Informal Institute for National Security Thinkers and Practitioners

Quotes of the Day: 

"We advocate democracy, human rights and freedom, and even those countries that are not sharing those specific values…of course we're not trying to exclude them…”
-President Yoon Suk-yeol

"We are not yet trying to win the 'cold war'... A war of ideas will not be decided by a war of arms, and as long as there is a worldwide war of ideas there will be a continuing worldwide threat of war of arms." 
– The Administrator of the International Information Administration, (originally 1953 but can also be 2022)

"A mind that is stretched by a new idea can never go back to its original dimensions." 
- Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.


1. Yoon, Biden agree to expand joint military exercises to cope with N.K. threats
2. United States-Republic of Korea Leaders’ Joint Statement
3. Remarks by President Biden and President Yoon Suk Yeol of the Republic of Korea During Bilateral Meeting
4. Readout of President Biden’s Meeting with Republic of Korea President Yoon Suk Yeol
5. Background Press Call by a Senior Administration Official Previewing President Biden’s Second Day in the Republic of Korea
6. Yoon and Biden reaffirm alliance, agree to expanded exercises
7. North Korea's Dr Fauci? Health official emerges as face of COVID campaign
8. US is willing to send North Korea COVID-19 aid despite Kim Jong Un's vows to ramp up its nuclear program, official says
9. N.Korea reports over 200,000 fever cases for 5th day amid COVID wave
10. Why Kim Jong Un is ‘freaking out’: North Korea’s covid nightmare
11. Biden’s trip to South Korea may spark a new friendship
12. Former Blue House Senior Staff Im Jong-seok et. al. Wielded Undue Power over Military, Created Military Personnel Blacklist, Anti-US a Criterion for a Promotion Category



1. Yoon, Biden agree to expand joint military exercises to cope with N.K. threats
As we expected.  

Combined exercises and training
Extended Deterrence Strategy and Consultation Group (EDSCG)
 Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF)
Taiwan
Ukraine



(5th LD) Yoon, Biden agree to expand joint military exercises to cope with N.K. threats | Yonhap News Agency
en.yna.co.kr · by 이해아 · May 21, 2022
(ATTN: UPDATES with more details of summit, press conference)
By Lee Haye-ah
SEOUL, May 21 (Yonhap) -- President Yoon Suk-yeol and U.S. President Joe Biden agreed Saturday to begin discussions on expanding joint military exercises between the two countries amid growing nuclear and missile threats from North Korea.
The two reached the agreement during their first summit in Seoul, which took place as both countries believed a nuclear test or intercontinental ballistic missile launch from the North was imminent and could even happen while Biden was touring the region.
"Both leaders agree to initiate discussions to expand the scope and scale of combined military exercises and training on and around the Korean Peninsula," a joint statement on the summit said.

Military exercises between the allies had been scaled back amid the COVID-19 pandemic and as part of efforts to engage the North under the previous administrations of President Moon Jae-in and U.S. President Donald Trump.
North Korea has condemned the drills as rehearsals for an invasion despite repeated assurances from South Korea and the U.S. that they are defensive in nature. The U.S. stations some 28,500 troops in South Korea after the 1950-53 Korean War ended in an armistice, not a peace treaty.
Yoon told a joint press conference after the summit that he and Biden discussed the need to hold "various forms" of exercises, including under the scenario of a nuclear attack from the North.
The statement said Biden also reaffirmed the U.S. "extended deterrence" commitment to South Korea using the "full range of U.S. defense capabilities, including nuclear, conventional and missile defense capabilities."
Extended deterrence is the notion that the U.S. would deploy its full range of military assets to defend its ally, South Korea, in the event of a contingency.
Securing that commitment from Biden was seen as particularly important, as the North continues to advance its weapons programs, testing missiles on 16 separate occasions this year alone, including its first test of an ICBM in over four years in March.

To back that commitment, Yoon and Biden agreed to reactivate the high-level Extended Deterrence Strategy and Consultation Group (EDSCG) "at the earliest date," the statement said.
The EDSCG is a bilateral platform that was suspended in 2018, and reactivating it is expected to help the allies coordinate closely on deployments of U.S. strategic assets to South Korea when necessary.
"President Yoon and I committed to strengthening our close engagement and work together to take on challenges of regional security, including addressing the threat posed by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, by further strengthening our deterrence posture and working toward a complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula," Biden said at the press conference, referring to North Korea by its official name.
The two leaders expressed concern over the recent COVID-19 outbreak in North Korea and offered to work with the international community to provide assistance to help fight the virus, according to the statement.
Biden told the press conference the U.S. had offered vaccines to North Korea but received no response.
Yoon also held out the prospect of economic and COVID-19 assistance.
"The door for dialogue is open. If North Korea embarks on substantial denuclearization, we will prepare an audacious plan to improve North Korea's economy and the quality of life for North Korean people in cooperation with the international community," Yoon said.
"With regard to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, we are willing to provide active assistance from the perspective of humanitarianism and human rights separately from political and military perspectives," he told the press conference.
On whether he was open to meeting North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, Biden said, "that would depend on whether he was sincere and whether he was serious."
Biden's predecessor, Trump, held three meetings with Kim for ultimately fruitless talks on dismantling the North's nuclear program.
Biden's first trip to the region as president came as the U.S. also seeks to strengthen economic cooperation with regional allies and partners.
The U.S. president's first stop on his three-day visit to South Korea was a Samsung Electronics semiconductor plant in Pyeongtaek, 70 kilometers south of Seoul, on Friday.
He was joined by Yoon there, demonstrating the two countries' commitment to working together to increase chip production and reinforce their supply chains in the face of growing competition from China.
Yoon formally announced South Korea's participation in the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF), an initiative proposed by Biden to ensure supply chain resilience, set the rules of the digital economy, and invest in clean energy and infrastructure, among other things.
The initiative, which Biden plans to launch in Japan next week, has upset China amid perceptions that it seeks to exclude the country from global supply chains.
The statement said Yoon and Biden committed to cooperate closely through the IPEF and to work together to make it "comprehensive."
They also agreed to establish a regular ministerial-level Supply Chain and Commercial Dialogue.
Beyond the Korean Peninsula, the summit touched on a wide range of global and regional issues, with the two reiterating the importance of preserving peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, and expressing solidarity with the international community in condemning Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
Biden also told the press conference it is "critically important" to have a close trilateral relationship with South Korea and Japan, both economically and militarily, and that he will address the issue when he visits Japan on the next leg of his tour.
The U.S. president will leave for Japan on Sunday after visiting a key Air Force operations center at Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek together with Yoon.
His three-day visit, which came only 10 days after Yoon took office, also included a state dinner hosted by Yoon at the National Museum of Korea and a visit to Seoul National Cemetery, where he paid tribute to fallen soldiers.
Yoon said the summit provided an opportunity for the two leaders to "build friendship and trust."
"We shared the goal of developing the South Korea-U.S. alliance into a global comprehensive strategic alliance and closely discussed ways to implement it," he said.




(END)
en.yna.co.kr · by 이해아 · May 21, 2022



2. United States-Republic of Korea Leaders’ Joint Statement

Covers a lot of important ground to include human rights and all the other expected areas to include security, prosperity, and issues beyond the Korean theater of operations.

I am disappointed that there is no mention of a free and unified Korea or unification, though it can be inferred from a number of statements that it was discussed behind closed doors. This is the second summit since 2009 that failed to mention peaceful unification. 

United States-Republic of Korea Leaders’ Joint Statement | The White House
whitehouse.gov · May 21, 2022
President Yoon Suk Yeol welcomes President Joseph R. Biden to the Republic of Korea (ROK), marking the earliest meeting in a ROK President’s term in office with the President of the United States (U.S.). Founded in our shared sacrifice and honed by our deep security ties, the Alliance between the Republic of Korea and the United States continues to evolve and expand. The linchpin for peace and prosperity in the region, the Alliance has grown far beyond the Korean peninsula, reflecting the pivotal role of our countries as global leaders in democracy, economy, and technology. Faced with existential challenges like climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic, and growing threats to the rules-based international order, foremost among which is Russia’s further aggression against Ukraine, the Republic of Korea and the United States are unified in common determination to deepen and broaden our political, economic, security, and people-to-people ties.
The two Presidents deeply appreciate the recent accomplishments of the Alliance and pledge to continue building off of its rock solid foundation.
The Linchpin for Peace and Prosperity
President Yoon and President Biden reaffirm their mutual commitment to the defense of the Republic of Korea and the combined defense posture under the ROK-U.S. Mutual Defense Treaty. President Biden affirms the U.S. extended deterrence commitment to the ROK using the full range of U.S. defense capabilities, including nuclear, conventional, and missile defense capabilities. The two Presidents also agree to reactivate the high-level Extended Deterrence Strategy and Consultation Group at the earliest date. Both leaders commit to further strengthen deterrence by reinforcing combined defense posture, and reiterate commitment to a conditions-based transition of wartime operational control. With this in mind, and considering the evolving threat posed by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), both leaders agree to initiate discussions to expand the scope and scale of combined military exercises and training on and around the Korean Peninsula. Both leaders also reaffirm the commitment of the U.S. to deploy strategic U.S. military assets in a timely and coordinated manner as necessary, as well as to enhance such measures and identify new or additional steps to reinforce deterrence in the face of DPRK destabilizing activities. In this vein, the United States and ROK will significantly expand cooperation to confront a range of cyber threats from the DPRK, including but not limited to, state-sponsored cyber-attacks.
President Yoon and President Biden reiterate their common goal of the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and agree to further strengthen the airtight coordination to this end. The two Presidents share the view that the DPRK’s nuclear program presents a grave threat not only to peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula but also the rest of Asia and the world. Both leaders condemn the DPRK’s escalatory ballistic missile tests this year, including multiple launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles, as clear violations of United Nations Security Council resolutions and reaffirm their joint commitment to work with the international community to urge the DPRK to abandon its weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs.Both leaders urge all UN Member States to fully implement all United Nations Security Council resolutions and also call on the DPRK to abide by its obligations under UN Security Council resolutions as well as its previous commitments and agreements.
President Yoon and President Biden emphasize that the path to dialogue remains open toward peaceful and diplomatic resolution with the DPRK and call on DPRK to return to negotiations. President Yoon outlined his vision to normalize inter-Korean relationship through an audacious plan aimed at a denuclearized and prosperous Korean peninsula and President Biden expresses his support for inter-Korean cooperation. Both leaders underscore the importance of ROK-U.S.-Japan trilateral cooperation for responding to the DPRK’s challenges, protecting shared security and prosperity, upholding common values, and bolstering the rules-based international order.
President Yoon and President Biden express grave concern over the human rights situation in the DPRK. The two Presidents also reaffirm their commitment to facilitate the provision of humanitarian aid to the most vulnerable North Koreans. Both leaders express concern over the recent COVID-19 outbreak in the DPRK. The ROK and the U.S. are willing to work with the international community to provide assistance to the DPRK to combat the virus.
A Strategic Economic and Technology Partnership
President Yoon and President Biden recognize that the future of the Alliance will be defined by common efforts to address 21st century challenges. In this vein, the two Presidents pledge to deepen and broaden cooperation on critical and emerging technologies, and cyber security. Both leaders also pledge to develop, use, and advance technologies in line with shared democratic principles and universal values.
President Yoon and President Biden recognize the importance of deepening cooperation on economic and energy security, which are critical to safeguarding our prosperity, shared security, and collective interests. To support these initiatives, the two Presidents will direct respective National Security Councils to launch an economic security dialogue aimed to align the bureaucratic and policy approaches between the two governments.
Fully recognizing that scientists, researchers, and engineers of the ROK and the U.S. are among the most innovative in the world, the two Presidents agree to leverage this comparative advantage to enhance public and private cooperation to protect and promote critical and emerging technologies, including leading-edge semiconductors, eco-friendly EV batteries, Artificial Intelligence, quantum technology, biotechnology, biomanufacturing, and autonomous robotics. Moreover, the two Presidents also reaffirm their active support for people-to-people exchanges between experts in these fields. To this end, the two Presidents agree to work together to enhance partnership on these critical and emerging technologies in both countries through the promotion of investment as well as research and development cooperation. Recognizing the growing potential for ROK-U.S. cooperation in the defense industry, the two leaders agree to strengthen partnerships in areas such as defense sector supply chain, joint development and manufacturing, including beginning discussions on a Reciprocal Defense Procurement agreement.
Secure, sustainable, and resilient global supply chains are foundational to these efforts. Building upon international cooperation fostered by the U.S.-led Summit on Global Supply Chain Resilience, and by working closely together in the upcoming Ministerial-level summit, the two Presidents agree to continue working together to tackle immediate and long-term challenges in the supply chain ecosystem. Both leaders agree to strengthen the resiliency and diversity of these networks including by cooperating on early warning systems to detect and address potential supply chain disruptions and working together to address sourcing and processing of critical minerals. The two Presidents also agree to establish a regular ministerial-level Supply Chain and Commercial Dialogue to discuss promotion of resilient supply chains of key products, including semiconductors, batteries, and critical minerals. Both leaders also agree to enhance cooperation between our foreign investment screening and export control authorities related to critical technologies, which is necessary to prevent the use of advanced technologies to undermine our national and economic security.
Recognizing the importance of energy security as well as commitment to address climate change given the rapid increase of volatility in the global energy market as a result of Russia’s further aggression against Ukraine, the two Presidents will work to strengthen joint collaboration in securing energy supply chains that include fossil fuels, and enriched uranium, acknowledging that true energy security means rapidly deploying clean energy technology and working to decrease our dependence on fossil fuels.
The two leaders recognize the importance of nuclear energy as a critical and reliable source of carbon-free electricity, an important element to grow our clean energy economy, and an integral part of enhancing global energy security. The two leaders commit to greater nuclear energy collaboration and accelerating the development and global deployment of advanced reactors and small modular reactors by jointly using export promotion and capacity building tools, and building a more resilient nuclear supply chain. The two Presidents reaffirm that both countries will engage in global civil-nuclear cooperation in accordance with the highest standards of nuclear nonproliferation, including the IAEA Additional Protocol as the standard for both international safeguards and for nuclear supply arrangements. Acknowledging the shared goals of deepening strategic ties, while respecting each country’s intellectual investments, both leaders commit to using tools such as the ROK-U.S. Memorandum of Understanding on Nuclear Technology Transfer and Export Cooperation to provide a solid foundation for strengthened cooperation in the U.S., ROK and overseas nuclear markets and the High-Level Bilateral Commission, to further cooperation for spent fuel management, nuclear export promotion, assured fuel supply and nuclear security. The U.S. welcomes the ROK’s decision to join the U.S.-led Foundational Infrastructure for Responsible Use of Small Modular Reactor Technology (FIRST) program.
President Yoon and President Biden commit to strengthening the ROK-U.S. alliance across all sectors of space cooperation. Building on the ROK’s previous commitment to participate in the Artemis program, the two Presidents agreed to foster joint research in space exploration and to support the ROK’s development of the Korean Positioning System (KPS). Both leaders agree to hold “the 3rd U.S.-ROK Civil Space Dialogue” by the end of the year, and to strengthen cooperation on the two countries space industries. They also commit to continue cooperation to ensure a safe, secure, and sustainable space environment including through the bilateral space policy dialogue and committed to strengthen defense space partnerships including through joint exercises.
President Yoon and President Biden agree that the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (KORUS), which celebrated its 10th anniversary this year, remains the foundation of our economic relationship. To promote sustainable growth and financial stability, including orderly and well-functioning foreign exchange markets, the two Presidents recognize the need to consult closely on foreign exchange market developments. The two Presidents share common values and an essential interest in fair, market-based competition and commit to work together to address market distorting practices.
Global Comprehensive Strategic Alliance: Beyond the Korean Peninsula
Faced with increasingly complex global challenges including the threats posed by climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic, President Yoon laid out the ROK’s initiative for a global pivotal state that envisions a heightened role in advancing freedom, peace, and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region and beyond. The two Presidents reaffirm their commitments to a global comprehensive strategic alliance firmly rooted in the shared values of promoting democracy and the rules-based international order, fighting corruption, and advancing human rights. President Biden appreciated President Yoon’s initiative to embrace greater regional and global responsibilities, and enthusiastically welcome the ROK taking a leadership role in the Summit for Democracy process.
Acknowledging the existential threat posed by climate change, President Yoon and President Biden reaffirm their commitments to their announced nationally determined contributions under the Paris Agreement including the 2030 greenhouse gas reduction targets and 2050 net zero emission goals with strong efforts to align policies across sectors. The two Presidents also agree to enhance cooperation to address methane emissions globally, recognizing the importance of the Global Methane Pledge and rapid global action needed to address methane. The two Presidents also decide to strengthen cooperation in clean energy fields such as hydrogen, clean shipping, accelerated deployment of zero-emissions vehicles (ZEVs) and aligning international financial flows with global net zero emissions by 2050 and deep reductions in the 2020s.
President Yoon and President Biden pledge to support in strengthening multilateral efforts to prevent, prepare, and respond to infectious disease threats. President Yoon underscored President Biden’s leadership in convening the Global COVID-19 Summit in May 2022, and President Biden appreciated President Yoon’s active participation and ROK’s announced pledges, including funding for the Act-Accelerator to combat COVID-19 and support for the Financial Intermediary Fund for pandemic preparedness and global health security at the World Bank. President Biden welcomes the ROK’s decision to host a Global Health Security Agenda ministerial meeting this Fall and establish a GHS coordinating office for global and regional sustainable health security in Seoul. Our countries will also increase efforts bilaterally and in multilateral fora to promote biosafety and biosecurity norms. The U.S. and ROK will also strengthen health systems and build on successful health sector collaboration to accelerate cooperation and innovation in cancer research, cutting edge cancer treatments, mental health research, early detection, and treatment of mental health disorders.
President Yoon and President Biden highlight their shared belief in the extraordinary benefits afforded by an open, free, global, interoperable, reliable, and secure Internet. To combat the rising threats posed by digital authoritarianism, they committed to defend human rights and foster an open “network of networks” that ensures the free flow of information globally. To achieve this, the ROK is ready to join the U.S. in endorsing the Declaration for the Future of the Internet. The two Presidents also reaffirm the need to ensure that the Internet continues to play a positive role in promoting equity, equality and safety for women and girls in both our societies. To this end, the U.S. and the ROK joined the Global Partnership for Action on Gender-Based Online Harassment and Abuse as founding members. Recognizing the importance of telecommunications security and vendor diversity, the leaders also commit to work together to develop open, transparent, and secure 5G and 6G network devices and architectures using Open-RAN approaches, both at home and abroad.
President Yoon and President Biden will continue to deepen ROK-U.S. cooperation on regional and international cyber policy, including cooperation on deterring cyber adversaries, cybersecurity of critical infrastructure, combatting cybercrime and associated money laundering, securing cryptocurrency and blockchain applications, capacity building, cyber exercises, information sharing, military-to-military cyber cooperation, and other international security issues in cyberspace.
President Yoon and President Biden oppose all activities that undermine, destabilize, or threaten the rules-based international order and stand together with the international community in condemning Russia’s unprovoked further aggression against Ukraine. Both countries, alongside other international partners, have responded resolutely to this clear violation of international law, by imposing their own financial sanctions and export controls against Russia and Russian entities, along with the vital provision of humanitarian aid to Ukraine. Both leaders affirm that they will ensure the effective implementation of their country’s respective measures to deter further Russian aggression and maintain our commitment to the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity.
The two Presidents recognize the importance of maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific that is prosperous and peaceful, and agree to strengthen mutual cooperation across the region. In this regard, President Biden shares his support for President Yoon’s initiative to formulate ROK’s own Indo-Pacific strategy framework. President Yoon also welcomed the U.S. Indo-Pacific Strategy. The two Presidents commit to cooperate closely through the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF), based on the principles of openness, transparency, and inclusiveness. Both leaders agree to work together to develop a comprehensive IPEF that will deepen economic engagement on priority issues, including the digital economy, resilient supply chains, clean energy, and other priorities geared toward promoting sustainable economic growth.
President Yoon and President Biden also reaffirm their strong support for ASEAN centrality and the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific. The two Presidents commit to increase cooperation with Southeast Asia and the Pacific Island Countries to promote sustainable development, energy security, and high-quality, transparent investment, including in quality infrastructure. President Biden welcomes President Yoon’s interest in the Quad, and noted complementary ROK strengths including tackling the pandemic, fighting climate change and producing critical technologies. The two leaders also agree to cooperate on infrastructure financing, including digital infrastructure, in third countries. The two Presidents emphasize the importance of ROK-U.S.- Japan trilateral cooperation to effectively address common economic challenges.
President Yoon and President Biden reaffirm their commitment to maintain peace and stability, lawful unimpeded commerce, and respect for international law including freedom of navigation and overflight and other lawful use of the seas, including in the South China Sea and beyond. The two Presidents reiterate the importance of preserving peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait as an essential element in security and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region. Sharing our mutual concerns regarding human rights situations in the Indo-Pacific region, both leaders commit to promote human rights and rule of law globally. The two Presidents resolutely condemn the coup in Myanmar and the military’s brutal attacks on civilians, and commit to press for the immediate cessation of violence, the release of those who are detained, unfettered countrywide humanitarian access, and a swift return to democracy. The two Presidents call on all nations to join us in providing safe haven to Burmese nationals and in prohibiting arms sales to Myanmar.
President Yoon and President Biden share the view that the Alliance has matured into a deep and comprehensive strategic relationship. Through our close ties between the two dynamic populations, extensive economic and investment links, and commitment to democracy, human rights, and the rules-based international order, the ROK and the U.S. are charting a path toward a relationship that is capable of meeting any challenge and seizing all the opportunities presented before us. President Yoon and President Biden jointly recognize the importance of our shared commitments and pledge to work tirelessly to broaden and deepen our ties to position us to succeed in a rapidly changing world.
President Biden expressed his gratitude for President Yoon’s warm hospitality and extended an invitation for President Yoon to visit Washington at a time of mutual convenience.
###
whitehouse.gov · May 21, 2022



3. Remarks by President Biden and President Yoon Suk Yeol of the Republic of Korea During Bilateral Meeting

Remarks by President Biden and President Yoon Suk Yeol of the Republic of Korea During Bilateral Meeting | The White House
whitehouse.gov · May 21, 2022
The People’s House
Seoul, Republic of Korea
3:09 P.M. KST
PRESIDENT YOON: (As interpreted.) Mr. President, today we’re living in the era of economic security, where economy is security and vice versa. The transformation of the international trade order and the disruption of global supply chains are having a direct impact on the livelihood of our people.
The ROK-U.S. alliance should also move forward and adapt to this new era of economic security.
Yesterday, Mr. President and I, together, visited what can be described as the “global epicenter” of cutting-edge semiconductor industry. There, I was able to feel the strength of our economic and technology alliance.
We will continue our cooperation in strategic industries, such as microchips and EV batteries, in order to expand mutual investment and to attain our common goal, which is building a resilient supply chain.
And, Mr. President, our summit talks today will provide a valuable opportunity to further strengthen our cooperation and economic security, as well as to discuss ways to work together and align our policies to resolve many other pressing global challenges that we face together.
PRESIDENT BIDEN: Mr. President, thank you for your incredibly warm welcome. It’s wonderful to be back in the Republic of Korea. I’m honored to be making this visit less than two weeks since you’ve been inaugurated. And congratulations.
Mr. President, our alliance between our countries is built on shared sacrifice. And our joint commitment to the freedom of the Republic of Korea and our firm opposition to changing borders by force has flourished with decades of peace and cooperation. And today, with this visit, we’re taking the cooperation between our two countries to new heights.
For decades, our alliance has been a linchpin for regional peace and growth and prosperity, and it’s been vital to deterring attacks from the DPRK. And, today, our cooperation is essential to preserve the stability and global — on the global stage as well.
Our two nations are working together to take on both the opportunities and the challenges of the moment: continuing to fight COVID-19, securing the supply chains, tackling the climate crisis, deepening our security cooperation to meet regional challenges, and writing the rules of the road to ensure the Indo-Pacific is a free and open area.
So, thank you again for the welcome, Mr. President. I’ve enjoyed our conversations and getting to spend some time with you. Matter of a fact, we spent so much time, we didn’t get a chance to see the rest of your people.
PRESIDENT YOON: (Laughs.)
PRESIDENT BIDEN: And I’m looking forward to continuing the great friendship between our two nations. Thank you.
3:16 P.M. KST
whitehouse.gov · May 21, 2022



4. Readout of President Biden’s Meeting with Republic of Korea President Yoon Suk Yeol


Readout of President Biden’s Meeting with Republic of Korea President Yoon Suk Yeol | The White House
whitehouse.gov · May 21, 2022
President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. met today with President Yoon Suk Yeol of the Republic of Korea (ROK) in Seoul. Both Leaders reaffirmed their commitment to strengthen the U.S.-ROK alliance and to broaden its focus beyond the Korean Peninsula to take on global challenges, including threats to the rules-based international order, such as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The two Leaders committed to increase cooperation on a broad range of priority issues including critical technologies, economic and energy security, global health, and climate change. The Presidents also discussed their shared belief in constitutional democracy and the importance of respecting individual rights as well as strengthening the regional security environment. They committed to further strengthen deterrence and ensure close cooperation to address the threat posed by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). Both Leaders shared concerns about the rapid spread of COVID-19 within the DPRK and expressed support for working with the international community to provide assistance.
###
whitehouse.gov · May 21, 2022


5. Background Press Call by a Senior Administration Official Previewing President Biden’s Second Day in the Republic of Korea

Background Press Call by a Senior Administration Official Previewing President Biden’s Second Day in the Republic of Korea | The White House
whitehouse.gov · May 21, 2022
Via Teleconference
9:12 A.M. KST
MODERATOR: Good morning, everybody. I hope you all had a restful night in Seoul. Apologies for the delay.
Thanks so much for joining us today on this background call. As mentioned on the invite, this call will be on background, attributable to “senior administration officials,” and embargoed until the call’s conclusion.
Not for reporting for just for everyone’s knowledge, joining us on this call is [senior administration official].
[Senior administration official] has some remarks to make off the top, and then we will take some questions before our speaker has to run into another commitment.
So, with that, I will turn it over to [senior administration official].
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Good morning, everyone. And thanks for joining both the trip and then joining us this morning. I’ll try and keep this as short as possible and take some questions.
So, as I’m sure all of you know, today the President has a packed day. But before I get into it, I do want to very quickly highlight yesterday’s tour of the Samsung Pyeongtaek facility by the President, President Yoon, and Secretary Raimondo.
I think as you all are aware, this is essentially the model of the facility that Samsung has — is starting to build in Taylor, Texas, that will create 3,000 new good-paying jobs. And it’s also an example of the strong partnership between the United States and the ROK, as well as the value of the relationship in terms of generating investment in the United States. And it’s an example of how the Biden administration is deepening our economic ties with the region to deliver for U.S. workers, businesses, consumers, and of course for people everywhere, including in the ROK.
You’ll see us continue to deepen our economic ties on this trip, including with the launch of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework. We firmly believe that much of what happens in the coming decades will depend on how well governments harness innovation — and especially the transformations afoot in clean energy and digital and tech sectors — while fortifying our economies from a range of vulnerabilities that we’ve seen, in particular, driven home by the impacts of the pandemic. And this ranges from fragile supply chains, to the vulnerabilities to disruption, to corruption, to tax havens.
And from our view, this requires a new model that we can move on quickly, and that’s what IPEF will do. We are pleased to see the very strong interests in the region for IPEF and for our economic engagement in the region, which we think reflects the continuing importance of an affirmative U.S. vision for the region, which we highlight in our Indo-Pacific strategy, as well as the desire in the region for continued U.S. economic leadership.
So, very quickly, to walk over today’s schedule.
We’ll start on — the first event will be: The President will participate in a wreath-laying ceremony to pay his respects to those who died to defend the Republic of Korea, many of whom died — many of those who died fought alongside U.S. forces in the Korean War. And I think this reflects the deep commitment to our joint security and to our alliance, and the President’s deep respect for those who paid the ultimate price to defend our freedoms.
I think that this also reflects what we see as one of the major things from the visit — or outcomes from the visit, which is continued collaboration in strengthening our alliance to deal with today’s challenges.
The President will then participate in a bilateral meeting with President Yoon Suk Yeol. They will have extensive discussions on a range of issues, as I’m sure you’d expect. We expect that there will be a joint statement.
And we expect that, you know, really, what we’re doing in this, as much as anything else, is building on the strong alliance — to expand it; to take it to deal with global issues and the issues and challenges of today; and, I think, also to take advantage of the visit, which comes so early in President Yoon’s time in office — I mean, this is unprecedented, as you all know — to really build a strong personal relationship between the two leaders that we think will help propel the relationship going forward.
And as you all know, the relationship between the U.S. and the ROK is something that is extraordinarily important to both countries but, we believe, is increasingly important for the region and to promote peace and stability and prosperity throughout the Indo-Pacific, as well as around the world.
So, you know, I think some of the key things that we expect the presidents to discuss will be the ROK’s role and the U.S.-ROK alliance’s role as a lynchpin for peace and security.
I think that we expect that there will be some discussions on how to deal with some of the most recent threats and developments that have occurred.
We also believe that there will be discussion on how we can find ways to further expand our cooperation to make sure that we’re ready and — as ready as possible to deal with the threats of today.
I think that, you know, as you would expect, the presidents will discuss DPRK and, you know, reaffirm the continuing commitment to the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
We believe that there will be discussion on how we can manage and address the most recent threats, particularly posed by the nuclear program, as well as the ongoing missile program. And very confident the leaders will stress the importance and agree on the importance of all countries fully enforcing U.N. Security Council resolutions. And also, we’re going to call on the DPRK to abide by its obligations under the U.N. Security Council resolutions.
I think the will discuss ways forward in — on a variety of issues associated with DPRK. And, you know, I don’t want to prejudge and get ahead of the discussions, but we’re very confident it will be very thorough, it will be very wide-ranging, and very detailed.

The presidents will also recognize the future of the alliance. It’s not just going to be defined by security, as has been the case in the past, but it’s also going to be defined by creating a strategic economic and technology partnership that really will reflect the importance of innovation and technology to both countries and to our work in the region going forward.
I think that the — we expect that there will be some work on how we can better support innovation, how we can support partnership on critical emerging technologies, and, you know, find ways to strengthen cooperation on defense industry issues.

I think that there will be work on — there’ll be discussion of secure supply chains and their importance. And I think that we’re very confident that we will have a discussion about the impact on global economic iss- — on the global economy of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. And that we know that there is great interest in both countries on how we can better make ourselves more resilient in the face of disruptions in global energy as well as other economic issues linked to Russia’s invasion.

I think that you can expect some discussion of both nuclear cooperation as well as other technology-related issues. And I think that you can also expect that there will be discussion of the importance of our own economic relationship bilaterally and how we can work together to bring prosperity to the region through the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework.

I think that we also recognize that, you know, as I said before, part of this visit is about turning a bilateral alliance into something that was traditionally very much focused on peace and stability in the Korean Peninsula, and then immediately in Northeast Asia, to something that really looks to the region — to the Indo-Pacific region — and to the world.

I think that there’s — there’ll be discussion about the threats posed by climate change, by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the importance of promoting democracy and shared values.

I think that we recognize that we also need to better work together to deal not just with the current pandemic but prepare for future ones. And so, I think that we’ll be looking for ways in which we can better cooperate, and I think the presidents will discuss that.

I think that we will have some discussion on other technology issues, including the importance of a free, open, secure Internet. I think that there’ll be some discussion about cyber. And I think that we will stress the importance of all countries standing together against efforts to destabilize the — or threaten the rules-based international order and, first and foremost, Ukraine. And we expect some pretty extensive discussions on Ukraine.

And I think the U.S. and the President will highlight the great U.S. appreciation for the Republic of Korea’s strong stance on Ukraine, both in terms of imposition of sanctions and taking of economic steps, and we’ll look for ways to expand that.
I think the ROK has been particularly strong on this, because I think they recognize that, because of their own history and our shared history together, the importance of a strong international reaction to invasions of this kind.
I think the presidents are going to discuss the importance of promoting a free and open Indo-Pacific, look for areas in which we can expand cooperation with both Southeast Asia as well as on the Pacific Islands, and look for ways in which we can better integrate our efforts across the entire range of Indo-Pacific issues.
I think that there will be some discussions about other issues involving regional security. And I don’t want to prejudge those, but I think that you will see that there — there is a great commonality in terms of our vision of the importance of a strong response to threats to the international order, particularly in the Indo-Pacific.

And I think that we strongly believe that this visit will highlight both what — how strong our alliance is today. But really, this is about building for the future, building a much stronger bilateral alliance and one that deals with strategic and issues globally, but also building a strong personal relationship with the leaders that will propel this going forward.

So, with that, I’ll take a few questions.
MODERATOR: Thanks so much, [senior administration official]. If you have a question, please use the “raise hand” function of the Zoom interface. And we’ll try to get through as many questions as we can.

Why don’t we start with Aamer Madhani from the Associated Press?
Q Hello. I’m sorry, I was having trouble with the mute button there. But so — hopefully, you can hear me.
Is there going to be an explicit message to Kim Jong Un today in what the President says in his public comments? And I was also wondering what, if any, assurances Jake Sullivan got from Yang Jiechi about addressing the North Korean issue in their talk?
And finally, do you — [senior administration official], do you believe there is any connection between the rise in COVID rates inside North Korea and Kim’s seemingly increased saber-rattling? Thank you.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Thanks very much. And I’m very sympathetic to problems with muting and unmuting.

So let me address a couple of things. I think, first of all, you know, I don’t want to get ahead of the discussions between the leaders. But I think you can expect that there will be extensive discussion about DPRK issues.

I think that we are very concerned about the COVID situation in the DPRK. We’re very sensitive to the fact that they’re — they appear to be facing a quite serious situation. And I think you’ve seen we are — we stand ready to work with others in the international community as needed to provide assistance. And that includes, obviously, the ROK, but it includes others and using the existing international mechanisms, but this is something that is of deep concern to us.
I think that in terms of, you know, your characterization of the increased saber-rattling, what we’ve seen is a fair amount of saber-rattling throughout the year. There have obviously been quite a few tests of ballistic missiles, some of which have been successful.
And I think that, you know, from our standpoint, we are ready. We — you know, we, at the same time, it is very much our desire that we find ways to have a diplomatic approach with the DPRK. We have made very clear we’re prepared to talk to them and with no preconditions, and we’re also prepared to take steps to address their domestic challenges, including COVID.
I think that in terms of the discussion with Yang Jiechi, as you’d expect, there was discussion about the challenges of the DPRK, including their domestic situation, the COVID issue.
I think that, you know, we’re looking for ways in which we and others in the international community can work together to provide assistance as needed.
And I think that the key thing is that we recognize that the DPRK has to make decisions about what they’re willing to do. It is our hope that they will make decisions that will allow for the maximum amount of support in this time of great need and great crisis.
MODERATOR: Thanks so much, [senior administration official]. Next, let’s go to Trevor Hunnicutt with Reuters.
Q Hey, thanks so much for doing this. So, just wanted to follow up on what Aamer asked about a little bit there — was just if there was any level of commitment from China to help on the North Korea situation.
And also, do you expect this joint statement to deal with what you’ve described as China’s destabilizing policies towards Taiwan, its human rights issues?
And also, if you could talk a little bit about what the President is doing this morning.
Thank you.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Yeah. So, you know, I think, first, with regard to the joint statement, I don’t want to prejudge the discussions, but I think that, you know, we expect extensive discussions about regional security issues. And the fact that, in our view, both leaders of both countries strongly support preserving peace and stability in the region.
I think that with re- — I don’t want to get into the specifics of the discussions between Jake Sullivan and Yang Jiechi, but just to say that, of course, we are looking for ways in which it is possible to provide assistance and support to the DPRK as they deal with this COVID outbreak.
I think that, in terms of the broader issues that you raised, I think that we want to find ways to work with the international community to provide support to the DPRK. I think we also want to make clear that the international community stands united in opposition to their violations of U.N. Security Council resolutions and their destabilizing and threatening behavior.
MODERATOR: Thanks so much. Next, why don’t we go to Esther Oh with NHK.
Q Hi, thank you so much for doing this. Just two questions. I know previously the administration says it has no plans to share vaccines with North Korea directly, but is the President planning to discuss with President Yoon ways that the U.S. and South Korea can work together to provide any sort of direct COVID aid to North Korea?
And my second question is: Will the President directly address the immediate need for South Korea and Japan to improve their bilateral ties? Because the relationship between the two countries — it’s deteriorated significantly in the last several years.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Thank you very much. Those are both, obviously, very good and very important questions. I think that you could expect that the leaders will discuss the COVID situation. I think that it’s — it’s very clear that we have a common interest in doing whatever we can to address this challenge and working through the international — with the international communities through whatever mechanism is appropriate.
I don’t want to get ahead of those discussions, but I think that you can expect that this is something that’s very topical and we recognize that this is of great importance to the DPRK’s neighbors, as well as to us.
I think that with regard to the ROK-Japan relations, I think, you know, we strongly support improved ROK-Japan relations. At the same time, we recognize this is something that both countries are — it’s sensitive and important for both countries. And I think the President will make clear his support while also making clear his understanding of the need for this to be done in a way that’s mutually acceptable and agreeable to both countries.
However, it’s very clear that from the U.S. perspective — and we’ve been clear about this in the past — it is not in our interest for the relationship between the two of our closest and most political allies to not be strong. And so we want — we very much hope and support efforts by either sides, by both sides to take steps to improve the relationship.
MODERATOR: Thanks so much. I think we have time for just a couple more questions before our speaker has to hop. Why don’t we go to Paris Huang with the Voice of America next.
Q Hello. Hi, thank you for doing this. So, earlier you mentioned about the — part of this visit is for us to ensure the peace and stability in East Asia. I just would like to clarify: Is that specifically means Taiwan? And what is your assessment on President Yoon’s attitude toward issues around China and Taiwan? And will the language be clearly written in a joint statement? So, that’s the first question.
The second, on the Quad: Is the Biden administration — on the expansion of “Quad Plus” — or is South Korea directly involved with the Quad summit on this time? Thank you.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Okay, great. So, let me take the first question.
Look, when we talk about maintaining peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region, we’re clearly talking about the entire Indo-Pacific region. There are a number of areas where there are challenges, and I would note that, you know, very clearly the leaders will be talking about one that is closer to where we are now.
But I think that it’s clear that, you know, both countries have a very strong interest in preserving peace and stability. I think you can expect the leaders to talk about that and to look for ways in which we can work more effectively together to do that.
I think, on the issue of the Quad, I don’t want to get ahead of the discussions. Obviously, you know, I think that this is a topic of great interest. I think that we don’t want to get ahead of the discussion with the leaders, but, also, I think that we have to recognize that the Quad is still developing, and so we’re looking for ways in which we can reinforce and strengthen what we’ve done so far. But at the same time, I think that we welcome any support for the Quad.
But I think that the issue of participation is one that we will still be working on. I think that you can expect — you know, I am biased, but I think you can expect that a joint statement will be clear. And I think we look forward to being able to, you know, really highlight how much we have in common, how similar our viewpoints are on a very wide range of issues, how close the two countries are, and how much we expect them to come closer on a very wide range of issues dealing with the challenges of today, but also challenges that we have (inaudible) to working on.
I think one of the things that, you know, for us — and this is not just a visit in Seoul today; this is about the entire trip — this is about demonstrating the unity and resolve and strengthening the coordination between our closest allies and — or two of our closest allies, and also strengthening our alliances to deal with problems that we are all dealing with today.
So, I think that we’re very optimistic that we are — you know, we’ve done a great deal of groundwork.
I think we have to really recognize — and I’d ask everyone to just be very sensitive to this — this is day 11 for the Yoon administration. This is the earliest that we’ve ever had an American President visit an ROK President in an ROK President’s time in office. It is normal that in — you know, in 11 days, it takes a while for an administration to come up to speed. We’re very impressed with what the Yoon administration has done.
We’re very happy with the work we’ve been able to do together, but I think it’s also important to recognize that it is unrealistic to expect any administration to have fully settled in only 11 days.
So we think that we’ve done quite well. And we’re very, very impressed by what’s been done and by the spirit of partnership, the spirit of tru- — of really genuine allies who are used to being together when times are bad, as well as when times are good. And we’re confident that that’s going to continue, and that we’ll be able to highlight the way forward for the alliance.
MODERATOR: Thanks so much. And I think we’ve got time for one last question. So last question. Let’s go to MJ Lee with CNN.
Q Thank you. Given that this bilateral meeting comes, as you just said, 11 days into President Yoon’s presidency and particularly given that he doesn’t have much of a foreign policy background: Are there areas you can point to where you all think, you know, there are serious question marks in terms of President Yoon’s positions on major foreign policy issues and where just the President — President Biden is keen on trying to draw him out today and gain a better understanding of where he stands?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Look, I would push back very hard against the premise of that. I think we are very impressed with the cohesion, the coherence, and the clarity of the Yoon administration’s vision for its — for the ROK, for the ROK-U.S. relationship and the ROK role in the world.
I think that what — in our discussions with them — and look, I’ve done — I’ve been doing this for a long time — I think we’ve been very, very impressed with how focused and how clear they’ve been, how decisive they’ve been. And I think that reflects, in our view, a great deal of potential to really strengthen the alliance going forward.
I think that, in terms of the President’s engagement with President Yoon, I think that, clearly, they’re going to — this — part of the purpose here is two leaders of countries who have a very, very vital relationship, a close alliance getting to know each other. I think you all know: There is no substitute for that kind of direct engagement.
And I think we got off to a very good start last night at the Samsung plant. I think that their interaction was very positive. And I think that, you know, it went very well.
I know that the President was quite satisfied and quite impressed. We’re looking forward to more of that.
I think that part of this is obviously getting to understand each other — I think to understand each other’s worldviews. I think that the President has — looks forward to doing that and getting to know President Yoon.
But I think that this is done in the context of tremendous confidence in the Yoon administration’s commitment to the alliance and clarity of their vision on foreign policies issues. And I think that, you know, from our standpoint, this is about building on a very strong foundation, rather than trying to lay any groundwork.
MODERATOR: Thanks so much. And thanks so much everybody for joining this morning.
As a reminder, this call was on background, attributable to “senior administration officials,” and embargoed until the call concludes, which will be shortly.
Thanks so much for joining. And we, of course, will be in touch throughout the rest of the trip.
9:36 A.M. KST
whitehouse.gov · May 21, 2022


6. Yoon and Biden reaffirm alliance, agree to expanded exercises
It is good to see the media correctly describe exercises as combined versus joint. But they are of course repeating the correct wording in the presidents' joint statement (though in other parts of the joint statement they talk about joint cyber exercises). For those who may be confused in doctrine we use joint to describe multipservice operations (e.g, army and air force joint operations). We use combined to describe operations by the militaries of two or more nations as in the ROK/US Combined Forces Command conducting combined exercises. Yes I am being petty and pedantic. 

President Yoon Suk-yeol and U.S. President Joe Biden agreed to expand the "scope and scale" of combined military exercises and training on the Korean Peninsula in response to the "evolving" Pyongyang threat in their first summit Saturday.
 
Saturday
May 21, 2022

Yoon and Biden reaffirm alliance, agree to expanded exercises

President Yoon Suk-yeol, right, and U.S. President Joe Biden hold a joint press conference after their first bilateral summit at the presidential office in Yongsan, central Seoul, Saturday. [YONHAP]
President Yoon Suk-yeol and U.S. President Joe Biden agreed to expand the "scope and scale" of combined military exercises and training on the Korean Peninsula in response to the "evolving" Pyongyang threat in their first summit Saturday.
 
The two leaders also reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to deploy American strategic military assets "in a timely and coordinated manner as necessary," and to take further steps to reinforce deterrence in response to the North's "destabilizing activities," according to a joint statement released by the leaders after their talks. 
 
"Both leaders agree to initiate discussions to expand the scope and scale of combined military exercises and training on and around the Korean Peninsula," according to the statement. They agreed to reactivate the bilateral high-level Extended Deterrence Strategy and Consultation Group, which has not met since early January 2018. They will further expand cooperation to confront a range of cyber threats from the North, including state-sponsored cyber-attacks. 
 
In recent years, military exercises between the United States and South Korea have been scaled down amid diplomacy overtures toward North Korea by the Moon Jae-in and Donald Trump governments and because of the Covid-19 pandemic. North Korea calls drills rehearsals for an invasion.
 
Biden said during a press conference with Yoon after the talks, U.S. and South Korean troops serving side by side are "emblematic of our strength, and our continuing strength, and the durability of our alliances and our readiness to take on all threats together.
 
"Today, President Yoon and I committed to strengthening our close engagement and work together to take on challenges of regional security, including addressing the threat posed by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) by further strengthening our deterrence posture and working toward a complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula," he added, referring to the official name of North Korea. 
 
The two presidents met at the presidential office in Yongsan, central Seoul and discussed a number of issues, including North Korea's nuclear weapons program, expanding the strategic economic and technological partnership between the United States and Korea and strengthening the global comprehensive strategic alliance. 
 

President Yoon Suk-yeol, left, welcomes U.S. President Joe Biden ahead of their bilateral summit at the presidential office in Yongsan, central Seoul, Saturday. [YONHAP]
Ahead of the summit with Yoon Saturday, Biden paid a visit to Seoul National Cemetery in Dongjak District, southern Seoul, to pay tribute to casualties of the 1950-53 Korean War.
 
Biden arrived at the new Korean presidential office in Yongsan, central Seoul, at around 1:20 p.m. and was welcomed by Yoon at the entrance. 
 
The two entered the building on a red carpet, and Biden wrote in the guest book, "Thank you for the hospitality and the Alliance."
 
The talks began with a small group meeting that focused on North Korea issues and alliance matters. The two leaders held brief one-on-one talks and then were then joined by their aides — including key aides focused on economic security and supply chain risks — for an expanded meeting. The talks lasted 110 minutes. 
 
At the beginning of their talks on the fifth floor of the presidential office, Yoon said to Biden, "Today we're living in the era of economic security, where economy is security and vice versa. The transformation of the international trade order and the disruption of global supply chains are having a direct impact on the livelihood of our people."
 
"We will continue our cooperation in strategic industries, such as microchips and EV [electric vehicle] batteries, in order to expand mutual investment and to attain our common goal, which is building a resilient supply chain," he continued. 
 
"For decades, our alliance has been a linchpin for regional peace and growth and prosperity," Biden said.
 
"And it's been vital to deterring attacks from the DPRK. And, today, our cooperation is essential to preserve the stability on the global stage as well. With this visit, we're taking the cooperation between our two countries to new heights."
 
The leaders then held a press conference at the presidential office around 4:20 p.m.
 
Biden pointed to the advantages of an economic partnership with the United States.
 
"Just yesterday, an independent analysis projected that the American economy is poised to grow at a faster rate than China, the Chinese economy, for the first time in 45 years, since 1976," said Biden. "And our relationship with our allies, including I'm proud to say the Republic of Korea, are closer than they've ever been, and our people are growing even closer as we speak.
 
"Our businesses are blazing new trails together, and it all goes to my core belief, something I've said for a long time: It's never a good bet to bet against the United States of America."
 
During the press conference, Yoon said that he and Biden “shared the goal of developing the Republic of Korea-U.S. alliance into a global comprehensive strategic alliance and discussed actions to that end."
 
He likewise noted that "strong deterrence against North Korea is paramount," adding the two sides affirmed their "ironclad substantive deterrence."
 
Biden thanked Korean for its strong support for Ukraine and added that Russian President Vladimir Putin's war against Ukraine "isn't just a matter for Europe" but "an attack on democracy and the core international principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity."
 
Yoon and Biden noted that the bilateral alliance has "matured into a deep and comprehensive strategic relationship" in their joint statement and focused on economic and investment links and the shared commitment to democracy, human rights and the rules-based international order. 
 
The two leaders reiterated their "common goal of the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula" and agreed to strengthen their "airtight coordination" on this issue. They said the North's nuclear program "presents a grave threat not only to peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula but also the rest of Asia and the world."
 
They "condemned" the North's escalatory ballistic missile tests this year, including multiple intercontinental ballistic (ICBM) missile launches. 
 
The two leaders stressed that "the path to dialogue remains open toward peaceful and diplomatic resolution" with North Korea, calling on Pyongyang to return to negotiations. 
 
Yoon outlined his vision to normalize inter-Korean relations through an "audacious plan" aimed at a denuclearized and prosperous Korean Peninsula, and Biden in turn expressed his support for inter-Korean cooperation. 
 
The two presidents renewed their commitment to provide humanitarian aid to vulnerable North Koreans and said Seoul and Washington are willing to work with the international community to provide assistance to Pyongyang to combat the Covid-19 pandemic. They expressed concern over the recent coronavirus outbreak in North Korea. 
 
Biden said that the United States has offered Covid-19 vaccines to North Korea. 
 
"We've offered vaccines, not only to North Korea, but to China as well, and we're prepared to do that immediately,” Biden said during the press conference. "We've gotten no response."
 
On whether he will meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, Biden replied it will "depend on whether he is sincere and whether he was serious." 
 
Their joint statement also underscored the importance of trilateral cooperation between South Korea, the United States and Japan for responding to North Korea challenges, and "protecting shared security and prosperity, upholding common values, and bolstering the rules-based international order."
 
The two leaders further committed to cooperation on critical technologies, energy security, global health and climate change.
 
They discussed the "importance of preserving peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait as an essential element in security and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region," in their statement.
 
Yoon and Biden also discussed South Korea's participation in the U.S.-led Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF), set to be established during Biden's visit to Japan next Monday.
 
"Both leaders agree to work together to develop a comprehensive IPEF that will deepen economic engagement on priority issues, including the digital economy, resilient supply chains, clean energy, and other priorities geared toward promoting sustainable economic growth," the statement said. 
 
The IPEF, a comprehensive economic framework for the region proposed by the United States last October, is viewed as a means for members to "decouple" from the Chinese market by finding alternative supply chains.
 
Seoul officials stress that the IPEF is not meant to exclude any particular country. 
 
The presidents agreed to direct their National Security Councils to launch an economic security dialogue “aimed to align the bureaucratic and policy approaches between the two governments.”
 
The two also recognized the potential for cooperation in the defense industry and agreed to strengthen partnerships in the defense sector supply chains, joint development and manufacturing.  
 
Later Saturday evening, Yoon host an official dinner banquet at the National Museum of Korea, near the presidential office, attended by some 80 government officials, business leaders and other dignitaries. 
 
Yoon’s wife, first lady Kim Keon-hee, briefly greeted Biden ahead of the official dinner at the museum. She did not attend the dinner as U.S. first lady Jill Biden didn’t visit.  
 
Biden arrived for a three-day official visit to Korea Friday afternoon on Air Force One at Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi, and was welcomed by Seoul's Foreign Minister Park Jin. 
 
On Friday evening, he made a trip to the Samsung Electronics chip complex in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi. Yoon joined him at the complex, and they were guided by Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong.
 
On Sunday, Yoon and Biden are scheduled to visit the Korean Air and Space Operations Center at Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek. They will offer words of encouragement to South Korean and U.S. service members.
 
Biden will depart for Japan later Sunday afternoon. 
 
The summit comes just 11 days after Yoon's inauguration, the quickest time for a new Korean president to meet with a U.S. president. It is also rare that the first Korea-U.S. summit of a new administration is taking place in Korea rather than in the United States. 
 
Seoul is Biden's first stop in Asia since he took office in January 2021. 
 

President Yoon Suk-yeol, right, and U.S. President Joe Biden toast guests at the official dinner banquet at the National Museum of Korea in Yongsan District, central Seoul, Saturday, attended by government officials and business leaders. [NEWS1]


7. North Korea's Dr Fauci? Health official emerges as face of COVID campaign

Some things just make you chuckle. "Fuaci-like" is an indication of being a "normal state?"

Excerpts:

The new North Korean media strategy of apparent openness on COVID was in line with a push by Kim to build a "normal state" by improving transparency and acknowledging defects, said Yang Moo-jin, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul.
"He can also encourage people to report symptoms and join efforts to tame the outbreak, in which public participation is key," Yang said.
"There's some propaganda value, as the figures are relatively lower than those reported elsewhere," Yang said.
Another unification ministry official said North Korea might have taken lessons from other countries and is releasing facts and figures as part of an effort to "mobilise every means available", given the urgency of the outbreak.
But Yang pointed out what seem to be significantly low fatalities than elsewhere, saying the death toll might have be under-reported to head off political trouble.
"Publishing death tolls could require political considerations as a surge in deaths will likely stoke people's fear and sour public sentiment," he said.


North Korea's Dr Fauci? Health official emerges as face of COVID campaign
Reuters · by Hyonhee Shin
SEOUL, May 20 (Reuters) - At 9:30 a.m. every day this week, a soft-spoken official has appeared on North Korean television to report the number of people with fever and new deaths, and to explain measures to stop North Korea's first confirmed COVID-19 outbreak.
The little-known official, Ryu Yong Chol, has become the public face of the isolated country's battle against the epidemic, the equivalent of U.S. COVID-19 czar Dr Anthony Fauci or the director of South Korea's disease prevention agency, Jeong Eun-kyeong.
For more than two years, with its borders sealed, North Korea did not report a single case of COVID, which sceptics abroad suggested was more a reflection of its traditional state secrecy than a real absence of the coronavirus.
Since confirming its first outbreak and declaring a state of emergency last week, North Korea has changed tack. Appearing to take a page from playbooks of many other countries, it is releasing detailed data about the spread of the virus and advice on how to avoid it. read more
Ryu works for the state emergency epidemic prevention headquarters, KCNA has reported, which appears to be newly set up to tackle COVID.
Like its South Korean equivalent, the North Korean agency holds daily briefings, chaired by Ryu, though without questions from reporters.
Ryu, dressed in a suit and with horn-rimmed glasses, comes across as sensible and to-the-point, uncommon qualities on North Korea's tightly controlled television better known for the histrionics of its announcers and fawning military commanders.
"We should strengthen efforts to control and isolate every and each infected person without exception so as to thoroughly eliminate any spaces where the infectious disease can spread," Ryu said on Friday, urging "guarding against loopholes".
North Korea has reported 2,241,610 people with fever and 65 deaths among its 25 million people. It lacks testing capacity and has not specified how many of those people have been confirmed to have contracted COVID.
1/2
Ryu Yong Chol, an official at North Korea's state emergency epidemic prevention headquarters, speaks during a daily coronavirus program on state-run television KRT, in this still image obtained from KRT footage released on May 20, 2022. REUTERS TV/KRT via REUTERS
TAMING THE OUTBREAK
Little is known about Ryu, including his medical qualifications.
In a July 2017 state media report, a director-general at the health ministry with the same name accused South Korea of "plotting a biochemical terror attack" against North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. South Korea denied the accusation.
An official at South Korea's unification ministry, which handles North Korean affairs, said Ryu previously held that position, though it was not clear whether he was the person cited in the report.
The new North Korean media strategy of apparent openness on COVID was in line with a push by Kim to build a "normal state" by improving transparency and acknowledging defects, said Yang Moo-jin, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul.
"He can also encourage people to report symptoms and join efforts to tame the outbreak, in which public participation is key," Yang said.
"There's some propaganda value, as the figures are relatively lower than those reported elsewhere," Yang said.
Another unification ministry official said North Korea might have taken lessons from other countries and is releasing facts and figures as part of an effort to "mobilise every means available", given the urgency of the outbreak.
But Yang pointed out what seem to be significantly low fatalities than elsewhere, saying the death toll might have be under-reported to head off political trouble.
"Publishing death tolls could require political considerations as a surge in deaths will likely stoke people's fear and sour public sentiment," he said.

Reporting by Hyonhee Shin, Minwoo Park and Sunghyuk An; Editing by Robert Birsel
Reuters · by Hyonhee Shin

8. US is willing to send North Korea COVID-19 aid despite Kim Jong Un's vows to ramp up its nuclear program, official says

It is because Amwericans and Koreans in the South and the international community care more about the welfare of the Korean people in the north than Kim Jong-un.

US is willing to send North Korea COVID-19 aid despite Kim Jong Un's vows to ramp up its nuclear program, official says
Business Insider · by Kelsey Vlamis

Officials said North Korea may be planning a long-range missile test to occur during President Joe Biden's visit to the South Korea this weekend.
Getty Images
  • About a week after reporting its first COVID-19 case, North Korea may have surpassed 2 million cases.
  • A Biden administration official told Bloomberg's Jennifer Jacobs they may be willing to help the country.
  • North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's nuclear threats have ramped up as Biden visits South Korea.
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The Biden administration is open to providing North Korea with COVID-19 aid as the country faces a major outbreak, an unnamed official told Bloomberg's Jennifer Jacobs.
"It is our hope that they will make decisions that will allow for the maximum amount of support in this time of great need need and great crisis," the official said of North Korea, according to a tweet shared by Jacobs on Friday.
North Korea acknowledged its first-ever case of COVID-19 last week. Since then, the estimated number of cases in the isolated country has surpassed 2 million.
Meanwhile, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has vowed to ramp up the country's nuclear weapons program. In March, North Korea tested a new intercontinental ballistic missile system, prompting condemnation from the West.
"We will continue to take steps to strengthen and develop our nation's nuclear capabilities at the fastest pace," Kim said during a military parade in April, according to the BBC.
US and South Korean officials said this week North Korea could be planning a long-range missile test to occur during President Joe Biden's visit to the South. Biden arrived in South Korea on Friday.

Business Insider · by Kelsey Vlamis


9. N.Korea reports over 200,000 fever cases for 5th day amid COVID wave

N.Korea reports over 200,000 fever cases for 5th day amid COVID wave -Yonhap
Reuters · by Hyonhee Shin
SEOUL, May 21 (Reuters) - North Korea reported more than 200,000 new patients suffering from fever for a fifth consecutive day as the country fights its first confirmed coronavirus outbreak, South Korea's Yonhap news agency said on Saturday, citing the North's state broadcaster.
The ongoing COVID wave, declared last week, has fuelled concerns over a lack of vaccines, inadequate medical infrastructure and a potential food crisis in the country of 25 million that has refused outside help and kept its borders shut. read more
At least 219,030 people showed fever symptoms as of Friday evening, taking the total number of such cases to 2,460,640, the official Korean Central Television (KCTV) reported citing data from the state emergency epidemic prevention headquarters, according to Yonhap. The death toll rose by one to 66.
Yonhap did not specify how many people had tested positive for the virus, and Reuters could not independently verify the report.
With no national vaccination campaign and limited testing capability, the daily data released by state media could be underreported, and it may be difficult to assess the scale of the COVID wave, experts have said. read more
The U.N. human rights agency has warned of "devastating" consequences for its 25 million people, while World Health Organization said an unchecked spread could lead to the emergence of deadlier new variants. read more

Reporting by Hyonhee Shin Editing by Chris Reese and David Gregorio
Reuters · by Hyonhee Shin

10.  Why Kim Jong Un is ‘freaking out’: North Korea’s covid nightmare


Excellent interview with Professor Lee.

Again, to beat the dead horse or to have me be chicken little and the boy who cried wolf, are we dusting off the contingency plans for north Korean internal instability and possible regime collapse? Are we focused on the indications and warning for instability or socially focused on the ICBM and nuclear tests? We need to be able to do both.



Why Kim Jong Un is ‘freaking out’: North Korea’s covid nightmare
The outbreak in North Korea will be devastating for the country; it may even threaten the regime.

China Reporter
May 20, 2022
grid.news · by Lili Pike
On May 12, the Korean Central News Agency — the main media arm of the North Korean government — announced for the first time that covid had broken out inside the country. For more than two years, North Korea had closed its already-tight borders in an effort to ward off the virus. But North Korea also blocked vaccines and other covid-related aid from entering the country, and now it appears omicron has hit in explosive fashion — within two weeks the country has reported 1.7 million cases of what it describes as “fever.”
In the week since its announcement, North Korea has put in place a lockdown policy similar to China’s; but for a country in which food scarcity and poverty are long-standing problems, experts worry that the outbreak might bring devastating consequences.
Grid spoke with Sung-Yoon Lee, a professor of Korean Studies at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, to understand how the covid situation in North Korea has escalated so quickly, how the famously reclusive nation is responding and the implications for its citizens and the regime.
The interview has been edited for length and clarity.
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Grid: Why was the announcement of the covid outbreak in North Korea so significant?
Sung-Yoon Lee: The public acknowledgment by the North Korean government, none other than by Kim Jong Un himself, of covid spreading in North Korea and also notably in the capital city Pyongyang, was a dramatic departure from the previous North Korean policy of claiming with a straight face that there has been not a single case of covid since the onset in early 2020.
G: Do you think it’s likely that North Korea did have some infections before last week?
SYL: In February [2020], as the world was learning more every day about covid and you know, in a state of moderate paranoia, there were reports of North Koreans having pneumonia-like symptoms and high fever, all being dragooned into wooden huts and then locked in to fend for themselves and to die inside these facilities basically. So from the beginning, North Korea showed paranoia and did its best to prevent the virus from reaching the capital city. There were cases, they were just not confirmed because North Korea didn’t have the tools to test them. It would appear these draconian measures were effective in further prevention of the spread of the virus throughout 2020 and 2021, until this year. So you know, North Korea’s claim that until April they did not have a single case is almost certainly false. But, in the main, North Korea has contained the spread quite effectively.
G: How bad is the current outbreak and how reliable is the information coming out about it?
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SYL: North Korea is basically an information black hole by design. North Korea not only blocks information but also falsifies information and uses disinformation, projecting for the outside world’s consumption false facts and false figures. So with that in mind, North Korea, it seems every day, is issuing the latest number of people observed to have had a fever — that’s the terminology they use, somebody with fever, not somebody who has been confirmed, because they don’t have the testing tools to carry out more credible covid tests.
What we find, according to the North Korean government, is a slight downward trend in the number of people found to have a fever over the past three days. But while that may be a welcome trend, it doesn’t really say much. And without doubt, the numbers are a gross understatement and they cannot, of course, include the entire population — these are figures from Pyongyang and some other major cities. So I think North Korea, the government itself, has no real good clue as to the extent of the infection, and of course, the outside world has even less of a picture.
G: Why is the government releasing any information at all given its usual secrecy?
SYL: Well, it gives the impression to both the people and to the outside world that the government, as shorthanded as it is, is doing its best to try to contain the virus. And that makes Kim Jong Un look good as people have to make further sacrifices being isolated and not having access to basic food and medicine.
G: What has life been like in North Korea during the pandemic up until this outbreak?
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SYL: In January 2020, North Korea literally sealed off the border. Scholars on both sides of the political spectrum agree that North Korea is the worst totalitarian state in history. So it came as no surprise that North Korea restricted its population to such a degree, even cutting off all trade with China for almost two years, beginning in early 2020. It came as no surprise, but that of course foreshadowed extreme deprivation, suffering, lack of basic amenities: cooking oil, rice, basic food — even in the capital city, as told by the international community, the diplomats and foreign residents in Pyongyang.
G: How do you think this outbreak will further impact North Koreans?
SYL: Unfortunately, I see this as the beginning of untold suffering, extreme discrimination, extreme lack of basic food and medicine, death, illnesses, starvation and famine-like conditions for the majority of the North Korean population outside Pyongyang, the capital and a handful of other major cities. And this is not a political liability for the great leader, so called, the suffering and hunger and the death of millions of people, presumably have no adverse effect on the government.
So the outside world, I think, should take a strong stand and keep pressing North Korea to receive food aid and medical aid. And if Kim Jong Un doesn’t — if he refuses, then it’s on him, there’s not much we can do to compel a sovereign nation armed with nuclear weapons to receive aid.
G: How has North Korea’s relationship with China played into its covid response?
SYL: There was another major statement by Kim Jong Un himself a few days ago in which, toward the very end in the official English version, Kim Jong Un reportedly said: “It is good to actively learn from the advanced and rich anti-pandemic successes and experience already gained by the Chinese party and people in the struggle against this malicious epidemic.”
He can do that with far greater restrictions than even Xi Jinping because Kim Jong Un is utterly unaccountable to public opinion. There hasn’t been a single protest, and there are no unions or dissidents in North Korea. So he can afford to even go beyond what China is doing.
G: But I’ve read that North Korea is allowing people to continue working and markets to remain open, which sounds like a slightly more relaxed version of China’s lockdowns.
SYL: Why’s that the case? Probably the people of Pyongyang need, you know, decent food, and other clothing and other amenities. So just to completely seal off the capital city and not allow for any kind of commercial activity or governmental activity would be shooting himself in the foot probably.
G: Why hasn’t North Korea accepted vaccines from China or other countries and organizations? Is that changing?
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SYL: Well, as the world has learned over the past more than two years, public health policy is always about politics. North Korea and Eritrea in Africa are the only two countries where there’s been no vaccination program — by choice, for political reasons. So for Kim Jong Un, I think he really believed that sealing the border would work, and to some extent it has until recently.
Last week, I was in Washington for a congressional hearing, and I met up with some North Korean defectors with elite backgrounds, and they said that Kim Jong Un would be averse to Chinese vaccines because of this long, ingrained mistrust of all things Chinese, especially medicine and food.
Has he changed his mind now? Possibly. I think from what I’ve observed over the past week, Kim Jong Un is, in the common American vernacular, freaking out. He’s presiding over meetings every day, virtually. And he’s clearly concerned about himself and his family, first and foremost. So this is a real crisis for him. So I think he would be amenable to handing out Chinese vaccines to the people who surround him, his close officials and the elites, while probably asking for Pfizer or something else for himself. But it’s also possible that Kim Jong Un and his family and cronies may already be vaccinated.
G: What about other aid?
SYL: It seems that Kim is now banking on just getting aid from China, and perhaps he’ll reach out to Russia as well. We know that South Korea, the U.S., the U.N., and many other countries have offered aid and so far, North Korea has been unresponsive. [The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday that North Korea received some medical aid from China.]
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G: How might the outbreak impact the regime?
SYL: I firmly believe this is the most serious existential threat Kim Jong Un has ever experienced in his entire life. During a famine, the wealthy, high and mighty, never go hungry. It’s always the politically marginalized, like inmates and also poor people, who become the first victims in a famine. Likewise, during a pandemic, such marginalized people are the first victims. While wealthy powerful people have better access to food and healthcare, a pandemic, unlike the famine, can kill both princes and paupers alike. It does not discriminate. So the fear of being infected for Kim Jong Un, who is not in optimal health, has pushed him to use these draconian measures.
It’s certainly more than plausible that the superspreader events were those in late April convened by Kim Jong Un himself [North Korea held a large military parade and other events last month]. So while Kim has never faced a real threat from his own people or from abroad, this pandemic is something that is taken very seriously. Now he’s showing serious distress and concern, which is understandable; from his vantage point, where he was an unassailable leader, during the covid times, you never know.
Thanks to Alicia Benjamin for copy editing this article.
grid.news · by Lili Pike

11. Biden’s trip to South Korea may spark a new friendship
Another excellent OpEd from Professor Lee. Will we have a human rights upfront alliance approach?

Conclusion:

Once Biden meets his South Korean counterpart and sees that Yoon is — besides being an unpretentious, dogs- and cats-loving baseball fan — a leader with empathy for the well-being of his compatriots in the North who is committed to protecting the human rights of all Koreans, it could very well mark the start of a close relationship.

Biden’s trip to South Korea may spark a new friendship
The Hill · May 20, 2022
Joe Biden, on his first visit to South Korea this weekend as president, will find in the new Korean leader, Yoon Suk-yeol, a political novice who shows it. Before taking office 10 days ago, Yoon, a former top prosecutor, had not held an elected position. He won the March 9 presidential election with a slim 0.73 percentage-points differential, or just 247,077 more votes than his main rival.
It’s amply clear that Yoon has yet to cultivate the kinds of nuance in public speeches or deftness in demeanor that are hallmarks of popular leaders. Some even have painted him as a “Falstaff-like” figure — zany, solipsistic, bibulous, and prone to gaffes. This unflattering image may yet prove to be an asset in winning over President Biden.
In Japan, Biden’s next destination, the American leader will find in Prime Minister Fumio Kishida a seasoned politician with nearly three decades of experience in government and politics. First elected to Japan’s House of Representatives in 1993, Kishida has held various senior cabinet posts. He served as minister of foreign affairs from December 2012 to August 2017, becoming the longest-serving Japanese foreign minister in the post-war era.
Biden and Kishida briefly met on the sidelines of a United Nations climate summit in Glasgow last November. And in January they held a 90-minute virtual meeting, during which the prime minister stated that “Japan would be fully behind the United States” if Russia invaded Ukraine — a position that America’s other key ally in the region, South Korea, has yet to espouse.
Such contrasts in savoir-faire and political savvy between the two East Asian leaders may spell for Biden speed bumps in Seoul and smooth sailing in Tokyo — the latter, historically, Washington’s more favored ally. But Biden may yet come away with positive impressions of the unpolished Korean leader, perhaps even more favorable than those of the sophisticated Japanese statesman. After all, Biden has seen it before — in 2009, when he was the vice president.
That November, President Barack Obama made his first visits to Japan, South Korea and China. Obama had called for a “pivot” back to East Asia after years of preponderant U.S. focus on Afghanistan and Iraq. In February 2009, Obama sent Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on her first foreign visit to Japan, South Korea and China to underscore his pivot. Obama himself visited Tokyo, Seoul, Beijing and Singapore (for the Asia-Pacific Economic Forum summit) nine months later. In a press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, Obama said, “I intend to make clear that the United States is a Pacific nation, and we will be deepening our engagement in this part of the world.”
But what the Pacific-focused president did not expect was the lack of cordiality and support from Japan’s prime minister. The contentious issue of the relocation of the U.S. Marine Corps air station in Okinawa, on which the U.S. and Japan had agreed in 2006, clouded the meeting. The plan was to move the military base from the populated Ginowan City to the less populous Henoko Bay, Nago, which was a conservation area. But the move was in question, as Nago’s residents strongly opposed the building of a noisy air base in their town that would also cause environmental degradation. Hatoyama opposed the move.
To make matters worse, Hatoyama took off for Singapore — to which Obama was also headed — while the American president was still in Japan, implying that he had places to go and people to see while his American visitor may be unencumbered by such a taxing schedule. In Seoul, on the other hand, Obama was warmly received by the straight-shooting President Lee Myung-bak. Thereafter, Obama considered his relationship with Lee one of his closest with another head of state, while remembering Hatoyama in his 2017 memoir as a “pleasant, if awkward, fellow.”
No such diplomatic slight will occur during Biden’s visit with Kishida. The two leaders will project a united message on America’s Indo-Pacific Strategy, through the reaffirmation of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad), a strategic forum among the U.S., Japan, Australia and India. In Japan, Biden also will promulgate the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF), a loose economic forum geared toward long-term competition against China, with membership that remains murky. Only a few nations in Pacific Asia — and, to date, none in the Indo-Pacific — have joined the framework. South Korea announced only this week that it would.
North Korea’s leaders in recent weeks have regaled themselves with continued missile blasts. North Korea’s threats to the region virtually guarantees that Biden’s tour will be presented as a success. Even a major weapons test by Pyongyang while Biden is in South Korea or Japan could be billed as America’s commitment to defend its allies.
Last month, Kim Jong Un and his sister, Yo Jong, issued nuclear threats against the South. Ms. Kim threatened to have her nation’s “nuclear combat force” visit upon the South “a miserable fate little short of total destruction and ruin,” while her brother stated more cryptically, “If any forces try to violate the fundamental interests of our state, our nuclear forces will have to decisively accomplish its unexpected second mission.” Taking a page out of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s playbook, the Kim siblings seek to routinize threats of nuclear attack.
Neither Yoon nor Biden will be able to present an antidote to North Korea’s growing threat. But they can send signals to Pyongyang that all options are on the table, including the redeployment of U.S. nuclear weapons or, short of that, strategic assets on a rotational basis in South Korea and its vicinity. As I testified in a congressional hearing last week, the status quo further tilts “the revisionist Kim regime in the direction of gambling on a Russia-style invasion or launching a series of serious attacks. The cost of defending South Korea against the North’s nuclear-armed forces would be incalculably greater for both Seoul and Washington should Kim Jong Un gamble on Seoul’s capitulation in the wake of Pyongyang’s preemptive nuclear strike. Only a clear message of guaranteed nuclear counterattack will deter the North Korean despot, who values above all his own well-being and longevity.”
As for Kim’s well-being, Biden and Yoon can provide an antidote to the COVID-19 crisis in North Korea. The two leaders, together with Kishida and other leaders, including China’s Xi Jinping and even Putin, can push Kim to receive medical aid, including vaccines. That Kim himself acknowledged on May 12 the virus was spreading in his capital and, two days later, called the situation a “great upheaval” in his nation’s history, indicates his considerable fear of his own mortality. Kim has never experienced an existential threat such as this. Despite playing up fears of “U.S. hostile policy” and an imminent “attack,” there has not been a U.S. attack on North Korea since the 1953 armistice or a domestic protest worthy of the name.
Neither did his father, Kim Jong Il, ever experience such a threat in his lifetime. During the famine of the 1990s, he could afford to divert and hoard food aid as hundreds of thousands of people starved to death, because ordinary people were expendable, and people could not infect others with hunger. But since people very much do infect others with COVID, Kim Jong Un may be incentivized, out of self-interest, to distribute vaccines widely.
Once Biden meets his South Korean counterpart and sees that Yoon is — besides being an unpretentious, dogs- and cats-loving baseball fan — a leader with empathy for the well-being of his compatriots in the North who is committed to protecting the human rights of all Koreans, it could very well mark the start of a close relationship.
Sung-Yoon Lee is Kim Koo-Korea Foundation Professor of Korean Studies and assistant professor at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, and faculty associate at the U.S.-Japan Program, the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University. Follow him on Twitter @SungYoonLee1.
The Hill · May 20, 2022

12. Former Blue House Senior Staff Im Jong-seok et. al. Wielded Undue Power over Military, Created Military Personnel Blacklist, Anti-US a Criterion for a Promotion Category

Dr.Tara O has been tracking these issues for a long time and doing a lot of research in this area. Very troubling information in her report.

However, I would like to share with you an email that was forwarded to me (but not directly sent to me) by Mr. Peck who casts aspersions on my loyalty.

In the past when he used to send me emails about allegations that the Moon administration was made up of communist sympathizers I questioned him as to his sources. I told him I could not forward wild allegations without some evidence (being a lawyer I thought Mr. Peck would understand this). Instead he would make these sensational accusations that could not be grounded in fact other than to say there are a lot of people in Korea espousing these positions 

In addition I told him that these allegations could not be addressed in the context of the alliance without harming the alliance. I have stated my loyalty is first to our country and then to the alliance because the alliance is critical to US national security. I would not do anything to undermine it especially by making unfounded allegations that I could not prove.

Those who have read my writings must know that I have been very critical of the Moon administration. In short, in my opinion the Moon administration did not have a realistic understanding of the nature, objectives, and strategy of the Kim family regime and therefore its policies were at best naive and at worst dangerous. I can make that assessment based on what is publically known and I have never needed to justify my assessment based on allegations that the Moon administration consisted of communist and north Korean regime sympathizers. I have mentioned the allegations of the Jusapa which is a group believed to sympathize with the north. I have also said that it is important for us to observe the South Korean democratic process and if we believe in democracy we will see a correction if Mr. Peck's allegations are in fact true. So perhaps Mr.Peck's allegations are twu and there has been a corrective. with the election of President Yoon.

But I take great offense at Mr. Peck's allegations that I am a dupe and was under the influence of Moon sympathizers. Again I constantly criticized the Moon administration's positions but I always did so from the perspective of ensuring the strength of our alliance. I continue to believe in the shared values of the alliance and I think both our presidents reaffirmed that in this weekend's summit meeting. But the strength of our alliance is between the our two peoples and we will continue to have a strong alliance because of those shared values.

From: Lawrence Peck <lawrencepeck@hotmail.com>
Sent: Friday, May 20, 2022 7:33 PM
Subject: I think it is extremely important that you read and consider the full implications of this report, insofar as it relates to a point of debate between Col. Maxwell and myself.
 

 I think it is extremely important that you read and consider the full implications of this report, insofar as it relates to a point of debate between Col. Maxwell 
and myself, and I think it demonstrates that my position was correct. I believe that he let his professional relationships with top ROK military officials color 
his views, perhaps not realizing, since the facts of the matter as disclosed in this report were not known to him, that he was being fed a politically partisan 
line by ROK officers who were simply parroting Moon's stances due to their personal and political loyalty to him, or because they feared for their careers.

As you may recall, a couple of years ago, Col. Maxwell, based on misleading feedback I was reliably informed that he was then getting from high-ranking ROK officers who were politically loyal to Moon Jae-in and therefore supportive of Moon's policies, took umbrage at the strong criticism which Gordon Chang and I, in particular, were aiming at Moon, his officials, and his policies. This in turn caused Col Maxwell at one point to even groundlessly and very unfairly accuse me, specifically, of wanting to see the dissolution of the U.S.-ROK alliance, which was outrageous, and which false accusation he never subsequently retracted.

This report indicates to me that Col. Maxwell was being influenced by high-ranking ROK officers who were essentially covering for Moon and Moon's
policies, downplaying how dangerous such policies were, and maintaining the criticism of Moon from the U.S. was not helpful to the health of the
alliance. Of course, It was the position of myself and others that it was precisely Moon, his officials, and his policies that were putting the alliance
at serious risk, and that no happy talk about shared values changed that fact. As it now has been disclosed by this report, Moon's ideological purges 
of the ROK military's top brass were what motivated his picked "political generals" and others who feared for their careers, to parrot to American
officers and former officers the "official line" of Moon and his cronies, while silencing those in the ROK military who were known to have more anti-
North Korea, pro-U.S. views, or were politically neutral. In other words, these "political generals" under Moon's thumb were badly misleading the 
Col. and others, and lulling some Americans into a kind of "normalcy bias" mentality with regard to the state of the alliance under Moon's leadership.



Former Blue House Senior Staff Im Jong-seok et. al. Wielded Undue Power over Military, Created Military Personnel Blacklist, Anti-US a Criterion for a Promotion Category

2022-5-20, Tara O
Im Jong-seok, the former Chief of Staff under Moon Jae-in, with a past of jusapa (revering Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-un), visited the 5th Infantry Division’s observation post at the DMZ on October 17, 2018 while Moon was out of country. Im was surrounded by senior national security figures, such as the Minister of Defense, the National Security Adviser, and senior military commanders. Im was the only one sporting sunglasses, and he appeared to give “on the spot guidance.” The Liberty Korea Party (predecessor to the People Power Party) accused Im of acting like he were the commander-in-chief.
Im Jong-seok, the only one wearing sun glasses, points while visiting the DMZ, October 17, 2018
Im Jong-seok in sunglasses, October 17, 2018
Testimony surfaced about the 586-generation (age in the 50s, activists in the 80s, born in the 60s) activists wielding undue influence over military personnel affairs, especially Im Jong-seok, the former Chief of Staff to Moon Jae-in at the Blue House. (0:21) In fact, the Blue House staff, none of whom are in the military chain of command, including the Presidential Secretariat for Civil Affairs (민정수석실) headed by Cho Kuk and the Senior Secretariat for Personnel Affairs (인사수석실), were directly involved in promotion and assignment decisions as well as making black lists of military personnel. (0:09) They also made blacklists for personnel in the Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy (산업통상자원부), and other government agencies as well. (0:11, 0:55)
from left, Im Jong-seok (former Chief of Staff), Cho Kuk (former Senior Secretary for Civil Affairs), 2018
The Blue House senior staff directed promotions and assignments of generals and admirals by creating three categories of military personnel: 1) Suitable (green), 2) Partly Not Suitable (yellow), and 3) Not Suitable (red). The criteria were shocking. Anti-U.S. tendency was a criterion for the “Suitable” category, while those who strongly voiced the North Korean threat would be in the “Not Suitable” category. The former would be fast-tracked for promotion, while the latter would be excluded from promotion or worse. 
Traditionally, each military services’ chief of staff recommends a list of personnel for promotion, which is sent up to the Minister of Defense, who nominates them to the president for promotion. However, the Blue House staff determined who will and will not get promoted based on who meets their criteria for the three categories, then instructed the Minister of Defense and the service chiefs to include those names of military officers to be promoted. Those marked in red were then excluded from even the recommendation for promotion list. To carry this out, it was confirmed that the then Army Chief of Staff General Kim Yong-woo (김용우) and a Blue House official of relatively junior level (5th level/section chief level) met at a coffee shop with a personnel list for promotion in September 2017.
For instance, in November 2018, then Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Lee Jong-seop (이종섭), who was a Secretary of Defense nominee in the Lee Myeong-bak administration, positionally was demoted to an Army Policy Researcher in the MND. Several months later in March 2019, he retired. (Note: With the change in the administration, he is currently the Defense Minister.)
Lieutenant General Lee Jae-su’s funeral, December 11, 2018
Lieutenant General Lee Jae-su (이재수), the commander of the now-defunct Defense Security Command, fared worse. Labeled as Jeokpae (deep-rooted evil/accumulated ill) as part of the Moon Jae-in administration’s political purge, intense and unfair investigations led him to commit suicide on December 7, 2018. General Lee was tormented by the prosecutors trying to coerce him to falsely blame Kim Kwan-jin, the National Security Adviser in the Park Geun-hye administration and the “man North Korea feared the most,” in order to make him complicit in the criminal charge. Kim Kwan-jin was found not guilty on August 14, 2019, and was released from jail. General Lee was found not guilty on January 17, 2021, since what the Defense Security Command was doing was part of carrying out its mission, but the court’s decision came too late.








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
VIDEO "WHEREBY" Link: https://whereby.com/david-maxwell
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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