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1/25/2021 News & Commentary - Korea

1/25/2021 News & Commentary - Korea

News & commentary by Dave Maxwell. Edited and published by Duncan Moore.



1. N. Korean diplomat defects to S. Korea: source



2. N.K. propaganda outlet mentions Biden's election for first time



3. Seoul sticks to ‘peace process’ despite Washington's hint for new strategy for Pyongyang



4. ‘S. Korea-U.S. alliance is a lynchpin of Indo-Pacific,’ says Sullivan



5. S. Korea completes development of wheel-type command post for military



6. Moon's approval rating jumps to 43 pct after New Year's address: Realmeter



7. Korea to start coronavirus vaccinations next month



8. Comfort women victim says all she wants is apology



9. S. Korea aims to vaccinate 70 pct of population by Sept.



10. Minister hopes for 'wise' and 'flexible' solution to joint military drill issue



11. Minister says next few months important in creating atmosphere for resumption of talks with N. Korea



12. Former minister summoned for questioning on Wolsong-1 closure



13. ROK, US should reinforce alliance



14. Commercial banks call profit-sharing 'unfair'



15. North Korea's COVID-19 quarantine efforts appear to be full of holes



16. North Hamgyong Province official sacked after corruption comes to light



17. N. Korean troops' uniform uncannily like S. Korea's



18. North Korean envoy defects in possible sign that Kim's power base is 'drifting'



19. South Korean police clear protesters blocking access to US Army-operated THAAD missile-defense battery



20. Korea under the rising sun: Japan's brutal World War II occupation



 



1. N. Korean diplomat defects to S. Korea: source



· 고병준 · January 25, 2021



Almost a year and a half ago? Must have been a long debriefing. Just now being reported. I imagine he has a lot of information about North Korea's global illicit activities.



 



2. N.K. propaganda outlet mentions Biden’s election for first time



· 이원주 · January 25, 2021



I am sure the regime was very confused between November 3d and January 20th and may have had no idea who would really be the US president. But the Propaganda and Agitation department is taking a somewhat veiled swipe at the insurrection on January 6th.



 



3. Seoul sticks to ‘peace process’ despite Washington's hint for new strategy for Pyongyang



· January 25, 2021



Peace at any cost. This is going to be a problem for the alliance. If we do not have assumptions about the Kim family regime sufficiently aligned, we are going to have problems within the alliance. We must be able to synchronize alliance policy and strategy. Failure to do so provides an advantage to Kim Jong-Un and his political warfare strategy.



 



4. ‘S. Korea-U.S. alliance is a lynchpin of Indo-Pacific,’ says Sullivan



· tree624@donga.com · January 25, 2021



Note how the vocabulary transitions between administrations. For decades the ROK/US alliance has been the linchpin and the Japan/US alliance has been the cornerstone.



Note the Korean interpretation of the calls: every word will be parsed. It is imperative that we choose our words carefully when speaking to Koreans (those from both the North and South).



 



5. S. Korea completes development of wheel-type command post for military



· 최수향 · January 25, 2021



A question for chem bio defense. It is nice that this tactical C2 vehicle will be equipped for chemical defense. But has the ROK military invested in sufficient chemical protective equipment with at least two suits and two sets of filters for all military personnel?



 



6. Moon’s approval rating jumps to 43 pct after New Year’s address: Realmeter



· 이치동 · January 25, 2021



The people approve a good speech.



 



7. Korea to start coronavirus vaccinations next month



· Woo Jeong-shik & Kim Sung-hyun · January 25, 2021



What vaccine are they purchasing? It does not say in the article. Are they getting it from China or Russia or from the US and European companies? Or did they get the formula from a company and authorization to produce the vaccine indigenously? We will probably read the reports telling people from where in the coming days.



 



8. Comfort women victim says all she wants is apology



· speakup@donga.com · January 25, 2021



It is not the apology she wants. It is Japan taking responsibility for its crimes against humanity.



According to some of my Korean friends, they have explained that Japan has apologized and in fact paid reparations in 1965 when Japan and South Korea normalized relations. But Japan has never admitted that what it did violated international law and was an abuse of human rights. That is what victims want.  It is not another apology and monetary compensation; it is an acceptance of responsibility for wrongdoing.



 



9. S. Korea aims to vaccinate 70 pct of population by Sept.



· 김수연 · January 25, 2021



More information on where they are procuring vaccines. I see no mention of Chinese or Russian vaccines and the Korean Ministry of Food and Drug Safety has strict protocols for approval.



 



10. Minister hopes for 'wise' and 'flexible' solution to joint military drill issue



· 이원주 · January 25, 2021



Dangerous. What Minister Lee really wants is to end exercises to try to bring North Korea to the negotiating table. I have written ad nauseum on this topic but giving North Korea this concession only harms the readiness of ROK/US forces. Most importantly, it will not change regime behavior, because it will be another indication of its successful political warfare strategy and blackmail diplomacy. The regime demands an end of exercises to weaken readiness, split the ROK/US alliance, and ultimately force the removal of US forces from the peninsula.



We have spent the last 2+ years cancelling, postponing, and scaling back exercises and there has been no reciprocity from the North. We have "tested" the Minister's "theory" and we have disproved it.  Providing this concession to the regime has not resulted in any positive outcome and continuing to provide this concession will only put the security of the ROK at greater risk.



And, of course, failure to conduct combined training exercises will delay meeting the conditions for OPCON transition.



Minister Lee should limit his remarks and focus on work to devise plans for unification of Korea. He should not be making these kinds of statements.



It is this kind of thinking by the Minister that is going to increase alliance friction. This, of course, fully supports the regime's political warfare strategy with one line of effort called "divide to conquer" - divide the ROK/US alliance to conquer the ROK.



 



11. Minister says next few months important in creating atmosphere for resumption of talks with N. Korea



· 고병준 · January 25, 2021



The "Lucy with Charlie Brown's football strategy" continues. Minister Lee must re-evaluate the assumption that the Kim family regime actually wants dialogue, cooperation, and co-existence. This flawed assumption is putting ROK security at great risk.



 



12. Former minister summoned for questioning on Wolsong-1 closure



· Kang Kwang-Soo & Sarah Kim · January 25, 2021



What needs to be questioned is the Moon administration's policy on eliminating nuclear power from Korea. Of course, the Moon administration should also be challenged on why a former minister is not allowed to freely express his expert opinion.



What should be questioned is whether someone is cooking the books on the economic analysis regarding the elimination of nuclear power in South Korea to support the administration's policy decision.



 



13. ROK, US should reinforce alliance



· Park Jin · January 25, 2021



I will track this series. The people working on the Biden Administration's Korea policy review should track these recommendations. We might think reinforcing the alliance is a "no brainer." We need to keep in mind there will be no success on the Korean peninsula for either the US or the ROK without a rock solid ROK/US alliance.



 



14. North Hamgyong Province official sacked after corruption comes to light



· Lee Min-hyung · January 25, 2021



Does this sound like "from each according to his ability to each according to his need?"



 



15. North Korea's COVID-19 quarantine efforts appear to be full of holes



· Lee Chae Un · January 25, 2021



I fear the amount of suffering, corruption, oppression, and incompetence in North Korea is at a level we can hardly comprehend.



So COVID-19 treatment is ideological based: Juche (self-reliance) will heal you.



On a less snarky note, we need to be vigilant in observing for the indications and warning of internal instability. As I have written, the conditions in North Korea could rival, if not be worse than, the conditions during the Arduous March of the famine of 1994-1996.



 



16. North Hamgyong Province official sacked after corruption comes to light



· Jong So Yong · January 25, 2021



Again, I do not think we can appreciate the level of corruption inside North Korea and the regime.



 



17. N. Korean troops' uniform uncannily like S. Korea's



· January 25, 2021



Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. But perhaps these uniforms will be useful to sow confusion and distrust in the South when they infiltrate through the remaining 17 undiscovered tunnels under the DMZ. Imagine what will happen when such troops attack US forces: all personnel wearing these uniforms will then be treated as possible infiltrators. Think about what that will do for trust within the alliance.



 



18. North Korean envoy defects in possible sign that Kim’s power base is ‘drifting’



· Reuters · January 25, 2021



Again, based on reports this may have occurred in 2019. We should not over analyze and jump to the conclusion that Kim's power base is “drifting." But it does bear watching. We need to be watchful for the instability indicators.



 



19. South Korean police clear protesters blocking access to US Army-operated THAAD missile-defense battery



· Seth Robson & Yoo Kyong Chang · January 22, 2021



This is significant. These (very professional) protestors (or, I should say, protestors led by professional agitators?) have been blocking access to the THAAD battery site for years and the ROK government has done little to allow proper logistical support for the site.



We should keep in mind the THAAD system defends not only US and ROK forces but also the South Korean population from certain missile threats from the North.



 



20. Korea under the rising sun: Japan's brutal World War II occupation



· Warfare History Network · January 24, 2021



Why the Korean people have some feelings toward Japan.



 



"Divide and rule, a sound motto. Unite and lead, a better one."



- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe



“The only stable state is the one in which all men are equal before the law.”



- Aristotle



"Society can and does execute its own mandates: and if it issues wrong mandates instead of right, or any mandates at all in things with which it ought not to meddle, it practises a social tyranny more formidable than many kinds of political oppression...“



-John Stuart Mill, On Liberty



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