03/30/2021 News & Commentary – Korea

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

1. Vice-Director of Information and Publicity Department of WPK Central Committee Kim Yo Jong Releases Statement

2. N.K. leader’s sister slams Moon as ‘parrot’ repeating Washington’s ‘gangster-like logic’

3. Cheong Wa Dae calls N. Korea’s criticism of President Moon ‘regrettable’

4. Law banning leaflets into N. Korea to take effect this week

5. Moon’s peace initiative faces more deadlock

6. North Korean leader’s sister slams South Korea’s Moon for criticism of recent missile test

7. US eyes additional UN action on N. Korea after missile tests

8. North Korea likely to escape punishment for rocket launches

9. North Korea Is Not A Serious Negotiator And Biden Will Act Accordingly – Analysis

10. S. Korea capable of intercepting N.K. short-range missiles: defense ministry

11. Biden must confront North Korea via Beijing by John Bolton

12. Reports of North Korea’s Return to a Command Economy Have Been Exaggerated

13. China and North Korea to revive trade in April amid US tension

14. Asia Trip Offers Preview of Biden Administration’s North Korea Policy

15. S. Korea ‘strongly condemns’ Japan’s approval of school texts laying claim to Dokdo

 

1. Vice-Director of Information and Publicity Department of WPK Central Committee Kim Yo Jong Releases Statement

kcnawatch.org

So here is Kim Yo-jong’s statement criticizing President Moon and calling him a parrot of the US.

“Height of effrontery?” Definition: : shameless boldness : INSOLENCE. Synonyms: audaciousness, audacity, brashness, brass, brassiness, brazenness, cheek, cheekiness, chutzpah (also chutzpa or hutzpah or hutzpa), crust, face, gall, nerve, nerviness, pertness, presumption, presumptuousness, sauce, sauciness, temerity

The Propaganda and Agitation Department is making good use of its thesaurus. 

The timing of this statement is interesting as the new anti-leaflet law is about to take effect in South Korea. The new law is in direct response to Kim Yo-jong’s statements last June (as well as her order to destroy the South Korean liaison building) in which she demanded an end to information being disseminated to the north. 

I have just four words: appeasement does not work.

But I wonder what new demand will soon be made of South Korea. Kim Yo-jong is shaping the information environment.

 

2. N.K. leader’s sister slams Moon as ‘parrot’ repeating Washington’s ‘gangster-like logic’

en.yna.co.kr · by 고병준 · March 30, 2021

Remember it is the regime that is gangster like but I guess that it proves the adage, “it takes one to know one.” There is no better example of mirror imaging than this.

 

3. Cheong Wa Dae calls N. Korea’s criticism of President Moon ‘regrettable’

en.yna.co.kr · by 이치동 · March 30, 2021

I think what Choeng Wa Dae needs to regret is its naive assumptions about the nature, objectives, and strategy of the Kim family regime that provide the foundation for its peace agenda. I hope this is a wake-up call for the Moon administration and it will re-evaluate its strategic assumptions and its policy and strategy toward north Korea.

 

4. Law banning leaflets into N. Korea to take effect this week

en.yna.co.kr · by 이원주 · March 29, 2021

What will be the next demand from the Kim family regime?

 

5. Moon’s peace initiative faces more deadlock

The Korea Times · by Kang Seung-woo · March 30, 2021

The Moon administration’s peace initiative may become the largest point of friction in the ROK/US alliance. Given the recent series of actions and statement from the regime, the Moon administration needs to view them in total as a wake-up to its flawed assumptions and naive policy and strategy. 

 

6. North Korean leader’s sister slams South Korea’s Moon for criticism of recent missile test

Reuters · by Sangmi Cha · March 30, 2021

 

7. US eyes additional UN action on N. Korea after missile tests

AP · by Matthew Lee · March 29, 2021

Time for a strategic strangulation campaign. (From 5 years ago: “A Strategic Strangulation Campaign for North Korea: Is the International Community Ready for What May Come Next?” (which requires that we think through the second and third order effects and what comes next)

 

8. North Korea likely to escape punishment for rocket launches

m.koreatimes.co.kr · March 26, 2021

Markus Garlauskas gives us the Lenin bayonet strategy – “You probe with bayonets: if you find mush, you push. If you find steel, you withdraw.” The Kim family regime probes with missile and rocket launches.

Excerpt: However, claiming that North Korea’s recent launches were part of its leader’s ambitious plans to advance its ballistic missile programs, rather than a cry for attention or economic assistance, Markus Garlauskas, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council and a former U.S. National Intelligence Officer for North Korea, said the international community should take punitive action against North Korea. “If these launches go unchecked by the international community, that is likely to lead to launches of bigger and more capable systems, including those capable of carrying multiple nuclear warheads,” Garlauskas said, adding that no response would “reinforce the precedent of such launches being accepted by the international community without any costs to Pyongyang at all.”

 

9. North Korea Is Not A Serious Negotiator And Biden Will Act Accordingly – Analysis

eurasiareview.com · by Arius M Derr · March 30, 2021

Don’t hold back??

Conclusion: :Previous efforts to severely isolate North Korea were kept in check by the need to maintain good relations with China, the North’s benefactor. But with China–US relations in decline, there is less reason to hold back.

This fits Biden’s preference for both multilateralism and greater toughness on North Korea. If North Korea continues apace to build nuclear warheads and missiles, then there will be growing pressure to prevent the outflow of these technologies. This raises the possibility of provocations or even violence, a risk that the United States may be willing to run if there is no other way to halt proliferation. “

 

10.  S. Korea capable of intercepting N.K. short-range missiles: defense ministry

en.yna.co.kr · by 최수향 · March 30, 2021

I certainly hope the spokesman’s confidence is justified. I am heartened to read about a “South Korea-US missile defense system.”

Excerpt: “South Korea has the ability and the posture to fully intercept North Korea’s short-range missiles, including ballistic ones, with the South Korea-U.S. missile defense system,” ministry spokesman Boo Seung-chan said.

 

11. Biden must confront North Korea via Beijing by John Bolton

Washington Examiner · by John Bolton · March 29, 2021

I fear that basing any strategy on requiring Chinese cooperation will be doomed to failure.

Ambassador Bolton recommends we call out China for its complicity in enabling north Korea. I concur. However, I still do not expect that China will take any significant action to try to force the north to change its behavior. And of course even if it does try we have to ask will it have any effect on the regime?

 

12. Reports of North Korea’s Return to a Command Economy Have Been Exaggerated

38north.org · by Eun-ju Choi · March 29, 2021

Hmmm… interesting analysis. If the regime cracks down on the market economy to maintain control it is possible that it will backfire and create resistance. If the regime allows markets to flourish it could generate a desire for political change which would also be an existential threat to the regime.

Conclusion: “In conclusion, it is a mistake to over-interpret Kim Jong Un’s remarks about the need to restore the state’s “unified guidance” over economic work as a return to a Leninist planned economy; it was, instead, an internal economic policy change to crack down on the rent-seeking behavior of the party and the military. Of course, the success of this approach is not guaranteed, but it is clear that Kim’s existing policy—which has increased market expansion and economic unit autonomy—is still alive and well.”

 

13. China and North Korea to revive trade in April amid US tension

asia.nikkei.com · by Shin Watanabe and Tsukasa Hadhano · March 30, 2021

Excerpts: “ China accounts for more than 90% of North Korea’s external trade. Exports and imports between the two tumbled 80.7% in 2020 to $539.05 million from a year ago, reaching the lowest level since 2000 when bilateral trade dropped to $488 million, according to China’s General Administration of Customers.

In 2017, the U.N. Security Council imposed sanctions on North Korea’s exports of coal, iron ore, seafood, textile and other products. But the country’s ties with China help it to still trade. Until 2019, North Korea manufactured and exported wigs, watches, and other products using materials supplied by China which were not subject to the sanctions.

“These kinds of trade halted due to the border closure,” a trading house official said. As its hard-currency income falls, North Korea is increasingly relying on China’s support.Sino-North Korean cooperation is reviving as U.S.-China relations worsen. The friction between Washington and Beijing over security issues and human rights was laid clear at a recent meeting in Alaska earlier this month.

South Korea’s central bank estimated that North Korea’s gross domestic product increased 0.4% in 2019 from the previous year. But the North Korean economy is likely to have contracted last year. While trade is now expected to resume, it is unclear when both sides will agree to the flow of people.

 

14.  Asia Trip Offers Preview of Biden Administration’s North Korea Policy

dailysignal.com · by Bruce Klingner · March 29, 2021

 

15. S. Korea ‘strongly condemns’ Japan’s approval of school texts laying claim to Dokdo

en.yna.co.kr · by 김승연 · March 30, 2021

Neither Japan nor Korea can help themselves.

 

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“Instead of claiming that anyone can predict what is going to happen, we argue that everyone, from analysts to decision makers, can see the forces as they are taking shape and not be blindsided when those changes inevitably reshape the global environment. Anticipating strategic surprise gives decision makers the ability to look in the right place for game-changing events and to track them systematically. As these scenarios become more plausible, and ever more imminent, decision makers can then pay attention to the right things when they matter most. This kind of insight leads to better questions rather than better answers, but better questions are very, very important.”   

– Peter Schwartz and Doug Randall

DanielRiggs
Tue, 03/30/2021 – 9:45am

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