Informal Institute for National Security Thinkers and Practitioners

Quotes of the Day:

"Of all tyrannies.....those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end..."​

"Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience." ~C.S. Lewis

“A dying culture invariably exhibits personal rudeness. Bad manners. Lack of consideration for others in minor matters. A loss of politeness, of gentle manners, is more significant than is a riot.”
- Robert A. Heinlein, Friday


1. What If Kim Jong-un Isn’t Really in Charge of North Korea?
2. N. Korea to hold national conference of war veterans to celebrate end of Korean War
3.  N.K. propaganda website slams Japan for taking issue with S. Korean banners at Olympics
4. Japan’s ‘rising sun’ flag evokes anger
5. Shame on Japan: Tokyo should not deny wartime forced labor
6. Olympics and multiculturalism
7. Japan–South Korea Olympic diplomacy over before it began
8. More foreign diplomats exit North Korea amid COVID-19
9. <Inside N. Korea> Serious violent behaviour of discharged military personnel: dissatisfaction with rural deployment.
10.  Bracing for future war (South Korea)
11. Brutal Conditions in N.Korean Prison Camp Exposed
12. [Interview] North Koreans respond to their government's push for more "recycling"
13. N. Hamgyong Province organizes "secret disciplinary units" to crack down on anti-socialist behavior
14. S. Korea to repatriate remains of Chinese soldiers killed in Korean War
15. Ban Ki-moon, Emperor Naruhito discuss bilateral ties after Olympic opening
16. South Korea Too Preoccupied with Survival to be Asia’s Sweden
17. Is South Korea Truly a ‘Middle Power’?
18. North Korea's economic paradox: how de-marketization is driving up value of North's won





1. What If Kim Jong-un Isn’t Really in Charge of North Korea?

I do agree with the subtitle assessment (outsiders are baffled, the leadership is not crazy but the system is not "normal - by our standards). But I disagree with the theory that Kim may not really be in charge. The system is designed for one person rule. Based on observations as well as discussions with escapees I see no evidence of him not being charge.


We have offered vaccines and medical assistance, liaison offices, and asked to continue the search for our missing. It is Kim Jong-un who will not agree to any of this. Unfortunately, while we may be baffled by Kim Jong-un's decision making it has seemed consistent with the Kim family regime playbook of 7 decades.

Excerpts:
The best approach might be to simply propose increased bilateral contact without much hope for serious negotiation. Washington should end the ban on travel to the DPRK, to expand personal, non-political contacts; propose liaison offices, since talking to armed adversaries is more important than talking to friends; offer vaccines and medical assistance; and seek to revive the search for the remains of American military personnel.
Winston Churchill once described the Soviet Union as “a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.” So is North Korea, though even a bit more mysterious. The Trump administration made an extraordinary if flawed effort to negotiate a nuclear deal with the North. Blame for the failed negotiation has been widely assigned, but perhaps the biggest problem simply was that the North’s leadership was not as assumed.
Still, there is no obvious alternative to continued diplomacy. Military action would risk triggering a regional and nuclear conflict. Sanctions provide an incentive to negotiate but aren’t likely to force the North to surrender its arsenal, especially if Beijing continues to help keep the DPRK afloat. Washington needs to talk to whoever is in charge in Pyongyang.

What If Kim Jong-un Isn’t Really in Charge of North Korea?
Decisions made by North Korea’s government often baffle outsiders. The leadership is not crazy, despite popular depictions, but the system is anything but normal.
The National Interest · by Doug Bandow · July 25, 2021
Decisions made by North Korea’s government often baffle outsiders. The leadership is not crazy, despite popular depictions, but the system is anything but normal.
U.S. policymakers desperately want to discern why the North takes certain actions, but often are left with little more than the knowledge that the country is, after all, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. But what if the conventional wisdom about who is in charge in Pyongyang is wrong?
Most twenty-seven-year-olds are not given a country to rule. When Kim Jong-il died nearly a decade ago, his son, Kim Jong-un, appeared to be the lucky winner. The Great Successor, as the latter was initially tagged, was handed the keys to the North Korean kingdom. Over time he picked up a gaggle of other prestigious titles including Supreme Leader and Chairman of the Workers’ Party of Korea, recently changed to General Secretary.
From the start, there was skepticism that he was in control. Kim Jong-il apparently began the succession process for his son only after recovering from his stroke in 2008, which contrasted sharply with Kim Jong-il’s much longer apprenticeship under DPRK founder Kim Il-sung. On Kim Jong-il’s death, Kim Jong-un was surrounded by members of the older generation tasked to act as “mentors.” Chief among them were his aunt, Kim Kyong-hui; uncle, Jang Song-thaek; and chief of the army general staff Ri Yong-ho.

Some analysts believed that a form of collective leadership was more likely than a reprise of his father’s unilateral dictatorship. Unfortunately, one can only peer into the DPRK through a glass darkly. At the time, watching Kim Jong-un wander hither and yon “giving guidance” was susceptible to multiple interpretations: Kim could be truly supreme, the frontman for a band of equals, or merely a figurehead used to present the royal Kim lineage to the public. He often appeared decidedly unserious—and certainly less than a genuine “Supreme Leader”—as when he cavorted with Mickey Mouse and hosted Dennis Rodman.
Then came the purges, with more than a few executions. Just months after Kim’s accession Vice Marshal Ri was defenestrated at a special politburo meeting for reasons of “health,” his ultimate fate, whether retirement, house arrest, or execution, is unknown. Although Ri was not the first top official to disappear, his role had been more public, frequently appearing at Kim’s side. Jang’s fall was even more dramatic: his two top aides were executed, his arrest was staged at a party meeting, and he was executed, a fate not previously visited upon family members. His wife disappeared from public view and was rumored dead, but reappeared six years later.
The common interpretation was that Kim was consolidating power, dropping his father’s factotums in favor of his own. The notion that Kim might not be in charge died away, and he was seen as living up to his title of Supreme Leader.
He dominated the North Korean media, enjoyed a private life of luxury, and appeared to be the sole decision-maker regarding nuclear weapons. And who else in the world travels with his personal potty to prevent—we presume, anyway—foreign intelligence agencies from examining his deposits? In a recent interview with NKNews, former Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun observed that the vast majority of “experienced North Korea experts” would “scoff at” the notion “that there could be any governor on the decision-making or direction of the leader.”
Yet Biegun raised the intriguing possibility that Kim’s power might not be absolute. Certainly, high-profile leadership changes could be explained as the result of factional warfare when changing coalitions acted against adversaries. Indeed, the deaths of Joseph Stalin and Mao Zedong led to periods of significant political instability. In both cases, strong leaders eventually emerged. However, rather than settling in for a long reign, the Soviet Union’s Nikita Khrushchev was ousted after only a few years. In China, the most powerful figure wielded power unofficially: “paramount” leader Deng Xiaoping lacked formal control yet picked and dismissed party leaders. Much of his authority reflected his backroom ability to persuade a cohort of elders to back his positions.
Biegun offered no direct evidence that Kim was not “the decider.” However, the former diplomat noted otherwise inexplicable decisions by the North on the nuclear issue. Biegun cited “something that was a recurring pattern, not just after the Hanoi meeting but after many of the meetings. That there was a lot of enthusiasm and energy between the two leaders coming out of the meeting but then on the North Korean side would fall flat.”
When asked if there was an internal North Korean issue, Biegun admitted that he didn’t know, “yet we saw a pattern of momentum coming out of the meeting. The same in October, when, October 2018, when Secretary of State [Mike] Pompeo met with Chairman Kim. There was a lot of energy coming out of that meeting and then it just fell flat again.” He figured that the explanation might have to wait until the North’s archives are opened.
Biegun noted that he was not alone in raising this question. Thomas Schaefer spent several years as Germany’s ambassador to North Korea and last year published From Kim Jong Il to Kim Jong Un: How the Hardliners Prevailed. In it he pointed to otherwise unexplained conflicting statements and policy shifts which, in his view, suggested Kim was not the unilateral decision-maker and therefore must at least accommodate and probably even defer to a powerful security cabal. Schaefer also cited evidence of senior officials publicly showing a lack of respect toward Kim.
Schaefer contended that the dynamic began under Kim Jong-il, who “was politically weakened after suffering a stroke in the summer of 2008, as he had to win the approval of the elite, and especially the armed forces, if Kim Jong-un was to be accepted as his successor.” Schaefer saw the factional fighting worsening after Kim pere’s death, with China relations, nuclear policy, and the military’s role major issues of contention. He also blamed the military for sabotaging civilian agreements, such as the 2012 Leap Day Agreement.
Of Kim fil’s role, Schaefer wrote: “In fact, there is no evidence that Kim Jong-un is an absolute ruler. Nevertheless, an astonishing number of foreign observers replicate the official account without voicing any doubt or looking for proof. At best, they refer to the way propaganda stages power and to statements by North Korean minders, interviewees, or refugees—often without questioning whether they are revealing their true opinion, whether they themselves are victims of state propaganda, and whether they have any insight into the decision-making of the North Korean leadership.”
It’s an intriguing thesis that could explain Kim’s effective refusal to reengage after Hanoi. If true, little should be expected of him since he presumably lacks the authority to force through any agreement. And a hardline “leadership circle,” as Schaefer called it, probably would mean proposals for denuclearization are chimerical, with no chance of success absent a dramatic power shift in Pyongyang. Neither famine nor sanctions would be likely to change the North’s policy.
The United States still might try to influence the North’s internal political dynamics. However, that would be an extraordinary long-shot. Maybe adjusting sanctions to allow the ROK to pursue projects with the North would strengthen civilian efforts to promote economic development. Yet any positive impact likely would be marginal at best. Moreover, Pyongyang’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic currently precludes most outside contact.
The best approach might be to simply propose increased bilateral contact without much hope for serious negotiation. Washington should end the ban on travel to the DPRK, to expand personal, non-political contacts; propose liaison offices, since talking to armed adversaries is more important than talking to friends; offer vaccines and medical assistance; and seek to revive the search for the remains of American military personnel.
Winston Churchill once described the Soviet Union as “a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.” So is North Korea, though even a bit more mysterious. The Trump administration made an extraordinary if flawed effort to negotiate a nuclear deal with the North. Blame for the failed negotiation has been widely assigned, but perhaps the biggest problem simply was that the North’s leadership was not as assumed.
Still, there is no obvious alternative to continued diplomacy. Military action would risk triggering a regional and nuclear conflict. Sanctions provide an incentive to negotiate but aren’t likely to force the North to surrender its arsenal, especially if Beijing continues to help keep the DPRK afloat. Washington needs to talk to whoever is in charge in Pyongyang.
Doug Bandow is a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute. A former Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan, he is the author of several books, including Tripwire: Korea and U.S. Foreign Policy in a Changed World and co-author of The Korean Conundrum: America’s Troubled Relations with North and South Korea.
Image: Reuters.
The National Interest · by Doug Bandow · July 25, 2021



2. N. Korea to hold national conference of war veterans to celebrate end of Korean War


The key point:
Observers say the event appears to be aimed at tightening internal unity in the face of deepening economic fallout caused by the global coronavirus pandemic.
The regime will continue to claim victory in the "great fatherland liberation war" to reinforce regime legitimacy.
N. Korea to hold national conference of war veterans to celebrate end of Korean War | Yonhap News Agency
en.yna.co.kr · by 이원주 · July 26, 2021
SEOUL, July 26 (Yonhap) -- North Korea plans to hold a national conference of war veterans to celebrate the 68th anniversary of the end of the 1950-53 Korean War, state media said Monday, despite the global coronavirus pandemic.
"The 7th National Conference of War Veterans is to be held in Pyongyang with splendor on the occasion of the 68th anniversary of the victory in the great Fatherland Liberation War," the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said.
The Korean War ended in an armistice signed on July 27, 1953, which leaves South and North Korea technically in a state of war. The North called the war the Fatherland Liberation War and designated the armistice signing date as Victory Day.
War veterans participating in the conference arrived in Pyongyang on Sunday, while party officials visited the lodging quarters to award the participation certificates and congratulate the war veterans, according to the KCNA.
The KCNA did not say when the conference will take place, but it is likely to be held ahead of the anniversary date.
Observers say the event appears to be aimed at tightening internal unity in the face of deepening economic fallout caused by the global coronavirus pandemic.
The North held the first conference of war veterans in 1993, when it marked the 40th anniversary of the end of the war. It also has taken place in 2012, 2013, 2015, 2018 and 2020 since leader Kim Jong-un took office in late 2011.

julesyi@yna.co.kr
(END)
en.yna.co.kr · by 이원주 · July 26, 2021


3. N.K. propaganda website slams Japan for taking issue with S. Korean banners at Olympics

That is nice of the north to come to the rhetorical defense of the South.

N.K. propaganda website slams Japan for taking issue with S. Korean banners at Olympics | Yonhap News Agency
en.yna.co.kr · by 이원주 · July 26, 2021
SEOUL, July 26 (Yonhap) -- A North Korean propaganda outlet slammed Japan on Monday for labeling cheer banners that South Korea's Olympic delegation hung at the athletes' village as anti-Japanese and forcing them to be taken down.
Uriminzokkiri, a North Korean propaganda website, said in a commentary that Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga's "gang" has accused South Korea of hanging anti-Japanese banners and went so far as to have "far-right gangsters" display the Japanese imperialist flag in front of the South Korean quarters.
Earlier, the South Korean team had hung the cheer banners on balconies of their rooms. The banners read, "I still have support from 50 million Korean people," a message coined after the famous words left by Admiral Yi Sun-sin, a historical figure admired for defeating Japan in a naval battle in 1597 with an undermanned fleet.
Members of a far-right Japanese organization protested the banners and staged a protest outside the village while holding the Rising Sun Flag, formerly used by the Imperial Japanese Army and viewed by South Koreans and other Asian countries as a symbol of Japan's militaristic and imperialistic past.
The North Korean website also lashed out at Japan for marking a set of South Korean islets in the East Sea, Dokdo, as Japanese territory on a map on its official website for the Olympics and for making claims to the islets in its latest defense policy paper.
"The Japanese people's use of the Olympic Games to realize their ugly political goals and ambition for reinvasion clearly demonstrates that they are long enemies of the Korean people and destroyers of peace that are even more dangerous than the malicious virus," it said.
South Korea took down the banners on July 17, following a request from the International Olympic Committee (IOC).


julesyi@yna.co.kr
(END)
en.yna.co.kr · by 이원주 · July 26, 2021


4. Japan’s ‘rising sun’ flag evokes anger

Excerpt:

The dispute may not have much kindling to fuel it for one key reason: The lack of spectators at nearly all Olympics venues means that no one will be waving that flag — so the dispute may die down for the time being.
Japan’s ‘rising sun’ flag evokes anger
Some of the nation’s neighbors have called for a ban during the Tokyo Olympics.
By Hyung-Jin Kimand Mari Yamaguchi
SEOUL — Japan considers the “rising sun” flag part of its history. But some in the Koreas, China and other Asian countries say the flag is a reminder of Japan’s wartime atrocities, and is comparable to the Nazi swastika.
That’s why the flag has created anger at the Tokyo Olympics, with some of the host nation’s neighbors calling for it to be banned during the Games, which officially opened Friday.
There’s little prospect that ties between Seoul and Tokyo will improve any time soon. But the flag dispute may ease. Some experts say the coronavirus restrictions that have forbidden spectators at most Olympic venues may prevent the disagreement from growing.
Here’s a look at the “rising sun” flag and the long-running unease it has caused in Northeast Asia.
Origin
There are two “rising sun” flags associated with Japan, whose very name in Japanese means “the sun’s origin.”
One is the country’s national flag, called nisshoki or hinomaru, which has a red disk on a white background. Few have a problem with this.
The other one also has a red disk, but it is surrounded by 16 rays that extend outward. Called kyokujitsuki, this one has led to vehement protests from some of Japan’s neighbors.
Both flags have been used for centuries. But disputes about the flag with radiating rays date to the early part of the 20th century. That’s when Japan’s imperial navy used it as its official flag as the nation colonized the Korean Peninsula and invaded or occupied China and other Asian countries until its defeat in World War II in 1945.
It’s still Japan’s naval flag, used by the Maritime Self-Defense Force and, in a slightly modified version, by the Ground Self-Defense Force since 1954.
These days, ultranationalists in Japan often use the flag during rallies or on social media.
Conflicting views
Japan’s government emphasizes that both “rising sun” flags use the sun as a motif and were used across the country even before the wartime period. Even today, the sun with rays is used in everyday life in Japan, such as to celebrate a big catch by fishermen, childbirth and other festivities, the government says.
“An argument that it is a political statement or a symbol of militarism is completely irrelevant. I believe there is a big misunderstanding,” current Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said in 2013, when he was chief Cabinet secretary.
Japan’s neighbors view it differently.
In 2019, South Korea formally requested that the International Olympic Committee ban the flag at the Tokyo Olympics. Seoul said that the flag recalls the “scars and pain” of Asian people who experienced Japan’s wartime military aggression, similar to how the swastika “reminds Europeans of the nightmare of World War II.”
North Korea’s state media, not known for understatement, have accused Japan of trying to turn “the flag of war criminals” into a symbol of peace at the Olympics, saying that it was “an intolerable insult to our people and other Asian people.”
China is also highly sensitive to perceived slights from the Japanese government, individuals and companies. However, official outrage over history has diminished somewhat, while China’s political, economic and cultural rivalry with the United States and European democracies has increased in recent years. When it comes to the flag, it’s clearly less sensitive in China than in South Korea.
Use at the Games
On July 17, when South Korea removed banners at the Olympic athletes’ village in Tokyo that the International Olympic Committee ruled to be provocative, Seoul said it received an IOC promise that the displaying of the “rising sun” flag would also be banned at stadiums and other Olympic venues.
But South Korean media later reported that some activists carried the “rising sun” flag near the athletes’ village. Media reports also said Japan’s organizing committee ruled that the flag wasn’t banned inside Olympic stadiums.
“It would be inappropriate to ban the flag from naval exchanges because a version is used by the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Forces,” Leif-Eric Easley, a professor at Ewha University in Seoul, said. “However, you would not expect the Tokyo Olympics hosts or Japanese athletes to use the ‘rising sun’ emblem because it is not the national flag.”
Ties between Seoul and Tokyo, both U.S. allies, have suffered for years in part because of disputes over history and trade.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s office announced Monday that Moon had decided not to visit Japan for the Olympics because the two countries failed to find enough common ground to support a leaders’ summit.
Will this get worse?
Some experts say the flag dispute isn’t as serious as other points of contention, such as Japan’s wartime subjection of Koreans to sexual slavery or forced labor, and probably won’t worsen ties.
The flag dispute can still flare, however, if anger among anti-Japan civic groups in South Korea draws a backlash among the Japanese public, said Lee Myon-woo, deputy head of the private Sejong Institute near Seoul. Lee said South Korea should refrain from a “too-excessive political interpretation” of the flag because there is no sign that Japan is reviving past militarism.
But Bong Youngshik, a research fellow at Yonsei University Institute for North Korean Studies, said the flag wouldn’t have become a major issue if Japan had accepted its neighbors’ demands for making a more “sincere apology” over its wartime abuse.
The dispute may not have much kindling to fuel it for one key reason: The lack of spectators at nearly all Olympics venues means that no one will be waving that flag — so the dispute may die down for the time being.
Kim and Yamaguchi write for the Associated Press.


5. Shame on Japan: Tokyo should not deny wartime forced labor

Continued friction.

Shame on Japan
The Korea Times · July 25, 2021
Tokyo should not deny wartime forced labor

A UNESCO committee has called for Japan to deliver on its promise to honor victims of wartime forced labor at an information center on its industrial revolution sites registered on UNESCO's World Heritage list. In an annual session Thursday, the World Heritage Committee (WHC) adopted a resolution expressing "strong regrets" over Japan's failure to keep its pledge. This unanimous resolution requested that Tokyo submit an implementation report on the follow-up measures by December next year.

The WHC action came after Japan was found to have failed to provide sufficient explanation about Korean victims of forced labor at the Industrial Heritage Information Center in Tokyo which opened last year. Japan promised to set up the center to remember the victims when 23 Meiji-era industrial sites were added to the heritage list in 2015. The promise was based on the recognition that Koreans and others were taken to some of the sites against their will and forced to work under harsh conditions in the 1940s. One such site is Hashima, also known as Battleship Island, where many Koreans were forced to labor as coal miners during World War II.

Regrettably, however, Japan has yet to carry out its pledge. On the contrary, it has only highlighted the achievements of its industrial revolution at the information center without mentioning the exploitation and suffering of victims at the sites. More seriously, the center displays false testimonies that there was no forced labor, no harsh work and no discrimination against Koreans. It can be said that Japan lied to UNESCO and the international community in order to gain approval for the World Heritage designation of the sites.

The resolution against Japan carries significant implications as it puts the brakes on the country's bid to deny or distort its disgraceful history of militarism and colonialism. Tokyo should stop glossing over its past aggressions and colonial rule of Korea and other Asian countries. It must face up to its history squarely and reflect on its wartime atrocities and misdeeds before it is too late. Then Japan will have to apologize sincerely to those who were subject to untold sufferings due to its crimes against humanity, including forced labor and sex slavery.

The industrial site episode is only the tip of the iceberg. Seoul-Tokyo ties have hit the lowest point since their diplomatic relations were established in 1965, due to Japan's refusal to honor the South Korean Supreme Court's ruling that ordered Japanese firms to pay compensation to surviving Korean victims of force labor. Without apologizing for its past wrongdoings, Japan has responded with trade retaliation against Korea. It has even scoffed at President Moon Jae-in's offer to hold a summit with his Japanese counterpart to resolve these thorny historical issues.

The Korean government and civil society need to step up solidarity with the international community to denounce Japan for its ill-conceived efforts to glorify its past. There is no hope for the future as long as Japan continues relapsing into historical amnesia and trying to sugarcoat its shameful history.

The Korea Times · July 25, 2021

6. Olympics and multiculturalism

Interesting commentary and cultural comparisons between Japan and Korea.
Olympics and multiculturalism
The Korea Times · July 25, 2021
By Jason Lim

"Hafu" is the term that's used in Japan to denote someone born from parents of different ethnicities. Apparently, 35 members of the 583-strong Japanese Olympic team are multi-ethnic.

What undoubtedly struck me watching the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics was seeing the tennis champion Naomi Osaka, daughter of a Haitian father and Japanese mother, a hafu, light the cauldron after walking up the mock-up of Mount Fuji. It's not something that could have happened back in 1964 when Tokyo hosted its first Olympics as a part of its coming-of-age party to the world.

Japan is significant to Korea in multiple ways, mostly due to geographical proximity and past history. However, it's Korea's future that can be foretold in Japan's now. Korea has mirrored Japan's post-World War II paths in so many ways that Japan's trends almost seem like Korea's inevitability. Sure, Korea might have amplified upon what Japan has done in terms of industry, pop-culture, etc. but, in many key ways, especially demographics, Korea is walking in her neighbor's footsteps.

This is certainly true with the multi-ethnic or multicultural makeup of their mutual populations. According to the New York Times, "Japan's growing roster of multiracial Olympians reflects how the country, with its fast-aging population, has had to crack open its doors to immigration, despite a powerful tradition of isolation.

Today, about one in 50 children born in Japan has a foreign-born parent, according to the nation's health ministry." This is happening on top of the larger macro demographic trends of ageing, isolated, and declining overall population that's turning the natural sustainment equation ― more numerous, younger, and productive workforce supporting a much smaller, aging group ― on its head.
In fact, Korea might have passed Japan in terms of the multiculturality of its population. Back in 2012, Korea already recorded 22,908 multiethnic births out of a total of 484,550 newborns, which is close to 5 percent. More recent forecasts predict that, by 2040, one out of every 15 households will be multicultural, including both first and second generations.

During the same time, Korea's population will decrease from 50 million plus people today to 48 million. Worse, every 1.6 working age adults will have to support one elderly, from the ratio of 4.5 to 1 today. Besides the very unlikely scenario of reunification and integration with North Korea, the only way for South Korea to slow down these trends is to increase the intake of immigrant populations in ever greater numbers, not out of some largesse, but out of a sheer need to survive as an advanced economy.

Both Japan and Korea are not traditionally known for their open societies. In fact, Japan was one of the most isolated countries in the world, by choice, until Commodore Matthew Perry blasted open its ports in 1853, and Korea was literally known as the Hermit Kingdom in the waning days of the Joseon Kingdom.
How will these societies react when their children look very different than they do today?

In Korea's case, the largest ethnicities in a multicultural family are Vietnamese at 38.2 percent, followed by Chinese at 19.9 percent and Filipinos at 6.1 percent. This has been the general trend for the last two decades at least, which means that Korean children in the not-too-distant future will look markedly different from how they look today. Furthermore, with mothers usually being the foreigner, the home cultures of these children will also represent a deviation from the traditional and largely homogenous culture of traditional Korean society.

With blood-based, jingoistic tribalism being one of the central organizing dynamics of both countries, albeit with differences, how will increased diversities of their own children affect the societies as a whole? It's easy to be proud of superstars like Osaka or Rui Hachimura, but how about the hafu's that are not necessarily super talented? Will they be as celebrated? Forget celebration. Will they be even accepted as full-fledged members of society? Even more importantly, will they accept themselves as a part of mainstream society?

The same NYT article also quotes Sewon Okazawa, an Olympic welterweight boxer who is the son of a Japanese mother and a Ghanaian father. He says, "I forget I'm Black sometimes ... When I look at myself in the mirror, I don't look Japanese." Similarly, will Korean-Vietnamese kids in Seoul see themselves as full-fledged members of Korean society? Will they be invited to sit at the table, or will they have to demand seats? When will the "other" transition into "us?"

This trend might have been better received in the era of plenty. Human beings can be generous to others when there is plenty to go around, as long as we feel that we are taken care of. However, the decrease in overall resources to support the aging demographics will inevitably result in socioeconomic scarcity in which larger numbers of mouths have to fight for a smaller piece of the pie. This doesn't bode well for acceptance and assimilation.

The hafu train is coming down the demographic tracks. Will it lead to a wreck? Which country will deal with it better?

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

The Korea Times · July 25, 2021

7. Japan–South Korea Olympic diplomacy over before it began

I will continue to emphasize: Moon and Suga must prioritize national security and national prosperity while pledging to manage the historical issues. They have to make their political bases understand that they must put security and prosperity first.

Excerpts:
In order to start repairing relations, Japan and South Korea will need to focus on common interests that have brought them together in the past. The most obvious and most pressing starting point is to deepen US–Japan–South Korea trilateral security cooperation so that the region can be best prepared for any scenario on the Korean Peninsula, as the Biden administration seeks to restart denuclearisation negotiations with North Korea.
While the moment for Olympic diplomacy may have passed, Japan and South Korea will still have to prioritise regional peace and stability ahead of nationalism and narrow domestic political gains.



Japan–South Korea Olympic diplomacy over before it began | East Asia Forum
eastasiaforum.org · by EAF editors · July 26, 2021
Author: Editorial Board, ANU
Despite the long list of problems associated with the Tokyo 2020 Olympics — corruptionscandalsbudget overruns, a year’s long delay due to COVID-19 and widespread public opposition — the event continues to be billed as a festival of peace.

In the tradition of the Olympic truce dating back to ancient Greece, the Games are ostensibly an opportunity to bring the world together and encourage political leaders in a spirit of international cooperation and reconciliation. Yet cautious hopes that Tokyo 2020 might be grasped as a diplomatic moment to start to repair relations between Japan and South Korea were dashed just days before the Games began.
Back in 2018, South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s Olympic diplomacy during the Pyeongchang Winter Games helped foster inter-Korean and US–DPRK dialogue and pull the Trump administration back from the brink of unleashing ‘fire and fury’ on North Korea.
Keen to grasp the chance for Olympic diplomacy again, President Moon was widely expected to visit Tokyo to attend the opening ceremony of the Games and hold a bilateral summit with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.
Japanese and South Korean officials had been holding bilateral discussions with the aim of making progress on resolving historical issues, such as the wartime ‘comfort women’ and forced labour issues, as well as building future-oriented cooperation, especially vis-a-vis North Korea. But just days before Tokyo 2020 kicked off, the South Korean President’s office, the Blue House, announced that Moon was cancelling his trip.
The sudden cancellation of the Moon–Suga Olympic summit came after it was reported that the deputy chief of mission in the Japanese Embassy in Seoul had made comments describing Moon’s efforts to repair relations with Japan as tantamount to ‘masturbating’.
South Korea’s First Vice Foreign Minister Choi Jong-kun summoned Japanese Ambassador Koichi Aiboshi to lodge a formal protest. Ambassador Aiboshi reprimanded his deputy who retracted his comments. The Japanese government is planning to remove the offending diplomat from his post in Seoul.
In announcing the cancellation, the Blue House referred to insufficient background progress for a summit-level accomplishment and an unexpected ‘obstacle’. The inappropriate and undiplomatic comments seem to be the final straw that broke the camel’s back as domestic sensitivities toward Japan have the potential to sour the Moon administration’s public support.
The cancellation of the summit can be seen as a microcosm of the problems facing the Japan–South Korea relationship today. The Suga administration has displayed a stubborn and cold attitude towards the Moon government, which has grown frustrated and impatient towards Japanese refusals to compromise.
As veteran Japanese diplomat Kazuhiko Togo says in this week’s feature piece, ‘the Japanese government’s rigidity goes beyond common sense and its position is not in Japan’s national interest’. It is rooted in ‘a sense of anger toward President Moon among some quarters of the Japanese government’, undermines US–Japan–South Korea trilateral security cooperation and throws away ‘a window of opportunity that had only just opened’.
The stubborn attitude of the Suga government toward South Korea has its origins in part in the revisionist understanding of history that has come to dominate Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party.
Similar to the Abe cabinets that preceded it, 15 out of 21 members of the Suga cabinet are members of the parliamentary discussion group of Nippon Kaigi, an ultranationalist lobby group that denies many of Japan’s wartime atrocities. This includes denials of the coercive nature of the recruitment of the ‘comfort women’ who were forced into Japan’s military brothels as well as the conscription of wartime forced labour. Indeed, Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso’s family company used both Allied POWs and Korean forced wartime labour, but has only apologised to Western countries.
It is through this revisionist lens of history that such anger has developed in some quarters of the Japanese government when South Korean courts ruled in favour of compensation for the families of Korean forced labourers and when the Moon government bowed to public opinion and cancelled the 2015 comfort women agreement.
On the South Korean side, the impulse to engage relates to the sensitivities of the issues at play vis-a-vis Japan as its former colonial ruler. Bold moves to reconcile with Japan by Moon may be judged harshly by the South Korean media and public if Suga is not seen to be reciprocating in good faith.
Things have not always been this way. Japan and South Korea have forged meaningful cooperation a number of times since normalising relations in 1965.
This includes the regaining of trust led by then Japanese prime minister Yasuhiro Nakasone and South Korean president Chun Doo-hwan in the 1980s, the 1993 Kono Statement, which recognised the Japanese government’s role in the coercive recruitment of ‘comfort women’, and the establishment of the Asian Women’s Fund between 1994 and 2007 to compensate former ‘comfort women’.
The 1998 Joint Declaration signed by then Japanese prime minister Keizo Obuchi and South Korean president Kim Dae-jung and the 2015 comfort women agreement signed by then Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean president Park Geun-hye were also important milestones.
In order to start repairing relations, Japan and South Korea will need to focus on common interests that have brought them together in the past. The most obvious and most pressing starting point is to deepen US–Japan–South Korea trilateral security cooperation so that the region can be best prepared for any scenario on the Korean Peninsula, as the Biden administration seeks to restart denuclearisation negotiations with North Korea.
While the moment for Olympic diplomacy may have passed, Japan and South Korea will still have to prioritise regional peace and stability ahead of nationalism and narrow domestic political gains.
The EAF Editorial Board is located in the Crawford School of Public Policy, College of Asia and the Pacific, The Australian National University.
eastasiaforum.org · by EAF editors · July 26, 2021

8. More foreign diplomats exit North Korea amid COVID-19

Will there be any foreign delegations left in Pyongyang?

Excerpts:

The latest exodus comes as North Korea shut down its border and imposed strict lockdowns that barred movement inside the country since the onset of the pandemic early last year. The COVID-19 outbreak has also exacerbated the country’s food crisis, as the North, which relies on China for food and other materials, suspended all trade with its main partner to prevent the spread of the virus.
Since then, most foreign missions in North Korea have temporarily shut down offices and sent staff members back home, citing the difficulties of carrying out diplomatic activities inside the reclusive regime as well as shortages of food, health services and necessary goods, as the pandemic-imposed lockdown drags on.

More foreign diplomats exit North Korea amid COVID-19
By Ahn Sung-mi m.koreaherald.com2 min


Pyongyang, North Korea (123rf)

More foreign diplomats stationed in North Korea, including from Indonesia and Bulgaria, have fled the reclusive regime due to dire living conditions amid prolonged COVID-19 restrictions.
Japanese broadcaster NHK on Saturday reported that about 30 people believed to be diplomats and their family members arrived by bus at the Chinese border city of Dandong on Friday after leaving the North. The report said Indonesian Embassy vehicles were there to pick them up.
Indonesia’s Foreign Ministry confirmed that its diplomats in Pyongyang had left the country, and that it had been discussing the temporary repatriation of its officials with North Korean authorities since late last year.
Among the latest entourage of diplomats leaving Pyongyang were staff members of the Bulgarian Embassy in the North as well, according to NK News.
The latest exodus comes as North Korea shut down its border and imposed strict lockdowns that barred movement inside the country since the onset of the pandemic early last year. The COVID-19 outbreak has also exacerbated the country’s food crisis, as the North, which relies on China for food and other materials, suspended all trade with its main partner to prevent the spread of the virus.
Since then, most foreign missions in North Korea have temporarily shut down offices and sent staff members back home, citing the difficulties of carrying out diplomatic activities inside the reclusive regime as well as shortages of food, health services and necessary goods, as the pandemic-imposed lockdown drags on.
In recent months, there has been an increasing outflow of foreigners from the North, including about 90 Russians in July.
In April, the Russian Embassy in Pyongyang said via Facebook that the exodus of foreigners will continue, and fewer than 290 foreigners remained inside the closed-off country.
“The people leaving the Korean capital are understandable -- not everyone can endure the unprecedented restrictions, acute shortage of essential goods, including medicines, and lack of opportunities to resolve health problems,” the embassy said.
Since the outbreak, the UK, Venezuela, Brazil, Germany, Italy, Nigeria, Pakistan, Switzerland, Poland, the Czech Republic, Sweden and France have halted their missions in Pyongyang. All foreign staffers of international humanitarian organizations, including the United Nations, have also left the country.
Pyongyang insists it has zero COVID-19 cases, but health experts have cast doubt on their claims. The North continues to enforce strict restrictions to curb any spread of the virus on its soil. Last month, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un admitted that a “grave incident” had occurred that could threaten his country’s anti-epidemic efforts, but he did not offer further specifics.

9.  <Inside N. Korea> Serious violent behaviour of discharged military personnel: dissatisfaction with rural deployment.

Is it only a matter of time before this spreads to the active force? Can there be a loss of coherence within the military and its three chains of control?

An important indicator here. Is the regime having trouble supporting andminatining a large Army or is it as the reports says they need more manpower in the factories and fields? How drastically are they drastically reducing the size of the military?

Excerpts:
After the Congress of the Workers' Party of Korea held in this January, Kim Jong-un's regime took the decision to drastically reduce the military members. The period of military service (service in the army) was shortened from 13 years to 8 years for men and 8 years to 5 years for women in 2020, and soldiers who had reached maturity were to be discharged.
The main purpose of this was to redirect the workforce to key industries that were severely understaffed. Discharged military personnel were mainly deployed in rural areas, mines, coal mines, and construction sites for national projects.
Those from rural areas were returned to their home farms. Those who were not from rural areas were assigned to groups by their unit, division, or brigade. This was called "unreasonable assignment" because there was no room for the individual's requests to be heard.

<Inside N. Korea> Serious violent behaviour of discharged military personnel: dissatisfaction with rural deployment.
(Photo) A soldier tries to board a train with a cigarette in his hand. Photographed at Hyesan Station in October 2013, ‘Mindeulle’ (ASIAPRESS).
This spring, former soldiers who were discharged from the People's Army and deployed to rural areas have been causing problems in many places. Violent acts, theft, and breaking the order are so frequent that the police authorities cannot do anything about it. In mid-July, Mr. Kim (pseudonym), a reporting partner living in North Hamkyung Province, investigated a cooperative farm (Kang Ji-won).
◆Fighting, stealing... “It was like a bandit gang.”
“When a large number of discharged military personnel arrived, three of them were assigned to my work group. There were only two older men working there, so I thought it would be a big help to have more men, but they've been causing a lot of problems and causing trouble.”
When Mr. Kim visited A Cooperative Farm, an old acquaintance of his told him as follows:
The main problem is the issue of women. Those who have been discharged from the military are in their mid-twenties to thirty years old and have just finished eight years of military service. Therefore, they follow the women around without coming to work, trying to find a marriage partner, and have constant disputes with the women's families. Mr. Kim's report continues.
“When they fight, they beat others until they bleed. Also, they swear at the women on the farm. At the beginning of July, one of them drank alcohol and beat up the group leader, and was questioned by the police. However, even the police were having trouble with them. A farmer lamented that it was as if a group of bandits had arrived.”
At Farm A, they originally tried to create a sub-group consisting only of discharged military personnel, but since they caused too many problems, they gave up and dispersed the group.
◆Kim regime cuts troops and sends them to labour sites
After the Congress of the Workers' Party of Korea held in this January, Kim Jong-un's regime took the decision to drastically reduce the military members. The period of military service (service in the army) was shortened from 13 years to 8 years for men and 8 years to 5 years for women in 2020, and soldiers who had reached maturity were to be discharged.
The main purpose of this was to redirect the workforce to key industries that were severely understaffed. Discharged military personnel were mainly deployed in rural areas, mines, coal mines, and construction sites for national projects.
Those from rural areas were returned to their home farms. Those who were not from rural areas were assigned to groups by their unit, division, or brigade. This was called "unreasonable assignment" because there was no room for the individual's requests to be heard.
“There were complaints from those who were to be discharged from the military, saying, 'You mean I have to spend the rest of my life with a stag beetle, a pickaxe, and a shovel?’”, said another reporting partner.
◆Placement in rural areas is the worst
In North Korean society, farmers are positioned at the lowest level. In addition to being poor, they have almost no chance of being allowed to move to cities or change jobs, even if they want to. Their children and grandchildren will have to work as farm laborers. It is the worst possible placement for a young person.
The government also seems to have taken care in establishing the farming village. Mr. Kim explains the situation at Farm A as follows:
“We were instructed by our superiors to be responsible for providing food for discharged soldiers, so we managed to prepare and give them food, but they sold it all and bought clothes. Moreover, since they had nothing to eat, they were clamouring to be designated as ‘Food Insecure Households.’”
A " Food Insecure Households" is a household that has run out of cash and food. If they are recognized, they will receive some food support from the farm and be exempted from going to work to earn money off the farm.
According to Farmer A, the police have been mobilizing discharged military personnel who cannot adapt to the farm to guard the farm fields, patrol units, and mobile warning stations to encourage them to settle in, but it is not easy. He said that since they do not want to do farm work properly, all of the subgroups have said that they will no longer accept discharged military personnel.
◆Joining the Workers' Party is Difficult and Hopeless
In North Korea, it has been said that “if you join the military, your head will turn to stone in three years,” meaning that even if you are discharged and return to society, you will be useless. Nevertheless, most of them lived diligently for a year as candidate party members because they were given preferential treatment to join the Labour Party upon discharge. However, at Congress of the Workers' Party of Korea held in January 2021, the rules were changed and the procedure for joining the party became stricter.
“I heard that they tried to make the discharged soldiers into candidate Party members and give them a decent life on the farm. However, when they were placed in the countryside, they had no hope for future development and were not sure whether they could become Party members or not. It's hard and frustrating.”
Mr. Kim explained the rough feelings of the discharged soldiers in this way:
It's almost as if the disgruntled persons have been placed in groups on the cooperative farm. It may be inevitable that the youths swarm and rough it.
※ASIAPRESS contacts its reporting partners in North Korea through smuggled Chinese mobile phones.


10. Bracing for future war (South Korea)

Excerpts:

The third is our national defense reform. We must transform it into strategic defense for future warfare, co-operable defense that can ratchet up combined power of each armed force, and innovative defense armed with contactless, remote and cutting-edge technology. Of the 52.8-trillion-won ($45.7-billion) defense budget, we must eliminate the sunk costs used for maintaining useless outdated weapons systems, and cut structural waste from maintaining our troops. When fewer than 300,000 babies are born a year, it is impossible — and ethically not justified — to maintain the current size of the troops.
 
At the same time, we must start qualitative improvement of the conventional ground forces toward marine and space forces. Response to the threats on the ground and multi-purpose joint force are not conflicting goals. This year, debates over the construction of an aircraft carrier has continued. Is it that hard to build a strategic asset encompassing shipbuilding, steel, ICT, and defense R&D capabilities and essential to marine and air operations with allies? But the future is coming. We need to keep the “window of opportunity” by integrating our will and capabilities.
 
Having experienced Trump, politics and economy of the United States and liberal democratic countries paradoxically evolve higher and deeper. This is the time of historic transition from dominant hegemony to co-existent hegemony. We cannot afford the unfortunate past of failing to manage security risk anymore. I hope the next presidential election will open a new chapter on politics.

Monday
July 26, 2021
Bracing for future war

 Choi Chang-yong
The author is a professor at the Korea Development Institute (KDI) School of Public Policy and Management.
 
 
The presidential election clock is ticking. With the protracted Covid-19 pandemic, South Korea’s low growth, North Korea’s persistence with nuclear weapons, the United States with sophisticated global strategies, and China trying to confront the U.S., countries around the globe are uniting and colliding. For the next five years and beyond, what national strategies do we need? I believe we should build a triple-layered system to develop our future strategy and manage security risks.
 
First, we must get over the illusion of the decline of the U.S. and rise of China. The United States is the sole hegemon as the biggest economy in the world, dominating key currency and international finance system and possessing firepower stronger than the combined naval and air strength of the next five military powers. I do not mean to undermine the rise of China. When you don’t distinguish the rhetoric and reality of the rise of China, you could make the dichotomous error of “Security with America, economy with China.”
 
The latest issue of Foreign Affairs Magazine entitled “Can China Keep Rising?” is devoted to the analysis of the future of the Communist Party of China (CPC), China’s economy, military and reform, as well as the Taiwan issue. The focus is on sustainability. Will China be able to settle and compete against the U.S. as a rival hegemon in the global system where liberal democracy and market economics have reached the point of being irreversible? The magazine came up with the diagnose that roughly operating the Chinese domestic political system and the pursuit of hegemony as seen in the One Belt, One Road initiative have already lost legitimacy and expandability.
 

Second, how will North Korean threats be perceived and what strategies do we need? Despite extreme economic challenges, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un hasn’t given up on the nuclear program. Instead, he developed ICBMs with nuclear warheads to elevate the level of the threats. But we must carefully watch what’s happening in North Korea and its internal cracks at the same time. Market developments that spread after the Arduous March in the mid-1990s has gone beyond the level of an anti-socialist mechanism and intensified systemic corruption in the government and dependence of its fiscal policy on the market.
 
No low-income and poverty-ridden countries other than North Korea relies 90 percent on one country — China. Even if North Korea manages to survive, we can imagine the future of the country that virtually lost economic sovereignty. We must analyze and prepare separate plans for two polar opposites of North Korea — a nuclear power and a country that has started to crack from the bottom.
 
The third is our national defense reform. We must transform it into strategic defense for future warfare, co-operable defense that can ratchet up combined power of each armed force, and innovative defense armed with contactless, remote and cutting-edge technology. Of the 52.8-trillion-won ($45.7-billion) defense budget, we must eliminate the sunk costs used for maintaining useless outdated weapons systems, and cut structural waste from maintaining our troops. When fewer than 300,000 babies are born a year, it is impossible — and ethically not justified — to maintain the current size of the troops.
 
At the same time, we must start qualitative improvement of the conventional ground forces toward marine and space forces. Response to the threats on the ground and multi-purpose joint force are not conflicting goals. This year, debates over the construction of an aircraft carrier has continued. Is it that hard to build a strategic asset encompassing shipbuilding, steel, ICT, and defense R&D capabilities and essential to marine and air operations with allies? But the future is coming. We need to keep the “window of opportunity” by integrating our will and capabilities.
 
Having experienced Trump, politics and economy of the United States and liberal democratic countries paradoxically evolve higher and deeper. This is the time of historic transition from dominant hegemony to co-existent hegemony. We cannot afford the unfortunate past of failing to manage security risk anymore. I hope the next presidential election will open a new chapter on politics.
 
Translation by the Korea JoongAng Daily staff.


11. Brutal Conditions in N.Korean Prison Camp Exposed
You can access the new report by Joseph S. Bermudez, Jr., Greg Scarlatoiu, Amanda Mortwedt Oh, and Rosa Park herehttps://www.hrnk.org/uploads/pdfs/Bermudez_KHS8_FINALFINAL.pdf
Brutal Conditions in N.Korean Prison Camp Exposed
Inmates at North Korea's Sungho-ri concentration camp near Pyongyang are suffering forced labor, violence, torture and hunger, according to a U.S. human rights watchdog.
The Committee for Human Rights in North Korea last week published a report on the issue.
A survivor of the prison camp identified as "i39" testified that the regime gave each inmate a daily ration of only 100 g of corn meal despite the required minimum amount of 200 g and most were dying of malnutrition.
Often rat droppings were found in the gruel. The survivor said that during his three years of imprisonment, "three people died every day in the women's section." The dead bodies were taken to a crematorium, where "like origami, [guards] try to make corpses fit by breaking the bones."
According to the report, male inmates were forced to work in a nearby limestone quarry, coal mine or cement factory. Female inmates were forced to farm or put the eyelashes on dolls for export to China for 13 hours a day. If they failed to fill the daily quota of 12,000 dolls, they were tortured by being forced to kneel on floors that were hot from the heat of the coalmine and suffered burns in less than five minutes.
Meanwhile, the Korea Institute for National Unification, a government-funded think tank in Seoul, published white paper on North Korean human rights based on interviews with 50 North Korean defectors who arrived here recently. It quotes one defector as testifying that anyone caught watching a South Korean film is punished more harshly than those who are caught using crystal meth.
"The number of homeless North Korean children roaming the streets dwindled after a shelter was built in 2015, but their numbers began to jump again in Nampo and Chongjin in 2019 due to international sanctions," it reports.


12. [Interview] North Koreans respond to their government's push for more "recycling"
 
This excerpt illustrates so much that is wrong with north Korea in a nutshell.

Daily NK: They say if you bring scrap paper or discarded vinyl to shops selling daily necessities or government procurement centers, you can exchange it for goods from factories that need these discarded goods. Do locals often use this service?
A: In the days of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il, you could exchange it for money or goods. However, since Kim Jong Un came to power, the government purchase centers exist in name only. They don’t operate as they should. And locals hardly ever use sundry shops or government purchase centers.
B: They give you money [not goods from factories]. But if you bring recyclables, all you get is sweat. You’re not compensated, so who would go through the trouble? That being said, some people who turn over scrap metal, scrap vinyl, and discarded glass – because they have to submit certificates showing the discarded goods have been sold to the government – do it because they have no choice.
[Interview] North Koreans respond to their government's push for more "recycling" - Daily NK
People were already recycling everything “even without the authorities having to tell them to do so,” one North Korean said
By Mun Dong Hui - 2021.07.26 2:00pm
dailynk.com · July 26, 2021
North Korea is running into problems supplying raw materials and supplies due to protracted international sanctions and the suspension of trade in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of this, North Korean authorities are aggressively pressing workplaces and citizens to recycle supplies to mitigate resource shortages.
On July 16, the Rodong Sinmun ran a six-page “political essay” entitled “Let’s Become Indefatigable Revolutionaries.” The fourth page included a section entitled, “To Save Is to Increase Production,” which deals with conservation and recycling. “Political essays” discuss important social and political issues “rationally and passionately” to the people. The publishing of the essay therefore suggests that recycling is now an important social and political issue in North Korea.
Contrary to what the North Korean authorities authorities think, however, locals give recycling an unenthusiastic response.
North Koreans have already been conserving or recycling supplies for quite some time due to resource shortages. Based on Daily NK’s conversations with people inside the country, they are responding coldly to the authorities suddenly pressing them to recycle without offering fundamental solutions to their problems.
One North Korean resident Daily NK recently spoke with by telephone said people were already recycling everything “even without the authorities having to tell them to do so,” and that they “snort every time the authorities emphasize recycling.”
Moreover, locals loudly criticize the authorities for trying to deceive the people with propaganda calling for recycling despite the fact that, apart from major companies, most workplaces have no supplies to recycle in the first place.
Daily NK recently interviewed two North Koreans – one living in Yanggang Province, with the other living in South Pyongan Province – about their government’s recycling policy.
Daily NK: Are you aware of propaganda, or attended lectures, regarding recycling?
Yanggang Province Resident (A): In accordance with a Central Committee directive in mid-February, orders were handed down in Hyesan and Samsu County, Yanggang Province, through the inminban [people’s units] regarding recycling. The order stressed that we mustn’t throw away resources when the nation is having a tough time. In particular, it stressed that if people find recyclable goods on the street or in their villages such as discarded vinyl [plastic], Chinese-made vinyl films, or discarded rubber, they should pick it up and deposit it at a place designated by the inminban.
South Pyongan Province Resident (B): I hear about it during every workplace lecture, so I’m sick of it. We’ve already been recycling, and would have been – even if they’d told us not to. What I’d like to ask [the authorities] is how they could ask us to do any more.
Daily NK: How are companies or government institutions conducting recycling activities?
A: Workplaces and government institutions don’t recycle [there’s just individual quotas that need to be met]. At workplaces and government institutions, they give each employee a yearly quota. They review how well you’ve fulfilled the recycling plan in the first and second halves of the year.
B: Places with a lot of raw materials or supplies such as copper or vinyl – like the March 26 Pyongyang Cable Factory or October 5 Automated Device Factory – can recycle. But ordinary workplaces have no raw materials or supplies, so how can they recycle?
Daily NK: Do people tend to separate their garbage at home?
A: People don’t usually separate garbage at home. They have no motivation to, so there’s no interest in it.
B: In North Korean households, we don’t even have a word for separating garbage. We’ll use a single plastic soft drink bottle dozens or hundreds of times. There’s nothing to separate for recycling. There are even places that sell just empty bottles in marketplaces.
Daily NK: Do you ever have to pay to throw away garbage?
A: Inminban take turns cleaning the garbage dumps once a month. At this time, each family has to pay money for transport [of the garbage to the place of disposal]. But the amount that needs to be paid differs from inminban to inminban.
B: Just as its name suggests, garbage [Korean: sseuregi] refers to things that have no use. So in North Korea, it’s never crossed anyone’s mind to pay money to throw away garbage.
Daily NK: They say if you bring scrap paper or discarded vinyl to shops selling daily necessities or government procurement centers, you can exchange it for goods from factories that need these discarded goods. Do locals often use this service?
A: In the days of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il, you could exchange it for money or goods. However, since Kim Jong Un came to power, the government purchase centers exist in name only. They don’t operate as they should. And locals hardly ever use sundry shops or government purchase centers.
B: They give you money [not goods from factories]. But if you bring recyclables, all you get is sweat. You’re not compensated, so who would go through the trouble? That being said, some people who turn over scrap metal, scrap vinyl, and discarded glass – because they have to submit certificates showing the discarded goods have been sold to the government – do it because they have no choice.
Please direct any comments or questions about this article to dailynkenglish@uni-media.net.
dailynk.com · July 26, 2021


13. N. Hamgyong Province organizes "secret disciplinary units" to crack down on anti-socialist behavior

And this illustrates the truly evil nature of the regime and the importance to the regime of ideologically coercing the Korean people in the north. The people may die hungry but at least they will be ideologically pure.

N. Hamgyong Province organizes "secret disciplinary units" to crack down on anti-socialist behavior - Daily NK
Disciplinary unit members are tasked with immediately reporting behaviors that “run afoul of North Korean culture"
By Jong So Yong - 2021.07.26 3:00pm
dailynk.com · July 26, 2021
North Korean authorities have recently established “secret disciplinary units” led by Socialist Women’s Union of Korea organizations and members in North Hamgyong Province to stamp out “anti-socialist and non-socialist behavior.”
A source in North Hamgyong Province told Daily NK last Thursday that the provincial branch of the Workers’ Party of Korea ordered the secret establishment of “autonomous internal disciplinary units” composed largely of provincial Socialist Women’s Union of Korea organizations and members. The order stemmed from a Central Committee directive on July 11 to “thoroughly eradicate anti-socialist and non-socialist behavior.”
According to the source, North Koream authorities are frequently emphasizing measures to prevent youth “drenched in the culture of capitalist delinquency” from becoming addicted to the “enemy’s ideology and culture, which focuses on nothing but money.”
In lockstep, North Hamgyong Province’s party committee ordered the secret establishment of “internal disciplinary units” while stating that Socialist Women’s Union of Korea members “should take the lead in uncovering and reporting problematic behavior,” the source added, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Socialist Women’s Union of Korea organizations in the province have resolved to “perform their role to the fullest in this effort,” according to the source.
North Korean lecture materials calling on people to “smash anti-socialist and non-socialist behavior” published in July 2019. / Image: Daily NK
“So that nobody knows which one is taking the lead in the effort, the Ministry of State Security and Social Security are secretly taking members of city, county, and district Socialist Women’s Union of Korea organizations to get their fingerprints while tasking them with monitoring and reporting on locals’ speech, behavior, living standards, and household income versus spending,” the source said.
Specifically, provincial authorities have tasked Socialist Women’s Union of Korea members involved in the disciplinary units with monitoring which clothes neighborhood youth wear, which hairstyles they imitate, which songs they hum, and which dances they enjoy. Disciplinary unit members are tasked with immediately reporting behaviors that “run afoul of North Korean culture.”
More importantly, the disciplinary units are supposed to pay attention to local mobile phone ringtones and conversations to “uncover acts of espionage.” Amid efforts to eliminate users of Chinese mobile phones, members of these units must “take the lead” and stay alert to identify these users in regions along the Sino-North Korean border, the source said.
“The Ministry of State Security and Ministry of Social Security stressed to members of the secret disciplinary teams that they must remain aware that they are fortresses and bastions protecting the socialist system and fulfill their role as mosquito nets against reactionary thought, calling on them to remember this and work to prevent early the ideological corruption of local residents,” the source explained.
The source added that the Ministry of State Security and Ministry of Social Security have emphasized the “significance” of these secret disciplinary units. According to him, the ministries stated that “while reporting systems through the heads of inminban [people’s units] or informants also exist, [members of the new disciplinary units] must implement the Workers’ Party’s will to root out anti-socialist or non-socialist acts by relying not only the inminban heads and informants, but also by monitoring behavior and catching violations through multiple layers of surveillance.”
Please direct any comments or questions about this article to dailynkenglish@uni-media.net.
dailynk.com · July 26, 2021

14. S. Korea to repatriate remains of Chinese soldiers killed in Korean War



S. Korea to repatriate remains of Chinese soldiers killed in Korean War | Yonhap News Agency
en.yna.co.kr · by 최수향 · July 26, 2021
SEOUL, July 26 (Yonhap) -- The remains of Chinese soldiers killed in the 1950-53 Korean War will be sent back to their homeland in September after excavation from former battle sites, the defense ministry said Monday.
The repatriation will be the eighth of its kind since Seoul pledged in 2014 to repatriate the remains of fallen Chinese soldiers killed during the three-year conflict, leading to the return of 716 sets as of last year.
During working-level talks held between the two sides in Qingdao, Seoul and Beijing agreed to hold this year's joint ceremony to casket the remains on Sept. 1 and hand them over along with other discovered items the next day, according to the ministry.
During the war, China fought alongside North Korea against the U.S.-backed Allied forces. Nearly 1 million Chinese soldiers are believed to have died, been wounded or remain missing, according to Seoul government data.
"We will continue to repatriate the remains of Chinese troops discovered in South Korea," the ministry said in a release.

scaaet@yna.co.kr
(END)
en.yna.co.kr · by 최수향 · July 26, 2021


15. Ban Ki-moon, Emperor Naruhito discuss bilateral ties after Olympic opening

Hopefully they will tell Moon and Sug it is time to put the historical animosities aside and focus on national security and national prosperity (while still managing the historical issues).

Ban Ki-moon, Emperor Naruhito discuss bilateral ties after Olympic opening

Japanese Emperor Naruhito, center, speaks at the opening ceremony of the Summer Games at the Olympic stadium in Shinjuku, Tokyo, Friday. [NEWS1]
 
Former United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon met briefly with Japanese Emperor Naruhito after the Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony Friday and discussed the need to improve Korea-Japan ties, according to diplomatic sources Sunday.
 
The 10-minute meeting took place at the Olympic stadium near midnight, following the opening ceremony of the Summer Games, and came upon the request of the Japanese emperor.
 
Ban was said to have congratulated Japan for kicking off the Olympics, wishing for the success of the event, and the emperor in turn expressed his gratitude, according to the sources.
 
They also agreed on the need to improve relations between Korea and Japan amid deteriorated bilateral ties. Seoul and Tokyo face historical disputes stemming from Japan's 1910-45 colonial rule over Korea, namely the issues of forced labor and wartime sexual slavery. There has also been an ongoing trade spat after Japan's export restrictions on Korea since July 2019 and a territorial dispute over the Dokdo islets in the East Sea.
 

Former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon arrives at Narita International Airport in Japan on July 19 to attend the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics. [JOINT PRESS CORPS]
 
Ban visited Tokyo from July 19 to Saturday to attend the opening ceremony as chair of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Ethics Commission, a position he has held since 2017. He was re-elected to serve another four-year term last Tuesday.
 
Ban became acquainted with the emperor through past UN-related international conferences, including the World Water Forum.
 
Naruhito, who ascended the throne in 2019, studied water transportation at Oxford University in Britain and has shown lifelong interest in environmental issues such as water conservation.
 
As crown prince, he addressed the UN's special thematic session on water and disasters in November 2015 and met with then-UN chief Ban in New York. He served as an honorary president of the United Nations' Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation from 2007 to 2015.
 
Ban served as UN secretary general from 2007 to 2016 and, as an architect of the 2015 Paris Agreement, continues to be a strong advocate of combating global climate change. He currently serves as president and chair of the Seoul-based Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI).
 
Emperor Naruhito kicked off the Olympic Games Friday without using the word "celebrate" in his speech, as in the past, likely taking into consideration the global pandemic. There were only around 15 foreign dignitaries who attended the opening ceremony, including French President Emmanuel Macron and U.S. First Lady Jill Biden.
 
During his Japan trip, Ban watched the men's football match between Korea and New Zealand and met with the Taekwondo team and leaders of Korean-Japanese organizations.
 
The former UN chief's meeting with the emperor comes after efforts to arrange a first summit between President Moon Jae-in and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga fell through.
 
Hirohisa Soma, Japan's deputy chief of mission to Korea, made a remark to JTBC reporters earlier this month comparing Moon's efforts to improve Seoul-Tokyo relations to "masturbation." Such sexual language coming from a senior diplomat prompted fierce protest from Seoul, and in turn Japanese Ambassador Koichi Aiboshi made a rare apology and reprimanded Soma for making an "extremely inappropriate remark" on July 17. 
 
Discussions to schedule a summit between Moon and Suga along the sidelines of the Tokyo Olympics had been ongoing till the last moment, but the Blue House confirmed a bilateral meeting was not happening on July 19.

BY SARAH KIM [kim.sarah@joongang.co.kr]


16. South Korea Too Preoccupied with Survival to be Asia’s Sweden


Excerpts:
The point here is not to criticize the ROK, but rather to recognize the reality that South Korea’s geopolitical fate is a permanent state of near-desperation. For understandable reasons, Seoul is focused on preserving Korean nationhood against a variety of dangers. The inevitable result is a certain amount of compromise.
States in this kind of situation do not have the luxury of standing on principle. South Korea’s circumstances may garner sympathy and a measure of respect, but they are not conducive to the country gaining global recognition as a transcendent authority on how to improve the international system.
Blame it on geopolitics. If it was located where Australia now sits, South Korea might be the Sweden of the Southern Hemisphere.

South Korea Too Preoccupied with Survival to be Asia’s Sweden
South Korea’s circumstances may garner sympathy and a measure of respect, but they are not conducive to the country gaining global recognition as a transcendent authority on how to improve the international system.
The National Interest · by Denny Roy · July 26, 2021
The countries widely known as “middle powers” typically qualify through both physical and behavioral characteristics. The physical characteristics include territory, population, economy, and military forces that are larger than those of a “small” power but smaller than those of a great or major power. By that criterion, the Republic of Korea (ROK) certainly qualifies.
The conventional wisdom also holds, however, that middle powers practice exemplary international citizenship by campaigning for the preservation of the international order—advocating, for example, in favor of international law, or urging states embroiled in international disputes to compromise to reach solutions.
Middle powers do this from a dispassionate position of impartial moral authority, rather than as states with a compelling partisan self-interest in a specific outcome.
This classic middle power behavioral role usually requires some degree of distance from the front lines of global conflict, offering space for cool reflection. Hence we often think of countries such as Sweden, Norway, Australia, and Canada playing this role.

South Korea resides in a very tough neighborhood, surrounded by multiple threats to its survival, both short-term and long-term. On its land border is the implacably hostile, rival state of North Korea. To the east is historical enemy Japan, which most recently forcibly occupied and exploited the Korean Peninsula for fifty years last century. Across the Yellow Sea to the west is China, which threatens to impose its will on Seoul even in such areas of vital interest as national security. Finally, many South Koreans resent U.S. pressure and view the American forces based in the ROK as a foreign occupation army.
South Korea is directly involved in several sharp international legal disagreements that compromise its impartiality. It has territorial disputes with Japan over the Dokdo/Takeshima Islands and with China over Ieodo/Suyan Rock. Seoul seeks compensation from Japan over Korean “comfort women” and Korean forced laborers during the Pacific War. Current ROK President Moon Jae-in has called for loosening economic sanctions against North Korea, arguably prioritizing his desire for a peace deal above international law. Out of fear of offending Beijing, Seoul has been hesitant to voice support for Taiwan or to criticize China’s misbehavior in Hong Kong and Xinjiang.
The point here is not to criticize the ROK, but rather to recognize the reality that South Korea’s geopolitical fate is a permanent state of near-desperation. For understandable reasons, Seoul is focused on preserving Korean nationhood against a variety of dangers. The inevitable result is a certain amount of compromise.
States in this kind of situation do not have the luxury of standing on principle. South Korea’s circumstances may garner sympathy and a measure of respect, but they are not conducive to the country gaining global recognition as a transcendent authority on how to improve the international system.
Blame it on geopolitics. If it was located where Australia now sits, South Korea might be the Sweden of the Southern Hemisphere.
Denny Roy is a senior fellow and supervisor of the POSCO Fellowship Program, Research Program at the East-West Center. Roy has written on Chinese foreign policy, the North Korea nuclear weapons crisis, China-Japan relations, and China-Taiwan relations.
Image: Reuters.
The National Interest · by Denny Roy · July 26, 2021

17. Is South Korea Truly a ‘Middle Power’?

Excerpt:

 In this respect, the South Korean state is a middle power, although this rhetoric at times exceeds reality.
Is South Korea Truly a ‘Middle Power’?
In the Indo-Pacific region, it is postulated that South Korea, Australia, and Indonesia (or even ASEAN) could join hands and impact Sino-U.S. relations. There is no sign of this nor any reason to think that shared middle power interests would outweigh the much stronger pull of the great powers.
The National Interest · by Gilbert Rozman · July 26, 2021
A middle power is a state that has the capabilities to exert influence, at least at a regional level, and relationships with great powers that allow it to utilize these capabilities. It would be a mistake to assume that this gives the state leverage to play a balancing role between great powers, Rather, the most common role of a middle power is that of an indispensable partner of a single great power with a limited ability to act autonomously in trying to sway one or more other great powers’ behavior. In this respect, the South Korean state is a middle power, although this rhetoric at times exceeds reality.
Seoul is a close ally of the United States with some autonomy in its policies toward China, Russia, and Japan. In 2014, its response to the U.S. and G7 sanctions against Russia reflected restrained autonomy, as Park Geun-hye and, later, Moon Jae-in persisted in overtures (Eurasian diplomacy, New Northern Strategy) meant to keep Vladimir Putin from tilting too much to North Korea. In 2015, Park’s hard-line toward Japan on “comfort women,” and in 2017 Moon’s threat to pull out of the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) intelligence sharing agreement drew strong U.S. pressure, reining in excessive autonomy. Also, in 2016, by agreeing to the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense, and again in 2021 in the joint statement at the Moon-Biden summit, Seoul tilted to Washington, reducing somewhat the autonomy of its policy toward Beijing. Yet in 2021 elements of autonomy persist, which the Biden administration cautiously accepts, recognizing the special nature of North Korean and Chinese ties.
Other definitions of middle power convey national identity aspirations more than the restrictive circumstances of South Korea’s confined space among four great powers and an existential threat in North Korea. Only a realistic understanding of this term from a comparative perspective clarifies its situation.
Military power is least amenable to the quest for autonomy. Economics is the venue of the greatest flexibility. Diplomacy is intermediate between the two, as seen in Moon Jae-in’s defiance of the United States in agreeing in late 2017 to the “three noes” demanded by Xi Jinping, which put limits on the alliance aspirations of the United States. Culture is second to economics in autonomy, but it is becoming less of a venue for autonomy, as the ideological polarization in Sino-U.S. relations intensifies. On human rights—whether “Free and Open Indo-Pacific,” Hong Kong, or Xinjiang—U.S. pressure has mounted, albeit as the case of the Dalai Lama shows, deference to China is still present.

Along with aggrandizing the potential of a middle power in balancing great powers, some advance the illusion of a consortium of middle powers able to influence great power relations. For instance, in the Indo-Pacific region, it is postulated that South Korea, Australia, and Indonesia (or even ASEAN) could join hands and impact Sino-U.S. relations. There is no sign of this nor any reason to think that shared middle power interests would outweigh the much stronger pull of the great powers. The notion of “middle powers” has played into idealistic pretenses that work against the balance of power realism.
Gilbert Rozman is the Emeritus Musgrave Professor of Sociology and the editor-in-chief of The Asan Forum, a bi-monthly, online journal on international relations in the Indo-Pacific region.
Image: Reuters.
The National Interest · by Gilbert Rozman · July 26, 2021


18. North Korea's economic paradox: how de-marketization is driving up value of North's won

Very interesting analysis that I will leave to the economic experts to mull over. But it seems to me that the regime is trying to reduce free market activity because it is perceived as a threat to the regime. Yet it is the free market activity that has provided the resilience to the Korean people so they could survive the collapse of the public distribution system from the 1990s. Will they be able to survive the current hardships without free market activity? Perhaps this is another part of the paradox.

The movements in North Korea's foreign exchange market since late last year have been perplexing. The exchange rate between the North Korean won and U.S. dollar (as well as Chinese yuan) has been stable for a long period, balanced at around 8,000 won per dollar since 2013. But this apparent stability collapsed last year as the North Korean won appreciated from the long-term equilibrium of 8,000 won per dollar to 5,000 won per dollar by this June, before falling back to 6,000 won per dollar in July.

Such volatility in the North Korean foreign exchange market has long been anticipated, but in the opposite direction. A strong, stable currency necessarily reflects a healthy economy yet North Korea is anything but. It is beset by one of the most stringent sanctions regimes in United Nations history. And recently trade suspension due to COVID-19 quarantine measures has had a devastating impact on "jangmadang," or unofficial markets on which ordinary North Koreans depend for their livelihood.
...
But the most critical target of the regime is clearly the dollarization in the economy. It represents ordinary North Koreans' distrust of their government and trust in the foreign ones. By ridding the economy of dollarization, the regime will ensure the public's complete dependence on the state for survival while also pauperizing them complete.

North Korea's economic paradox: how de-marketization is driving up value of North's won
The Korea Times · July 26, 2021

Shoppers and merchants are seen at a "jangmadang," or an unofficial market in North Korea, in Hyesan, Ryanggang Province, in this photo taken last Sept. 5 from China's Jilin province, which borders North Korea, by Japan's Kyodo News using a telephoto lens. YonhapBy Go Myong-hyun

To borrow from Winston Churchill's quote on Russia, North Korea is "a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma." But recent economic reports coming out of North Korea seem to indicate that there is yet another layer inside the riddle: a paradox.Go Myong-hyun, senior research fellow at Asan Institute for Policy Studies / Courtesy of Go Myong-hyun

The movements in North Korea's foreign exchange market since late last year have been perplexing. The exchange rate between the North Korean won and U.S. dollar (as well as Chinese yuan) has been stable for a long period, balanced at around 8,000 won per dollar since 2013. But this apparent stability collapsed last year as the North Korean won appreciated from the long-term equilibrium of 8,000 won per dollar to 5,000 won per dollar by this June, before falling back to 6,000 won per dollar in July.

Such volatility in the North Korean foreign exchange market has long been anticipated, but in the opposite direction. A strong, stable currency necessarily reflects a healthy economy yet North Korea is anything but. It is beset by one of the most stringent sanctions regimes in United Nations history. And recently trade suspension due to COVID-19 quarantine measures has had a devastating impact on "jangmadang," or unofficial markets on which ordinary North Koreans depend for their livelihood.

The current volatility in North Korea's foreign exchange market is a sign of financial crisis, in which local currency depreciates rapidly vis-a-vis more stable foreign currencies. But contrary to what economic models would predict, the North Korean won is paradoxically showing unexpected strength despite the severe economic crisis.

The key to disentangling the paradox lies with the North Korean regime's desire to roll back the marketization and dollarization of the economy during the last decade. Dollarization of the economy, or substitution of the local currency with stable foreign currencies, is prevalent in economies with long histories of inflation and policy mismanagement, and North Korea, with its long history of economic and financial mismanagement, is no exception. Dollarization in North Korea, or more appropriately yuanization, is so deeply embedded that it is estimated that after 2013, 53 percent of ordinary North Koreans have relied on Chinese yuan in lieu of local currency for daily economic activities according to a study by the South's Korea Development Institute.

Dollarization/yuanization brought many benefits to ordinary North Koreans. Inflation was eliminated almost overnight, as prices were denominated in stable foreign currencies. Just as many economies that adopted dollarization experienced, the resultant macroeconomic stability eliminated economic uncertainty and fostered investment. The period after 2013 coincided with the rapid expansion of jangmadang activity as well as imports from China.

The co-evolution of dollarization, jangmadang activity and Chinese imports formed the triad of North Korea's economic growth of the last decade. These three factors created a virtuous cycle of price stability, economic expansion and rising living standards through increased consumption. Ordinary North Koreans and elites alike enjoyed access to goods and services that they could previously only dream of. There are now 6 million mobile phone subscribers in North Korea and coffee shops with baristas have popped up throughout Pyongyang.

But none of this was free. The expansion in consumption was underwritten by exports of coal and iron ore, as well as remittances by workers posted overseas. As sanctions started to go after the most productive sources of revenue, Kim Jong-un faced the choice between nuclear weapons development and economic development. He evidently chose the former.

The inflection point was the Eighth Party Congress, which made it clear that North Korea would turn back on the marketization that had been so beneficial to so many. Markets would be displaced by a newly empowered state that would regain the role of central economic planner, and Chinese imports would be suppressed through an aggressive import substitution strategy.

But the most critical target of the regime is clearly the dollarization in the economy. It represents ordinary North Koreans' distrust of their government and trust in the foreign ones. By ridding the economy of dollarization, the regime will ensure the public's complete dependence on the state for survival while also pauperizing them complete.

Paraphrasing Churchill again, the COVID-19 pandemic is too good a crisis to go to waste for the regime. The use of foreign currency, particularly of Chinese yuan, is intimately tied to the inflow of goods from China. With the border closed for quarantine, foreign currencies find little use when Pyongyang's supermarket shelves are barren. To compound the woes of those who still maintain faith in the yuan and dollar, the regime is forcing people there, including foreigners, to use North Korean won and sell their foreign currency holdings. The result is the paradoxical appreciation of the North Korean won amid economic crisis.

Renormalizing trade is going to be a long and risky process once the economy is de-dollarized. And without trade there will no longer be any market activity in North Korea. The appreciation of North Korean won is therefore a sign that Kim intends to take North Korea back to his grandfather's era, when there were no markets and certainly no yuan. One can only hope that Kim's other policies, especially on foreign and military fronts, will not be so reactionary.

Go Myong-hyun is a senior research fellow at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies in Seoul, focusing on North Korea's economy, sanctions, and the regime's long-term viability. He is also an adjunct professor at the Korea University School of Cybersecurity, associate fellow at the Royal United Services Institute, and a Munich Young Leader of the Munich Security Conference 2015. He received a Ph.D. in policy analysis from the Pardee RAND Graduate School.


The Korea Times · July 26, 2021








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 podcast, Foreign 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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