News & commentary by Dave Maxwell. Edited and published by Riley Murray.

1. Paik Sun-yup, South Korea’s First Four-Star General, Dies at 99

2. How the dramatic death of Seoul’s mayor left a country divided

3. Fire Visible From China Destroys Train and Warehouse at North Korean Station

4.  North Korea chaos: Kim Jong-un humiliated as major disaster visible from China

5. North Korea Sends 30 Pyongyang Families of Missing Overseas Workers Into Internal Exile

6.  North Korea denounces UK for sanctions on organizations accused of links to prison camps

7. North Korea Says U.K. Will ‘Pay’ for Sanctions Against It

8. The Korean Grind Duo That Raged Against Two Corrupt Machines

9. S. Korea, US could suspend again joint drills: sources

10. Korea to require foreigners arriving from high-risk nations to submit proof of negative virus test

11. Political controversy erupts over mourning Seoul mayor’s passing

12. New virus cases rebound; imported cases, cluster infections on steady rise

13. Commentary: Another Trump-Kim summit will achieve little yet again

1. Paik Sun-yup, South Korea’s First Four-Star General, Dies at 99

The New York Times · by Choe Sang-Hun · July 11, 2020

Note the discussion of his service in the Japanese military.  He was born 15 years after Japan occupied Korea (10 years after the official date of 1910).  He was 17 when Japan invaded China.  Yes, he attended a Japanese military school and served in the Japanese army. He likely did not have a choice.  His family, like many others, were trying to survive the Japanese occupation. And it is obvious he put his military training to good use in 1950 and beyond.  

Most who want to treat him as a collaborator are also north Korean apologists.  I think when people are making accusations against General Paik they should remember how much he has done for Korea, unlike Kim Il-sung. Kim was a soldier in the Soviet Red Army who called himself a guerrilla leader.  He commanded the 88th special independent sniper brigade and conducted one known and very minor operation during all of World War II.  He spent the war mostly hiding out because he was not a capable military leader.  Most importantly he did liberate Korea.  All he was good at was  political  manipulation, creating the myths of north  Korea  and developing the most oppressive ruling regime in the modern era and of course he has the blood of more than 1 million Koreans on his hands because he alone started the Korean War.  If it were not for Paik Sun-yup and Koreans like him there would be no free and prosperous Republic of Korea today.

Korean independence fighters in the South also deserve to be honored.  It is not a contradiction to honor them both.  But Kim Il-sung was not one of those freedom fighters.  He and his guerrilla band had no intention of developing a free and prosperous Korea only establishing a brutal that would oppress the Korean people while he held all the power.

I hope South Korea will do the right thing and honor his decades of selfless service for the good of Korea.  He has certainly given more and sacrificed more than anyone in the Moon administration has or ever will do.  I hope he is given the respect he deserves.

2. How the dramatic death of Seoul’s mayor left a country divided

CNN · by Yoonjung Seo and Julia Hollingsworth, CNN

Korea seems to be focusing on this man’s death rather than on honoring General Paik’s life.

3. Fire Visible From China Destroys Train and Warehouse at North Korean Station

rfa.org – Reported by Joonho Kim for RFA’s Korean Service. Translated by Leejin Jun. Written in English by Eugene Whong -10 July 2020

This is an example of the important reporting RFA and VOA does to get this kind of news to the Korean people living in the north.  You know this is not likely being report by north Korean media or it is it will be spun appropriately for protect the reputation of the regime.

Of course, this begs the questions: Was this an accident?  Was it due to party/government incompetence?  Was is deliberate sabotage?  Is this an indication? 

4. North Korea chaos: Kim Jong-un humiliated as major disaster visible from China

Express · by Paul Withers · July 11, 2020

This is an interesting spin on the RFA report of this incident.  RFA reports the facts.  Others take the facts and add “interesting” interpretations.

5. North Korea Sends 30 Pyongyang Families of Missing Overseas Workers Into Internal Exile

rfa.org – Reported by Sewon Kim for RFA’s Korean Service. Translated by Leejin Jun. Written in English by Eugene Whong – 10 July 2020

Again, this is the important kind of reporting by RFA and VOA.  This news is not being reported to the Korean people living in the north by the north Korean media.  The people do not know how the human rights of these families are being abused.  RFA and VOA provide reporting that no other media can do.

6. North Korea denounces UK for sanctions on organizations accused of links to prison camps

Reuters · by Joyce Lee · July 11, 2020

This is another important example of why we need to spend more time talking about human rights and less time talking about nuclear weapons.  Human rights undermine the legitimacy of the regime and is a direct threat to Kim Jong-un.  Talking about nuclear weapons enhances regime legitimacy.

The UK is making an important contribution to maximum pressure here.

7. North Korea Says U.K. Will ‘Pay’ for Sanctions Against It

Bloomberg · by Jeong-Ho Lee · July 11, 2020

Again, the UK focus on human rights is a threat to Kim Jong-un.

8. The Korean Grind Duo That Raged Against Two Corrupt Machines

Vice · by Junhyup Kwon

A view of a part of Korea and Korea politics and culture that we really read about in mainstream of Korean English media.  I will be interested in responses from my friends in Korea.

9. S. Korea, US could suspend again joint drills: sources

koreaherald.com · by The Korea Herald · July 12, 2020

Note the controversy over readiness for the defense of South Korea versus the full operational capability assessment for OPCON Transition.  This why what OPCON transition must be conditions based on not timeline based.  Readiness must take precedence.  However, both may very well be trumped by the coronavirus threat to the health of the ROK/US Combined Forces Command.  I would rather forgo the exercise and maintain the health of the members of the command because the longer-term impact of a potential massive outbreak of the coronavirus within the command could be quite significant.  Commanders are going to have to find other ways to train to ensure everyone knows the defense plans without consolidating the headquarters in a single bunker and risk exposure of a large number of key leaders and staff.

10. Korea to require foreigners arriving from high-risk nations to submit proof of negative virus test

koreaherald.com · by The Korea Herald · July 12, 2020

Yes, Korea is experiencing a rise in infections with arriving foreigners.  The problem with this is that proof of a negative test only proves you were negative at the time the test was administered.  A person can become infected after the test and be asymptomatic but still spread the virus.  But this will have some impact as it will likely deter some travelers especially those who do have access to test or who can get test results in a timely manner (such as in the US which is obviously one of the high risk nations based on the data).

11. Political controversy erupts over mourning Seoul mayor’s passing

en.yna.co.kr · by 김덕현 · July 12, 2020

This overshadows the passing of General Paik.

12. New virus cases rebound; imported cases, cluster infections on steady rise

en.yna.co.kr · by 김덕현 · July 12, 2020

It is going to take sustained vigilance by the government and the people to deal with this virus.  As long as there is no vaccine and no likelihood of developing herd immunity it is going to take the hard work of public health processes to manage this crisis.  And I think it is going to have to shift from crisis management to living in a “new normal.”  Things may never be the same again – or as the Talking Heads say it will never be “the same as it ever was.” (Once in a Lifetime)

13. Commentary: Another Trump-Kim summit will achieve little yet again

channelnewsasia.com – by Robert E. Kelly – 12 July 2020

North Korea is justified?  A summit will achieve little if there are no substantive working level talks to produce an agreement to take to the two leaders.  But he is right as to whether a summit would achieve anything. It would not and if we had to make concessions such as lifting sanctions just to have a meeting (which is the required condition just for Kim to show up) we would do more harm than good.

I really tire of the blame the US for not making concessions (to be fair he says both sides have not made concessions – but I would expect the Professor to recall the history of making concessions with north Korea and how masterful the regime is at getting something for nothing).  The reason for failure lies on the shoulders of Kim Jong-un alone.  He is the one who refuses to negotiate (and I would not characterize the recent history as the past 2 years of negotiations – there have been no substantive negotiations – review the reporting on the two sessions in Sweden in January and October of 2019. – Review the reporting on the “negotiations” in the run-up to Hanoi – review the history of the South trying to act as a go-between mediator).  There have not been 2 years of negotiations.  There have been some talks and meetings, but the north has refused to do the hard work of substantive negotiations to reach a real agreement.

But for all those who want to lift sanctions, I ask again what behavior by Kim Jong-un do you want to condone?  Continued nuclear weapons and missile testing, production, deployment, and proliferation?  Continued illicit activities around the world? Continue cyber-attacks around the world? Continued proliferation of conventional weapons and training and advisory services to conflict areas and to America’s adversaries? Continued employment of slave labor around the world? And most importantly, continued human rights abuses and crimes against humanity being committed against the Korean people living in the north?  Should Kim get a pass on the gulags and the Songbun system of political and cultural oppression?

“Everybody wants to defend speech they agree with., only the truly principled will defend the speech of someone to say something they disagree with and hate to listen or read.” – Cal Weyers

 

“Any fool can know. The point is to understand.”

– Albert Einstein

 

Victor Hugo was a master of figurative language, including the use of oxymoronic and paradoxical phrasing, chiastic constructions, and, of course, vivid metaphorical images. Here are ten of his best:

“Toleration is the best religion.”

“Thought is the labor of the intellect.”

“The malicious have a dark happiness.”

“Melancholy is the pleasure of being sad.”

“To rise  from error to truth is rare and beautiful.”

“A compliment is something like a kiss through a veil.”

“”Laughter is the sun which drives winter from the human face.”

“One can resist the invasion of armies;

one cannot resist the invasion of ideas.”

“It is the essence of truth that it is never excessive . . .

We must not resort to the flame where only light is required.”

“There are thoughts which are prayers.

There are moments when, whatever the posture of the body,

the soul is on its knees.”

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