Informal Institute for National Security Thinkers and Practitioners



Quotes of the Day:


"The positive thinker sees the invisible, feels the intangible, and achieves the impossible."
- Winston Churchill


“Ninety percent of intelligence comes from open sources. The other ten percent, the clandestine work, is just the more dramatic. The real intelligence hero is Sherlock Holmes, not James Bond.”
- LTG Samuel V. Wilson

“Journalism, is printing what someone else does not want printed. Everything else is public relations.”
- George Orwell




1. S. Korea needs to make clear principle of accepting 'all' N.K. defectors: minister

2. Kim Jong-un's Security Beefed up After Abe Assassination

3. S. Korea, US to hold EDSCG in September

4. Sanctions and Donetsk bring Moscow, Pyongyang together

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

6. China wants to hold Yoon Suk-yeol to the 'Three No's'

7. Foreign ministry files argument in forced labor case

8. New U.N. rapporteur vows to improve N.K. human rights situation

9. N. Korea reports no new suspected COVID-19 cases for 3rd day: state media

10. N. Korea's defense minister congratulates China on its military's founding anniversary

11. Upcoming combined drill to heighten inter-Korean tensions

12. Two possible reasons behind recent mask-free gatherings in North Korea

13. FM says U.S.-led chip alliance not designed to exclude China

14. S. Korea, US, Japan start Pacific Dragon ballistic missile defense drill this week

15. Upcoming South Korea-US training involves drills on repelling attacks, staging counterattacks

16. Edging toward war






1. S. Korea needs to make clear principle of accepting 'all' N.K. defectors: minister


Escapees. Accept all escapees from the north. There should be no waffling on this. And there should certainly be no forced repatriation.


(LEAD) S. Korea needs to make clear principle of accepting 'all' N.K. defectors: minister | Yonhap News Agency

en.yna.co.kr · by 채윤환 · August 1, 2022

(ATTN: RECASTS para 9)

SEOUL, Aug. 1 (Yonhap) -- Unification Minister Kwon Young-se said Monday that South Korea needs to make clear a principle of accepting "all" North Korean defectors, amid a renewed controversy over the forced repatriation of two North Korean fishermen in 2019.

A political dispute has continued over the preceding Moon Jae-in administration's decision to send back the fishermen to the North, where there were feared to face harsh punishments, though the duo were allegedly mired in a murder case.

"First off, I am thinking of making that clear myself," Kwon said. "If needed, I will recommend that President Yoon (Suk-yeol) have the opportunity to be clear on such a principle."

Kwon responded to a claim by Tae Yong-ho, a defector-turned-lawmaker of the ruling People Power Party, that the Yoon government should send a clear message about faithfully upholding the principle.

The minister also called the 2019 incident as a "forced repatriation," rather than a deportation of alleged murderers.

On Nov. 7, 2019, the Moon administration repatriated two North Koreans despite their intention to defect, saying they had confessed to killing 16 fellow crew members.

Critics have accused the then administration of hastily deporting the fishermen to curry favor with Pyongyang.

The 2019 incident has recently been at the center of political controversy after Kwon's office last month unveiled photos and footage of the repatriation at the truce village of Panmunjom.

One of the fishermen was seen resisting as he was being handed over to the North across the Military Demarcation Line separating the two Koreas.


Kwon also separately vowed to uncover the truth behind the killing of a South Korean fisheries official by North Korea in 2020 in a letter he sent to the deceased's family member.

The previous Moon government had said the late official was killed by the North while attempting to defect there, but the conclusion was overturned in June after the Coast Guard and the defense ministry revisited the case.

"Investigations on the incident by the Board of Audit and Inspection, and the prosecution are currently under way, and the unification ministry is actively cooperating with it," he wrote.

Kwon added the government will strengthen its responsibility to safeguard the safety and lives of the people so that such incidents never happen again.

The letter was sent last Thursday. It was a reply to a letter from the deceased official's brother, in which he expressed anger at the previous administration.

yunhwanchae@yna.co.kr

(END)

en.yna.co.kr · by 채윤환 · August 1, 2022




2. Kim Jong-un's Security Beefed up After Abe Assassination



"Paranoia strikes deep, Into your life it will creep. It starts when you're always afraid. Step out of line, the men come and take you away." - Stephen Stills


“Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't after you.” - Joseph Heller, Catch-22 


Maybe KJU knows something we don't.



Kim Jong-un's Security Beefed up After Abe Assassination

english.chosun.com

August 01, 2022 12:52

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un seems to have beefed up his personal security since the assassination last month of former Japanese Premier Shinzo Abe.


Kim is now always flanked by bodyguards, which is a new development.​​ "Bodyguards generally stand at distance because the propaganda effect of a photo decreases when they can be seen," a source said. "The new development shows that special circumstances require a sacrifice."


North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (right) is flanked by bodyguards at an event honoring veteran soldiers in Pyongyang on July 28, in this photo from the [North] Korean Central News Agency the following day.


But Kim's regime is under pressure amid a failing economy and border lockdowns that are reportedly causing starvation in some parts of the crackpot country.


At an event honoring veteran soldiers in Pyongyang last week, Kim was flanked by a phalanx of bodyguards. The last time bodyguards surrounded him was when he took power in 2012.


"Kim Jong-un sought the protection of bodyguards in 2012 because he was anxious about his weak grip on power. Now his authority has been damaged by economic problems caused by prolonged sanctions and the coronavirus lockdown, so he probably feels threatened," another source said.


N.Korean Regime Declares War on Gangsters

Kim Jong-un Beefs Up Security Amid Fear of Unrest


How Long Can Kim Jong-un Stay in Power?

  • Copyright © Chosunilbo & Chosun.com

english.chosun.com



3. S. Korea, US to hold EDSCG in September


We need a better acronym than EDSCG. How do you pronounce that? :-) 


We must recognize that this 2018 action was a mistake. You do not sacrifice deterrence and defense when there is an existential threat in the hopes of improving relations.


Excerpt:


EDSCG was put on hold in January 2018 since its second meeting on reasons of improving inter-Korean relationship and is being resumed in four years and eight months.



S. Korea, US to hold EDSCG in September

donga.com

Posted August. 01, 2022 07:54,

Updated August. 01, 2022 07:54

S. Korea, US to hold EDSCG in September. August. 01, 2022 07:54. by Sang-Ho Yun ysh1005@donga.com.

The high-level South Korea and U.S. Extended Deterrence Strategy and Consultative Group (EDSCG), which discusses countermeasures for the North Korean nuclear attacks against South Korea, considering it as the nuclear provocation against the U.S. mainland by fully mobilizing its forces, will be reactivated in September. EDSCG shall discuss in detail the timing, scale and measures of deploying the U.S. strategic assets including nuclear powered aircraft carrier strike group and submarines. EDSCG was put on hold in January 2018 since its second meeting on reasons of improving inter-Korean relationship and is being resumed in four years and eight months.


The South Korean and U.S. defense ministers held a meeting in Washington, D.C. on Friday (local time) and agreed to convene for EDSCG in the near future. “EDSCG will be held in Washington in September and detailed schedules are tentatively confirmed,” a South Korean military official conveyed. Immediately after the meeting, South Korean Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup commented, “The must be something concrete to back up if the U.S. is committed to protect South Korea against the threats of North Korea even putting up with attacks on the U.S. mainland soil which is EDSCG.” If North Korea pulls off its threats of nuclear loaded ICBM placing the U.S. mainland within the target distance, a ‘security device’ guaranteeing the U.S.’ punishment is needed of which EDSCG could play the role. Previously, in the May South Korean and U.S. summit, the summits of the two countries raised the stakes of including ‘nuclear’ as one of the measures for extended deterrence with which USA would provide South Korea and agreed on an early reactivation of EDSCG. The South Korean defense minister and U.S. Secretary of Defense decided to conduct a reinforced tabletop exercises (TTXs) within this year after holding an EDSCG meeting. TTXs allow South Korea and the U.S. to practices joint military responses in phased simulated contingency scenarios including North Korean nuclear threats, imminent use of nuclear weapons and use of nuclear weapons.


In the opening remarks of the meeting U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin commented, “I look forward to productive discussions on how the alliance can further enhance deterrence readiness against aggressions from North Korea and other systemic competitors including China and Russia.”

한국어

donga.com




4. Sanctions and Donetsk bring Moscow, Pyongyang together


Excerpt:


...his government would pursue reconstruction "alongside North Korea," and that the DPR is "interested" in North Korean resources.

Reconstruction or combat forces from north Korea? What "resources" is Donetsk interested in? DO they want to learn how to pacify and bring under control a population? This bears watching. 


I hope someone is planning the influence campaign now for when north Korean forces get beat up by the Ukrainian military when they face off.


Monday

August 1, 2022


Sanctions and Donetsk bring Moscow, Pyongyang together

https://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/2022/08/01/national/northKorea/Korea-North-Korea-Donetsk-Peoples-Republic/20220801183601014.html



In this photo released by the Russian Foreign Ministry Press Service, Russian Ambassador to North Korea Alexander Matsegora, left, faces North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Son-gwon, right, during a ceremony held at the Mansudae Assembly Hall in Pyongyang, North Korea on May 5, 2020. [AP]

 

Recent statements by a Russian diplomat and the leader of a Russian-backed separatist republic in Ukraine suggest Moscow and Pyongyang could be drawing closer economically under international sanctions.  

 

Denis Pushilin, leader of the mostly-unrecognized Donetsk People's Republic (DPR), said in an interview with Russian state television on July 21 that his government would pursue reconstruction "alongside North Korea," and that the DPR is "interested" in North Korean resources.

 

Pushilin did not clarify what resources from North Korea the DPR was eyeing. 

 

The main exports of the North's centrally planned economy are iron ore, anthracite coal and minerals, as well as agricultural and fisheries products, almost all of which go to China. 

 

The North used to send workers on overseas projects to earn foreign currency, but sanctions passed by the United Nations Security Council in 2017 banned almost all of its main exports and mandated the repatriation of all North Korean workers by December 2019. 

 

Russia's adherence to those sanctions appears increasingly doubtful as the country faces its own set of punishing multinational sanctions for its invasion of Ukraine.

 

Russia's envoy to North Korea in recent weeks has openly suggested that Moscow could seek to bolster economic cooperation with Pyongyang.

 

"Highly qualified, hardworking, and ready to work in the most difficult conditions, Korean builders will be an asset in the serious task of restoring social, infrastructural and industrial facilities [in the Donbas] destroyed by the retreating Ukronazis," Ambassador Alexander Matsegora told the pro-Kremlin daily Izvestia on July 19, using a Kremlin term that falsely claims that the Ukrainian government is run by Nazis. 

 

In early July, North Korea became the third state after Russia and Syria to officially recognize the DPR and the Luhansk People's Republic, the other Russian-backed separatist republic in the eastern Ukrainian region known as the Donbas, where most of the war's hostilities are currently taking place.

 

North Korea was one of only five states at the United Nations General Assembly to oppose a resolution calling for Russia to "immediately, completely and unconditionally withdraw all of its military forces from the territory of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders." 

 

The other four opposing states were Russia, Belarus, Eritrea and Syria. The resolution passed with the support of 141 countries, while 35 abstained.

 

Pushilin hailed North Korea's recognition of the DPR as a "triumph of diplomacy" and expressed hope for "active and fruitful cooperation" with Pyongyang.

 

According to Matsegora, North Korea and the two separatist Dunbas republics have "wide prospects for bilateral cooperation," with the North particularly keen to upgrade its existing stock of Soviet-era manufacturing equipment, which was initially made at factories in eastern Ukraine.

 

"Our Korean partners are very interested in spare parts and units manufactured there and in updating their production base," Matsegora said.

 

One trade between the North and the DPR could involve North Korean magnesite in exchange for shipments of coking coal and wheat, according to Matsegora. 

 

Kyiv severed relations with Pyongyang on July 13 after the latter recognized the breakaway republics.

 

In a statement uploaded to its foreign ministry website, Kyiv said Russia's appeal for North Korean recognition of the separatist republics was derived from Russia's lack of allies in the world "except for countries that depend on it financially and politically," and that Russia's international pariah status would only grow.

 

"The level of isolation of the Russian Federation will soon reach the level of isolation of the DPRK," said Ukraine's Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba in the statement, referring to the North by the acronym of its official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.


BY MICHAEL LEE [lee.junhyuk@joongang.co.kr]



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



The fact that north Korean "techies" are developing these capabilities can be assessed as nascent resistance potential.


​We should be mass producing this technology and flooding north Korea with it. Of course if we do that we will upset what is probably a delicate market in which these enterprising young people are making money.


Resistance potential on many levels here:

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.





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

dailynk.com · 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 dailynkenglish@uni-media.net.

Read in Korean

dailynk.com · by Mun Dong Hui · July 29, 2022


6. China wants to hold Yoon Suk-yeol to the 'Three No's'


The only "No" from President Yoon must be a "HELL NO." (Hell no we won't accept your "three No's.") South Korea as a global pivotal state must not appease north Korea nor kowtow to China.


We should have no doubt that China fears integrated missile defense but most of all a trilateral ROK-Japan-US alliance. If China is so afraid of it, then perhaps the ROK and Japan should seriously pursue it.



Monday

August 1, 2022


China wants to hold Yoon Suk-yeol to the 'Three No's'

https://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/2022/08/01/national/diplomacy/korea-china-thaad/20220801184651166.html


Foreign Minister Park Jin, right, and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi shake hands in a meeting on the sidelines of the G20 foreign ministerial summit in Bali, Indonesia, on July 7. [YONHAP]

Beijing and Seoul are having a verbal battle over a U.S.-led antimissile system in Korea, a thorny issue between them.

 

“The ‘Three No’s’ was not a promise or agreement we made with China, but an explanation of our position,” Foreign Minister Park Jin said in response to a question during a parliamentary hearing on July 25. 

 

“It is difficult to accept the call from China that we should keep the Three No’s policy even though the matter is of direct concern to our national security and sovereignty.”

 

The so-called “Three No’s” refers to a pledge made by the Moon Jae-in administration in October 2017 not to make additional deployments of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (Thaad) anti-missile shield, participate in an American missile defense network or transform the U.S.-Korea-Japan alliance into a military alliance.

 

Beijing responded quickly to Park’s comments.

 

“We still remember vividly that in 2017, the Republic of Korea side made a solemn statement on the Thaad issue,” said Zhao Lijian, spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry in a press briefing on July 27. “It played a crucial role in boosting mutual trust and deepening cooperation between the two countries. A commitment made should be a commitment kept despite a change of government.”

 

On the same day, Liu Xiaoming, China's special representative on Korean Peninsula affairs, echoed Zhao’s comments on Twitter.

 

“New officials cannot ignore old accounts,” Liu wrote. “South Korea should continue to act prudently and seek fundamental solutions to major and sensitive issues involving the security of its neighbors.”

 

The Foreign Ministry said it was scheduling Park’s trip to China this month. 

 

Park last met with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on the sidelines of a G20 foreign ministerial summit in Bali, Indonesia, on July 7. Park told the press upon his return to Seoul that he expected an official Korea-China ministerial summit to take place in Beijing in August. 

 

Others in the Yoon Suk-yeol government have spoken up against the Three No’s policy.

 

“President Yoon, since his election campaign, has consistently agreed that the Three No’s policy is neither an agreement nor a treaty, and that it can be viewed as a position that was valid only during the Moon Jae-in government,” a senior-ranking official in the Yoon administration told the JoongAng Ilbo. 

 

The Thaad system was installed in Seongju County, North Gyeongsang, in 2017, but has yet to be used. The military base that hosts the system needs to get a green-light from the Korean government to start using it, which Korea has yet to give, citing environmental concerns. 


While campaigning for president, Yoon said he would ensure the Thaad system was set into motion and utilized during his administration if he is elected. 


 

“With its recent statements on Thaad, China intends not only to try to keep in check the Yoon Suk-yeol administration's tilt toward the United States, but also to pressure the United States,” said Kang Jun-young, a professor of international and regional studies at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies. 

 

“In response, the Korean government should stand its ground in stating that the Three No’s was simply a position, and one that can be adjusted depending on the changing security dynamics and needs of the country.”

 

 


BY PARK HYUN-JU,ESTHER CHUNG [chung.juhee@joongang.co.kr]



7. Foreign ministry files argument in forced labor case

Excerpts:


The issue escalated into a trade dispute between the two countries, and even the suspension of the General Security of Military Information Agreement (Gsomia) in 2019.
 
The Yoon Suk-yeol government has been trying to improve ties with Japan, sending its foreign minister to Tokyo last month to meet with Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and its top envoy Yoshimasa Hayashi. 
 
Tokyo has repeatedly stressed in its communications with Korea that resolving those compensation rulings is a prerequisite for improving relations with Korea.
 
It’s not the first time that the Foreign Ministry submitted a statement of argument to the Supreme Court on the issue of compensation of forced laborers. 
 
In November 2016, during the Park Geun-hye administration, the ministry submitted a statement to the court expressing concerns about the possible impact of a ruling on forced laborers could have on Korea-Japan ties. Cases on compensation have been filed by a number of victims of forced labor since 2005. 
 



Monday

August 1, 2022


Foreign ministry files argument in forced labor case

https://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/2022/08/01/national/diplomacy/korea-japan-forced-labor/20220801153318823.html


Lawyers representing victims of Japanese wartime forced labor speak with the press in front of the Foreign Ministry headquarters in central Seoul on July 4. [YONHAP]

The Foreign Ministry submitted an argument to the Supreme Court last week explaining its efforts to reach a diplomatic solution with Japan on the issue of compensation for Koreans forced to work during World War II.

 

The Supreme Court is expected to rule on whether to allow the liquidation of assets of two Japanese companies to compensate forced labor victims as early as this month. 

 

Forced labor compensation is one of the thorniest issues between Tokyo and Seoul.

 

“Korea is continuing diplomatic consultations with Japan, and is making various diplomatic efforts, such as collecting public opinion on the matter, including from victims of forced labor, through public-private council meetings,” a Foreign Ministry official told the JoongAng Ilbo on Sunday.

 

“A written opinion explaining this position was submitted to the Supreme Court.”

 

By law, a government organization like the Foreign Ministry can submit a written statement of opinion or argument to the Supreme Court if a case concerns the public interest.

 

In 2018, the Supreme Court made landmark rulings ordering two Japanese companies to individually compensate Korean victims of forced labor during World War II. 

 

Tokyo protested the decision, saying that a 1965 bilateral treaty that normalized bilateral ties resolved all compensation issues. 

 

The issue escalated into a trade dispute between the two countries, and even the suspension of the General Security of Military Information Agreement (Gsomia) in 2019.

 

The Yoon Suk-yeol government has been trying to improve ties with Japan, sending its foreign minister to Tokyo last month to meet with Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and its top envoy Yoshimasa Hayashi. 

 

Tokyo has repeatedly stressed in its communications with Korea that resolving those compensation rulings is a prerequisite for improving relations with Korea.

 

It’s not the first time that the Foreign Ministry submitted a statement of argument to the Supreme Court on the issue of compensation of forced laborers. 

 

In November 2016, during the Park Geun-hye administration, the ministry submitted a statement to the court expressing concerns about the possible impact of a ruling on forced laborers could have on Korea-Japan ties. Cases on compensation have been filed by a number of victims of forced labor since 2005. 

 


BY ESTHER CHUNG, JEONG JIN-WOO [chung.juhee@joongang.co.kr]



8. New U.N. rapporteur vows to improve N.K. human rights situation


It is good to see that she mentioned the regime's response to COVID as a major contributing factor to the suffering of the Korean people, though to fully flesh out the idea it is how KJU has used he COVID response to impose draconian population and resources control measures to prevent resistance to his rule. The article does not have any comments from her blaming sanctions. That is also important.


The responsibility for suffering and for the human rights abuses and crimes against humanity lies squarely on the shoulders of Kim Jong-un.


New U.N. rapporteur vows to improve N.K. human rights situation | Yonhap News Agency

en.yna.co.kr · by 채윤환 · August 1, 2022

SEOUL, Aug. 1 (Yonhap) -- The new U.N. special rapporteur on North Korea's human rights highlighted her commitment Monday to finding "effective ways" to enhance the country's rights situation apparently worsened by its pandemic-driven restrictions.

Elizabeth Salmon made the remarks in a statement as she started her term Monday, succeeding Tomas Ojea Quintana.

"It is well known that the human rights situation in the DPRK has become more difficult during the past two and a half years due to the severe measures taken to address the Covid-19 pandemic," she said in the statement. DPRK stands for Democratic People's Republic of Korea, North Korea's official name.

"It is urgent to find effective ways to bring relief and humanitarian assistance and dialogue and cooperation to improve the human rights situation to the country," she added.

Salmon said that she plans to visit South Korea as soon as possible and present her first report that will lay out her short and mid-term objectives to the U.N. General Assembly in October.


yunhwanchae@yna.co.kr

(END)

en.yna.co.kr · by 채윤환 · August 1, 2022



9. N. Korea reports no new suspected COVID-19 cases for 3rd day: state media




​The positive narrative continues from the Propaganda and Agitation Department.


(2nd LD) N. Korea reports no new suspected COVID-19 cases for 3rd day: state media | Yonhap News Agency

en.yna.co.kr · by 채윤환 · August 1, 2022

(ATTN: UPDATES with Seoul official's remarks in paras 10-12)

SEOUL, Aug. 1 (Yonhap) -- North Korea's new suspected COVID-19 cases remained at zero for the third consecutive day, according to its state media Monday.

No new fever cases were reported over a 24-hour period until 6 p.m. the previous day, the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said, citing data from the state emergency anti-epidemic 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 from late April to 6 p.m. Sunday stood at 4.77 million, of which 99.99 percent had recovered and 144 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.


The KCNA said health authorities are still implementing strict measures against infectious diseases.

"The state emergency anti-epidemic headquarters ... provides a strict guidance and control over the implementation of relevant instructions and assignments rapidly issued by it to cope with abnormal phenomena that a series of unusual things are found in some areas," it said in an English-language article.

Last month, the North claimed its coronavirus outbreak originated from "alien things" found near the inter-Korean border, alluding to balloon-carried materials sent at the time by North Korean defector groups in South Korea, such as anti-Pyongyang leaflets.

The KCNA said such unusual objects are being seized and inspected, and that health authorities at all levels are working to ensure the safety of the anti-epidemic environment.

The North's claims of no virus cases in recent days have raised expectations for a possible shift in its stringent antivirus policies.

In a regular press briefing, Cho Joong-hoon, spokesperson of Seoul's unification ministry, said it would be difficult to predict any policy change, citing a range of possibilities, including that of the North keeping its quarantine drive to head off a resurgence of virus variants.

Cho reiterated Seoul remains open to health care cooperation with the North.

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 implemented nationwide lockdowns.

yunhwanchae@yna.co.kr

(END)

en.yna.co.kr · by 채윤환 · August 1, 2022




10. N. Korea's defense minister congratulates China on its military's founding anniversary


Closer than lips and teeth. (though may be chapped and rotten and filled with dentures)


N. Korea's defense minister congratulates China on its military's founding anniversary | Yonhap News Agency

en.yna.co.kr · by 채윤환 · August 1, 2022

SEOUL, Aug. 1 (Yonhap) -- North Korea's defense minister has sent to his Chinese counterpart a message touting the Chinese military's achievements on the occasion of the 95th anniversary of its founding, Pyongyang's state media said.

Ri Yong-gil's message to Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe came as China commemorated Monday's anniversary for the inception of China's People's Liberation Army (PLA).

In the message, Ri congratulated the Chinese PLA for safeguarding its country's sovereignty and territorial integrity and making strides to build a modernized army under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party with its leader Xi Jinping at its core, according to the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

"The message stressed that the Korean People's Army would closely wage strategic and tactic coordinated operations with the CPLA in order to jointly guard peace and stability in the Korean peninsula and the rest of the world," it said in an English-language report.

Ri's message also noted that the two countries' armies have fought "shoulder to shoulder" and that they are ensuring the cause of socialism, it added.

The North has recently emphasized its strong ties with Beijing amid a prolonged deadlock in nuclear talks between Washington and Pyongyang and an intensifying Sino-U.S. rivalry.


yunhwanchae@yna.co.kr

(END)

en.yna.co.kr · by 채윤환 · August 1, 2022


11. Upcoming combined drill to heighten inter-Korean tensions


Let them irk China dn north Korea. We should never forget the right of self defense is never denied. These exercises are defensive in nature and designed to deter attack and defend against existential threat posed by the north Korean People's Army and Kim Jong Un which is backed up by China.


Training is perishable and must be conducted on a continuous basis. As Confucius said, "to send an untrained army to war is to throw them away."


No one should be influenced by north Korean or Chinese rhetoric or threats, except that such rhetoric and threats provide insights into the nature, objectives,and strategies of the Kim family regime and the Chinese COMmunist Party.


Upcoming combined drill to heighten inter-Korean tensions

The Korea Times · August 1, 2022

Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup, left, and U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin inspect an honor guard before their bilateral talks at the U.S. Department of Defense in Washington, D.C., Saturday (local time). Courtesy of Ministry of National Defense


Expanded exercise may also irk China


By Kang Seung-woo


Plans to expand a combined military drill between South Korea and the United States against North Korea's growing threats is expected to bring the Korean Peninsula back to a state of confrontation, ratcheting up cross-border tensions, Pyongyang watchers said, Monday.


The prediction comes as the allies seek to enhance their overall capabilities to deal with a possible all-out war on the peninsula through the Ulchi Freedom Shield (UFS) exercise, scheduled for Aug. 22 to Sept. 1, according to Seoul's defense ministry. In addition, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un also threatened last week to annihilate the new South Korean administration he claimed is pursuing a U.S.-led hostile policy against the North.


"It is inevitable that inter-Korean confrontation will deepen as North Korea has strongly responded to the combined exercise," said Cho Han-bum, a senior researcher of the Korea Institute for National Unification.


Park Won-gon, a professor of North Korean studies at Ewha Womans University, also presented a similar view.


"North Korea has denounced the combined exercise, along with a dispatch of U.S. strategic assets, as a hostile policy toward the country, so the North is anticipated to vehemently respond to the drill in accordance with its leader's pledge, which would greatly escalate tensions on the peninsula," Park said.


On Thursday, the North Korean dictator warned that the Yoon Suk-yeol administration and its military authorities will face annihilation should it make any "dangerous attempt" like a preemptive strike.


"Such a dangerous attempt would be punished immediately by powerful forces, and the Yoon Suk-yeol administration and his military would be wiped out," he said in his speech to mark the 69th anniversary of the armistice that halted the 1950-53 Korean War that fell on Wednesday.


The diplomatic observers also predicted that North Korea's response will come after the combined drill ends.


"I think we are expected to see tensions intensify in September as North Korea has traditionally staged military provocations after the end of the combined exercise," Cho said.


Park also said, "At this point, North Korea is prone to opt for a high-intensity provocation such as a seventh nuclear test or a launch of an inter-continental ballistic missile."


South Korean and U.S. intelligence authorities believe that another North Korean nuclear test is imminent.


Park added that it was only a matter of time before North Korea takes action.

Cho said the all-out war scenario would also affect China, which could trigger a backlash from Beijing.


"The U.S. Forces Korea commanding general underscored on July 29 the need to expand the bilateral alliance into a multinational and multidimensional coalition to deal with challenges from China and Russia as well as North Korea. In addition, Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup also cited the need to preserve the freedom of navigation in the South China Sea and peace in the Taiwan Strait during his meeting with U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, July 30, both of which are U.S.-led anti-China policies," Cho said.


"In that sense, tensions on the peninsula are highly likely to mount."


In fact, the North Korean regime has stressed its strong relations with China amid a prolonged deadlock in its nuclear talks with the U.S. and the intensifying Sino-U.S. rivalry.


There is no urgent issue that can cause friction between South Korea and China, but if the South Korea-U.S. alliance leads to another situation similar to the deployment of a U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense battery here, Beijing may opt for economic retaliation against Seoul, according to Cho. China is South Korea's largest trading partner.


"If the South Korea-U.S. alliance moves beyond the peninsula, it is apparently aimed at countering China. If so, China is likely to prepare for countermeasures," he added.




The Korea Times · August 1, 2022


12. Two possible reasons behind recent mask-free gatherings in North Korea


Interesting analysis though I question the idea of "stronger immune systems" - though maybe they are strengthened by the hard lives Koreans in the north lived - after all they continue to survive in some of the harshest conditions anywhere in the world.


Excerpts:


Given the two undeniable reports from the North ― that fever cases spiked before falling and that leader Kim Jong-un recently appeared in the middle of a crowd of war veterans without masks ― experts have laid out two scenarios: either that enough North Koreans are now immune to COVID-19, thanks partly to their stronger immune systems, or that most of the fever cases were not COVID-related in the first place.


Two possible reasons behind recent mask-free gatherings in North Korea

The Korea Times · August 1, 2022

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is surrounded by war veterans in front of a monument celebrating the country's "victory" in the Korean War (1950-53) in Pyongyang, North Korea, on July 27, the 69th anniversary of the end of the war, in this photo released July 28 by the North's official Korean Central News Agency. Yonhap


Enough people may be immune, or many 'fever' cases could be unrelated, experts say


By Jung Min-ho


North Korea's official numbers of suspected COVID-19 cases and photos of the ruling elite in recent weeks suggest that it is clearly making progress against the coronavirus despite almost no vaccination efforts, according to experts Monday.

North Korea's number of new suspected COVID-19 cases remained at zero for the third consecutive day, according to the Korean Central News Agency, Pyongyang's official mouthpiece. On Monday, it reported that no additional fever cases had been confirmed over the previous 24 hours until 6 p.m. the previous day. The total number of such cases from late April stood at 4.77 million, of which 99.99 percent had recovered, it claimed. The number of deaths remains at 74 and its fatality rate is below 0.0016, far lower than South Korea's 0.12.


Given the two undeniable reports from the North ― that fever cases spiked before falling and that leader Kim Jong-un recently appeared in the middle of a crowd of war veterans without masks ― experts have laid out two scenarios: either that enough North Koreans are now immune to COVID-19, thanks partly to their stronger immune systems, or that most of the fever cases were not COVID-related in the first place.


"North Koreans may have a stronger active immunity, given that they are exposed to all sorts of infectious diseases," Choi Jung-hoon, a former infectious disease doctor from the North, told The Korea Times. "It is important to keep in mind that its official numbers should not be trusted. If it (herd immunity) was the case, this means that a lot more people died and suffered from COVID-19 in the process than the numbers claim … The progress has also been helped by its draconian measures, which would be politically impossible in democratic countries."


Citing his sources in North Korea, Choi said there was no significant vaccine campaign there. "There are people who have received vaccine shots, including those who must visit China for trade matters, but not a significant number of people," he added.


Choi is not alone in his belief that North Korea's unsanitary conditions may have saved many people from severe COVID-19 symptoms. Some research papers by Indian scientists, including "COVID 19 mortality: Probable role of microbiome to explain disparity," also argue that those living in low- and middle-income states may have been able to stave off severe forms of the infection due to exposure to various pathogens in their childhoods, which give them sturdier immune systems.


North Korean leader Kim Jong-un wearing a mask inspects a pharmacy in Pyongyang, North Korea, May 15, in this photo released May 16 by the official North Korean Central News Agency. Yonhap


Cheong Seong-chang, the director of the Center for North Korean Studies at the Sejong Institute, a think tank, said it is more reasonable to believe that many of the North's fever cases have been waterborne infectious diseases such as typhoid fever.


"Given the North's May 15 data showing the high fatality rate among children under 10 (16 percent, which is far higher than South Korea's 0.09 percent), many of the fever cases might have not been COVID-19," he said. "Heavy rains over recent weeks might have improved the situation for the North as they washed away pollutants … Its numbers may not be accurate, but it would not try to exaggerate too much."


His assessment echoes that of the National Intelligence Service, which reported on May 19 to the National Assembly that waterborne infectious diseases had already been prevalent when Pyongyang reported its first official case of COVID-19 on May 12.


"What's clear is that pictures of major political events recently show North Korea has made much progress against COVID-19. One photo shows Kim is surrounded by older soldiers ― the most vulnerable group to the disease ― without masks on the 69th anniversary of the end of the Korean War (1950-53)," Cheong said. "But if the North has no herd immunity to COVID-19 as I assume, it could reemerge at any time."



The Korea Times · August 1, 2022


13.  FM says U.S.-led chip alliance not designed to exclude China



I do not think anything is designed to exclude China as long as it agrees to operate within the rules based international order.


(LEAD) FM says U.S.-led chip alliance not designed to exclude China | Yonhap News Agency

en.yna.co.kr · by 김은정 · August 1, 2022

(ATTN: UPDATES with Park's remark in last two paras)

By Kim Eun-jung

SEOUL, Aug. 1 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's top diplomat said Monday the United States has noted the importance of the Chinese market and its understanding of "close economic ties" between the South and China, as Seoul faces a tricky decision over whether to join a U.S.-proposed chip alliance.

Foreign Minister Park Jin made the remarks during a parliamentary session amid worries that South Korea's entry into the alliance, known as Chip 4, could cause friction with China, its largest trading partner, should it develop into an exclusive grouping against the Asian power.

"The U.S. also explained that the Chinese market, its third largest trading partner, is important," Park told lawmakers. "The U.S. understands South Korea has close economic relations with China."


Park reiterated that the alliance, also involving Japan and Taiwan, is a cooperative platform aimed at building resilient semiconductor supply chains.

Washington's call to join the grouping has been posing a diplomatic dilemma to Seoul as it has been navigating increasingly convoluted geopolitics marked by a hardening Sino-U.S. rivalry.

About 60 percent of South Korea's chips were exported to China last year, while major manufacturers, such as Samsung Electronics and SK hynix, rely on U.S. chip design and manufacturing equipment.

He said the Seoul government will push for cooperation with the major semiconductor players in areas of professional training, research and development and diversifying supply chains and make diplomatic efforts to relay its stance to China to prevent misunderstanding over the issue.

"(Chip 4) focuses on boosting cooperation for development of the industry, and it is not designed to exclude China," Park added.

Experts worry Seoul's joining the Chip 4 alliance could draw a strong reaction from Beijing, like its apparent economic retaliation following the installation of the U.S. THAAD missile defense system here in 2017.

When asked about the possibility of North Korea conducting a seventh nuclear test, the minister said Seoul has been making diplomatic efforts to discourage Pyongyang from additional provocations, which would only undermine its security.

"We have been communicating with China and Russia to deliver the message that it would be good for (North Korea) to refrain from provocations," he said.

ejkim@yna.co.kr

(END)

en.yna.co.kr · by 김은정 · August 1, 2022


14. S. Korea, US, Japan start Pacific Dragon ballistic missile defense drill this week


Again a "hell no" to China's demands to adhere to its "three no's." 


Integrated missile defense is one of the most important concepts for the defense of all three nations. This is a small step on a path toward that. China does not get a vote in the self defense efforts of the ROK, Japan, and the US.




S. Korea, US, Japan start Pacific Dragon ballistic missile defense drill this week

koreaherald.com · by Ji Da-gyum · July 31, 2022

Seoul will take cautious, case-by-case approach to gradually expand trilateral military drills

By Ji Da-gyum

Published : Jul 31, 2022 - 17:34 Updated : Jul 31, 2022 - 17:56

The US military, NASA, and Jet Propulsion Laboratory members observe NASA`s low-density supersonic decelerator (LDSD) test vehicle trajectory after its launch from U.S. Navy`s Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kauai, Hawaii. (File Photo - US Indo-Pacific Command)

South Korea, the United States and Japan are set to jointly conduct a ballistic missile defense exercise to enhance military interoperability and readiness against escalating threats from North Korea.


The Pacific Dragon ballistic missile defense drill led by the US Pacific Fleet will be held for two weeks between Monday and Aug. 14 off the coast of Hawaii, the South Korean military confirmed on Sunday.


A total of five countries — South Korea, Australia, Canada, Japan, and the US — will participate in the multilateral exercise. South Korea’s Navy plans to dispatch the 7,600-ton Sejong the Great-class Aegis destroyer equipped with SM-2 surface-to-air missiles.


The Pacific Dragon exercise aims to improve interoperability and tactical and technical coordination among participants in detecting, tracking, reporting and assessing ballistic targets.


During the drill, the five countries will practice detecting, tracking and sharing information on dummy ballistic projectiles which are fired by the US Navy, according to the South Korean military. The US Navy will also intercept the dummy projectiles with guide missiles.


Although the Pacific Dragon has been staged every two years on the occasion of the US-led biennial Rim of the Pacific, or RIMPAC, exercise, the drill was not open to the public in 2018 and 2020 in order to not provoke North Korea.


But the South Korean military’s confirmation came after the South Korean, US and Japanese defense chiefs met in June and agreed to regularize and publicize trilateral missile defense exercises to deter North Korea’s ballistic missile threats.


Cautious approach on trilateral drills

Expanding trilateral security cooperation and military exercises was one of the key agenda topics for the recent defense ministerial meeting, a senior ministry official - who requested to remain anonymous - said during a closed-door briefing Sunday.


South Korean Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup and US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin met Friday in Washington and discussed ways to enhance trilateral security cooperation to jointly respond to North Korea’s missile and nuclear threats.


Lee also briefed Austin on the Yoon Suk-yeol government’s stance on trilateral military drills during the meeting, the senior official said.


In essence, Seoul sees the necessity of expanding trilateral military drills with Japan and the US in light of North Korea’s mounting threats, but it will push forward the plan gradually with a cautious, case-by-case approach.


Lee elucidated that the Yoon government seeks to “gradually expand trilateral exercises” while focusing on reinforcing existing trilateral exercises such as a simulation-based trilateral missile warning drill, South Korea’s Defense Ministry said Sunday in a separate statement.


The three countries agreed to conduct a trilateral missile warning exercise -- that aims to track a virtual ballistic target and trade information -- every three months in 2016. But the missile warning exercise has been staged just once this year and only three times last year.


“We expressed our stance that we pursue expansion of trilateral exercises and training in a phased manner and with careful examination in light of public sentiment and other factors,” the unnamed senior official said.


Widespread anti-Japanese public sentiment is a key consideration in conducting trilateral military exercises, although Seoul sees the growing importance of trilateral security cooperation.


In a nutshell, Lee told Austin that Seoul needs to take a case-by-case, gradual approach to decide whether to join trilateral exercises in view of public opinion. But South Korea will actively participate in non-military training, including the Search and Rescue Exercise that has been suspended.

South Korean Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup (second from L) and US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin (second from R) are seen holding bilateral talks at the U.S. Department of Defense in Washington on July 29, 2022. (Ministry of National Defense)

Reinforcing alliance deterrence, readiness

Austin and Lee also discussed how to reinforce the alliance’s deterrence and defense posture to address evolving threats from North Korea.


The defense chiefs discussed ways to enhance the viability of the US extended deterrence as the key agenda, the senior official said.


Austin and Lee agreed to reactivate the Extended Deterrence Strategy and Consultation Group (EDSCG) and hold a meeting this September.


The last meeting of the EDSCG between South Korean and US vice ministers of foreign affairs and defense -- which was launched in December 2016 in the aftermath of North Korea’s fifth nuclear test-- was held in January 2018.


The defense chiefs also committed to reinforcing tabletop exercises (TTXs) on the use of deterrence assets and deployment of US strategic military assets in line with the joint efforts to enhance the alliance’s deterrence. Seoul and Washington conducted TTXs only in 2019 and 2021.


The TTXs allow South Korea and the US to practice joint military responses in simulated contingency scenarios, including North Korean nuclear threats and the use of nuclear weapons.


South Korea and the US essentially seek to come up with policy measures at the EDSCG while enhancing military readiness by conducting TTXs.


Resuming theater-level exercises

The two defense chiefs also agreed to conduct theater-level military drills in August and September by incorporating the South Korean government’s Ulchi civil contingency exercise and combined military exercise, the source said.


The theater-level military exercises have been suspended in the aftermath of the first US-North Korea summit in June 2018.


South Korea and the US plan to conduct large-scale “Ulchi Freedom Shield” military drills including field training exercises between Aug. 22 and Sept. 1. The UFS simulates an “all-out war” with North Korea, according to the senior official.


Austin and Lee committed to resuming and expanding regiment-level and larger-scale field training exercises or FTXs.


“The action aims to further solidify the combined defense posture by enhancing policy and strategic coordination as well as improving interoperability between tactical units,” the senior official told reporters. The official explained that FTXs will provide opportunities for South Korean and US tactical units to share tactical doctrine.


Meanwhile, the Choson Sinbo, a pro-North Korea newspaper produced by the Chongryon community in Tokyo, warned South Korea and the US over the consequences of the upcoming combined military exercises in a Korean-language article published Saturday morning.


The article was penned by Kim Ji-young, a Choson Sinbo senior writer and a high-profile mouthpiece for Pyongyang, and published hours after Seoul and Washington announced the outcomes of the defense-ministerial meeting.


“The DPRK-US confrontation is getting more and more fierce. Actions could be taken corresponding to the intensity of the opponent’s provocations and level of confrontation as we are in the phase of strength-for-strength,” the Choson Sinbo said. “It is impossible to predict how the DPRK will smash the US military provocations to prevent war.”


The Choson Sinbo warned that North Korea has a “wider range of options to respond to provocations” compared to the period before the 2018 Singapore summit, underscoring that North Korea has reinforced its “war deterrent.”


(dagyumji@heraldcorp.com)




​15. Upcoming South Korea-US training involves drills on repelling attacks, staging counterattacks



​Defensive in nature.

Upcoming South Korea-US training involves drills on repelling attacks, staging counterattacks

The Korea Times · August 1, 2022

Camp Humphreys, a U.S. Forces Korea base in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province / Yonhap


South Korea and the United States plan to conduct an array of drills, including repelling attacks and mounting counterattacks, as part of their major combined training set to kick off later this month, Seoul's defense ministry said Monday.


In a written parliamentary briefing, the ministry said the Ulchi Freedom Shield (UFS) training consists of three main parts ― the crisis management staff training, the first segment on repelling attacks and defending the greater Seoul area, and the second segment on counterattack operations.


The UFS, set for Aug. 22-Sept. 1, has been arranged as the allies are striving to strengthen combined defense through measures, including expanding and publicizing training programs, amid concerns that the North could escalate tensions by conducting a nuclear test or other provocative acts.


"While advancing its nuclear and missile capabilities, the North is seriously threatening security not only on the Korean Peninsula but also in the region," Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup said at the session of the National Assembly's defense committee.


He warned that if the North launches a "direct" provocation, the South would "respond sternly in light of the right to self-defense."


During the training, allied forces also plan to practice operating war deterrence measures combining "DIME" elements. DIME stands for diplomacy, information, military and economy, and refers to the multi-faceted efforts to deter North Korean threats, according to the ministry.


This year's edition combines the South Korean government's Ulchi civil contingency training and seeks to enhance the allies' overall capabilities to deal with a possible "all-out" war on the Korean Peninsula.


To that end, the training will proceed on various real-life scenarios, including the discovery of improvised explosive devices at nuclear power plants, a fire at a semiconductor factory and a paralysis of a banking network, the ministry said.

Field training would also take place under scenarios like terrorism at airports or drone attacks.


Another key part of the upcoming training is the full operational capability (FOC) assessment, the second part of the three-stage program designed to vet Seoul's capabilities to lead the allies' combined forces.


The FOC assessment is a key procedure for the envisioned transfer of wartime operational control from Washington to Seoul. The two sides agreed last year to hold the FOC assessment during their defense ministerial talks in Seoul.

In the assessment, the allies plan to check 49 of the total 73 items on the "combined mission essential task list." (Yonhap)



The Korea Times · August 1, 2022





16. Edging toward war



Some food for thought!


Excerpts:


The implications are clear. If China were to move militarily against Taiwan, both the United States and Japan would get involved. The U.S. has no troops, no advisers, no defense pact with Taiwan, with which it has no formal diplomatic relations, but we may be sure Americans would enter the war initially as advisers. In a real showdown, the U.S. might also provide air support from bases in Okinawa and Guam, as well as aircraft carriers, while rushing in billions of dollars' worth of supplies as it's doing for Ukraine.
...
Just as easily, the fighting could flare from the initial flashpoint, Taiwan. The dark forces unleashed by war across the 100-mile-wide straits between Taiwan and the Chinese mainland would quickly reach Northeast Asia, notably the Korean Peninsula. The rhetoric from North Korea resembles that of Chinese claims to Taiwan. The atmosphere in South Korea for now appears tranquil and peaceful. It's difficult to imagine a third Korean War.

Kim Jong-un could go on the offensive beginning with an artillery barrage across the Demilitarized Zone or an attack on the small islands held by South Korea in the West or Yellow Sea not far from North Korean shores. Or he could launch his dreaded missiles, pummeling American and South Korean bases. Might nuclear war be next?

Anything's possible as the Chinese edge closer to war for Taiwan than they've ever done previously. We have to hope they're only bluffing, as they've done so often in the past.


Edging toward war

The Korea Times · July 28, 2022

By Donald Kirk

Chinese rhetoric over Taiwan is getting more strident all the time. It's hard to believe the Chinese will go beyond the kind of big talk we've been hearing since Chiang Kai-shek fled there with his defeated forces before the victory of Mao's Red Army on the mainland in 1949, but the shrill nature of Chinese intimidation there and elsewhere is cause for mounting concern.


The implications are clear. If China were to move militarily against Taiwan, both the United States and Japan would get involved. The U.S. has no troops, no advisers, no defense pact with Taiwan, with which it has no formal diplomatic relations, but we may be sure Americans would enter the war initially as advisers. In a real showdown, the U.S. might also provide air support from bases in Okinawa and Guam, as well as aircraft carriers, while rushing in billions of dollars' worth of supplies as it's doing for Ukraine.


Ominously, from the viewpoint of nations worried about a resurgence of Japanese military power, the Chinese invasion of Taiwan would be just what Japanese conservatives need to nullify Article 9 of Japan's "no war" constitution, drafted in 1947 during the American occupation, barring Japanese from waging war beyond Japan's immediate borders. The Japanese could then rename their "Self-Defense Forces" as simply their armed forces and double the military budget from one percent of the country's gross domestic product, expected to exceed five trillion dollars this year, to two percent.


War for Taiwan would give members of Japan's long-ruling Liberal Democratic Party a boost on the basis of which they could fantasize Japan again becoming a military force in Asia. The prospect of Japan's military revival arouses distinctly mixed feelings among other Asian countries, especially South Korea. Yes, Japan could provide much needed support if the flames of war leaped from Taiwan to the Korean peninsula and North Korea attacked the South. With memories of the colonial past under Japanese rule and many difficulties since then, however. Koreans would have reason to fear whatever the Japanese might do on the Korean peninsula, North as well as South.


As war clouds loom over Taiwan, the chances are high that the fighting would spread first to the Senkaku Islands not far from Taiwan. The Japanese zealously hold this uninhabited island cluster, defending it with coast guard vessels capable of firing water cannon on Chinese "fishing boats," laden with electronic surveillance gear, when they come too close and sending planes in hot pursuit when Chinese aircraft violate the Senkaku air space. The Chinese claim the islands, which they call Diaoyu, as assiduously as they claim Taiwan. It's not difficult to imagine either Japan or China setting up a military base on the largest of the islands. For that reason alone, the Japanese see them as worth fighting for ― too valuable to abandon.


Chinese ambitions extend to Southeast Asia, the Indian subcontinent and beyond. So far there appears no way to talk the Chinese into yielding on their absurd view that the entire South China Sea belongs to them. As American warships and planes regularly intrude into China's self-declared space, a war for Taiwan could just as easily spread southward. Already the Chinese are looking for bases in the South Pacific, striking up deals with some of the small island nations that were occupied by Japan before the Americans drove them out in some of the bloodiest battles of World War II.


Just as easily, the fighting could flare from the initial flashpoint, Taiwan. The dark forces unleashed by war across the 100-mile-wide straits between Taiwan and the Chinese mainland would quickly reach Northeast Asia, notably the Korean Peninsula. The rhetoric from North Korea resembles that of Chinese claims to Taiwan. The atmosphere in South Korea for now appears tranquil and peaceful. It's difficult to imagine a third Korean War.


Kim Jong-un could go on the offensive beginning with an artillery barrage across the Demilitarized Zone or an attack on the small islands held by South Korea in the West or Yellow Sea not far from North Korean shores. Or he could launch his dreaded missiles, pummeling American and South Korean bases. Might nuclear war be next?


Anything's possible as the Chinese edge closer to war for Taiwan than they've ever done previously. We have to hope they're only bluffing, as they've done so often in the past.



Donald Kirk (www.donaldkirk.com) has been covering the confrontation of forces in Asia for decades.


The Korea Times · July 28, 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

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

Phone: 202-573-8647

email: david.maxwell161@gmail.com


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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