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Gov't to Boost Defense Spending Against N.Korean Missile Threat
By Choi Jong-seok
August 30, 2017 12:51
The government wants to increase next year's defense budget by 6.9 percent to W43.1 trillion (US$1=W1,127). This will be the biggest increase in defense spending since 2009.
Of that amount, W13.5 trillion will be allocated to boosting South Korea's defenses against the North Korean missile and nuclear threat, up 10.5 percent from 2016.
At the crux of the government's bolstered military spending are three defense platforms -- the "kill chain" pre-emptive strike system, the air and missile defense system, and the "punishment and retaliation" plan.
The government has allocated W2.3 trillion for those systems, up from W2.1 trillion last year. Some of that will be spent on weapons like spy satellites, reconnaissance drones and long-range guided missiles.
The budget will also reflect wage hikes for soldiers from an average of W216,000 to W406,000 for sergeants.
[Military expenditure] [Tragedy]
N.Korea Lambasts Moon for 'Red Line' Remark
By Lee Yong-soo
August 29, 2017 12:56
North Korea on Monday lambasted President Moon Jae-in over a recent warning that it must not cross the "red line" in its nuclear and missile development.
"It is presumptuous of South Korea's leader to talk about a red line even as its master (the United States) does not dare to bring it about," the state-run Rodong Sinmun newspaper said in a commentary.
[Moon Jae-in] [Red Line] [Tragedy]
Ambassadors to US, China, Japan nominated
Posted : 2017-08-30 16:48
Updated : 2017-08-30 21:44
By Yi Whan-woo
From left are Cho Yoon-je,
Lee Su-hoon, Noh Young-min
President Moon Jae-in has nominated the country's ambassadors to the United States, China and Japan, Cheong Wa Dae announced Wednesday.
Cho Yoon-je, an honorary professor at Sogang University's Graduate School of International Studies, has been named as ambassador to the U.S.
Noh Young-min, a former three-term lawmaker, and Lee Su-hoon, an international relations professor at Kyungnam University, were tapped as envoys to Beijing and Tokyo, respectively.
Cheong Wa Dae said the government has begun the diplomatic procedure of getting consent from the relevant countries for the nominations.
Seoul Drafting New Plan for Full-Fledged War with N.Korea
By Yu Yong-weon
August 29, 2017 12:26
The Defense Ministry is drafting a new plan to thwart a full-fledged North Korean military offensive and occupy Pyongyang within weeks without waiting for U.S. troop reinforcements.
The ministry on Monday briefed President Moon Jae-in on its key objectives and vowed to formulate an "aggressive wartime action plan led by our military."
Cheong Wa Dae quoted Moon as saying, "Push for reform of the military structure to meet the requirements of modern warfare so that it can quickly switch to an offensive posture in case North Korea stages a provocation that crosses the line or attacks the capital region."
[SK NK policy] [Invasion] [Tragedy]
President Moon rebukes Defense Ministry for its “lack of confidence”
Posted on : Aug.29,2017 18:19 KST Modified on : Aug.29,2017 18:19 KST
President Moon Jae-in speaks with officials from the Defense Ministry and the Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs during a meeting to discuss key military policies on Aug. 28. (Blue House Press Pool)
Calls for increased military spending, accelerated OPCON transfer in meeting with Defense officials
During his first discussion about key policies at the Defense Ministry on Aug. 28, South Korean President Moon Jae-in took steps to restore discipline by reproaching the military for its lack of confidence. Moon’s remarks are thought to reflect his push for the full implementation of a plan known as “National Defense Reform 2.0.”
Given that South Korea’s economy is 45 times larger than North Korea’s, Moon remarked, “South Korea’s military strength ought to overwhelm North Korea in terms of the absolute budget amount, but do we actually have that kind of confidence?”
“Our military always acts as if it’s falling behind [North Korea], so how are we supposed to trust the military?” Moon said. The mood at the meeting contrasted with the confidence he showed when he said, “I trust the military” during a visit to the Defense Ministry shortly after his inauguration in May.
[Moon Jae-in] [ROK military] [OPCON] [Military balance]
N.Korea Practices 'Subjugating' N.Korea
By Lee Yong-soo
August 28, 2017 10:42
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on Saturday watched a special forces drill to seize South Korea's Baeknyeong and Yeonpyeong islands in the West Sea, according to state media.
Earlier the regime test-fired three short-range ballistic missiles.
Kim urged the military to "plan to quickly seize Seoul and subjugate the South."
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un watches a special forces drill in the West Sea in this video footage from [North] Korean Central TV. /Yonhap
The drill was aimed at "assessing the feasibility of an operational plan to seize Baeknyeong and Yeonpyeong islands," the North's official Korean Central News Agency said. "Following powerful bombardment by fighters and artillery, troops who had infiltrated underwater and through sea and air practiced attacking and destroying target buildings."
The media published images of special troops practicing landing on the islands in speedboats and AN-2 airplanes for low-altitude infiltration, and of self-propelled guns and multiple rocket launchers practicing shelling the islands.
There are fears that the regime will launch another provocation on its founding anniversary on Sept. 9.
[Military exercises] [Media]
Moon calls for military to boost defense readiness
Posted : 2017-08-28 17:08
Updated : 2017-08-28 21:31
Ministry rapped for stalling on structural reform
By Jun Ji-hye
President Moon Jae-in called on the nation's armed forces Monday to undertake strong structural reform so they can immediately carry out offensive operations in the case of a North Korean attack.
Moon said defense reform is necessary to better accommodate a paradigm shift to modern warfare amid evolving threats from North Korea's nuclear and missile programs.
[Moon Jae-in] [Escalation] [Tragedy]
Unification Minister raises possibility of reopening Kaesong Industrial Complex
Posted on : Aug.27,2017 14:30 KST Modified on : Aug.27,2017 14:30 KST
Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon speaks during the Unification Future Forum in Samcheong-dong, Seoul, on Aug. 25. (Yonhap News)
Move would be dependent on North Korea ceasing provocations and entering into negotiations about nuclear program
“If sanctions lead to a change in the North Korean nuclear program, our first priority will be tackling the issue of reopening the Kaesong Industrial Complex,” South Korean Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon said on Aug. 25. While Cho said this was contingent on progress on the North Korean nuclear and missile issues, the statement reconfirms the new administration’s strong commitment to reopening the Kaesong Complex.
[Kaesong] [Pre-conditions] [Tragedy]
Seoul reviewing plan for made-in-Korea nuclear-powered sub
Posted : 2017-08-27 17:26
Updated : 2017-08-27 17:28
By Jun Ji-hye
The military has begun reviewing a plan to build domestic nuclear-powered submarines to better counter threats from North Korean submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM), officials said Sunday.
"The Navy will commission a study soon on whether South Korea can develop nuclear submarines," a naval official said, asking not to be named.
The move is in line with President Moon Jae-in's willingness as he vowed during the presidential campaign to develop such weapons, saying, "We need nuclear submarines in this era."
Supporters say having made-in-Korea nuclear submarines is the only way to respond to the North's evolving SLBM threats.
[Nuclear submarine] [SLBM]
Lee Jae-yong’s conviction on bribery charges bodes ill for Park Geun-hye
Posted on : Aug.26,2017 20:02 KST Modified on : Aug.26,2017 20:02 KST
Former president facing severe prison sentence in light of court’s findings in Samsung case
Former President Park Geun-hye enters the courtroom in the Seoul Central District Court to continue her trial on bribery and corruption charges on Aug. 25. (Photo pool)
On Aug. 25, when the verdict was announced in first trial of Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong, it was found that the financial support provided for the equestrian career of Choi Soon-sil’s daughter, Chung Yoo-ra, and for the Korea Winter Sports Elite Center were bribes. Following this, it is expected that former President Park Geun-hye, the person who received the bribes in question, will have a hard time escaping a severe sentence. The trials are currently being carried out separately, but given that these charges are two sides of the same coin, the judges assigned to the Park case can’t help but take this judgement into consideration. The punishment for receiving bribes is far more severe than that of giving them.
[Park Geun-hye] [Corruption]
[Editorial] Moon gives a scolding to Foreign Affairs and Unification Ministries
Posted on : Aug.25,2017 19:12 KST Modified on : Aug.25,2017 19:12 KST
President Moon Jae-in talks with members of his cabinet prior to his joint briefing with the Unification and Foreign Ministries in Seoul on Aug. 23. From left are Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha, Prime Minister Lee Nak-yeon, President Moon (speaking), and Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyun. (Yonhap News)
While South Korean President Moon Jae-in was being briefed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Unification Ministry on Aug. 23, he reportedly gave the ministries quite a stern scolding in regard to their recent response to North Korea’s nuclear program. “I was clearly only doing my duty when I said it’s imperative to prevent war. When the leaders of other countries make such remarks, people say they’re being strategic, but when I do it, they say it’s controversial or that it’s undermining cooperation,” Moon is said to have remarked during the briefing, which took the form of a debate. Moon also reportedly said that “resolving the North Korean nuclear issue requires a creative foreign policy.”
Moon’s remarks are thought to have been aimed at certain conservatives in the country who have attacked his firm opposition to war as being “weak” or as “deviating from international cooperation on sanctions against North Korea.” Some conservative hardliners savagely attacked the current government’s support of dialogue and negotiations with North Korea but remained silent when US President Donald Trump complimented North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and hinted at the possibility of talks with the North.
[Moon Jae-in] [SK NK policy] [Bureaucracy] [US dominance]
N. Korean leader inspects simulated attack on S. Korean border islands
Posted : 2017-08-26 16:43
Updated : 2017-08-26 16:43
Korean Cenral News Agency shows on Aug. 26 North Korean leader Kim Jong-un inspecting the state's special forces engaging a simulated invasion of South Korean border islands of Baengnyeong and Yeonpyeong. / Yonhap
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has inspected a simulated invasion of South Korean islands near the tense western border, state media reported Saturday, amid fresh tensions over North Korea's missile launches.
The exercise by the special operation forces came as South Korea and the U.S. military are conducting their annual computer simulated drills meant to enhance readiness against possible North Korean aggression.
In a simulated attack on the South Korean border islands of Baengnyeong and Yeonpyeong, North Korean planes hit targets as its multiple-missile launchers and self-propelled gun howitzers fired in salvo and shells hit unidentified North Korean islands.
Some of the North Korean special forces also parachuted into the islands and others landed by surprise using rubber boats. The simulated South Korean targets were later enveloped in flames, according to North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency.
[Special Forces] [Joint US military]
Moon calls for patience in dealing with N. Korea
Posted : 2017-08-26 20:42
Updated : 2017-08-26 20:42
South Korean President Moon Jae-in speaks during a luncheon meeting with the ruling Democratic Party lawmakers at Cheong Wa Dae, Saturday. / Yonhap
South Korean President Moon Jae-in called Saturday for patience in dealing with North Korea as Pyongyang fired at least three projectiles into the sea off its east coast in the latest provocative move.
"Evaluations of (policies regarding) South-North relations don't come out quickly, hence this one must be prepared with a long-term perspective," Moon said during a luncheon meeting with more than 110 lawmakers of the ruling Democratic Party at the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae, the party spokesman Park Wan-joo said.
Moon has maintained a two-track approach of seeking dialogue and sanctions, as North Korea has been advancing its nuclear and missile programs with the goal of developing a nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching the U.S. mainland.
In July, South Korea proposed holding talks with North Korea on easing military tensions and resuming reunions of families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War.
North Korea has kept mum on the offers and raised tensions by test-firing two intercontinental ballistic missiles.
On Saturday, North Korea also launched at least three projectiles into the East Sea, a move that could pour cold water on burgeoning expectations for momentum in efforts to ease tensions on the Korean Peninsula.
On Tuesday, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson openly said in Washington, "I am pleased to see that the regime in Pyongyang has certainly demonstrated some level of restraint that we've not seen in the past."
He expressed hope for dialogue with Pyongyang.
Trump also voiced cautious optimism when talking about the North's leader Kim Jong-un.
In Seoul, Moon also told lawmakers that economic growth and welfare expansion must be sufficiently "palpable" as they are directly connected to the people's livelihood.
Moon also said he's confident in being able to move the country forward in areas such as social fairness and justice, the environment and gender equality. (Yonhap)
[Moon Jae-in] [SK NK policy] [Impotence]
Moon has asset worth $1.62 mil.
Posted : 2017-08-25 16:53
Updated : 2017-08-25 17:55
By Kim Hyo-jin
President Moon Jae-in's assets amount to 1.82 billion won ($1.61 million), data showed Friday.
The annual data, released by the Government Public Ethics Committee, showed that the average wealth of the President and senior presidential secretaries was 1.98 billion won ($1.75 million).
Presidential chief of staff for policy Chang Ha-sung topped the list with 9.32 billion won ($8.26 million) in assets, followed by Cho Kuk, senior presidential secretary for civil affairs, who reported 4.98 billion won ($4.41 million).
The largest part of Moon's assets was personal savings, which includes 521 million won in his name, 323 million won in his wife Kim Jung-sook's name and 23 million won in his mother Kang Han-ok's name.
Buildings owned by the President were valued at 758 million won, including one in Yangsan, South Gyeongsang Province, at 326 million won. The house in Hongeun-dong, where Moon and his wife lived before moving to Cheong Wa Dae, was worth 285 million won but was under the first lady's name.
For real estate holdings, Moon reported land in Yangsan valued at 323 million won and forest land in Jeju worth 14 million won.
Ha Seung-chang, senior secretary for social innovation, was the least-wealthy presidential aide with assets valued at 310 million won ($274,770). Moon's chief of staff Im Jong-seok posted 434 million won ($384,680) in assets, the committee said.
The country's public service ethics act requires senior government officials, lawmakers, heads of municipalities, members of local legislatures and senior judges to report their assets every year.
Official order to shoot civilians during 1980 Gwangju massacre uncovered
Posted on : Aug.25,2017 19:22 KST Modified on : Aug.25,2017 19:22 KST
A copy of the document containing an order to open fire on civilians during the May 18 Democratization Movement in Gwangju. The document is the first piece of evidence showing official permission to use lethal force on demonstrators. (provided by 5.18 Memorial Foundation)
Document contradicts four previous official investigations into the 5.18 Democratization Movement
The first internal records have emerged of a command to shoot citizens that was issued during the Gwangju Uprising on May 18, 1980. This goes against the claims from four previous investigations by the National Assembly, Prosecutor’s Office, and Ministry of Defense which found that “a commander on the ground made the decision to open fire in self-defense, and was not ordered to do so by a superior.”
[Kwangju] [Massacre] [Chun Doo-hwan]
Moon Still Hopeful of Dialogue with N.Korea
By Kim Jin-myung
August 23, 2017 12:03
President Moon Jae-in again raised the prospect of reopening the inter-Korean Kaesong Industrial Complex on Monday, citing the need "to begin talks with North Korea." Moon was speaking in a meeting with dovish U.S. Senator Edward Markey.
The senator was in Seoul with a congressional delegation including senators Jeff Merkley and Chris Van Hollen, and House representatives Carolyn Maloney and Ann Wagner.
A Cheong Wa Dae official said, "If North Korea does not resort to additional provocations during the Ulchi Freedom Guardian joint military exercises, we may see a resumption in efforts to hold talks."
[Joint US military] [Moon Jae-in] [Wishful thinking]
[Editorial] Time for North Korea to make sincere gesture for dialogue
Posted on : Aug.23,2017 16:59 KST Modified on : Aug.23,2017 16:59 KST
Top leaders of the US armed forces gather for a joint press conference at Osan Air Force Base in Pyongtaek, Gyeonggi Province on August 22. Second from left are Lt. General Samuel Greaves, Commander of the US Missile Defense Agency, General John Hyten, head of the US Strategic Command, Admiral Harry Harris, chief of the US Pacific Command, General Vincent Brooks, head of US forces in Korea, and Deputy Commander Kim Byung-joo of Korea-US Combined Forces. (Pyongtaek/Photo Collective)
On Aug. 22, some of the top leaders of the US armed forces – the heads of the Pacific Command, the Strategic Command, and the Missile Defense Agency – held a joint press conference at Osan Air Base. It’s very unusual for the American military officials who hold the authority to make security-related decisions in the event of war on the Korean Peninsula to hold a joint press conference in Korea.
The military leaders unanimously reconfirmed the US defense commitment to South Korea during the press conference, with Strategic Command chief Gen. John Hyten promising that the US would deploy all strategic assets to the Korean Peninsula to deter a North Korean provocation. This serves both to assuage South Korean security concerns while also sending a warning message the North.
[SK NK policy] [Wishful thinking] [SK NK Negotiations]
Moon reaffirms Seoul's leading role in N. Korea issue
Posted : 2017-08-23 17:12
Updated : 2017-08-23 21:19
By Yi Whan-woo
President Moon Jae-in reaffirmed Wednesday that South Korea would take initiative in resolving North Korea's nuclear and missile threats and bringing peace to the Korean Peninsula.
"We should have a sense of ownership when it comes to related issues and make sure that we protect the peninsula for ourselves," the President said while being briefed on policy plans from the foreign affairs and unification ministries at the Government Complex in Seoul.
But he also stressed that the nation should address North Korea issues through its rock solid alliance with the United States and with cooperation from China and Russia.
[Self delusion] [Moon Jae-in]
S. Korea simulates N. Korean air raids nationwide
Posted : 2017-08-23 16:09
Updated : 2017-08-23 16:09
People are evacuated to underground shelters in Gwanghwamun district, in central Seoul, on Wednesday during a civil defense drill simulating a North Korean air raid. / Yonhap
By Chyung Eun-ju
South Korea held nationwide drills Wednesday simulating North Korean air raids.
The drills were part of the annual South Korea-United States Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercise that started Monday and will run until Aug. 31. The drills were launched amid mounting tensions over North Korea's nuclear threats.
Air raid alarms sounded for three minutes in 40 cities at 2 p.m. Planes representing North Korean combat jets released colored smoke bombs to simulate an air raid.
During the alarm, evacuation personnel guided citizens to nearby basements. Vehicles were stopped for five minutes, with the exception of emergency vehicles. Drivers were told to pull over, turn off engines and listen to the radio.
The exercise was over in 20 minutes.
[SK NK policy] [Hysteria] [Tension]
Dispute erupts over Vietnam War memorial at massacre site
Posted on : Aug.20,2017 11:23 KST Modified on : Aug.20,2017 11:23 KST
A memorial stone at the site of a Vietnam War massacre at the village of Ha My in Quang Nam Province. The memorial was covered by a marble slab with a lotus flower mural after protests by the Korean Vietnam Veterans Welfare Association, which had provided funds for the structure.
South Korean veterans anger local villagers by demanding structure’s removal
A group of South Korean veterans who fought in the Vietnam War is picking a fight with a Vietnamese village that set up a memorial to locals massacred by South Korean troops.
“We’ve learned that members of a Vietnam veterans’ group visited the village of Ha My in Vietnam on May 12 and offered to help them build roads and parks in exchange for getting rid of the memorial,” said a spokesperson for the Korea-Vietnam Peace Foundation, an organization dedicated to digging up the truth about the Vietnam War, on Aug. 17. Ha My Village (located in Dien Duong Rural Commune, Dien Ban District, Quang Nam Province, in central Vietnam) is where 135 villagers were massacred by troops from the “Blue Dragons” 2nd Marine Brigade on Feb. 22, 1968.
[Vietnam] [Massacre] [Park Chung-hee]
Academic conference held to commemorate the 8th anniversary of former President Kim Dae-jung’s death
Posted on : Aug.19,2017 16:13 KST Modified on : Aug.19,2017 16:13 KST
National Assembly Speaker Chung Sye-kyun speaks at an academic conference held to commemorate the 8th anniversary of the death of former President Kim Dae-jung. The conference took place on Aug. 18 at the Kim Dae-jung Presidential Library at Yonsei University in Seoul.
Participants call for unconditional resumption of dialogue with Pyongyang, more independent role for South Korea
On Aug. 18, the very day that South Korean President Moon Jae-in announced he would uphold the Sunshine Policy of former President Kim Dae-jung, an academic conference on the 8th anniversary of Kim’s death elicited repeated concerns and criticism about Moon’s policies on unification, foreign affairs and national security. Along with the argument that Moon’s policies during his first hundred days in office have been biased toward the US, academics said that the Moon administration should dispense with the North Korean policy of the previous conservative governments and push for unconditional inter-Korean dialogue.
Lee Jong-seok, a former Unification Minister in the Roh Moo-hyun administration, was a panelist in the first session of the academic conference , titled “How Will the Moon Administration Keep the Peace?” which was held at the Kim Dae-jung Presidential Library at Yonsei University in Seoul.
“Why didn’t the Moon administration remind Trump [during the recent tensions between North Korea and the US] that he had agreed to resolve the North Korean nuclear issue through peaceful means? Only by clearly declaring our position to the US can we gain room to maneuver,” Lee said.
[Kim Dae-jung] [Moon Jae-in] [US dominance]
Moon's N. Korean red line remark causes stir
Posted : 2017-08-18 16:23
Updated : 2017-08-18 17:48
By Kim Hyo-jin
The President's definition of a "red line" for North Korea has fueled controversy, with critics questioning its adequacy.
At a press conference to mark his 100th day in office Thursday, President Moon Jae-in said that he would consider North Korea had crossed a red line "if it completes development of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) and weaponizes it by fitting a nuclear warhead on it."
He also said, "North Korea is nearing the threshold of the red line."
Some people, including Moon's aides, interpreted the rare remarks as a warning to the North on its rapid progress in developing nuclear weapons and missiles. But criticism of his "diplomatic immaturity" was prevalent.
Pundits expressed concerns that the statement narrowed the Moon administration's policy options in dealing with North Korea.
[Moon Jae-in] [Posturing] [ICBM] [Bizarre]
S. Korean Authorities Should Send Back DPRK Women
Recent revelation puts it that the south Korean puppet authorities are cooking up a story to give impression that the DPRK women whom they keep in custody in south Korea after forcibly taking them to it have "settled there and lead a stable life" according to their will, by way of forcing them into "coercive marriage".
This is a thrice-cursed crime disregarding human ethics and nation and a vicious challenge to the DPRK's demand for their repatriation.
The south Korean authorities are resorting to a sordid farce to keep the DPRK women in south Korea in a coercive manner. This clearly proves that their much-touted "dialogue" and "humanitarianism" are just hypocrisy to mislead the public opinion and that their intention is to calm down the DPRK's demand for repatriation and to stand in confrontation with it.
It will be a misjudgment for the south Korean authorities if they think they can cover up the truth behind forcible kidnapping of the DPRK women and evade the repatriation issue through such dirty farce. They should clearly understand that the more they drag on the time, the more it will be unfavorable for them.
They are setting afloat groundless assertions and resorting to a sleight of hand to evade the repatriation of the DPRK women. This will only touch off stronger indignation of the DPRK and demand from inside and outside for the repatriation. This will also cause deserved punishment.
The south Korean authorities should immediately send back Kim Ryon Hui who is wishing for her return to the fold of the DPRK after her having been taken to the south by trick and deception. They should pay heed to the right advice of the DPRK that they will be made to lose everything if they delay the repatriation of those whom they kidnapped to the south.
[Election defection] [Abductees]
The August crisis:
Militarization versus civilization on the Korean Peninsula
by Sukjoon Yoon
Sukjoon Yoon (firstname.lastname@example.org) served more than 30 years in the Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN) and is a senior research fellow at the Korea Institute for Maritime Strategy, a visiting professor at Sejong University, and director of maritime strategy studies at the ROKN War College.
A war of words has erupted between the United States and North Korea, dubbed the “August Crisis” by the local press, following the testing of two intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) that North Korea claims can reach the continental US, and a display of US military might. North Korea routinely makes extreme rhetorical threats, but this time US President Donald Trump responded in kind, evoking the horrific prospect of a nuclear exchange.
South Korean attitudes
The new South Korean president, Moon Jae-in, has offered talks with the North on humanitarian issues and mitigating the military standoff, but most South Koreans do not expect the rhetoric to lead to war, and there is no sign of any imminent attack on Seoul. South Koreans do not believe sanctions can force North Korea to abandon its nuclear program, though they’re useful as part of a broader approach to try and bring all sides back to the negotiating table. Domestic economic issues dominate South Korean concerns; after a few years of sluggish growth, Korean stock markets have recently hit a six-year high.
[August crisis] [NK deal] [Banality] [Wishful thinking]
N.Korean Map Divides S.Korea in 4 Parts for Missile Attack
By Yu Yong-weon
August 16, 2017 11:30
A map in a North Korean photo shows South Korea divided into four sections in case of a missile strike by the North.
The North appears to have set targets in South Korea according to the ranges of its Scud and Rodong missiles, which are 300 to 500 km and 1,300 km.
The North's official Korean Central News Agency on Tuesday published a photo of leader Kim Jong-un being briefed by Kim Rak-gyom, commander of the Strategic Rocket Forces, with three maps in the background -- of South Korea, Japan and the Pacific Ocean.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is being briefed on strike plans at Strategic Rocket Forces headquarters in this photo released by the official Korean Central News Agency on Tuesday.
The map of South Korea has three lines dividing the country into four parts -- one line demarcating the border area, the second stretching down to Uljin and Pohang in North Gyeongsang Province, and a third down even further to the southern port city of Busan.
Lettering at the end of each line appears to name a type of North Korean missile, but the letters are too blurry to make out.
Also shown are satellite photos of what appears to be the Andersen Air Force Base in Guam.
Another map in front of Kim is headlined "Strike Plan of Strategic Rocket Forces" and shows a line from North Korea to Guam believed to be the trajectory of Hwasong-12 mid-range ballistic missile. The origin of the line is Sinpo, near South Hamgyong Province where the North's submarine bases are located.
Moon’s first hundred days in office show a president at ease with the people
Posted on : Aug.17,2017 17:58 KST Modified on : Aug.17,2017 17:58 KST
President Moon Jae-in with Chief of Staff Lim Jong-seok, and other staff members walk through the grounds of the Blue House. (provided by Blue House)
Relaxed, humble style is marked shift from predecessor
Over the past hundred days, the Blue House has witnessed a number of scenes that were unfamiliar in their sheer ordinariness. The path along which advisors once scurried carrying documents to the presidential residence is now the path along which the president walks to work. After being briefed on the latest developments at the presidential residence around 7 am, Moon walks to his office at the Yeomingwan building between 8 am and 9 am, a distance of 0.6 km. The secretaries get to the office before 7, prior to Moon’s arrival, and take part in team meetings until 7:30 am.
Former KCIA “room of death” at Namsan opens to public
Posted on : Aug.17,2017 18:03 KST Modified on : Aug.17,2017 18:03 KST
Construction workers use a crane to move a portion of the wall from the infamous “room of death” where many political dissidents were tortured for opposing Korea’s previous military regimes. The wall will be displayed in an exhibition hall scheduled to open next year. (Kim Jung-hyo, staff photographer)
Section 6 building will be turned into an exhibition hall to spotlight a dark side of Korean history
The basement of the former Korean Central Intelligence Agency (KCIA) Section 6 headquarters on Seoul’s Namsan Mountain - known as the “room of death” - was opened to the public on Aug. 16. As part of its plans to turn the Section 6 building into a plaza and exhibition hall recording a history of violence perpetrated by the state, the city of Seoul has been dismantling and reinstalling the basement to present it in its original state. On Aug. 16, the public was given a glimpse of the dismantling of the underground interrogation room where so much torture and violence occurred.
“There wasn’t anything there, just two desks. They would put a metal bar between them and hang a person upside down while they poured water on his face.”
[KCIA] [Military dictatorships] [Torture]
THAAD environmental impact assessment postponed again after Seongju resident objections
Posted on : Aug.11,2017 16:22 KST Modified on : Aug.11,2017 16:22 KST
Seongju residents and religious groups voice their opposition to the THAAD deployment at an Aug. 10 press conference at the Soseong village community center to “announce of a position on the testing survey for the Ministry of Environment’s illegal small-scale environment impact assessment of the THAAD site.”(by Paik So-a, staff photographer)
A plan to measure electromagnetic waves and noise from the THAAD system radar deployed in Seongju, North Gyeongsang Province, was postponed once again on Aug. 10.
The plan’s postponement was the second, after a previous one on July 21.
“A site survey for a small-scale environmental impact assessment planned for today in connection with the US Forces Korea THAAD system deployment issue is to be rescheduled separately and reattempted after it was determined that there needs to be additional cooperation with local residents and civic groups,” Ministry of National Defense deputy spokesperson Lee Jin-woo said in an Aug. 10 press briefing.
[THAAD] [Environmental Impact Assessment] [Protest]
Moon Brushes off N.Korea's Threats
By Jeong Woo-sang
August 10, 2017 11:48
President Moon Jae-in on Wednesday declined to pitch into an war of words between North Korea and the U.S.
Moon met with his new military chiefs at Cheong Wa Dae and said the task facing South Korea is to "acquire the military capability to respond to North Korea's nuclear and missile provocations."
He urged them to bolster South Korea's readiness level and move toward independent defense capabilities, relying less on the U.S. forces stationed here.
Moon said in a telephone call with U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday that this "is not the time for dialogue" with North Korea. But he continues to leave open the possibility of talks with the North, including the resumption of humanitarian exchanges.
Cheong Wa Dae officials brushed off the latest threats from the North to turn South Korea into a sea of fire.
A high-ranking Cheong Wa Dae official said, "It's true that the security situation is tense, but we can use this as an opportunity to overcome the crisis."
Regarding North Korea's threat on Tuesday to bomb Guam, the official said, "It is unique for five major North Korean ministries to issue threats, but that seems aimed at heightening fears in South Korea and weakening the U.S.' position."
A key ruling-party official said, "You need to remember that North Korea tends to resort to maximum brinkmanship before turning to dialogue."
But privately some Cheong Wa Dae officials admit they are worried about the increasingly inflamed rhetoric between the U.S. and North Korea.
Blue House: “Situation is serious, don’t agree it’s a crisis”
Posted on : Aug.10,2017 17:17 KST Modified on : Aug.10,2017 17:17 KST
South Korean government moves to quash rumors of “August crisis” on the peninsula, says “opportunity for a fundamental resolution will come once we’re through this”
Seoul is finding itself in a deepening quandary as the US and North Korea, which conducted two test launches of its ICBM-level Hwasong-14 in July alone, ratchet up their war of words over upcoming South Korea-US joint military exercises.
The South Korean government is now hustling to manage the situation and prevent the crisis from spinning out of control, while watching for possible of additional provocations from the North.
The Blue House moved to quash rumors of an “August crisis” on the peninsula, which have been intensifying amid Pyongyang and Washington’s war of words.
“We don’t agree about there being a crisis on the Korean Peninsula,” a key Blue House official said in an Aug. 9 meeting with reporters.
The official acknowledged that the situation on the peninsula was “serious in the wake of North Korea’s strategic provocation” with the Hwasong-14 test launches, but added, “We don’t see things as having reached crisis level.”
[Moon Jae-in] [August crisis]
Goodall urges world to stay connected to North Korea youth
Posted : 2017-08-10 19:59
Updated : 2017-08-10 21:43
Jane Goodall, a renowned chimpanzee expert and environmental activist, right, answers Prof. Choi Jae-cheon of Ewha Womans University during a talk held at the National Assembly in Seoul, Thursday./Yonhap
By Kim Se-jeong
Jane Goodall, the world's most renowned expert on chimpanzees and an environmental activist, urged the world to stay in communication with young North Koreans for environmental causes, despite recent threats from the North and international moves to isolate the regime.
"As the world gets more bad, the more important it is for young people to act. We need to encourage the young people, because it's their world tomorrow," Goodall said during a talk organized by the Asia Journalists Association, Thursday, at the National Assembly.
Goodall is in Seoul this week to receive Manhae Award.
Goodall, 83, is the founder of the Roots and Shoots movement, bringing young people together for environmental, conservation and humanitarian issues. The movement has spread to more than 100 countries.
She said the movement also exists in North Korea and she's been to North Korea twice to witness high school student activists. "When I was there two years ago, they were still flying a big peace pigeon made of bed sheets." Flying a big peace pigeon is the national chapter's annual campaign.
S. Korea vows strong military retaliation against N. Korea over possible attack on US
Posted : 2017-08-10 11:41
Updated : 2017-08-10 11:41
South Korea's military warned Thursday that North Korea will pay a harsh price for an attack on the South or its ally the United States.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) issued the strongly worded message in response to the North's continued war rhetoric, including a threat to fire ballistic missiles toward Guam.
Should the North ignore the warning and provoke, it will face "the allies' strong and resolute retaliation," Army Col. Roh Jae-cheon, the JCS spokesman, said in a statement.
It's unusual for the South's military to issue such a warning message against the North for verbal threats, not missile or nuclear testing.
Sinister Scheme Lurking Behind "Story of Crisis in August"
The south Korean authorities are spreading a "story of crisis in August".
In short, possibility of the Trump administration's "military option" increased as the DPRK's successful second test-fire of ICBM Hwasong-14 passed over the "red line" of the U.S., and "the north would make another tougher military step" on the occasion of the joint military drill Ulji Freedom Guardian scheduled in late August.
This is the cunning trick to lay the blame for the tension on the Korean peninsula at the door of the DPRK and justify their reckless military confrontation racket.
It is not the DPRK but the U.S. and its lackeys south Korean authorities that bring crisis to this land.
Now is the time for the south Korean authorities to behave with prudence and self-control, not going busy with currying favor with the master as the DPRK clearly showed the world the powerful might of its strategic nuclear force capable of wiping out aggressors and provokers at one go anywhere anytime.
However, the south Korean authorities are escalating anti-DPRK confrontation racket, availing themselves of the U.S. "military counteraction" to seriously irritate the DPRK.
If the south Korean authorities continue to aggravate the situation while taking issue with the DPRK's steps for self-defence as a shock brigade of the U.S. in its moves to stifle the DPRK, depending on the master, no more than a toothless wolf, the "story of crisis in August" of public concern at home and abroad will unfold before their eyes. It would be easy to guess what the consequences will be.
If the south Korean authorities want to escape catastrophic disaster, they had better stop at once staging the confrontation racket at our doorstep and halt their rash actions.
[Joint US military] [August crisis]
N.Korea Threatens to Turn S.Korea into 'Sea of Fire'
By Lee Yong-soo
August 09, 2017 09:55
North Korea on Tuesday threatened to turn South Korea into a "sea of fire" in protest against live-fire drills near Yeonpyeong Island.
The official [North] Korean Central News Agency said South Korean "warmongers" carried out military provocations against Pyongyang, which is ready to respond "with its strong firepower at any time."
South Korean Marines conducted live-fire exercises on Yeonpyeong Island in the West Sea, which suffered heavy North Korean artillery fire in 2010.
Marines fired 200 rounds from K-9 self-propelled howitzers and AH-1S Cobra attack helicopters fired rockets and Vulcan machine guns.
The drills are held every three months.
KCNA said the South Korean "provocations" were a response to the "great successes" of North Korea's test launches of the Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missile, which is capable of reaching the U.S. mainland.
Manila ARF underscores nuclear and missile issues, N. Korea’s deepening isolation
Posted on : Aug.9,2017 17:04 KST Modified on : Aug.9,2017 17:04 KST
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (Bottom row, 7th L), Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (Top row, 3rd L) and other guests pose for a group photo during the grand celebration of the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Manila, the Philippines, Aug. 8. Manila/Xinhua
South Korea gains support from participating countries for President Moon’s Berlin vision
The 24th ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) in Manila came to a close on Aug. 8. Participating countries showed deeper concern than ever before over the North Korean nuclear and missile issues, while Pyongyang’s diplomatic isolation continues to deepen. For South Korea, the interest and support expressed by participating countries toward President Moon Jae-in’s “Berlin vision” counted as a diplomatic accomplishment.
South Korean Minister of Foreign Affairs Kang Kyung-wha held a press conference at a hotel in downtown Manila that morning to discuss the forum’s outcome prior to its closing ceremony later that day.
“The member countries united under an awareness of the North Korean nuclear threat that was completely different from before,” Kang said.
“Of the three big security issues - North Korea’s nuclear program, the South China Sea, and terrorism - the nuclear one was seen by far as the priority issue,” she said.
Kang also said she “felt it was an occasion where North Korea acutely sensed its isolated diplomatic position.”
Divided Peninsula, Split Personalities: A Review of Hong Sang-hwa’s “The Intelligence Agent”
By Robert Lauler | August 08, 2017
Stories of the division of the peninsula have inspired Korean authors for several generations. Their works illustrate the impact of national division much more effectively than non-fiction can. | Image: Sino-NK/Destination Pyongyang
There has been an uptick in interest in translated Korean fiction in the last few years. Han Kang’s The Vegetarian won the Man Booker International Prize in 2016, generating significant curiosity about the author’s other works as well as a certain amount of controversy. A 2015 piece on Korean literature by Ed Park in The New Yorker also put a handful of novels on Sino-NK shelves. Korean fiction is by no means tumbling pell-mell out of the bookstores of the West, and it probably never will be; nevertheless, for now, the future of Korean literature in translation is secure.
However, if you are eager for new literature that touches on Sino-NK‘s genuine specialties — Northeast Asian borderlands, Korean ethnic identity, North Korean political economy, China-North Korea relations and the like — you have to dive into the Korean- and Chinese-language markets directly. In a new review for Sino-NK, Robert Lauler once again (his previous literature review is here) does exactly that, taking his magnifying glass to The Intelligence Agent, the latest novel by Hong Sang-hwa. — Christopher Green, Co-editor
Divided Peninsula, Split Personalities: A Review of Hong Sang-hwa’s “The Intelligence Agent”
by Robert Lauler
One half of the two-volume novel The Intelligence Agent by Hong Sang-hwa, which adds to Korea’s rich vein of literature rooted in the tragedy of national division.
Novels about division are a defining feature of South Korean literary history.
[Division] [Korean War] [Literature]
'UN sanctions don't ban Gaeseong park'
Posted : 2017-08-08 16:49
Updated : 2017-08-08 18:43
Expert claims sanctions on Pyongyang will not affect Gaeseong complex
By Park Jae-hyuk
The United Nations Security Council's (UNSC) adoption of a new sanctions resolution does not prohibit the resumption of the Gaeseong Industrial Complex, a legal expert here said Tuesday.
"Resolution 2371 does not ban foreigners from running businesses in North Korea," said Song Ki-ho of the Lawyers for a Democratic Society. "Although the resolution's article 13 specifies prohibition of opening new joint ventures with North Korea, the Gaeseong complex is not a joint venture."
Article 13 reads the United Nations shall prohibit both opening of new joint ventures and expansion of existing ones through additional investments, unless such joint ventures have been approved by the Security Council Committee in advance.
"If South Korean businesspeople directly pay wages to North Korean workers, they will not be subject to the resolution," Song said.
The lawyer also claimed the South Korean government should not be swayed by the U.S. government's stance against reopening the industrial complex in North Korean territory.
Grace Choi, a spokeswoman for the State Department's Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, told Voice of America (VOA) this week that "We support the 2016 decision to shut down the Gaeseong complex in the face of North Korea's destabilizing and provocative actions."
The spokeswoman's remark has been regarded as the U.S. government's official response to South Korean authorities and experts, who have claimed the exceptionality of the Gaeseong complex
Trade Wars and Hot Wars: #Shigak no. 51
By Sino-NK | August 08, 2017
A US Army THAAD missile interceptor being tested. THAAD was initially developed as a response to Scud missiles | Image: Wikimedia Commons
On April 2, Sino-NK began a series of regular analyses looking at the South Korean presidential election through the lens of the Korean-language media, reviving a series that ran from February 2014 to October 2015. That revival continues post-election, as Moon embarks on the politically all-important first one hundred days in office.
“Shigak” (??), or “perspective” uses Twitter to curate sources on the key determinants of the election outcome. Each issue takes the most important tweets posted by Sino-NK analysts under the #?? hashtag and augments them with essential annotations and a bite-size dollop of concentrated analysis. #Shigak is edited by Steven Denney and Christopher Green. Yongmin Lee is a regular contributor. Back issues can be found on the dedicated page. Importantly, users of Twitter are encouraged to adopt the hashtag and take part in the project.
Trade Wars and Hot Wars: #Shigak no. 51
#ROK conservative and progressive Twittersphere over last week. President, DPRK, US, THAAD, missile salient and frequently used terms. #?? pic.twitter.com/tdEusnB1WC
— Steven Denney (@StevenDenney86) August 4, 2017
This installment of #Shigak explores the two most popular political stories from the conservative and progressive Twittersphere between July 28 and August 4. For the right, that means the reappointment of a former trade minister to his old post, while the left homes in on some seemingly rather callous comments about the deaths of thousands of (presumably) Koreans by a US senator during a morning television show interview in the United States. President Moon Jae-in’s newly minted war on real estate speculation did not put a dent in the Twitter retweet count this week, but is likely to surface as a key issue in later editions of #Shigak.
[News analysis] UN sanctions make it tougher to restore inter-Korean relations
Posted on : Aug.7,2017 16:51 KST Modified on : Aug.7,2017 16:51 KST
Members vote at the UN on Security Council Resolution 2371, which mandates additional sanctions against North Korea, Aug. 5. (AFP/Yonhap News)
Newly passed sanctions ban new economic ventures with North Korea, casting doubt on Kaesong Complex reopening
The UN Security Council’s adoption of a sanctions resolution against North Korea on Aug. 5 is likely to bring a further chill to the Korean Peninsula. For the time being, at least, the situation has come to a state where swiftly restoring inter-Korean relations is inconceivable. While Liberation Day on Aug. 15 is usually a time when a major vision and proposals are announced for inter-Korean relations, this year it’s hard to decide what message ought to be conveyed.
The South Korean government maintains that the proposals it made last month for inter-Korean military talks and Red Cross talks to arrange reunions for divided families are still valid, even though the original deadlines have passed. This means that the meetings could still be held if North Korea agrees, even this late. But the UN Security Council‘s adoption of a sanctions resolution against North Korea following the North’s launch of the Hwasung-14 intercontinental ballistic missile is leading many to conclude that Seoul should stop clinging to these talks. “For now, it has become impossible to gauge inter-Korean relations. It’s not even clear what message we should send North Korea this Liberation Day, on Aug. 15,” one senior government official said.
The Blue House has apparently taken note of the fact that the Security Council reached a unanimous agreement on the sanctions resolution against North Korea in a short period of time. In fact, the sanctions resolution was adopted just 33 days after the first test launch of the Hwasong-14 on July 4 -- much faster than the resolution adopted 57 days after North Korea’s fourth nuclear test in Jan. 2016 and the one adopted 82 days after the North’s fifth nuclear test in Sep. 2016. The Blue House seems hopeful that quickly maximizing the efficacy of the sanctions against North Korea might be able to bring the North to the negotiating table. But the Blue House is also concerned that inter-Korean relations will inevitably remain strained for some time.
[Sanctions] [US NK policy] [UNUS] [Inter-Korean] [US dominance]
Moon Jae-in's peace overture gets little feedback
Posted : 2017-08-07 16:08
Updated : 2017-08-07 17:41
North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho, left, is greeted by his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi prior to their bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the 50th ASEAN Regional Forum in Manila, the Philippines, Sunday. Wang accused South Korea of its decision to fully set up a U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery in a separate meeting with Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha later Sunday.
By Yi Whan-woo
North Korea's test-launches of two intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) in July and South Korea's plan to more effectively cope with missile threats are hampering President Moon Jae-in's recent peace overture made in Berlin.
The Moon government decided to set up the remaining four launchers of the U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery in South Korea, following deployment of two of the six THAAD launchers in March.
And analysts warn that it could irk China and Russia that have been against the THAAD deployment and risk Moon's plan to resume inter-Korean dialogue in cooperation with neighboring countries.
[Moon Jae-in] [THAAD]
FMs from two Korea have 'fruitless' meeting in Manila
Posted : 2017-08-07 10:36
Updated : 2017-08-07 13:30
North Korea's foreign minister dismissed South Korea's recent offer for talks as "lacking sincerity" during his brief encounter with Seoul's top diplomat on the sidelines of an Asian security forum in Manila on Sunday, according to a Seoul government source.
North Korea's Ri Yong-ho and South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha met for three minutes at an official dinner for top diplomats joining a series of meetings of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
[SK NK Negotiations] [ARF]
72% of South Koreans in favour of decision to temporarily deploy THAAD launchers
Posted on : Aug.6,2017 14:18 KST Modified on : Aug.6,2017 14:18 KST
Demonstrators chant “THAAD must go for peace to come” during a rally outside the community center in Soseong Village, North Gyeongsang Province, Aug. 2. (by Kim Il-woo, Daegu correspondent)
Poll data show support for THAAD increasing as North Korea conducts ICBM tests
72% of South Koreans have a positive view about President Moon Jae-in’s orders to temporarily deploy the THAAD missile defense system, a new poll found. Concerns about the possibility of war on the Korean Peninsula are higher now than they were after North Korea’s fourth nuclear test last year.
In a public opinion poll carried out by Gallup Korea from Aug. 1 to 3, 72% of respondents said that Moon had done the right thing when he gave orders for four THAAD launchers to be temporarily deployed soon after North Korea’s second launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile. Just 14% of respondents disagreed with the decision. Approval of the decision was lowest around Daegu and North Gyeongsang Province, the area where THAAD is being deployed, with 63% in favor and 21% against. Among supporters of the Minjoo Party, 74% rated Moon’s decision highly.
[THAAD] [Public opinion]
Socialism’s Influence on Syngman Rhee and the Founding of the Republic
By David Fields | August 05, 2017
A new working paper for the Wilson Center’s Cold War International History Project explores and influence and meaning of socialism on Syngman Rhee and the founding of the Republic of Korea.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in caused a stir this spring when he stated that he was opposed to homosexuality in a televised debate while campaigning to replace impeached President Park Geun-hye. Moon’s statements especially drew attention because he was the candidate for the Democratic Party of Korea — Korea’s leading “liberal” party. In response, seasoned Korean observers began explaining both how Korean liberals are both further to the left and further to the right than foreign observers might expect. In fact, both views are correct. The left-right paradigm, popular in the Americas and Europe does not map well onto the Republic of Korea (ROK). The litmus tests that determine a left-right classification in these places — the role of government in society and cultural conservatism — simply are not all that relevant in the ROK. The ROK has a universal, single-payer healthcare system, but abortion is illegal (though widely available). Korean views of homosexuality are fairly conservative, but their views on gun ownership are what Americans would call “liberal” — private gun ownership is basically illegal in Korea.
[Syngman Rhee] [Socialism] [Nationalism]
[Reporter’s notebook] An array of challenges await Pres. Moon as he returns from vacation
Posted on : Aug.5,2017 15:58 KST Modified on : Aug.5,2017 15:58 KST
While on summer vacation, President Moon Jae-in meets with Indonesian Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu (second from left) at the Jinhae Naval Base in South Gyeongsang Province on Aug. 2. (provided by the Blue House)
Moon will have to improve communication with the opposition parties as he scrambles ahead of National Assembly session in September
President Moon Jae-in officially returns to work next week after his first summer vacation. The reports waiting on his desk when he gets back to the Blue House are likely to be thicker and more complicated than before he left. A number of issues have been rapidly escalating over the past week or two – including the move away from nuclear energy, higher taxes, and solutions on real estate issues, along with foreign affairs and national security matters such as the North Korean nuclear and missile programs and THAAD – and none of them will be easy to resolve.
Moon will need to lay out his vision for these issues during his Independence Day address on Aug. 15 – and receive an assessment of his first 100 days in office on Aug. 17 from politicians, civil society, and the media – before working to produce results in legislation and budget terms at the first regular session of the National Assembly, which begins on Sep. 1. It’s a process littered with far more obstacles than the last three months have seen.
Pres. Moon sought ways to stop private groups from launching propaganda leaflets into N. Korea
Posted on : Aug.5,2017 15:59 KST Modified on : Aug.5,2017 15:59 KST
President Moon Jae-in presides over a meeting of the National Security Council after a North Korean missile launch, at 1 am on July 29. (provided by the Blue House)
Moon was seeking to avoid a sudden military clash with North Korea, which could escalate into full-scale war
On July 4, immediately after North Korea’s first test launch of the Hwasong-14 ICBM, South Korean President Moon Jae-in gave instructions to “look for ways to legally block private-sector groups from launching propaganda leaflet balloons into North Korea,” it was belatedly confirmed. These instructions were presumably designed to prevent “unplanned clashes” and to create a mood for inter-Korean dialogue aimed at ending North Korea’s nuclear program and bringing peace to the Korean Peninsula, at a time when inter-Korean tensions were rising because of North Korea’s missile provocations.
On Aug. 4, multiple officials at the Blue House reported that Moon had given instructions to the Blue House secretariat during a meeting held shortly after North Korea’s first test launch of the Hwasong-14 missile on July 4 to look into what ways and procedures there might be to legally stop private-sector groups from launching balloons scattering propaganda leaflets into North Korea.
[Moon Jae-in] [SK NK policy] [Propaganda]
- Moves to form new progressive party in South Korea
S Korean Progressives Launch New Party to Complete ‘Candlelight Revolution’ [Interview, Part 1]
Aug 4, 2017
“The people who were at the forefront of the candlelight revolution that ousted Park Geun-hye need to be the driving force of South Korean politics, and for that reason, we need a new party,” said Kim Jong-hoon, an independent South Korean National Assemblymember, in a recent interview with ZoominKorea.
Kim is part of a new movement to re-consolidate progressive forces in South Korea to build a new progressive party tasked with following through on the demands for fundamental systemic change put forth by the candlelight revolution. The preparatory committee of the New People’s Party (Sae-minjung-jeong-dang)–a working title that may change after merging with other existing progressive parties–represents a broad united front of diverse sectors, most notably the Korean Peasants League and sections of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions. It plans to launch the new party in late September.
S Korean Progressives Launch New Party to Complete ‘Candlelight Revolution’ [Interview, Part 2]
Aug 4, 2017
Continued from Part 1
ZoominKorea asked Kim Jong-hoon–an independent member of the South Korean National Assembly and Standing Representative of the New People’s Party (tentative name)–to discuss the impetus behind the formation of a new progressive party in South Korea, as well as the role of South Korean progressives vis a vis the liberal Moon Jae-in administration and the intensifying war threats on the Korean peninsula. The following is Part 2 of the interview:
ZoominKorea: How will the New People’s Party (tentative name) coordinate/delegate its resources between electoral/parliamentary politics and mass movement-building?
7 Out of 10 S.Koreans Support Full THAAD Deployment
By Choi Kyung-woon
August 04, 2017 11:59
Seven out of 10 South Koreans now support the full deployment of a Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense battery here, a straw poll suggests.
Pollster Realmeter and traffic radio TBS polled 511 adults on Wednesday, and 71 percent of respondents backed the government's decision to deploy the complete set of THAAD missile interceptors. Only 18.4 percent opposed it and the rest declined to answer.
The government earlier this week said the U.S. can go ahead and deploy four more THAAD launchers that had sat in storage so far, in addition to the two that had already been set up, even though a procedural review is under way. The decision came after North Korea's latest test of an intercontinental ballistic missile, which may have swung public opinion here.
Among respondents who identified themselves as conservative 80.8 percent were for the government's decision, and the figure was 71.7 percent among self-described centrists and 66.6 percent among progressives.
In all parts of the country more than 60 percent of respondents backed the full deployment. In Daegu and North Gyeongsang Province, where the THAAD is stationed, 85.1 percent were in favor, the biggest majority.
[THAAD] [Public opinion]
Will South and North Korean foreign ministers meet at ASEAN Regional Forum?
Posted on : Aug.4,2017 16:08 KST Modified on : Aug.4,2017 16:08 KST
Foreign Ministers pose for a commemorative photo at the ASEAN Regional Forum in Vientiane, Laos, on July 26, 2016.
South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-hwa to have 15 official bilateral meetings, including with Japan
The meeting of foreign ministers at the 24th ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), which is being held in Manila from Aug. 6 to 8, will be the first multilateral diplomatic gathering since North Korea launched an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). Since the meeting will bring together the top diplomats from all the countries participating in the six-party talks on North Korea’s nuclear program, the question is whether an inter-Korean meeting will be held, and a bilateral meeting between North Korea and the US.
On Aug. 3, sources at South Korea’s Foreign Ministry said they were working to arrange 15 official bilateral meetings for Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha around the ASEAN Plus Three (South Korea, China and Japan) foreign ministers’ meeting on the morning of Aug. 7. Since North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho is also planning to attend the meeting, this is likely to be the first encounter of any sort between Kang and Ri.
Missiles or the Environment: Korea’s True Security Challenges
North Korea isn't the biggest threat to the world. Climate change is.
By Emanuel Pastreich, August 1, 2017.
The news in Seoul has been completely taken over by reports that North Korea has launched another missile into the ocean. Images of the missile launch were repeated over and over again followed by speculation that North Korea would use the missile to attack the East Coast of the United States. The reporting was pure hype without a single rational voice offering an opinion about the significance of one missile launch or the difficulties of assessing the possible payload for such a missile.
The timing of this news coverage with South Korea’s deployment of the THAAD missile defense system was too perfect. Missing from the discussion has been the real threats that South Korea faces and whether missile defense is effective. These two obvious questions were swept under the rug.
North Korea’s missile launches in fact were a response to a series of live ammunition drills off its coast by the United States, South Korea, and Japan that have been going on, more or less continuously for a year. To North Korea, these drills seems like a preparation for an invasion. Not only is it natural that North Korea would make some response, granted the United States penchant for illegal regime change, it is entirely legal to do so according to international law. The United Nations Security Council has condemned North Korea for missile launches and called for sanctions, but China’s suggestion that both sides freeze their military actions is far more rational and Pyongyang has indicated that it is open to such negotiations.
The Myth of Missile Defense
Koreans hear every day in the media about the threat of nuclear attacks from North Korea. Although North Korea probably does not have the capability yet, eventually it will have missiles that can deliver explosives and, eventually, nuclear weapons.
But that is where the science stops. If you sit down and actually read about strategies for ending arms proliferation and promoting disarmament, you will learn that increasing military drills and threatening first strikes is the worst approach. At present, North Korea has no incentive to attack South Korea. Its missile tests are an effort to deter an attack by an aggressor.
[US NK policy] [Deterrence] [Missile defense]
N.Korea Silent on Seoul's Talks Proposals
By Kim Myong-song
August 02, 2017 13:21
North Korea never responded to Seoul's proposals for military talks on July 21 and Red Cross talks on Aug. 1, making it increasingly clear that it wants to freeze South Korea out of any negotiations on its nuclear and missile programs.
A Unification Ministry spokesman told reporters on Tuesday the North "hasn't made any response to the offers yet."
"Seoul will continue to make multifaceted efforts to solve humanitarian issues" like the reunion of families separated by the Korean War "and to ease military tensions along the border area," the spokesman added. "We're not going to be overly optimistic or pessimistic about any response or lack thereof."
But some ministry officials are embarrassed that they are being so completely ignored. "We didn't think that the North would meekly accept to our offers, but we hoped that they would make a counterproposal or at least some kind of gesture," one said.
Since the Moon administration came into office, Pyongyang has turned down 76 approaches from South Korean civic groups to visit the North.
The regime also rejected a proposal from Hyundai Group, its long-term business partner in the South, to visit Mt. Kumgang and hold a memorial service for its late chairman Chung Mong-hun. Hyundai executives went to the resort for the memorial service almost every year.
The regime also dismissed President Moon Jae-in's offer to field a unified team in the upcoming Pyeongchang Winter Olympics as "ridiculous."
[SK NK Negotiations]
President Moon’s THAAD flip-flopping continues with call for additional launchers
Posted on : Aug.3,2017 17:17 KST Modified on : Aug.3,2017 17:17 KST
Before and since taking office, Moon has changed his position, and is now following Park Geun-hye administration’s stances
President Moon Jae-in’s solution on the THAAD issue took a hard turn toward swift completion of the deployment with his July 29 order to deploy an additional four launchers.
Analysts are saying Moon, who was previously criticized by rival presidential candidates for “waffling” on the deployment after it surfaced as a major political issue last year, now appears to be throwing his lot in with accepting inter-Korean antagonisms as a given.
“I proposed a full-scale deployment to President Moon [after North Korea’s July 28 ballistic missile launch], and the National Security Council (NSC) decided on a temporary deployment to support that measure,” said Minister of National Defense Song Young-moo on the THAAD deployment during a July 31 appearance before the National Assembly National Defense Committee. The implication is that a proposal by the Ministry of National Defense or other working-level agency was behind Moon’s decision.
[Moon Jae-in] [THAAD] [Continuities]
Seongju residents decry Pres. Moon’s plan to deploy additional THAAD lauchers
Posted on : Aug.3,2017 17:15 KST Modified on : Aug.3,2017 17:15 KST
Demonstrators chant “THAAD must go for peace to come” during a rally outside the community center in Soseong Village, North Gyeongsang Province, Aug. 2. (by Kim Il-woo, Daegu correspondent)
Locals also up in arms over report that Park Geun-hye administration sought to undermine anti-THAAD movement
“We denounce the Moon Jae-in administration’s refusal to recognize the candlelight spirit.”
“After emphasizing ‘legal procedure,’ the Moon administration decides on additional THAAD deployment. Is this for real?”
A number of hand-held signs criticizing the Moon Jae-in administration were on view at the 36th Wednesday demonstration against the THAAD missile defense system deployment at 2 pm on Aug. 2 in front of the Soseong village community center in Seongju, North Gyeongsang Province. Residents and Won-Buddhists have held demonstrations at the location every Wednesday since Nov. 30 of last year. The Aug. 2 demonstration was the first held since Moon announced on July 29 that he had ordered deployment of an additional four THAAD launchers.
The 150 or so demonstrators attending that day shouted phrases such as “drive out illegal THAAD” and “THAAD must go for peace to come.”
“We have no choice now but to fight with the Moon Jae-in administration,” said Soseong village chief Lee Seok-ju, 61.
[THAAD] [Moon Jae-in] [Protest]
S.Korea Must Restore the Balance of Power on the Peninsula
August 01, 2017 13:17
North Korea's apparent success in developing an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of striking the continental U.S. is creating a new diplomatic landscape where Washington is forced to deal directly with Pyongyang as Seoul's influence disappears. This means South Koreans could face a totally unexpected situation that will require huge sacrifices of them. The national security blueprint requires a complete overhaul.
The worst-case scenario is U.S. troops withdrawing from the Korean Peninsula. That is what North Korea ultimately wants. For South Koreans who have grown used to decades of protection from the U.S. Forces Korea, that prospect is almost unimaginable. But the reality is that things are heading in that very direction. South Korea cannot afford to waste any more time in coming up with measures to uphold its freedom and democracy.
The military status quo is a severe imbalance. North Korea is now armed with nuclear weapons and ICBMs, and no matter how heavily armed South Korea may be with conventional weapons, the North has the advantage.
[Military balance] [Hawk] [Logic] [ICBM]
Protest and Remembrance: #Shigak no. 50
By Sino-NK | August 01, 2017
This installment of #Shigak explores the two most popular political stories from the conservative and progressive Twittersphere between 7.21 and 7.27. The most popular political development among progressives is the protest by the Korean Government Employees Union for Lee Un-ju’s removal from political office. For conservatives, the most popular story is the passing of Kim Kun-ja, a former “comfort woman” for the Japanese army during World War II.
The stories were selected by totaling the number of retweets and favorites from the two most prominent conservative and progressive dailies.1) The stories with the greatest number of total retweets and favorites are reported here. Included at the bottom are are graphs showing the most prominent words from both sides during the period under consideration.2)
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