News & commentary by Dave Maxwell. Edited and published by Daniel Riggs.

1. Efforts under way with N. Koreans for new opportunity: Pompeo

2. What US knows about Kim Jong Un

3. N. Korean leader vows continued cooperation with China in letter to Xi

4. North Korea’s SLBMs: Daniel DePetris Responds to Victor Cha

5. South Korea military chief nominee stands by GSOMIA with Japan

6. Preparations Continue at the Mirim Parade Training Ground

7. Unification minister calls for N. Korea to implement summit agreements

8. Unification Ministry suspends investigations into human rights in N. Korea

9. N. Korea could fire SLBM around next month’s party anniversary: JCS chief nominee

10. N. Korea’s SLBM test barge gone in possible sign of impending test: 38 North

11. N.K. propaganda outlet slams S. Korea over budget proposal for military spending hike

12. Kim Jong Un is tightening control as North Korea’s economy reels

13. Pyongyang university students began practicing for Oct. 10 parade on Sept. 1

14. North Korea triples the amount of propaganda taught to pre-schoolers  

15. Kim Jong Un criticizes Ministry of Social Security for confusion over vehicle licenses

16. Kim Jong-Un seen visiting typhoon-hit town as he praises military response after claims he called Obama an ‘a**hole’

17. Moon sends letter to Suga, proposes efforts to improve ties

 

1. Efforts under way with N. Koreans for new opportunity: Pompeo

en.yna.co.kr · by 변덕근 · September 15, 2020

Excerpt:

“Pompeo sounded optimistic.

‘I am still optimistic that it’s gone quiet publicly, but there’s still lots of work going on, work going on between ourselves, our allies in the region — the Japanese and South Koreans — and even efforts with the North Koreans to come to understand where there may be opportunity as time goes on,’ he told the virtual seminar.”

 

2. What US knows about Kim Jong Un

donga.com · September 16, 2020

I like this concluding thought from the journalist: “It is telling that Kim has avoided military conflicts and has not given up on nuclear weapons. If past deals with Kim have taught us anything, it is that we should be able to discern threats in disguise.”

 

3. N. Korean leader vows continued cooperation with China in letter to Xi

en.yna.co.kr · by 변덕근 · September 16, 2020

Closer than lips and teeth?  The PRC-nK alliance.

 

4. North Korea’s SLBMs: Daniel DePetris Responds to Victor Cha

The National Interest · by Daniel R. DePetris · September 15, 2020

The Cha-DePetris spat continues.

I would say we should not miss the forest for the trees.  The important point is that north Korea continues to try to advance its military capabilities.  These capabilities serve two purposes: support to blackmail diplomacy and for war fighting. We should be under no illusion that the north still intends to dominate the peninsula to include through the use of force.  So the Depetris and Cha can argue over their interpretations of imagery and north Korean actions over the past three years but again, the important point is the north is advancing its military capabilities in a potentially significant way.

 

5. South Korea military chief nominee stands by GSOMIA with Japan

upi.com · September 14, 2020

I think all the professional military leaders in South Korea fully support the GSOMIA.  They have to walk a political-military tightrope on the issue because the political leaders are using threat to end the GSOMIA for political purposes and risk Korean national security.

 

6. Preparations Continue at the Mirim Parade Training Ground

38 North  · by Martyn Williams, Jenny Town, and Peter Makowsky  · September 15, 2020

Excerpts:

“Having just completed the construction of the large vehicle storage compound, the purpose of these new structures is unclear. While the larger ones are likely able to accommodate a TEL for North Korea’s largest missiles, the compound contains over 100 garage bays, including some that are sized to house vehicles as large as the Hwasong-15 TELs. Therefore, it seems odd that a purpose-built facility would need supplemental storage shortly after construction.

The structures were erected sometime between September 4 and 14, amid multiple typhoons. Satellite imagery was unavailable between those dates, but there are now significantly more tire marks on the concrete pavement around the garages, indicating heavy vehicle movement and probable participating in parade practices during that period.”

 

7. Unification minister calls for N. Korea to implement summit agreements

en.yna.co.kr · by 고병준 · September 16, 2020

The burden is on Kim Jong-un.  The South has faithfully implemented many aspects of the agreements but they can only go so far without reciprocity from the north. The north’s actions (or inaction) are a clear indication of regime intent and that intent does not include serious and substantive agreements that can be implemented.

 

8. Unification Ministry suspends investigations into human rights in N. Korea

donga.com · September 16, 2020

Oh no. This is terrible.  Is this blatant appeasement of the Kim family regime?  We must focus on the human rights abuses of Kim Jong-un and the Kim family regime.  It is a moral imperative and a national security issue.  Yes, when we focus on human rights in north Korea it undermines the legitimacy of the Kim family regime and is a threat to Kim Jong-un because he must deny the human rights of the Korean people living in the north in order to remain in power.  I am very disappointed in the Ministry of Unification.  This is going to harm eventual unification efforts because this action will be perceived as abandoning the Korean people living in the north (who are Korean citizens).

 

9. N. Korea could fire SLBM around next month’s party anniversary: JCS chief nominee

en.yna.co.kr · by 오석민 · September 16, 2020

A difference in views between the nominees for MINDEF and CJCS: “The remark indicates changes in the military’s assessment of what is going on in the North because Defense Minister nominee Gen. Suh Wook said Monday that chances for an SLBM launch anytime soon are slim given the short time left until the anniversary that falls on Oct. 10.”

 

10. N. Korea’s SLBM test barge gone in possible sign of impending test: 38 North

en.yna.co.kr · by 최수향 · September 16, 2020

Or is it possible the barge was damaged by the typhoon?

 

11. N.K. propaganda outlet slams S. Korea over budget proposal for military spending hike

en.yna.co.kr · by 고병준 · September 16, 2020

This is a threat to the regime.  It cannot compete militarily with the South. This excerpt is potentially laying the foundation for the justification to conduct some kind of provocation or tension raising event such as a missile test.

The website called the proposed budget hike “a military provocation” and “reckless act” that could spark an arms race.

It also lashed out at Seoul for being hypocritical in talking about peace while at the same time spending a large amount of money on developing high-tech weapons.

 

12. Kim Jong Un is tightening control as North Korea’s economy reels

Business Insider · by Benjamin Katzeff Silberstein

The economy is reeling because of Kim Jong-un’s policy decisions (and those of his father and grandfather).  The fundamental cause of economic problems is the decision to prioritize development of nuclear weapons and missiles over economic development and the welfare of the Korean people living in the north.  Yes the north has suffered from multiple natural disasters and is trying to prevent a COVID outbreak by implementing draconian population and resources control measures that are crushing the market activity that is necessary for survival of the people. But all these conditions simply magnify the effects of Kim Jong-un’s policy decisions.  He is solely responsible for the suffering of the Korean people living in the north despite the propaganda that blames the South and the US and everybody and everything except Kim Jong-un.

 

13. Pyongyang university students began practicing for Oct. 10 parade on Sept. 1

dailynk.com · by Ha Yoon Ah · September 16, 2020

If there is COVID inside north Korea this could become a super spreader, both all the preparations over the next few weeks and the actual event itself.

 

14. North Korea triples the amount of propaganda taught to pre-schoolers  

dailymail.co.uk· by Michael Havis · September 16, 2020

north Korean math:  If you have 5 American bastards and you shoot 3 of them between the eyes, how many American bastards do you have left to kill?

 

15. Kim Jong Un criticizes Ministry of Social Security for confusion over vehicle licenses

dailynk.com· by Jong So Yong · September 16, 2020

Maybe north Korea is more like the rest of the countries in the world.  It is also cursed with a terrible Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) (note attempt at humor my apologies to all the workers at the DMVs around the US).

 

16. Kim Jong-Un seen visiting typhoon-hit town as he praises military response after claims he called Obama an ‘a**hole’

the-sun.com· by Debbie White· September 16, 2020

Definitely a clickbait title.  Photos of the typhoon effects below.

 

17. Moon sends letter to Suga, proposes efforts to improve ties

en.yna.co.kr · by 이치동 · September 16, 2020

I hope Korea-Japan relations can improve but I am not holding my breath.

 

——–

 

Remind me to write an article on the compulsive reading of news. The theme will be that most neuroses can be traced to the unhealthy habit of wallowing in the troubles of five billion strangers.”

-Robert A. Heinlein

 

“May we think of freedom, not as the right to do as we please,
but as the opportunity to do what is right.”

– Peter Marshall, the Chaplain of the U.S. Senate after WWII

 

“Curiously enough, it is often the people who refuse to assume any responsibility who are apt to be the sharpest critics of those who do.”

– Eleanor Roosevelt

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