Informal Institute for National Security Thinkers and Practitioners

Quotes:

“However repugnant the idea is to liberal societies, the man who will willingly defend the free world in the fringe areas is not the responsible citizen-soldier. The man who will go where his colors go, without asking, who will fight a phantom foe in jungle and mountain range, without counting, and who will suffer and die in the midst of incredible hardship, without complaint, is still what he has always been, from Imperial Rome to sceptered Britain to democratic America. He is the stuff of which legions are made. His pride is in his colors and his regiment, his training hard and thorough and coldly realistic, to fit him for what he must face, and his obedience to his orders. As a legionary, he held the gates of civilization for the classical world; as a blue-coated horseman, he swept the Indians from the Plains; he has been called United States Marine. He does the jobs—the utterly necessary jobs—no militia is willing to do. His task is moral or immoral according to the orders that send him forth.”
- Ralph Waldo Emerson in Boston c. 1838 called not surprisingly "War". 

"I would hope that all educated citizens would fulfill this obligation—in politics, in Government, here in Nashville, here in this State, in the Peace Corps, in the Foreign Service, in the Government Service, in the Tennessee Valley, in the world. You will find the pressures greater than the pay. You may endure more public attacks than support. But you will have the unequaled satisfaction of knowing that your character and talent are contributing to the direction and success of this free society." 
- John F. Kennedy

“If a faction consists of less than a majority, relief is supplied by the republican principle, which enables the majority to defeat its sinister views by regular vote. It may clog the administration, it may convulse the society; but it will be unable to execute and mask its violence under the forms of the Constitution.”
-James Madison, Federalist 10



1. What to do about North Korea
2. Report casts doubt on claim a North Korean was sentenced to death for smuggling 'Squid Game'
3. Exam skills won’t help you survive ‘Squid Game’
4. Late ex-President Chun's wife apologizes for 'pains, scars' inflicted during his presidency
5.  Daily cases bounce back above 4,000, deaths hit record high
6. South Korea’s KSTAR Fusion Reaction Breaks Own Record, Self-Sustaining Nuclear Energy Power Source?
7. 21 Sakhalin Koreans return to home country
8. Moon appoints two deputy chiefs of spy agency
9. 3 reasons Lee Jae-myung and the Democratic Party are losing ground





1. What to do about North Korea
Bradley Martin packs a lot into this short article.

Must have been the percent NK News survey which we will unlikely be able to read because it will be behind the firewall. (I refuse to subscribe to it).

This is a good article on a number of levels- from challenging the narrow questions without sufficient context or nuance to the end of war declaration (a former US diplomat saying if South Korea wants it just do it.)





What to do about North Korea
A long-shot bet that – as Clinton aide James Carville said in another context in 1992 – it's 'the economy, stupid'
asiatimes.com · by Bradley K. Martin · November 27, 2021
I was reminded, when a researcher asked me to respond to a survey, that there was a story I’d been meaning to write.
The survey questions were generally good. For example, one asked what had been Kim Jong Un’s best decision so far in his decade-long rule, in terms of sustaining that rule. It was a good question, because (a.) keeping power is by far the number one interest of any member of North Korea’s Kim Dynasty and also because (b.) the suggested replies included one that I considered the correct answer.
The answer I ticked as the best decision was Kim’s shedding, this year, of a lot of bodily weight. My brief explanation stated the obvious: “If he dies, that’s not sustaining his rule. He’ll live longer with the svelte outline.”

As for Kim’s worst decision, another from this year reversing himself on “reforms” and “recentralizing state control over the economy” struck me as close enough – although I think there’s a tendency among Norkologists to overuse the term “reform” when describing Pyongyang’s economic policy pronouncements. Most such lauded pronouncements strike me as falling short of real reform.
I felt no need to comment further on that answer – and likewise with my choice of canned answers to the question of what has been “Washington’s best North Korea-focused decision during the Kim Jong Un era?” There I chose “keeping the alliance with South Korea a top US priority, both from diplomatic and military perspectives.”
This undated picture, released from North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on July 30 shows the newly thinner North Korean leader Kim Jong Un taking part in the First Workshop of Korea People’s Army commanders and political officers, at April 25 House of Culture in Pyongyang. Photo: KCNA VIA KNS
The first question whose list of suggested answers included none that I could agree with was itself a zinger: “If international policy doesn’t change, the DPRK will in 2026 ___ .” I filled in the blank with my own answer – predicting that, in that case, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea will “be in about the same state as if international policy does change.”
I’m surprised the no-change outcome wasn’t on the list presented for choice. At root, as I noted in the space left for comment, it is Kim’s decisions that determine North Korea’s course. It’s difficult to think of anything the outside world could, realistically, give him that would make him feel secure enough in his rule to throw away the playbook he inherited from Gramps and Daddy.
“But,” I wrote, “see my next answer.”

The next question – “Faced with the current status quo, what should Washington now do?” – was the one that reminded me of the story I’d been planning.
After my previous answer, I might have been expected to tick: “Do nothing – just try to wait out for positive changes inside North Korea.” But who wants to be a total do-nothing pessimist?
There wasn’t another answer listed that inspired me to choose it, but one did seem partially promising: “Normalize relations, sign a peace treaty and pursue a policy of sustained economic, political and even military engagement – accepting denuclearization is a lost cause.”
My problem with that answer was that I felt it offered Kim way too much accommodation at one throw, essentially giving away the store. So I ticked “other” and wrote: “Try economic engagement not tied to denuclearization and not accompanied by a peace treaty.”
I explained: “If there is any remote chance of turning Kim from the course set by Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il, it probably lies in showing him he can be a hero to his people, secure in a long rule, as the leader of the newest Asian tiger.”

To expand on that: I do know that the approach has been tried before on the North Korean ruler of the time and that the efforts ended in failure – and I fear the chance is indeed remote.
But I also know a man who has a long track record of close dealings with the regime, who has made clear he’s available to try again to help get economic advancement going – and who has argued that this can be done even within the current very stringent diplomatic limitations set by facts ranging from (a.) that there’s no Korean War treaty in place to (z.) that international and bilateral sanctions have piled onto Kim as he’s pursued his nuclear weapons ambitions.
Could something be in the works? That’s the story I’d had on my list to write, updating last year’s Asia Times articles on Colin McAskill’s experiences and plans. At the moment I find, though, that the gentleman is mum. Perhaps that’s a positive sign.
Briton Colin McAskill (left) is shown with a North Korean contact. Photo courtesy Colin McAskill.
Anyhow, there are others who see a shot. Take, for example, Spencer H Kim, CEO of California aerospace firm CBOL Corp and co-founder of the Pacific Century Foundation, who particularly emphasizes a leading South Korean role.
“If the US, South Korea, Japan, China and the rest of the world want North Korea to denuclearize, they must be willing to give Kim Jong-un what he wants most of all – security for him and his regime,” Spencer Kim writes in a recent issue of the Korea Herald.

Security from what?
First, China, the superpower next door that would love to make North Korea “a de facto Chinese province.” Second, there’s “the domestic threat. A coup? Widespread unrest if the economy totally shatters? Or, conversely, deep disappointment following rising expectations? Even a totalitarian regime like Kim’s cannot rely only on the brutality of the secret police; it also needs a success narrative that creates at least a modicum of loyalty and willing compliance.”
Third comes “the United States, a constant military threat,” and, fourth, there’s “the complex sociological and psychological, and even military threat from South Korea,” Spencer Kim writes. “The siren song of Southern absorption has arisen in people’s minds – in North and South.”
He argues that Kim Jong-un and the North “have to be persuaded that Seoul is the best partner in addressing all four of their existential threats. South Korea can help with the economic development and diversification” that can end reliance on China and minimize unrest responding to deprivation.
“South Korea can be the brake on any US military adventurism. Seoul can use its status to pave the way for better acceptance of North Korea on the international stage. Seoul can declare a policy of no absorption and only mutually agreed reunification when the time comes.”
US and South Korean soldiers in Yeoncheon-gun, South Korea. Photo: AFP / Chung Sung-Jun / Getty Images
Lynn Turk, a retired US diplomat, has long been involved closely with Korean affairs including several years of efforts in the private sector alongside McAskill to promote North Korean economic development.
Turk consulted with Spencer Kim on the wording of the Korea Herald op-ed and says, “I agree with what he says completely. Bottom line: Let the South be the point man. But the South has to decide what the desired outcome is.
“End of war” via peace treaty or declaration, Turk adds, “is not important, one way or the other – except that, if the South wants it, do it.”
A veteran Asia correspondent and a Pyongyang watcher since 1977, Asia Times Associate Editor Bradley K. Martin is the author of Under the Loving Care of the Fatherly Leader: North Korea and the Kim Dynasty.
asiatimes.com · by Bradley K. Martin · November 27, 2021


2. Report casts doubt on claim a North Korean was sentenced to death for smuggling 'Squid Game'

First I will stipulate that every report coming out of north Korea must be taken with a grain of salt because it cannot be easily or even effectively vetted. That said, before we defend the honor of the Kim family regime, we should consider the regime's own words on outside information and influence and ideological purity, that the Propaganda and Agitation department has already attacked Squid Game which is an indicator that it does exist inside north Korea, and we should listen to escapees who have witnessed executions inside north Korea for the crime of watching South Korea media. We should question some of the analysis of these experts as well: the "timeline" they suggest is too quick for the series to be smuggled into north Korea and for someone to be caught, tried, convicted, and sentenced to execution for their crimes against the Kim family regime. Also, I find the idea that the new north Korean laws would deter smuggling in South korea media to wrong. I always ask escapees about the moral hazard we create when we send outside information into north Korea knowing such information, if discovered by the north Korea security services, could put people at risk of arrest, imprisonment, and execution. But they all tell me they understand the risks and are willing to take the risks because their desire/thirst for outside information is greater than the risks. And they all say we should be working harder to get more information into the north.

Again, Radio Free Asia has a lot more contacts inside north Korea than does NK News or its experts. It is only reporting the information it has received from its contacts. It may be disinformation or "fake news " (two words I hate but seems to be so fashionable these days). But I find their reports more plausible than the NK News analysis that seeks to debunk them. I wonder why they did not interview any escapees from north Korea.




Report casts doubt on claim a North Korean was sentenced to death for smuggling 'Squid Game'
news.yahoo.com · by Mia Jankowicz

A still from Netflix's 2021 series "Squid Game."Netflix
Radio Free Asia reported that 'Squid Game' had been smuggled into North Korea.
The outlet said that a smuggler was facing death by firing squad as punishment.
The respected outlet NK News cited experts who said this was unlikely.
A North Korea-focused news outlet cast doubt on a viral report that said the Netflix drama "Squid Game" had been smuggled into the secretive state, leading to a death sentence.
NK News sought to debunk a recent story that said smuggled copies of the South Korean hit show were spreading in North Korea despite strict censorship of foreign media.
The publisher was Radio Free Asia (RFA), a US government-funded nonprofit news service focusing on Asian countries.
Citing unnamed sources in both cases, RFA also published an update Tuesday saying that a North Korean man was sentenced to death for smuggling after students were caught watching the hit drama.
The news was widely reported by other news outlets, including Insider.
But on Thursday NK News — a South Korea-based news service focused on reporting on the neighboring state — published an analysis in which border experts said it is "highly unlikely" the show could have made it into North Korea.
Insider contacted RFA for comment, which said that due to the holiday it could not immediately respond.
NK cited several experts in its debunk. This included an unnamed former North Korean official and defector who said it was "logically and conceptually impossible" for anyone to have brought in the show.
The defector said that border security was so tight during the pandemic he did not believe it could happen.
Ishimaro Jiro, founder of news site Asia Press Rimjingang, also told NK News that smuggling activity in some border cities had been hit hard by the state's tightened border controls.
He said there was a "less than 1% chance" the show came in on a SD card or a USB flash drive, as RFA's sources had said.
He also said that the timeframe for a death sentence was too short, given the recent release of the show. The man's arrest, trial and execution "probably wouldn't all happen in just two months in North Korea," he said. (RFA did not say that the execution had taken place yet.)
Other aspects of the timing did not make sense, NK News said. Reacting to RFA's report that the show came in by sea, NK News pointed to the prohibitively long time it takes goods to pass through ports, given current COVID restrictions.
An analysis by NK News of the port of Nampho found the average time taken for goods to be disinfected and pass through was two months — longer than "Squid Game" has been out.
Insider spoke to two North Korea specialists from the SOAS in the UK, who concurred that North Korea's security has become increasingly tight, but also said that some items can get through.
Dr James Hoare, a research associate at the university's Centre of Korean Studies, said that from around 2017, the North Korean government intensified efforts to block South Korean cultural influence.
In October this year, the North Korean government condemned the show, which is set in South Korea. A state propaganda website said the dystopian show revealed the "beastly" nature of South Korea, Reuters reported.
"It will be more difficult now, but not impossible as [shows] come in on USB sticks," said Prof. Hazel Smith, a research associate at the SOAS Centre of Korean Studies. She said it is "plausible" that "Squid Game" is being watched in North Korea, but not likely that it's widespread.
Ultimately, Hoare told Insider, it wasn't easy to say either way whether RFA's story held weight or whether it could be debunked.
Reporting on North Korea is notoriously difficult, as the secretive dictatorship prohibits a free press and lets few journalists into the country. Unlike in countries with a free media, unnamed sources are the norm, Hoare said.
Read the original article on Business Insider
news.yahoo.com · by Mia Jankowicz

3. Exam skills won’t help you survive ‘Squid Game’

South Korean college entrance exams are tough.

[Weekender] Exam skills won’t help you survive ‘Squid Game’
koreaherald.com · by Yoon Min-sik · November 25, 2021
This year’s Suneung had questions about Hegel’s dialectics and Bretton Woods. But do they really matter?
Published : Nov 27, 2021 - 16:01 Updated : Nov 27, 2021 - 16:08
In the Netflix smash hit “Squid Game,” there is a line that resonates with most South Koreans: While boasting that she is street-smart and capable, the self-proclaimed silver-tongued Mi-nyeo says, “I’m totally smart. I just never studied.”

The line stems from the widespread belief -- not just here but in many other parts of the world -- that being brainy and doing well on school exams are not necessarily the same.

But in a country where 12 years of schooling can be summed up in a score on one crucial, potentially life-determining test, it resonates deeply with many.


The art of picking the right answer

On Nov. 18, slightly over 500,000 Koreans sat arguably the most important exam of their life: the College Scholastic Ability Test, or Suneung.

A day after the annual exam, a parents’ union held a protest in front of the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education against the government’s ongoing education policies. The protesters were part of a growing movement that questions whether the country’s educational system can foster creative minds or equip young people with the skills they’ll need in the future, rather than just training them to do well on multiple choice tests.

Among the biggest questions -- both for the public educational system and the 9.3 trillion won ($8.1 billion) after-school hagwon industry -- is how well English is being taught.

Critics say English education is often targeted toward acing standardized written exams, like the Suneung, rather than improving students’ practical communication skills.

Kim Jae-joong, the head of a local English academy, said English studies at high school focus on rote memorization because of the Suneung.

Problems had long existed, but they got worse in 2018 when the Suneung switched to an absolute grading system for its English section instead of grading students on a curve.

The move was intended to tackle the snowballing cost of private English education in the country, but the similarities between the Suneung’s English section and the English programs on the state-run educational TV channel EBS led students to learn what patterns to look for on the test.

“Since (the students) can access similar questions and (Suneung) sample sentences, they focus more on memorizing (the patterns) to ‘pick’ the right answers,” Kim explained, going on to say that he actually advises students against trying to understand what the text is about. “It takes much more than two minutes, so one needs instead to find clues that will help them pinpoint the answer.” Test takers are given 45 questions that need to be answered in 70 minutes.

“We (educators) should consider the matters on the fundamental level, about why we learn English, and how English should be taught and learned well. This, of course, will take more than two minutes to solve.”

As most students work hard to gain the skills to ace multiple-choice tests, exams have come to include “ridiculously difficult” questions to distinguish high performers from well-trained but average students. This has led to the Suneung becoming inconsistent with the secondary education curriculum.

A major complaint over this year’s exam concerned a passage on Hegelian dialectics, followed by six questions about the passage. Other passages are also said to have exceeded the reading comprehension level required of high school graduates -- for example, one on the Bretton Woods international monetary system and one on optical lenses for automobiles.

YouTuber Korean Englishman recently posted a video of British students in their final year of high school taking the English portion of the Suneung. They struggled despite English being their native tongue, as the reading comprehension section contains excerpts drawn from philosophy, literature and technical manuals rather than everyday English.

When asked, “What did it feel like you were being tested on?” one student jokingly answered, “Not English.”

“It’s done in a way every answer could be the answer,” said another.


The roots of the exam obsession

In June, the Korean Society for the Study of Education held its annual meeting of 1,500 scholars from across the country. The theme was the present and future of education in the country. Naturally, its hyper-competitive, exam-focused nature dominated the discussion.

Professor Yoon Pyung-joong of Hanshin University said that was a reflection of Korean society.

Koreans tend to hold the view that “college entrance is the front line in the clash of the classes,” he said, adding that one should be mindful of the political and philosophical aspects of Korean education when discussing how to reform it.

Almost regardless of age, Koreans live under constant pressure to out-excel peers, and exams offer the most cost-effective way to evaluate and rank people.

In a country where well over 70 percent of high school graduates advance to college, getting good Suneung scores and enrolling in an elite university is proof of success -- at least early in life.

In “Squid Game,” protagonist Gi-hun’s weird obsession with boasting that his childhood friend Sang-woo is the “pride of Sangmoon-dong” and “graduated from Seoul National University with honors” reflects this same outlook.

Of course, this is why the Suneung is considered among the most important days of one’s life, if not the most important. On the eve of this year’s exam, the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family announced that it would offer round-the-clock counseling for teens dealing with post-Suneung stress -- part of an effort to prevent violence and even suicide.

In about four months, Koreans will elect a new president. At Global HR Forum 2021, held earlier this month, the presidential candidates shared their respective visions on education, which ranged from an emphasis on smart teaching and learning technologies to reforms that would emphasize creativity over exam skills.

Although they differ on policies, they share one big question: How should Korea prepare its children for the future?

Perhaps the fate of the fictional “pride of Sangmoon-dong” in “Squid Game,” considering where his SNU diploma landed him, is a reflection of where Korean education is headed unless something changes.



By Yoon Min-sik (minsikyoon@heraldcorp.com)


4. Late ex-President Chun's wife apologizes for 'pains, scars' inflicted during his presidency
But she could never convince her late husband to do the same. It must have been a very stressful relationship.

(2nd LD) Late ex-President Chun's wife apologizes for 'pains, scars' inflicted during his presidency | Yonhap News Agency
en.yna.co.kr · by 송상호 · November 27, 2021
(ATTN: UPDATES with more details in 5-8)
SEOUL, Nov. 27 (Yonhap) -- The wife of late former President Chun Doo-hwan, widely criticized for the bloody crackdown on a 1980 pro-democracy uprising in the southwestern city of Gwangju, issued an apology on Saturday for the "pains and scars" inflicted during his presidency.
Lee Soon-ja made the apology in the first such move by Chun's family, as the bereaved family was preparing to carry his coffin out of a hospital in Seoul. Chun died Tuesday at age 90 from chronic ailments.
"On behalf of my husband, I would like to deeply apologize, especially to those who suffered pains and scars during his time in office," Lee said at Yonsei University Severance Hospital in central Seoul.
Lee also recalled that Chun used to say, "All things were due to my fault and my lack of virtue."
The apology, however, was not seen as being directed at the victims of the brutal crackdown on the uprising on May 18, 1980, as Lee limited it to the period when Chun was president from September 1980 through February 1988. Chun, an ex-Army general, rose to power through a military coup in 1979.
"(Lee) did not make the remarks in regards to the May 18 uprising," a former aide to Chun told reporters.
"During his presidency, there were students who were tortured to death by police," he said, alluding to Chun's heavy-handed rule while in office.
In her remarks, the widow also said Chun told his family to minimize the funeral process, never make any tomb for him, and cremate him and spread his ashes in areas overlooking North Korea.
Later in the day, Cho Jin-tae, a senior official at the May 18 Memorial Foundation, dedicated to commemorating the 1980 movement, dismissed Lee's apology as "meaningless remarks uttered out of courtesy."
"Lee's single remarks will not give solace to people who have suffered pain," he told Yonhap News Agency over the phone.
"If they are genuinely apologetic, they should demonstrate action later to the extent that those who suffered can accept it."

sshluck@yna.co.kr
(END)
en.yna.co.kr · by 송상호 · November 27, 2021

5.  Daily cases bounce back above 4,000, deaths hit record high


(4th LD) Daily cases bounce back above 4,000, deaths hit record high | Yonhap News Agency
en.yna.co.kr · by 김보람 · November 27, 2021
(ATTN: UPDATES with 9 p.m. figures in 5th para)
SEOUL, Nov. 27 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's new coronavirus cases rose above 4,000 with the numbers of deaths and critically ill patients hitting fresh record highs Saturday, deepening worries about the further spread of COVID-19 under a phased scheme for a gradual return to normal life.
The country reported 4,068 new COVID-19 cases, including 4,045 local infections, raising the total caseload to 436,968, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).
The number was up 167 from 3,901 on Friday but down from 4,115 on Wednesday, which was the highest since the first case was reported in South Korea in January 2020.
Critically ill patients hit an all-time high of 634, up 17 from the previous day. The country added 52 more deaths from COVID-19, bringing the death toll to 3,492. The fatality rate stood at 0.8 percent.
As of 9 p.m., 3,184 new cases had been confirmed across the country, excluding Busan, down 97 from the previous day, according to local governments and health authorities. Cases are counted until midnight and announced the following morning.

Of the locally transmitted cases, Seoul, the surrounding Gyeonggi Province and the western port city of Incheon reported 1,881, 1,105 and 287 infections, respectively.
The southeastern port city of Busan posted 104, while Gangwon Province and North Gyeongsang Province reported 93 and 95, respectively.
The number of cases from overseas came to 23.
A total of 42.47 million people, or 82.7 percent of the country's population, have received their first shots of COVID-19 vaccines, and 40.85 million people, or 79.6 percent, have been fully vaccinated.
Concerns about an upsurge in new cases have been growing since the country began easing virus restrictions early this month under the three-phase "living with COVID-19" scheme.
South Korea planned to move to the second, more eased stage in mid-December, but health authorities have warned the country may not be able to do so if the current trend continues.
Surging infections and critical cases are spawning worries about a shortage of hospital beds for treatment, especially in the greater Seoul area, home to about half of the country's 52 million population.
The number of those waiting to secure hospital beds in the greater Seoul area is tallied at 1,167, down 143 from the previous day.
Of those on the waiting list, 498 are aged 70 and older, with 669 people having preexisting medical conditions, including hypertension and diabetes.
The number of intensive care hospital beds left vacant in the wider Seoul area stood at 118, but they cannot be used at full capacity due to limited medical staff and other issues.
The government said it will announce toughened antivirus measures to contain the spread of the virus Monday.
sshluck@yna.co.kr
(END)
en.yna.co.kr · by 김보람 · November 27, 2021

6.  South Korea’s KSTAR Fusion Reaction Breaks Own Record, Self-Sustaining Nuclear Energy Power Source?

I hope this will be a game changer.

South Korea’s KSTAR Fusion Reaction Breaks Own Record, Self-Sustaining Nuclear Energy Power Source?
techtimes.com · by Isaiah Richard · November 26, 2021
Isaiah Richard, Tech Times 26 November 2021, 10:11 pm
South Korea has achieved a new record that beat its previous one for a fusion reaction with the KSTAR or Korea Superconductor Tokamak Advanced Research facility. The promising focus of "artificial sun" has been the focus of many ventures nowadays, aiming to debut their own nuclear energy power source for a self-sustaining stream for all to use.
South Korea's KSTAR Fusion Reaction Break Its Own Record for Fusion Reaction
(Photo : Hal Gatewood via Unsplash)
The KSTAR has made another record of its own and broke its previous one with 10 seconds more than its previous run, a year apart from its initial experiment. According to Science Alert, KSTAR has made its nuclear fusion run for 30 seconds now, having 100 million degrees of churning plasma rotating and giving off the output these researchers want for the facility.
Its fusion reaction is still short of the global record from China that has 120 million degrees Celsius for 101 seconds, almost thrice the duration of South Korea's KSTAR. Nevertheless, both are advancements and achievements to the world of nuclear science and fusion reactions, soon developing an artificial sun for human needs.
Self-Sustaining Nuclear Energy Power Source Coming Soon?
A self-sustaining nuclear energy power source is the next step to these experiments and studies, and it is because these researchers want to replicate the power of the Sun for use here on Earth. The Sun gives us free power every day for a certain time, but unlocking its secret may be key to self-sustenance, having a potent power like the Solar System's Sun right at humans' hands.
Clean and Eco-Friendly Energy Sources Under Study
Last year, KSTAR has set a record for itself for having its fusion reaction run for a total of 20 seconds at 180 million degrees Fahrenheit, something that is close to ultra-high temperatures brought by the Sun. Although the natural star or big ball of light focuses on bringing 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit but is capable of much more.
Apart from nuclear fusion energy, the world has also been invested in debuting clean energy sources that would help in powering modern appliances and needs that a person would use in their everyday life. It includes wind farms at certain locations, as well as the Tesla Powerwall that focuses its integration with the Solar Roof for its self-sustaining power generation.
Nevertheless, it seems that humans are intent on recreating nuclear fusion and energy, something that would resemble the big ball of life from the Solar System, known for its hot contribution to the weather. It is mesmerizing that the Sun can give that much power even though it is millions of miles apart, something that says a lot for its hidden power that may be the key to self-sustaining nuclear fusion.
This article is owned by Tech Times
Written by Isaiah Richard

ⓒ 2021 TECHTIMES.com All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.
techtimes.com · by Isaiah Richard · November 26, 2021
7. 21 Sakhalin Koreans return to home country

21 Sakhalin Koreans return to home country | Yonhap News Agency
en.yna.co.kr · by 송상호 · November 27, 2021
SEOUL, Nov. 27 (Yonhap) -- Twenty-one ethnic Koreans who were taken to Russia's far eastern island of Sakhalin for forced labor during Japan's 1910-45 colonial rule returned to their home country Saturday, the foreign ministry said.
A total of 91 people, including the former forced laborers and their family members, arrived at Incheon International Airport, west of Seoul, under a government support project that will help them get permanent residency here or get dual citizenship if they apply. They all have Russian citizenship.
The average age of the ethnic Koreans who were relocated to Sakhalin during World War II was 88, with the oldest one at age 90.
After a 10-day quarantine, the returnees and their family members will reside in rental homes in Ansan, 42 kilometers south of Seoul, and Incheon, 40 km west of the capital.
Under the project designed in line with a special act to support the ethnic Koreans from Sakhalin, the government plans to bring in 260 people in stages between Saturday and Dec. 10.
About 43,000 Koreans are thought to have been forced into labor on Sakhalin Island in the early 1900s.
Many of them are known to have returned to their motherland after Seoul and Moscow forged diplomatic relations in 1990, but there are still such ethnic Koreans living in Russia, Kazakhstan and Ukraine.


(END)
en.yna.co.kr · by 송상호 · November 27, 2021

8. Moon appoints two deputy chiefs of spy agency



Moon appoints two deputy chiefs of spy agency
koreaherald.com · by Yonhap · November 26, 2021
Published : Nov 26, 2021 - 15:02 Updated : Nov 26, 2021 - 15:02
This photo shows the NIS's first deputy director Park Sun-won (L) and second deputy director Chun Se-young. (Cheong Wa Dae)
President Moon Jae-in on Friday appointed two deputy directors of the National Intelligence Service (NIS), the presidential office said.

Moon appointed Park Sun-won, head of the NIS's planning and coordination office, as the first deputy director, while choosing Chun Se-young, senior official at the NIS's counter-espionage team, as the second deputy director.

The first deputy director is tasked with gleaning intelligence on North Korea and overseas affairs, while the second deputy director is in charge of espionage and terrorism.

Park is a veteran expert on North Korea and international politics, while Chun is a long-time intelligence official with expertise in counter-espionage, the office said in a statement.

Moon has said it will make sure the NIS serves as a purely intelligence agency by insulating it from politics. (Yonhap)




9. 3 reasons Lee Jae-myung and the Democratic Party are losing ground

3 reasons Lee Jae-myung and the Democratic Party are losing ground
Posted on : Nov.23,2021 17:02 KST Modified on : Nov.23,2021 17:02 KST
 
There are currents in public opinion that polls don’t really capture — things that may be all the more serious because they aren’t readily visible

Democratic Party presidential candidate Lee Jae-myung greets party members outside the National Assembly building in Yeouido, Seoul, on the morning of Nov. 12. (pool photo)
 
Are you often in a good mood for no reason these days? Do you find yourself smiling when you leaf through the politics section?
 
If so, there’s a good chance you identify as a “highly politically engaged” conservative supporter of South Korea’s opposition party.
 
Have you been down in the dumps lately? Does political news leave you wary about the future of the country? If so, you may be either a highly politically engaged supporter of the ruling party or an independent.
 
When you live in a democratic country, it’s impossible to remain aloof from politics and elections. An election is a sacred affair, in which we select officials — in Korea’s case, National Assembly members and a president — to entrust with our sovereignty.
 
But while elections should be a glad occasion, they sometimes leave us unhappy. It can be unbearable to watch “our side” lose. It may feel like some kind of doom awaits us personally — even when that is not the case.
 

Democratic Party presidential nominee Lee Jae-myung heads into the SBS Prism Tower in Seoul’s Mapo District ahead of a televised forum for candidates on Nov. 18. (Yonhap News)
 
No smiles for the Democratic Party and Lee Jae-myung
 
On Oct. 10, the Democratic Party held a convention to select its nominee for next year’s presidential election.
 
A week earlier, on Oct. 3, Yu Dong-gyu, the former head of the Seongnam Development Corporation’s planning headquarters, was arrested. One of the prospective Democratic candidates, former party leader Lee Nak-yon, delayed his concession for several days due to a dispute over whether nominee Lee Jae-myung had actually secured a majority of votes.
 
Plagued by controversy over that concession and corruption allegations surrounding the Daejang neighborhood in Seongnam, Lee Jae-myung has seen his support numbers plummet. Normally, the so-called convention effect supplies a boost in support after a nominee is selected; this time, some observers made mention of a “reverse convention effect” for Lee Jae-myung.
 
The convention to select the People Power Party (PPP) nominee was held on Nov. 5. An opinion poll reflecting popular sentiments showed National Assembly member Hong Joon-pyo winning by a margin of 10 percentage points. But the presidential nomination ended up going to former Prosecutor General Yoon Seok-youl, who led by a large margin in the senior party member vote.
 
While that convention was underway, numerous findings began to emerge from polls where opposition party supporters were overrepresented. A combination of the convention effect and the bandwagon effect helped to send Yoon’s support skyrocketing.
 
Lately, the smiles have been wiped off the faces of Lee Jae-myung and Democratic Party lawmakers. Yoon and PPP lawmakers, in contrast, have reportedly been walking on air these days.
Is this how we can expect next year’s presidential election to play out? Unlikely.
 
National Barometer Survey findings on presidential candidate support that were released on Thursday showed Yoon with 36% of support, followed by Lee with 35%, Ahn Cheol-soo with 5%, and Sim Sang-jung with 4%.
 
A week earlier, Yoon stood at 39%, followed by Lee with 32% and Ahn and Sim tied with 5%. The gap between Yoon and Lee had shrunk all the way from seven percentage points to one percentage point — putting the matchup within the margin of error.
 
Gallup Korea findings on presidential candidate support released Friday showed 42% of respondents supporting Yoon, compared with 31% for Lee, 7% for Ahn, and 5% for Sim. Another Gallup Korea poll a month earlier had Lee in the lead with 34%, followed by Yoon with 31%, Ahn with 9%, and Sim with 7%.
 
Detailed findings from the two polls can be found on the website of the National Election Survey Deliberation Commission.
 
As these survey examples show, even these rather large polling figures have been seesawing. While we will still need to continue observing opinion trends going forward, it is reasonable to conclude that it is impossible to predict right now who will win next year’s election.
 
So why are Lee and the Democratic Party lawmakers looking so glum?
 
It may be that they’re worried they could really lose this election. What’s driving this fear?
 
There are currents in public opinion that the poll results don’t really capture — things that may seem all the more serious because they aren’t readily visible.
 

Democratic Party presidential nominee Lee Jae-myung and his wife Kim Hye-gyeong sit in the stands at Game 4 of the 2021 SOL KBO League Korean Series on Nov. 18. (pool photo)
 
A situation that will take more than political engineering to overcome
 
We asked some Democratic Party figures who are closely acquainted with grassroots sentiment about the “real reasons” Lee and the party are losing ground. The answers they gave can be summed up in terms of three problems.
 
The first had to do with the fundamental limits of the party’s reach.
 
Many people see the Democratic Party as a mainstream example of vested interests in South Korea today. Yet a look back at the history of past presidential elections shows that not to be the case.
 
The Democratic Party’s core support base consists of Honam residents and “outsiders” who supported Kim Dae-jung; greater Seoul residents who backed Roh Moo-hyun and Moon Jae-in; and progressive or reformist voters in their 40s in Busan, Ulsan, and South Gyeongsang Province.
 
But their support alone is not enough to win a nationwide election. The party has always needed to ally itself with others — or to hope for the competing conservative interests to self-destruct.
 
In 1997, then-National Congress for New Politics candidate Kim Dae-jung formed a regional and philosophical alliance with Kim Jong-pil, leader of the United Liberal Democrats and one of the key figures in the Yushin regime. Meanwhile, Lee In-je split the conservative vote by running a third-party candidate after losing the ruling party’s primary. Even then, Kim Dae-jung won by a measly 1.53 percentage points.
 
In 2002, Millennium Democratic Party candidate Roh Moo-hyun won by 2.33 percentage points after reaching a coalition deal with National Unity 21 leader Chung Mong-joon. In 2012, Democratic United Party candidate Moon Jae-in narrowed the gap with Park Geun-hye by reaching a deal for Ahn Cheol-soo’s withdrawal. He ended up losing by 3.53 percentage points, but the margin would have been even wider without the deal.
 
When the Uri Party triumphed in the 2004 general election, when the Democratic Party won the 2016 general election, and when Moon finally won the presidency in 2017, it was because the conservatives did themselves in.
 
Ultimately, the Democratic Party people’s implicit belief that a 2022 win would be a foregone conclusion was itself unrealistic. That misconception was further fanned by the 2018 local elections, which took place while the North Korea-US summits were underway, and the Democrats’ landslide win in the 21st National Assembly election, which took place amid the COVID-19 crisis in 2020.
 
At the 2002 World Cup, the South Korean team under coach Guus Hiddink beat world-class competition from Portugal, Italy, and Spain to reach the semifinals. Each match was a miraculous upset.
 
Was South Korea’s football team really ranked among the world’s top four? Of course not.
 
The same is true of the Democratic Party’s string of victories around the country since 2016. That means the party’s defeat in the Seoul mayoral by-election on April 7 might represent the party’s
true ability.
 
Second is the softening of the party’s support base. It’s worth recalling that resentment fades over time. The resentment felt by residents of the southwest Honam region over the discrimination they’d faced was partly cleared up by Kim Dae-jung’s election as president in 1997. The resentment over the suicide of former president Roh Moo-hyun in 2009 while his family was being investigated by the authorities was somewhat assuaged by Moon Jae-in’s election as president in 2017, as well as by the imprisonment of former presidents Lee Myung-bak and Park Geun-hye in the Moon administration’s drive to uproot deep-seated problems in South Korean politics and society.
 
In contrast, the resentment of the conservative establishment and of Lee and Park’s fervent supporters has been mounting higher and higher over the years. How great their desire for revenge must have been to nominate for president the very prosecutor general who sent both Lee and Park to prison during the Moon Jae-in administration!
 
Does history repeat itself? The 2007 presidential election pitted Lee Myung-bak against Chung Dong-young. Content with ten years in power, voters for the Democratic Party stayed home, depressing the voting turnout to 63.0%, the lowest it had ever been. Lee ended up trouncing Chung by 22.53 points.
 
That was the true tragedy of Roh’s death in 2009. Though more than a decade has passed, Democratic Party supporters once again seem to be forgetting their history.
 
Third, there are the mistakes that have been made by the Moon administration. Elections are a procedure not only for appointing power to politicians and parties, but also for holding them accountable. It goes without saying that politicians should face judgment for the mistakes they make.
 
Moon himself brought that point up in a meeting with senior secretaries and advisors at the Blue House following the Democratic Party’s resounding victory in the local elections in 2018. “The immense support we’ve received is on one level frightening enough to send a chill down one’s spine,” he told his aides, asking them for capability, morality and humility.
Capability collapsed in the failure of real estate policy, and morality imploded with the scandal surrounding former Justice Minister Cho Kuk. When two of the three legs propping up a stool are kicked out from under it, it’s no longer able to serve its purpose.
 
The three challenges facing Lee Jae-myung and the Democratic Party are too fundamental to be surmounted through political engineering or electoral techniques. That’s why the current crisis is considered so grave.
 
The wavering regional coalition and generational alliance
 
At any rate, the fundamental limitations of the Democratic Party, the softening of the support base, and the poor governance of the Moon administration is undermining the regional coalition and generational alliance that the party forged with such difficulty during the Roh and Moon administrations. North and South Chungcheong provinces, Busan, Ulsan, and South Gyeongsang Province are more favorable to Yoon Seok-youl than to Lee Jae-myung. Millennial voters aren’t on board with Lee or his party.
 
Examining the causes of the crisis faced by Lee and the Democratic Party is quite different from predicting that Yoon Seok-youl and the People Power Party will win next year’s presidential election.
 
The outcome of the election is decided by passion and fashion at the last moment. Politics is the place where virtu (competency) and fortuna (chance) intersect to produce harmonies of various kinds.
 
It was impossible to know who would win the presidential elections in 1997, 2002 and 2012 until the day before the election. That was also true of the general elections in 1996, 2000, 2012, 2016 and 2020. Chalk that up to “Dynamic Korea.” Just how will Lee Jae-myung and the Democratic Party find a way to overcome this crisis?
 
By Seong Han-yong, senior editorial writer
 
Please direct questions or comments to [english@hani.co.kr]




V/R
David Maxwell
Senior Fellow
Foundation for Defense of Democracies
Phone: 202-573-8647
Personal Email: david.maxwell161@gmail.com
Web Site: www.fdd.org
Twitter: @davidmaxwell161
Subscribe to FDD’s new podcastForeign Podicy
FDD is a Washington-based nonpartisan research institute focusing on national security and foreign policy.

V/R
David Maxwell
Senior Fellow
Foundation for Defense of Democracies
Phone: 202-573-8647
Personal Email: david.maxwell161@gmail.com
Web Site: www.fdd.org
Twitter: @davidmaxwell161
Subscribe to FDD’s new podcastForeign Podicy
FDD is a Washington-based nonpartisan research institute focusing on national security and foreign policy.

If you do not read anything else in the 2017 National Security Strategy read this on page 14:

"A democracy is only as resilient as its people. An informed and engaged citizenry is the fundamental requirement for a free and resilient nation. For generations, our society has protected free press, free speech, and free thought. Today, actors such as Russia are using information tools in an attempt to undermine the legitimacy of democracies. Adversaries target media, political processes, financial networks, and personal data. The American public and private sectors must recognize this and work together to defend our way of life. No external threat can be allowed to shake our shared commitment to our values, undermine our system of government, or divide our Nation."
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