Informal Institute for National Security Thinkers and Practitioners

Quotes of the Day:

“When stupidity is considered patriotism, it is unsafe to be intelligent.”
- Isaac Asimov, American Writer Biochemist

"What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture. In 1984, Huxley added, "people are controlled by inflicting pain. In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure. In short, Orwell feared that what we hate will ruin us. Huxley feared that what we love will ruin us".
~Neil Postman

“The moral responsibility of the American humorist is the deriding of shams, the exposure of pretentious falsities, and the laughing of stupid superstitions out of existence. Thus, the humorist is the natural enemy of royalties, nobilities, privileges, and all kindred swindles, and is the natural friend of human rights and liberties.”
- Mark Twain

​1. Presidential office expresses 'deep regret' over N.K. leader's criticism of Yoon

2. N.K. leader says blood-sealed ties with China will develop for generations

3. U.S. remains committed to defense of S. Korea, engagement with N. Korea: State Dept.

4. Korea’s biggest-ever arms deal to fortify NATO’s Poland

5. N. Korea reports 3 new suspected COVID-19 cases: state media

6. USFK chief highlights importance of Korea-US alliance in dealing with challenges

7. Kim Jong Un warns US and South Korea his ‘nuclear war deterrent’ is ‘ready'

8. Solving the Japan-South Korea Relations Tangle

9. North Korea may delay nuclear test until end of China's party congress: experts

10. Ranking US official visits South Korea to discuss cyber security: NSC

11. N. Koreans are using around 10 programs to circumvent Big Brother's watchful eye

12. <Interview with a N. Korean Woman> "I live with goats and pigs in my apartment" The desperation driving people to raising animals at home

13. While gearing up for a nuclear test, N. Korea appears to be preparing for negotiations with the US

1. Presidential office expresses 'deep regret' over N.K. leader's criticism of Yoon

Again, this is another opportunity to make Kim (and the region and the world) understand that the Kim family regime strategies (political warfare, blackmail diplomacy, and war fighting) will not be successful.

And we should understand this propaganda exposes the nature, objectives, and strategy for the Kim family regime. There is nothing to fear here and we should make sure Kim knows that.

(LEAD) Presidential office expresses 'deep regret' over N.K. leader's criticism of Yoon | Yonhap News Agency · by 이해아 · July 28, 2022

(ATTN: UPDATES throughout with National Security Office statement; CHANGES headline)

SEOUL, July 28 (Yonhap) -- The presidential office expressed "deep regret" Thursday after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un lashed out at President Yoon Suk-yeol by name.

Kim said in a Victory Day speech the previous day that he can no longer watch the "indecency" and "bravado" of Yoon and "his military gangsters," and will annihilate both the Yoon administration and the military if they attempt a preemptive strike on the North.

"We express deep regret that Chairman Kim Jong-un made threatening remarks at our government while mentioning the president by name," the presidential National Security Office said, according to presidential spokesperson Kang In-sun.

"The government maintains a constant readiness posture that can respond strongly and effectively to any provocation by North Korea, and will defend national security and the people's safety based on the firm South Korea-U.S. alliance," the office added.

The office went on to say the government continues to urge North Korea to return to the path of dialogue for denuclearization and the establishment of peace.

Kim's speech marked the first time he has mentioned Yoon by name since his inauguration in May.

(END) · by 이해아 · July 28, 2022

2. N.K. leader says blood-sealed ties with China will develop for generations

Propaganda yes, but this is one of the reasons why we cannot expect China to solve the security issues of the ROK and the US on the Korean peninsula. (e.g., denuclearization of north Korea).

N.K. leader says blood-sealed ties with China will develop for generations | Yonhap News Agency · by 이원주 · July 29, 2022

SEOUL, July 29 (Yonhap) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said his country's ties with China, "sealed in blood," will further develop for generations to come as he marked the anniversary of the armistice that halted the 1950-53 Korean War, state media said Friday.

On Thursday, Kim visited the Friendship Tower in Pyongyang and paid tribute to the fallen Chinese soldiers that fought in the war, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said.

The Korean War armistice was signed July 27, 1953, a little over three years after the North invaded the South, backed by China and the then Soviet Union. Calling the conflict the Great Fatherland Liberation War, the North has designated the anniversary as Victory Day.

Kim stressed that the "brilliant combat merits and feats of the Chinese People's Volunteers (CPV) officers and men, obviously recorded in the history of the great victory in the Fatherland Liberation War, would be immortal," according to the KCNA.

He added that the North's friendship with China, "sealed in blood and further cemented in all sorts of trying ordeals of history, would be carried forward and developed generation after generation along with the dynamic advance of the socialist cause."

Top officials accompanied Kim, including Jo Yong-won, secretary for Organizational Affairs of the ruling party's Central Committee, and Pak Jong-chon, vice chairman of the Central Military Commission.

North Korea has recently stressed its friendly ties with China amid a prolonged deadlock in nuclear talks between Pyongyang and Washington and an escalating Sino-U.S. rivalry.

Meanwhile, Kim also separately held photo sessions with war veterans that participated in a national conference earlier this week and with lecturers responsible for the ideological education of the youth regarding the war, the KCNA said.

Photos released by the KCNA show Kim surrounded by war veterans not wearing face masks at the session in an apparent show of confidence over the COVID-19 pandemic.

During his photo session with the lecturers, he urged them to prepare the people, service personnel, youth and students as "resolute revolutionaries."

(END) · by 이원주 · July 29, 2022

3. U.S. remains committed to defense of S. Korea, engagement with N. Korea: State Dept.

Engagement is very important if we are going to conduct a superior form of political warfare. Engagement must be conducted without giving Kim Jong Un concessions. Any concessions in an attempt to bring the north to the negotiating table will confirm to Kim that his political warfare and blackmail diplomacy strategies are successful and instead of negotiating in good faith he will double down on all those actions that appear to have made us make concessions in order to try to get them to stop provocations. Provocations are nothing to be afraid of.

I welcome engagement with north Korea. And I welcome the offers to talk anywhere, anytime without preconditions. If they do not lead anywhere or if Kim continues to refuse to negotiate then we can be certain of the nature, strategy, and objectives of the mafia-like crime family cult known as the Kim family regime. And if they do lead to negotiations and denuclearization I will be happy to be criticized and chastised.

(LEAD) U.S. remains committed to defense of S. Korea, engagement with N. Korea: State Dept. | Yonhap News Agency · by 변덕근 · July 29, 2022

(ATTN: UPDATES with additional remarks from the department spokesperson, more information in last 6 paras)

By Byun Duk-kun

WASHINGTON, July 28 (Yonhap) -- The United States remains firmly committed to the defense of South Korea, a state department spokesperson said Thursday, hours after North Korea warned South Korea that it may face "annihilation."

Ned Price said the U.S. also remains open to engaging in dialogue with Pyongyang, but that the reclusive regime continues to remain unresponsive to U.S. overtures.

"We have a vital interest in deterring the DPRK, defending against provocation or use of force, limiting the reach of the most dangerous weapons programs and, above all, keeping the American people, our deployed forces in the region and our allies safe from any threat to international peace and security," the state department press secretary told a daily press briefing, referring to North Korea by its official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

"And to that end, we continue to consult closely with Japan, with the ROK and with partners throughout the broader Indo-Pacific region and beyond," he added.

ROK stands for South Korea's official name, the Republic of Korea.

The remarks come after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said the South Korean government and its military will be "annihilated" should they make any "dangerous attempt," namely a preemptive strike.

Price dismissed the rather strongly-worded threat as nothing new.

"The comments we heard in recent hours are not categorically different from what we've heard from the DPRK regimes over the course of recent months and in recent years," the department spokesperson said, adding the U.S. will not respond to Kim's comments, reported by the North's official Korean Central News Agency on Thursday (Seoul time).

"I think it is fair to say that the DPRK also wouldn't be surprised to hear the same message from us, and that is our commitment to the defense of the Republic of Korea and Japan, a commitment that remains ironclad," said Price.

Price reiterated U.S. commitment to engaging with North Korea, but said Pyongyang continues to ignore U.S. outreach.

"We are not, unfortunately, in a markedly different place than we have been in for quite some time," the department spokesperson said when asked about the prospects of dialogue with Pyongyang.

"Now, of course, we have not heard a substantive response or certainly any indication that the DPRK, at present, is seeking to take us up on that offer, but in the interim, we'll continue to coordinate closely with our treaty allies and we'll continue to impose costs and consequences should provocations continue to emanate from the DPRK," he added.

North Korea has fired more than 30 ballistic missiles this year, marking the largest number of ballistic missile launches in a single year, according to U.S. officials.

Officials here and in Seoul have also hinted at the possibility of a North Korean nuclear test in the near future, noting the country appears to have completed "all preparations" for a test.

Pyongyang conducted its sixth and last nuclear test in September 2017.

(END) · by 변덕근 · July 29, 2022

4. Korea’s biggest-ever arms deal to fortify NATO’s Poland

This is South Korea living up to president Yoon's new vision ​of Korea as a "Global Pivotal State " (GPS).

This is a win on many levels. One of the areas is interoperability. And while this may have the indirect benefit of allowing Polkand to provide weapons to Ukraine the interoperability between ROK weapons and NATO forces could be useful for a war on the Korean peninsula and contributions to the defense of the South by NATO member countries.  

This article provides a useful summary of ROK equipment and weapons systems.


The above weapons are the fruit of decades of experience, during which South Korea’s military has been operating in sych with its US allies, while spending countless trillions of won on US kit. But South Korea has leveraged related experiences and relationships to build up a domestic defense industry as part of its wider manufacturing base. It is now coming of age.
“We had the expertise, we had the experience, we had the good products,” Chun said. “Then Russia started a war.”
Not only must languages and tactics align, command-and-control nets, wider signals nets and electronic warfare suites must, too. It is critical that allied units can identify each other, communicate with each other, share munitions and – ideally – share components.
Interoperability is “very important and, in fact, is probably the top single-most important decision to share weapons,” said Chun, the retired general.
The Korean weapons being sold to Poland use munitions, components and systems that synch with those in NATO armies.

Korea’s biggest-ever arms deal to fortify NATO’s Poland

Asian manufacturing powerhouse and US ally to sell vast armory of NATO-class arms to Poland in $15-20 billion deal · by Andrew Salmon · July 28, 2022

SEOUL – In the biggest arms export in South Korean history, Poland will buy some 1,000 tanks, hundreds of self-propelled artillery pieces and dozens of fighter jets.

Reports of the deal have been leaking out of Poland for over a week, and today there was partial confirmation from the Korean side. The costing of the package has not been made public.

However, a rough estimate calculated by Asia Times, using the unit prices of the systems as sold to previous customers, puts the it in the US$15 billion-dollar range. An expert, speaking to Asia Times on condition of anonymity, put it even higher at $20 billion.

Both numbers far exceed $7 billion – the total value of all arms sold by South Korea to all global customers in 2021, which marked a record year for Seoul’s weapons sales.

More broadly, the deal showcases an emerging channel of East-West cooperation among US allies.

Much commentary has focused on what commonalities, if any, link US allies in the Pacific – notably Australia, Japan and South Korea to those in the Atlantic – notably, NATO members. Doubly so after the Pacific nations were invited to this year’s NATO summit in Madrid.

The South Korea-Poland arms deal represents a pay-off: The long-term coordination of arms specs, munitions standards, electronic systemization and company-to-company technological cooperation is enabling a seamless arms flow from Pacific to Atlantic.

And for Seoul – after decades of sychronizing operating systems with US forces and expending untold tons of national treasure on US kit – the deal represents a long-term dividend for its domestic defense sector.

It may also be a pointer to the future. Since the turn of the millennium, the armies of prosperous Western powers have been largely engaged in counterinsurgency. Now, big war has made an unwelcome comeback in Ukraine.

A Ukrainian army service member with a US-made Javelin anti-tank missile during a military parade in 2018. Image: Screengrab / Sky News

Large-scale conflict demanding big-ticket, high-tech and high-priced systems offers rosy prospects for armorers. Questions hover over the capacity of the Western arms industry to keep up as the Ukraine conflict devours weapons and gear at a demonic rate.

The deal with Poland puts South Korea, a manufacturing powerhouse, squarely on NATO states’ arms-buying list.

Korean firms are already heavily invested in Eastern Europe: Hyundai makes cars in the Czech Republic, Kia in Slovakia. Today’s convergence of strife and commerce looks set to ignite new Korean investment in the region.

Big bucks, big guns

Details of the South Korea-Poland deal have been trickling out for days.

On July 22, Reuters cited comments made by the Polish defense minister to a local magazine. Mariusz Blaszczak said that Poland would acquire 180 K2 tanks by the end of this year, as well as 48 FA-50 jet fighters and an unspecificed number of howitzers.

CNN, citing the Polish Defense Ministry, added further detail on July 28, reporting that the deal included 980 K2 tanks and 648 K9 self-propelled K9 armored howitzers, in addition to the 48 FA-50s. The first 48 K9s will arrive by the end of this year, CNN reported.

Officials at Hanhwa Defense, which supplies the K9, could not be reached by Asian Times. Officials at Hyundai Rotem, which supplies the K2, did not respond to enquiries. However, Yonhap news agency, quoting an unnamed official this morning, confirmed that an “initial deal” for 1,000 tanks has been signed.

Details to be worked through include timeline, pricing and the site of the manufacturing plant in Poland, the report stated. Approximately half the order will be supplied from Korean factories; the other half will be built in Poland.

The size of the deal is physically massive. Take the 1,000 K2 tanks, for example.

According to, only 15 countries in 2022 field more than 2,000 tanks. Russia leads the list with 12,420, followed by the US with 6,612. Middle powers France and the UK operate especially modest fleets: just 406 and 227 tanks, respectively. Poland’s pre-deal tank fleet numbered 863.

The pricing of the deal has not been made public, but in 2009, Guinness World Records found that the K2, then-priced at $8.2 million per unit, was the world’s most expensive tank.

Those prices would put the deal for 1,000 at around $8.2 billion. (What offset the Polish side would deduct from the total cost is not known.)

This year, India signed a deal to buy 200 K9s and support vehicles from Korea for $1.7 billion. That would make the rough unit price of a K9 around $8.5 million. For 648 guns, the total price would be in the $5.5 billion range.

South Korea’s 155mm K9 self-propelled howitzer. Photo: Hanwha Defense

Specialist website puts a single KA-50 at $30 million. So, 48 of the aircraft would cost in the region of $1.4 billion.

The guide above is very rough: All the weapons come in different variants with different potential add-ons. And it seems likely that the huge size of the order grants Warsaw considerable negotiating leverage.

Even so, as per the above math, the approximate price tag is a mind-boggling $15.1 billion.

And as in all defense deals, that is just the purchase price; it does not include future maintenance, upgrades, etc.

Chun In-bum, a retired general with close sources in the defense sector, told Asia Times that the total price could be $20 billion.

Some context: Last year, according to a report from the Export-Import Bank of Korea, South Korea sold $7 billion worth of arms – a record for the country, the world’s eight-largest arms supplier for the year.

The leading sales items in 2010 were naval vessels sold to Indonesia and the Philippines.

The bank predicted that in 2021, arms sales might reach $10 billion. If Asia Times’ calculations are remotely correct, the reported deal to Poland will – far and away – outpace that estimate.

Big boys’ toys

The K2 , 54-ton “Black Panther” is a main battle tank featuring a 120mm auto-loaded main gun, composite armor and on-board missile defense systems. Its gunnery is assisted by an extremely high frequency radar system and a laser rangefinder. It has a range of 450 kilometers and a cross-country speed of 50 kilometers per hour (km/h).

It is operated as the main tank of the South Korean Army, is being evaluated by Egypt and Norway, and some of its features are incorporated in the design of Turkey’s indigenous MBT.

The 47-ton, K9 “Thunder” is an armored, self-propelled howitzer. It’s 155mm gun has a range of 40 kilometers and a rate of fire of 6-8 rounds per minute.

The weapon has already been a hit export. It is used by multiple NATO nations, including Estonia, Norway, Poland and Turkey, as well NATO-aspirant Finland, Australia and India. According to vernacular media this year, the K9 holds 69% of the global market for 155mm artillery systems.

According to its , Hanwha also sells auxiliary vehicles, including the K10 robotic ammunition carrier and the K77 fire direction center vehicle.

The KA-50 Golden Eagle is a light combat jet built by Korea Aerospace Industries. An advanced version of the TA-50 yet trainer, it can fly at 1,837 km/h.

South Korean FA-50 Golden Eagle’s in flight. Image: Twitter

Though a light combat jet lacks the capabilities of fourth- and fifth-generation fighters, it can conduct light combat, reconnaissance and training missions, at prices tags far lower that top-end aircraft such as the US-made F35, priced at between $77 and $101 million per unit.

The KA-50 is at the top-end of the light combat aircraft spectrum, incorporating an Israeli radar and a digital flight control system, and can be armed with Sidewinder air-to-air missiles and/or JDAM precision munitions.

K2s can often be seen, on-road and off, during the spring exercise season. And entire regiments of K9s can be seen deployed along the road net north of Seoul and south of the DMZ, in giant concrete bunkers offering overhead protection.

East-west interoperability

Modern warfare is tremendously complex, which is why multinational exercises lean so heavy on interoperability.

Not only must languages and tactics align, command-and-control nets, wider signals nets and electronic warfare suites must, too. It is critical that allied units can identify each other, communicate with each other, share munitions and – ideally – share components.

Interoperability is “very important and, in fact, is probably the top single-most important decision to share weapons,” said Chun, the retired general.

The Korean weapons being sold to Poland use munitions, components and systems that synch with those in NATO armies.

A K2 tank on the move. Photo: Hyundai Rotem

Take the K2. Its main armament is a 120mm smooth bore gun – as mounted on the M1 Abrams and German Leopard II, as well as the Israeli Merkeva. It’s machine gun is a 7.22mm general purpose weapon, a type and caliber widely used by NATO armies.

The tank uses the US GPS satnav system. Its transmission is German-made, and its IFF/SFF (Identification Friend or Foe/Selective Identification Feature) is compliant with NATO’s standard, STANAG.

Or, take the K9. It fires the NATO-standard 155mm shell – the main heavy artillery munition used by the alliance. Eastern European nations are phasing out their Warsaw Pact weapons, sending many to Ukraine, which uses primarily 152mm caliber shells.

And the FA-50 is a variant of the T-50 supersonic jet trainer, which is itself a joint project between KAI and US aerospace and defense stalwart Lockheed Martin.

The above weapons are the fruit of decades of experience, during which South Korea’s military has been operating in sych with its US allies, while spending countless trillions of won on US kit. But South Korea has leveraged related experiences and relationships to build up a domestic defense industry as part of its wider manufacturing base. It is now coming of age.

“We had the expertise, we had the experience, we had the good products,” Chun said. “Then Russia started a war.”

US and South Korean soldiers in Yeoncheon-gun, South Korea. Decades of close inter-operabiilty with US forces is now paying dividend for the South Korean defense industry. Photo: AFP / Chung Sung-Jun / Getty Images

For arms merchants, Ukraine’s dire misfortune represents a potential bonanza. Eastern European states are using the war as an opportunity to get rid of older, heritage equipment by donating to Ukraine while “back filling” with the latest NATO-standard arms.

Poland, a NATO frontline state, is investing vast amounts to upgrade its defenses. Warsaw had previously stated that it would elevate its defense budget from 2% of GDP to 3% while doubling the size of its armed forces. This month, it said it would raise the share further, to 5%.

It has agreed to purchase 116 used M1 Abrams tanks from the US. But that number is dwarfed by the vast fleet of brand new war machines the Koreans will supply.

The Ukraine War, “gives us a great opportunity,” Chun said. “I am not sure Korea will celebrate at the cost of others’ suffering and misery, but people need to defend themselves and we have the equipment and the capability to provide it.”

Follow this writer on Twitter @ASalmonSeoul · by Andrew Salmon · July 28, 2022

5. N. Korea reports 3 new suspected COVID-19 cases: state media

This north Korean reporting is incredible. It does not make sense except from a pure propaganda perspective. However, last evening a Korea watcher counseled me when I suggested Kim was using this for two purposes: one as a unique form of blackmail diplomacy - to show the suffering of the Korean people (who we care more about the welfare of than Kim Jong Un)  in order to coerce us into removing sanctions and second is to show the regime is effectively dealing with the outbreak better than any other country in the world in order to enhance regime legitimacy. But she showed me that north Korean propaganda does not support either of those ideas. So we are left scratching our heads.


(LEAD) N. Korea reports 3 new suspected COVID-19 cases: state media | Yonhap News Agency · by 이원주 · July 29, 2022

(ATTN: UPDATES with more info from 3rd para)

SEOUL, July 29 (Yonhap) -- North Korea's new suspected COVID-19 cases have fallen to a low single-digit figure, according to its state media Friday.

The number of people who newly showed symptoms of fever over a 24-hour period until 6 p.m. the previous day stood at three, the state-run Korean Central Broadcasting Station said, citing data from the state emergency epidemic prevention headquarters.

It did not provide information on whether additional deaths have been reported. As of July 5, the death toll stood at 74, with the fatality rate at 0.002 percent.

The total number of fever cases since late April had come to over 4.77 million as of 6 p.m. Thursday, of which 99.99 percent had recovered and 217 are being treated, it added.

The North's daily fever tally has been on a downward trend after peaking at over 392,920 on May 15, three days after it announced a coronavirus outbreak.

The KCNA said health authorities are ramping up efforts to cope with the health crisis based on the "precious successes and experience gained in the anti-epidemic campaign for nearly 80 days" since it shifted to a "maximum emergency" system.

"The state emergency anti-epidemic headquarters has intensified the operation for enhancing the detection capability of the new Omicron sub-variants and ensuring the scientific accuracy and objectivity in surveying the nationwide anti-epidemic situation," the KCNA said in an English-language article.

The North is also on alert against the global outbreak of monkeypox and conducting research to promptly differentiate the virus "from other exanthema," it said.

Pyongyang disclosed its first COVID-19 case on May 12, after claiming to be coronavirus-free for over two years. The North immediately declared a "maximum emergency" control system and went into a nationwide lockdown.

(END) · by 이원주 · July 29, 2022

6. USFK chief highlights importance of Korea-US alliance in dealing with challenges

I wish the Korean press would use the title for "their" command. The Korean press should also refer to him as the Commander of the RO/US Combined Forces Command. That is the command charged with deterrence and defense. USFK is a force provider for that effort. And I think "chief" is a senior Navy NCO or an Army Warrant Officer. I think we should return to CINCUNC and CINCCFC.

​The general hits all the key points​, particularly about the importance of strong alliances and coalitions. And what happens on the Korean peninsula will have global effects. We can read between the lines a vision for the evolution of the alliance within the context of the US INDOPACIFIC strategy and President Yoon's vision for Korea "stepping up' (see his February Foreign Affairs article) to be a "Global Pivotal State." (​)​ I think the ROK/US alliance will become more than a linchpin.

USFK chief highlights importance of Korea-US alliance in dealing with challenges

The Korea Times · July 29, 2022

Gen. Paul LaCamera / UPI-Yonhap

U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) Commander Gen. Paul LaCamera stressed the importance of strengthening the U.S.-South Korea alliance Thursday, one day after the countries marked the 69th anniversary of the signing of the armistice that halted the 1950-53 Korean War.

The four-star U.S. general insisted the alliance provides the "strategic depth" and "legitimacy" to deal with any global challenges, including North Korea.

"I see an opportunity for the alliance to extend its reach and become a global comprehensive strategic alliance, beyond the Korean Peninsula," LaCamera said in a dinner event in Washington, D.C., jointly hosted by the Korea Defense Veterans Association and the Korea-U.S. Alliance Foundation, to mark the anniversary.

"However, let us not forget that the Korean War has not ended," he added. "While the peninsula is still on an armistice, the DPRK continues to develop capabilities that threaten not only South Korea, but regional allies and partners and the United States."

DPRK stands for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, North Korea's official name.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said earlier this week that the Seoul government and its military will face "annihilation" if they make any "dangerous attempt."

LaCamera said a future conflict on the Korean Peninsula would impact the entire globe.

"If the conflict were to resume, its impact will reverberate throughout the world. That is because a conflict on the peninsula will not be isolated. It will be a global challenge," said LaCamera, who also heads the United Nations Command in Korea and the U.S.-South Korea Combined Forces Command.

He said his best "military advice" for the allies is to further strengthen their alliance.

"The alliance embraces coalitions. Coalition of forces gives us strategic depth and embodies international legitimacy that is based on international rules and arrangements," LaCamera said.

He also underscored a need to expand the bilateral alliance into a "multinational" and "multidimensional coalition."

"This will enable us to better deter DPRK and maintain a rules-based international order with an eye on China and Russia," the USFK commander said. (Yonhap)

The Korea Times · July 29, 2022

7. Kim Jong Un warns US and South Korea his ‘nuclear war deterrent’ is ‘ready'

This is no surprise.

My recommendations on how to respond:

The ROK and U.S. should make sure the press, pundits, and public understand that this is a fundamental part of North Korean strategy and that it conducts provocations for specific objectives. It does not represent a policy failure; it represents a deliberate policy decision by Kim Jong-un to continue to execute his political warfare strategy. The following is a response framework for consideration:

First, do not overreact. But do not succumb to the criticism of those who recommend ending exercises. Always call out Kim Jong-un’s strategy As Sun Tzu would advise- “ …what is of supreme importance in war is to attack the enemy’s strategy; … next best is to disrupt his alliances.” Make sure the international community, the press, and the public in the ROK and the U.S. and the elite and the Korean people living in the north know what Kim is doing.

Second, never ever back down in the face of North Korean increased tension, threats, and provocations.

Third, coordinate an alliance response. There may be times when a good cop-bad cop approach is appropriate. Try to mitigate the internal domestic political criticisms that will inevitably occur in Seoul and DC. Do not let those criticisms negatively influence policy and actions.

Fourth, exploit weakness in North Korea – create internal pressure on Kim and the regime from his elite and military. Always work to drive a wedge among the party, elite, and military (which is a challenge since they are all intertwined and inextricably linked).

Fifth, demonstrate strength and resolve. Do not be afraid to show military strength. Never misunderstand the north’s propaganda – do not give in to demands to reduce exercises or take other measures based on North Korean demands that would in any way reduce the readiness of the combined military forces. The north does not want an end to the exercises because they are a threat, they want to weaken the alliance and force U.S. troops from the peninsula which will be the logical result if they are unable to effectively train.

Sixth, depending on the nature of the provocation, be prepared to initiate a decisive response using the most appropriate tools, e.g., diplomatic, military, economic, information and influence activities, cyber, etc., or a combination.

​Most importantly we must take every opportunity to show KJU that his political warfare, blackmail diplomacy, and war fighting strategies cannot succeed against the ROK/US alliance.​

Kim Jong Un warns US and South Korea his ‘nuclear war deterrent’ is ‘ready'

Washington Examiner · July 28, 2022

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un warned the United States and South Korea that his country would be willing to use its nuclear arsenal against them.

Kim’s threat, which he issued during a speech on Thursday honoring Korean War veterans on the 69th anniversary of the end of the fighting, comes as U.S. and South Korean intelligence agencies have warned that North Korea appears on the verge of conducting its first nuclear test since 2017.


"Our armed forces are completely prepared to respond to any crisis, and our country’s nuclear war deterrent is also ready to mobilize its absolute power dutifully, exactly, and swiftly in accordance with its mission," Kim said in Wednesday's speech, according to the state-run Korean Central News Agency.

He accused the U.S. of having “double standards” and “gangsterlike” actions over its joint military drills with South Korea.

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol, who took office this May, has taken a harsher rhetoric toward North Korea than the previous president and expressed plans to bolster South Korea's defense capabilities.


"Talking about military action against our nation, which possesses absolute weapons that they fear the most, is preposterous and is very dangerous suicidal action," Kim said of South Korea. "Such a dangerous attempt will be immediately punished by our powerful strength, and the Yoon Suk Yeol government and his military will be annihilated."

In early June, the U.S. and South Korea fired eight ballistic missiles into the sea in a show of force a day after the North Koreans launched the same number of short-range missiles.

Washington Examiner · July 28, 2022

8. Solving the Japan-South Korea Relations Tangle

I heard a great comment the other day - "A ROK-Japan - US trilateral alliance would be unbeatable" - militarily, diplomatically, and economically. No country and no other alliance - certainly not one among the revisionist , revolutionary, and rogue powers could compete with such an alliance.

If only.....

​But until the ROK President and Japanese Prime Minister pledge to put national security and national prosperity first while managing the historical issues to ensure those issues do not impact on security and prosperity we will continue to face challenges for trilateral cooperation. ​

Solving the Japan-South Korea Relations Tangle

New administrations in both countries seem inclined to try

27 min ago

By: Myong Woo Lee

With the inauguration of President Yoon Seok-Yeol, South Korea’s relations with Japan, which many considered to be at their worst state ever, are showing the possibility of improvement. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida met with South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin in Tokyo on July 26 as the two countries seek progress in resolving long-festering issues. But while the meeting was seen as a positive sign, the two assiduously avoided concrete discussion about wartime labor and other contentious issues during their brief 20-minute meeting.

Prospects for bilateral relations under the new Yoon administration are divided into optimistic and pessimistic camps two months into the new administration’s tenure. Optimists believe relations will improve thanks to Yoon's willingness to improve them and that his leadership will be effective, while pessimists are more cautious, believing that the ongoing conflict was not caused by only one or two factors, but by a wide variety of complex issues, making it difficult to improve the relationship.

Rapport between the two biggest economies in north Asia is crucial for a variety of reasons, not least because of the need to present a united front against a newly belligerent China as well as to keep a rein on North Korea, whose government openly menaces both of them. Although both are main allies of the United States in East Asia, they have been at loggerheads over territorial claims of islets between the two countries, claims over WWII treatment of women and a long list of other issues.

The Optimistic Perspective

In the previous administration, both internal and external voices called for improving rigid South Korea-Japan relations, but no progress was made and, in fact, moves were made that worsened the situation, raising the issue of trust. The Moon administration’s victim-centric “two-track” approach did not officially deny the 2015 Japanese Military Sexual Slavery Agreement, but resulted in a substantial undermining of it, as seen by the dismantlement of the Reconciliation and Healing Foundation. In addition, the Korean Supreme Court's ruling on forced labor took a bystander approach to the issue by expressing respect for the separation of powers.

Yet the belated "1+1" proposal was one the Japanese government had already rejected, emphasizing the government's non-response and its attitude as a bystander. These attitudes also demonstrated little interest in the subrogation proposals presented by National Assembly Speaker Moon Hee-sang and ruling Democratic Party lawmaker Lee Sang-min.

Of particular interest to optimists is that President Yoon's drive to improve relations is accompanied by a sense of how shifting international situations can narrow the gap between South Korea and Japan. In his inaugural address, for example, Yoon stressed that South Korea is “a country which fulfills its responsibility and role,” emphasizing “the attitude of a global leader nation to actively support and defend universal international norms based on the values of freedom and human rights.”

That will produce a hardline stance on North Korea and China, but can have a positive effect because it addresses important questions posed by Japan, such as South Korea’s stance on the two and demonstrates that the two can be partners pursuing the same values.

The fact that Japan generally welcomes Yoon's position further validates the optimistic view. Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno welcomed Yoon's inauguration, saying "[Japan] will communicate closely with the new government to restore Korea-Japan relations to a healthy state," while NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation) reported "the key is how much political leadership President Yoon, a novice to politics, will show," while expressing hopes for improving the relationship as Yoon’s inauguration neared.

The Pessimistic Perspective

Proponents of the pessimistic view that the tasks that lie ahead in improving South Korea-Japan relations are actually a very complicated mess. They point out that the bilateral relationship between the two countries has become a multi-layered structural problem that can no longer be settled by consultation between the governments alone.

It’s clear that conflict can occur at any time because key factors in the conflict have remained unresolved, such as the territorial issue of Dokdo or different historical perspectives reflected in textbooks. Nevertheless, conflict has been limited to intermittent periods because the two countries follow guidelines on the so-called "separation of politics and the economy" as much as possible, attempting to minimize the magnitude of the conflict.

These efforts have been shaken in recent years, and especially over the past decade by a variety of factors such as the narrowing economic gap between South Korea and Japan, rising confidence in Korea, and Korean democratization.

South Korea's democratization, coupled with changes in the international situation following the end of the Cold War, have enabled progressive forces to take political power, leading to two key changes in bilateral relations. The first is that policy toward North Korea and China has shifted from previous hardline policies to conciliatory ones, while the second is that Japan's status in South Korea’s diplomatic efforts has weakened relative to before. This change in status can be attributed to the populist mobilization strategy of progressive forces that meld existing aspirations for unification and peace on the Korean Peninsula with anti-Japanese sentiment.

Even more problematic is that under the epithet of unification and peace on the Korean Peninsula, Koreans have had no choice but to accept the shift from a hostile to an appeasement policy toward North Korea. In this context, the target of criticism has shifted from North Korea or China to Japan due to the need to maintain political power. In other words, domestic cleavages that were formed in South Korea after democratization disappear when it comes to South Korea-Japan relations.

We can get a glimpse of these structural problems in how the issue of the Japanese military’s use of sexual slavery developed into a conflict. The South Korean and Japanese governments have struggled to find a compromise on this issue for years, with one such attempt being the 2015 Japanese Military Sexual Slavery Agreement. President Park Geun-hye, who initially took a tough stance against Japan to avoid a "pro-Japanese" controversy at home, became amenable to an agreement because the strained relationship between the two countries was impacting both economic and diplomatic security. In particular, in terms of diplomacy, a strong request from the United States to improve relations with Japan encouraged this decision.

Although the agreement was made after long years of conflict and compromise, the Moon administration, which advocated for a victim-centered approach, actually took steps to destroy it. However, the president could not deny that the 2015 agreement was an official agreement between South Korea and Japan, as he said at a New Year's press conference in January 2021. The status of the Japanese Military Sexual Slavery Agreement, while not officially ended but still effectively destroyed, represents the structural difficulties complicating the improvement of South Korea-Japan relations.

The Japanese government has maintained from the beginning that the issues were addressed by the 2015 Japanese Military Sexual Slavery Agreement and the 1960 Korea-Japan Treaty. Although the Japanese government maintains that it might consider another resolution if the South Korean government presents an agreeable solution, doubt in South Korea, engendered by the overhaul of the agreement after the Korean power transition and the change to appeasement policy towards North Korea, and the changing international political situation, such as the deepening US-China conflict, are likely to impact the Japanese government’s decisions.

The dispatch of a marine survey ship to Dokdo is cited as the direct cause of the failure to hold a South Korea-Japan summit during a NATO summit at the end of June 2022 in Spain. But Japan's position is revealed by the attention paid to South Korea’s moves rather than an attempt to understand the background of the situation. Another factor that makes it difficult to improve current bilateral relations is that the US brokerage role is bound to be limited due to Japan's change of position.

Communication and Leadership

Based on these two perspectives, bilateral relations may take one of three paths: the relationship may remain estranged; it may gradually improve; or cooperation may be limited to tripartite cooperation among the US, South Korea, and Japan. Yet the optimist and pessimist sides need not be mutually exclusive. The current focus should be on how to materialize this willingness and these values while overcoming the aforementioned problems. In this regard, the following two points should be addressed first.

Above all, a long-term approach. It will never be easy to produce results embodying Yoon’s willingness and policy direction in a short period. The first task of relationship improvement is how to respond to the urgent "liquidity issue" in solving the forced labor issues that brought about the current conflict situation. It will take a considerable amount of time to accurately identify the needs of the victims and their supporting groups and to examine to what degree their demands can be included, taking into account the alternatives or new measures proposed. Patience and persistence are needed to lay out a timetable of step-by-step goals to improve relations, an approach that needs to be considered.

The second is the importance of communication. Perceptions and feelings about the past differ between the two countries. In order to reach an agreement, there must be explanation and persuasion both at home and abroad not only about why an agreement is needed, but why a certain agreement should be reached, and why a decision should be made.

This process of explanation and persuasion is necessary among government officials who are party to the discussion. It is also necessary for citizens, the support base for any successful agreement. It is necessary to listen to demands from the victims of military sexual slavery and forced labor, and to explain the limitations of any agreement, while also actively explaining and persuading the people of both countries.

There must be a final consensus on these issues. Otherwise, it will not be easy for Japan to respond. Yet it remains in South Korea's national interest to make it possible for future generations to engage with Japan and the world as global citizens and not from a position of anti-Japanese sentiment.

It is also necessary to mention the need for an organization dedicated to improving relations. There is a "public-private council" currently working on the issue, but it is necessary to designate a committed leader, whatever the title and scope of the position, given the seriousness of the problem and the need to resolve it. The work of communicating effectively with the victims, their support groups, and the people is important and difficult, but these massive efforts and dedication are now needed.

Myon Woo Lee is Vice President of Sejong Institute. He received a doctorate in political science from Ohio State University. He is currently serving as a researcher at the Sejong Institute in Korea. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not reflect any official position of the East Asia Foundation, which published a more detailed version of this article, which can be found here.

9. North Korea may delay nuclear test until end of China's party congress: experts

We continue to speculate. What is in Kim Jong Un's mind? The relationship with China could play a role. Or not. If Kim thinks it is to his advantage to test he will test regardless of Xi's concerns.

And as a reminder there are no experts on north Korea. We are at best students trying to understand what is happening in the blackole of Pyongyang.

North Korea may delay nuclear test until end of China's party congress: experts

The Korea Times · by 2022-07-29 11:49 | North Korea · July 29, 2022

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is surrounded by war veterans during an event celebrating the 69th anniversary of end of the Korean War (1950-53) in front of the Monument to the Victorious Fatherland Liberation War in Pyongyang, North Korea, Thursday, in this photo released Friday by the official North Korean Central News Agency. Yonhap 

Kim honors Beijing's support on 69th anniversary of end of Korean War

By Jung Min-ho

North Korea may postpone its next nuclear weapons test for several months until the end of the National Congress of the Communist Party of China, the country's most important event in years, according to experts Friday.

The North has completed preparations for its seventh nuclear test, intelligence reports show. But it has not taken action for months. Experts say China is most likely the reason behind the delay as Pyongyang's test will certainly take away the world's attention from the crucial political event and might lead to the worst-case scenario for Chinese leaders, especially President Xi Jinping, who seeks to secure a precedent-defying third term in power there.

In Wednesday's speech on the 69th anniversary of the end of the Korean War (1950-53), North Korean leader Kim Jong-un honored the Chinese soldiers who "shed their blood with our military" in the conflict against South Korea and United Nations Command.

"All of North Korea's nuclear weapons tests in the past were conducted when either it was isolated, including from its allies such as China, or there were technical and political needs," Hong Min, a senior researcher at the Korea Institute for National Unification, told The Korea Times. "After mentioning the Chinese military's contribution to the war, Kim paid his respects to the Chinese soldiers the next day at a monument symbolizing the alliance of the two nations. The North must be thinking how its nuclear test would affect the relations, especially ahead of the critical event for Xi."

North Korean leader says blood-sealed ties with China will develop for generations

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un visits a monument symbolizing the Pyongyang-Beijing alliance in Pyongyang, North Korea, Thursday, in this photo released Friday by the official North Korean Central News Agency. Yonhap 

In that speech, Kim said his armed forces were completely prepared to respond to any crisis, threatening to "annihilate" the Yoon Suk-yeol administration and South Korea's military. But there was no suggestion that he is about to order a nuclear weapons test, Hong noted.

"Throughout his message, Kim takes on a passive and defensive posture … It is possible that the North would respond militarily when South Korea and the U.S. conduct their joint drills in August. But it will most like be launching short-range missiles, not another nuclear test," he added.

The worst-case scenario for Beijing, especially before the party congress expected to be held in September or October, is giving Seoul a reason to justify its move to install additional U.S. anti-ballistic missile defense systems, simply known as THAAD, on its soil, said Cheong Seong-chang, director at the Center for North Korean Studies at the Sejong Institute, a think tank. It was one of Yoon's key campaign pledges.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, right, shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping at Pyongyang Sunan International Airport in Pyongyang, North Korea, in this June 20, 2019, file photo provided by the official Korean Central News Agency. AP-Yonhap 

"In the past, China stopped the operation of its oil pipeline to North Korea (saying 'it needs to be repaired') as a means of pressuring Pyongyang. Today, Beijing has one more effective measure: their cross-border freight train services, which have been suspended over COVID-19," he said. "Without resources coming from that line, many of the North's major projects this year, including the construction of apartment buildings, would be disrupted … Beijing would not think it can completely stop the North's nuclear test plan, but it has many cards to delay it (until after the party congress)."

Pyongyang-Beijing relations remained at a low point after Kim rose to power in late 2011. Four of North Korea's six total nuclear weapons tests so far were conducted under his watch (2013, twice in 2016, and in 2017). In signs of a rapprochement, Kim and Xi held five summits in 2018 and 2019. The 2017 test was the North's latest.

The Korea Times · by 2022-07-29 11:49 | North Korea · July 29, 2022

10. Ranking US official visits South Korea to discuss cyber security: NSC

Sustained high level ROK-US engagement continues. I think this is one area where ROK-US cooperation could pay huge dividends especially if we can conduct a cyber campaign on a broad scale. Alliances are built on relationships (as I heard emphasized during the last three days at the Korean Defense Veterans Association (KDVA) conference and this kind of engagement, in person, is so important.

And this is one area (of many) where the ROK can really be in the forefront as a Global Pivotal State.

Ranking US official visits South Korea to discuss cyber security: NSC

The Korea Times · July 29, 2022

U.S. Deputy National Security Advisory for Cyber and Emerging Technologies Anne Neuberger speaks during a press briefing in Washington, D.C., in this Feb. 17, 2021, file photo. UPI-Yonhap

A senior White House official visited South Korea this week to discuss ways to enhance the countries' cooperation in countering cybercrimes committed by actors such as North Korea, the White House National Security Council (NSC) said Thursday.

Anne Neuberger, deputy national security advisor (DNSA) for cyber and emerging technologies, traveled to Seoul from Monday through Wednesday, according to NSC spokesperson Adrienne Watson.

"During her meetings with Korean counterparts, DNSA Neuberger highlighted the Biden-Harris Administration's commitment to working with our partners to secure critical infrastructure and government systems; prepare for cyber incidents; reinforce respect for international law and norms of responsible behavior; and cooperate to deter disruptive and destabilizing cyber activity," Watson said in a press release.

"She also highlighted the U.S. commitment to cooperation with the ROK to combat cybercrime and associated money laundering, secure cryptocurrency, build capacity, and share information," she added.

ROK stands for the Republic of Korea, South Korea's official name.

Neuberger underscored the need to address cyber threats posed by North Korea.

"They use cyber to be, we estimate, up to a third of their funds to fund their missile program," the NSC official said of North Korea's illegal cyber activities, also calling it a "major issue."

"So given that cyber is such a core driver of revenue, it's something we must address," she added, while speaking in a webinar hosted by the Center for a New American Security, a Washington-based think tank.

Speaking on her recent trip to Seoul, Neuberger said her discussions there included talks on how the U.S. and South Korea can "work together to make it harder for DPRK, North Korea to gain funds to support its missile program."

"We also talked about how to better protect against various nation, state actors and highlighted some of the current areas where we can partner and improve our partnership together," she said.

The U.S. has said North Korea is becoming increasingly engaged in illicit cyber activities to secure sources of hard currency that will help finance its illegal weapons programs.

Washington currently has dozens of North Korean individuals and entities that it says are "state-sponsored cyber actors" on its sanctions list.

Neuberger's trip to Seoul follows President Joe Biden's visit there in May for a summit with South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol, less than two weeks after Yoon took office.

The NSC spokesperson noted Biden and Yoon had agreed to expand their "bilateral cooperation on regional and international cyber issues and confront cyber threats, including from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea," referring to North Korea by its official name. (Yonhap)

The Korea Times · July 29, 2022

11. N. Koreans are using around 10 programs to circumvent Big Brother's watchful eye

​Resistance potential,. Observe for the indicators.

N. Koreans are using around 10 programs to circumvent Big Brother's watchful eye - Daily NK

A new circumvention program “Garakji,” developed in May 2022, costs USD 60, not including the price of the USB or external hard drive, a source told Daily NK

By Mun Dong Hui - 2022.07.29 4:15pm · by Mun Dong Hui · July 29, 2022

FILE PHOTO: A North Korean businessman using a cell phone at a local market. (Daily NK)

North Koreans are actively using around 10 kinds of software programs to circumvent government surveillance on how they use their mobile phones, Daily NK has learned.

A source in North Korea told Daily NK on Wednesday that young techies at specialist schools and R&D facilities are making money by illegally developing and commercializing specialized technology to get around government controls on smartphones.

“There are about 10 kinds of such programs,” he claimed.

He further told Daily NK that talented young people at universities like Kim Il Sung University, Kim Chaek University of Technology, Kim Jong Un National Defense University, the Institute of Natural Science, Pyongyang University of Science and Technology and Ryongsong Electrical Engineering Industrial University, and at research labs and centers under the Ministry of Electronics Industry, are driving the development and sale of the circumvention programs.

Based on the source’s account, these tech savvy young people have developed programs that let users watch illegal foreign movies or videos or listen to illegal foreign music on North Korean electronic devices. The programs are sold and distributed on USBs or external hard drives.

On domestically-produced mobile phones, North Korea installs a range of surveillance and tracking systems to block users’ access to outside information. However, people in the country appear to be increasingly using circumvention programs to defeat the government’s surveillance and tracking systems.

Currently known circumvention programs include:

  • Budulgi and Chammae, which circumvent the government’s authentication system for “external” documents and videos
  • Third Dimension System, which hides specific files
  • Migung, which erases users’ file browsing history

However, with demand for circumvention programs rising, more kinds of programs have emerged.

The source said the new circumvention program “Garakji,” developed in May 2022, costs USD 60, not including the price of the USB or external hard drive.

“Many young people, university students, military police officers, security and police officers, party officials and researchers are seeking out circumvention programs,” he said.

“Just by buying one, your cultural life grows more diverse since you can access various videos, music, films, images, books and children’s films,” he continued, adding, “Neither the party, nor state, nor law can block the curiosity of young people, not to mention the human impulse to keep seeing things once you’ve gotten a taste.”

Wealthy people in particular can use the circumvention programs to enjoy many things, the source said.

“They don’t have to worry because even if the authorities go all scorched-earth on the circumvention programs, more programs will be developed elsewhere [to replace them],” he added.

North Korean authorities know what is going on, and are tightening their crackdowns on how people use their phones. They are checking if mobile phone owners have viewed illegal documents or media or use illegal programs by forcing them to update their operating systems and programs.

In fact, North Korea recently shortened the update cycle for smartphone applications. This measure appears aimed at blocking access to unapproved programs, while looking for details or traces of improper use.

“Smartphones used to require new systems once every one to three years, new versions of each program around once a year, and new versions of the most popular programs or mandatory inspection programs once a year,” said the source. “But recently, the update schedule was shortened to once every six months.”

The source explained that the mandatory inspection programs include a “browsing history” program that tracks which smartphone apps and documents have been used, as well as an antivirus program. Popular programs include apps related to games and movies.

Daily NK recently reported that North Korea ordered all mobile phone users and registered computer owners to update the software on their devices.

Please direct any comments or questions about this article to

Read in Korean · by Mun Dong Hui · July 29, 2022

12. <Interview with a N. Korean Woman> "I live with goats and pigs in my apartment" The desperation driving people to raising animals at home

Desperation is right.

<Interview with a N. Korean Woman> "I live with goats and pigs in my apartment" The desperation driving people to raising animals at home

A North Korean transporting a pig on a bicycle. The pig’s legs are tied up, perhaps because it is still alive. This photo was taken by Kim Dong-chul in South Pyongan Province in June 2010. (ASIAPRESS)

Many North Korean city dwellers are raising goats, pigs and chickens in their homes. With a drastic fall in economic activity and cash income due to the continuing pandemic, many people have turned to raising domesticated animals to earn money. ASIAPRESS recently interviewed a female reporting partner living in the northern part of Ryanggang Province about this. (KANG Ji-Won)

◆ Amid poor business conditions, people stop selling goods in markets

―― Why are people raising domesticated animals?

There continues to be a decrease in the number of people doing business in local markets. Business is bad and they would still have to pay fees to maintain their stalls, so an increasingly number of people are abandoning market-based businesses and shifting to raising domesticated animals to sell.

―― What kind of domesticated animals are people raising?

Chickens are standard, and people also raise pigs, rabbits and goats. Goats produce milk, and people sell it for high prices. There are a lot of people who sell goat milk to earn money. Goats are a popular animal to raise, and there’s competition between people who raise them.

―― What about people who live in apartments?

People raise the animals in apartments and one-story houses. It seems like nowadays all apartment dwellers are living with animals. Because it is summer, people have trouble because of the smell of animal poop and flies, but they raise the animals inside because they’d be stolen if they are raised outdoors.

―― How do people feed the animals?

North Koreans don’t have enough food to eat themselves, so the hardest thing for them is to obtain feed for their animals. They feed pigs a mix of grass and human waste, and take goats outdoors to let them feed of weeds.

―― Do people sell the meat from the animals they raise?

No. They sell adult animals that are still alive. People don’t have much income anymore, so everyone is taking great pains to raise the animals. The economy is bad, and the only remaining active market is in selling domesticated animals.

Anyone can raise domesticated animals, so the price of meat has fallen about. Sometimes people even trade the animals for rice. It’s hard for even me to keep track of what’s going on with all the changes.

◆ Survey of market meat prices

Below are market prices for meat in two cities in North Korea. After the North Korean government acknowledged the outbreak of COVID-19 on May 12, the authorities implemented tight restrictions on travel between cities, which led to immense instability in market prices. As a result, the prices below reflect those collected in mid-April. All the products listed are domestically produced. Apart from chicken, is which is counted by the head, all prices are per kilogram. The currency in the table is North Korean won. At the time of the price survey, 1,000 North Korean won equaled 0.154 US dollars.

Hyesan, Ryanggang Province “City A” in North Hamgyung Province Pork 24,000 22,000 Goat Meat 15,000 13,000 Rabbit Meat 16,000 14,000 Chicken Meat 16,000 14,000※ ASIAPRESS communicates with reporting partners through Chinese cell phones smuggled into North Korea.

13. While gearing up for a nuclear test, N. Korea appears to be preparing for negotiations with the US

Perhaps. All warfare is based on deception and KJU is masterful at getting something for nothing. Does KJU think he can raise the tensions through the threat of a 7th nuclear test and get concessions or sanctions relief by promising not to test? (for now)

While gearing up for a nuclear test, N. Korea appears to be preparing for negotiations with the US - Daily NK

North Korea recently assigned nuclear energy researchers to the foreign ministry’s US negotiations bureau, possibly with the hope of acquiring nuclear power technology through future negotiations

By Seulkee Jang - 2022.07.29 9:37am · by Seulkee Jang · July 29, 2022

The nuclear facility in Yongbyon County, South Pyongan Province. (Yonhap)

The North Korean government recently assigned nuclear energy experts to its Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Daily NK has learned. Officials at the foreign ministry are apparently learning about nuclear power generation and even making an effort to track technological developments abroad.

A high-ranking source inside North Korea told Daily NK on Tuesday that researchers and technicians specialized in nuclear power generation have recently been assigned to the foreign ministry to work with members of the technical office at the bureau responsible for negotiations with the US.

The individuals assigned to the ministry are reportedly researchers with the State Atomic Energy Commission whose primary job is researching nuclear power generation.

Daily NK understands that the State Atomic Energy Commission — an agency that succeeded the Cabinet’s Ministry of Atomic Energy Industry — is researching not only military techniques for producing and weaponizing fissile materials but also the use of nuclear fission to generate electricity.

The official name of this organization was revealed in May when Korean Central Television attributed a floral wreath presented at the wake of Hyon Chol Hae, marshal of the Korean People’s Army, to the “State Atomic Energy Commission.”

In a review of various government projects in the Eighth Congress of the Workers’ Party of Korea in January 2021, North Korean officials mentioned plans to “concentrate state efforts on building tidal power stations and undertaking the formation of a nuclear power industry as part of a mid- and long-term strategy of responding to prospective demand as well as objective and subjective changes going forward.”

While Daily NK was unable to ascertain exactly what work the nuclear power researchers are doing at the foreign ministry, the source said the ministry is broadly focused on the strategy of expanding power generation by putting fissile materials to use in the nuclear power industry.

There is speculation that North Korea has assigned the nuclear energy researchers to the foreign ministry’s US negotiations bureau with the hope of acquiring nuclear power technology through future negotiations.

According to the source, the North Korean government believed that then-vice foreign minister Choe Son Hui and other members of the negotiating team had an inadequate understanding of nuclear facilities and other proprietary technology during the 2019 US-DPRK summit in Hanoi.

As a result, the researchers are currently monitoring trends overseas in nuclear energy technology and analyzing research papers with members of the technical office at the Foreign Ministry’s US negotiations bureau, the source claimed, adding that the project is being personally supervised by Foreign Minister Choi Sun Hui.

In short, the North Korean government seems to be preparing for negotiations with the US at the same time that it gears up for a seventh nuclear weapon test. South Korean and American intelligence analysts believe that Pyongyang has completed preparations for the test.

All this suggests that North Korea has its finger poised over the nuclear test button, even as it prepares for nuclear talks and an eventual shift to a nuclear energy industry.

“[The authorities are] preparing for both dialogue and confrontation. [North Koreans] carry out orders verbatim when they are given,” the source said.

During the Third Plenary Meeting of the Workers’ Party of Korea’s Eighth Central Committee in June 2021, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un declared, “We need to be prepared for both dialogue and confrontation if we’re to safeguard the dignity of the state and the interests of autonomous development and to reliably guarantee the safety of the state and a peaceful environment.”

Please direct any comments or questions about this article to

Read in Korean · by Seulkee Jang · July 29, 2022

De Oppresso Liber,

David Maxwell

Senior Fellow, Foundation for Defense of Democracies

Senior Fellow, Global Peace Foundation

Senior Advisor, Center for Asia Pacific Strategy

Editor, Small Wars Journal

Twitter: @davidmaxwell161


Phone: 202-573-8647


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

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

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

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