Informal Institute for National Security Thinkers and Practitioners


Quote of the Day:

"Never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy."
- Winston Churchill

"I have said that propaganda, misinformation, and disinformation have always been part of political warfare. Social media and other new platforms have given it a new life and reach through which the fake news phenomenon can reach everywhere."
- Bilawal Bhutto Zardari

"Unconventional warfare needs to remain the heart and soul of U.S. Special Operations Command and component commands."
- Brandon Webb





1. Kim and Xi highlight strong relations on treaty-signing anniversary
2. Xi, Kim exchange congratulations on 60th anniversary of China-DPRK Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance
3. COVID-19 cases rise above 1,300 for 3rd day, greater Seoul faces toughest curbs
4. S. Korea voices 'strong' regret over leak of talks with Japan over summit possibility
5. S. Korean shipbuilders' orders hit 13-year high in H1
6. Moon issues ultimatum for Olympic meeting with Suga
7. South Korea accelerating development of advanced weapons systems
8. Leadership vacuum on Japan–South Korea cooperation
9. Opposition chief draws backlash for calling unification ministry 'useless'
10. Seoul rebuts UN special rapporteurs' concerns over anti-leaflet law
11. Korea in search of solutions for looming ultra-low childbirth, aging population
12. From Korean War to armistice
13. China, N Korea pledge cooperation ‘in face of foreign hostility’
14. Kim Jong Un is scared he'll be toppled by the young, says Ian Birreill
15. Video of the Commemoration Events of the 1st Anniversary of the late Gen. Paik Sun-yup



1. Kim and Xi highlight strong relations on treaty-signing anniversary

Do not discount these propaganda statements.

Excerpts:

"Over the past six decades, the DPRK and China have written a proud history of friendship while invariably supporting and cooperating with each other morally and materially in the struggle for accomplishing their joint cause, sharing sweets and bitters in all tempests of history," he said, according to the KCNA.
"Noting that the world undergoes a great and rapid change unprecedented in 100 years, General Secretary Xi Jinping stressed in the message that he is willing to provide greater happiness to the two countries and the two peoples by strengthening the strategic communication with General Secretary Kim Jong-un," the KCNA added.
The Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of the ruling Workers' Party, also carried an editorial calling the bilateral cooperation a "powerful weapon" that enables them to win any anti-imperialist war and fight in defending socialism.
"As imperialists now have united and are plotting to isolate and crush socialist countries, it is required of North Korea and China to further develop their friendly relations based on the spirit and principles of the bilateral treaty," it said.
(2nd LD) Kim and Xi highlight strong relations on treaty-signing anniversary | Yonhap News Agency
en.yna.co.kr · by 이원주 · July 11, 2021
(ATTN: ADDS more info with comments from North Korean foreign ministry's website)
By Koh Byung-joon
SEOUL, July 11 (Yonhap) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and Chinese President Xi Jinping highlighted their commitment to further strengthen relations between the two countries as they exchanged messages to mark the 60th anniversary of signing a friendship treaty, state media reported Sunday.
In the messages to celebrate the 1961 signing of the "DPRK-China Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance," Kim also said the international situation has been "unprecedentedly complicated" in recent years while Xi said the world is undergoing "a great and rapid change unprecedented in 100 years."
"Despite the unprecedentedly complicated international situation in recent years, the comradely trust and militant friendship between the DPRK and China get stronger day by day and the traditional DPRK-China friendship has, gaining momentum, comprehensively developed onto a higher stage in all fields," Kim was quoted as saying.
He stressed that the treaty is showing "stronger vitality" in ensuring peace in Asia and the rest of the world as "hostile forces" have become more desperate in their obstructive moves.
"It is the fixed stand of the WPK and the DPRK government to ceaselessly develop the friendly and cooperative relations between the DPRK and China as required by the new times and as desired by the peoples of the two countries," he added.
DPRK is the acronym of the North's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. WPK refers to the North's ruling Workers' Party of Korea.
Xi also emphasized that the treaty signed in 1961 laid "important political and legal foundations for consolidating the militant friendship" between the two countries and hoped to strengthen his "strategic communication with Kim.
"Over the past six decades, the DPRK and China have written a proud history of friendship while invariably supporting and cooperating with each other morally and materially in the struggle for accomplishing their joint cause, sharing sweets and bitters in all tempests of history," he said, according to the KCNA.
"Noting that the world undergoes a great and rapid change unprecedented in 100 years, General Secretary Xi Jinping stressed in the message that he is willing to provide greater happiness to the two countries and the two peoples by strengthening the strategic communication with General Secretary Kim Jong-un," the KCNA added.
The Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of the ruling Workers' Party, also carried an editorial calling the bilateral cooperation a "powerful weapon" that enables them to win any anti-imperialist war and fight in defending socialism.
"As imperialists now have united and are plotting to isolate and crush socialist countries, it is required of North Korea and China to further develop their friendly relations based on the spirit and principles of the bilateral treaty," it said.
North Korea's foreign ministry on Sunday vowed to continue to strengthen and develop relations with Beijing.
"The DPRK and the PRC, firmly convinced of the justness of their socialist cause, are now staunchly advancing toward a bright future by smashing the high-handedness and desperate maneuvers of the hostile forces on the strength of militant friendship and blood ties even under the complicated international situation," the ministry said on its website.
The exchange of messages came about 10 days after Kim sent a congratulatory message to Xi to mark the 100th anniversary of the Communist Party of China, in which he vowed to elevate relations with China to a new strategic point.
North Korea and China have emphasized their close and friendly relations amid stalemated nuclear talks between Pyongyang and Washington, and an escalating Sino-U.S. rivalry.
Last month, China's ambassador in Pyongyang and North Korea's top diplomat in Beijing stressed the importance of bilateral relations in rare op-ed pieces published in state media of the host country on the second anniversary of Xi's trip to Pyongyang.
The two countries signed the treaty on July 11, 1961, under which they are obliged to provide military and other assistance to each other, a deal seen as the bedrock of their strong alliance for decades.

kokobj@yna.co.kr
(END)
en.yna.co.kr · by 이원주 · July 11, 2021

2.  Xi, Kim exchange congratulations on 60th anniversary of China-DPRK Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance

From the CCP propaganda mouthpiece.

Xi, Kim exchange congratulations on 60th anniversary of China-DPRK Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance - Xinhua | English.news.cn
Video PlayerClose

A large group callisthenics and art performance is held at the May Day Stadium in Pyongyang, DPRK, June 20, 2019. (Xinhua/Shen Hong)
BEIJING, July 11 (Xinhua) -- General Secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee Xi Jinping, also Chinese president and chairman of the Central Military Commission, exchanged congratulatory messages on Sunday with Kim Jong Un, general secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK), also chairman of the State Affairs Commission and commander-in-chief of the armed forces of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) on the 60th anniversary of the signing of the China-DPRK Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance.
In his message, Xi pointed out that in 1961, leaders of the elder generation of China and the DPRK made the far-sighted strategic decision to sign the treaty, which laid important political and legal foundations for consolidating the friendship the two peoples had forged with blood and promoting bilateral friendly cooperation for the long run.
Over the past 60 years, Xi said, China and the DPRK, firmly supporting each other and striving hand in hand in the spirit of the treaty, have strengthened the traditional brotherly friendship between the two parties and countries, advanced the development of their respective socialist causes, and safeguarded regional and global peace and stability.
Xi recalled that in recent years, he and Kim have met for several times to blueprint the development of relations between the two parties and countries and enrich the China-DPRK friendship in the new era, and reached a series of important consensuses.
Stressing that today a major shift in the world landscape unseen in a century is accelerating, Xi said he is ready to work with Kim to strengthen strategic communication, chart the course for the China-DPRK relationship and lift the friendly cooperation between the two countries to new levels so as to bring more benefits to the two countries and their people.
China has recently held grand celebrations for the 100th anniversary of the CPC's founding, and the DPRK people are striving all out in unity to implement the decisions and deployments made at the eighth WPK Congress, Xi noted, stressing that China firmly supports the DPRK in developing its economy, improving its people's wellbeing, and vigorously advancing its cause of socialist construction.
Xi said he is confident that the WPK and the DPRK people, under the leadership of Kim, will surely make new and greater achievements.
Kim, in his message, said the signing of the treaty demonstrated to the world the firm will of the two parties as well as the governments and people of the two countries to promote long-term development of the DPRK-China friendship forged with blood on a solid legal basis.
Over the past six decades, the DPRK and China have written a proud history of friendship through mutual support and help, he said.
He noted that in recent years, in the face of a complex and ever-changing international landscape, the comradely trust and friendship between the DPRK and China have kept growing deeper, and bilateral relations have advanced to a higher stage.
It is the unswerving position of the WPK and the DPRK government to continuously strengthen and develop the DPRK-China friendly and cooperative relations, he said.
The WPK, the DPRK government and the DPRK people, he added, will attach greater importance to the DPRK-China friendship, a common treasure of both sides, and march forward hand in hand with the CPC, the Chinese government and the Chinese people in the sacred journey of building socialism and communism.
Once again congratulating the CPC on its centenary, he said he wishes the CPC and the Chinese people greater success in building China into a modern socialist country in all respects and achieving the great national rejuvenation. ■

3. COVID-19 cases rise above 1,300 for 3rd day, greater Seoul faces toughest curbs

Excerpts:
About 500 people tested positive each day in Seoul. A cluster infection at a department store in Gangnam Ward has reported 109 cases so far. There were 60 infections linked to a restaurant in Seoul's Yeouido.
A total of 15.58 million people, or 30.4 percent of the country's population, have received their first shots of COVID-19 vaccines. The KDCA said 5.87 million people have been fully vaccinated, accounting for 11.4 percent of the population.
The country currently administers two-dose vaccines from AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Moderna, as well as Janssen's single-shot vaccine.
Of the newly confirmed domestic cases, 501 were from Seoul, 399 from the surrounding Gyeonggi Province and 65 from the western port city of Incheon.
There were 44 additional imported cases, with 40 of them from Asian nations.
The total number of people released from quarantine after making full recoveries was 153,760, up 607 from a day earlier.
(2nd LD) COVID-19 cases rise above 1,300 for 3rd day, greater Seoul faces toughest curbs | Yonhap News Agency
en.yna.co.kr · by 박보람 · July 11, 2021
(ATTN: UPDATES with more details in paras 5-6, 12-13)
SEOUL, July 11 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's daily new COVID-19 cases rose above 1,300 for the third straight day Sunday, as health authorities were set to impose the toughest virus curbs in the greater Seoul area to bring the fourth wave of the outbreak under control.
The country recorded 1,324 more COVID-19 cases, including 1,280 local infections, raising the total caseload to 168,046, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said.
It is the first time that the nation's daily infections have risen above 1,300 for three straight days since the beginning of the pandemic. Sunday's figure compares with 1,275 on Thursday, 1,316 on Friday and 1,378 on Saturday.
The country added five more COVID-19 deaths, raising the death toll to 2,043.
As of 6 p.m. Sunday, South Korea reported 921 new cases, down one from the same time the previous day, including 702 cases detected in Seoul and its adjacent areas, according to health authorities and local governments.
Daily cases are counted until midnight and announced the following morning, and the daily tally for Monday is again expected to surpass the 1,000 level.

Starting Monday, the government will raise virus curbs to the toughest level in Seoul and its neighboring Gyeonggi Province and Incheon for two weeks.
Under the Level 4 rules, private gatherings of three or more people will be banned after 6 p.m. and in-person classes will be closed. Weddings and funerals can only be joined by relatives. Entertainment establishments, including night clubs and bars, will be ordered to shut down, while restaurants will be allowed to have dine-in customers until 10 p.m.
As the nation is grappling with the fourth wave of the pandemic, health authorities warned the worst may be yet to come. In the worst-case scenario, the nation's daily new infections could stand at 2,140 late this month, the KDCA said. Unless things get worse, the KDCA said the average daily new infections could stand at 1,400 in late July.
If vaccinations gain pace and people strictly comply with virus curbs, the number could drop to between 260 and 415 in September, the KDCA said.

Cluster infections have recently grown at various places, including companies, schools and department stores, amid a surge in cases of the contagious delta COVID-19 variant.
Authorities said the number of delta variant cases confirmed last week in the greater Seoul area was twice that of the alpha variant.
"Mutated virus variants themselves have yet to become the dominant coronavirus strain that makes up more than half (of total infections)," Sohn Young-rae, a senior health ministry official, said in a press briefing. "Coronavirus variants of several kinds are being found in one third of (new coronavirus patients currently)," he said.
About 80 percent of new infections came from Seoul and its neighboring areas, with people in their 20s and 30s, most of whom are not eligible for vaccinations, fueling new cases, according to the KDCA.
As of midnight Saturday, the rate of positive tests was 6.42 percent, up from 3.68 percent a day earlier.
The higher positivity rate means that the number of confirmed infections was higher despite fewer tests over the weekend.
About 500 people tested positive each day in Seoul. A cluster infection at a department store in Gangnam Ward has reported 109 cases so far. There were 60 infections linked to a restaurant in Seoul's Yeouido.
A total of 15.58 million people, or 30.4 percent of the country's population, have received their first shots of COVID-19 vaccines. The KDCA said 5.87 million people have been fully vaccinated, accounting for 11.4 percent of the population.
The country currently administers two-dose vaccines from AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Moderna, as well as Janssen's single-shot vaccine.
Of the newly confirmed domestic cases, 501 were from Seoul, 399 from the surrounding Gyeonggi Province and 65 from the western port city of Incheon.
There were 44 additional imported cases, with 40 of them from Asian nations.
The total number of people released from quarantine after making full recoveries was 153,760, up 607 from a day earlier.
kdh@yna.co.kr
(END)
en.yna.co.kr · by 박보람 · July 11, 2021


4. S. Korea voices 'strong' regret over leak of talks with Japan over summit possibility

At least now there is an excuse if there are no talks. This is preparing the information environment.
S. Korea voices 'strong' regret over leak of talks with Japan over summit possibility | Yonhap News Agency
en.yna.co.kr · by 송상호 · July 11, 2021
SEOUL, July 11 (Yonhap) -- South Korea expresses strong regrets over the "unilateral" leak of talks with Japan over a possible bilateral summit on the occasion of the upcoming Tokyo Olympics, a Seoul official said Sunday, calling for Tokyo to respond "prudently."
The official's remarks followed Japanese media reports that Seoul and Tokyo are in talks over President Moon Jae-in's possible visit to Japan to attend the opening ceremony of the Olympics later this month and for talks with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.
"We express strong regrets over the fact that the content of consultations between the two countries' diplomatic authorities has recently been leaked unilaterally to media that cited Japanese officials based on Japan's position and perspective," the foreign ministry official said in a text message to reporters.
"It may be difficult to see the consultations continue under such circumstances, and we urge the Japanese side to respond prudently," the official added.
The official confirmed that Seoul and Tokyo have been looking into the possibility of the summit between Moon and Suga "on the premise that momentum will be created for the resolution of bilateral pending issues and appropriate formalities will be observed."
The pending issues include long-running issues of Japan's wartime forced labor and sexual slavery as well as its export curbs against South Korea.
Seoul has steadily been pushing to arrange a summit between Moon and Suga, hoping to find resolutions to the thorny issues and enhance cooperation in tackling shared challenges, such as North Korea's nuclear problem, amid a U.S. push to bring its two Asian allies closer.

sshluck@yna.co.kr
(END)
en.yna.co.kr · by 송상호 · July 11, 2021

5.  S. Korean shipbuilders' orders hit 13-year high in H1


S. Korean shipbuilders' orders hit 13-year high in H1 | Yonhap News Agency
en.yna.co.kr · by 김덕현 · July 11, 2021
SEOUL, July 11 (Yonhap) -- New orders won by South Korean shipbuilders hit a 13-year high in the first half of the year amid signs of a modest recovery in global trade from the COVID-19 pandemic, data showed Sunday.
Korean shipbuilders led by Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. won new orders worth US$26.7 billion that amounted to 10.88 million compensated gross tons (CGTs) in the January-June, according to the data provided by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.
Compared with a year ago, new orders skyrocketed 724 percent.
It marked the biggest amount of orders since 2008, when the shipbuilding industry boomed before the global financial crisis.
Local shipbuilders' new orders accounted for 44 percent of the total global orders in the first half, the data showed.
Korean shipbuilders enjoyed orders for a variety of ships this year, including container carriers, liquefied natural gas (LNG) carriers and eco-friendly ships.
In the first half, Korean shipbuilders won orders for 16 LNG carriers.
With global demand for cargo ships increasing, Korean shipbuilders received orders for 81 large container carriers, according to the data.

kdh@yna.co.kr
(END)
en.yna.co.kr · by 김덕현 · July 11, 2021

6. Moon issues ultimatum for Olympic meeting with Suga

Hmmm... is this a translation issue? Issuing an ultimatum does not seem like a very diplomatic thing to do.

Sunday
July 11, 2021
Moon issues ultimatum for Olympic meeting with Suga

President Moon Jae-in stresses that the Korea-U.S. alliance serves as the linchpin for the peace and prosperity in the region to members of the U.S. Congressional Study Group on Korea (CSGK) who visited the Blue House Friday. The U.S. lawmakers, including Rep. Young Kim of California, during their visit to Seoul stressed the importance of trilateral cooperation with Japan, among other issues. [NEWS1]
 
President Moon Jae-in has issued an ultimatum to Japan, saying he will consider a meeting with Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga at the Olympics only if a substantial agenda is set.
 
"The final position of the Blue House is that it can consider President Moon's visit to Japan only if there is sincere discussion of at least one of three pending issues to be resolved with Japan," a senior Blue House official told the JoongAng Ilbo by phone Sunday.
 
The three possible agenda items are: wartime sexual slavery and forced labor victims, Japan's export restrictions and Tokyo's planned discharge of contaminated water from the Fukushima power plant.
 
"If Japan doesn't show a forward-looking attitude to the end, Moon will have no choice but to announce he will not be attending the opening ceremony," the official added.
 
The official suggested a deadline of "early this week" for a satisfactory response. Korea and Japan have been discussing Moon's attendance at the July 23 opening ceremony and a formal meeting between him and Suga coinciding with that visit.
 
"We all know that these are difficult issues to be resolved at a single summit, but Korea's position is that the future can be pursued only when the leaders of Korea and Japan at least start consultations on urgent issues," the official added.
 
The current position is a step away from the Blue House's initial proposal that the leaders put all the key issues on the table for a "one-shot" negotiation.
 
The Blue House has been stressing that it would hold a summit only if some "achievement" could be guaranteed.
 
"Beginning consultations can also be accepted as an achievement," the official said, adding that "now is the time for the Japanese government to give a sincere response," indicating that the ball is in Tokyo's court.
 
The Japanese government conveyed to the Korean side that it accepted a request for a meeting should Moon attend the opening ceremony, the Nikkei reported Sunday, saying that discussions are ongoing.
 
The newspaper reported that Korean Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong is expected to accompany Moon when he visits Tokyo, and that the two governments are also coordinating another visit by Chung to Japan in August to hold talks with Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi.
 
The two leaders have yet to hold a formal meeting since Suga took office last September, though Moon exchanged brief greetings with the Japanese prime minister at the G7 summit in Cornwall, England, last month. The last summit between Moon and his Japanese counterpart was in December 2019, when he sat down with then Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Chengdu, China.
 
In a slight change of tone since last month, Suga said during a press conference last Thursday when discussing whether he would have a summit with the Korean leader, "If President Moon visits Japan, we will, of course, receive him with diplomatic courtesy."
 
But Suga noted that Japan-Korea relations are in a "very difficult state right now" because of the forced labor and wartime sexual slavery issues and the Japanese call for Korea to "resolve" these issues. 
 
Japanese media said that the two sides are working to fine-tune details of a possible first meeting between Moon and Suga, such as the length, reporting that Seoul wants a one-hour meeting, while Tokyo is pushing for a shorter meeting.
 
Kyodo News reported Sunday, citing a prime minister's office source, that Suga in principle wants a 15-minute meeting with each national leader attending the opening ceremony, including Moon.
 
Such a short meeting would likely only provide an occasion to convey existing positions rather than an opportunity for discussions that would allow for headway on difficult issues such as historical disputes stemming from Japan's 1910-45 colonial rule over Korea.
 
The Blue House said that the Japanese government has yet to extend a formal invitation to Moon, but it indicated it will remain open the possibility of the president's visit to Japan to the 11th hour.
 
The Blue House official told the JoongAng Ilbo Sunday that it is "not too fixated" on the length of the meeting, so long as it is a proper summit where the foreign minister and security advisers can attend. 
 
Washington has been pressuring its allies to improve their relations as a part of its strategy of strengthening cooperation on mutual regional concerns such as North Korea. 
 
"President Moon's visit to Japan must also be understood in the context of restoring the key alliance as demanded by the United States as a foundation for its policies toward China and North Korea," a high-ranking Korean government official said.
 
A Korean Foreign Ministry official in a statement Sunday expressed "strong regret" over Japanese officials' leaks of discussions over a possible summit, noting the consultation process could be hindered unless Tokyo responds prudently. 
 
The official confirmed that the two sides have been looking into a summit if it can "create momentum for the resolution of bilateral pending issues" and proper formalities are observed.  
 
Korean Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Hwang Hee told foreign correspondents in Seoul Friday that "a meeting of the leaders of the countries would be meaningful in itself." 
 
Noting that the Olympics are symbolic of "peace and reconciliation," he said that it would be a "very good opportunity" to hold a Korea-Japan summit, likewise stressing the importance of separating sports from politics.
 
Hwang is already scheduled to visit Japan for the Summer Olympics.  
 
The coronavirus is another factor as Japan last Thursday declared a state of emergency for Tokyo from Monday to Aug. 22, which covers the Olympics that run through Aug. 8, due to the spike in Covid-19 cases in the Japanese capital. The Japanese Olympic Committee said Tokyo venues will prohibit spectators for the Summer Games due to the state of emergency. 

BY SARAH KIM, KANG TAE-HWA [kim.sarah@joongang.co.kr]


7.  South Korea accelerating development of advanced weapons systems

Although it may seem counterintuitive, liberal Korean governments have traditionally invested more in defense than conservative Korean governments.


South Korea accelerating development of advanced weapons systems
The Korea Times · July 11, 2021
Streaks of light are seen as Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile system intercepts rockets launched from the Gaza Strip toward Israel, as seen from Ashkelon, Israel, May 12. On June 28, the South Korean military announced that it would launch a project to develop a South Korean version of the Iron Dome system next year, aiming to complete it by around 2035. Reuters-Yonhap

Korean version of Iron Dome, SLBMs under development
By Jung Da-min

South Korea is accelerating the development of advanced weapons systems to strengthen its deterrence against possible military threats, mainly from North Korea.

On June 28, the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) announced that it would launch the development of a South Korean version of Israel's Iron Dome system next year, aiming to complete it by around 2035, reducing the development period by two or more years. In August of last year, the military unveiled a long-term project to develop an interceptor system that could target North Korea's Scud-type or more powerful missiles.

Along with the interceptor system, South Korea's submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) technology also drew attention following media reports saying the military has recently succeeded in a test launch of its SLBM from an underwater platform. The military declined to comment, although defense experts said they believe the military has succeeded in securing core SLBM technology.

But military watchers have expressed mixed responses regarding what benefits the military could see by securing such advanced weapons systems, considering the costs of development and future use after deployment.

For the Korean Iron Dome development project, DAPA allocated a 2.89 trillion won ($2.54 billion) budget. The missile and artillery-interception system is aimed at protecting the country's core facilities and military and security infrastructure by shooting down long-range artillery shells and other projectiles using guided missiles. Guided-missile launchers are installed in various locations in the capital Seoul to form an air defense network.

This photo from March 9, 2020, released by North Korea's state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), shows a military drill at an undisclosed location in North Korea. AP-YonhapNorth Korea has deployed about 1,000 long-range artillery pieces along the border area near the Military Demarcation Line (MDL), according to the military's estimate. Among them, it is said that six battalions with 170-millimeter self-propelled guns with a range of 54 kilometers and about 10 battalions with 240-millimeter multiple rocket launchers with a range of 60 kilometers are targeting the Seoul metropolitan area directly.

Some military watchers cast doubts on the efficiency of the Iron Dome project, saying intercepting a ballistic missile flying in flank direction would not be as easy as intercepting one flying in front direction, and acquiring such advanced technologies would require huge human resources and financial investments.
But other military experts said the interceptor system is worth developing.

"The military had earlier reviewed introducing the Israeli Iron Dome system, but decided to develop its own domestically developed system instead, as South Korea has already secured related technologies," said Shin Jong-woo, a senior researcher at the Korea Defense and Security Forum. "The questions regarding the efficiency of the interceptor system seem to stem from the wrong expectation that it is meant to protect all areas of the capital. The interceptor system is more about protecting core military facilities."

Moon Sung-mook, a senior researcher at the Korea Research Institute for National Strategy, said developing the country's own interceptor system could save a lot in terms of future costs, as the nation would be able to maintain and upgrade the system after development.

"I understand that there could be criticism regarding the technology, but there is still time to advance the technology during the development process," Moon said.
South Korean submarine Dosan Ahn Chang-ho is docked at Okpo Shipyard of Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering on Geoje Island in South Gyeongsang Province, in this Sept. 14, 2018, photo, during its launching ceremony. Joint Press CorpsMoon said he believes the military has secured "cold launch" SLBM technology, which refers to missiles being ejected from canisters before the rocket engines ignite. This is based on the fact that the military has been operating submarine-launched cruise missiles (SLCMs). He also said that the military's 3,000-ton class submarines are likely to be equipped with launching platforms for SLBMs.

"When North Korea is also developing a 3,000-ton class submarine for SLBMs, we cannot just relax but need to have a corresponding capacity so that we could maintain war deterrence," Moon said.

But Shin said the point of having an SLBM is to mount it with a nuclear warhead, while he doubts that South Korea needs SLBMs as the country cannot possess nuclear weapons. "Without nuclear weapons, operating SLBMs would not have much effect. There are many other weapons we could use to target North Korea, as we would not need to use underwater platforms to attack a fixed target," Shin said.


The Korea Times · July 11, 2021

8. Leadership vacuum on Japan–South Korea cooperation

From one of the most thoughtful scholars on Japan-Korea relations.

Key excerpts:
Renewed cooperation seems unlikely today, but this could change. The South Korean government of Moon Jae-in, reflecting long-held views of South Korean progressives, and prompted by court decisions, has challenged both the legitimacy of the 1965 treaty and moved to effectively dismantle the 2015 agreement. From this perspective, the deals were unequal bargains, compounded by Japan’s ongoing denial of its war crimes.
For the Japanese right, this gives credence to their insistence that South Koreans are unreliable partners, unable to hold an agreement. They dismiss the progressive government in Seoul as de facto partners of China.
The strategic situation, however, lends weight to those who argue that the threat from China and North Korea should bind them together. In Washington, the broad effort to encircle China requires close ties to allies and between them. Both Tokyo and Seoul nominally support trilateral cooperation.
The US role has also shifted back toward bringing Tokyo and Seoul together. When relations took their latest nosedive, the Trump administration was notably disengaged. But the Biden administration is emphasising the role of allies and actively encouraging trilateral meetings.

Leadership vacuum on Japan–South Korea cooperation | East Asia Forum
eastasiaforum.org · by Daniel Sneider · July 11, 2021
Author: Daniel Sneider, Stanford University
The dysfunctionality of Japan–South Korea relations led many to despair about whether the two Northeast Asian neighbours can l ever get along. Efforts by US officials to create trilateral opportunities on security, climate or cybersecurity have largely foundered.

History provides two lessons, which point in contradictory directions
The first is that the tensions are deeply rooted and fundamental to national identity in both countries. The other is that progress is possible, but requires political leadership and the help of the United States. While historical enmity remains, strategic and even tactical conditions can create opportunities.
Specifically, two moments in Japan–South Korea relations provide relevant lessons: the 1965 treaty to normalise relations and the 2015 agreement on so-called ‘comfort women’.
Post-war efforts to establish relations began in 1951 amid fierce fighting in Korea and with Japan on the verge of restoring sovereignty. The United States was eager to bind its two allies together, but neither South Korean leader Syngman Rhee nor Japanese Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida were enthusiastic about dealing with thorny issues, such as the treatment of the Koreans living in Japan and compensation for Japanese colonial rule.
Successful talks on a treaty to normalise relations and settle post-war claims finally took place in 1965. Despite strong opposition in both countries to the compromises needed to reach a deal, the treaty became the legal foundation for post-war Japan–South Korea ties.
A change in leadership was needed to make that possible, particularly in South Korea, where the military-led regime of Park Chung-hee had taken power in 1962. A Japanese-trained officer in the wartime Imperial Army, Park was determined to follow the Japanese model of export-led industrialisation and needed Japan as a source of aid, investment and technology. The Japanese government of Eisaku Sato understood that this was the best partner they could hope for and saw economic opportunity.
The strategic situation also pushed them together. China tested nuclear weapons in 1964 and 1965, the Vietnam War was in full swing and North Korea was emboldened. The United States saw a Japan–South Korea partnership as crucial to meeting the communist threat. Washington made normalisation a priority in every meeting with South Korean and Japanese leadership, pushed for the treaty and intervened when talks hit snags.
A similar convergence led to the 2015 comfort women agreement, which created a Japanese-funded foundation to provide compensation to survivors and affirmed Japan’s responsibility for wartime acts. The then South Korean president Park Geun-hye, daughter of the late military dictator, held a strong personal concern for the women but wasn’t wedded to the progressive narrative of victimisation. Then Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe advocated a conservative revisionist narrative, but was also pragmatic and not vulnerable to criticism from the Japanese right.
Strategic realities also played a key role then. The Chinese challenge was manifest. North Korea’s nuclear program was progressing rapidly and efforts at negotiation had stalled.
Japan–South Korea relations dived after Abe’s December 2013 visit to the Yasukuni shrine to Japan’s war dead, but once Japanese and South Korean officials began talking to each other again, the United States combined direct pressure from the President and behind-the-scenes mediation to help facilitate a deal.
Renewed cooperation seems unlikely today, but this could change. The South Korean government of Moon Jae-in, reflecting long-held views of South Korean progressives, and prompted by court decisions, has challenged both the legitimacy of the 1965 treaty and moved to effectively dismantle the 2015 agreement. From this perspective, the deals were unequal bargains, compounded by Japan’s ongoing denial of its war crimes.
For the Japanese right, this gives credence to their insistence that South Koreans are unreliable partners, unable to hold an agreement. They dismiss the progressive government in Seoul as de facto partners of China.
The strategic situation, however, lends weight to those who argue that the threat from China and North Korea should bind them together. In Washington, the broad effort to encircle China requires close ties to allies and between them. Both Tokyo and Seoul nominally support trilateral cooperation.
The US role has also shifted back toward bringing Tokyo and Seoul together. When relations took their latest nosedive, the Trump administration was notably disengaged. But the Biden administration is emphasising the role of allies and actively encouraging trilateral meetings.
Perhaps partly in response, the Moon administration has signalled, but not manifested, a desire to step back from its opposition to the 1965 treaty and the 2015 agreement. But Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, confident in his alignment with Washington on China policy, has so far not reciprocated.
The missing element to bilateral cooperation then is political leadership. Moon is deeply committed to the progressive agenda and his party faces a serious challenge in next year’s presidential election. Suga is weakened, facing challenges both from within his ruling conservative Liberal Democratic Party and from the liberal opposition. Neither man seems personally inclined to take on the risks of compromise.
The Biden administration may have concluded that any breakthrough will have to wait until next year and a change of leadership, perhaps in both countries.
Yet officials in Tokyo and Seoul are quietly working to lay the groundwork for a potential deal on wartime history issues and it is essential that the United States makes clear, from the highest level, the imperative to repair relations. The coming Summer Olympic Games, which Moon is planning to attend, could provide a moment to set relations on a different path. History shows that progress is possible with leadership and patience.
Daniel Sneider is a Lecturer in International Policy and East Asian Studies at Stanford University.
eastasiaforum.org · by Daniel Sneider · July 11, 2021


9. Opposition chief draws backlash for calling unification ministry 'useless'

Yes, but....

My response to a press inquiry about this: It should not be duplicating efforts of MOFA or the intelligence service. The only reason MOU should exist is to develop the detailed plans for the unification process. I would like to see the MOU focus on substantive unification planning and developing the ROK policies of unification. It needs to focus on developing how the unification process will unfold following the various paths to unification: peace, war, regime collapse, and internal regime change that results in a new leader who seeks peaceful unification. It should simply be a planning and preparing organization to develop the plans and policies to facilitate unification under any scenario and it should not be conducting foreign policy or intelligence functions.

Opposition chief draws backlash for calling unification ministry 'useless'
The Korea Times · July 11, 2021
People Power Party Chairman Lee Jun-seok, right, speaks during a preparatory meeting for the party's primary to select its presidential candidate at the National Assembly in Yeouido, Seoul, Friday. Yonhap

By Nam Hyun-woo

Lee Jun-seok, chairman of the main opposition People Power Party (PPP), stirred up controversy by calling for the dismantlement of South Korea's Ministry of Unification, which is in charge of dealing with North Korea.

Lee claimed recently that ministries that have been failing to show results should be abolished, singling out the unification ministry as well as the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family. However, his comments have drawn strong backlash from not only the ruling bloc, but also Lee's own party, raising questions over his views on the reunification of the two Koreas.

Lee first created a stir during an interview with CBS radio, Friday, saying he has "always been calling for the dismantlement of the unification and gender equality ministries."

He added, "The separation of the foreign affairs ministry and the unification ministry can be inefficient" and "the unification ministry has been the weakest and the most neglected ministry, because inter-Korean relations are being controlled by either Cheong Wa Dae or the National Intelligence Service."

Lee continued commenting on Facebook on Saturday.

"Just like the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family does not resolve gender conflicts, the existence of the unification ministry does not make noticeable steps toward unification," Lee wrote. "I believe the next administration should amend the Government Organization Act, because the ministry's role is uncertain and it is not doing its job properly."

He also criticized Unification Minister Lee In-young, saying, "If Lee thinks the ministry is necessary, then he is the one who is not doing his job properly."
Unification Minister Lee In-young speaks during an event at the ministry's Office of Inter-Korean Dialogue in Jongno District, Seoul, July 5. YonhapFollowing criticisms toward his ministry, Minister Lee replied on Facebook on Saturday that "Chairman Lee should stop showing off his shallow historical awareness and social consciousness."

The PPP chief and the minister continued exchanging salvos on Sunday. Minister Lee wrote Chairman Lee has a "weird understanding of gender equality," firing back at the PPP leader's criticism that the ministry's event of presenting flowers to female workers on International Women's Day was a waste of taxes. Chairman Lee replied that "the minister should improve his awareness of human rights" of North Koreans. Minister Lee wrote, "awareness of human rights starts from respecting others."

As controversy grew, Lee Nak-yon, former prime minister and a presidential hopeful from the ruling Democratic Party of Korea (DPK), joined the fray on Sunday.

"(Chairman Lee's) claim is nonsense that anyone who knows about national tasks would never come up with," he wrote on Facebook. "By mentioning the dismantlement of the unification ministry, South Korea's policies on the Korean Peninsula will face questions and many adversities will follow in the country's diplomatic relations and inter-Korean relations."
Former Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon announces his policy pledges to enhance safety for women at the National Assembly in Yeouido, Seoul, Sunday. YonhapRep. Jeon Yong-gi of the DPK also bashed Chairman Lee's claims. Jeon wrote on Facebook that the chairman's claim that Taiwan, North Korea and China do not have unification ministries is not entirely accurate.

"When we look into the success case, West Germany had the Federal Minister of Intra-German Relations who was in charge of improving relations between East and West Germany," Jeon wrote. "Lee's claim is nothing but criticism with no proper understanding of history."

Lee's arguments are drawing a backlash from his own party as well.

Rep. Kwon Young-se of the PPP wrote on Facebook on Saturday that "state affairs are not mathematics" and the party does not need to incur the criticism of being an "anti-unification group."

"Though the ultimate goal is unification, the current job of the unification ministry is to resume inter-Korean exchanges as a process of overcoming the two Koreas' separation, and not to achieve unification right away," Kwon wrote.

"The unification ministry has been doing a pathetic job under the current administration, but it doesn't mean the ministry should be abolished. We can make it right after we (PPP) take over (after winning the presidential election)."


The Korea Times · July 11, 2021


10. Seoul rebuts UN special rapporteurs' concerns over anti-leaflet law

A way for Seoul to solve this problem would be to decide to implement an information and influence activities strategy (ideally a combined one) that would incorporate the expertise and advice and capabilities of the escapee organitions). If we could harness the energy, commitment, and expertise of the professional diplomats, PSYOP practitioners, and information operations specialist we could execute a comprehensive information campaign to help the Korea people in the north, live up to the UN calls for getting information to the people, support a human rights up front approach and prepare the peninsula for the solution to the Korea questions - eventually a United Republic of Korea (UROK). And the National Assembly should repeal this law and the ROK government should embrace, support, and integrate the efforts of the escapee organizations.


Seoul rebuts UN special rapporteurs' concerns over anti-leaflet law
The Korea Times · July 11, 2021
In this April 2016 file photo, a group of defectors fly balloons containing anti-North Korea leaflets at a border village of Paju, Gyeonggi Province. South Korea has rebutted concerns expressed by a group of U.N. special rapporteurs that a new law that bans the launching of anti-Pyongyang propaganda leaflets across the inter-Korean border could restrict freedom of expression, documents show.
 Yonhap

South Korea has rebutted concerns expressed by a group of U.N. special rapporteurs that a new law that bans the launching of anti-Pyongyang propaganda leaflets across the inter-Korean border could restrict freedom of expression, a government document showed Saturday.

In April, Tomas Ojea Quintana, special rapporteur on North Korea's human rights situation, along with three other rapporteurs, voiced concerns in a letter towards South Korea's so-called anti-leafleting law passed late last year. They expressed concerns that the ban may "negatively impact the enjoyment of the right to freedom of expression" and the "legitimate activities" of nongovernmental organizations in Seoul.

The law prohibits the launching of anti-Pyongyang leaflets across the border, with violators subject to a maximum prison term of three years or a fine of 30 million won ($27,400).

In response, the South Korean government delivered a written response on the matter to the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights on Friday, according to the U.N. rights office. In it, Seoul argued that the law restrains freedom of expression to the minimum level to protect public safety and is in line with levels permitted by international human rights agreements.

The government also stressed the need to control leafleting activities through the law, as such actions have brought about continuous threats to the lives of residents living in the border area despite repeated administrative measures against the actions.

The government also explained that the nature of the law wasn't about the restriction of freedom speech but rather centered on applying minimum limitations to a specific method in expressing one's opinion.

South Korea has stressed that the leafleting ban is necessary to protect the lives and safety of residents living in the border areas as such leaflets could provoke the North to take bellicose action. (Yonhap)


The Korea Times · July 11, 2021

11. Korea in search of solutions for looming ultra-low childbirth, aging population

I would imagine there is a lot of research being done by sociologists to understand this troubling and dangerous phenomenon. This is another problem that might be aided by unification. Perhaps former President Park was right when she said that unification could be a "bonanza. " It might help the population growth problem. 


Korea in search of solutions for looming ultra-low childbirth, aging population
The Korea Times · July 11, 2021
gettyimagesbankThe inclination against having babies and raising a family, particularly stronger among South Koreans, has turned out to be a trend that apparently not even money can solve.

South Korea's total fertility rate hit a record low of 0.92 in 2019, way below the 1.63 average of members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, proving that over 140 trillion won ($122.4 billion) in state funds poured into tackling the nation's low birth rate crisis over a decade since 2006 was futile.

This trend does strike as particularly troublesome especially during an economy weighed down by the COVID-19 pandemic ― as reduction in jobs and thus overall income are undoubtedly detrimental toward efforts to overturn the country's low-birth, aging society conundrum.

Under the circumstances, policymakers are keeping close tabs on the looming demographic challenge, as a structural change in the overall population is projected to have deep economic impacts on both the macroeconomic and individual scales.

Last week, South Korea's top economic policymakers laid out a rough policy vision on dealing with the demographic crisis at hand, with a focus on sustaining the size of the country's working-age population, during an interagency meeting reviewing the state of the economy.

South Korea's working-age population is projected to decline an average of 330,000 per year in the 2020s when baby boomers, born from 1955-1963, will reach over age 65.

The country is also widely expected to become a super-aged society in 2025, in which the proportion of those aged 65 and older will hit 20 percent of the total population.

To deal with this problem, the government said it aims to put priority on strengthening child care services to prevent more women from experiencing a career break due to childbirths and raising their children.

"We will extend the child care program for elementary school students and expand all-day child care services to promote women's participation in economic activities," Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki said at the meeting on Wednesday.
The announcement came as more working moms had to quit their jobs to look after their children who study at home as they found it difficult to hire child care workers during the pandemic.

Another means of making up for loss in the size of the working population is by admitting more workers from overseas. The government announced it plans to expand the issuance of F-2 visas for foreign talented workers in promising sectors.
F-2 visas are issued for long-term foreign residents. Authorities also plan on introducing a new visa category centered on remote work for exceptional foreign talent in areas of information technology and other cutting-edge fields.

The government also plans to initiate a national debate to discuss ways to reform the labor market system regarding senior workers, including areas related to their employment and wage structure, through the presidential economic, social and labor council.

Officials, however, dismissed speculation that the country is considering extending the retirement age, currently set at 60.

Whether to extend the retirement age, possibly to 65, has become a hot-button social issue as the country is expected to face the so-called demographic cliff in coming years.

On the aging population topic, the government vowed to push for measures to help senior citizens better use medical services and strengthen the financial status of state pension and health insurance schemes to cover rising welfare costs.

The country will also consider introducing "home medical services," under which doctors and health workers will visit the houses of elderly patients to treat them. It will also push for the adoption of non-contact medical services for senior citizens.
Officials also plan to deal with the problem of so-called regional dissipation, or the population exodus of young people from rural areas, by introducing programs to foster growth of key urban areas across various regions.

The government task force plans to announce follow-up measures, including four major strategies and 13 related itineraries, in four successive notices until September, according to officials.

Many experts say that the government in general appears to be headed in the right direction in terms of dealing with the problem. But some note that the government should come up with more concrete measures in terms of solving the low birth rate and youth unemployment problem.

Others also note the limitations in addressing the demographic challenge at hand through arbitrary government policies, stressing the need for the underlying social culture to change as well in order to better deal with the problem.

"Rather than focusing on ways to promote child birth through incentives or support programs, it will be better to promote a social environment and culture that nurtures and champions parents' child rearing," a researcher at the Korean Women's Development Institute said. (Yonhap)


The Korea Times · July 11, 2021

12. From Korean War to armistice
Interesting commentary on Korean history, culture, and the actions of one very motivated young woman to make a difference.

From Korean War to armistice
The Korea Times · July 11, 2021
By Jason Lim
Growing up in Korea, the Korean War was always referred to by the date when it started: 625, for June 25, 1950, the date when well-armed North Koreans invaded South Korea across the 38th parallel. Referring to important historic events by their dates is typical in Korea, so I never questioned that 625 was the definitive term we would use to refer to the Korean War.

However, more recently, the date 727 made its way into the mainstream narrative of the Korean War. July 27, 1953, was the date when the armistice was signed, pausing the Korean War that continues to this day. It was supposed to be followed by a treaty that would mark the official end of the war, but that never happened. Seeing that Koreans never refer to historic events by their end dates, how did 727 enter into the Korean War lexicon?

Well, I had the privilege to witness this process. There is an oft-quoted maxim by Margaret Mead: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed individuals can change the world. In fact, it's the only thing that ever has." In this case, however, it was essentially one person: Hannah Kim.

It was Hannah who first told me about the armistice date back in 2007 when she was about to start grad school at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. She would also weave this date into a larger narrative about bringing recognition and honor to the veterans ― she would call them "grandfathers" ― of the forgotten war and even larger narrative about bringing peace to the Korean Peninsula.

It sounded preposterous even then. She didn't really have a strategy, let alone a plan to make this happen. What she did have was the unwavering belief in her vision and willingness to act upon it. She just did it. I don't exactly know what she did or how she did it, but she did it. This is what "it" includes so far.

Starting in 2008, Hannah organized an annual event on July 27 that gathers hundreds of people to light candles at the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool at 7:27 p.m. to pay tribute to the sacrifices of Korean War veterans and to renew the call for peace on the peninsula.

In 2009, Hannah successfully lobbied to pass legislation that established July 27 as the National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day in the United States. I still remember watching in awe as American flags flew at half-mast around the Washington Monument for the first time.

This is when 727 started to gain mainstream legitimacy and widespread use in the Korean War lexicon. It was amazing to watch people start using these dates to talk about the armistice and the unfinished business of the Korean War. A simple date had the power to shift the narrative of the war from its beginning to its potential end, from blaming to reconciling, and from past pain to future potential.

Of course, nothing is so simple on the Korean Peninsula. The introduction of 727 didn't magically bring about peace. However, the storytelling about the war shifted fundamentally. It no longer had a hold on the Korean psychology as something that was currently happening. It was now something that happened that needed closure.

Most people would stop there. Hannah, however, after serving as chief of staff and communications director to Rep. Charles B. Rangel (D-N.Y.) until his retirement, traveled the world across six continents and 26 countries in 2017 to personally meet and thank Korean War veterans from every country that participated.

She followed this up in 2018 with a visit to all 50 U.S. states to meet with the surviving Korean War veterans across America and raise awareness and funds to construct the Wall of Remembrance in Washington, D.C., that would engrave the names of those killed in the war, including the 7,200+ Korean soldiers killed as part of the Korean Augmentation to the U.S. Army (KATUSA).

This past May during his visit to the U.S., President Moon Jae-in spoke at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Wall of Remembrance.

As another July 27 approaches, Hannah has organized another event to raise even more awareness and help educate a new generation of young people about the sacrifices that underlie what Korea is today.

She launched the Worldwide Photo Essay and Video Contest for folks to submit pictures and captions or a video up to five minutes in length about the Korean War, offering $10,000 in prizes. Visit remember727.com to find more information. I am honored to serve as one of the 100 judges around the world.

When looking back at history, there is a certain inevitability to what happened. However, what I know now is that such inevitability comes from the actions and decisions of specific individuals to work for what they believe in despite what the world tells them.

We are taught to mock and pity the Don Quixotes of the world as they futilely charge at the windmills. On second thought, per-haps these Don Quixotes are the only ones that change the world.

Jason Lim (jasonlim@msn.com) is a Washington, D.C.-based expert on innovation, leadership and organizational culture.

The Korea Times · July 11, 2021


13. China, N Korea pledge cooperation ‘in face of foreign hostility’

Foreign hostility = US "hostile" policy.

Both north Korea and China would like to see an end to the US ' "hostile" policy - end of the ROK/US Alliance, removal of US troops from Korea, end of extended deterrence and the nuclear umbrella over the ROK and Japan. That way the north could have its way on the Korean peninsula and CHina could have its way in Northeast Asia.

China, N Korea pledge cooperation ‘in face of foreign hostility’
The leaders of North Korea and China have exchanged messages pledging to strengthen cooperation on the 60th anniversary of the signing of their Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance.
In a message to Chinese President Xi Jinping on Sunday, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said their relationship was vital in the face of hostile foreign forces, while Xi promised to bring cooperation “to a new stage”, according to North Korea’s KCNA news agency.
China has been North Korea’s only key ally since the two sides signed the treaty in 1961, and international sanctions imposed over Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes have made it more dependent than ever on Beijing for trade and other support.
The friendship pact calls on the two countries to come to each other’s assistance should either side come under attack.
“Despite the unprecedentedly complicated international situation in recent years the comradely trust and militant friendship between the DPRK and China get stronger day by day,” Kim said in his message, KCNA reported, using the initials for North Korea’s official name.
The treaty is defending socialism and peace in Asia “now that the hostile forces become more desperate in their challenge and obstructive moves”, Kim said.
Xi’s message said he plans to provide greater happiness to the two countries and their people by strengthening communication with Kim and “by steadily leading the relations of friendship and cooperation between the two countries to a new stage”, KCNA said.
The China-North Korea treaty has a validity of 20 years and was renewed in 1981 and 2001.
NK News, a website that monitors North Korea, said it expected Xi and Kim to extend the treaty for another 20 years.
Xi and Kim’s exchange of messages is the latest sign of renewed ties between the neighbours, which analysts say is aimed at the United States amid gridlocked nuclear talks between Pyongyang and Washington and worsening US-Beijing tensions.
“It’s a marriage of convenience,” Park Won-gon, professor of North Korean Studies at Ewha Womans University, told the AFP news agency.
The two allies’ relations have had discord since the end of the Korean War, he added, and they will “never really trust each other”.
But they need each other to deal with Washington, Park added.
“And the closer they get, the harder it will be to denuclearise North Korea.”
14. Kim Jong Un is scared he'll be toppled by the young, says Ian Birreill

Perhaps but I am afraid not anytime soon as long as Songbun holds and the suppression mechanisms of the party, military, and security services remain loyal to Kim Jong-un and function effectively.. But I could be wrong.

But I think it is a fair assessment to say KimJong-un fears the Korean people in the north more than the US.

Kim Jong Un is scared he'll be toppled by the young, says IAN BIRRELL
15 years in a slave labour camp - just for listening to pop music in North Korea: As Kim Jong Un's Hermit Kingdom is hit by hunger and Covid, he's petrified of being toppled by the young who've glimpsed the outside world from TV, says IAN BIRRELL
PUBLISHED: 17:04 EDT, 10 July 2021 | UPDATED: 04:23 EDT, 11 July 2021
Daily Mail · by Ian Birrell For The Mail On Sunday · July 10, 2021
Three years ago, North Korea's 'Supreme Leader' Kim Jong Un clapped along to songs at a concert by famous pop stars who were visiting from his country's despised neighbour, South Korea.
The portly dictator posed for pictures and chatted to the musicians about their performances, which included a song called Our Wish Is Unification.
According to state media, the show left him 'deeply moved'.
But he has since changed his tune. Kim brands such music a 'vicious cancer', warning that South Korean pop stars are corroding his country and corrupting his nation's youth with subversive fashions, hairstyles and slang.
Kim has passed draconian laws to crack down on 'non-socialist' pleasures – with the death penalty for bringing such tunes into the country and up to 15 years in a slave labour camp simply for listening to them.
The moves are part of a clampdown that has seen his right-hand aide fired, women ordered to wear traditional dress rather than fashionable short skirts, and disciplinary units checking text messages on teenagers' mobile phones.

Momoland performs at Seoul World Cup Stadium on June 26, 2021 in Seoul, South Korea
The reason is simple: this secretive, nuclear-armed nation of 26 million people, ruled by a sinister family that relies on fear and death camps, is facing its biggest crisis this century as a result of the pandemic.
The country – which claims to be the only place in the world without Covid – has seen its economy collapse after closing borders with China (its main trading partner), leading to such food shortages that Kim has warned citizens to prepare for famine.
And he fears the young may have less loyalty to his Orwellian regime after seeing glimpses of the outside world through films, soap operas and pop songs smuggled into the Hermit Kingdom.
'The dilemma for dictators is they have total control but they never know when it will end,' said Soo Kim, a former CIA North Korea analyst now at the Rand Corporation think-tank. 'He's probably become very paranoid.'

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visiting the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun in Pyongyang on July 8
The situation is so fraught that last week it needed the traditional annual visit to the mausoleum for his grandfather Kim Il Sung, the founder of North Korea, to quash rumours that Kim had been forced from power by his uncle after suffering a brain haemorrhage.
Kim was joined at the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun – a massive edifice where, eight years ago, I watched North Koreans weep as they bowed before the embalmed bodies of his father and grandfather – by his sister and a posse of senior party officials.
One key figure was noticeably absent from official photographs: Ri Pyong-chol, a relative of Kim's wife who led the nuclear weapons programme and was thought to have become the tyrant's most important aide.
The former air force chief was reportedly dismissed from the five-person politburo after Kim spoke about a 'great crisis' and blamed officials for serious failures in the 'prolonged state emergency epidemic prevention campaign'.
Analysts believe the moves indicate either a severe Covid outbreak in Pyongyang, the capital city reserved for North Korea's pampered elite, or that Kim discovered that emergency food reserves were empty.
At least Ri was not executed – unlike another family member who was decapitated, the corpse left on the steps of a government building with the head placed on top, according to Kim's alleged boasts to Donald Trump during their ill-fated talks.

People prepare to pay their respects to the statues of late North Korean leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il at Mansu Hill in Pyongyang on July 7
That K-pop concert in Pyongyang came amid efforts to defuse tensions, both with Washington and its southern neighbour with whom North Korea is technically still at war after an armistice in 1953 ended the first military conflict of the Cold War.
As a result of closing borders with China, Covid, destructive typhoons and a dreadful harvest, Kim's economy is struggling badly. The latest crackdown began when the Supreme Leader set up a new organisation to 'eradicate' the 'perverted puppet words' which the regime assumes people have picked up from watching South Korean TV dramas.
Words of endearment such as 'oppa' (a romantic term for older brother) and 'dong-saeng' (meaning younger sister, brother) are banned, with the traditional greeting 'comrade' insisted on.
There is also a punitive 'Law on the Elimination of Reactionary Thought and Culture' that tripled maximum penalties for possession of contraband.
Reports have emerged of police ordering parents to change South Korean-style names given to children and of security squads prowling streets to check people's clothing and hairstyles are suitably dowdy.
Men's hair must not be too long. Women must not wear tight clothes. The young must hand over mobile phones to check for messages that might contain foreign phrases such as 'See You' or 'TY' ('Thank You')
One source told a Japanese news agency: 'If there are any expressions in the text messages that are not used in North Korea, the owner of the device will be suspected of watching South Korean dramas and will be interrogated. Inspectors also check for any rumours or complaints about difficulties due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Students take care to delete text messages after sending them.'

Donald Trump meets with North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore in June 2018
This is high-risk: even the two-year sentence in a labour camp for using slang could prove fatal, since many detainees perish amid the brutal conditions in these gulags that hold an estimated 200,000 people.
Last month, Kim wrote a letter to the Socialist Women's Union demanding that women wear traditional attire, support their husbands and ensure that homes are 'happy places'.
The man running the world's most horrific dictatorship wrote: 'When women become tender-hearted daughters-in-law, beloved wives, considerate mothers and kindly neighbours, our society will always be full of a vitality.'
Kim said their 'noblest revolutionary work' was to raise children in the correct way, warning women to protect their sons and daughters from 'alien ideology'.
His crackdown follows the success of defectors and human rights groups in undermining his regime's brainwashing of North Koreans by smuggling in computer flash drives and compact discs of films, soap operas, music and books.
I have spoken to defectors who say they realised they had been fed lies about living in 'paradise' only after watching foreign films or soap operas. One said that something as innocuous as the movie Titanic made her appreciate the real meaning of love.
I also joined the dissident Park Sang-hak, once a devout believer in the Kim dynasty cult, as he sent a barrage of home-made balloons flying north over the border, each carrying bags full of anti-Kim propaganda.
He was branded Public Enemy No 1 and there have been several attempts on his life and even missiles fired south in response.
Eight months ago, South Korea's parliament was accused of appeasing the dictatorship when it banned the flying of such material over the border.


Kim Jong Un (right in June and left in February) appeared to have lost a significant amount of weight in recent images
Yet a recent survey of 200 people who fled North Korea found that almost all had seen South Korean videos before leaving.
This was symbolised by a young North Korean soldier who was shot as he sprinted across the demilitarised border zone before being dragged to safety. He surprised doctors in the South Korean capital Seoul by knowing all eight names in a prominent pop group.
'The impact of such cultural infiltration should not be underestimated,' says Professor Rudiger Frank, a North Korea expert raised in East Germany. 'I can confirm this from my own experience. Governments in socialist Europe lost the hearts of their citizens long before the actual revolutions.
'The ideological danger to the regime is real but it's unclear when this will lead to actions. Think about a big old tree: it looks strong but then it cracks after a strong storm and only then you see that it has been hollowed out for many years.'
The fissures are biggest in the 'Jangmadang [market] generation' – people in their 20s and 30s who grew up during terrible famine in the mid-1990s, which may have killed two million, with emaciated corpses left to rot on the streets.
Sparked by the end of Soviet support after the Cold War, the crisis saw state food distribution collapse – thus breaking ties of loyalty to the regime as people relied on smuggling from China and newly emerged markets to survive.
Youngshik Bong, a fellow at Yonsei University's Institute for North Korean Studies in Seoul, says support of the young for the regime, unlike older generations who went through the war and were loyal to the leader and party, is 'more conditional and they are more exposed to the outside world'.
This is Kim's own generation – he is 37, was educated in Switzerland and has a young family to continue the dynastic dictatorship. Soon after taking control in 2011, he was shown on state television with a pop group in mini-skirts playing the theme song from Rocky alongside Disney characters such as Minnie Mouse.
Bong says Kim knows he must appeal to the young and that was why he appeared in April at a gathering of low-level party members where he warned people to prepare for another 'Arduous March', their term for the famine.
Two months later, he admitted 'the people's food situation is getting tense' as the pandemic, border closures, sanctions and corruption combined. There are reports of plant closures, rising homelessness, widespread malnutrition and street children scavenging for food as prices soar.
A news outlet in South Korea has reported shampoo selling for £145 a bottle and a kilogram of bananas costing £33.
One North Korean was quoted as saying that 'shouts of anger are everywhere in the market', where they heard 'the sobbing of those who can't afford the high prices'.
Even the obese Kim has shed some weight, most likely on health grounds after he swelled to an estimated 22st and disappeared from the public eye on several occasions last year, leading to speculation that he might be sick.
In an unprecedented television event, this was discussed briefly on state television two weeks ago. 'Seeing [Kim] become emaciated like that, we all became so sad,' said one man in Pyongyang. 'Everyone just started to cry.'
Analysts noted that Kim was wearing old, baggy suits to show off his weight loss. 'The last thing you want at a time of hardship is for the leader to look like he carried on gorging,' said Jenny Town, a North Korea expert at the Stimson Center think-tank.
During the famine, Kim's gluttonous father, Kim Jong Il, sent his chef to buy the best fish from Japan and caviar from Iran while his people were dying from hunger. Any food stocks in the country were diverted to the elites and military.
Now, as belts tighten again in North Korea, his slimmed-down son's big fear is that pop songs and soap operas might help to destroy this revolting regime that enslaves an entire nation to serve the needs of a single family.
Daily Mail · by Ian Birrell For The Mail On Sunday · July 10, 2021



15.  Video of the Commemoration Events of the 1st Anniversary of the late Gen. Paik Sun-yup

A wonderful tribute to a great man and the greatest advocate of the ROK/US Alliance.

Video of the Commemoration Events of the 1st Anniversary of the late Gen. Paik Sun-yup

We successfully completed the Commemoration Event of the 1st anniversary of the late Gen. Paik Sun-yup, Wreath-laying ceremony and the 10th ROK-U.S. Alliance Forum
 
We were deeply touched when Mrs. Park Nam-hi, the eldest daughter of the late Gen. Paik Sun-yup, was about to cry with looking back on her father. General Paik Sun-yup will remain with us forever as a war hero of Korea and U.S., as a national leader, as a comrade in arms, and as a symbol of the Korea-U.S. Alliance
 
The KDVA President and former CFC Commander Vincent Brooks, the former CFC CDRs John Tilelli, Tom Schwartz, B. B. Bell, Walter Sharp, Curtis Scaparrotti, James Thurman had sent their commemoration videos. The current CFC Commander General Paul LaCamera attended the commemoration ceremony as the first official event and delivered a speech.
 
Commemorative messages from the former CFC Commanders
 
Commemorative messages from Gen. Vincent Brooks
 
Part I Wreath-laying ceremony
 
Part II The 10th ROK-U.S. Alliance Forum in commemoration of the late Gen. Paik Sun-yup (The speech by Ms. Park Nam-hi, the daughter of General Paik, is attached.)
 
Shin Kyoung-Soo, Secretary-General Korea-US Alliance Foundation






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

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

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

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

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