News & commentary by Dave Maxwell. Edited and published by Daniel Riggs.

1. North Korea Rumors: Is Kim Jong Un In Poor Health? After Past Death Speculation, Japanese Official Raises New Questions

2. Angry Kim seizes opportunity to pursue push against Seoul

3. Japan conveys objection to Trump’s plan to add South Korea to G-7

4. Guilt and punishment (north and South Korea)

5. Top adviser to South Korea’s Moon unsure of North’s willingness to denuclearize

6. Defectors’ cash aid to family cut off amid tightened security

7. N. Korean Regime Desperate to Keep Elite on Side

8. Japan Is Foolish to Oppose Korea’s Participation at G7

9. U.S. House of Representatives puts brakes on reducing USFK

10. N. Korea recently bought phone-tapping devices from abroad

11. China quietly shipping grain to North Korea, port sources say

12. NK paper lauds Kim on his leadership anniversary

13. N. Korea focuses on ending ship-based smuggling on border

14. Gov’t holds hearing on defector groups over anti-N.K. leafleting

15. S. Korea to spend 36 billion won to help developing countries’ pandemic responses

 

1. North Korea Rumors: Is Kim Jong Un In Poor Health? After Past Death Speculation, Japanese Official Raises New Questions

ibtimes.com · by Wesley Dockery · June 27, 2020

Rumors from Japan have to be taken with a grain of salt.  Three rumors: Coronavirus outbreak in north Korea and Kim is trying to avoid getting infected.  Kim’s health is questionable.  The economy is “not doing well.” That one is better than a rumor.

 

2. Angry Kim seizes opportunity to pursue push against Seoul

afr.com · Evans JR Revere · June 28, 2020

Evans Revere makes two good points. Kim probably regards the South as the soft target but he may see how far he can go with the US.

 

3. Japan conveys objection to Trump’s plan to add South Korea to G-7

english.kyodonews.net 

Not a good sign for trilateral cooperation.

 

4. Guilt and punishment (north and South Korea)

koreajoongangdaily.joins.com · Ko Dae-hoon

A critique of the Moon administration and analysis of the regime actions. Are we seeing Kim execute the “madman theory?”  The regime thinks South Korea is guilty of three “crimes:” It libeled the Supreme Leader, it deceived the regime, and it humiliated the Supreme Leader.

 

5. Top adviser to South Korea’s Moon unsure of North’s willingness to denuclearize

japantimes.co.jp · by Internal Submission · June 27, 2020

Moon Chung-in said Kim Jong-un had a willingness to denuclearize at the Panmunjom Summit in 2018 but now he is unsure.  Did he look in Kim Jong-un’s eyes and see what was in his heart?

And he sticks to his tired old line: Whether Kim will give up his nuclear weapons or not is a function of what kind of incentives the US will provide.  This is code for sanctions relief.  

I would like to know when providing concessions to north Korea has ever resulted in a sustained long term agreement that the regime did not break?  Enduring minds want to know.  

We should keep in mind that providing concessions is a sign of weakness and a sign the north’s blackmail diplomacy works.  It will only result in more demands and no reciprocity for any of the concessions.

 

6. Defectors’ cash aid to family cut off amid tightened security

koreaherald.com · by Choi Si-young · June 28, 2020

Hopefully this too shall pass.  I am sure the escapees will find creative ways around.  But this shows that it is possible to get money and information into the north.  This should be exploited.  As I have previously mentioned someone should start a sponsorship program just like we do for poverty stricken countries in other regions.  We could “adopt-a family” for $19.95 a month and through an established network we get money to families in north Korea.

 

7. N.Korean Regime Desperate to Keep Elite on Side

english.chosun.com

This is a critical indicator.  Kim’s failure to get sanctions relief is putting him under tremendous pressure. His failure is exacerbated by the draconian populations and resources control measures that have shut down the border to trade and smuggling in order to defend against a coronavirus outbreak.  It is pressure from the elite and the military that will have the biggest influence on Kim Jong-un’s decision making.

 

8. Japan Is Foolish to Oppose Korea’s Participation at G7

english.chosun.com

This is going to be another self-inflicted wound in the trilateral relationship.  But it is interesting to consider Japan’s “rationale” for opposition:  the “different stance” it has toward China and north Korea than other G7 nations.  The Editorial board postulates the real reason if it wants to remain the only Asian nation in the new G7/D10.

 

9. U.S. House of Representatives puts brakes on reducing USFK

donga.com · June 29, 2020

Every day this SMA/burden sharing stalemate continues, the alliance grows weaker.  And the threat to remove US troops from South Korea serves north Korean interests, not US interests.  It does not help the SMA stalemate.

 

10. N. Korea recently bought phone-tapping devices from abroad

dailynk.com · by Kim Yoo Jin · June 29, 2020

In the encyclopedia entry for surveillance state there is a picture of north Korea.

But we should consider the resource allocation decisions of the Kim family regime and the party.  The money spent on this equipment could be better spent on the Korea people.  But this is another indicator the regime fears the Korean people living in the north more than anything else, to include the U.S.

  

11. China quietly shipping grain to North Korea, port sources say

americanmilitarynews.com · by Radio Free Asia · June 28, 2020

Of course food and humanitarian aid is not prohibited by sanctions.  But this report seems to imply there is more than meets the eye here.

 

12. NK paper lauds Kim on his leadership anniversary

koreaherald.com · by Rodung Sinmun-Yonhap · June 29, 2020

The mafia-like crime family cult – with emphasis on cult.  But lauding his leadership?  How about his leadership failures? – Let me count the ways.

13. N. Korea focuses on ending ship-based smuggling on border

dailynk.com · By Jang Seul Gi · June 29, 2020

This will have a severe impact on market activity throughout north Korea.  Note the rationale for this: stop corruption between local officials and smugglers.  The MSS wants to make sure it gets its cut rather than local officials.

 

14. Gov’t holds hearing on defector groups over anti-N.K. leafleting

en.yna.co.kr · by 고병준 · June 29, 2020

Again, this pains me.  The ROK should be protecting escapees and supporting their human rights work – information to north Korea is a human rights issue.

 

15. S. Korea to spend 36 billion won to help developing countries’ pandemic responses

en.yna.co.kr · by 송상호 · June 29, 2020

South Korea is demonstrating it is a great middle power.  We should remember the ROK has gone from a major aid recipient to a major donor nation.

 

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“There is no rule on how to write. Sometimes it comes easily and perfectly; sometimes it’s like drilling rock and then blasting it out with charges.” 

– Hemingway

 

“Americans fully understand the requirement of the football field or the baseball diamond. They discipline themselves and suffer by the thousands to prepare for these rigors. A coach or manager who is too permissive soon seeks a new job; his team will fail against those who are tougher and harder. Yet undoubtedly any American officer, in peacetime, who worked his men as hard, or ruled them as severely as a college football coach does, would be removed. But the shocks of the battlefield are a hundred times those of the playing field, and the outcome infinitely more important to the nation. The problem is to understand the battlefield as well as the game of football. The problem is to see not what is desirable, or nice, or politically feasible, but what is necessary.”

– T.R. Fehrenbach

 

“It’s part of a writer’s profession, as it’s part of a spy’s profession, to prey on the community to which he’s attached, to take away information – often in secret – and to translate that into intelligence for his masters, whether it’s his readership or his spy masters. And I think that both professions are perhaps rather lonely.”
– John le Carre

 

 

 

 

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06/28/2020 News & Commentary – National Security 6/29/2020 News & Commentary – National Security