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

1. U.S.-South Korea: working group blues

2. Peace in Korea can happen without denuclearization

3.  N.K. propaganda outlets slam S. Korea over revised missile guidelines

4. 2.0 magnitude quake hits southern N. Korea, central S. Korea

5. 2 in 5 re-defectors live in S. Korea for less than 3 years: lawmaker

6. Why do NK defectors flee to destitute North?

7. Kim Jong Un adds new measure for North Koreans traveling near China border

8. Covid-19 relief to North approved, but details not disclosed

9. South’s military kept recent missile test by North under wraps

10. S. Korea reports 30 new virus cases, single-digit number of local infections for 2nd day

11. Korea, Iran agree to launch working group on humanitarian trade

12. KJU National Defense University students to participate in Oct. military parade

13. NGO calls on S. Korea to stop ‘regulatory intimidation’ against activist groups

 

1. U.S.-South Korea: working group blues

Real Clear Defense · by Khang Vu · August 01, 2020

It is amazing how a simple working group to coordinate strategy can be so misunderstood and become a lightning rod for political opponents.

It is not to veto South Korean actions. But if the South intends to take an action that violates UN sanctions or US law, such violations must be discussed. That is not a veto by the working group. It is simply a fact that if an action violates sanctions or US law, then the ROK must understand what the effects of such a violation will be. On the other hand, the working group has been useful to inform the US of ROK intentions and the US has gone to the UN Security Council to get waivers for certain sanctions.

This article is full of misinformation (note the Tamiflu accusation) and misunderstanding. If the ROK and US cannot have a simple working group to coordinate strategy, then the alliance is in real trouble.  Fortunately, those with whom I have spoken who are involved with the working group (Korean and US diplomats) know how important and effective it is. It is the press, pundits, and partisan political operatives who criticize and use it to advance their anti-alliance agendas. 

I would make the bold statement and say anyone who opposes this working group is working in opposition to the Alliance.

 

2. Peace in Korea can happen without denuclearization

The Diplomat · by Daniel R. DePetris · July 31, 2020

First, the only thing this essay does is posit three (inaccurate) straw man assumptions, simply to focus blame on the US for the security and diplomatic situation on the peninsula, and the author says we must learn to live with a nuclear North Korea. Appeasing and apologizing for North Korea is not sound policy and strategy. And the author provides no explanation of how peace can break out on the peninsula (except for the misguided belief that accepting North Korea as a nuclear state will bring peace).

 

3. N.K. propaganda outlets slam S. Korea over revised missile guidelines

Yonhap News Agency · by Yi Wonju · August 2, 2020

Good. North Korea is paying attention. No one should be dismayed from fielding missile systems in the South because of this propaganda. And you have to love that North Korean propaganda talks about South Korean “evil intentions.”  That is the pot calling the kettle black.

 

4. 2.0 magnitude quake hits southern N. Korea, central S. Korea

Yonhap News Agency · by ycm@yna.co.kr · August 1, 2020

 

5. 2 in 5 re-defectors live in S. Korea for less than 3 years: lawmaker

Yonhap News Agency · by ycm@yna.co.kr · August 1, 2020

What comes to my mind is the possibility of the North using “escapee/defectors” for infiltration purposes. They complete their mission within three years and then return to the North for debriefing. They may not be spying and collecting military or intelligence information. They may be performing the mission for which the North has tried to use kidnapped foreigners (e.g., South Koreans, Japanese, etc.): specifically, to obtain cultural and linguistic information needed to train actual spies for infiltration into the South. They also learn all there is to know about a specific area in the South and all that a spy must know to operate undercover and not be compromised.

However, we must be cautious in not suspecting all escapee/defectors with a broad brush. Obviously, most escapees are coming to the South to escape the most despotic regime in the world.

 

6. Why do NK defectors flee to destitute North?

Korea Times · by Jung Da-min · August 2, 2020

I think the three assumptions here are correct. But as I note above, we also must consider there may be some who are sent undercover as defectors to gather information for follow-on spies.

 

7. Kim Jong Un adds new measure for North Koreans traveling near China border

New York Post · by Dana Kennedy · August 1, 2020

The regime continues to implement some of the most draconian population and resources control measures.

 

8. Covid-19 relief to North approved, but details not disclosed

Korea Joong Ang Daily · by Ser Myo-Ja & Ko Suk-Hyun · July 31, 2020

Of course it is the right thing to do to help the Korean people in the North. However, we must understand how the regime set this up to justify acceptance of such aid with the return of the “defector.”  I wonder if a condition of the aid by the North is to keep the type of aid secret. I certainly hope the ROK government will not comply with such a condition.

 

9. South’s military kept recent missile test by North under wraps

Korea Joong Ang Daily · by Shim Kyu-Seok · July 30, 2020

Why? And don’t they know something like this will always be exposed. This is just bad public affairs operations (I do not mean to blame public affairs officers as they are likely following orders and I am sure they recommended the release of the information). But I guess it is some American official’s fault for revealing the information. It is likely a test such as this was to simply advance their missile program and, since the North Korean Propaganda and Agitation Department did not exploit it, it was not meant as a message.

 

10. S. Korea reports 30 new virus cases, single-digit number of local infections for 2nd day

Yonhap News Agency · by Kim Kwang-tae · August 2, 2020

South Korea is managing the problem. But it is international travel that is the weak link in preventing the spread.

 

11. Korea, Iran agree to launch working group on humanitarian trade

Korea Joong Ang Daily · by Yonhap · August 2, 2020

The want currency-based accounts to continue Korea’s oil imports from Iran and exports of goods to Iran upon the U.S. waiver of sanctions limiting dollar-based financial transactions with Tehran. But Washington refused to extend the sanctions waiver. Hmmm…? You have humanitarian aid and you have trade. What is humanitarian trade (rhetorical question)?

 

12. KJU National Defense University students to participate in Oct. military parade

Daily NK · by Jeong Tae Joo · July 31, 2020

It is the same in every army. Military students are always “forced” (ordered) to participate in these events.

 

13. NGO calls on S. Korea to stop ‘regulatory intimidation’ against activist groups

Yonhap News Agency · by sshluck@yna.co.kr · August 1, 2020

Again, rule of law or rule by law?

 

“Guerrilla Strategy is the only strategy possible for an oppressed people.”

-Kao Kang (quoted in Mao’s On Guerrilla Warfare)

“Guerrilla war is a kind of war waged by the few but dependent on the support of the many.”

-B.H. Liddel Hart

“If historical experience teaches us anything about revolutionary guerrilla war, it is that military measures alone will not suffice.”

-Brig Gen S.B. Griffith in the Introduction to Mao’s On Guerrilla Warfare, 1961

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