News and Commentary by Dave Maxwell. Edited and Published by Riley Murray.

1. New virus cases hit record high of 950; strain on medical system feared to grow (South Korea)

2. USFK tightens COVID-19 restrictions in greater Seoul area

3. First step made to take over Yongsan military base from USFK

4. Coronavirus: North Korea accused of using COVID to crack down on human rights

5. U.S. secondary sanctions hurting North Korea, defector says

6. South Korea deploys military and builds wards in shipping containers to tackle new Covid-19 outbreak

7. Twenty Years a-Stagnating – The Lost Opportunity of Britain’s Relationship With the DPRK

8. People’s Groups and Patterns in Neighborhood Surveillance: Another Tool in State Control Over Daily Life

9. ‘Assassins’: How Kim Jong-nam’s murder served as Phase 1 of Kim jong-un’s plan to instill loyalty in North Korea

10. S Korea’s Covid success story sunk by third wave

11. Why Biden shouldn’t try to denuclearize North Korea

12. U.S. reaffirms commitment to complete denuclearization of N. Korea: State Dept.

13. ‘Assassins’ Review: Duped Into an International Murder Plot

1. New virus cases hit record high of 950; strain on medical system feared to grow (South Korea)

en.yna.co.kr · by 유지호 · December 12, 2020

2. USFK tightens COVID-19 restrictions in greater Seoul area

en.yna.co.kr · by 최수향 · December 11, 2020

Here is some interesting data and perspective from the Camp Humphrey’s Commander:

Team – Just want to reiterate one more time so all are tracking!! ZERO transmissions from USFK (ZERO) to Host nation. 0

NUMBERS peninsula wide are less than 30. THIRTY!! for 10+ Months. (Excluding Fly Ins) 

Camp Humphreys is under 15 – SERIOUS and 2 cases in last 8 months! TWO

@USAGHumphreys

I think USFK has set the US military standard for addressing the pandemic. You have to fight through it to be “ready to fight tonight.”

3. First step made to take over Yongsan military base from USFK

donga.com – by Kyu-Jin Shin – 12 December 2020

This is the right thing to do and we have to get on with it.  But it still brings feelings of nostalgia and like losing my second hometown since I spent many years living, working, and visiting there over the last 4 decades.

Camp Kim was the home of the Special Operations Command-Korea (SOCKOR) for about 3 decades (after being housed in a building on the main compound next to the old 8th Army HQ that was once a Japanese bath house and latrine).  In the early 1990’s it moved into a building on Camp Kim that was once the Japanese Army morgue and rumored to be the site of biological warfare experiments during the colonial period.  Just some trivia for the day.

4. Coronavirus: North Korea accused of using COVID to crack down on human rights

DW · 12 December 2020

There should be no doubt the regime is exploiting the COVID crisis to suppress resistance and oppress the Korean people of the north in order to keep the Kim family regime in power.

Excerpt: “Seven UNSC members – Germany, Belgium, Dominican Republic, Estonia, France, the UK and the US, along with Japan”

Note: South Korea did not sign on to the joint statement. 

5. U.S. secondary sanctions hurting North Korea, defector says

upi.com – Elizabeth Shim – 11 December 2020

When our good friend Ri Jong-ho speaks I listen.

Excerpt: “The former North Korean official said secondary sanctions have raised the pressure on Pyongyang and its foreign enablers, but more needs to be done.”

6. South Korea deploys military and builds wards in shipping containers to tackle new Covid-19 outbreak

The Telegraph · by Jennifer Rigby

This is not a war that can be won outright with a quick victory.  The virus is not going to raise the white flag and surrender and will not be defeated as long as it can continue to mutate and most importantly find hosts for transmission and survival.  This is a continuous fight until the vaccination effects can be realized around the world.

7. Twenty Years a-Stagnating – The Lost Opportunity of Britain’s Relationship With the DPRK

38north.org · by James E. Hoare · December 11, 2020

Do not put all the blame on the UK.  Kim Jong-un and his father bear some responsibility.

8. People’s Groups and Patterns in Neighborhood Surveillance: Another Tool in State Control Over Daily Life

38north.org · by Darcie Draudt · December 10, 2020

It is very important to understand the nature and operations of these “people’s groups.”  From an information and influence activities perspective to planning, preparation, and educating for the unification process it is imperative to understand the influence of the inminban.

9. ‘Assassins’: How Kim Jong-nam’s murder served as Phase 1 of Kim jong-un’s plan to instill loyalty in North Korea

meaww.com – by Neetha K – 11 December 2020

The movie was supposedly released yesterday.  I have not yet found a theater.

Here is a 22 minute interview with the director, Ryan White. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-4joi7z6UOA. This is a very interesting interview.

10. S Korea’s Covid success story sunk by third wave

asiatimes.com · by Andrew Salmon · December 11, 2020

Seoul successfully managed the first two waves.  This terrible third wave does not mean South Korea has failed.  It only illustrates how dangerous and complex this pandemic is.

11. Why Biden shouldn’t try to denuclearize North Korea

asiatimes.com · by Andrew Salmon · December 11, 2020

I have long criticized both Seoul and Washington for being duped by north Korea into calling for the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula rather than north Korea (even if there are definitely no nuclear weapons anywhere on the Korean peninsula since the US unilaterally and without any reciprocity from the north, removed them).  Kim Jong-un accepted this construct because it plays into his political warfare strategy.  His definition of a nuclearized South is the presence of US forces and the access that brings to US strategic assets.  So his concepted of denuclearization is an end to the ROK/US alliance and US troops off the peninsula. Coincidentally, that is also the real security guarantee he demands.  He does not care about end of war declarations or written or verbal promises.  He must have US troops off the peninsula to be successful.

However, I can accept the concept of denuclearization of the Korean peninsula in this respect: The only way we are going to see an end to the nuclear program and threats as well as the human rights abuses and crimes against humanity being committed against the Korean people living in the north by the mafia-like crime family cult known as the Kim family regime is through achievement of unification and the establishment of a United Republic of Korea that is secure and stable, non-nuclear, economically vibrant, and unified under a liberal constitutional form of government based on individual liberty, rule of law, and human rights as determined by the Korean people.  In short, a United Republic of Korea (UROK).  So, yes, must seek denuclearization but the path to denuclearization is through resolution of the “Korea question” or unification. 

12. U.S. reaffirms commitment to complete denuclearization of N. Korea: State Dept.

en.yna.co.kr · by 변덕근 · December 12, 2020

Not stated though hopefully implied: through resolution of the “Korea question.”

I know that restaurant!!

13. ‘Assassins’ Review: Duped Into an International Murder Plot

The New York Times · December 10, 2020

Trailer at the link. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/10/movies/assassins-review.html?

I hope this makes it to one of the streaming services soon. The interview with the director was fascinating. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-4joi7z6UOA

 

“When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot in it and hang on.”

– Franklin D. Roosevelt

 

“Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.” 

– John Adams

 

“There is simple ignorance, which is the source of lighter offenses,

and double ignorance, which is accompanied by a conceit of wisdom;

and he who is under the influence of the latter fancies that

he knows all about matters of which he knows nothing.

-Plato

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