News & commentary by Dave Maxwell. Edited and published by Ahyoung Shin

 

1. N.K. media says scaled-down joint exercise shows S. Korea-U.S. alliance is an ‘illusion’

2. ‘USFK’s ground warfare capability requirement will be reduced,’ says U.S. report

3.  This Democratic-Republican duo wants to solve the Korean War once and for all

4.  North Korea’s emergency measures suggest possible COVID outbreak

5.  Moon Jae-in wants improved ties with North Korea but his two new point men have checkered pasts

6.  North Korea-linked hackers are now spreading their own ransomware

7. North Korean defector ‘shocked’ by kindness, racial diversity of US

8. Did Kim Jong Un just bury Trump’s nuclear diplomacy?

9. China and N. Korea fears: Why experts warned volcano on border ‘could be ready to erupt’

10. North Korean women suffer ‘gender-specific’ abuses, new UN report says

11. U.S. envoy for defense cost talks appointed as Arctic region coordinator

12. Trump says U.S. pulling out troops from Germany because he doesn’t want to be ‘sucker’

13. N. Korea launched ship-based missile in early July as part of regular summertime exercise: officials

14. New virus cases dip to over 1-month low of 18 on slowing imported cases (South Korea)

15. Runaway N. Korean defector unlikely to have contracted coronavirus: KCDC

16. New unification minister renews willingness to work with N. Korea to tackle coronavirus

17. N. Korea’s No. 2 leader visits Kaesong after lockdown amid virus fear

18. ‘New missile guideline to help OPCON transition’

19. N. Korean Christians facing starvation as regime bans cash aid to defectors’ families amid COVID-19

20. U.N. experts warn Venezuela it could be in breach of North Korea sanctions -documents

 

1. N.K. media says scaled-down joint exercise shows S. Korea-U.S. alliance is an ‘illusion’

en.yna.co.kr · by 이원주 · July 30, 2020

For anyone who thinks our cancelation, postponement, or scaling back of ROK/US Combined Forces Command exercises will generate a positive response from north Korea, this is another indication of the regime’s true intent. For two years we have “tested” Kim Jong-un and he has been found wanting. We have cancelled exercises as the North has demanded. We offered working level negotiations time and time again and Kim Jong-un has refused. South Korea negotiated a Comprehensive Military Agreement and provided a number of trust building measures that were not reciprocated. The North’s demand for an end to the US “hostile policy” as the North calls it, is an end to the ROK/US Alliance, removal of US troops, and an end to extended deterrence and the nuclear umbrella over the ROK and Japan. We should understand the true nature of the regime and its objectives and strategy.

2. ‘USFK’s ground warfare capability requirement will be reduced,’ says U.S. report

donga.com · July 30, 2020

What is important to understand this very comprehensive (and well done) report on INDOPACOM is an academic study that is not policy nor approved strategy. It is an academic exercise. Yes it will be considered by the Pentagon but our Korean counterparts should not over interpret this.

3.  This Democratic-Republican duo wants to solve the Korean War once and for all

The National Interest · by Matthew Petti · July 29, 2020

One of the interesting things about Korea is that it is one of the most bi-partisan issues and that is almost always a very positive thing. But not in this case.

With all due respect to these two Congressmen, they are pursuing a dangerous path. I will repeat my previous comments from yesterday. I hope someone can inform these Congressman and give them a different view than the one they are getting from a number of organizations that can best be described as appeasers of North Korea.

To reiterate:

Let me be frank: The bottom line is thinking along the lines of Congressman Khanna and those who are influencing him demonstrates a lack of understanding of the true nature of the Kim family regime, its strategy and objectives, and the history of north-South and north-US relations.   

First let me preface this with the following which is my standard caveat:
I support peace on the Korean peninsula
I support a diplomatic solution to the North Korean nuclear threat
I support ROK engagement with the North
I do not support a weakening of the ROK and ROK/US defensive capabilities
I believe there cannot be success for US, ROK, and Japanese interests without strong ROK/US and Japan/US alliances
Despite the above I think we have to accept that North Korea does have a continued hostile strategy and therefore while we prioritize diplomacy we have to remain prepared for the worst cases. I hope I am wrong here and that Kim Jong-un will dismantle his nuclear weapons and seek peaceful co-existence.

There are many issues to address. First is a peace treaty should be between the two belligerents: the North and South. The US did not declare war on the North. It fought under the UN authorizations which declared the North the aggressor and called on member nations to defend freedom in the South, per UN Security Council Resolutions 82 ,83, 84, and 85.

Second, a declaration of the end of the war or any kind of “peace mechanism” or “peace regime” that does not resolve the “Korea question” (para. 60 of the Armistice) will not bring peace and stability to the peninsula.

Third, the objective of North Korea is to dominate the entire Korean Peninsula. The regime strategy is based on subversion, coercion, extortion, and use of force to achieve unification on its terms to ensure regime survival. It is a zero sum situation for the North and it is not going to capitulate or peacefully co-exist with the South.

Fourth, those who advocate for a peace regime are actually “carrying the water” for Kim Jong-un because he is playing the long con and executing a political warfare strategy with Juche characteristics to achieve his objective to dominate the South. A peace regime is the first step in his plan to get US forces off the Korean Peninsula. This will also include disestablishing the UN Command as well.

We should never forget that the strongest deterrent of an attack by the North is the presence of US forces. If we go down the path the Congressman and others advocate, we will have conflict on the Korean Peninsula with a scale of loss of blood and treasure and suffering we have not seen since the Armistice was signed in 1953.

Lastly I think people should be cautious when dealing with organizations such as Women Cross DMZ due to connections to north Korean intelligence handlers in New York, e.g., Pak Chol and the United Front Department. https://freekorea.us/2019/11/christine-ahn-pak-chol-and-the-united-front-department/

4.  North Korea’s emergency measures suggest possible COVID outbreak

koreajoongangdaily.joins.com 

I think we should have little doubt there is an outbreak in North Korea and it is not the result of the defector who returned.

5.  Moon Jae-in wants improved ties with North Korea but his two new point men have checkered pasts

SCMP · July 30, 2020

His new national security team is an indication President Moon wants to double down on his peace strategy and maximum engagement with North Korea. Our two Congressmen who are pursuing the peace agreement should understand this and the long time ties members of the Moon administration have with North Korea.  I fear they will not get an understanding of the true nature of the Kim family regime and its objectives and strategy from this team.

Most important to understand is Kim does not want improved ties with the South. He wants to play his long con against the South.

6.  North Korea-linked hackers are now spreading their own ransomware

Forbes · by Lee Mathews · July 29, 2020

North Korea’s all-purpose sword.

7. North Korean defector ‘shocked’ by kindness, racial diversity of US

foxnews.com · by @calebparke

So much to undo in the minds of Koreans living in the North.

8. Did Kim Jong Un just bury Trump’s nuclear diplomacy?

Washington Examiner · by Tom Rogan · July 29, 2020

But it should be clear that the failure of diplomacy is Kim’s failure to make the right strategic choices. Excerpt for lifting sanctions (which would be the worst strategic mistake because it will set back relations decades and not improve them as the apologists and appeasers hope) the Trump administration has extended opportunity after opportunity  for working level negotiations , engagement, and to allow the North to act as a responsible member of the international community. It refuses to do so. Any and all failures on the Korean peninsula rest on Kim Jong-un’s decision making.

9. China and N. Korea fears: Why experts warned volcano on border ‘could be ready to erupt’

Express · by Callum Hoare · July 29, 2020

North Korea does not need another natural disaster.

10. North Korean women suffer ‘gender-specific’ abuses, new UN report says

nknews.org · by Terrence Matsuo · July 29, 2020

Comments from Olivia Enos, Greg Scarlatoiu, and me below.

11. U.S. envoy for defense cost talks appointed as Arctic region coordinator

en.yna.co.kr · by 김승연 · July 30, 2020

There has to be a meme in this – South Korean negotiations then to the Arctic? I suppose this is a move. Afterall the arctic is at the top of the world. (please excuse my attempt at humor. I have great respect for Mr. DeHart who had an absolutely thankless job trying to negotiate with South Korea given the current political conditions.).

12. Trump says U.S. pulling out troops from Germany because he doesn’t want to be ‘sucker’

en.yna.co.kr · by 김승연 · July 30, 2020

Of course Korea is watching this very closely and will analyze every move we make with regard to troop withdrawals from anywhere.

But I guess no one can convince the President that we have forward stationed troops to serve US interests first and foremost. He seems to only view alliance as transactional. I do feel for his advisors who view our actions through the lens of national interest and strategy versus a transactional relationship.

13. N. Korea launched ship-based missile in early July as part of regular summertime exercise: officials

en.yna.co.kr · by 오석민 · July 30, 2020

Why does no one complain about North Korea’s summer training exercises (and it’s Winter Training Cycle)? Despite our cancellation, postponement, and scaling back our exercises the North continues to conduct its exercises unabated. He has complied with almost no confidence building measures in the Comprehensive Military Agreement with South Korea.

14. New virus cases dip to over 1-month low of 18 on slowing imported cases (South Korea)

en.yna.co.kr · by 김수연 · July 30, 2020

Some good news that I hope will continue. But based on recent history and other reporting in Asia I fear there will continue to be ups and downs.

15. Runaway N. Korean defector unlikely to have contracted coronavirus: KCDC

en.yna.co.kr · by 강윤승 · July 30, 2020

I am sure this is the case. But it will not stop the regime from exploiting it. The more we think about this the more we have to wonder if this defector was an agent who was called back for a purpose. I will bet NK intelligence knew about the criminal charges against him so this made a perfect opportunity to conduct an operation to discredit and blame the South for the coronavirus outbreak that is already happening.

How many North Koreans have the ability to conduct an infiltration operation? Crossing the Han River Estuary once could be luck. Twice seems to indicate training and skill.

16. New unification minister renews willingness to work with N. Korea to tackle coronavirus

en.yna.co.kr · by 이원주 · July 30, 2020

Exactly what the regime wants. Of course it is the right thing to do. But the regime had to engineer a scenario that was politically acceptable in the North. So now when the South does the right thing to help the Korean people in the North, the perception in the North is they are doing it because they are to blame for the outbreak and Kim Jong-un has demanded that they help solve the problem they caused.

17. N. Korea’s No. 2 leader visits Kaesong after lockdown amid virus fear

en.yna.co.kr · by 고병준 · July 30, 2020

Being called “Number 2” is a dangerous job in North Korea (ask Jang Song-taek). There can be no actual number 2. “There can be only one.” So said Kim Jong-un, the Korean highlander.

18. ‘New missile guideline to help OPCON transition’

The Korea Times · July 30, 2020

Terrence Roehrig makes an important point. With OPCON transition and the call for South Korea to develop more independent warfighting capabilities the US has a difficult time saying no to South Korean requests to change the guidelines.

19. N. Korean Christians facing starvation as regime bans cash aid to defectors’ families amid COVID-19

christianpost.com · by Leah MarieAnn Klett · July 29, 2020

It is hard to fathom that Pyongyang was once called the “Jerusalem of the East” and the Presbyterian missionaries ministered to Kim Il-sung’s families. But religion will be one of the most important elements in the unification process because the Koreans in the North will need to turn to faith to replace the Juche ideological indoctrination when they learn North Korea was built on myths and lies. Religious groups will have some of the largest impact on the unification process and many are already doing the Lord’s work trying to get information into the North as well as helping to get people out.

20. U.N. experts warn Venezuela it could be in breach of North Korea sanctions-documents

Reuters · by Luc Cohen, Michelle Nichols5 Min Read · July 28, 2020

Venezuela and North Korea. Military and technical agreements. Hmmm… No mention of it but I am sure the North would like some of Venezuela’s oil. 

 

 

———–

“We rest our hopes too much upon constitutions, upon laws, and upon courts. These are false hopes; believe me, these are false hopes. Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can save it; no constitution, no law, no court can even do much to help it.” 

– Judge Learned Hand

 

“He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp-posts… for support rather than illumination.”  

– Andrew Lang (1844-1912)

 

“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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