conducted at a football stadium in Daegu, some 302 kilometers south of Seoul, as part of the broader ongoing annual military exercise between South Korea and the United States.
The Army's drill, which involved some 250 personnel and military assets including 21 helicopters, was aimed at building capacity to counter terrorist attacks in non-frontline areas in a speedy manner, officials said.
[Military exercises] [Escalation] [North Wind]
N.Korea Vents Ire Over Defection of Senior Diplomat
North Korea on Saturday accused defector Thae Yong-ho, the No. 2 diplomat in its London embassy, of running from punishment and called him "human scum."
It was Pyongyang's first public reaction since news of Thae's defection to South Korea broke last week.
The official [North] Korean Central News Agency said Thae had been recalled to Pyongyang in June because he embezzled state funds, sold official secrets and sexually assaulted a minor.
The statement gave no evidence of the claim but added Thae "proved himself to be human scum who betrayed the fatherland" by fleeing.
The shrill reaction seems aimed at minimizing the impact of Thae's defection on morale.
A Unification Ministry official here said the claims are "ludicrous" and "seek to tarnish Thae as a criminal simply to protect the regime."
Other state media did not mention the defection.
[Defection] [Thae Yong Ho]
N.Korean Embassy in London Owes 200,000 Pounds in Fines
Dire financial straits at the North Korean Embassy in London seem to have played a major role in the defection of its No. 2 diplomat Thae Yong-ho.
The Daily Telegraph on Saturday reported that the embassy, which sits in a semi-detached house in the drab western suburb of Ealing, owes 200,000 pounds in back parking fines.
That boils down to 100,000 pounds for each of the embassy's two cars.
The newspaper also said North Korean diplomats tried to make extra cash by buying used goods at flea markets. One staffer bought old dolls, cleaned them and sold them on.
Seongju committee seeks Defense Ministry review of golf course, alternative THAAD site
Posted on : Aug.22,2016 17:48 KST
Ruling party reportedly seeking to avoid parliamentary ratification, due to battle with opposition
Alternative site in Seongju County for THAAD deployment site
A Seongju residents committee opposing the deployment of a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system in North Gyeongsang Province plans to ask the Ministry of National Defense to review alternate candidate sites. The decision appears to raise the likelihood of the ministry replacing the Seongsan air defense base in Seongju with the Skyhill Seongju Country Club golf course as the anticipated THAAD deployment site. But now it is residents of Gimcheon near the golf course who are up in arms - and with the state outlay needed to purchase the course potentially subject to National Assembly consent, the controversy could end up spreading to the political world once again.
[THAAD] [Health] [Location]
Resistance to THAAD deployment spreading to alternative candidate site
Posted on : Aug.22,2016 17:36 KST
The first candlelight vigil against the deployment of the THAAD missile defense system, at the amphitheater at the Riverside Park in Gimcheon’s Bugok Neighborhood, Aug. 20. (Yonhap News)
Residents of Gimcheon, near Seongju, start holding candlelight vigils nightly to call for THAAD to not be deployed to their town
A campaign against deploying the THAAD missile defense system is also gaining momentum in the city of Gimcheon, located next to Seongju County. On one evening this past weekend, residents of Gimcheon held their first candlelight vigil against THAAD.
After initially planning to deploy THAAD at the Seongsan Battery in Seongju County, South Korea’s Defense Ministry has now mentioned Lotte Sky Hill Seongju Country Club - located in the northern corner of Seongju, next to Gimcheon - as an alternative deployment site. The golf course is about 17 km from Seongsan Battery as the crow flies and about 7km away from Gimcheon Innovation City.
[THAAD] [Health] [Location]
British newspaper says Thae Yong-ho’s defection “like a Graham Greene novel”
Posted on : Aug.22,2016 17:32 KST
An AFPTV image of Thae Yong-ho, a minister-level official from North Korea’s embassy in London who defected to South Korea
Thae reportedly defected via Germany, mainly due to his wife’s concerns about returning to Pyongyang
Thae Yong-ho, a minister-level diplomat at North Korea’s Embassy in London, reached South Korea via Germany with the assistance of British and American intelligence agents, British newspaper the Sunday Express reported on Aug. 21. News of Thae’s defection to South Korea after a 10-year assignment in the UK first broke on Aug. 17.
The Sunday Express offered a detailed account of Thae’s detection, which it said at times “read like a Graham Greene novel.”
[Defection] [Thae Yong Ho]
REVEALED: North Korean defector met British spies on golf course in WATFORD
EXCLUSIVE: THE North Korean diplomat who defected last week was urged to switch sides by his wife, who insisted on a final shop at Marks and Spencer before their flight to Seoul.
By Marco Giannangeli, Diplomatic Editor
PUBLISHED: 00:01, Sun, Aug 21,
Thae Young Ho defected from North Korea after a trip to M&S
Thae Young Ho, the son of a general linked to the founding of North Korea, had been stationed in London for more than 10 years before his defection, details of which read like a Graham Greene novel.
Thae, a keen golfer who insisted on bringing his clubs when he boarded his last flight from England, made his first contact with British intelligence agents two months ago at a golf club in Watford.
According to sources, he revealed he had misgivings about returning to North Korean capital Pyonyang – a prospect that loomed in the near future.
It was only when his wife Oh Sun Hae began to share the same sentiments that he began to consider the prospect seriously.
[Defection] [Thae Yong Ho]
North Korea says defector diplomat was on the run from criminal charges
Posted on : Aug.22,2016 17:34 KST
Thae Yong-ho, whose defection to South Korea with his wife and children was announced on Aug. 17, speaking in London in 2014. (from Youtube via Yonhap News)
State media report is North Korea’s first acknowledgment of Thae’s defection; no word yet from government
The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported on Aug. 20 that a minister-level official who defected to South Korea from the North Korean embassy in London had “fled with his family fearing legal punishment after his illegal acts were exposed.”
[Defection] [Thae Yong Ho] [Corruption]
Intelligence says N. Korea is on alert after string of defections
Posted on : Aug.22,2016 17:30 KST
After high-profile defection, there are concerns about possible retaliation from North Korea
A senior Ministry of Unification official quoted relevant intelligence on Aug. 21 saying North Korean leader Kim Jong-un ordered an anti-terrorism team sent to the Chinese border region in connection with the group defection of workers at restaurant in China‘s Zhejiang Province.
Speaking to reporters who cover the Ministry that afternoon, the official said, “The growing likelihood of the regime being destabilized by additional defections of members of the elite, such as the recent case of minister-level embassy diplomat Thae Yong-ho, means a very strong chance that it will attempt some kind of provocation to unite the regime internally and change the situation vis-a-vis the South.”
Irreverent pop artist gets 2 million won fine for satirizing President Park
Posted on : Aug.21,2016 08:22 KST
Court rules that scale and locations of distribution meant leaflets not an expression of artistic freedom
The poster distributed by pop artist Lee Ha on Oct. 20, 2014, lampooning President Park Geun-hye by depicting her as a crazy character from the movie “Welcome to Dongmakgol”
A court ruled on Aug. 19 that the mass distribution of leaflets lampooning President Park Geun-hye does not constitute a legitimate act to be respected as artistic freedom.
Judge Park Sa-rang of the 17th criminal division of Seoul Central District Court sentenced pop artist Lee Ha, 48, to a fine of 2 million won (US$1,790) on Aug. 19 for distributing leaflets satirizing President Park. The artist, whose birth name is Lee Byeong-ha, was indicted for violation of the Punishment of Minor Offenses Act.
“While the defendant’s claim the act was legitimate as an expression of political opinion toward the current administration’s policies, the act does not appear to have been legitimate in terms of the number of leaflets and the methods and locations of their distribution,” Park said as explanation for the guilty verdict.
“While referring critically to an administration’s policies may be a form of artistic freedom and should be guaranteed as a basic right according to the Constitution, some constraints by law may exist as needed according to regulations,” Park added.
“Mr. Lee put up posters in locations where posting of bills was prohibited, and it is impossible to conclude that the defendant had no other means or methods for exercising freedom of artistic and political expression besides this manner of distribution.”
[Repression] [Human rights]
Park warns of 'serious cracks' in N. Korea regime
By Yi Whan-woo
President Park Geun-hye
President Park Geun-hye said Monday that North Korea has begun to show signs of "serious cracks" within its regime, citing a series of defections by members of the North Korean elite recently.
Park warned that Pyongyang could launch terrorist attacks or resort to military provocations against Seoul as the prospect of political upheaval looms large there because leader Kim Jong-un will try to keep his grip on power.
"There are growing possibilities over all sorts of terrorist attacks and provocations targeting us, including cyber terrorism, as North Korea tries to battle internal upheaval, to prevent any further defections, and to stir up chaos in our society," she said during a National Security Council meeting at Cheong Wa Dae.
Park convened the meeting as South Korea and the United States began Ulchi Freedom Guardian (UFG), a joint military exercise held every year on the peninsula. It will run through Sept. 2
[Joint US military] [UFG]
N. Korea again urges S. Korea to repatriate overseas restaurant defectors
North Korea's Red Cross demanded Monday that South Korea should unconditionally repatriate 13 North Korean overseas restaurant defectors who it claimed were abducted by South Korea.
The Central Committee of the DPRK Red Cross said it sent a letter to its South Korean counterpart which calls for Seoul to return the workers without condition.
Seoul said last week that the 13 North Koreans working at a restaurant in China have begun to settle down here after undergoing a months-long probe in the wake of their rare mass defection in April.
The North's Red Cross said that Seoul's announcement is "a mean plot" to avoid public criticism of forcible detention of its citizens and "cover up the truth behind the group abduction."
It is not the first time that North Korea has claimed that the defectors were kidnapped by South Korea's spy agency.
[Election defection] [Abduction]
North Korean diplomat 'was bribed or coerced' into defecting, Pyongyang claims
By Julian Ryall, Tokyo
18 August 2016 • 2:08pm
The high-ranking diplomat who defected from North Korea's London embassy was either bribed or coerced by South Korea's intelligence services, according to an unofficial spokesman for Pyongyang based in Japan.
Thae Yong-ho, the deputy head of the North Korean mission in the UK, has arrived in Seoul with his wife and three children, the Unification Ministry reported on Thursday, and is being protected by the South Korean government.
But Kim Myong-chol, executive director of The Centre for North Korea-US Peace and a close former associate of Kim Jong-il, the late North Korean leader and father of Kim Jong-un, the present dictator, dismissed suggestions that Mr Thae defected of his own free will.
"This is a typical operation of the South Korean intelligence services and part of a plot to bring down North Korea", Mr Kim told The Telegraph.
The case is very similar to the abduction of 13 staff from a North Korean restaurant in China in April, he said
[Defection] [Thae Yong Ho]
Gov't Warns Against N.Korean Provocations
The Unification Ministry in an emergency briefing Sunday warned of an impending provocation from North Korea after the defection of a senior diplomat.
The Ministry did not say why it decided to call an emergency briefing at the weekend or what kind of provocation it expects.
"North Korea intended to hold a rally on Liberation Day on Aug. 15 to criticize joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises and divide public sentiment in the South," the ministry said in a press release handed out to reporters. "But it abruptly abandoned the plan."
[Provocation] [Joint US military]
More N.Korean Diplomats Defect
Defections by high-ranking North Korean diplomats are on the rise.
In early July, Kim Chol-song, a third secretary at the North Korean Embassy in Moscow, defected to the West with his family, while in May last year, the economic attaché at the embassy in Ethiopia defected to South Korea.
A North Korean diplomat in Thailand defected two years ago, and a source on Wednesday said several other North Korean diplomats have defected to South Korea since last year.
Gov't Willing to Consider Alternative Location for THAAD Battery
Defense Minister Han Min-koo on Wednesday said the government is open to suggestions for an alternative site for a Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery.
Han was meeting with locals in Seongju, the proposed location for the U.S. missiles, who are vehemently opposed to having them in their backyard.
"The government will give consideration to an alternative site if local residents reach an agreement on a new location," the Defense Ministry said in a statement.
13 Fugitive N.Korean Restaurant Staff Settle in South
Thirteen North Koreans who escaped from a restaurant in China's Ningbo left a halfway house in South Korea last Thursday and began the process of settling into their new lives, it emerged on Tuesday.
The 12 waitresses and their manager made their way to South Korea by commercial flight on April 7 and were then subjected to a lengthy investigation and basic training in living in a democratic society.
A Unification Ministry official confirmed that they have left the halfway house but declined to give details to ensure their safety.
Other defectors are sent on to the Hanawon settlement support facility, but this was deemed too dangerous and they will be watched over by the National Intelligence Service.
North Korea was inordinately stung by their defection since staff for overseas restaurants are usually drawn from the children of the elite, and paraded their families before the state media claiming they had been "abducted."
It made the claim so forcefully that some leftwingers here demanded an investigation.
A leftwing lawyers group filed a habeas corpus petition with a court to find out if they came here of their own free will.
[Election defection] [Abduction] [Media]
THAAD Comes to Korea, But at What Cost?
by Gregory Elich
The first of two Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) interceptors is launched during a successful intercept test. The test, conducted by Missile Defense Agency (MDA), Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS) Operational Test Agency, Joint Functional Component Command for Integrated Missile Defense, and U.S. Pacific Command, in conjunction with U.S. Army soldiers from the Alpha Battery, 2nd Air Defense Artillery Regiment, U.S. Navy sailors aboard the guided missile destroyer USS Decatur (DDG-73), and U.S. Air Force airmen from the 613th Air and Operations Center resulted in the intercept of one medium-range ballistic missile target by THAAD, and one medium-range ballistic missile target by Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD). The test, designated Flight Test Operational-01 (FTO-01), stressed the ability of the Aegis BMD and THAAD weapon systems to function in a layered defense architecture and defeat a raid of two near-simultaneous ballistic missile targets
The recent announcement that South Korea had agreed to deployment of a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system on its territory marks an important advance in the Obama Administration’s militarized Asia pivot. The THAAD battery threatens to destabilize the military balance of power and draw South Korea into an anti-China alliance with the United States and Japan.
The decision came as the culmination of a long and determined campaign by U.S. political and military leaders to pressure the Park Geun-hye government into sacrificing its national interests and antagonize China, in order to serve U.S. geopolitical goals.
The plan to install a THAAD battery met with strong Chinese and Russian criticism and active resistance by Korean progressive forces and residents of Seongju, where THAAD is to be stationed. U.S. officials claim their intent is purely defensive in nature, to shield South Korea from North Korean ballistic missiles, but there is ample cause for skepticism.
13 North Korean restaurant staff released into South Korean society
Posted on : Aug.17,2016 18:04 KST
After unusual group defection and four-month sequestering, group released individually, Ministry says
The 13 North Koreans (one manager, 12 waitresses) who were part of a group defection in April from the Ryukyung Restaurant in Ningbo, China, were recently released from the Defector Protection Center (formerly the Joint Interrogation Center) following their interrogation by the National Intelligence Service (NIS), the Hankyoreh confirmed on Aug. 16.
Immediately after the 13 defectors entered South Korea on Apr. 7, the South Korean government made the unusual decision to publicly announce the group defection. There were suspicions that the announcement was the government’s attempt to rally support for the ruling Saenuri Party in the Apr. 13 general election. Even after their interrogation at the NIS’s Defector Protection Center, they were not sent to the Unification Ministry’s Settlement Support Center for North Korean Refugees, better known as Hanawon, as is normal protocol with defectors.
On Tuesday, a Unification Ministry official confirmed that “the defectors have been released into South Korean society” and said that they “do not wish for their identities to be revealed or to be interviewed.”
“Since there are a large number of defectors, they were not all released at once but were discharged from the center last week one at a time. They will not all live together, but they will live in places they have freely chosen,” another official said.
The defectors were released after being confined at the NIS’s Defector Protection Center for about four months. While the NIS and other government investigators can conduct joint interrogation of defectors at the center for a maximum of six months, this happens when defectors are strongly suspected of being spies in disguise. But since the government had already publicly announced that these 13 North Koreans were part of a group defection, there was no reason to carry out the joint investigation for so long.
The government also continued to keep the defectors from having any contact with the outside, leading to allegations that this was intended to prevent the spread of suspicions that Seoul had helped organize the defection.
The NIS refused on two occasions to even give the defectors a copy of the habeas corpus request form submitted by MINBYUN-Lawyers for a Democratic Society, and it also rejected a request for an interview by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), which had launched an investigation into the group defection.
By Kim Jin-cheol, staff reporter
[Election defection] [Abduction] [Media] [Heading]
[Editorial] Liberation Day highlights Pres. Park’s many foreign policy failures
Posted on : Aug.16,2016 17:20 KST
Addressing the foreign policy and security situation during her speech on Liberation Day, Aug. 15, South Korean President Park Geun-hye said, “It is more critical than ever before that we think strategically and consolidate our national strength.” And yet, Park made no specific proposals and offered no solutions to the problems facing South Korea, in a break with her previous Liberation Day speeches. This effectively illustrates the utter failure of her policies toward North Korea, Japan and China.
This is the first Liberation Day speech since Park became president in which she did not make a single proposal to North Korea. This shows not only that Park’s failed policies have left her unable to make any proposal at all, but also that she isn’t even willing to try.
Instead, Park told “the leaders of the North Korean government and all the people of North Korea” that unification “would provide a new opportunity to fully utilize one’s abilities and to pursue happiness while being treated equally without any discrimination or disadvantage.”
This remark can be understood as an official endorsement of “unification by absorption,” an idea with which Pyongyang is very uncomfortable. Another way to view it is as Park stepping forward to lead a personal counterattack in response to North Korea’s propaganda war on the South.
[Editorial] Instead of solving, Pres. Park berates those who point out “Hell Joseon”
Posted on : Aug.16,2016 17:19 KST
President Park Geun-hye spent a large part of her Liberation Day celebratory address talking about “pride in South Korea.” She went on to denounce a “misguided landscape” with “new words coined to denigrate the great modern history” of its creation and “denigrate a South Korea that is the envy of the world as a place where ‘life is difficult.’” This appeared to be her admonishing people for using terms like “Hell Joseon.”
The President’s perceptions of the current reality are quite worrying. New terms like “Hell Joseon” should be seen as a reflection of just how unlivable South Korean society has become. They encompass phenomena ranging from deepening polarization and growing unemployment or irregular employment among young people to rising childcare, housing, and private education costs, the vicious cycle that perpetuates a low birth rate, and worsening poverty among elderly people. Expressions like that would never have come into wide use if the public’s quality of life had not declined so much across so many categories, or if there weren‘t a prevailing view that the cause lies in structural issues with society as a whole. The President should reflect on the root causes of these phenomena and questions her own administration’s policy failures. Bafflingly, Park doesn’t just refuse to do so - she treats these practical problems as if they don’t exist, and then turns around and criticizes and blames the public for pointing them out.
[Park Geun-hye] [Hell Joseon]
N. Korea diplomat defects to South Korea
By Kim Hyo-jin
A senior North Korean diplomat in London has defected to South Korea with his family members, the Ministry of Unification said Wednesday.
"Thae Yong-ho, a deputy ambassador at the North Korean embassy in the United Kingdom, has recently entered into the country with his wife and children," Jeong Joon-hee, a ministry spokesman, said at a press conference. "They are now under the government's protection and undergoing the necessary procedures for settlement here."
Thae is the highest-ranking North Korean diplomat ever to defect to South Korea, the spokesman said. He is the No.2 man at the North Korean embassy in London after Ambassador Hyon Hak-bong.
Jeong, however, refused to answer on when or how Thae's family arrived in Seoul, citing security reasons.
[Defection] [Thae Yong Ho]
Talks on THAAD site in full swing
Defense Minister Han Min-koo makes his way through protesters under police escort in front of Seongju County Office in North Gyeongsang Province, Wednesday, after meeting with local residents about the planned deployment of a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense unit there. / Yonhap
By Jun Ji-hye
Defense Minister Han Min-koo visited Seongju County in North Gyeongsang Province, Wednesday, to talk with local residents on the deployment of an U.S. anti-missile system there.
This is his second visit to the county since July 13 when Seoul and Washington announced that a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery will be placed there in Seongsan-ri, currently home to a South Korean Air Force air defense unit, by the end of next year.
He previously accompanied Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn on a visit to the county, July 15, during which Hwang was detained for hours by angry residents.
N. Korea condemns Park's address calling on Pyongyang to give up nukes
North Korea on Wednesday condemned President Park Geun-hye's latest speech calling for Pyongyang to end its nuclear and missile programs, saying that she is to blame for worsening inter-Korean ties.
On Monday, Park gave a speech to mark the 71st anniversary of Korea's liberation from Japan's 1910-45 colonial rule.
In her address, Park urged North Korea to immediately end its nuclear and missile programs while defending Seoul's planned deployment of an advanced U.S. missile defense system on its soil as a "self-defense" measure against the North's evolving threats.
A spokesman at North Korea's committee on inter-Korean relations said that Park's address was full of "imprudent" remarks for covering up what the North called Park's crimes in driving the inter-Korean relations into a "catastrophe."
[SK NK policy] [Park Geun-hye]
Trans-boundary water resource management cooperation between the two Koreas: challenges and opportunities
August 17, 2016
Trans-boundary water resource management plays an important role in security cooperation and also impacts border trade and human exchanges. Lack of trust can give rise to political and economic challenges, even to military tensions and conflict, resulting in the neglect of coordinated water resource management. Conversely, improvement of such coordination can help alleviate many problems. On the Korean Peninsula, water is a scarce resource. Establishing an effective system for water management offers a path toward mitigating tensions and building trust between the two Koreas. Such a project is technically feasible and would facilitate economic development in the trans-boundary area.
North Korea’s deputy ambassador to Britain defects from London
Deputy Ambassador Thae Yong Ho stands in front of artwork at the North Korean Embassy in London in 2014. (Katie Schubauer/Agence France-Presse via Getty Images)
By Anthony Faiola and Anna Fifield
August 17 at 2:21 PM ?
LONDON — The second in command of North Korea’s embassy in London defected to South Korea with his family, officials in Seoul said Wednesday, describing him as “sick and tired” of Kim Jong Un’s regime.
The defection, the latest in a string of high-profile escapes, constitutes an embarrassing blow to North Korea’s authoritarian leadership and potentially an intelligence windfall for South Korea and its allies, including the United States.
Thae Yong Ho, a cosmopolitan career diplomat, was a key official at the embassy, in a residential area of west London, and is thought to have escorted Kim Jong Chul, the North Korean leader’s older brother, during his trip to Britain last year to attend an Eric Clapton concert.
[Defection] [Thae Yong Ho]
Framed as a spy, a couple left with only a rosary to cling to
Posted on : Aug.15,2016 14:43 KST
Korean-Japanese Lee explains an exhibition of materials related to his false imprisonment as a prisoner of conscience, at Seodaemun Prison, Aug. 14. (by Kim Seong-gwang, staff photographer)
Zainichi Korean Lee Cheol were among the many falsely imprisoned for years on espionage charges at Seodaemun prision
A red and black rosary with a crucifix attached was the item preserved by Lee Cheol, 68, and his wife Min Hwang-sook, 65, from his thirteen years of incarceration at Seodaemun Prison (then the Seoul Detention Center) over alleged involvement in a 1975 incident involving a Zainichi Korean exchange student spy ring. The Korean-Japanese Lee, then an exchange student, was framed for spying and sentenced to serve time. The sentence came around four months before their planned wedding. They divided the rosary (“The only thing I had in prison,” he recalled), and Lee went to serve his sentence. What got him through the experience was the belief that he was “taking the pain of colonial rule and division onto my shoulders.”
The words “aroma” and “love” were enscribed on the crucifix presented by Min. In 2010, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission ruled the case to have been a false accusations based on torture. Lee was found not guilty in a court last year - exactly four decades later.[Repression]
Park urges NK to join hands for unification
President Park Geun-hye urged North Koreans to join hands for unification, Monday, saying South Korea is ready to offer them a chance to pursue happiness and get fair and equal treatment.
This was her message to ordinary citizens and officials in North Korea on the occasion of the 71st anniversary of Korea's liberation from Japanese colonial rule (1910-45).
She also called for the North Korean regime to halt its nuclear development and military provocations and stop abusing human rights, saying its "anachronistic" moves go against peaceful unification.
"For ordinary citizens and officials in North Korea, unification will provide a new opportunity through which all of you can freely display your talent without suffering any discriminations and disadvantages," Park said during a ceremony to commemorate Liberation Day in Seoul.
"I ask you to join in opening the new era of a unified Korea where fear of nuclear weapons and war will be gone and human values will be respected."
[Unification] [Spin] [Park Geun-hye]
'Luxury meal' at Cheong Wa Dae creates public anger
By Kim Rahn
Criticism has been rising over the luxury luncheon President Park Geun-hye and the new leaders of the ruling Saenuri Party, including Chairman Lee Jung-hyun, ate at Cheong Wa Dae last Thursday.
Truffles, caviar, lobster, hanwoo and shark's fin soup were some of the delicacies served at the meal, where Park and the politicians discussed measures to relieve the financial hardship of working people suffering from high electricity bills. Critics say that the luxury meal was far removed from the reality of ordinary citizens who can't use their air-conditioners at home freely for fear of the steep costs despite the sweltering heat.
S. Korea to punish civic group over unauthorized contact with N. Koreans
South Korea will impose punitive actions against local civic group members for their unauthorized contact with North Koreans in China last week, Seoul's unification ministry said Sunday.
Without the government's approval, four high-ranking members from the South Korean Committee for Implementation of the June 15 Joint Declaration held a two-day meeting with their North Korean counterparts in Shenyang, China, starting last Thursday.
Seoul's unification ministry earlier rejected the group's request to hold talks with their North Korean counterparts, citing the grave situation following Pyongyang's nuke and missile tests early this year.
The ministry said the civic group members will be punished according to the law, adding that it's not right to have civilian exchanges in tense situations. By law, all South Koreans are required to win Seoul's approval for either meeting with North Koreans in a third country or visiting North Korea. The North's consent is also required for South Koreans to travel to the communist nation.
South Korea stuck between global ambitions and regional realities
9 August 2016
Author: Sarah Teo, University of Sydney and RSIS
South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se once again defended the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile system on the Korean peninsula in a meeting with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in late July. Wang responded that Seoul’s decision had ‘harmed the foundation of mutual trust’ between their two countries.
South Korea’s Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se is surrounded by media after a meeting at Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s official residence in Tokyo, 22 June 2015. (Photo: REUTERS/Issei Kato).
South Korea has achieved remarkable successes in its pursuit of ‘responsible middle-power diplomacy’. It has been recognised as a leader, bridge, agenda setter and activist on the global stage — roles commonly associated with middle powers. Yet as Wang’s comments show, Seoul has been less successful in its regional diplomacy. Can Seoul reconcile its ambition to be a middle power on the global stage with regional realities?
Former president Roh Tae-woo was the first South Korean leader to adopt the ‘middle power’ label, during a visit to the United States in June 1991.
[THAAD] [Allegiance] [Dilemma] [China SK] [Academic]
Is South Korea still interested in unification?
13 August 2016
Author: Emma Campbell, ANU
It is not easy being a young person in globalised South Korea. The intense competition that defines South Korea’s education system and the irregular employment market that awaits graduates has led to rising inequality, falling birth rates, insecure employment and high numbers of youth suicide.Beyond South Korea’s domestic wellbeing, globalisation and its accompanying economic insecurity also have implications for foreign affairs, particularly attitudes towards North Korea.
A South Korean soldier stands guard at a checkpoint on the Grand Unification Bridge, South Korea, February 11, 2016. (Photo: Reuters).
The national identity of South Korean youth is being transformed by globalisation. The traditional assertion that ethnicity forms the basis for the Korean nation and nationalism is being challenged head on. Young South Koreans are still proud of their South Korean nation and identity, but the importance of ethnicity to their national identity is diminishing — and that has implications for North Korea and Korean unification.
Survey data in South Korea consistently shows increased levels of antipathy and antagonism towards North Korea and unification. Young people who support unification do so with provisos that demand a net political and economic benefit for the South. They show little interest in the North. And growing numbers of young people actively and openly oppose unification.
[Editorial] Pressing concern to solve problem presented by THAAD
Posted on : Aug.12,2016 13:32 KST
Around 1,000 residents of Seongju, North Gyeongsang Province shout slogans during the 28th consecutive candlelight vigil opposing the deployment of the THAAD missile defense system, Aug. 9.
It has been about a month since the decision was made to deploy the THAAD missile defense system in Seongju, North Gyeongsang Province, and many of the expected concerns about the decision are becoming a reality. It would be nice if the government would acknowledge that the deployment of THAAD is not the be-all and end-all and take a more flexible position.
The most obvious issue is China’s opposition. The UN Security Council’s failure to draft a statement denouncing North Korea’s Rodong missile launch on Aug. 3 shows that the decision to deploy THAAD has a huge influence on the issue of nuclear weapons and missiles in North Korea. China will continue to maintain the same position on the North Korea nuclear and missile issues in regard to THAAD that they asserted this time, that “all relevant parties shall avoid taking any actions which could provoke each other and escalate tensions [in Northeast Asia].”
[THAAD] [China confrontation]
Poll: 56% of South Koreans support THAAD deployment, 31% opposed
Posted on : Aug.13,2016 16:15 KST
Support has risen 6% since deployment was announced, and opposition dipped by 1%
56% of South Koreans support the deployment of a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) antimissile system on the Korean Peninsula, survey results show.
The findings published on Aug. 12 from a regular survey by Gallup Korea also showed 31% opposing the deployment. No major changes were found on opinions regarding China’s importance in peace on the Korean Peninsula.
A poll conducted by Gallup just after the official THAAD deployment announcement on July 8 showed support at 50% and opposition at 32%.
“In the survey one month ago, 28% of women declined to give an opinion, but that percentage was down to 19% this time, while support [for the deployment] among women rose from 38% to 49%,” explained Gallup.
“The rise in support was especially larger among women sixty and older [from 44% to 64%],” it added.
[THAAD] [Public opinion]
Daegu/North Gyeongsang residents issue statement opposing THAAD deployment decision
Posted on : Aug.13,2016 16:12 KST
Residents of nearby areas supporting Seongju in their fight against missile defense system in their community
A statement expressing support for residents of Seongju, North Gyeongsang Province, in their fight against the deployment of a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) antimissile system in their county was issued on Aug. 12 by 1,325 Daegu residents.
Titled “815 Daegu and North Gyeongsang residents supporting the peace activities of the 815 Seongju residents,” the declaration was made in front of the former Hanil Theater on Daegu’s Dongseong Road at 6:30 pm that day by the Daegu-North Gyeongsang Countermeasures Committee to Oppose the THAAD Deployment, an organization of around 30 local groups chaired by permanent representative Kim Chan-su.
Dong-A Ilbo Sees Minjoo Party at a Crossroads
By Steven Denney | August 12, 2016
Having been handily defeated in the last two presidential elections (2007 and 2012), some say that the main liberal party, the Minjoo Party (??? ???) is in need of an identity change. One of them is interim chairperson Kim Jong-in. Kim, who seized the reins following the dissolution of the party’s predecessor, the New Politics Alliance for Democracy (NPAD). Kim is seen as pushing a security-centered party identity, one that moves it out of the shadow of one of the party’s previous leaders (namely, former President Roh Moo-hyun). Former party chairperson Moon Jae-in is seen as the standard bearer of the Old Guard, Roh-era liberal politics; Moon was Roh’s last chief of staff. Roh is famous for implementing a policy of relatively unconditional engagement with North Korea (the Sunshine Policy) and questioning the functional value of the US-ROK Alliance at the most fundamental levels.
[THAAD] [Minjoo Party]
Cold War Communications: The Two Koreas Resume Coded Radio Broadcasts
By Martyn Williams
09 August 2016
A little after midnight, early on the morning of July 15, as most of the Korean peninsula slept, were North Korean spies up late listening to the radio?
This was the big question after a strange sequence of numbers was read out on a North Korean radio station. It sounded a lot like the coded messages previously used to relay instructions to spies during the Cold War and perhaps that was the point.
The broadcast began at 12:45am, according to the Joong Ang Ilbo.
“From now on, I will give review work for the subject of mathematics under the curriculum of a remote education university for exploration agents of the 27th bureau.”
It continued, “On page 459, question number 35, on page 913, question number 55, on page 135, question number 86, on page 257, question number 2,” and so on. It lasted for 14 minutes.
You can hear some clips of the broadcast in these two TV news reports:
But the fuss in Seoul about the return of North Korean numbers on the airwave misses an important point: South Korea itself resumed its own numbers broadcasts back in February, although the National Intelligence Service isn’t as keen to talk about those.
[Editorial] We can’t trust this incompetent government with important THAAD decision
Posted on : Aug.6,2016 13:51 KST
Signs in Seongju, North Gyeongsang Province opposing the deployment of the THAAD missile defense system, Aug. 4. That was the day President Park Geun-hye made remarks about possibly deployment the system to a different location in Seongju. (Yonhap News)
The Blue House’s flip-flopping on the location for the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system is a sight to behold. On Aug. 5, spokesperson Jeong Yeon-guk said it would “not be easy to change the selected site,” but that the President Park Geun-hye would “have a careful examination of other regions as requested and let [the public] know in detail.” It was an attempt to quiet the controversy stirred up by Park’s comments at a meeting with Daegu/North Gyeongsang Province-area (near Seongju, the site selected for the THAAD deployment) Saenuri Party lawmakers the day before, when she said the THAAD system could be relocated from Seongsan artillery base to a different location within Seongju County.
But in belatedly trying to clear things up after Park’s remarks, the Blue House has been making no sense. First, there is the question of who exactly “requested” careful examination of another region. First, Jeong said it had been Seongju residents; later, he claimed there had been a request during the talk. Attendees at the talk say no such request was made there. At this point, it’s not even clear whether Park’s remarks came after a long thought process befitting the country’s chief decision-maker, or were simply lip service to appease a steamed public.
[THAAD] [Park Geun-hye]
Blue House scrambling to contain Pres. Park’s comments about changing THAAD site
Posted on : Aug.6,2016 13:52 KST
President’s remarks apparently came with no preliminary discussions and conflict with announced position
The Blue House moved quickly on Aug. 5 to counter the growing controversy over President Park Geun-hye’s remarks the day before on investigating and examining an alternate site for deploying the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system.
In response to claims that the Blue House was admitting its own hastiness in the THAAD decision - and that the deployment could end up deferred - a spokesperson rushed to explain that it would “not be easy in practical terms” to change the site.
But the criticisms in the wake of Park’s remarks refuse to die down, with many saying the Ministry of National Defense hurt its own policy consistency by reversing on its previous position that no other sites would be considered, while the administration sacrificed faith in its policies with its spur-of-the-moment suggestion of an alternate site examination it has no intention of carrying out.
“She was saying that while it would not be easy to change the selected site, she will have a careful examination of other regions [in Seongju County] as requested and let [the public] know in detail,” Blue House spokesperson Jeong Yeon-guk said on Aug. 5 by way of explaining Park’s comments.
Seongju residents call on government to “stop insulting” them with claims about alternate THAAD site
Posted on : Aug.6,2016 13:49 KST
Residents of agricultural community still seeking resignation of Defense Minister and scrapping of THAAD deployment plan
On Aug. 5, the Seongju Action Committee for Repealing the Decision to Deploy THAAD asked the South Korean government to stop insulting Seongju residents with the idea of deploying the THAAD antimissile system elsewhere in the county and called for the resignation of Defense Minister Han Min-koo.
Doubts growing over THAAD deployment plan
A placard that reads "No THAAD in Gimcheon" is hung in Joma Township in Gimcheon, North Gyeongsang Province, Friday. Residents there hung three such placards amid rumors that Geumsu Township in Seongju Country near Joma Township could be an alternative site for a U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense battery. / Korea Times
Park's remark on site change fuels confusion
By Jun Ji-hye
The government is facing growing doubts over whether it can allow the deployment of a U.S. anti-missile battery by next year after President Park Geun-hye raised the possibility of choosing an alternative location within Seongju County in North Gyeongsang Province.
Scandal with Missing North Korean Waitresses: Will they Appear before Court?
Author: Konstantin Asmolov
A scandal that involved thirteen North Korean defectors—a restaurant manager and twelve waitresses, employees of a North Korean restaurant, which was already covered in our previous articles is gaining momentum. Following the public request, the waitresses were required to appear before court. After some details of their detention were disclosed, even the UN human rights authorities decided to step in and investigate the case.
For economic growth claim, Thomas Piketty book pulled from military stores
Posted on : Aug.5,2016 16:17 KST
Claim that S. Korea grew due to overseas investment is the reason the military deemed book unfit for soldiers
“Cartoon Guide to Piketty’s ‘Capital in the Twenty-First Century’”
“[Thomas] Piketty claimed that the reason South Korea, China, Japan, Taiwan, and other Asian countries experienced economic growth is because they received large investment benefits from overseas.”
This one sentence was revealed on Aug. 4 to be the reason the Ministry of National Defense pulled the “Cartoon Guide to Piketty’s ‘Capital in the Twenty-First Century’” from military general stores. Available for sale at those stores since January, that book and four others were reviewed according to the “orders for troop information and education/cultural activities” before finally being pulled in late May as “unsuitable for sale.”
According to information received that day from the ministry by Justice Party lawmaker and National Assembly National Defense Committee member Kim Jong-dae, the MND Welfare Agency, which is responsible for projects related to books at military general stores, explained its decision to pull the “Cartoon Guide” by saying it “contained content that conflicts with the orientation of the military’s troop information and education (TI&E).”
“In military TI&E, it‘s taught that South Korea’s economic growth was achieved through the efforts of the state and its people,” explained an agency source in an Aug. 4 telephone interview with the Hankyoreh. “[The issue is] that investment benefits from overseas were emphasized in the book.”
[FDI] [Self reliance] [Juche][N-S Comparison]
China Produces Fake N.Korean Defectors
China is rolling out fake North Korean defectors who then apply for asylum overseas and reap medical and other benefits from foreign governments. The ruse is another feather in the cap of China's burgeoning industry in fakes and knockoffs that covers everything from electronics to toxic frozen peas.
A source on Tuesday said there are a couple of private academies in Beijing's Wangjing district, which is home to a large ethnic Korean population, that help Chinese citizens fake documents to pose as North Korean defectors.
The main clients are ethnic Koreans from northeastern China who can speak the language. The academies teach them about North Korea and help them fabricate stories of their escape. If they succeed in gaining asylum overseas they can rake in hundreds of euros in monthly support from European governments and be eligible for other perks like medical insurance.
[Analysis] What the gov’t won’t say about the electromagnetic waves emitted by THAAD
Posted on : Aug.2,2016 08:12 KST
For now, the government is claiming that the waves pose no health risk to residents, but further examination is needed
RF electromagnetic radiation can cause serious burns and internal injury).
Following the South Korean government’s sudden announcement earlier this month of the deployment site for the US military’s THAAD missile defense system, there has been a fierce debate about the electromagnetic waves emitted by the THAAD radar.
While the government has used a variety of strategies in a public relations campaign designed to convince residents of Seongju County that the electromagnetic waves are of no concern, this does not appear to be much consolation for the people who will have the radar base in their backyards.
Electromagnetic waves move at the speed of light during the regular oscillation of electric fields and magnetic fields. The word “electromagnetic wave” has probably reminded many people of the harmful ELF (extremely low frequency) electromagnetic waves that are produced by power lines and household appliances such as electric blankets and televisions. But electromagnetic waves are in fact an extensive category including the various frequencies used in broadcasting and telecommunications and even sunlight.
THAAD’s eye is the AN/TPY-2(TM) radar, which identifies targets by shooting a beam of electromagnetic waves into the area under observation and detecting any waves that bounce back.
These electromagnetic waves are X-band microwaves with a frequency of 8 to 12 GHz (gigahertz) and a wavelength of 2.5 to 3.75 cm. The X-band falls between the C-band (4-8 GHz) and the Ku-band (12-18 GHz), as defined by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).
The X-band is used around the world not only by military radars but also by radars on civilian vessels, radars for meteorological observations, the radar guns that police point at speeding cars and ham radio operators.
[THAAD] [Health] [Radar]
THAAD decision irreversible: Park
By Kang Seung-woo
President Park Geun-hye said Tuesday the decision to deploy a U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery in South Korea is "irreversible."
She said she will meet lawmakers and officials in Seongju Country, North Gyeongsang Province, to seek their understanding about how the county was selected as the site for the battery. However, she did not say whether she will visit the county herself or meet residents there as opposition parties asked her to.
"I am agonizing over the endless feud over the THAAD deployment although North Korea is modernizing its nuclear weaponry. Bringing THAAD is about ensuring the security of South Korea and its people from North Korea's evolving threats, so the decision is irreversible," said Park during a Cabinet meeting at Cheong Wa Dae.
"Should North Korea advance its nuclear and missile capabilities, no region in South Korea could be assured of safety. If we cannot take basic defensive steps such as the THAAD deployment, how can we protect the nation and its people?"
[THAAD] [Park Geun-hye]
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