Informal Institute for National Security Thinkers and Practitioners

Quotes of the Day:

"For it is fixed principle with me, that whatever is done should be done well." 
- George Washington

"It is a bit embarrassing to have been concerned with the human problem all one's life and find at the end that one has no more to offer by way of advice than 'try to be a little kinder.'"
- Aldous Huxley

"Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little."
- Edmund Burke

1. Special Representative for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) Sung Kim’s Travel to Seoul, Republic of Korea (ROK)

2. Sung Kim: Search for US Special Rights Envoy for N. Korea Underway

3. WKF: Strong U.S. protectionism can upset ties with traditional allies like South Korea: Joseph Nye

4. My Run-In With Paul Krugman, Again!

5. Seoul, Tokyo take difficult first step to mend ties

6. N.Korea denies supplying arms to Russia, denounces US ‘rumors’

7. Yoon's inept diplomacy draws flak

8. Korean won hits 1,400 per dollar after giant Fed rate hike

9. Pyongyang says it hasn't sold rockets to Moscow, but can if it wants to

10. USFK commander mentions contingency plan for China’s invasion of Taiwan

11. ROK Army considers moving Cheonan warship to Seoul

1. Special Representative for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) Sung Kim’s Travel to Seoul, Republic of Korea (ROK)

Short statement. Note the mention of human rights in north Korea. It is imperative that every time we talk about the north's nuclear weapons that we talk about humanr. rights. It is the denial of human rights that enables the regime to focus on developing nuclear weapons and to keep KJU in power. Talking about nuclear weapons reinforces regime legitimacy and supports the regime narrative for the rationale for the sacrifices of the Korean people. Talking about human rights undermines regime legitimacy and helps to inform the Korean people about their plight and their rights.

We were fortunate to hear him speak at the World Knowledge Forum this week.

Special Representative for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) Sung Kim’s Travel to Seoul, Republic of Korea (ROK) - United States Department of State · by Office of the Spokesperson

HomeOffice of the SpokespersonPress Releases...Special Representative for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) Sung Kim’s Travel to Seoul, Republic of Korea (ROK)


Media Note

September 22, 2022

U.S. Special Representative for the DPRK Ambassador Sung Kim traveled to Seoul from September 17 to 22 and participated in meetings with ROK government officials to discuss a broad range of DPRK-related issues, including the DPRK’s recent escalatory actions, the U.S.-ROK Alliance, and significant human rights concerns in the DPRK. Special Representative Kim met with Minister of Unification Kwon Young-se, Ministry of Foreign Affairs First Vice Foreign Minister Cho Hyun-dong, Special Representative for Korean Peninsula Peace and Security Affairs Kim Gunn, and Ambassador-at-Large on North Korean Human Rights Lee Shin-hwa. He also delivered remarks at the World Knowledge Forum on September 21. · by Office of the Spokesperson

2. Sung Kim: Search for US Special Rights Envoy for N. Korea Underway

It was a fascinating discussion between two diplomats who were trained so differently (one in north Korea and one in the US).

I am glad Thae Yong Ho mentioned the need for the US to appoint a human rights ambassador for north Korea. Although South Korea appointed Professor Lee Shin Wha in May both the South Korean and US positions had been vacant since 2017. Both the previous ROK and US administrations failed to appoint one during their tenure.

We need to appoint our Ambassador and we need to take an alliance human rights upfront approach.

I have made this recommendation many times, but Greg Scarlatoiu is the best qualified for the position. See his unique life story in his bio here: and pasted below.

Sung Kim: Search for US Special Rights Envoy for N. Korea Underway


Written: 2022-09-21 14:52:17 / Updated: 2022-09-21 15:05:56

Photo : YONHAP News

U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Sung Kim says that Washington is seeking to appoint a special envoy on North Korean human rights after a five-year vacancy.

Attending the World Knowledge Forum in Seoul on Wednesday, Kim said the process of identifying the best candidate is well underway and hopes an announcement can be made soon, but it is hard to provide a timeframe due to a number of unrelated issues.

In response to the disappointment expressed by North Korean defector-turned-South Korean lawmaker Tae Yong-ho over the continuing vacancy under the Joe Biden administration, Kim said the U.S. maintains its grave concerns about the deterioration of human rights in the North.

The last special envoy for North Korean human rights at the U.S. State Department was Robert King, who served from 2009 to 2017. Civic groups have been demanding a new envoy be swiftly named.

Greg Scarlatoiu is the Executive Director of the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK) in Washington, D.C. He has coordinated 28 HRNK publications addressing North Korea’s human rights situation and the operation of its regime. He is a visiting professor at the Hankuk University of Foreign Studies in Seoul as well as instructor and coordinator of the Korean Peninsula and Japan class at the U.S. State Department’s Foreign Service Institute (FSI). Scarlatoiu is vice president of the executive board of the International Council on Korean Studies (ICKS). He is also a member of the advisory board for The Korea and World Politics Institute. Prior to HRNK, Scarlatoiu was with the Korea Economic Institute (KEI) in Washington, D.C. He has over six years of experience in international development, on projects funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, the World Bank, and the Asian Development Bank. For fifteen years, Scarlatoiu has authored and broadcast the weekly Korean language ‘Scarlatoiu Column’ to North Korea for Radio Free Asia. A seasoned lecturer on Korean issues, Scarlatoiu is a frequent commentator for CNN, BBC, Al Jazeera, Voice of America, Radio Free Asia and other media organizations. He has published op-eds and letters to the editor in newspapers including The Washington Post, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal. He has published academic papers in volumes produced by organizations including The Hanns Seidel Foundation, The Asan Institute for Policy Studies, and the International Journal of Korean Studies. He has appeared as an expert witness at several Congressional hearings on North Korean human rights. Scarlatoiu holds a Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School, Tufts University, and a Master of Arts and Bachelor of Arts from Seoul National University’s Department of International Relations. He graduated from the MIT XXI Seminar for U.S. national security leaders in 2016-2017. Scarlatoiu was awarded the title ‘Citizen of Honor, City of Seoul,’ in January 1999. He is fluent in Korean, French, and Romanian. A native of Romania born and raised under that country’s communist regime, Scarlatoiu is a naturalized U.S. citizen.

3. WKF: Strong U.S. protectionism can upset ties with traditional allies like South Korea: Joseph Nye

WKF: Strong U.S. protectionism can upset ties with traditional allies like South Korea: Joseph Nye

2022.09.21 13:57:19 | 2022.09.21 15:19:58

The U.S. protectionism is deepening in the face of Chinese ascent, baffling traditional allies like South Korea with a series of Buy Americanism laws including the CHIPS and Science Act, observed Joseph Nye, distinguished service professor emeritus at Harvard University.

“I would have to say … protectionism has gotten stronger in many countries particularly in the U.S.,” Nye said during a World Knowledge Forum session titled “Conversation with Joseph Nye: America’s Leadership in a Divided World” Wednesday. The session was moderated by Ahn Ho-young, president of University of North Korean Studies.

“Every democracy has a degree of protectionism,” he said, adding that what’s a problem is that this degree of “protectionism has gotten stronger.”

His remarks were made in response to a question raised by Ahn on growing concerns about laws in the U.S. that protect its own industries discriminating others such as the U.S. Chips and Science Act and Inflation Reduction Act.

“Comments and criticism from our allies like Korea helped remind us we’re not perfect, we’re far from it,” Nye said.

When it comes to claims that the U.S. leadership is not as strong as it was before, Nye admitted that “it certainly is less than it used to be” but still it is still strong in Europe or East Asia.

“In Europe, NATO coalition is more unified and more coherent today than it’s ever been,” Nye said, “and alliance between U.S. and two democratic states in East Asia – Japan and Korea – those alliances are quite strong.”

[Photo by Park Hyung-ki]

Nye noted that U.S. leadership has diminished in areas like the Middle East after it pulled out of the war in Afghanistan but its presence is still strong in Europe and East Asia, and it has capacity to “prevail over both China and Russia” with its crucial alliance.

“If you take the U.S. economy plus the European economy, plus the Japanese economy, plus the Korean economy, all are close democratic allies,” Nye said, noting that they take up about 50 percent of the world’s economy.

Nye also suggested that Korea take a future-oriented approach to historical strains with Japan.

Noting that Korea and Japan are “two enormous success stories,” Nye said the “fact that they are not closely allied and working together as democracies is unfortunate.”

He called for the two countries to work together to face challenges and threats such as from North Korea and the rise of China as there are “strong self-interests.”

“The danger I see is that both countries have become somewhat trapped by history, and instead of looking forward, tend to look back,” he said. “Korea should have a foreign policy which looks out to play a larger role in the world and to part of the parts in that direction is to get over this fixation of history with Japan.”

By Lee Eun-joo

[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business News Korea &, All rights reserved]

4. My Run-In With Paul Krugman, Again! (In South Korea)

My Run-In With Paul Krugman, Again! | Stock Investor · by Mark Skousen · September 22, 2022

“The Inflation Reduction Act was our last chance to escape catastrophe.” — Paul Krugman at the World Knowledge Forum, in Seoul, Korea

Paul Krugman got top billing, along with Ray Dalio and John Bolton, at the annual World Knowledge Forum, the Korean version of the World Economic Summit in Davos, Switzerland. He spoke twice to packed audiences.

Last week, I mentioned that Krugman’s New York Times column, “Misery Takes a Holiday,” was wrong as soon as the ink dried. He was convinced that price inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index, has gotten “drastically better over the past three months.”

Then the CPI came out at 8.3% in August, and the market tanked. Misery’s holiday was cut short! Not surprisingly, a week later, the Fed raised interest rates again.

I met up with Krugman in Seoul and asked him if he had received much flack about the column. “Very little, actually,” he told me. I reviewed the 333 comments in the Times, and most of them were negative and cynical, with statements like “ill timed,” “aged like milk” and “Krugman’s next piece: I was wrong: About Everything. Over and over again.”

Nobody likes to admit they’re wrong, but Krugman has written quite a few mea culpas lately.

Krugman on Climate Change and Inflation

The Nobel-Prize-winning economist was also asked about global warming. All the top speakers, including former politicians David Cameron (of the United Kingdom) and François Hollande (France), were alarmists.

Krugman was no exception. He was asked about Biden’s latest victory in Congress, “The Inflation Reduction Act.” Krugman rightly noted that the bill had nothing to do with inflation but was “our last chance to escape catastrophe.”

Like Davos, the speakers at the World Knowledge Forum were convinced that “climate change” was the number one worry — ahead of out-of-control government spending, rising inflation, nuclear war, inequality and even the never-ending COVID-19 pandemic. They fell over themselves predicting their countries would be “net neutral” of carbon emissions in 20 years.

The loss of freedom was given short shrift.


The Mask-Hysteria in Asia

What surprised me the most coming to Korea was that EVERYONE wore masks both indoors and outdoors. Ditto for China and Japan. They continue to live in fear. I had to take a COVID-19 test at the airport, where people stood in line for two hours.

What a contrast to the rest of the world. Europeans have largely abandoned the practice, and even in the United States, President Biden announced last week that the pandemic was “over.” He added, “If you notice, no-one’s wearing masks. Everybody seems to be in pretty good shape… I think it’s changing.”

I asked my host when South Koreans would stop wearing masks. “Maybe in six months,” was the reply.

Korea: The Impossible Nation

One thing Paul Krugman and I agreed on was the Korean economic miracle. In one generation, South Korea went from a Third World country to a First World country and from a military dictatorship to a model of democracy. Along with Taiwan, Singapore and Hong Kong, it is one of the “Four Tigers.”

Through hard work, thrift, education, entrepreneurship and American military support, South Korea overcame all obstacles, including the constant threat of nuclear annihilation. It is ranked #1 in the world in many categories: longest working hours, most educated and largest shipbuilder, among other categories.

Of course, they are also number one in plastic surgery, lowest birth rate, an aging population and teenage suicides!

So not all is well in this land of impossibles.

The Korean Challenge Today

I was part of a session with Ed Feulner, founder of the Heritage Foundation, and Yaron Brook, chairman of the Ayn Rand Institute. Jeffrey Kim, a Korean economist, moderated our panel on “Challenges of the Market Economy and Liberal Democracy.”

Jeffrey Kim, moderator of panel with Mark Skousen, Ed Feulner, and Yaron Brook.

Ed Feulner has taken a special interest in South Korea, having visited the country 140 times! He noted that South Korea now has a higher ranking (#19) in the Heritage Foundation’s Economic Freedom Index than the United States (#21). What a surprise.


South Korea has been incredibly successful and has overcome overwhelming obstacles — fear of nuclear attack, natural disasters, poverty, foreign oppression, Marxist ideology and a pandemic.

To counter the threats of a rogue North Korea and the Chinese Communists, John Bolton, the former national security advisor to President Trump, told the audience that South Korea needed to form an alliance like NATO with Japan, Taiwan, Singapore and other Asian democracies. There’s also talk that South Korea will adopt nuclear weapons.

Economically, the South Koreans need to cut taxes (the income rate is now 45%), open their borders to more immigrants, have more children and develop a better balance between work and play.

EconoPower Here We Come

Will the latest generation be as good as the greatest generation of yesteryear?

It’s possible if they adopt the policies recommended in my book, “EconoPower: How a New Generation of Economists is Transforming the World.”

A Korean publisher paid an unbelievable $100,000 to translate my book into Korean:

The original edition in English was published in 2008 by Wiley & Sons. You can order the book as a hardback, paperback or audiobook on Amazon for as little as $6 plus shipping and handling, or a $20 autographed version at

John Mackey, the co-founder of Whole Foods Market, says, “Imagine, economists solving the world’s problems! Skousen’s breakthrough book bring us up to date on this fascinating development. Visionary economists are showing us creative ways to reduce world poverty, eliminate traffic jams, solve the health care crisis, save more and invest better, make business and labor more productive, improve education, cut crime, and even reduce tensions and establish peace in war-torn regions of the world. Read this book and discover a new brand of economics!”

5. Seoul, Tokyo take difficult first step to mend ties

Small steps are okay as long as they keep stepping forward to improve the relationship.

Seoul, Tokyo take difficult first step to mend ties

The Korea Times · September 22, 2022

President Yoon Suk-yeol shakes hands with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida during their bilateral meeting in New York, Wednesday (local time). Yonhap

Yoon delivers US inflation law concerns in brief encounter with Biden

By Nam Hyun-woo

South Korea and Japan took a difficult first step toward improving their soured relations, as President Yoon Suk-yeol and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida had a bilateral meeting in New York, Wednesday (local time) and agreed on the need to mend ties by resolving pending issues.

Also, Yoon had a brief encounter with U.S. President Joe Biden and delivered Seoul's concerns over possible damage to South Korean companies stemming from the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), with Biden responding that the two sides should continue their consultations.

According to the presidential office, Yoon had a 30-minute meeting with Kishida at a conference building near the U.N. headquarters, during which they shared each other's views on pending issues.

It was the first meeting between the leaders of Seoul and Tokyo since December 2019. The two countries' relations have sunk to a low point as Japan tightened its export controls on key industrial materials heading to Seoul in retaliation against a South Korean Supreme Court ruling ordering Japanese companies to compensate victims of wartime forced labor.

The Supreme Court has ordered the liquidation of assets here owned by two Japanese companies to compensate the forced labor victims, as the businesses have not complied with the compensation orders.

"The two leaders agreed on the need to improve bilateral relations by resolving pending issues, and agreed to instruct their diplomats to accelerate talks to that end, while also continuing discussions between themselves," Lee Jae-myoung, a deputy presidential spokesperson, said in a written briefing.

Yoon and Kishida also agreed to cooperate in building coalitions with the international community to protect democracy, human rights and other common values.

They also shared serious concerns about North Korea's nuclear program, including the North's new law authorizing the use of nuclear weapons in preemptive strikes for self-protection, as well as the possibility of conducting a seventh nuclear test. Yoon and Kishida agreed to cooperate closely with the international community in responding to the threat, the deputy spokesperson said.

"It was the first step toward a tangible outcome," an official at the presidential office said. "The meeting bears significance as the two leaders met and made a first step toward resolutions despite much friction between the two countries."

The meeting came after the two sides made different announcements on whether the summit will take place or not. Seoul had announced on Sept. 15 that Yoon would meet Kishida during their stay in New York for the U.N. General Assembly, but Tokyo had refrained from confirming, casting uncertainty over their meeting.

The meeting was also held at the building which was the venue for a Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty event Kishida was attending, meaning that Yoon visited Kishida for the summit.

Against this backdrop, Yoon is facing mounting criticism that the meeting failed to achieve tangible outcomes.

Main opposition Democratic Party of Korea floor leader Park Hong-keun said that Yoon ended the summit "empty-handed" and that there was "no progress on the forced labor issue and other history-related matters."

President Yoon Suk-yeol and his U.S. counterpart, Joe Biden, smile during their brief encounter at Global Fund's Seventh Replenishment Conference in New York, Wednesday. On Yoon's right is South Korean Minister of Foreign Affairs Park Jin. Yonhap

Concerns over IRA

Also on Wednesday, Yoon talked briefly with Biden at the Global Fund's Seventh Replenishment Conference and a reception hosted by the U.S. president.

Seoul's presidential office had publicized that Yoon would have a summit with Biden on the occasion of his visit to New York, but the meeting did not materialize due to changes in the U.S. leader's schedule.

Instead, Yoon had a conversation with Biden on the sidelines of the event. Video footage showed that the two leaders talked for 48 seconds during the Global Fund event.

The presidential office said in a press release that Yoon voiced Seoul's concerns over the IRA, and asked for close cooperation between the two countries to address those fears when the U.S. government puts the IRA into practice.

Biden responded that he is well aware of South Korea's concerns and the two countries should continue to hold consultations, the press release added.

The IRA offers a consumer tax credit for electric vehicles (EVs) if at least 40 percent of the critical minerals in their batteries are mined or processed from the U.S. or countries that signed free trade agreements with America or were recycled in North America. At least 50 percent of the components in their batteries must also be manufactured or assembled in North America. The percentage requirements will continue to increase every year until 2032, reaching 80 and 100 percent.

There are concerns in Korea that the IRA will deal a hefty blow to Hyundai Motor and Kia, which manufacture EVs in Korea.

The two leaders also agreed to cooperate closely to implement a liquidity facility to bolster financial stabilization if needed. A liquidity facility is a program to buy debt between Seoul and Washington. Since a currency swap is a matter that should be discussed between the central banks of the two countries, the leaders discussed "a bigger concept," a senior presidential aide said.

"Various measures can be seen, such as a liquidity facility, and a currency swap between the two countries can be included in a liquidity facility," the aide said. "We expect more details will materialize through consultations between the foreign exchange authorities of the two countries."

A failed Yoon-Biden summit also drew criticism because the South Korean president skipped a number of economic events scheduled for Wednesday to meet his U.S. counterpart for less than a minute at the Global Fund event, while there were no noticeable outcomes of the leaders' talks.

"Yoon had an encounter with Biden at a reception hosted by King Charles III in London on Sunday, and the two met in the Global Fund event and a reception hosted by President Biden," another senior official at the presidential office said.

"It is important that the U.S. president has recognized Seoul's concerns, and the two leaders have ordered their national security councils to review the currency swap matter. The length of their meeting is not important," according to the official.

Also on Wednesday, Yoon had a summit with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and agreed to enhance their cooperation in responding to global supply chain disruptions.

The Korea Times · September 22, 2022

6. N.Korea denies supplying arms to Russia, denounces US ‘rumors’

Admit nothing, deny everything , and make counter accusations.

N.Korea denies supplying arms to Russia, denounces US ‘rumors’ · by Ji Da-gyum · September 22, 2022

North Korea’s Defense Ministry said that the country has never supplied weapons to Russia and denounced the US for spreading “groundless” rumors, the state-run Korean Central News Agency reported Thursday.

An unnamed vice director general of the General Bureau of Equipment at North Korea’s Defense Ministry issued a pronouncement on Wednesday to refute the US’ recent public statements on Russia’s request for North Korea to provide rockets and artillery shells, according to KCNA.

“We have never exported weapons or ammunition to Russia in the past and we do not have any plans to do so in the future,” the military official said in the Korean-language press statement, adding that the US is setting “groundless” rumors afloat.

“The hostile forces, including the US, are clamoring about the violation of the UN Security Council resolutions while spreading rumors about the arms trade between our country and Russia.”

The military official underlined that North Korea has never recognized the “unlawful and atrocious UN Security Council sanctions resolutions on the DPRK, which have been fabricated by the US and its vassal forces.”

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

Earlier this month, the White House and the US Defense and State departments concurrently admitted that the US had indications of Russia approaching North Korea to request supply weapons to resupply its force fighting in Ukraine.

At that time, US State Department deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel said Russia’s Defense Ministry was “in the process of purchasing millions of rockets and artillery shells from North Korea for use in Ukraine.”

North Korea’s arms supply to Russia would violate multiple UN Security Council resolutions, which prohibit UN member states from procuring all arms and related material from North Korea, Patel said, calling the purported arms trade a “serious violation.”

But in the statement, North Korea’s Defense Ministry argued that the “development, production and possession of military equipment, as well as imports and exports to and from other countries, are the inherent and legitimate right of a sovereign state.”

“No one is entitled to argue against it,” the statement read.

North Korea’s Defense Ministry claimed that the US’ goal is to “tarnish the image of the DPRK.”

“We strongly condemn the US for recklessly circulating rumors and slanders against the DPRK to pursue its heinous political and military goals, and we give a solemn warning,” the statement read. “It would be better for the US to stop blurting out ludicrous statements that preposterously pick on the DPRK and to hold its tongue.”

Neither the US State Department nor the Defense Department did not immediately respond to The Korea Herald’s request for comment on Thursday.

North Korea swiftly issued the statement after a senior official at the US Treasury Department elucidated that the US will respond to arms supplies by North Korea and Iran to Russia with further sanctions to block Russia’s efforts to replenish its depleted stocks of weapons by evading economic sanctions.

The Treasury Department will continue to levy sanctions against entities involved in prohibited arms supplies to Russia to hold them accountable, Elizabeth Rosenberg, Treasury assistant secretary for terrorist financing and financial crimes, said before the Senate Banking Committee hearing on Tuesday.

Yang Moo-jin, a professor at the University of North Korea Studies, said the Defense Ministry’s statement aims to “shed light on the problems of the US hostile policy toward North Korea during the UN General Assembly” rather than showing the North Korean military’s resistance.

In his speech at the UN General Assembly, US President Joe Biden said Wednesday that North Korea “continues to blatantly violate UN sanctions” despite the US efforts to “begin serious and sustained diplomacy.” Biden singled out North Korea, China, Iran and Russia as the countries showing “disturbing trends” that undermine the nuclear non-proliferation regime.

By Ji Da-gyum ( · by Ji Da-gyum · September 22, 2022

7. Yoon's inept diplomacy draws flak

Yoon's inept diplomacy draws flak

The Korea Times · by 2022-09-22 16:18 | Companies · September 22, 2022

President Yoon Suk-yeol, third from right, and U.S. President Joe Biden shake hands during the Global Fund's Seventh Replenishment Conference in New York City, Wednesday (local time). AP-Yonhap

President criticized for swearing, lack of results, PR failure

By Jung Min-ho

When Deputy National Security Adviser Kim Tae-hyo said last week that President Yoon Suk-yeol's summit with U.S. President Joe Biden would be brief ― 30 minutes or so ― many thought that it might be too short to talk about the urgent issues between the two countries. But the meeting in New York City turned out to be even shorter ― far shorter ― than he hoped it would be. At a fundraising event hosted by Biden, Yoon had a standing conversation with him for less than a minute ― 48 seconds, precisely.

According to Yoon's office and the White House, Wednesday (local time), Yoon asked Biden to help resolve South Korean companies' concerns over the Inflation Reduction Act and they reaffirmed their commitment to bolstering the bilateral alliance against North Korea during the conversation.

The act, passed last month, gives a tax credit to buyers of electric vehicles (EVs) from next January if a minimum of 40 percent of the critical minerals in their batteries are mined or processed in the U.S. or countries that signed free trade agreements in the U.S., or recycled in North America. At least 50 percent of the battery components must also be manufactured or assembled in North America. The law is causing significant concern for Korean automakers.

The news immediately drew criticism from the main opposition Democratic Party of Korea (DPK), which called the meeting the latest episode of "diplomatic disaster" committed by Yoon.

Yoon lets down biz community by skipping industry events in NYC

"I don't want to believe that their 48-second standing conversation could actually be called a summit," Rep. Park Hong-keun, the DPK's floor leader, said during a meeting at the National Assembly in Seoul. "If that really was all, I'm truly worried that he has failed to resolve any important economic issues, such as the discriminatory electric vehicle tax incentives and the pressure on Korea's semiconductor and bio industries."

Speaking of video footage of the president using swear words to refer apparently to the U.S. Congress, Park called it a "slanderous diplomatic accident that seriously tarnished national dignity." It is unclear what specifically Yoon was talking about when he said, "How embarrassing would it be for Biden, if those 'sekkideul' (which can be translated as "those bastards") in the Congress did not approve it?"

President Yoon Suk-yeol attends the Global Fund's Seventh Replenishment Conference in New York City, Wednesday (local time). AFP-Yonhap

The same day, Yoon also met Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly, where they expressed the need to improve relations between the two countries despite many historical issues impeding progress.

Despite it being the first one-on-one talks between the leaders of the two countries since December 2019, the meeting became a target of DPK criticism before it was even held, after the Japanese side openly expressed displeasure over Yoon's office having leaked to the press that the summit was going to occur, although it was supposed to remain confidential until the last minute.

"Both the process and the results were humiliating," Park said. "It was a meeting without a set agenda … No progress was made on historical issues such as forced labor."

Yoon's seven-day trip to Britain, the U.S. and Canada was bumpy from the beginning. Given that he failed properly to pay his respects to British Queen Elizabeth II upon his arrival there, unlike many other world leaders who did, the DPK has criticized him as an incompetent leader who knows nothing about diplomacy or politics.

Although some of the criticism could be seen as unfair or excessive, experts say this trip could have ― and should have ― been managed much better.

"When the information about Yoon's summit plan with Kishida was leaked, it removed any positive dramatic effect Yoon could have gained and only created political noise," Kim Sung-soo, a professor in the department of political science and diplomacy of Hanyang University, told The Korea Times. "Yoon needs experts who can coordinate such important events in a way that maximize the political effects and inform the public more effectively … Much of the opposition party's criticism is simply political attacks, but Yoon's office should be smarter and more sophisticated."

The Korea Times · by 2022-09-22 16:18 | Companies · September 22, 2022

8. Korean won hits 1,400 per dollar after giant Fed rate hike

Korean won hits 1,400 per dollar after giant Fed rate hike · by Kim Yon-se · September 22, 2022

By Kim Yon-se

Published : Sept 22, 2022 - 15:40 Updated : Sept 22, 2022 - 15:54

The electronic board at a currency exchange counter in Seoul shows the Korean won’s losing ground to the US dollar on Thursday. (Yonhap)

SEJONG -- The Korean currency dropped to the 1,400 won range per dollar on Thursday in the wake of another “giant step” rate hike of 75 basis points from the US Federal Reserve.

In addition, foreign and institutional investors turned to net sellers on the nation’s main bourse, pulling down the Kospi.

The local currency, which started at 1,398 won per US dollar during the Thursday trading session, closed at 1,409.7 won. The Korean currency became cheaper by more than 15 won compared to 1,394.2 won in the previous session.

This also marked the first time in more than 13 years that the won has slid to the 1,400 won range since it posted 1,422 won on March 31, 2009.

The US base interest rate climbed to 3-3.25 percent per annum as the US Fed raised it by 0.75 percentage point from 2.25-2.5 percent at the Federal Open Market Committee meeting on Wednesday, US time.

By conducting giant rate hikes three times this year, US policymakers have pushed for rapid monetary tightening amid normalization from COVID-19. In January 2022, the US base rate was 0-0.25 percent.

As a result, the gap between Korea’s benchmark rate, which has been set at 2.5 percent per annum since Aug. 25, has further widened. This is aggravating worries over massive capital outflow among overseas investors.

Some market insiders raised the possibility of the US Fed carrying out another giant step or big step rate hike by 50 basis points at upcoming FOMC meetings, slated for Nov. 1-2 and Dec. 13-14.

The won’s depreciation may bring big losses to air carriers and manufacturers resorting to imported raw materials, the insiders said, adding that this also weakens Korean nationals’ purchasing power.

While the next rate-setting meeting at the Bank of Korea is scheduled for Oct. 14, Korea is also required to conduct hikes by 0.75 percentage point in a bid to catch up with the US rate.

A core issue surrounding the BOK’s upcoming policy is the possibility that a sharp hike could have the effect of lowering economic growth by undermining real estate investor sentiment.

A further rise in borrowing rates could also add an interest burden on households, many of which are saddled with mortgages and credit-based loans. The US dollar stayed under 1,200 won early this year.

KB Investment & Securities said in a recent report that “it is hard to rule out the possibility that the dollar will rise to the 1,450 won level amid unstable external factors.”

On the same day, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Choo Kyung-ho said the government will closely look into speculative investments amid the won’s depreciation. “By mobilizing all possible means, (the government) will actively take countermeasures against (investors misusing the situation),” he told reporters.

Choo pledged that the Finance Ministry would closely collaborate with the BOK, the Financial Services Commission and the Financial Supervisory Service to effectively cope with the situation.

He cited China’s economic slowdown and the rising possibility of crisis in some emerging economies as main uncertainties, as well as US monetary policymakers’ hawkish stance.

The benchmark Kospi tumbled by 14.9 points from a trading session earlier to close at 2,332.31.

Foreigners and local institutions net-sold stocks worth 60.8 billion won ($43.1 million) and 283.3 billion won, respectively, on the first-tier exchange.

The Kospi, which reached 2,988.77 on Jan. 3, has continued to slide in the wake of the US’ monetary policy tightening, the Ukraine-Russia war and the Chinese economy’s slower-than-expected recovery.

By Kim Yon-se (

9. Pyongyang says it hasn't sold rockets to Moscow, but can if it wants to

​Kim Jong Un​ says I reserve the right to be an irresponsible member of the international community (as I have been since I assumed the role of dictator in chief of the Guerrilla Dynasty and Gulag State.


September 22, 2022

 dictionary + A - A 

Pyongyang says it hasn't sold rockets to Moscow, but can if it wants to

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un shakes hands with Russian President Vladimir Putin at a summit in Vladivostok in April 2019. [YONHAP]


North Korea denied that it exported artillery shells or rockets to Russia and called reports of such sales to Moscow a “rumor” aimed at “tarnishing” its reputation.


The statement, issued under the name of the vice director general of the General Bureau of Equipment of Pyongyang’s defense ministry, was carried by the state-controlled Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on Thursday.


While claiming Pyongyang has “never exported weapons or ammunition to Russia” and does “not plan to export them,” the North’s defense ministry statement also defended its right to conduct such weapons sales, suggesting that a decision to supply ammunition to Russia would not be anyone else's business.


“Not only the development, production, possession of military equipment, but also their export and import are the lawful right peculiar to a sovereign state, and nobody is entitled to criticize it,” the statement said.


North Korean weapons sales to Russia were confirmed in declassified intelligence reports by the U.S. Department of Defense earlier this month.


The U.S. government has provided few details about the exact nature, timing or size of North Korean weapons deliveries to Russia.


An unnamed U.S. official was quoted by the New York Times as saying that Russia is expected to try to purchase additional North Korean equipment in the future, and that Moscow’s turning to Pyongyang for weapons is a sign that sanctions and export controls imposed by the United States and Europe are hampering its ability to obtain supplies for its war with Ukraine.


Thursday’s statement by the North Korean defense ministry appeared to be partially aimed at ridiculing the United States as well as denying the legitimacy of international sanctions passed by the United Nation Security Council (UNSC) to rein in trade activities that could fund Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons and missile development programs.


“We have never recognized the UNSC unlawful ‘sanctions resolution’ against the DPRK, which was cooked up by the U.S. and its vassal forces,” the statement said, referring to the North by the acronym for its official name, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.


North Korea is one of the few states that has officially recognized the Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk People’s Republic, Ukrainian regions controlled by Russian-backed separatists that Moscow is aiming to annex by possible referenda that have been denounced as illegal by most of Europe, the United States and Canada.


The Donetsk People’s Republic has publicized North Korea’s offer to dispatch workers to aid in the region’s reconstruction once Pyongyang lifts its own Covid-related border restrictions.


North Korea is not the only country that Russia has allegedly turned to for war materiel.


The United States has accused Iran of supplying Russia with drones for use in its war in Ukraine, which have had mixed results.


While the drones are intended to conduct air-to-surface attacks, electronic warfare and targeting on the battlefield in Ukraine, an unnamed U.S. official told Reuters in August that Russia’s Iranian-made drones had suffered “numerous failures.”


Both North Korea and Iran are already under layers of sanctions for their nuclear programs, and experts believe both have little to lose from helping the Russian war effort.



10. USFK commander mentions contingency plan for China’s invasion of Taiwan

Again I think the Korean media is "over interpreting" the General's remarks. But for my Korean friends please keep in mind that the US has global commitments and such contingencies as Taiwan are linked to others. Nothing can be considered in a vacuum.

USFK commander mentions contingency plan for China’s invasion of Taiwan

Posted September. 21, 2022 07:58,

Updated September. 21, 2022 07:58

USFK commander mentions contingency plan for China’s invasion of Taiwan. September. 21, 2022 07:58.

U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) Commander Gen. Paul LaCamera said on Monday that the U.S. is considering a “contingency plan” to support South Korea’s defending Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion. This suggests the USFK is making a contingency plan to tackle a potential armed conflict in Taiwan, with U.S. President Joe Biden having vowed a day earlier to defend Taiwan in the event of an unprecedented attack. This is the first time an incumbent USFK commander has mentioned the necessity for the U.S. forces to respond to the Chinese invasion.

Asked about a potential role for Seoul in the event of any Taiwan-related crisis, the USFK commander said he is working on a contingency plan to cope with any potential threat in a video symposium hosted by the Institute for Corean-American Studies (ICAS). Gen. LaCamera said it would be reasonable to consider the second and third shocks emanating from the Taiwan invasion, adding that it would be necessary to take references from the destructive impact of the Ukrainian crisis on the global economy and supply chains.

The commander said he could not deny whether Congress and the American people expect Seoul’s military support regarding America’s defense of Taiwan. He added the decision would be up to Seoul, adding, “The ROK fought together with the U.S. in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan,” indirectly commenting on the necessity that South Korea should join forces with the U.S. should China invade Taiwan.

With some stressing the need for the operational plan to include a measure to counter China, the commander added, “It is important to remember the fact that the ROK-US alliance is going beyond deterrence against the North and expanding into vigilance against China and Russia.”

“Any skirmish in the Korean Peninsula will escalate into a regional conflict,” he talked about the Sino-North Korean Mutual Aid and Cooperation Friendship. “The bilaterally focused ROK-US alliance needs to grow into a coalition to deter North Korea and maintain rules-based international order.”


11. ROK Army considers moving Cheonan warship to Seoul

Interesting rationale:

Earlier, the bereaved families of the sunken Navy ship proposed to President Yoon Suk-yeol that the Cheonan be moved to Seoul to raise the sense of alertness for national security. The army is considering conducting a feasibility study, including the cost of relocating the ship.

ROK Army considers moving Cheonan warship to Seoul

Posted September. 22, 2022 08:06,

Updated September. 22, 2022 08:06

ROK Army considers moving Cheonan warship to Seoul. September. 22, 2022 08:06. by Kyu-Jin Shin

It is reported that the Republic of Korea army is considering moving the Cheonan warship (PCC-772) to Seoul. The warship sank in 2010 and is currently displayed in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province. Earlier, the bereaved families of the sunken Navy ship proposed to President Yoon Suk-yeol that the Cheonan be moved to Seoul to raise the sense of alertness for national security. The army is considering conducting a feasibility study, including the cost of relocating the ship.

According to a government official familiar with the matter, the ROK Navy will commission research into the relocation of the Cheonan, which will include an objective analysis of the separation of the body of the vessel, the cost of relocation, and an appropriate place to relocate the ship. The feasibility study is intended to secure procedural legitimacy, regardless of whether the study's outcome may be either moving or not. Based on the feasibility study results, the Navy will decide on relocating the Cheonan warship.

The Cheonan warship was torpedoed by the North Korean attack in 2010 and ripped into two pieces. The ship's remnants were first stored in drydock at the 2nd Fleet navy headquarters in Pyeongtaek and later moved to the Unification Security Park. The memorial stone of 46 fallen sailors and the commemorative exhibition hall are all nearby.

Ms. Yoon Cheong-ja, the mother of Min Pyeong-gi, the late senior chief petty officer, requested President Yoon back in June, at a memorial luncheon held at the presidential office in Yongsan, Seoul, that the warship be moved to near the Han River in Seoul to raise public awareness of the sinking of the ship. Pyeongtaek is relatively less accessible than nearby the Han River, where more population is coming and going. President Yoon was reported to pay attention to the proposal made by Ms. Yoon.

Yet, some bereaved families and survivors of the sunken warship oppose the idea, making it hard for the army to proceed with the plan. “The bereaved families and the surviving sailors have not discussed the relocation of the ship,” said Mr. Lee Seong-woo, father of Lee Sang-hee, the late 1st class petty officer, and the representative of the bereaved families. “If the ship were to be relocated, both the main body of the ship and the commemorative exhibition hall and memorial stone would have to be relocated as well. However, it would be a tough task.”


De Oppresso Liber,

David Maxwell

Senior Fellow, Foundation for Defense of Democracies

Senior Fellow, Global Peace Foundation

Senior Advisor, Center for Asia Pacific Strategy

Editor, Small Wars Journal

Twitter: @davidmaxwell161

Phone: 202-573-8647


David Maxwell
Senior Fellow
Foundation for Defense of Democracies
Phone: 202-573-8647
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Web Site:
Twitter: @davidmaxwell161
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