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

1. Opening remarks by Deputy Secretary Stephen Biegun at NCNK members’ meeting

2. Chronology of letters exchanged between Trump and N. Korean leader

3. North Korea seen enriching uranium at nuclear facility, says International Atomic Energy Agency chief

4. S. Korea, U.S. closely monitoring N.K. ahead of Oct. party anniversary: JCS

5. Senior U.S. diplomat urges N. Korea to carry out summit deal on denuclearization

6. US fired missiles in 2017 to demonstrate it could target NK leader Kim: Woodward

7. North Korea’s disaster management: getting better, but a long way to go

8. Time to open nongovernmental contacts with North Korea

9. Trump, Kim both promise lasting friendship, but only time will tell: Woodward

10. Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump are clearly not friends

11. U.S.-South Korea major military drills: how long can they hold?

12. N.K. leader lauds soldiers as ‘creators of all miracles’ for successful typhoon recovery work

13. Strong army, easy training

14. North Korea brutality: how Kim will ‘level playing field’ with US using chemical weapons

15. South Korea to secure coronavirus vaccines for 60% of population

16. Unification minister to visit Panmunjom this week

17. N. Korea touches on Hong Kong, South China Sea issues at last week’s ARF session

18. A field manual never lies

 

1. Opening remarks by Deputy Secretary Stephen Biegun at NCNK members’ meeting

National Committee on North Korea · September 12, 2020

 

2. Chronology of letters exchanged between Trump and N. Korean leader

Yonhap News Agency · September 15, 2020

 

3. North Korea seen enriching uranium at nuclear facility, says International Atomic Energy Agency chief

Straits Times · September 15, 2020

This “80 nuclear weapons” quote from Woodward’s book is creating quite a stir in the Korean media and among some in the ROK government. I wish Chong Wa Dae would make a statement about the importance of extended deterrence instead of the statements below. And note the two interpretations of the 80 nuclear weapons comments.

 

4. S. Korea, U.S. closely monitoring N.K. ahead of Oct. party anniversary: JCS

Yonhap News Agency · by scaaet@yna.co.kr · September 15, 2020

Of course, it would be irresponsible not to conduct aggressive ISR around the October 10th date.

 

5. Senior U.S. diplomat urges N. Korea to carry out summit deal on denuclearization

Yonhap News Agency · by Byun Duk-kun · September 15, 2020

I am sure the regime would like to implement the four-point Singapore Summit agreement. But they would like to do so in a specific order, step by step.

1. Change relationship – Declaration of the end of the war (end of hostile US policy – i.e., peace regime)

2. Sanctions relief (permanent removal)

3. Denuclearization of the South (end of alliance, removal of troops, end of nuclear umbrella over ROK and Japan)

4. Then negotiate dismantlement of the north’s and ICBM programs

In Short:

NK order of work: change relationship, build trust, denuclearize

US order of work: denuclearize, build trust, change relationship

We have not talked about it much of late, but we should recall that for the regime denuclearization of the Korean peninsula means denuclearization of the South. Although the US removed all US nuclear weapons in 1991-1992 (unilateral and with no reciprocity from the North) in support of the North-South denuclearization agreement in 1992. However, the North considers the South armed with nuclear weapons because of the presence of US forces who they believe have access to and will deploy nuclear weapons. So, when we use the phrase “denuclearization of the Korean peninsula,” the North interprets that as acceptance of the removal of US troops. And, of course, the end of the hostile US policy as well as security guarantees also means removal of US troops and an end to the alliance and an end to extended deterrence and the nuclear umbrella over the ROK and Japan. 

Denuclearization of the Korean peninsula plays right into the regime’s long term strategy to include its “divide to conquer” line of effort.

* Vital Interest: Survival of the Kim Family Regime

* Strategic Aim: Unification of the Peninsula

 Subversion, coercion, extortion, use of force

* Key Condition: Split the ROK/US Alliance

US forces off the Peninsula

“Divide and Conquer” – Divide the Alliance and conquer the ROK

* Desire: Recognition as nuclear power – negotiate SALT/START-like agreements

* Nuclear weapons key to deterrence – Hwang Jong Yop

* NK believes US will not attack a nation with nuclear weapons

 

6. US fired missiles in 2017 to demonstrate it could target NK leader Kim: Woodward

Korea Herald · by Ahn Sung-mi · September 14, 2020

Did the regime get the message? How do we know? I would like to read the PSYOP analysis for this messaging attempt. Are we even conducting thorough target audience analysis for our actions so we can understand the influence effects of such actions?

 

7. North Korea’s disaster management: getting better, but a long way to go

38 North · by Benjamin Katzeff Silberstein · September 14, 2020

Emphasis on a long way to go. While there may be improvements, the North will never recover until the regime makes policy changes and places the welfare of the Koran people and the nation above the desire to sustain a high degree of “good living” for the regime elite and the nuclear and missile programs.

 

8. Time to open nongovernmental contacts with North Korea

National Interest · by Doug Bandow · September 14, 2020

The problem is there are no actual “non-governmental” organizations in North Korea. All organizations are under the absolute control of the party. They are all organized and run in such a manner as to prevent exactly what Mr. Bandow proposes

That said I support as much contact with Koreans in the North as possible. But we must be under no illusion about how the regime and party rules and runs the entire country and we must not make rosy assumptions about the use of NGOs to influence change.

 

9. Trump, Kim both promise lasting friendship, but only time will tell: Woodward

Yonhap News Agency · by Byun Duk-kun · September 15, 2020

 

10. Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump are clearly not friends

National Interest · by Daniel R. DePetris · September 14, 2020

Another view. Of course, I doubt they are really friends as well. It is pure showmanship on both sides. I will not believe they are really friends until they have a “soju experience” together.

 

11. U.S.-South Korea major military drills: how long can they hold?

National Interest · by Mark Episkopos · September 14, 2020

If we cannot train, we cannot sustain forces on the peninsula. We cannot leave unready forces in harm’s war.

If we cannot train, we cannot proceed with the OPCON transition process.

If we cannot train, the Alliance will suffer.

 

12. N.K. leader lauds soldiers as ‘creators of all miracles’ for successful typhoon recovery work

Yonhap News Agency · by Koh Byung-joon · September 15, 2020

Without a coherent military that supports Kim the regime cannot survive.

 

13. Strong army, easy training

Dong-A Ilbo · September 15, 2020

An interesting op-ed. Training is critically important (yes, that is a blinding flash of the obvious).

 

14. North Korea brutality: how Kim will ‘level playing field’ with US using chemical weapons

Express · by Joel Day · September 14, 2020

While we are rightly concerned with the regime’s nuclear weapons, we also must assume the NKPA will employ chemical weapons as a matter of routine and an integral part of its operational methods (and we cannot neglect the biological threats as well). This article is based on old reporting, but it is still relevant.

 

15. South Korea to secure coronavirus vaccines for 60% of population

Reuters · by Sangmi Cha · September 15, 2020

 

16. Unification minister to visit Panmunjom this week

Yonhap News Agency · by Yi Wonju · September 15, 2020

 

17. N. Korea touches on Hong Kong, South China Sea issues at last week’s ARF session

Yonhap News Agency · by sshluck@yna.co.kr · September 15, 2020

I wonder if the North was using this as prep for the UN General Assembly meeting this month. Maybe these are some of the items that will be in the North Korean address to UNGA.

 

18. A field manual never lies

Korea Joong Ang Daily · Kang Ki-Heon · September 14, 2020

Some weird op-eds in the Korean press today. This is quite a treatise on field manuals and how important they are to the US military.

I guess the author never read the alleged quote from a German officer in WWII (also supposedly attributed to a Soviet officer): “one of the serious problems in planning the fight against American doctrine is that the Americans do not read their manuals, nor do they feel any obligation to follow their doctrine.”

And then there is this one supposedly attributed to a Soviet officer: “the reason the U.S. Navy does so well in wartime is that war is chaos, and the U.S. Navy practices chaos on a daily basis.”

 

“I can almost hear the ticking of the second hand of destiny. We must act now or we will die. … We shall land at Inchon, and I shall crush them.”

– General Douglas MacArthur, USA, Planning Conference for the Battle of Inchon, 1950.

“All government, indeed every human benefit and enjoyment, every virtue, and every prudent act, is founded on compromise and barter.”

– Edmund Burke

“The freedom to criticize ideas, any ideas – even if they are sincerely held beliefs – is one of the fundamental freedoms of society.”

-Rowan Atkinson

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