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

1. Troop control handover may be delayed, USFK chief warns

2. What if America also reduced its forces in South Korea?

3. Kim does not mind U.S. troops in Korea but wants military drills stopped: Woodward book

4. Kim put ‘conditions’ on denuclearization three months after first summit: Woodward

5. N. Korea’s paper urges antivirus efforts in typhoon-hit areas

6. ‘Alliance talks’ between U.S. and S. Korea stumble even before they begin

7. Nigel Jeffries: North Korea will never play fair with U.S.

8. With a poker face, Kim Jong Un waits for Japan’s next PM

9. Unification ministry hopes inter-Korean liaison office resumes operations as it marks 2nd anniversary

10. Kim Jong-un unbuttons to oversee flood recovery

11. N. Korea unlikely to test-fire SLBM around October anniv.: defense minister nominee

12. Any use of U.S. military force in Korea impossible without Seoul’s consent, Cheong Wa Dae says

13. How deceitful propaganda lured Japan’s ‘Zainichi’ to North Korea

14. Eight more US troops, family members test positive for coronavirus after flying to South Korea

15. Claim that BTS and ‘Parasite’ were Korean government projects made netizens furious

 

1. Troop control handover may be delayed, USFK chief warns

Chosesun Ilbo · by Yang Seung-sik · September 14, 2020

I think the Chosun Ilbo means General Abrams (not Adams).

Koreans must remember these conditions are not only agreed to by both countries, but that these conditions are also critical to the defense of the ROK.

 

2. What if America also reduced its forces in South Korea?

National Interest · by Stratfor Worldview · September 13, 2020

The future of US forces on the Korean peninsula should be based on the answer to one question: how should ROK and US forces be organized, trained, equipped, and led to be able to accomplish missions assigned by the ROK/US alliance.

This paragraph illustrates all that is wrong with talking about the OPCON transition process. Yes, of course, it is perceived as a sovereignty issue. But that is because no one has explained that, since 1978 and the establishment of the bilateral warfighting command (the ROK/US Combined Forces Command that is charged with deterrence and defense of the ROK), the command is co-equally “owned” by both nations. In 1994 the “peacetime” OPCON change simply made the ROK JCS a “force provider” to the ROK/US CFC, just as USFK and PACOM (and CONUS based commands) are force providers. Both countries decide whether they will provide forces under the OPCON of the ROK/US CFC. And, of course, the command answers to the Military Committee, which is made up of the National Command and Military Authorities of both countries. The bottom line is ROK forces are not under the control of the US in exactly the same way that US forces will not be under the control of the ROK when the OPCON transition is complete and the ROK/US CFC is commanded by a ROK general officer. It would be useful if the press, pundits, and political leaders could understand the fundamental command relationships and explain them to the public – both Korean and US.

 

3. Kim does not mind U.S. troops in Korea but wants military drills stopped: Woodward book

Yonhap News Agency · by Byun Duk-kun · September 14, 2020

If US forces cannot train, they cannot remain on the Korean peninsula. I think even Kim Jong-Un must understand that. And he has probably factored that into his long con. Kim also knows military training is routine. He knows alliance forces are postured for the defense while his forces have long been postured for the offense. He knows that the ROK and US forces have to prepare to defend the South because of the threat he poses. He only wants training halted in order to weaken and divide the alliance. Given the burden sharing issues and the threats to reduce and remove troops as well as the opposition to US troops among the South Korean progressives, he sees the opportunity to accomplish his objective to get US forces off the peninsula without making the demands to do so. It is all part of his strategy of subversion, coercion, and extortion that will eventually create the conditions that Kim believes will give him the ability to use force to achieve his objectives. No one should be duped by Kim Jong-Un’s statements. It would be the height of foolishness and utter irresponsibility to take him seriously and to consider leaving US forces on the peninsula without being able to conduct any training.

 

4. Kim put ‘conditions’ on denuclearization three months after first summit: Woodward

Yonhap News Agency · by Byun Duk-kun · September 14, 2020

I guess I will not have to read Woodward’s book all night on Tuesday evening when it arrives. Everything is being exposed by the press who have had the opportunity to read it ahead of the rest of us.

The unilateral decision to suspend or cancel exercises is one of the largest errors we have made in the past few years. The only thing that offsets it is that we have not given into the demand for relief of sanctions.

 

5. N. Korea’s paper urges antivirus efforts in typhoon-hit areas

Yonhap News Agency · by kokobj@yna.co.kr · September 14, 2020

Perhaps we are soon going to see reports of a coronavirus outbreak in the North. When that happens, we could very well see significant internal problems.

 

6. ‘Alliance talks’ between U.S. and S. Korea stumble even before they begin

Dong-A Ilbo · by lightee@donga.com · September 14, 2020

If MOFA used “agreement” when there was not one, then it could be in for some difficult times ahead –especially with how General Abrams’s comments on OPCON transition are being interpreted by the Korean side.

 

7. Nigel Jeffries: North Korea will never play fair with U.S.

Charleston Gazette-Mail · by Nigel Jeffries · September 12, 2020

A question: has the North ever played fair with anyone?

 

8. With a poker face, Kim Jong Un waits for Japan’s next PM

Nikkei Asian Review · by Hiroshi Minegishi · September 13, 2020

 

9. Unification ministry hopes inter-Korean liaison office resumes operations as it marks 2nd anniversary

Yonhap News Agency · by julesyi@yna.co.kr · September 14, 2020

Wishful thinking, I think.

 

10. Kim Jong-un unbuttons to Oversee Flood Recovery

Chosun Ilbo · by Kim Eun-joong · September 14, 2020

Does the Propaganda and Agitation Department think this is a good look for Kim Jong-Un? Is this as close to a “Putin-look” that Kim can get?

Buried lede: Kim’s former mistress was part of his traveling party for this event.

 

11. N. Korea unlikely to test-fire SLBM around October anniv.: defense minister nominee

Yonhap News Agency · by Oh Seok-min · September 14, 2020

I am not sure that making such predictions on North Korean provocations and test launches is useful. What I would recommend that the defense minister nominee focus on are the indications that the North is working to advance a broad range of military capabilities, from the tactical to the strategic. These are threat to South Korea and the ROK/US alliance.

 

12. Any use of U.S. military force in Korea impossible without Seoul’s consent, Cheong Wa Dae says

Yonhap News Agency · lcd@yna.co.kr · September 14, 2020

To the advisors at Chong Wa Dae: this is unhelpful for the alliance (though I understand why it has had to make this statement). You do not get a veto or a vote in ANY use of force. It is time for you to grow up. The right of self-defense is never denied. If the US has intelligence that the North is matching a nuclear warhead to an ICBM that could strike the US, the President of the United States is going to be faced with a decision that only he can make. Should he conduct a pre-emptive strike to defend the United States? The US does not need South Korean consent or approval to do so. I would ask about the South Korean kill chain concept and conducting a strike on a North Korean missile site before launch? I would ask about South Korean military responses to North Korean provocations? Has the South sought US approval in every case? The right of self-defense for anyone or any country is never denied. The US president will decide how to best defend the US, just as the ROK president will decide how to defend South Korea.

As a practical matter, I would always recommend consultation for any use of force because of the likely blowback from the North. But time and security may dictate otherwise. There may be little time from an intelligence warning to probable launch. The US may also be concerned with intelligence ties to the North from within a South Korean administration.

Execution of the operational plans (such as the old 5027 or 5029) does require approval and consent of both governments, because they are combined plans and require forces from both countries. The US also cannot act unilaterally from South Korean territory. Any operation launched from South Korea will require South Korean support, but – most importantly – South Korea is a sovereign nation and South Korea has a say in how foreign forces use South Korean territory. However, the US has the capability to conduct a pre-emptive strike against a North Korean ICBM armed with a nuclear warhead without any use of South Korean territory or South Korean military support.

Yes, Chong Wa Dae has to make this statement for domestic political purposes. But there are uses of force that can and will be conducted without South Korean notification and approval.

 

13. How deceitful propaganda lured Japan’s ‘Zainichi’ to North Korea

Vice · by Dan Buyanovsky · September 14, 2020

The regime was established on a foundation of propaganda (the legitimacy of the regime was based on anti-Japanese partisan warfare that liberated the Korean peninsula). Propaganda is a key tool for rule of the Korean people in the North as well as for national security and foreign affairs. We should not be surprised by this propaganda campaign.

 

14. Eight more US troops, family members test positive for coronavirus after flying to South Korea

Stars & Stripes · by news@stripes.com · September 14, 2020

 

15. Claim that BTS and ‘Parasite’ were Korean government projects made netizens furious

K Pop Post · by KpopPost Editor · September 14, 2020

This is not how Japan and Korea should fight a soft power “war.”

 

“Guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism.”

– George Washington

“There are three kinds of patriots, two bad, one good.

The bad ones are the uncritical lovers and the loveless critics. Good patriots carry on a lover’s quarrel with their country.”

– William Sloane Coffin

“God created strategy by allowing choice,”

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