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Park Faces More Jail Time as Hopes for Pardon Fade
By Choi Seung-hyun
August 30, 2019 12:38
Ex-President Park Geun-hye could face yet more jail time after the Supreme Court on Thursday sent back the bribery case involving her, her toxic confidante Choi Soon-sil and Samsung chief Lee Jae-yong back to a lower court.
The top court ruled that all W8.6 billion Park and Choi solicited from Samsung's company coffers was a straight-up bribe in return for Park helping finagle Lee's ascendancy to the conglomerate's leadership (US$1=W1,214).
It also ruled that the bribery case should not have been lumped together with the other charges Park was convicted of since the law states that bribery of a public official must be tried separately.
The resulting retrial is likely to add a fresh jail sentence on top of the 25 years she is already serving, reducing the chances of a pardon some die-hard supporters among opposition lawmakers have been raising.
[Park Geun-hye] [Corruption] [Samsung]
Understanding young Koreans' rage against Cho Kuk
Posted : 2019-08-28 17:26
Updated : 2019-08-28 20:20
Seoul National University students hold a rally on their campus, Aug. 23, to urge justice minister nominee Cho Kuk to step down due to multiple allegations surrounding his family. / Yonhap
By Lee Suh-yoon
For Kim Mina, 27, a graduate student studying science history and philosophy in Seoul, preparing for college was like making her way through a dark maze by herself.
The small town she grew up in Gyeonggi Province got its first public library when she was in middle school. In high school, she realized English was not a subject she could teach herself with books after getting the result of her first national exam trial test. Her parents were loving, but did not have the education to understand much of her writing.
So when she entered Seoul National University (SNU) through a special quota for residents of agriculture and fishing areas, the gap she felt with many of her lavishly groomed peers ― many of them from upper class households ― often made her feel alone.
But it still didn't prepare her for the recent scandal involving justice minister nominee Cho Kuk's daughter. It has been reported that Cho's daughter was named as the lead author in an academic research paper published in the Korean Journal of Pathology after just a two-week internship when she was only a high school student. The internship was with a Dankook University professor whose son went to the same foreign language school as her. The paper gave a boost to her college applications and got her a spot at Korea University. She now attends medical school in Busan, which allegedly gave her scholarships she did not qualify for.
[Corruption] [Education] [Nepotism]
To Prevent Deterioration of the Korean Situation Caused by Military Incidents, International Support to Utilize the Inter-Korean Joint Military Committee Is Recommended
The Watch Project has been concerned about the risk that particular military actions or incidents would trigger deterioration of the denuclearization and peace process of the Korean Peninsula, which would have significant impact on Japan as well . Recent moves related to the US-ROK joint military exercise “Dong Maeng (Alliance) 19-2” and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK)’s launches of a new-type tactical guided weapon have demonstrated that such a risk still exists.
Only Half of Defense Budget Against N.Korea Spent
By Yang Seung-sik
August 21, 2019 13:22
The Defense Ministry has spent little more than half of its budget earmarked for the defense against nuclear and missile attacks from North Korea. In the case of a special brigade supposed to carry out so-called "decapitation" strikes against the North Korean regime in a war, it has only spent a nugatory five percent.
Last year the ministry spent 62.6 percent of that budget, according to a report the ministry submitted to Liberty Korea Party lawmaker Baek Seung-joo on Tuesday. It spent W18 million out of the earmarked W337 million, a mere 5.3 percent (US$1=W1,210).
The brigade was in theory founded in 2017 to neutralize the North Korean leadership and destroy its weapons of mass destruction. But the military has sat on its hands since the two Koreas signed a hasty military deal in September 2018.
Recently, it has actually diverted some equipment procured for the brigade to another unit which is tasked with reconstruction assistance in faraway South Sudan.
"The ministry has acted as if it were promptly responding to recent missile provocations by the North," Baek said. "But I doubt if it has any real determination to respond to the North's nuclear weapons and missile threats given that it hardly spent a penny of the budget allocated for improving weapons against the North Korean threat."
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[SK NK policy] [ROK military] [Special forces] [Decapitation] [Right-wing]
Has Moon Left the Planet?
August 06, 2019 13:43
President Moon Jae-in in a Cabinet meeting on Monday claimed that Japan's economic superiority is largely due to its "domestic market" and that South Korea will easily catch up with it if it forms a "peace economy" with North Korea. Moon for some reason feels that Japan's fresh export curbs "once again confirm the need for a peace economy" with North Korea. There have been rumblings in conservative circles that Japan was able to ambush South Korea by removing it from a list of preferential trade partners because the Moon administration was obsessed with North Korea and dropped the ball in the diplomatic spat with Japan. Now it is becoming shockingly clear how true that is. The financial markets are reeling, but Moon sings about pan-Korean peace and prosperity, even though there is no realistic prospect of international sanctions against the crackpot country being lifted for years to come.
Of course cross-border economic cooperation will one day benefit the economy, and peace on the Korean Peninsula will erase the "Korea discount" that has hampered the stock markets due to the security risks. But even when that day comes, the initial benefits will not be vast for South Korea, which is among the world's top 15 economies, because it will have to foot the bill for getting North Korea, one of the world's poorest countries, shipshape. It is safe to say that the North is about a century behind South Korea, and even its exaggerated GDP figures are about those of a mid-sized city in the South. What can North Korea offer other than cheap labor? And is the North Korean dictator willing to embrace South Korean capitalism? Seeking to overtake a world-leading technological powerhouse by cooperating with a basket case is pure fantasy.
At any rate, inter-Korean economic cooperation is a distant illusion. How can Moon even think up such far-fetched notions at a time when the economy and businesses face an immediate crisis? After that peculiar outburst, many wondered if Moon has completely lost touch with reality, and they are now having to worry about the president when he should be the one worrying about the public. Who will steady the rudder?
[Anti-Moon] [Japan SK] [Detente]
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