News & commentary by Dave Maxwell. Edited and published by Duncan Moore.

1. [Exclusive Interview – John Bolton] “No direct (phone) line between Trump and Kim”

2. North Korea’s worst nightmare has come true: stealth F-35s have arrived next door

3.  Kim Jong-un cruelty: shocking details of punishment for families of defectors leaked

4. Altar for war hero set up in Gwanghwamun

5. Korea’s top communist killer passes at 99

6. U.S. sends surveillance plane to air base in Japan: aviation tracker

7. SpaceX test-fires rocket for South Korean military satellite launch this week

8. N.K. paper warns against following ‘bourgeois culture’

9. Kim Yo Jong becomes full member of N. Korea’s politburo

10. USFK commander pays tribute to late war hero Paik

11. Pro-N.K. paper says Washington’s WHO withdrawal decision indicates deepening isolation

12. Korean War hero Paik Sun-yup deserves proper treatment

13. ‘Cancellation of joint drills may hamper denuclearization’ (Korea)

14. It’s up to North Korea

15. Bilateralism in inter-Korea relations

 

1. [Exclusive Interview – John Bolton]”No direct (phone) line between Trump and Kim”

The Dong-A Ilbo · by Jungahn Kim · July 13, 2020

A relatively long interview with John Bolton. Some interesting tidbits that I will still take with a grain of salt. But he also gets some critical things right especially about our presence in South Korea and why we have an alliance (e.g., it is about mutual defense and mutual interests and not simply about defending South Korea).

 

2. North Korea’s worst nightmare has come true: stealth F-35s have arrived next door

The National Interest · by Mark Episkopos · July 12, 2020

Yes, Kim Jong-un should be afraid, very afraid of the F-35.

 

3. Kim Jong-un cruelty: shocking details of punishment for families of defectors leaked

Express · by Simon Osborne · July 11, 2020

The truly evil nature of Kim Jong-Un and the Kim family regime.

 

4. Altar for war hero set up in Gwanghwamun

The Chosun Ilbo · by Ariang News · July 13, 2020

From what I have been told, this is being funded by private funds while the Mayor of Seoul’s is being funded by taxpayer money.

 

5. Korea’s top communist killer passes at 99

Asia Times · by Andrew Salmon · July 12, 2020

Quite the click bait headline. I thought it was going to be in reference to Operation RatKilller, which General Paik led to root out the North Korean guerrillas in the Jiri Mountains of South Korea in December 1951 – February 1952 and which killed or captured some 10,000 North Korean guerrillas who were harassing the UN rear and supply lines. But it does not cover that. This is actually a useful summary of General Paik’s history and the current controversy over his funeral and honors.

 

6. U.S. sends surveillance plane to air base in Japan: aviation tracker

Yonhap News Agency · by scaaet@yna.co.kr · July 13, 2020

We can never have too much ISR in theater.

 

7. SpaceX test-fires rocket for South Korean military satellite launch this week

Space.com · by Tariq Malik · July 12, 2020

This is very important for ROK military command and control.

 

8. N.K. paper warns against following ‘bourgeois culture’

Yonhap News Agency · by julesyi@yna.co.kr · July 13, 2020

Blame the bourgeois culture and prepare for the severe hardship that is coming and will likely last for some time.

 

9. Kim Yo Jong becomes full member of N. Korea’s politburo

Daily NK · by Ha Yoon Ah · July 13, 2020

If this is accurate, then it is further indication of the trust Kim Jong-Un has in her, that she is being given even more power and stature, and that she is possibly being groomed for succession. Maybe Kim has been reading his Ranger Handbook and is adopting the 5 point contingency in case something happens to him and for use while he has been hiding out from the coronavirus in Wonsan and leaving Kim Yo-Jong in charge in Pyongyang.

(8) Contingency Plans. The leader leaves his unit for many reasons throughout the planning, coordination, preparation, and execution of his patrol mission. Each time the leader departs the patrol main body, he must issue a five-point contingency plan to the leader left in charge of the unit. The contingency plan is described by the acronym GOTWA, and includes:

* G: Where the leader is GOING.

* O: OTHERS he is taking with him.

* T: TIME he plans to be gone.

* W: WHAT to do if the leader does not return in time.

* A: The unit’s and the leader’s ACTIONS on chance contact while the leader is gone

 

10. USFK commander pays tribute to late war hero Paik

Yonhap News Agency · by scaaet@yna.co.kr · July 13, 2020

That is the ROK Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the ROK/US Combined Forces Commander. I wish the press would refer to General Abrams (and his eventual ROK successor) by the title, which is most important to the Alliance. The ROK/US Combined Forces Command is charged with deterring North Korea and, if necessary, defending South Korea by defeating a North Korean attack. The Korean press should always refer to the ROK/US Combined Forces Command and not USFK, which is not a warfighting command, is only a sub-unified command of INDOPACOM, and is a force provider to the ROK/US Combined Forces Command.

This act is a symbol of the strength of the alliance and General Paik was one of the best living symbols of the alliance. He will be missed, but I hope his legacy will continue to serve as a reminder of what our two nations did together and can and will do together.

 

11. Pro-N.K. paper says Washington’s WHO withdrawal decision indicates deepening isolation

Yonhap News Agency · by kokobj@yna.co.kr · July 13, 2020

Well, there is the pot calling the kettle… No country is more isolated in this world than North Korea. But, it is interesting to assess how the North’s Propaganda and Agitation Department will try to exploit our actions with the WHO and others to try to undermine US legitimacy. Note its defense of its only ally, China.

 

12. Korean War hero Paik Sun-yup deserves proper treatment

The Dong-A Ilbo · by Editorial · July 13, 2020

Yes he does. Enough said.

One thing I would like to see happen is the erection of a statue in General Paik’s honor at the Korean War Memorial in DC. That would be a fitting tribute to his contribution to the Alliance.

 

13. ‘Cancellation of joint drills may hamper denuclearization’ (Korea)

The Korea Times · by Kang Seung-woo · July 13, 2020

I cannot emphasize this article’s sentiment enough: there is no evidence of reciprocity. What we have learned over the past two years is that canceling, postponing, or scaling back exercises (or establishing a Comprehensive Military Agreement) has resulted in no reciprocity from the North and has not reduced either tension or the threat of the North. The North remains postured for offensive operations along the DMZ with 70% of the 4th largest army in the world between the DMZ and Pyongyang. None of our actions to demonstrate the reduction of what the North describes as a hostile policy will ever satisfy the regime. The regime’s definition of an end to the US hostile policy is an end to the ROK/US alliance, the removal of US troops from the peninsula, and an end to extended deterrence and the nuclear umbrella over the ROK and Japan. We must move forward with a thorough understanding of the regime’s strategy, objectives, and tactics, techniques, and procedures.

 

14. It’s up to North Korea

The Korea Times · by Tong Kim · July 13, 2020

I agree with Tong that Kim is taking the long view beyond this administration (and even the next), which is why I call it a “long con.” But I am not as optimistic as Tong in his conclusion (though I agree that the regime is very rational from the North Korean point of view).

 

15. Bilateralism in inter-Korea relations

The Korea Times · by Sandip Kumar Mishra · July 13, 2020

Intra-Korean relations. We should not forget that Korea should be unified and one day will be.

There are two points. First is that there is no success versus North Korea unless there is the foundation of a rock solid ROK/US Alliance. However, this is a double-edged sword because the North correctly perceives this as two against one. This is of course necessary, because without the US half of the alliance and the US presence on the peninsula, the regime will eventually resort to the use of force to accomplish its objectives after exhausting its subversion and coercion/extortion lines of effort. This is why we (the ROK/US Alliance) should focus our efforts on resolving the “Korea question.”

 

“Well when events change, I change my mind. What do you do?” 

– Dr. Paul Samuelson, who was awarded the 1970 Nobel Prize in economics.

“Everybody is a Genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree it will spend its whole life believing it is stupid.”

– Albert Einstein

“The framers of the Constitution took deliberate steps to ensure that treason trials would not be used as political weapons against opponents. Article 3, Section 3 defines the crime very narrowly: ‘Treason against the United States shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort.’ This language is drawn from an English statute from 1351 that was also intended to limit the scope of treason. Speaking against the government, undermining political opponents, supporting harmful policies or even placing the interests of another nation ahead of those of the United States are not acts of treason under the Constitution.”

-Carlton F.W. Larson

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