Informal Institute for National Security Thinkers and Practitioners


An Alternative History of AirLand Battle, Part I

An Alternative History of AirLand Battle, Part I

Quotes of the Day:


“Wisdom … comes not from age, but from education and learning.”
-Anton Chekhov


“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.”
- Plato

“One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what has to say.”
- Bryant McGill



1. Biden Administration Foreign Policy Tracker: August

2. U.S. to Enrage Kim Jong Un With Assassination Dry Run

3. Yoon Suk-yeol speaks with Nancy Pelosi but only on the phone

4. How the US can curb the North Korean nuclear threat

5. Yoon and Pelosi speak by phone for 40 minutes

6. N. Korea's U.N. mission lambasts U.S. over criticism of its nuke program

7. Prosecutors busy researching fishermen repatriation case

8. N. Korea reports no new suspected COVID-19 cases for 6th day: state media

9. North Korean authorities try to stop rise in street prostitution in cities

10. Korea has its say at Asean meetings

11. A phone call is not enough (Korean President and US Speaker)

12. The realities of N. Korea's "free medical system" laid bare

13. N. Korea issues order for citizens to "take good care" of ethnic Chinese residents

14. N. Korea intensifies disease control measures amid claims of "victory" over COVID-19

15. S.Korean airlines temporarily cancel flights to Taiwan, media says

16. China begins huge live-fire drills around Taiwan; Taipei says 'illegitimate, irresponsible'

17. N. Korea changes how it uses Sungho-ri Political Prison Camp

18. Revealing Korea's dilemma

19. Korea, US speakers reaffirm strength of alliance, will to denuclearize NK







1. Biden Administration Foreign Policy Tracker: August Korea


Access the tracker HERE


Biden Administration Foreign Policy Tracker: August

Korea

By David Maxwell


Previous Trend: Positive

Facing continued threats from Pyongyang, Washington and Seoul are working to strengthen the alliance through aggressive military training, including their first live-fire combined helicopter training in three years. In August, the allies will hold their major semi-annual exercise, Ulchi Freedom Shield, which will include computer-simulated command-post training, civil defense, and live ground, air, and sea exercises.

ROK President Yoon Suk-yeol seeks to position his country as a “global pivotal state” by stepping up on the world stage. This vision aligns well with U.S. policy. Seoul’s plans for a historic arms sale to Poland and a $22 billion investment in American manufacturing, announced in late July, demonstrate its commitment to global engagement. Yoon also seeks to coordinate an “audacious new plan” with Washington for Korean security. However, the details have not been released.

The U.S. secretary of defense and the ROK minister of defense met on July 29 to discuss resuming the Extended Deterrence Strategy and Consultation Group to refine U.S.-ROK plans to deter North Korean nuclear attack. Pyongyang has yet to conduct a much-anticipated seventh nuclear test but will likely do so in the near future if Kim Jong Un believes it will advance his nuclear program and help extract concessions from Washington and Seoul.

On July 27, National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day, Washington and Seoul dedicated the Wall of Remembrance at the Korean War Memorial. The wall includes the names of all 36,634 U.S. military personnel who perished in the war, as well as those of the 7,124 fallen Korean soldiers who fought in U.S. units.



2. U.S. to Enrage Kim Jong Un With Assassination Dry Run


Reporters have story lines. For context to my comments below here are my complete comments that I provided to Don Kirk. I think the reports from the ROK side about "decapitation" are overblown and sensational.


My comments:


I think we read too much into the rhetoric of a "decapitation strike." All military leadership is a legitimate target and the theory is that if you can kill the commander in chief of the military, which Kim Jong-un is, you can cause the collapse of the military. Locating north Korean leadership has long been a wartime priority. We should not get spun up over the idea that the alliance military will want to capture or kill Kim Jong Un in wartime. He is a legitimate military target.

Such operations required the integration of myriad capabilities and intelligence. This is why advanced training is required. I do not have any indications of how past training events turned out as they are highly classified.  The troops are well trained to conduct what is a complex raid but putting all the pieces and parts together from intelligence to locate the target, employ the right amount of force to assault the target, a sufficient amount of fire support and long range transportation capabilities to infiltrate and exfiltrate the entire force while at the same time suppressing all north Korean air defense capabilities to protect the force takes a lot of practice. Most of this training is conducted year round on discrete parts of the mission and then what is called a full mission profile training event will take place during the major exercise to put the entire mission together. The training will be evaluated and assessed to determine where the problems are and then retraining will take place to correct mistakes. Again, this is a continuous process and does not consist of one event during a training exercise.

This is all just routine military training. There is nothing significant here. We train on all these tasks all over the world and in the states. There is going to be a trilateral missile defense exercise next month (ROK-Japan-US). During the exercises we always target all the missile systems - the whole system or what they are calling the "kill chain." It is just a system and targets.  Decapitation is just a mission to capture or kill a high value target, e.g., manhunting (another sensational term). if you get the head of the military forces (which is Kim) theoretically you gut the head of the snake - e.g., bin Laden. Does it work in practice or only in theory? 

Kill chain is about attacking the system or chain that goes into supporting missile launches. The "chain" from decision making and command and control through logistics support and storage sites to refueling and rearming sites, to launch hide positions to actual launch sites. At each point or link in the chain there are vulnerabilities that can be attacked. This has been in use for about a decade in South Korea along with KMPR and Korean Missile Defense. These are the main ROK military concepts: Kill Chain, KMPR, and KMD. They are all linked and overlapping. Kill Chain is before missile launch, KMD is defense during and against a missile in flight, and KMPR is the after or response to an attack. Before, During, and After.

Kill chain is not new and it is not exclusive to the ROK. It is also not rocket science., but everyone likes to make a bigger deal out of this than it is and everyone gets wrapped around the axle on words like decapitation. It is all sensationalism in reporting by the ROKs.

https://www.reuters.com/world/skorea-doubles-down-risky-kill-chain-plans-counter-nkorea-nuclear-threat-2022-07-26/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kill_chain#:~:text=A%20new%20American%20military%20contingency,if%20a%20conflict%20seems%20imminent.


U.S. to Enrage Kim Jong Un With Assassination Dry Run

The Daily Beast · August 3, 2022

Photo Illustration by Luis G. Rendon/The Daily Beast/Getty

SEOUL—The U.S and South Korea are about to play war games again, and this time they’re going for the jugular.

For their first joint military exercises in five years, the Americans and South Koreans will polish up what military people here call the “kill chain” in which they target the North’s missile and nuclear sites plus bases needed to supply, refuel, and rearm them.

Sources familiar with the U.S.-South Korea military alliance say the games will climax in a “decapitation” exercise where they play at invading the heart of the North Korean command structure and taking out the leader, Kim Jong Un. Although it’s only a game, he’s sure to take it personally as he did in September 2017 when he ordered the North’s sixth, and most recent, nuclear test after that year’s war games.

“If you get the head of the military forces (which is Kim Jong Un), theoretically you gut the head of the snake.”

— David Maxwell, retired U.S. Army Special Forces colonel

The U.S. will not acknowledge—formally or officially—that decapitation is on the agenda. Unofficially, though, that’s the name of the game, as explained to The Daily Beast by those familiar with the upcoming exercise as well as the exercises of five years ago.

Analysts warned the mere mention of decapitation infuriates Kim, already intimidated by the concept of the “kill chain.” Fearful of assassination, wary of discontent among his own poverty-stricken people, he’s reportedly tightened security.

One of Kim’s greatest fears is being caught out in the open in a drone attack similar to those that killed al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri at his home in Kabul on Sunday and Iran’s most feared military commander, Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani. Aware that he could well be the primary target in any “preemptive strike,” Kim makes himself extremely hard to find, only moving about at night, in different vehicles, accompanied by dozens of bodyguards.

“Decapitation is a mission to capture or kill a high-value target, e.g., manhunting,” David Maxwell, a retired U.S. Army Special Forces colonel who joined in the annual games during his five tours in South Korea, told The Daily Beast. “If you get the head of the military forces (which is Kim Jong Un), theoretically you gut the head of the snake.”

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and South Korea’s defense minister, Lee Jong-sup, agreed last weekend on holding the exercises for the first time since Donald Trump canceled them right after his summit with Kim in Singapore in June 2018 during which he professed they “fell in love.” The exercises, to begin this month, are called Ulchi Freedom Shield, named for a seventh-century general who defeated Chinese invaders.

The decision of the Americans and South Koreans to tighten their bond by joining forces on land, air, and sea fulfills the promises of South Korea’s conservative President Yoon Suk-yeol to improve strained relations. His predecessor, the left-leaning Moon Jae-in, reluctantly tolerated exercises only on computers rather than real live war games, which are seen as essential for the alliance, because he wanted to pursue reconciliation with the North. Now U.S. and Korean forces will go beyond their theoretical command post exercises, known as CPX, to field training exercises (FTX), in a show which Ankit Panda of the Carnegie Endowment said “could involve significant mobilization.” About 50,000 South Korean and nearly 20,000 U.S. troops joined in the last such games five years go.

The “kill chain,” said Panda, is the first axis of South Korea’s “three-axis defense plan” focusing “on the intelligence and strike capabilities necessary to detect and preempt North Korean missile launches.” Second is “Korea Massive Punishment and Retaliation,” KMPR, climaxing in the decapitation in which special forces snuff the target—one Kim Jong Un—in an intricately choreographed shock strike. Third is air and missile defense.

“The ‘kill chain’ concept emerged about 10 or so years ago,” said Steve Tharpe, who’s made a career here first as an army officer, then as a civilian official with the U.S. command. “It involves detection and preemptive strike if an impending North Korean major attack is certain. Leadership decapitation would be part of the KMPR.”

U.S and South Korean troops will play the war games at a time of mounting tensions between the two Koreas. Kim has promised to “annihilate” South Korea in what he called “a grave warning to the conservative South Korean government and warmongers” in response to reports the South was seriously considering a “preemptive strike” against the North’s nuclear and missile facilities.

For the first time Kim mentioned Yoon by name, warning his government could be “wiped out” by the North’s “nuclear deterrent.” The U.S., by “holding large-scale joint exercises,” he said, is pushing relations “to a point that is irreversible.”

Analysts are convinced North Korea is ready for its seventh nuclear test—its first since 2017—as the Americans and South Koreans target Kim and his closest aides in another decapitation game.

“Decapitation resembles attacks on the North Korean nuclear forces in that you have to locate the target, refine that location and identify the possible munitions that could be used against it,” said Bruce Bennett, long-time Korea analyst at the RAND Corporation. “The first task could be done by a drone or reconnaissance aircraft,” he said, but Seoul also has decided “to create a brigade of special forces to help perform this function.”

This brigade, he said, “would presumably be inserted into various locations in North Korea, presumably in North Korean uniforms, trying to find evidence of Kim’s presence or the presence of other regime leaders, refine that information, and then direct an attack on the target.” The attack “could be assisted by drones” or “simply involve shining a laser on the target, simulating the giving of guidance for a laser guided bomb.”

“I personally think that the preemptive strike option against North Korea is a bad idea,” Steve Tharpe told The Daily Beast, “It would immediately lead to a full-scale war—a resumption of full-scale warfare—Korean War: Part II.”

Another Korean War, he predicted, “would make the war in Ukraine pale in comparison, even if nuclear weapons weren’t used.” And “if nerve agents and nukes are used, we would probably see a greater number of deaths here than occurred during the fighting from 1950 to 1953—Korean War: Part I”

Tharpe is confident the North Korean leadership doesn’t want another all-out Korean War knowing “that will lead to their demise regardless of how many casualties they inflict.” The danger, he said, “is a misjudgment of the situation that leads to unnecessary war.”

Credit the military of South Korea, the Republic of Korea, with introducing the term “kill chain” in the first place. “It’s an ROK concept of how to defend South Korea,” a spokesman at the headquarters of U.S. Forces Korea and the United Nations Command told The Daily Beast. What it means, said a South Korean military spokesman, is: “When North Korea fires missiles, we will attack the North Korean missile system.”

Neither the American nor South Korean spokesmen, however, would talk about “decapitation,” an informal term for the grand finale to the “kill chain”—and a word seen as exacerbating tensions.

“I would caution against saying publicly that ‘decapitation’ of North Korea’s leadership might be the premise of any exercise,” said Evans Revere, a retired senior U.S. diplomat who’s been focusing on North Korea issues for years. “Suggesting that elimination of Kim Jong Un and his inner circle would be the goal of the alliance would deeply anger the North Korean regime and require the strongest possible response from Pyongyang.”

North Korea “understands what the United States and the Republic of Korea are capable of doing and what they might try to do in the event of a conflict,” said Revere. “There’s no need to rub Pyongyang’s face in this harsh reality.”

The notion of rehearsing the assassination of Kim Jong Un by beheading his regime inevitably raises questions among those who would love to get rid of the man but wonder if killing him would solve all that much. Undoubtedly there would be a power struggle, possibly including his younger sister Kim Yo Jong, waiting in the wings, but then what?

Colonel Maxwell compared possible decapitation to the killing of Osama Bin Laden. “Does it work in practice or only in theory,” he asked, suggesting decapitation of the head might not accomplish the goal of destroying the enemy.

Choi Jin-wook, president of the Center for Strategic and Cultural Studies in Seoul, saw decapitation as crucial to victory. “For a dictatorship like North Korea,” he told The Daily Beast, “it is the best strategy to get rid of the dictator to win the war.”

The Daily Beast · August 3, 2022



3. Yoon Suk-yeol speaks with Nancy Pelosi but only on the phone


While there is criticism because President Yoon did not meet in person with Speaker Pelosi (I am sure his vacation was previously scheduled and I wam sure she or her team knew that there would not be a meeting with President Yoon) I think we should put things in perspective concerning the alliance.


Rather than a Pelosi-Yoon meeting I think it is more important that Korea stand up to China on substantive issues such as the three No's (no additional THAAD deployment , no participation in integrated missile defense and no trilateral ROK-Japan-US alliance). China is pressuring the ROK to adhere to the Three No's.


Excerpts:


However, the Yoon Suk-yeol administration's stance on China's claim is that the Three Nos is just a measure that the Moon Jae-in administration had pursued at the time, not an official policy.

"The Three Nos are not something we had promised to China. As far as I know, the government at the time had only explained it as its position toward China," Park said.

"The Three Nos policy is directly related to our sovereignty, and it should be us making decisions on our own security. It would be hard to accept if China tells us to continue the Three Nos."
https://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/nation/2022/08/120_333789.html


Yoon has already said he will welcome additional deployment of THAAD and there is talk of the ROK potentially purchasing its own systems. The ROK is participating this month in Pacific Dragon which is a trilateral missile defense exercise with Japan and the US. While we are a long way from a trilateral alliance, the ROK is taking steps to try to improve the relationship with Japan (and remember improved trilateral cooperation is the 7th item on the 10 item action list of the White House's INDOPACIFIC strategy.


And most importantly the ROK and the US have agreed to step up readiness exercises with the new Ulchi Freedom Shield later this month but also many other exercises on land and sea and in the air to include the deployment of strategic assets.  The Extended Deterrence Working Group will also restart coordination in September after a 5-year hiatus.


I would much rather have ROK action and positions on all of the above issues than have a meeting between Pelosi and Yoon.




Thursday

August 4, 2022


Yoon Suk-yeol speaks with Nancy Pelosi but only on the phone

https://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/2022/08/04/national/diplomacy/korea-us-pelosi/20220804174229178.html


National Assembly Speaker Kim Jin-pyo right, and U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, speak with the press following a meeting at the Assembly in Yeouido, western Seoul, on Thursday. [YONHAP]

President Yoon Suk-yeol and U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi affirmed their commitment to the Korea-U.S. alliance — on a phone call.

 

Although Pelosi was welcomed on all previous stops of an Indo-Pacific tour by presidents or prime ministers – in Singapore, Malaysia and Taiwan – Seoul’s presidential office decided not to schedule a meeting for Pelosi while she was in Seoul on Wednesday and Thursday, saying Yoon was on holiday.

 

Yoon is on holiday this week, although plans to go out of Seoul were cancelled Monday because of plummeting approval ratings. So he was in Seoul when Pelosi was. 

 

In the phone call, Yoon said he highly appreciated Pelosi’s “long-term commitment to the promotion of liberal democracy and human rights,” and asked for her continued support for the development of a global comprehensive strategic alliance between Korea and the United States, according to his office.

 

Pelosi was quoted as stressing the importance of the U.S.-Korea alliance as “a key pillar for regional peace and stability.”

 

After criticism of Yoon from some lawmakers for not meeting Pelosi, Choi Young-bum, the senior presidential secretary for public relations, said Thursday that Yoon’s unavailability for an in-person meeting due to his holiday schedule was “already explained” to the American delegation, and the delegation “fully understood.”


 

When Pelosi last visited Seoul, which was as U.S. House minority leader in 2015, she met with President Park Geun-hye.

 

Pelosi and her delegation including House representatives Gregory Meeks and Andy Kim flew into Seoul late Wednesday evening after a highly controversial stop in Taiwan. 

 

Taiwan, a touchy issue with China, is a topic that the Korean government rarely makes public comments about.

 

But the muted welcome given to Pelosi led to a heated debate between political parties in Korea on whether Seoul had committed a diplomatic gaffe. 

 

Photos of her arrival released by U.S. Ambassador to Korea Philip Goldberg on Twitter late Wednesday night showed Pelosi and the delegation descending from an American Air Force jet to a red carpet lined with American officials and military personnel -- with no sign of anyone from the Korean government. 

 

“It’s been communicated in advance with the American side that the National Assembly wouldn’t send anyone to welcome the delegation,” said a press official of the Assembly speaker’s office.

 

Choi, the presidential secretary, also said Thursday that “the American [delegation] said there was no need for the Assembly to send anyone because their landing time would be quite late at night.”

 

Pelosi met with Speaker Kim Jin-pyo at the National Assembly in Yeouido, western Seoul, on Thursday. 

 

The two discussed the security alliance and reaffirmed their commitment to the denuclearization of North Korea.

 

“Both sides expressed their concerns about the dire situation and the heightened threats by North Korea,” Kim said in a joint press meeting following their meeting. “We are committed to achieving tangible denuclearization of North Korea and peace on the Korean Peninsula through international cooperation and diplomatic dialogue.”

 

Pelosi stressed the values Washington and Seoul share when it comes to addressing regional issues in addition to North Korea.

 

“When we come and travel as a delegation, our three known pillars are security, economics and governance,” Pelosi said. “And [on] all three of those areas the U.S.-South Korea relationship is very strong.”

 

Pelosi and her delegation visited the Joint Security Area of the demilitarized zone on Thursday afternoon. They were to travel to Tokyo Thursday evening.

 

She may be meeting with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, according to Japanese media outlets including NHK. 

 


BY ESTHER CHUNG [chung.juhee@joongang.co.kr]



4.  How the US can curb the North Korean nuclear threat


Missile defense.


​Excerpts:


North Korea is not any stronger than in the past, but with renewed protection from China and Russia, it does have more space to act recklessly and spark confrontation. It has launched at least eighteen ballistic missiles this year alone, including its first test in March of an intercontinental ballistic missile since 2017. Two months later, just after US President Joe Biden’s first presidential trip to Asia, North Korea fired three missiles. And in early June, days after the USS Ronald Reagan concluded a three-day naval exercise with South Korea, North Korea launched eight more.
...
​The Biden administration and Congress are both acting in a responsible and deliberative manner to strengthen deterrence against North Korea. Strategically, the administration’s February 2022 “Indo-Pacific Strategy of the United States” rightfully calls for advancing integrated deterrence and working with Congress to fund the Pacific Deterrence Initiative to deter aggression and counter coercion. The Department of Defense’s (DoD) March 2022 National Defense Strategy prioritizes, among other elements, defending the homeland and deterring strategic attacks against the United States. While North Korea is not the leading threat in the strategy, it is nevertheless a prominent side show for defense planners.
​...
Given the near-certainty of North Korea refining its long-range missile arsenal and its nuclear-weapons complex, the United States must invest in tools that greatly reduce North Korean threats to the homeland. But long-range missiles are just one element of deterrence. US adversaries are increasingly developing hypersonic and cruise missile capabilities—technologies that make these projectile increasingly fast and maneuverable. Investments now in enhancing missile detection and interdiction capacity are fundamental to making sure the United States is not held hostage to North Korea and likeminded regimes.
It will be critical for the Biden administration’s budget to continue to reflect capabilities needed to address both homeland and regional threats. It must ensure policymakers are adequately funding the MDA, given the agency’s increasing demands. The United States no longer has the luxury of prioritizing homeland over regional affairs, or vice versa. It needs credible defenses against the likes of both North Korea and China.
The good news is that the Biden administration and Congress are both moving in the right direction—but they should also not lose focus on the longer-term strategy. Staying ahead of the qualitative and quantitative missile threat North Korea poses to the homeland is vital to US national defense.

How the US can curb the North Korean nuclear threat

New Atlanticist

August 3, 2022


​​


By Todd Rosenblum

atlanticcouncil.org · · August 3, 2022




Countering Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and keeping Chinese global influence in check is rightfully dominating the national-security agenda in Washington. But what about North Korea—whose saber-rattling continued to vex the Beltway long before Russia stole its attention? While the recently shifted world order hasn’t changed the nature of the threat from Pyongyang, it’s still imperative for Washington to stay committed to its investments in deterrence and interdiction to ensure that North Korea does not take aggressive action against South Korea, Japan, or even the US homeland.

Following the Donald Trump administration’s courting of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un and suspension of essential US-South Korean joint military exercises, Washington is now entering a period of much-needed correction. Much of that involves recalibrating expectations for US reliability and presence, reinvigorating security ties with Seoul, and staying ahead of the North Korean missile threat.

Pyongyang’s rapid and dangerous increase in testing short-, medium- and even long-range ballistic missiles this year—while possibly readying for a seventh nuclear test later this year—are not new North Korean bargaining tactics. Neither are its attempts to secure a higher and more urgent place on the US national-security threat matrix; the regime must stay high on that matrix if it wants to maintain global relevance and secure concessions from the United States.

North Korea is not any stronger than in the past, but with renewed protection from China and Russia, it does have more space to act recklessly and spark confrontation. It has launched at least eighteen ballistic missiles this year alone, including its first test in March of an intercontinental ballistic missile since 2017. Two months later, just after US President Joe Biden’s first presidential trip to Asia, North Korea fired three missiles. And in early June, days after the USS Ronald Reagan concluded a three-day naval exercise with South Korea, North Korea launched eight more.

The Biden administration and Congress are both acting in a responsible and deliberative manner to strengthen deterrence against North Korea. Strategically, the administration’s February 2022 “Indo-Pacific Strategy of the United States” rightfully calls for advancing integrated deterrence and working with Congress to fund the Pacific Deterrence Initiative to deter aggression and counter coercion. The Department of Defense’s (DoD) March 2022 National Defense Strategy prioritizes, among other elements, defending the homeland and deterring strategic attacks against the United States. While North Korea is not the leading threat in the strategy, it is nevertheless a prominent side show for defense planners.

The White House has also reversed the slide in funding for missile-defense spending that occurred during the Trump administration. Funding is up to ten billion dollars in Fiscal Year 2022 for the DoD’s Missile Defense Agency (MDA); this will ensure adequate and sustainable funding for new Next Generation Interceptors and associated radars and sensors, which are vital for deterring North Korea from launching ballistic missiles toward the United States. The DoD is expected to deploy twenty Next Generation Interceptors starting in 2028, and the MDA has reportedly already set four critical flight tests as part of its commitment to “fly before you buy” principles. The rigorous testing effort and ultimate deployments will further strengthen the credibility of US deterrence because North Korea will have less confidence that a launch against the homeland will be successful.

The political repair job needed in Asia to counter the North Korean threat is also underway. In May, Biden and new South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol met in Seoul and agreed to resume robust joint military exercises. These exercises are more than symbolic, as they demonstrate readiness, foster unity of purpose, and signal the strength of this key strategic alliance. They also encourage vital closer trilateral cooperation among the United States, Japan, and South Korea on countering North Korean provocations—and, even more broadly, signal to China that the United States is not conceding its presence in Northeast Asia.

Yet North Korea does not seem prepared to change course. In April, Kim Jong Un announced his intent to “strengthen and develop” Pyongyang’s nuclear forces at the “highest possible” speed. Today, the country also has far more room to be provocative because China and Russia are in an open adversarial competition with the United States for leadership in the Indo-Pacific. For Beijing, at least, it is a useful lever to pull when regional instability serves its interests in that competition. It could, for example, give Pyongyang tacit approval to engage in sea-based incursions of Japanese or South Korean territorial waters to pull US attention from deterring Chinese aggression against Taiwan. Moscow, too, could threaten to export advanced missile technologies to North Korea if Washington fails to ease some sanctions or stop sending weapons to Ukraine.

To be sure, there are limits to how much North Korea can further destabilize the region and credibly threaten the United States. It has indeed already established that it can develop nuclear weapons and possesses the ability to launch long-range missiles at the United States; Pyongyang also is improving the range, reliability, and volume of its missile and nuclear-weapons complex. But this ability to threaten the United States has existed for nearly ten years—and adding more offensive capacity does not alter the fundamental balance of power, since the United States is adding more defensive capacity.

So where does this leave the Biden administration? In a sense, back to the future: It has all but re-adopted the Obama-Bush-Clinton approach of attempting to negotiate an end to North Korea’s nuclear and long-range missile programs through inducements, threats, and punishment. For its part, North Korea has shown no meaningful movement toward giving up its strategic arsenal. The negotiating situation has been stagnant for an entire generation.

Given the near-certainty of North Korea refining its long-range missile arsenal and its nuclear-weapons complex, the United States must invest in tools that greatly reduce North Korean threats to the homeland. But long-range missiles are just one element of deterrence. US adversaries are increasingly developing hypersonic and cruise missile capabilities—technologies that make these projectile increasingly fast and maneuverable. Investments now in enhancing missile detection and interdiction capacity are fundamental to making sure the United States is not held hostage to North Korea and likeminded regimes.

It will be critical for the Biden administration’s budget to continue to reflect capabilities needed to address both homeland and regional threats. It must ensure policymakers are adequately funding the MDA, given the agency’s increasing demands. The United States no longer has the luxury of prioritizing homeland over regional affairs, or vice versa. It needs credible defenses against the likes of both North Korea and China.

The good news is that the Biden administration and Congress are both moving in the right direction—but they should also not lose focus on the longer-term strategy. Staying ahead of the qualitative and quantitative missile threat North Korea poses to the homeland is vital to US national defense.

Todd Rosenblum is a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council and served as acting assistant secretary for homeland defense at the Pentagon from 2011-2015.





5. Yoon and Pelosi speak by phone for 40 minutes


The Yoon administration reacts to criticism for not scheduling a meeting with the Speaker.



Thursday

August 4, 2022


Yoon and Pelosi speak by phone for 40 minutes

https://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/2022/08/04/national/diplomacy/Korea-Yoon-Sukyeol-president/20220804171659088.html

 


President Yoon Suk-yeol, left, and U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi [YONHAP]

 

President Yoon Suk-yeol and U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke in a 40-minute phone call Thursday afternoon and discussed the U.S.-South Korea alliance.

 

According to the presidential office Thursday, Yoon asked Pelosi for close cooperation with U.S. Congress to deepen the alliance between the two countries. Pelosi in turn called for South Korea to participate in building a free, open Indo-Pacific order.

 

Yoon called Pelosi’s visit to the Korean demilitarized zone a sign of strong deterrence against North Korea.

 

Pelosi is visiting South Korea after making a trip to Taiwan, which China protested. She met with National Assembly Speaker Kim Jin-pyo at Yeouido in western Seoul before speaking with Yoon by phone.

 


BY LIM JEONG-WON [lim.jeongwon@joongang.co.kr]



6.  N. Korea's U.N. mission lambasts U.S. over criticism of its nuke program



Admit nothing, deny everything, make counter accusations.




N. Korea's U.N. mission lambasts U.S. over criticism of its nuke program | Yonhap News Agency

en.yna.co.kr · by 채윤환 · August 4, 2022

SEOUL, Aug. 4 (Yonhap) -- North Korea's permanent mission to the United Nations has issued a rare press statement in response to U.S. condemnation of its nuclear program during a U.N. session, according to state media Thursday.

It slammed Washington over its "anti-DPRK confrontational clamor" during the 10th Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) at the U.N. headquarters in New York. DPRK is the acronym for the North's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

"Today, the mastermind that undermines the foundation of the non-proliferation regime is none other than the United States," read the English-language statement issued Wednesday and carried by the official Korean Central News Agency. "It is the peak of busy blaming that the United States alleges somebody's 'nuclear threats' given the fact that it is the kingpin of nuclear proliferation."

"We will never tolerate any attempt by the U.S. and its servile forces to groundlessly accuse our state and encroach upon our sovereign rights and national interests," it added.

Addressing the NPT conference on Monday, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Pyongyang continues to expand its "unlawful nuclear program" and continues its "ongoing provocations against the region."


yunhwanchae@yna.co.kr

(END)

en.yna.co.kr · by 채윤환 · August 4, 2022


7. Prosecutors busy researching fishermen repatriation case





Wednesday

August 3, 2022


Prosecutors busy researching fishermen repatriation case

https://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/2022/08/03/national/northKorea/Korea-fishermen-Suh-Hoon/20220803185545835.html


Former National Intelligence Service Director Suh Hoon

 

Prosecutors are building a case against former government officials involved in the forced repatriation of two North Korean fishermen, sources told the JoongAng Ilbo on Wednesday.

 

The case is expected to pick up speed now that two key figures in the case returned to Korea in the past week.

 

Former Unification Minister Kim Yeon-chul and former National Intelligence Service (NIS) Director Suh Hoon, who returned to the country from the United States on July 26 and 30, are in prosecutors’ crosshairs for their roles in the deportation of two North Korean fishermen after they crossed into South Korean waters in the East Sea in November 2019. 

 

Accused of killing the captain and 15 fellow crew members aboard their fishing vessel, they were sent back to the North five days after their capture by the South Korean Navy and a brief inter-agency investigation.

 

In early July, the NIS filed a complaint against Suh, alleging that he violated the National Intelligence Service Act by prematurely terminating the investigation into the two fishermen and fabricating documents in relation to the case.

 

The Unification Ministry, which Kim headed from April 2019 to June 2020, handled the repatriation of the two fishermen and obtained permission from the United Nations Command (UNC) to use the inter-Korean truce village of Panmunjom to return them.

 

Current Unification Minister Kwon Young-se said last month in a radio interview that the UNC was unaware that the civilians returning to the North via Panmunjom were being repatriated against their will, and that the UNC lodged a strong complaint with the ministry after the incident.

 

The repatriation of the fishermen has re-emerged as a major political controversy since President Yoon Suk-yeol took office.

 

Democratic Party officials have defended the Moon administration’s deportation decision by citing Article 9 of the North Korean Defectors’ Act, which stipulates that escapees “who commit murder and other non-political crimes may be excluded from protection.”

 

Chung Eui-yong, former chief of the National Security Office (NSO) under Moon, described the fishermen as “vicious criminals” in a statement last month and argued their deportation was the best measure to ensure the safety of South Korean society, even if it lacked due process.

 

“It would have been practically impossible to punish them based only on their confessions,” Chung claimed, arguing that “no South Korean court has ever exercised jurisdiction over violent criminal acts committed by a North Korean against another North Korean.”

 

But prosecutors appear to be ready to challenge that argument. 

 

According to a state prosecution service official who spoke to the JoongAng Ilbo on Wednesday, prosecutors are looking into a 2016 case where a North Korean manager who worked at a Pyongyang-operated restaurant in Yanji, northeastern China, was found by the Seoul Central District Court to be guilty of causing bodily injury to one of the employees before they both defected to the South. 

 

Although the manager argued that any crimes he committed outside of South Korea before his defection should not be subject to the court’s jurisdiction, the court ruled that crimes by North Koreans abroad are justiciable by South Korean courts since the South Korean constitution claims all of the Korean Peninsula as its territory — and its people as its citizens by extension.

 

“South Korean courts have jurisdiction over crimes committed by the defendant, who is a North Korean defector, even in foreign countries such as China,” the judgement read.

 

According to the official, prosecutors plan to use that case to support their argument that the fishermen should have been admitted as defectors regardless of the criminal accusations against them.

 

The case could also support the indictment of Suh and Kim on charges of violating the fishermen’s right to due process under the Constitution as South Korean citizens.

 


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


8. N. Korea reports no new suspected COVID-19 cases for 6th day: state media



north Korea's positive narrative continues. Has north Korea successfully defended against COVID?  


(2nd LD) N. Korea reports no new suspected COVID-19 cases for 6th day: state media | Yonhap News Agency

en.yna.co.kr · by 채윤환 · August 4, 2022

(ATTN: UPDATES with S. Korean official's remarks, details in last paras)

By Chae Yun-hwan

SEOUL, Aug. 4 (Yonhap) -- North Korea's new suspected COVID-19 cases stayed at zero for the sixth consecutive day, with apparently no remaining fever patients under treatment, according to its state media Thursday.

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 additional deaths or those under treatment. 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. Wednesday stood at 4.77 million and 99.998 percent of them had recovered, it added, reporting five new recoveries.

The previous day, the KCNA had said that five patients were being treated, suggesting that all fever patients have recovered.


Despite the apparent absence of new fever cases, the KCNA said the country is still maintaining its antivirus measures.

"Activities for consolidating the current anti-epidemic situation and preventing the outbreak of new epidemics are intensified across the country," it said in a separate English-language report. "Unified command and control over the overall anti-epidemic work is maintained."

Health authorities have introduced a "quadruple test information system for COVID-19" and are implementing preventative measures against the spread of other infectious diseases entering the country, considering the global spread of monkeypox, it added.

In Seoul, a South Korean government official was cautious about whether or when the unpredictable North will declare an end to the coronavirus crisis.

Speaking to reporters on background, the unification ministry official cited the need to keep an eye on Pyongyang's moves, rather than making hasty predictions. North Korea observers say the Kim Jong-un regime is likely to make a related decision, taking local political situations and the spread of other contagious viruses at home into consideration.

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

yunhwanchae@yna.co.kr

(END)

en.yna.co.kr · by 채윤환 · August 4, 2022


9.  North Korean authorities try to stop rise in street prostitution in cities



This is not the market activity we want to see. But it is Kim Jong Un's deliberate decision to close the borders and crack down on market activities​ of goods that is driving people to this for survival. If Kim wants this to stop then he needs to allow the Korean people to ue teoir markets without interference.




North Korean authorities try to stop rise in street prostitution in cities

As the country’s economic crisis worsens, sources say young women are turning to sex work to support themselves.

By Chang Gyu Ahn for RFA Korean

2022.08.03

rfa.org

North Korean authorities are scrambling to deter a rapid rise in prostitution in the country’s major cities as a dire economy pushes more women into the sex trade, sources inside the country said.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un ordered authorities to act to prevent prostitution from spreading in the reclusive and impoverished nation, a resident of the northeastern city of Chongjin in North Hamgyong province told RFA on Monday.

The Ministry of Social Security and the Socialist Patriotic Youth League, which is the country’s main youth organization under the direct control of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of North Korea, are moving in cities such as Chongjin and Hamhung to stop young women from selling themselves.

“The crackdown began when a central official in Pyongyang submitted a proposal after he saw some women propositioning men on the street for prostitution at night,” said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity for safety reasons.

“Kim Jong Un signed onto the proposal of the official and ordered the Social Security Department and the Socialist Patriotic Youth League to take action,” he said.

Though illegal, prostitution is generally tolerated in North Korea, with occasional crackdowns by local authorities looking to extract bribes from those they catch.

But North Korea’s economic paralysis due to the authoritarian regime's extreme measures to battle the COVID-19 virus and the effects of ongoing international economic sanctions have left ordinary citizens under extreme financial distress.

The Ministry of Social Security and the Socialist Patriotic Youth League are jointly conducting intensive crackdowns on prostitution and providing ideological education for young people to ensure they adhere to socialist mores, the Chongjin resident said. The two organizations have mobilized day and night patrols to surveil places where the crime occurs, such as train stations and parks.

Additionally, the Socialist Patriotic Youth League is increasing its ideological education for young people in an effort to deter them from selling their bodies for money, the resident said.

On July 30, district-level organizations divided league members into groups and gathered them together for lectures, he said.

“Kim Jong Un’s message to reject decadent reactionary thought and culture and not get involved in antisocialism was delivered,” the source said.

Also on July 30, the Socialist Patriotic Youth League held a meeting in Chingjin’s Sunam district to publicly criticize several young female prostitutes.

“The meeting was a form of public shaming, with each of the eight women on the stage revealing their names, ages, home addresses, and their jobs, and forcing them to criticize themselves.

“More than half of the women caught in several intensive crackdowns are reportedly from other regions. It seems that women, whose lives have become difficult due to lockdown measures and movement control for three years, have been forced to engage in prostitution for themselves and their families,” he said.

Doing anything for money

A resident of the city of Hamhung in the eastern province of South Hamgyong told RFA on Monday that local officials from the Ministry of Social Security and the Socialist Patriotic Youth League were searching train stations, parks and streets for suspected prostitutes.

“About 30 women were arrested on the first day of the crackdown around Hamhung Station, held jointly by the Ministry of Social Security and the Youth League last week,” said the source who declined to be named for safety reasons.

Most of the women were in their 20s, but several were teenagers who were recent high school graduates, she said.

Many women have become prostitutes due to financial hardship, and more and more of them are begging men to pay for sex as they wait for the train at Hamhung Station at night, the woman said. Some men arrange to use the services of prostitutes under the pretext of staying overnight while waiting for a train, she added.

Prostitutes in Hamhung usually are paid 80,000-50,000 won (U.S. $11.40-$21.40) for their services, though some women at the train station get as little as 30,000 won (U.S. $4.30), she said.

“Even during daylight, I often see women roaming around crowded places like train stations for prostitution,” the second source said.

“Most of the women who go into prostitution are people in need, but there are cases where this is not the case,” the resident said.

“As our society gradually transforms into a society where anything is possible with money, the interest in earning money is growing,” she added. “I am worried that there is a growing tendency among residents who do not hesitate to do anything for money.”

In August 2020, RFA reported that more than 50 female students of two prominent Pyongyang performing arts colleges were sent to a labor camp for their alleged involvement in a prostitution ring that catered to the capital city’s elites.

Many of the young women were driven into prostitution by poverty brought on by endless demands from their highly selective schools for fees, North Korean sources said.

Translated by Claire Shinyoung Oh Lee and Leejin J. Chung for RFA Korean. Written in English by Roseanne Gerin.


rfa.org




10. Korea has its say at Asean meetings


This is also why the Foreing Minister could not meet with the Speaker.


The Foreign Minister is showing Korea stepping up as a global pivotal state."


Excerpts:


On issues in the South China Sea and the Ukraine war, Park said solutions must be sought within the framework of international laws and norms. 
 
Park is in Cambodia through the week to attend the Asean Regional Forum, a coalition of 27 countries including the United States, Russia, China and Japan, scheduled on Friday.
 
Other sideline meetings included a meeting with Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi and an Asean Plus Three foreign ministerial meeting on Thursday, a coalition of Asean members and Korea, China and Japan.  


Thursday

August 4, 2022

Korea has its say at Asean meetings

https://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/2022/08/04/national/diplomacy/korea-asean-us/20220804185009550.html


Foreign Minister Park Jin, fifth from left, and foreign ministers of Asean member states meet in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on Thursday to discuss post-pandemic recovery, North Korea, Myanmar and other issues. [MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS]

The South China Sea, North Korea, Ukraine and Myanmar were discussed by Korea and Asean members at a foreign ministerial meeting in Phnom Penh on Thursday.

 

“In sharing an evaluation of the situation on the Korean Peninsula, including North Korea's unprecedented launch of ballistic missiles this year, Minister Park Jin asked for Asean's cooperation on pursuing complete denuclearization of North Korea through diplomacy,” the foreign ministry said in a statement Thursday. 

 

Park also brought up the Myanmar, including executions of pro-democracy activists by the military junta. 

 

“While expressing a strong condemnation of the worsening situation in Myanmar, including executions of activists, Park also explained that the Korean government is making continuous efforts to contribute to a resolution on the Myanmar problem, including via humanitarian aid of $5.6 million this year,” said the ministry.

 

On issues in the South China Sea and the Ukraine war, Park said solutions must be sought within the framework of international laws and norms. 

 

Park is in Cambodia through the week to attend the Asean Regional Forum, a coalition of 27 countries including the United States, Russia, China and Japan, scheduled on Friday.

 

Other sideline meetings included a meeting with Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi and an Asean Plus Three foreign ministerial meeting on Thursday, a coalition of Asean members and Korea, China and Japan. 

 

Regional economic developments including the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) that launched for most members this year, as well as post-pandemic recovery were discussed at the Asean Plus Three meeting, according to the Foreign Ministry. 

 

“The participants to the forum expressed high expectations for how the RCEP will contribute to a more stable supply chain in the region,” said the Foreign Ministry. “Park also expressed Korea’s intention to actively take part in the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework [IPEF] to ensure sustainable growth and development of the regional economy.”

 

RCEP is a free trade agreement between Asean and China, Japan, Korea, Australia and New Zealand, and the IPEF a U.S.-led economic coalition consisting of seven Asean members including Vietnam and Singapore, as well as Korea, Japan and Australia.

 

U.S-China tensions were raised with U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan on Wednesday and the Chinese ramping up of military activities in waters near the island. 

 

At the Asean Regional Forum, where both U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Chinse Foreign Minister Wang Yi were scheduled to take part, discussions on topics such as the South China Sea may further escalate tensions.

 

“ARF is a forum where members discuss regional issues comprehensively,” said Ahn Eun-ju, deputy spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry, in a press briefing on Thursday. “Accordingly, issues related to the South China Sea have been discussed in the past and are expected to be discussed again this time.”

 

It was unclear as of press time Thursday whether Park will host a separate meeting with Wang during their visits to Cambodia.  

 

The two were scheduled to meet next Tuesday in Beijing, according to a presidential official on Thursday. 

 

 


BY ESTHER CHUNG [chung.juhee@joongang.co.kr]



11. A phone call is not enough (Korean President and US Speaker)



​I think this criticism is overblown. South Korea did far more to upset China by saying "Hell no" to China's "three no's" demand. And I am convinced the coordination for the trip and the decision not to was made before the trip to Taiwan was announced. As I said I think it is far more important to say no to China's three no's as well as increase military readiness, participate in trilateral missile defense exercises and all the other alliance strengthening actions that are taking place.


Excerpts:


The presidential office says that Yoon did not meet Pelosi as he was on vacation. The president may have accepted the request from aides for their boss to take a rest without interruption. Certainly, he is entitled to relax after a three-months of work even without the honeymoon period. But all schedules for the president should be carefully coordinated so not to cause any risks for the country. In other words, there should not be any conflict between a presidential vacation and diplomatic meetings with foreign VIPs. Yoon’s hurried phone conversation with Pelosi at the last minute shows the inappropriateness of his earlier decision to not meet her. We wonder why he chose a phone talk instead of a face-to-face meeting.


Security experts link the presidential office’s decision to China’s apparent opposition shortly after her visit to Taiwan, a symbol of the U.S.-China conflict. The government’s wish to not irk Beijing ahead of Foreign Minister Park Jin’s imminent trip to China may have played a part. If that’s true, it cannot match the “dignified diplomacy” the Yoon administration upholds, not to mention sending the wrong signal to both the U.S. and China.


Thursday

August 4, 2022


A phone call is not enough

https://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/2022/08/04/opinion/editorials/Pelosi-Yoon-Sukyeol-vacation/20220804203342808.html


U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s recent trip to East Asia was not a customary visit of a heavyweight politician in America. In the face of a vehement protests from China, she visited Taiwan defying Beijing’s One China policy and strongly emphasized the values of democracy and freedom in the country. She went on to visit South Korea and Japan to consolidate alliance with them. During her visits to those countries, Pelosi not only put pressure on China and North Korea but also made remarks directly related to South Korea’s economic interests. In Singapore, Malaysia, and all other countries she went to, Pelosi met with her legislative counterparts and heads of state to share her opinions about the volatile international situation and economic security issues. The only exception was President Yoon Suk-yeol of South Korea.


Given his persistent championing of a reinforced Korea-U.S. alliance as top diplomatic priority of his administration, Yoon’s decision to not meet Pelosi is hard to understand. To make matters worse, no one from the National Assembly or government went to the airport to greet her. That’s serious diplomatic discourtesy.


The presidential office says that Yoon did not meet Pelosi as he was on vacation. The president may have accepted the request from aides for their boss to take a rest without interruption. Certainly, he is entitled to relax after a three-months of work even without the honeymoon period. But all schedules for the president should be carefully coordinated so not to cause any risks for the country. In other words, there should not be any conflict between a presidential vacation and diplomatic meetings with foreign VIPs. Yoon’s hurried phone conversation with Pelosi at the last minute shows the inappropriateness of his earlier decision to not meet her. We wonder why he chose a phone talk instead of a face-to-face meeting.


Security experts link the presidential office’s decision to China’s apparent opposition shortly after her visit to Taiwan, a symbol of the U.S.-China conflict. The government’s wish to not irk Beijing ahead of Foreign Minister Park Jin’s imminent trip to China may have played a part. If that’s true, it cannot match the “dignified diplomacy” the Yoon administration upholds, not to mention sending the wrong signal to both the U.S. and China.


Clearly, South Korea’s relations with China are as important as with Uncle Sam. And yet, the government has no reason to not meet Pelosi. Even if it did reach the decision without considering the China factor, it could trigger misunderstandings. The decision can lead to subtle schisms in the alliance, too. If such immature diplomacy continues, the Yoon administration cannot avoid criticism.



12. The realities of N. Korea's "free medical system" laid bare



​But this is the medical system that is successfully dealing with COVID. Note: Socialism/communism (and Juche) does not work.


The realities of N. Korea's "free medical system" laid bare - Daily NK

The tragic story of a family in Pyongyang that tried to get eye surgery for their eight-year-old son

By Kim Jeong Hun - 2022.08.03 2:00pm

dailynk.com · by Kim Jeong Hun · August 3, 2022

North Koreans at a hospital in Pyongyang wearing masks in a photo published in state media in early 2020. (Rodong Sinmun)

This article is part of a series written by Daily NK journalist Kim Jeong Hun entitled “North Korea’s Secret Stories.”

It was the evening of Nov. 1, 2021, the fifth anniversary of the opening of Ryugyong General Ophthalmic Hospital in Pyongyang’s Munsu area. A shabbily dressed couple in their 40s shouted at the entrance of the hospital, imploring to “meet the hospital director or the party secretary.” They were Mr. Chu and his wife Mrs. Kim of Kallimgil-dong in Mangyongdae District, who had visited the hospital the previous year so their eight-year old son could receive an operation to correct his strabismus.

There was a reason why they were shouting at the entrance of the hospital on the anniversary of its founding, demanding to meet with hospital cadres. Even though they sold their home to pay for their son’s operation, the operation turned out badly, and they wanted to meet with cadres to protest.

In 2020, the couple — worried about their only son’s worsening strabismus — visited Ryugyong General Ophthalmic Hospital, which had grown famous on the back of widespread propaganda. The hospital told them that their son should receive an operation as soon as possible.

The couple said they would select the earliest date and go through the hospital procedures. The hospital responded with weighty words, telling the couple to hospitalize their son after a “prudent” and “determined” decision since there were many necessary steps to receiving individual treatment with a dedicated medical team.

Believing that their son urgently needed surgery, the couple unhesitatingly said they would put their son in the hospital at the earliest date, with Kim staying at his side as guardian.

However, the doctors — who had been saying the son needed surgery as soon as possible — did nothing but make rounds for the first three days of the son’s hospitalization, simply asking questions. Thinking something was amiss, Kim went to the medical staff with her husband, who had come to the hospital to bring his son’s clothes.

When the couple asked when their son could receive surgery, the medical team responded, “We will let you know when we are ready. We are trying to put a talented team on the case, but there are very few people and they have no time. If you wait your turn, it seems you’ll have to wait. We will try to make sure that action is quickly taken.”

Yet even a week later, their son still had no date for his operation.

Then one day, as Kim was waiting vacantly to learn when her son might get surgery, the guardian of another patient in the same hospital room quietly approached her. Cluing her in, she said if you pay the hospital off, you can receive operations “at the front of the line with the best doctors.” She said bringing “15 bills” — i.e., USD 1,500 — to the doctor in charge was usually enough to put the “real” doctor on the case. “That’s the etiquette and how things are done here,” she said.

It was just then that Kim realized that the people who got their surgery before her son despite being hospitalized later either had connections with cadres or had moved quickly to bribe hospital staff.

Ryugyong General Ophthalmic Hospital was promoted as a “product of the Kim Jong Un era’s philosophy of putting the people first,” but the Chu family discovered that the hospital had quietly created this “rule” because it, too, was forced to pay money up the line every year, or rely on its own resources to acquire facilities or equipment.

The couple immediately sold their three room apartment in Mangyongdae District and moved to an old, one room apartment to pay for their son’s surgery. He received the surgery fully two months after being hospitalized.

However, their son needed another operation because the first one did not go well, so the couple was forced to move to a single room in a basement to pay for the second surgery. At this point, the couple complained, “The free healthcare system, which they promote as the superiority of the socialist system, is a lie. No matter which hospital you go to, they all demand money.”

When the surgery yielded poor results even after the couple sold everything they owned, the Chu family went to the hospital on the anniversary of its founding and demanded to see hospital cadres, protesting that the hospital should “fix their son’s eyes or return their money.”

However, the hospital requested that the police in Mangyongdae District handle the matter, accusing the couple of ruining the joyous atmosphere of the fifth year anniversary event and criticizing socialist public healthcare policy. Ultimately, the police dragged the couple in and warned them that if they showed up at Ryugyong General Ophthalmic Hospital again, the police would consider stripping them of their right to reside in Pyongyang.

Kim Jong Un visited the completed Ryugyong General Ophthalmic Hospital on Oct. 18, 2016, calling it a world-class “people’s hospital” of which to be proud; he said everything about it pleased him. Expressing his satisfaction, he said he had “wanted to do something for the people, and one of his wishes had again come true.”

Afterwards, Ryugyong General Ophthalmic Hospital grew and grew, receiving state investment as a “people’s hospital” and a “base of socialist medical services.” However, with state investment and provisions shrinking every year as the nation’s economy continued to struggle, even Ryugyong General Ophthalmic Hospital was forced to put together its own cash.

The Chu family became an innocent victim to the hospital’s predicament, forced as it is to use all means and methods to put together money to achieve the party’s policy of “self-reliance” and “hard struggle.”

Please direct any comments or questions about this article to dailynkenglish@uni-media.net.

Read in Korean

dailynk.com · by Kim Jeong Hun · August 3, 2022



13. N. Korea issues order for citizens to "take good care" of ethnic Chinese residents


N. Korea issues order for citizens to "take good care" of ethnic Chinese residents - Daily NK

In N. Hamgyong Province, authorities discussed plans to permit two video calls a week between ethnic Chinese residents in China unable to return to home and their families in N. Korea

By Jong So Yong - 2022.08.03 2:54pm

dailynk.com · by Jong So Yong · August 3, 2022

Xi Jinping and Kim Jong Un shaking hands during their fourth summit in 2019. (KCNA)

North Korea’s leadership recently issued an order for the country’s citizens to “take good care” of ethnic Chinese living in the country.

A source in North Hamgyong Province told Daily NK on Tuesday that the North Hamgyong Province Party Committee responded to the Central Committee order by issuing instructions to local organizations — including the provincial branch of the Ministry of Social Security — to take interest in the well-being of ethnic Chinese who have long been unable to visit China since Pyongyang closed the nation’s borders.

In short, North Korea marked the 61st anniversary of the conclusion of the China-DPRK Treaty on Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance — signed by late North Korean founder Kim Il Sung and late Chinese premier Zhou Enlai on July 11, 1961 — by calling on authorities to look after ethnic Chinese residents and their families, emphasizing that North Korea and China are “eternally fraternal nations.”

Above all, the order stressed that authorities should educate its citizens that party policy continues to value and view ethnic Chinese residents as major assets, no matter how eventful the situation abroad may be. The order also emphasized efforts to give ethnic Chinese residents faith that they will be able to play a critical role in the building of the province and all sectors of economic life.

The order further instructed the authorities to ascertain the movements of ethnic Chinese residents and come up with party-level measures to encourage them to live as symbols of Sino-North Korean friendship. It also instructed party officials to report to their superiors what they have actually done to help ethnic Chinese residents since the directive was issued.

The source said the order emphasized the idea that authorities should “embrace” ethnic Chinese residents through generous, broadminded policies “without interfering in their individual lives or over-fixating on economic issues” since they constitute “another ethnic group and an exceptional class.”

He added that the order called on officials to visit the homes of ethnic Chinese residents “long exhausted by the COVID-19 situation” and give them hope that they will “soon be able to leave the country once the COVID-19 situation stabilizes,” while learning what troubles them and resolving whatever problems they can.

The North Hamgyong Province Party Committee responded to the order by discussing plans to allow local ethnic Chinese residents to leave the country first once people can legally cross the border again, and to permit two video calls a week between ethnic Chinese residents who have been unable to return to North Korea after leaving the country and their families back in North Korea.

The provincial party committee even crafted detailed plans for the calls. When the families must use foreign-made mobile phones for the calls, they should schedule a time and conduct the calls in the office of the Ministry of State Security officer in charge or — when they must hold the conversations at home — with security officers present.

Please direct any comments or questions about this article to dailynkenglish@uni-media.net.

Read in Korean

dailynk.com · by Jong So Yong · August 3, 2022



​14. N. Korea intensifies disease control measures amid claims of "victory" over COVID-19


Maybe they will share their "secrets" of COVID defense with the world (note sarcasm) since they have been so successful and achieved "victory.".



N. Korea intensifies disease control measures amid claims of "victory" over COVID-19 - Daily NK

“Everything in the nation runs according to political activities, regardless of whether people live or die,” a source told Daily NK

By Seulkee Jang - 2022.08.04 11:00am

dailynk.com · by Seulkee Jang · August 4, 2022

A photo published in state media on May 31 of North Korean officials wearing protective suits. (Rodong Sinmun-News1)

Over the last couple of days, North Korea has been claiming through its media that it has had no more suspected cases of COVID-19. Outwardly, North Korean authorities have been trying to generate an atmosphere in which they can declare a victory over COVID-19. Internally, however, it has been a completely different story, with the authorities bolstering quarantine controls on the public.

North Korean media has been announcing since July 29 that the country has not had a single new case of COVID-19. Judging from North Korean media reports alone, it would seem the country has gotten a handle over the disease, with no new cases emerging and complete recoveries on the rise.

However, North Korean authorities have yet to loosen internal restrictions on movement.

According to multiple sources in North Korea, North Korean authorities are limiting the issuance of documents needed for inter-regional travel, including travel certificates, business trip certificates, approval numbers and quarantine confirmations. North Koreans are not allowed to travel either for personal reasons such as weddings or funerals, or for business purposes outside of certain government duties.

A source in Yanggang Province said he tried to apply for a travel certificate, but the police did not accept his application, telling him not to even apply “because they wouldn’t be able to issue a certificate even if he did.” Put another way, the police officials affiliated with the Second Department of the local people’s committee, the department that issues the travel certificates, are turning away applications from the public.

Daily NK confirmed that the authorities are limiting the issuance of travel certificates in regions other than Yanggang Province. In some cases, officials are even refusing to accept applications.

A source in South Hwanghae Province said recent policy has been to refuse applications for travel certificates.

“The authorities have tended to regard the very act of applying as reactionary, accusing applicants of trying to rupture state quarantine efforts by recklessly moving about for personal business or personal reasons at a precipitous time, ignorant that with no new cases, the state’s emergency quarantine system has not loosened, but strengthened in a watertight fashion along with the daily lives of the people,” he said.

As recently as early this year, North Koreans in South Hwanghae Province could move from one city or county in the province to another with just a citizen card, provided the regions in question were not under lockdown. Recently, however, the authorities have mandated that people carry a quarantine confirmation certificate when they travel within the province from one city or country to another, according to the source.

Moreover, even if someone has the business trip certificate needed for emergency travel for official business, they may spend more than half their time in inspections because each and every checkpoint must reaffirm that they are moving toward their specified destination. Travellers must also undergo repeated decontamination procedures.

With North Korea refusing to loosen domestic quarantine controls despite daily pronouncements that the country’s COVID-19 caseload is “zero,” some North Koreans are expressing distrust of the numbers coming from the authorities.

A source in Yanggang Province said he cannot understand how the state can announce no new COVID cases “when my entire neighborhood has the fever and so many homes are in isolation. It seems they are running two sets of numbers.”

Some North Koreans are even saying that the authorities are improperly tallying new COVID-19 cases to highlight the “tangible results” of household drug donation drives by Central Committee cadres, including North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

In fact, a source in North Hwanghae Province said cadres can keep their jobs “only if they report that the people have grown healthier with the medicine since it was directly donated by Kim Jong Un himself.”

“Everything in the nation runs according to political activities, regardless of whether people live or die,” he added.

Please direct any comments or questions about this article to dailynkenglish@uni-media.net.

Read in Korean

dailynk.com · by Seulkee Jang · August 4, 2022



15. S.Korean airlines temporarily cancel flights to Taiwan, media says



I just listened to CNN play video and audio of the missile firing that could be heard in Taiwan.




S.Korean airlines temporarily cancel flights to Taiwan, media says

Reuters · by Reuters

SEOUL, Aug 4 (Reuters) - South Korea's Korean Air Lines (003490.KS) and Asiana Airlines (020560.KS) are cancelling flights to Taiwan for one or two days because of Chinese military exercises in the area, local media reported on Thursday,

Korean Air canceled flights between Incheon and Taiwan on Friday and Saturday, while Asiana Airlines canceled Friday's direct flight to Taiwan and will monitor the situation, news agency News1 and other local media reported.

Spokespeople for Korean Air and Asiana could not be immediately reached.

China launched unprecedented live-fire military drills in six areas that ring Taiwan on Thursday, a day after a visit by U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi to the self-ruled island that Beijing regards as its sovereign territory. read more


Reporting by Joyce Lee; Editing by Frank Jack Daniel

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


Reuters · by Reuters



16. China begins huge live-fire drills around Taiwan; Taipei says 'illegitimate, irresponsible'


Graphics, photos, and video at the link: https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/suspected-drones-over-taiwan-cyber-attacks-after-pelosi-visit-2022-08-04/



China begins huge live-fire drills around Taiwan; Taipei says 'illegitimate, irresponsible'

https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/suspected-drones-over-taiwan-cyber-attacks-after-pelosi-visit-2022-08-04/

Reuters · by Yimou Lee

  • Summary
  • Chinese military exercises, involving live-fire, begin
  • Suspected drones fly over outlying Taiwanese islands
  • Taiwan says several government websites hacked
  • China says it's an internal affair

TAIPEI, Aug 4 (Reuters) - China launched unprecedented live-fire military drills in six areas that ring Taiwan on Thursday, a day after a visit by U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi to the self-ruled island that Beijing regards as its sovereign territory.

Soon after the scheduled start at 0400 GMT, China's state broadcaster CCTV said the drills had begun and would end at 0400 GMT on Sunday. They would include live firing on the waters and in the airspace surrounding Taiwan, it said. read more

Two missiles were launched by China near Taiwan's Matsu islands, which lie off the coast of China, at around 2 p.m. local time (0600 GMT) in the direction of drill zones announced by China, according to an internal Taiwan security report seen by Reuters and confirmed by a Taiwan security source. read more

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Taiwan officials have said the drills violate United Nations rules, invade Taiwan's territorial space and are a direct challenge to free air and sea navigation.

Map showing the six locations where China will conduct military drills.

China is conducting drills on the busiest international waterways and aviation routes and that is "irresponsible, illegitimate behaviour," Taiwan's ruling Democratic Progressive Party said.

Taiwan's cabinet spokesman, expressing serious condemnation of the drills, said also that websites of the defence ministry, the foreign ministry and the presidential office were attacked by hackers.

Chinese navy ships and military aircraft briefly crossed the Taiwan Strait median line several times on Thursday morning, a Taiwanese source briefed on the matter told Reuters. read more

By midday on Thursday, military vessels from both sides remained in the area and in close proximity.

Taiwan scrambled jets and deployed missile systems to track multiple Chinese aircraft crossing the line.

"They flew in and then flew out, again and again. They continue to harass us," the Taiwanese source said.

On Wednesday night, just hours after Pelosi left for South Korea, unidentified aircraft, probably drones, flew above the area of Taiwan's outlying Kinmen islands near the Chinese coast, Taiwan's defence ministry said. read more

China, which claims Taiwan as its own territory and reserves the right to take it by force, said on Thursday its differences with the self-ruled island were an internal affair. read more

"Our punishment of pro-Taiwan independence diehards, external forces is reasonable, lawful," China's Beijing-based Taiwan Affairs Office said.

China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi called Pelosi's visit to Taiwan a "manic, irresponsible and highly irrational" act by the United States, state broadcaster CCTV reported.

Wang, speaking at a meeting of Southeast Asian foreign ministers in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, said China had made the utmost diplomatic effort to avert crisis, but would never allow its core interests to be hurt.

The foreign ministers in a statement had earlier warned that volatility caused by tensions in the Taiwan Strait could lead to "miscalculation, serious confrontation, open conflicts and unpredictable consequences among major powers". read more

'COMRADE PELOSI'

Unusually, the drills in six areas around Taiwan were announced with a locator map circulated by China's official Xinhua news agency earlier this week - a factor that for some analysts and scholars shows the need to play to both domestic and foreign audiences. read more

On Thursday, the top eight trending items on China's Twitter-like Weibo service were related to Taiwan, with most expressing support for the drills or fury at Pelosi.

"Let's reunite the motherland," several users wrote.

In Beijing, security in the area around the U.S. Embassy remained unusually tight on Thursday as it has been throughout this week. There were no signs of significant protests or calls to boycott U.S. products.

"I think this (Pelosi's visit) is a good thing," said a man surnamed Zhao in the capital's central business district. "It gives us an opportunity to surround Taiwan, then to use this opportunity to take Taiwan by force. I think we should thank Comrade Pelosi."

Pelosi, the highest-level U.S. visitor to Taiwan in 25 years, praised its democracy and pledged American solidarity during her brief stopover, adding that Chinese anger could not stop world leaders from travelling there.

China summoned the U.S. ambassador in Beijing in protest against her visit and halted several agricultural imports from Taiwan.

"Our delegation came to Taiwan to make unequivocally clear that we will not abandon Taiwan," Pelosi told Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen, who Beijing suspects of pushing for formal independence - a red line for China. read more

"Now, more than ever, America's solidarity with Taiwan is crucial, and that's the message we are bringing here today."

The United States and the foreign ministers of the Group of Seven nations warned China against using Pelosi's visit as a pretext for military action against Taiwan.

White House national security spokesman John Kirby said earlier in the week that Pelosi was within her rights to visit Taiwan, while stressing that the trip did not constitute a violation of Chinese sovereignty or America's longstanding "one-China" policy.

The United States has no official diplomatic relations with Taiwan but is bound by American law to provide it with the means to defend itself.

China views visits by U.S. officials to Taiwan as sending an encouraging signal to the pro-independence camp on the island. Taiwan rejects China's sovereignty claims, saying only the Taiwanese people can decide the island's future.

Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

Reporting by Yimou Lee and Sarah Wu; Additional reporting by Tony Munroe and Martin Quin Pollard in Beijing; Writing by Raju Gopalakrishnan; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Reuters · by Yimou Lee



17. N. Korea changes how it uses Sungho-ri Political Prison Camp


Excerpts:

North Korea operates what is called the songbun system, which broadly divides the population into three classes: core, wavering and hostile. These classes, in turn, are subdivided into about 50 categories. This discriminatory system restricts where people may live and which jobs they may take.
“Many people have entered the camps after getting caught using mobile phones to sell party, state or military secrets overseas,” said the source. “Even about 10 people who were handling duties related to economic policy on a temporary Cabinet standing committee were sent to Camp 25 for saying reactionary things.”
The source added that the authorities have issued an internal order to “uncover impure elements among party, state, military, security and prosecutor’s office staff who are harming the establishment of the unitary leadership system for incarceration in political prison camps.”
Beset by political, social and economic chaos due to COVID-19 and economic sanctions, North Korea seems to be intensifying its control over public order with a view to strengthen solidarity toward the regime.



N. Korea changes how it uses Sungho-ri Political Prison Camp - Daily NK

The camp is now meant to temporarily detain high-ranking cadres and people who handle secrets for reeducation, a source told Daily NK

By Mun Dong Hui - 2022.08.04 3:36pm

dailynk.com · by Mun Dong Hui · August 4, 2022

The general location of the political prisoner camp in Sungho-ri. / Image: Google Earth

North Korea recently changed how it is using the Sungho-ri Political Prison Camp, a relatively new prison built in 2020. The camp is now a corrections facility for high-ranking cadres, with the existing inmates having been transferred elsewhere.

A Daily NK source in North Korea said Wednesday that Sungho-ri Political Prison Camp was “completely disbanded” in mid-June.

The inmates were dispersed to Yodok, Camp 14 (in Kaechon, South Pyongan Province, run by the Ministry of State Security), Camp 17 (also in Kaechon, run by the Ministry of Social Security) and Camp 18 (in Pukchang, South Pyongan Province).

Daily NK reported in September 2021 that North Korea had built a new political prison camp in Sungho-ri, North Hwanghae Province, to detain the skyrocketing number of people caught violating COVID-19 quarantine regulations since late 2020.

However, the source said the Sungho-ri camp has now become a forced labor camp for the “Special Investigations Bureau” of the Ministry of Social Security.

“It’s called Forced Labor Camp 75,” he said.

Formerly referred to as the Special Security Bureau, the Special Investigations Bureau investigates mostly high-ranking cadres and individuals performing sensitive duties at secret bases. This means the camp at Sungho-ri has become a forced labor camp for high-ranking cadres and security professionals.

The source said a term at the camp lasts between three months and a year.

“Inmates can re-enter society after completing their sentences, or be transferred to another place,” he said. “But so far, the plan is to hold only prisoners who will be released back to society after their terms of forced labor, per internal regulations.”

This means the camp is meant to temporarily detain high-ranking cadres and people who handle secrets for reeducation, rather than completely isolating them from society.

The establishment of the camp could also be a measure to prevent the leaking of secrets, a risk if high-ranking cadres or employees at security agencies were incarcerated alongside ordinary people.

FALLING NUMBERS OF INMATES NATIONWIDE

Meanwhile, although North Korea’s political prison camps are receiving a growing number of new inmates, the total number of inmates has reportedly decreased. According to the source, this is because deaths are outnumbering new arrivals.

“The number of new inmates at most camps has increased,” said the source. “The total number of inmates has increased in some facilities and decreased in others, so everywhere is different.

“Where the population has increased, it’s because the new arrivals have supplemented existing prisoner populations that have suffered few deaths due to disease, hunger or punishments,” he continued, adding, “Where the population has decreased, it’s because while the camps may have received many new arrivals or regularly received prisoners, deaths have skyrocketed.”

According to the source, a Ministry of State Security survey for the first half of the year found that while Camp 25 in Chongjin held 49,000 people on paper, the actual prison population was 36,000. An investigation last year by Daily NK put Camp 25’s prisoner population at the time at about 41,000, which suggests the prisoner population has shrank by about 5,000 over the course of the subsequent year.


Camp 16 in Hwasong currently holds about 28,700 prisoners. Last year’s investigation put the population of the camp at around 24,000 prisoners, suggesting that its population has increased by about 4,700.

The source said while the population of Camp 16 has increased, the populations of Camp 14, 17, 18 and 25 have shrunk.

REGIME LETS UP A BIT ON COVID-19 RULE BREAKERS

Moreover, North Korea is reportedly sticking to its policy of going easier on people who commit simple infractions of quarantine regulations.

“People who violate quarantine regulations are not sent to political prison camps anymore. They are sent to forced labor camps or reeducation facilities,” said the source. “The political prison camps get people who cause mishaps while executing quarantine policy or [who are deemed] impure elements.”

Previously, North Korea harshly punished people who committed even minor violations of quarantine guidelines with incarceration in political prison camps. Since late 2021, however, the authorities have lightened punishments for minor violations, while still coming down hard on people who make both direct and indirect complaints about government disease control policy.

In short, North Korea faces insufficient administrative manpower or prison space to punish everyone, so it is meting out punishment for those deemed to have committed “particularly serious” crimes.

Additionally, the country’s authorities continue to crack down and severely punish people who violate the law to eradicate “reactionary thought and culture,” as well as those who threaten regime cohesion.

According to central government statistics, about 700 people were dragged off to Camp 17 and about 1,000 to Camp 25 for violations of the law on reactionary thought and culture in the first half of this year alone, the source said.

“Those busted in the act for violations of the law to eradicate reactionary thought and culture, usually in Pyongyang or major cities, have their homes and property confiscated and are sent to political prison camps,” he explained.

SOCIAL CLASS CAN DETERMINE CHANCES OF ARREST

The source further reported that the authorities have ordered the arrest of five households each month among the “lower classes” who have relatives confirmed to be in South Korea, made “impure comments,” or spread rumors and lies.

In short, the authorities have given local agencies monthly quotas to arrest people with specific class backgrounds, and this measure has led to the incarceration of many people in political prison camps.

North Korea operates what is called the songbun system, which broadly divides the population into three classes: core, wavering and hostile. These classes, in turn, are subdivided into about 50 categories. This discriminatory system restricts where people may live and which jobs they may take.

“Many people have entered the camps after getting caught using mobile phones to sell party, state or military secrets overseas,” said the source. “Even about 10 people who were handling duties related to economic policy on a temporary Cabinet standing committee were sent to Camp 25 for saying reactionary things.”

The source added that the authorities have issued an internal order to “uncover impure elements among party, state, military, security and prosecutor’s office staff who are harming the establishment of the unitary leadership system for incarceration in political prison camps.”

Beset by political, social and economic chaos due to COVID-19 and economic sanctions, North Korea seems to be intensifying its control over public order with a view to strengthen solidarity toward the regime.

Please direct any comments or questions about this article to dailynkenglish@uni-media.net.

Read in Korean

dailynk.com · by Mun Dong Hui · August 4, 2022


18. Revealing Korea's dilemma


This conclusion is "old think' and dangerous for the ROK. The best way to say out of the cross fire is to yes, stick to principled diplomacy, and side with countries who share values and are like minded about rules based international order.  Trying to walk the tightrope between the US and PRC and between likeminded democracies and authoritarian regimes will not end well for the ROK.


Conclusion:


That's why the Yoon administration should engage in careful and prudent diplomacy to maintain good relations with China, to which one-fourth of Korea's exports go. At the same time, the government must make strenuous efforts to stick to "principled" diplomacy so it will not be swayed by the emerging new Cold War between U.S.-led Western democracies and autocracies such as China, Russia and North Korea. We hope South Korea can avoid being caught in the crossfire of the Sino-U.S. confrontation.




Revealing Korea's dilemma

The Korea Times · August 4, 2022

Better alliance should not hurt ties with China


U.S. House Speaker Nany Pelosi's visit to South Korea was a rare opportunity for the two countries to deepen their alliance and partnership. On Thursday, the last day of her two-day stay here, she and National Assembly Speaker Kim Jin-pyo agreed to support the allies' efforts to expand the alliance from defense and security into economy and technology.


The agreement is in line with a commitment made by President Yoon Suk-yeol and his U.S. counterpart Joe Biden during their summit in Seoul in May that Seoul and Washington will turn the alliance into a comprehensive strategic partnership. It reflects the two countries' move to defend freedom and democracy.


It is also meaningful that the two speakers agreed to help Seoul and Washington to achieve the denuclearization of North Korea. The Yoon administration needs support from the U.S. and its allies in prodding the North to abandon its nuclear weapons program, especially when the Kim Jong-un regime is ready to conduct a seventh nuclear test. Pelosi stressed the importance of international cooperation and diplomatic efforts to achieve that goal.


She came here after her visit to Taiwan which heightened tensions with China. Beijing responded with a show of force, denouncing her visit to the island, which it claims as its territory, of violating the "one China" principle. The Chinese Air Force flew 21 war planes toward Taiwan on Tuesday in protest.


However, Pelosi made it clear that the U.S. would not abandon Taiwan. After meeting with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, Pelosi said, "America's determination to preserve democracy, here in Taiwan and around the world, remains ironclad." Her visit, however, has contributed to escalating the great power rivalry between the U.S. and China.


For this reason, many people expressed concerns that her visit could make it more difficult for South Korea to strike a balance between the U.S. and China. South Korea has long relied on America, the country's traditional ally, for security. On the other hand, it has been dependent on China, its largest trading partner, for economic growth.


However, the growing Sino-U.S. strategic competition is increasingly forcing Seoul to choose between Washington and Beijing. The conservative Yoon administration has opted for the strengthened alliance with the U.S. to ensure peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula. This, however, raised concerns among Chinese officials that South Korea might join the U.S.-led international coalition against China.

Pelosi's Asian tour and the resultant escalation of the Sino-U.S. conflict are also posing a dilemma for Korea. The closer South Korea moves to the U.S., the more pressure it may face from Beijing not to join the anti-China coalition. This will leave little room for Seoul to maneuver diplomatically.


That's why the Yoon administration should engage in careful and prudent diplomacy to maintain good relations with China, to which one-fourth of Korea's exports go. At the same time, the government must make strenuous efforts to stick to "principled" diplomacy so it will not be swayed by the emerging new Cold War between U.S.-led Western democracies and autocracies such as China, Russia and North Korea. We hope South Korea can avoid being caught in the crossfire of the Sino-U.S. confrontation.



The Korea Times · August 4, 2022


19. Korea, US speakers reaffirm strength of alliance, will to denuclearize NK


Ugh... the spokesman misspoke (in my opinion). Here is the other side of the coin. Not meeting with the Speaker is not going to generate any good will with China. In fact, the statement by the spokesman will result in more pressure from China because this statement will make China believe it will still be able to make the ROK kowtow as the previous administration did with the three no's. But not having a meeting with the Speaker will do nothing to help Korea. It should have been consistent and just said there was no plan to meet.




Korea, US speakers reaffirm strength of alliance, will to denuclearize NK

koreaherald.com · by Kim Arin · August 4, 2022

Yoon‘s failure to meet Pelosi is decision considering national interest, chief spokesperson says

By Kim Arin

Published : Aug 4, 2022 - 16:24 Updated : Aug 4, 2022 - 18:48

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks with South Korea's National Speaker Kim Jin-pyo during a joint press conference on Thursday. (Yonhap)


South Korea’s National Assembly Speaker Kim Jin-pyo and US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday reaffirmed the two countries‘ alliance and will to strengthen cooperation and bring about the denuclearization of North Korea. Pelosi, the first US House speaker to visit Korea in 20 years, arrived in Seoul late Wednesday after a stop in Taiwan.


Taiwan and China went noticeably unmentioned throughout Pelosi’s visit to Korea.


President Yoon Suk-yeol, who is on summer holiday, spoke to Pelosi on the phone for around 40 minutes instead of meeting in person. South Korea is the only country where the head of state hasn‘t arranged a meeting with Pelosi, who is second in line to the US presidency, during her high-profile Asia trip.


Following their meeting, Kim and Pelosi issued a joint press statement summarizing their talk that began around noon and lasted for about an hour.


At the brief press event, Kim said that Pelosi’s visit, which follows that of US President Joe Biden in May, would “go down as a symbolic and significant milestone in South Korea-US relations.”


“Today Madam Speaker and I had an earnest discussion about the role of the parliaments in strengthening the South Korea-US relationship in the realms of security, economy and technology,” he said.


He added that during Thursday‘s talk, the two have agreed “to support South Korea and US governments’ efforts for denuclearization and stability” through a “powerful and expansive strategy to deter the escalating levels of threats of North Korea.”


“When we come and travel as a delegation, our three known pillars are security, economy and governance. In all three of those areas, the US-South Korea relationship is very strong, and we learn from each other,” Pelosi said.


“The US-Republic of Korea relationship is special to us,” she said, adding that the relationship, which “began from urgency and security many years ago, has become the warmest of friendships.”


She went on, “I‘ve been here before and met with members of the parliament in the past. We want to strengthen that interparliamentary role as we work together as countries.”


Before closing her statement, Pelosi touched on the House resolution on the Japanese colonial era sexual slavery known as “comfort women.”


“In our previous visit, pre-COVID, 2015, we were able to take pride in passing the (resolution) relating to the ’comfort women.‘ It had some friends, and it had, shall we say, some doubters, but we were not in doubt about that,” she said. “I do want to say it is a matter of special pride to us.”


Breaking usual protocol, they did not take any questions from reporters.


South Korea’s parliamentary official later told a closed-door briefing that the two sides have agreed not to answer press questions due to a “tight schedule.”


At the same briefing, the official, who requested anonymity, said that “there weren‘t any comments about China or Taiwan” during the meeting of the South Korean and US parliamentary speakers.


The official, who was present at the meeting at the National Assembly and the luncheon that followed, said that “remarks that were interpreted did not mention China or Taiwan.”


“I don’t think discussing China or Taiwan was deemed necessary by either side at today‘s meeting,” he said.


The official said the main points of Thursday’s discussion were interparliamentary cooperation, such as possible legislation for improving health care access for Korean Americans who fought in the Vietnam war.


As for Yoon, he held a telephone conversation with Pelosi later in the day.


During a phone conversation, Yoon praised Pelosi for her long-standing dedication to promoting “free democracy and human rights” and asked for “continued support for the development of the global comprehensive strategic alliance” between Korea and the United States, according to the presidential office.


Pelosi and the delegation of the US Congress replied that the importance of the Korea-US alliance as a key pillar for regional peace and stability is growing and that the US Congress will make active efforts to develop the alliance, the office said.


Referring to the Korea-US summit held in Seoul on May 21, Yoon also said that he promised to work closely with President Joe Biden and the US Congress to “develop a global comprehensive strategic alliance” in the future.


Referring to Pelosi‘s visit to the Panmunjom Joint Security Area, Yoon said that “Pelosi’s visit will be a sign of deterrence against North Korea” and wished for a successful end to the Asian tour.


Yoon said he was looking forward to meeting with Pelosi on the occasion of his next visit to the US and having in-depth discussions to strengthen the ROK-US alliance. Pelosi replied that she is looking forward to meeting with Yoon in the future.


They did not discuss sensitive issues such as the US-led Chip 4 Alliance or China-Taiwan tensions, the presidential office said.


The presidential office said the decision to hold a phone conversation instead of a meeting was made “in consideration of overall national interests,” hinting that the decision was made not to provoke China.


Yoon‘s chief spokesman Choi Young-bum said, “I received many phone calls from reporters whether the decision was made because of China. The decision was made in view of the total interest of the country.”


Without explaining it further, he added, “It’s up to the media to interpret it.”


There is no change in the fact that the Korea-US alliance is the top priority, he added.



‘What we need is principle’


Pelosi‘s visit follows on the heels of her trip to Taiwan, which created greater instability between the US and China, sparking an escalation of military activities in the Taiwan Strait. The higher the US-China tension over the Taiwan issue, the greater the demand for Korea’s position to be clarified.


Experts say it is essential to clearly set Korea‘s diplomatic stance amid tensions in Northeast Asia, which is hard to predict.


Kim Hyun-wook, professor at the Korea National Diplomatic Academy, said, “We need first to define what our vital interest is and what strategies and purposes we should move forward amid the security situation and threats.”


“After that, we can come up with a specific policy action about how far we will go and how far we will not go,” he said. This should include a scenario about whether the Korean military should be dispatched if there is an armed conflict and war between the US and China in the Taiwan Strait.


Park Won-gon, a professor in the department of North Korean studies at Ewha Womans University, also said a set of principles are needed in the long term because the conflict between the US and China will not end soon but could last as long as 100 years.


Instead of making plans on a case-by-case basis, Korea should set a principle -- whether it is a liberal international order or a rule-based international order -- that fits its national identity, he said.


“And we should show China the direction we are going in,” Park said. “This may spark protest from China, but if we continue to do it with a level of principle, China can accept that, to a certain extent, Korea is going in that direction.”


In the past, we could maximize our profits by not paying for “strategic ambiguity,” but now that is no longer the case, the professor said. Korea should figure out the cost and persuade China with principle to make it less expensive, he added. “There, we sometimes have to be prepared to pay for it.”


(arin@heraldcorp.com)(shinjh@heraldcorp.com)





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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