Informal Institute for National Security Thinkers and Practitioners

Quotes of the Day:

However, there is a major difference between irregular warfare and these previous congressionally mandated reforms, in that we do not have a systematic understanding of why we are failing in these conflicts. Mandating the creation of another command structure dedicated to this form of warfare, mimicking the creation of SOCOM by Nunn-Cohen, is one possibility. 

I suspect that a thorough review of our strategic failures in these contests may result in broader recommended reforms to our national security enterprise. In particular, I have come to believe that there is a need for the United States to formalize and develop what might be best called irregular statecraft. Irregular statecraft is a form of competition in which state and nonstate actors employ all means, short of war, to support friends and allies and erode the influence, legitimacy, and authority of adversaries and is the modern equivalent of what George Kennan described, in 1948, as political warfare. 

Irregular statecraft encompasses offensive and defensive capabilities, both covert and overt, currently dispersed across the U.S. government, including the irregular warfare capability of the U.S. military and complementary capabilities among a multitude of diplomatic, intelligence, homeland security, and other organizations. Existing U.S. expertise in the contemporary use of irregular statecraft is disparate and dormant and would require congressional action to aggregate experts from outside government and representatives from across relevant U.S. agencies to synchronize and mature America’s expertise in this form of global competition.
I believe that an independently funded center, or a public-private center supported by both Congress and private citizens, at a university or think tank dedicated to the study of American irregular warfare would provide our country three necessary capabilities. The first is a continuous and independent critique of U.S. capabilities, policies, and strategies in irregular warfare to determine how the United States is performing in its many irregular engagements and might do better in this type of war. Second, it would provide a stable of professionals who are expert in the contemporary use of irregular warfare, both how our adversaries apply this form of warfare and how the United States can deploy irregular warfare defensively and offensively to contest these adversaries, whether state or nonstate. The third would be to capture and analyze irregular warfare experiences, providing a publicly available record of our successes and failures and thus serving as a bridge between irregular warfare practitioners and the American people.11 

This center, which might be established in concert with the recommended congressional review and combine a broad range of different expertise, could be focused on irregular warfare or perhaps on the broader concept of irregular statecraft.12 It would be directed by an internationally recognized national security professional who would be essential for both guiding the research and engaging with Congress, the Department of Defense, the Department of State, the CIA, and other diplomatic, intelligence, and homeland security organizations. The staff would include a modest number of academics representing the diverse skill sets necessary for irregular warfare (or irregular statecraft) at the operational and strategic levels, including anthropology, economics, psychology, and sociology, but also practitioners from across relevant U.S. agencies. This center would likely prove a worthy investment of both private and public funds, as it reduces the risk of costly interventions and makes the United States more likely to gain an enduring advantage in global competition. 
-The American Way of Irregular Warfare: An Analytic Memoir, pages 217 and 222,

1. Sanctions relief possible if North begins nuke talks: Sherman
2. N. Korean Media Mentions COVID-19 Outbreak in S. Korean Military Unit
3. Korean Americans separated by war have waited 70 years for a reunion. Their time is running out
4. Will Japan and South Korea friction pose a problem for US peace push in Asia?
5.  Ex-U.N. chief Ban meets Japan's Emperor Naruhito at Olympics: sources
6. N.K. leader expresses support for China's flood recovery efforts in message to Xi: state media
7. Tokyo diary: South Korea and Japan turn back the clock
8. 'I will upend everything Moon has done': Jeju governor declares presidential bid

1. Sanctions relief possible if North begins nuke talks: Sherman
AND shows substantive progress toward denuclearization. We cannot provide sanctions relief just for a promise of talks or just for talks with the Kim family regime. To do so risks Kim assessing the success of his political warfare strategy and blackmail diplomacy. He will double down on his strategy if he assesses he is successful.

BUT, I think the Joongang Ilbo (or more specifically the headline editor) is reading too much into this and is likely projecting the hopes of the Moon administration. The way I read the article she does not say that sanctions relief will occur if the north begins talks.

This excerpt conflicts with the headline:

Diplomatic observers point out that her remarks could indicate that the United States will not reward North Korea just for showing up at the dialogue table. This follows its policy not to hold talks just for the sake of talks. 
Sung Kim, the U.S. special representative for North Korea, also relayed similar views during his visit to Seoul to meet with diplomatic and security officials last month.  

And for those who advocate sanctions relief for the fantasy hope that it will entice the regime to negotiate, we should remember that if we provide sanctions relief without Kim actually complying with sanctions and ending his malign behavior we have to ask what behavior we are will to say we condone by lifting sanctions? continue nuclear and missile development? Global illicit activities - e.g., counterfeiting, drug trafficking, money laundering overseas slave labor? Proliferation of weapons and training to conflict areas? Cyber attacks, espionage, and theft? Human rights abuses and crimes against humanity against the Korean people living in the north? Remember that sanctions are imposed because of the regime's malign activities and behavior. Yes there is a theory that sanctions will coerce the regime into negotiations but sanctions are not a bargaining chip - they are imposed because Kim jong-un continues actions that are contrary to international norms and standard and humanity.

July 25, 2021
 dictionary + A - A 
Sanctions relief possible if North begins nuke talks: Sherman

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman sits for an interview with the JoongAng Ilbo Friday at the U.S. ambassador’s residence in central Seoul. [LIM HYUN-DONG]
U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman evaded answering whether Washington will provide any incentives to get Pyongyang to return to the negotiation table during her visit to Seoul last week. 
Sherman in an interview with the JoongAng Ilbo conducted Friday said on North Korea, “I hope they respond to a very sincere gesture by the United States to be open to dialogue without any preconditions.”
However, she acknowledged it “may take them a little bit of time to respond” because North Korea, like the rest of the world, is “dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic, probably with fewer resources than we have, or the ROK [Republic of Korea] has.”
She had been asked what it may take for Pyongyang to come out of its self-isolation amid a standstill in denuclearization negotiations since 2019. 
On what it would take for the Joe Biden administration to consider any sanctions relief for the North, Sherman replied, “The reason that we have been open to dialogue is because we think we need to get in a room with each other and to begin negotiations. And if their interest is to get sanctions relief, then they know that we need to begin down the road to the full denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. So I don't think there's any mystery about what has to happen here.”
Sherman held a meeting with South Korean First Vice Foreign Minister Choi Jong-kun and Japanese Vice Foreign Minister Takeo Mori in Tokyo on Wednesday and said in a joint press conference that the United States “has made it clear that we are ready to engage with North Korea.”
She visited Seoul from Wednesday to Friday and was asked several times by reporters if the United States has any concrete plans or incentives to get North Korea to return to dialogue.
Responding to such questions, Sherman told reporters after talks with Choi at Seoul’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Friday that she looks forward to a “reliable, predictable and constructive way forward” with Pyongyang. 
She also raised the “food security” issue faced by North Korea. 
President Moon Jae-in also met with Sherman Thursday and the two discussed “dialogue and diplomacy for the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” said the Blue House. 
Diplomatic observers point out that her remarks could indicate that the United States will not reward North Korea just for showing up at the dialogue table. This follows its policy not to hold talks just for the sake of talks. 
Sung Kim, the U.S. special representative for North Korea, also relayed similar views during his visit to Seoul to meet with diplomatic and security officials last month. 

South Korean First Vice Foreign Minister Choi Jong-kun, right, and U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman bump elbows ahead of talks at the Foreign Ministry in central Seoul, Friday. [FOREIGN MINISTRY]
Sherman told the JoongAng Ilbo in the interview conducted at the U.S ambassador's residence in central Seoul Friday that the Biden administration’s approach can be differentiated from the Barack Obama government’s policy of strategic patience. 
Sherman said, “I think that this is a different policy that was constructed with the ROK, in close consultation with Japan. It is meant to be a reliable, predictable way forward to begin dialogue and negotiations with North Korea. And we are, shoulder to shoulder in our approach.” 
When asked what a clear signal that North Korea is ready for denuclearization talks with the United States would be, she said, “I hope that they agree to dialogue with the United States, and that those discussions are quite serious, and walk down the road that must be walked” to get to denuclearization.
She added that the complete dismantlement of North Korea’s key Yongbyon nuclear complex “would be a good thing.” 
Addressing concerns here that North Korea and the United States could reach some sort of small deal that could alienate South Korea, she replied, “We are all democracies. We are very transparent with each other, and that will be the case here.” 
On how long Washington will wait for Pyongyang to respond to its diplomatic gestures, Sherman replied, “Americans like to do things very quickly. Not every culture is as fast-paced as America sometimes is. So I don't think we've reached a time where we're out of time.”
But she added, “I hope that they respond soon.”
On alliance matters, she said on the May summit between Moon and Biden, “We are bilateral partners, we are regional partners, and we are global partners. And it really underscored how much we do together [...] I think what you saw out of that summit was two leaders of two extraordinary countries working together to make the world a safe, prosperous and stable place.”
Addressing South Korea’s position amid complex Sino-U.S. relations, Sherman said, “Korea is a sovereign country, with its own interests, and we work together to deal with issues that arise of common concern. We are two democracies, who share the same, very deep values for freedom and a rules-based order.”
She added, “I think we are all concerned around the world that China is not making use of the rules-based order, which in fact helped them become the very developed country that they are and successful country that they are.”
Sherman traveled to Ulaanbaatar Friday. She will visit Tianjin Sunday and Monday to meet with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and other officials. 


2. N. Korean Media Mentions COVID-19 Outbreak in S. Korean Military Unit

There could be two purposes for the Propaganda and Agitation Department calling attention to the this. On the surface it is simply to demonstrate the "superiority" of the of nKPA and criticize the "incompentat" South. On the other hand it could be laying the foundation for eventually admitting the north has a COVID problem when it determines it can no longer cover up outbreaks. When it does admit they have an outbreak they will still continue the theme that the South 's COVID situation is worse than the north's. But once it does admit to an outbreak and especially one within the nKKPA we need to be vigilant for what might happen next. Will an outbreak lead to regime instability.

N. Korean Media Mentions COVID-19 Outbreak in S. Korean Military Unit
Write: 2021-07-25 14:44:28 / Update: 2021-07-25 16:18:45

Photo : YONHAP News
A propaganda outlet in Pyongyang covered a massive COVID-19 outbreak in South Korea’s overseas military unit as North Korea is continuously putting rigorous quarantine measures in place.

Meari on Sunday cited South Korean media outlets’ reports on the anti-piracy Cheonghae Unit outbreak and their criticism that the South Korean military’s complacency is being blamed for the country’s worst-yet COVID-19 cluster infection within the military.

The North Korean outlet also quoted criticism regarding the South Korean military’s allegedly scanty manuals on dealing with the pandemic in overseas units and its ineffective responses after the first case broke out within the unit’s destroyer.

A total of 301 sailors aboard the Munmu the Great were brought home earlier last week on two aerial tankers after 82 percent of them tested positive for COVID-19. The infection rate further climbed to 90 percent after additional transmissions were confirmed upon their arrival.

3. Korean Americans separated by war have waited 70 years for a reunion. Their time is running out

We should never forget the only reason there have not been reunions for the last seven decades is because of the decision of the Kim family regime. And we should not be misled by the "reunions" that take place between north and South as they are not really reunions. They are really last goodbyes because the families will never see each other again 9unless unification happens soon). These "reniuions" are both blackmail diplomacy by the regime and psychological torture for the families.

I applaud Congress' efforts but we need to be realistic about the nature, objectives, and strategy of the Kim family regime.
Korean Americans separated by war have waited 70 years for a reunion. Their time is running out
CNN · by Nicole Chavez, CNN
(CNN)Michael Roh remembers the tears that rolled down his grandmother's face as she watched former President Donald Trump meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un on TV.
The weight of this unprecedented encounter in 2018 was beyond political for the then 89-year-old woman. It made her confront the pain caused by being separated from her seven younger siblings who live in North Korea.
"I think she started realizing that she had very little time, and it was always kind of something that ate away at her," Roh, 30, said of her grandmother, Sinok Koh, who left the country when she was 19.
New legislation passed this week by the House of Representatives could help reunite thousands of Korean American families who have not been able to see or contact their relatives in North Korea since the Korean War began more than 70 years ago. Huge obstacles remain, but the bill offers new hope to families who have witnessed little progress over the past couple of decades and now, many fear their loved ones won't get closure in their lifetime.
Growing up in Connecticut, Roh's grandmother would pick him and his brother up from school, take them to fencing or drums classes and cook dinner for them while his parents were working. Her endless love and dedication to her family, Roh says, matched the taste of her homemade kimchi and the marinating of her kalbi.
Sinok Koh, center, embraces her grandchildren Michael Roh, left, and Samuel Roh, right. She closely helped raise the brothers in Connecticut.
Read More
Her life revolved around her children and grandchildren -- but she rarely talked about her life in North Korea, Roh says. In the past few years, Koh began opening up more about her teenage years and showed interest in the idea of reuniting with her family. That led Roh, a student at Harvard Law School, to work with Divided Families USA, a group dedicated to providing closure for elderly Korean Americans separated from family members in North Korea.
The group has maintained a registry of families impacted for the past several years with the help of community members across the country. Volunteers tasked with updating the registry earlier this year made contact with about 50 families in cities like New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and Seattle, said Paul Kyumin Lee, the group's president.
Lee believes there are many other elderly Korean Americans who may not be part of the registry. US officials have previously estimated that 100,000 people may be impacted by the separations, but Lee says those figures are not accurate anymore because many of those people have passed away.
While North and South Korea have facilitated more than 20 opportunities for family reunions in the past, there is no official channel to connect Korean Americans with their relatives in North Korea.
"There's no way of even trying to find out what happened to their families," Lee says.
Earlier this week, the House of Representatives unanimously passed the Divided Families Reunification Act, which urges the State Department to consult with the South Korean government on how to arrange reunions for Korean Americans and their North Korean families, including by video. It also requires the department's special envoy on North Korean human rights to work with the Korean American community to identify those same opportunities.
The legislation is now in the Senate, where it has been referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations.
A State Department spokesperson told CNN the US is concerned about the tragic separation of Korean Americans from their family members in North Korea, and said the US has raised the issue of separated Korean American families with the North Korean government and is engaged with South Korea and Japan in close coordination on this issue.
Democratic Rep. Grace Meng of New York, the lead sponsor of the bill, said in a statement that the legislation was critical because many of the people impacted are now in their 70s, 80s, and 90s.
"It's truly heartbreaking that so many have not seen or spoken with their loved ones in decades and we should do all we can to facilitate these reunions," Meng said in a video posted on Twitter.
Other administrations took initial steps to reunite families
Chahee Lee Stanfield was four years old when her mother and most of her siblings left Manchuria for South Korea in 1945, thinking her father and one of her brothers would stay behind to farm their land only for a few weeks.
The 80-year-old retired librarian has not seen them since then and what happened to them remained a mystery for several decades.
An undated photo of Sang Moon, who was separated from his wife and most of his children in 1945 when they left Manchuria for South Korea. He died in 1974, his daughter says.
Years after Stanfield moved to the US for college in 1968, she learned about the many Korean Americans who had been separated from their families in North Korea since the aftermath of the Korean War. By 1988, she realized that she was one of them.
Stanfield's father and her brother, Oong Hee, had moved to North Korea in 1950. Her father, Sang Moon, ran marathons and became an well-known inspirational speaker, all while trying to reach the rest of their family in South Korea through newspapers, she says.
But he passed away before she would learn any of that, Stanfield says. She believes her brother is still alive.
For more than 20 years, Stanfield has urged federal officials to facilitate reunions for divided families and founded Divided Families USA, formerly known as the National Coalition for the Divided Families.
Chahee Lee Stanfield, center, speaks at Capitol Hill about the divided families issue in 2007.
She has lobbied in favor of several pieces of legislation, including some that were introduced and passed during the Bush and Obama administrations but Korean Americans continue waiting for the day they can be part of a reunion.
While Stanfield tries to remain hopeful, she says those reunions may need to be virtual due to the advanced age and health conditions of many of impacted families.
"We are at the very end of our lives. Our worst enemy is time," Stanfield said.
The time for something to be done is passing quickly
Roh and Lee are part of a new generation of Korean Americans committed to continuing Stanfield's work helping divided family members find healing, even if the reunions don't materialize soon enough.
"The most urgent thing in my view is that we have to help provide closure by helping record their stories to the next generation and their family members in North Korea so that one day, we can deliver their messages or letters to them or even their descendants in North Korea," Lee says.
Many of those divided family members are older, suffer multiple health conditions, live in nursing homes or are living under the care of their adult children, Lee and Roh say.
As part of his work with Divided Families USA, Roh, who is now the group's vice president, spends hours contacting families impacted to update or grow the group's registry.
"Every line on this register that we have has a story, a story of family separation, of pain from the Korean War," Roh says. "These people feel disenfranchised and they feel very hopeless."
Sinok Koh and her grandson Michael Roh earlier this year.
In recent weeks, Roh had to do something that he wishes no other Korean American families waiting for the reunions have to do.
He said goodbye to his grandmother.
Koh was 93 years old when she passed away at Connecticut Hospice in Brandford, Connecticut. She suffered congestive heart failure, which led to her health decline.
As Roh continues mourning his grandmother, he says it pains him to think that someone who devoted her entire life to serving her family and the prosperity of her children, spent her last years not knowing where her family was, whether any of them are still alive and how are they doing.
"I always say time is running out but now that my grandmother passed... yes, time is running out," Roh said.
CNN · by Nicole Chavez, CNN

4. Will Japan and South Korea friction pose a problem for US peace push in Asia?

Yes the Japan-Korea relationship is fraught with challenges and it is not likely to get better any time soon despite the best efforts of the US. But I think that we are seeing the ROK becoming more amenable to aligning with the Quad.

 Also think it is unrealistic to try to court China for cooperation on north Korea. That is just going to leave the ROK disappointed and it will weaken its security position by doing so. 

Will Japan and South Korea friction pose a problem for US peace push in Asia?
Analysts point out that it is unrealistic to expect Tokyo and Seoul to agree on their approach to China across all areas, despite US efforts to unite them
Seoul is hesitant to join any efforts that anger Beijing, such as the Quad, as it needs China’s cooperation on challenges such as North Korea
By Maria Siow South China Morning Post4 min

South Korea's First Vice-Foreign Minister Choi Jong-kun, Japanese Vice-Foreign Minister Takeo Mori and US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman attend a joint media briefing after trilateral talks in Tokyo. Photo: EPA-EFE
When US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman met her Japanese and
Sherman told reporters that the trio were “shoulder to shoulder” when it came to North Korea, with the meeting also discussing the importance of stability in the Taiwan Strait – a comment that prompted resistance from Beijing as an attempt to interfere in China’s domestic affairs.
Her counterparts, Japanese Vice-Foreign Minister Takeo Mori and South Korean First Vice-Foreign Minister Choi Jong-kun, also agreed on the importance of trilateral cooperation, a stance that belied the friction between the two US allies.
Ties between Seoul and Tokyo have been at their lowest ebb in many years due to disagreements over wartime history such as compensating Koreans forced into labour during Japanese colonial rule, with fresh tensions sparked by Tokyo’s planned discharge of treated water from its Fukushima nuclear power plant into the Pacific Ocean.
While Sherman did not refer to these developments, she did urge both sides to work together on “common regional and international priorities”, a reflection of US President
Jay Maniyar, a research associate who specialises in Japan, South Korea and Asean at the National Maritime Foundation in India, said if Tokyo and Seoul were truly aligned with Washington’s Indo-Pacific strategy, they would have to realise the need to mend bilateral ties.
The sour state of relations has also seeped into the Olympic Games, with even athletes’ meals becoming a source of friction.
Analysts agree that poor relations between Washington’s two staunchest allies in Asia would pose a concern for the Biden administration, but they pointed out that it was unrealistic to expect Tokyo and Seoul to be united in their approach to China across all areas.
“There is no such consensus among the three,” said Tomoo Kikuchi, an associate professor in Waseda University in Japan.
“In particular, nationalistic education in both countries is the main stumbling block to develop a better relationship,” Kikuchi noted, referring to the territorial disputes between Japan and South Korea over the disputed Takeshima/Dokdo islands.
Kikuchi said the three countries could communicate better and share intelligence related to security, but pointed out that having a united front would also have other side effects as it “would escalate the current tensions in regional security and is not desirable”.
Speaking in his personal capacity, Paul J. Smith, a professor at the US Naval War College, said one way to improve relations would be to engage in more trilateral military exercises or exchanges.
“The two countries’ military relationship with the US provides an avenue for exchange and understanding,” he said.
Xiaoyu Pu, an associate political science professor at the University of Nevada in the US, said there was a limit to Washington’s ability to influence its allies to repair their frayed ties.
“The issues that are being disputed are highly sensitive to domestic politics and nationalistic sentiments in South Korea and Japan,” Pu said.
Perhaps a more pressing issue for Washington would be Seoul’s position towards Beijing. Some analysts have described South Korea as the weakest link in the trilateral relationship the US has with its Asian allies. Seoul has been reluctant to join the Quad, the security alliance comprising the US, Japan, India and Australia.
And unlike Japan, which has expressed serious concerns over China’s treatment of its ethnic Uygur population as well as the crackdown on political freedoms in Hong Kong, South Korea has refrained from doing likewise, citing its “special relations” with China.
Apart from uncertainties over the US-China competition, Seoul is said to be reluctant about joining the Quad due to concerns over potential Chinese economic coercion, as China is South Korea’s largest trading partner.
Beijing has shown it is aware of these different positions. On Wednesday, China accused the US and Japan of deliberately engaging in group confrontation and trying to create an anti-China encirclement, but stopped short of naming South Korea.
“The US and Japan should immediately stop interfering in China’s internal affairs and undermining regional peace and stability,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said at a daily briefing. “China will resolutely defend its sovereignty, security, and development interests.”
Zheng Jiyong, director of the Center for Korean Studies at Fudan University in Shanghai, told China’s nationalist tabloid Global Times in May that Washington’s Asia strategy had failed to take into consideration South Korea’s interests, such as Seoul’s reliance on Beijing to help boost its sluggish economy.
Interests between Washington and Seoul on North Korea have diverged as well.
Maniyar from the National Maritime Foundation said Seoul’s approach to Pyongyang had also been shaped by concerns over its long-term survival and security “with Korean unification by 2045 as its primary goal”.
Unlike his predecessors, South Korean president Moon has, since taking office in 2017, championed greater inter-Korean engagement and has made repeated calls for sanctions on Pyongyang to be either partially lifted or exempted.
But when Moon met Sherman in Seoul on Thursday, he said he had asked the US to re-engage with North Korea after denuclearisation talks stalled. Sherman said she would also discuss the issue with China – Pyongyang’s key ally – which she is visiting from Sunday.
Waseda University’s Kikuchi said Seoul would not join any efforts that anger China while Pu from the University of Nevada said that the current Moon administration did not have “salient territorial and historical disputes with China”, adding that South Korea must also seek China’s cooperation in handling challenges from North Korea.
“Based on these calculations, it is inevitable that South Korea is more hesitant to take a more confrontational approach toward China,” Pu said.
Maria Siow is a long-time China-based correspondent and analyst with keen interest in East Asia. Maria has a masters degree in international relations.

5.  Ex-U.N. chief Ban meets Japan's Emperor Naruhito at Olympics: sources

It would be good if the two of them could help improve the relationship but I am not optimistic that this will lead to any substantive progress.

They are also said to have shared the need for improvement of relations between Seoul and Tokyo, which remain badly frayed over wartime history and Tokyo's export restrictions on Seoul.
Further details about their meeting were not available.
When approached by a Yonhap News Agency reporter at a hotel on Saturday, Ban refused to comment when asked about the meeting with the emperor.

(Olympics) Ex-U.N. chief Ban meets Japan's Emperor Naruhito at Olympics: sources | Yonhap News Agency · by 김승연 · July 25, 2021
TOKYO, July 25 (Yonhap) -- Former United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon briefly met with Japanese Emperor Naruhito in Tokyo on the occasion of the Tokyo Olympics, diplomatic sources said Sunday.
The encounter took place in the Olympic stadium late Friday following the opening ceremony of the games, the sources familiar with the matter said.
In the talks, Ban reportedly congratulated the emperor for the opening of the Olympics and Emperor Naruhito expressed appreciation in return, according to the sources.
They are also said to have shared the need for improvement of relations between Seoul and Tokyo, which remain badly frayed over wartime history and Tokyo's export restrictions on Seoul.
Further details about their meeting were not available.
When approached by a Yonhap News Agency reporter at a hotel on Saturday, Ban refused to comment when asked about the meeting with the emperor.
Ban and Emperor Naruhito have known each other through past meetings at international forums.
Ban was in Tokyo this week as chair of the International Olympic Committee's ethics commission.
(END) · by 김승연 · July 25, 2021

6. N.K. leader expresses support for China's flood recovery efforts in message to Xi: state media

This also may be intended for the internal target audience to show that even China has big problems just like the north does.

N.K. leader expresses support for China's flood recovery efforts in message to Xi: state media | Yonhap News Agency · by 이원주 · July 24, 2021
SEOUL, July 24 (Yonhap) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un sent a message of sympathy to Chinese President Xi Jinping over damage from recent flooding in the neighboring country, state media reported Saturday.
In the verbal message, Kim expressed profound sympathy to Xi and deep condolences to the victims of the recent flood that "claimed heavy casualties and material losses in several areas including Henan Province of China," the official Korean Central News Agency said.
He also expressed full support for Xi and the Chinese people in their struggle to cope with the aftermath of the flood and for "stabilizing the life of the victims as soon as possible."
Several cities in the central province of Henan were recently hit with deadly flooding.
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.
(END) · by 이원주 · July 24, 2021

7.  Tokyo diary: South Korea and Japan turn back the clock

Ah, as Cher said, "If I could turn back time..."

Tokyo diary: South Korea and Japan turn back the clock
The Guardian · by Justin McCurry · July 25, 2021
With early coverage of the Games inevitably focused on coronavirus, geopolitical tensions have barely had a look-in. But South Korea and its former colonial ruler Japan are doing their best to revive the Olympic tradition. They have clashed over politically charged banners hanging from the South Korean team’s balconies, while a planned appearance by the country’s president, Moon Jae-in, was abruptly cancelled after a Japanese diplomat in Seoul accused him of “masturbating” over a potential summit with his Japanese counterpart, Yoshihide Suga.
Visiting reporters are unlikely to elicit much sympathy from the Japanese public as they document the coronavirus-shaped hoops they have to jump through to cover events at Tokyo 2020. After all, they are guests in a country where most people would rather they had stayed at home.
But most have gone about their work with little complaint and copious praise for their patient and friendly hosts. There have been humorous references to vials of spit collected for testing, shared concerns about notices in hotel lobbies warning of “consequences” should anyone attempt an illicit visit to the nearest convenience store, and grumbles about interminable waits for officially approved buses and taxis.
But not everyone is behaving themselves, according to the Asahi Shimbun newspaper, which reported that several unidentified people had lost their accreditation for a day after breaking Olympic “playbook” rules. On a brighter note, there have been rave reviews for the jam sandwiches on offer at the main press centre.
Back in South Korea, the MBC TV network has apologised after using “inappropriate” images and descriptions to add a touch of colour to live coverage of Friday’s slimmed-down athletes’ parade. Some were guilty of nothing more than a lack of imagination – a pizza for Italy; the Queen and Buckingham Palace for Team GB. Others, though, must have had viewers wondering if producers had taken leave of their senses. Haitian athletes entered the stadium to images of political upheaval, while the Chernobyl disaster accompanied Ukraine’s delegation.
The Marshall Islands, according to MBC, merited nothing more than a mention of their role as a former nuclear test site for the US. A small mercy, perhaps, that North Korea, with which the South is technically still at war, pulled out of the Tokyo Games earlier this year.
The Guardian · by Justin McCurry · July 25, 2021

8. 'I will upend everything Moon has done': Jeju governor declares presidential bid

I would if this will be the campaign pledge for all the opposition candidates.

'I will upend everything Moon has done': Jeju governor declares presidential bid
The Korea Times · July 25, 2021
Jeju Province Gov. Won Hee-ryong speaks during an online media conference in Seoul, July 25. YonhapJeju Province Gov. Won Hee-ryong announced Sunday that he will run for presidency in the election slated for March next year.

In a video speech, Won, a former three-term opposition lawmaker, vowed to upend "everything" the Moon Jae-in government has done.

"I declare my bid for the 20th presidential election to make the Republic of Korea a country of a different class and different dimension," he said in the virtual press conference.

"I would like to propose a vision of a country that values every person's happiness, where the next generation further prospers and where the people, nature and civilization co-exist," he said.

Won, a native of Jeju, won his second term as the governor of the southernmost resort island as an independent candidate in the 2018 general elections. He later rejoined the main opposition People Power Party (PPP).

With Won's presidential bid, the PPP now has a roaster of more than 10 members who have either officially declared or reportedly plan on making a presidential bid announcement.

The latest before Won was Choe Jae-hyeong, former chairman of the Board of Audit and Inspection (BAI), who joined the PPP in a move seen as a step toward running in the March 9 presidential election.

But among the contenders in the opposition bloc, former Prosecutor General Yoon Seok-youl is leading the polls, though he has yet to announce whether he plans to join the PPP to compete in the primary. (Yonhap)

The Korea Times · July 25, 2021

A view from South Korea. Korea of course fears the Nixon or Guam Doctrine in the 1970s. But the author argues that is not likely to happen because of China and A2AD.  

Note that it might be useful to review Nixon's Guam doctrine.

Full text of Nixon's remarks with the press: In addition to the important remarks of our relations in Asia and Nixon's description of interests and intent, there is this excerpt on COIN that is interesting:

[14.] Q. Mr. President, on the question of creeping involvement and the advice that Ayub Khan once gave you, could you tell us if there is any future in Asia for American counterinsurgency tactics as they have developed since 1960?
THE PRESIDENT. Well, there is a future for American counterinsurgency tactics only in the sense that where one of our friends in Asia asks for advice or assistance, under proper circumstances, we will provide it. But where we must draw the line is in becoming involved heavily with our own personnel, doing the job for them, rather than helping them do the job for themselves.
Now, I know I begged the question with that answer but I intend to do so. I intend to do it because I think that there is one American trait which we saw in Korea, we have seen it in Vietnam, and we see it pretty much around the world: We do things, we think, rather well. And particularly in the military field, where we are pretty advanced, we think that we can do it better than to try to teach somebody else to do it.
That may be the easy answer at the outset, but it is the wrong answer in the long run. I want to be sure that our policies in the future, all over the world, in Asia, Latin America, Africa, and the rest, reduce American involvement. One of assistance, yes, assistance in helping them solve their own problems, but not going in and just doing the job ourselves simply because that is the easier way to do it.

July 25, 2021
 dictionary + A - A 
A shift from terrorism to China

Nam Jeong-ho
The author is a columnist of the JoongAng Ilbo.
The U.S. War in Afghanistan — the longest war in U.S. history — will come to an end next month after two decades of America dragging its feet in the rugged hills of the outlandish country since the September 11 attacks in 2001. U.S. President Joe Biden ordered a complete withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan on August 31. Some scholars of international politics claimed that the United States had achieved the goal of the Afghan War by killing Osama bin Laden — the founder of the militant Islamist organization al-Qaeda and the mastermind of 9/11 Attacks — on May 2, 2011 in Pakistan. But others translate the pullout of the U.S. forces into a de facto U.S defeat as it “failed to wipe out the Taliban,” the militant extremist group in Afghanistan.
The Afghan War is often compared to the Vietnam War. What similarities and differences do the two wars have? With the chapter on the extended war on terror to be closed soon, I looked into the lead-up to the pullout and ramifications of the war’s end on the security of the Korean Peninsula.

The war on terror
After the collapse of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, George W. Bush’s administration was engrossed in ferreting out the culprit. After a long investigation, the U.S. government found that the terrorist attack had been carried out by al-Qaeda and that its members were hiding in Afghanistan. Washington demanded the Taliban regime extradite the culprits to the U.S. But the Taliban refused and the U.S. launched the Afghan War to bring them to justice.
At that time, the United States used the strategy of attacking the Taliban regime through anti-Taliban Northern Alliance. The U.S. therefore dispatched only a small number of special forces to Afghanistan, while backing the Northern Alliance with massive air bombings. Washington did not want mass casualties from Afghanistan as in Vietnam.

In the initial stages of the war, America won an overwhelming victory thanks to the competitive edge of its military power. With huge support from the U.S., the Northern Alliance captured Kabul, capital city of Afghanistan, just a month after the 9/11 attacks and took Kandahar, a stronghold of the Taliban, two months later. In the lead-up to the capture of the two major cities, only 16 U.S. soldiers were killed whereas about 10,000 Taliban soldiers were dead. That explicitly shows the remarkable imbalance of the war from the start.
The Taliban, who fled to Pakistan under attack from U.S. forces and the Northern Alliance, rekindled its crusade against the U.S. from 2003. On the Pentagon’s part, seizing Afghanistan was easy but stabilizing the country — and winning the people over — was not. In the meantime, allies of the Taliban sprouted up across the country after being disappointed at the incompetence of the Afghan government led by President Hamid Karzai, a U.S. puppet. The Taliban were able to resist the Karzai administration with the weapons the U.S. had offered the Mujahideen, Islamic guerillas, when they fought against the Soviet forces in the 1980s.
As the Afghan War protracted, the Obama administration found and killed Osama bin Laden on May 2, 2011 after a decade-long international manhunt. The U.S. found the justification for ending the war. Afterwards, the U.S. was actively engaged in peace negotiations with the Taliban. But the problem was the possibility of the Taliban taking control of Afghanistan if the U.S. troops pull out, as happened in Vietnam. So, the Pentagon kept delaying the complete withdrawal of U.S. forces from the country, but has decided to pull out after the commander in chief’s decision.
Vietnam War vs. Afghan War
The U.S. war in Afghanistan was called another Vietnam because of two stark similarities: protracted wars in foreign countries and U.S. withdrawals after failing to establish a pro-U.S. regime. The Vietnam War lasted nine years and the Afghan War 20 years. Another similarity is the huge cost of war. (Approximately $1 trillion were spent in each war)
For the U.S., the two wars were very different from other wars. First, America could not trust the South Vietnamese and Karzai governments, both U.S. allies. The two regimes were incapable and corrupt enough to sell their U.S. weapons for personal gain. In fact, as many of the South Vietnamese forces and the Karzai troops were extremely undisciplined and secretly kept in touch with the enemy, Uncle Sam was reluctant to share sensitive military information with them.
Second, the U.S. forces had to fight the enemy without clear distinction between soldiers and civilians as the Viet Cong and the Taliban rebels suddenly attacked the U.S. forces after hiding among civilians. If the U.S. troops had not slaughtered all of them, they couldn’t have avoided ambushes.
Third, the U.S. forces had to fight with underground enemies in Vietnam and Afghanistan. Small-framed Viet Cong could dig a narrow and tight web of tunnels underground and endured the U.S. bombings. But American soldiers with a big build could not enter even if they discovered such potholes. In Afghanistan, the rebels used mountain caves as a hideout. It was nearly impossible for the U.S. forces to annihilate Taliban fighters with airstrikes.
Despite such similarities between Vietnam and Afghanistan, some military experts point to stark dissimilarities. The first involves their comparative damage on human lives. Compared to the Vietnam War, which killed over 58,000 people and injured more than 300,000, only 2,400 people were killed and about 20,000 injured in Afghanistan — thanks to the deployment of precious few special troops and employment of unmanned drones for attacks on rebels.
On July 8, Biden claimed that Afghanistan is entirely different from Vietnam. But many security experts believe it is only a matter of time before the Taliban take over Afghanistan unless U.S. forces maintain security of the country.
End of Afghan War and Korea
The Vietnam War had a huge impact on the security of the Korean Peninsula. Due to the enormous losses of human lives and astronomical cost for war, U.S. President Richard Nixon declared in 1969 that the United States would support allies facing military threats with economic and military aid rather than with ground troops from then on. After the announcement dubbed the “Nixon Doctine,” the Nixon administration pulled out the 7th Division from South Korea in 1971, after which the U.S. Forces Korea were downscaled to about 40,000 from 66,000.
What impact will the end of the Afghan War have on the Korean Peninsula? Compared to the Vietnam War, the war in Afghanistan does not directly affect security on the peninsula. Instead, the U.S. withdrawal signifies the end of the War on Terror, a major U.S. global strategy since 9/11. Thanks to the persistent maneuvers by U.S. intelligence agencies and military, most radical groups in the Middle East have been neutralized. The U.S. has begun preparing for a war with a new enemy — China. Since the National Security Strategy was published in 2017, the U.S. defined China as the only strategic threat to America.
The U.S.’s revised global strategy affects the way its forces are operated. In case of terrorist organizations, it was difficult to locate the battlefields due to their remarkable movability of their strongholds. As swift maneuverability was key to victory, there was no need for large-scale military bases in the Middle East country over the long period.
But since the U.S. started to treat China as the main enemy, Pentagon must change the way it operates its military bases overseas. As the character — and identity — of the Chinese forces are clear, America must focus on the Asian theater.
China’s military strategy against the U.S. is primarily based on the so-called Anti-Access/Area Denial (A2/AD) strategy aimed at blocking the United States’ possible invasion through the East and South China Seas. Because America pursues a policy aimed at reinforcing its armed forces stationed overseas to cope with China’s rise, Washington will likely augment the U.S. Forces Korea in a sharp departure from the Nixon Doctrine over half a century ago.

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

David Maxwell
Senior Fellow
Foundation for Defense of Democracies
Phone: 202-573-8647
Personal Email:
Web Site:
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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