04/05/2021 News & Commentary – Korea

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

1. China Knows S.Korea Is Weakest Link in U.S.’ Asia Alliances

2. Korea trapped in shifting sands of US-China rivalry

3. China urges S. Korea to make efforts to alleviate N. Korea sanctions

4. Impatient to resolve N. Korea issues, Seoul makes things go awry

5. Contentious US missile shield back in limelight

6. Defense ministry rejects Japan’s renewed claims over Dokdo islets

7. S. Korea, U.S. agree ‘in principle’ on Moon-Biden summit in Washington

8. S. Korea to conduct survey on Korean War-separated families

9. Families of around 30 former military officers expelled from Pyongyang for “inappropriate speech and behavior”

10. North Korea deploys construction troops to border to build barriers and high-voltage wires

11. N. Korea urges efforts to localize production to develop self-reliant chemical industry

12. N.K. ‘party cell’ leaders visit mausoleum of late leaders ahead of conference

13. China and South Korea plan security talks as efforts to repair relations after US missile row continue

14. Exclusive: South Korea steel giant POSCO weighs how to exit Myanmar military-backed venture – sources

15. Looking beyond the North in South Korean foreign policy Looking beyond the North in South Korean foreign policy

 

1. China Knows S.Korea Is Weakest Link in U.S.’ Asia Alliances

english.chosun.com

Although this is a very critical OpEd about South Korea from the Chosun Ilbo, the importance of this piece is that it is exposing China’s strategy. Of course the ROK has responsibility for sustaining the ROK/US alliance, but it is important that we understand what China is doing and what are its intentions, which includes attacking the alliance.

In defense of the Ambassador to the US, his comments in the conclusion below were misinterpreted. He was actually trying to describe why the ROK/US alliance is strong and important: the ROK makes the deliberate choice to be allied with the US and it is not forced into an alliance relationship. It is part of the alliance because of shared interest, shared, values shared, strategy, and shared threats.

Conclusion: Last year, the Korean ambassador to the U.S. even said South Korea “can choose sides” between Washington and Beijing. But it can do no such thing, and Moon’s desperate pursuit of U.S.-North Korea dialogue and a visit to Seoul by the Chinese president were completely ignored. In the meantime, North Korea continues to bolster its nuclear arsenal. The government has only itself to blame.

 

2. Korea trapped in shifting sands of US-China rivalry

asiatimes.com · by Andrew Salmon · April 2, 2021

As they say: “it’s complicated.” We (both the ROK and the US) need to understand the Chinese strategy and how it intends to harm the ROK/US alliance.

 

3. China urges S. Korea to make efforts to alleviate N. Korea sanctions

donga.com · April 5, 2021

Another indicator of how China intends to create friction for the ROK/US alliance. Of course this line of effort works because the Moon administration is predisposed to demand sanctions relief for the north in support of the “peace agenda.”

 

4. Impatient to resolve N. Korea issues, Seoul makes things go awry

donga.com · April 5, 2021

Another critical Oped about the Moon administration dealing with China, north Korea, Japan, and the US.

I am heartened to read the DOnga Ilbo editorial board highlighted the key phrase from the ROK/Japan. US joint statement from the national security advisors meeting last Friday:

“…putting emphasis on the complete implementation of the United Nations Security Council’s resolutions.”

This is what needs to be the foundation of the the new policy and the key talking point that should be emphasized by all three nations. 

 

5. Contentious US missile shield back in limelight

koreaherald.com · by Choi Si-young · April 5, 2021

A somewhat misleading headline. My first thought was President Raegan and “star wars missile defense.” But it is “only” about THAAD in Korea.

This issue has been relatively low visibility and kept behind the scenes for the most part. But it cannot continue and the ROK government must solve this. But it fears the professional organizers/protesters who have effectively mobilized the local populace to oppose construction of the base. Few are aware of the difficult conditions of our soldiers at the temporary “base.”

 

6. Defense ministry rejects Japan’s renewed claims over Dokdo islets

en.yna.co.kr · by 오석민 · April 5, 2021

Another friction point in the trilateral relationship among Korea, Japan, and the US. And this is a self inflicted wound by both the ROK and Japan. 

 

7. S. Korea, U.S. agree ‘in principle’ on Moon-Biden summit in Washington

en.yna.co.kr · by 김덕현 · April 5, 2021

Some competition with Japan on timing.

 

8. S. Korea to conduct survey on Korean War-separated families

en.yna.co.kr · by 고병준 · April 5, 2021

You would think after seven decades of separation the ROK government would have conducted numerous surveys and should surely have data on how many separated families there are.

 

9. Families of around 30 former military officers expelled from Pyongyang for “inappropriate speech and behavior”

dailynk.com · by Ha Yoon Ah · April 5, 2021

Snarky comment: north Korean “cancel culture” with Juche characteristics.

But we have to assess if this kind of “resistance ” is a significant indicator. 

 

10. North Korea deploys construction troops to border to build barriers and high-voltage wires

dailynk.com · by Ha Yoon Ah  · April 5, 2021

Another indicator of the draconian population and resources control measures being implemented to oppress the Korean people in the north in the name of COVID defense.

Another snarky comment: I wonder if these wall builders are available for contracting for wall construction on other borders?

 

11. N. Korea urges efforts to localize production to develop self-reliant chemical industry

en.yna.co.kr · by 이원주 · April 5, 2021

Dual use.

 

12. N.K. ‘party cell’ leaders visit mausoleum of late leaders ahead of conference

en.yna.co.kr · by 고병준 · April 5, 2021

It remains all about the revolution.

Excerpts: “The participants in the 6th Conference of Cell Secretaries of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) visited the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, where President Kim Il-sung and Chairman Kim Jong-il lie in state,” the Korean Central News Agency said.

“The participants hardened strong will to bring about a revolutionary turn in the Party cell work as required by the new period of upsurge and turn in socialist construction,” it added.

 

13. China and South Korea plan security talks as efforts to repair relations after US missile row continue

SCMP · by Kinling Lo · April 5, 2021

China supports north Korea’s divide and conquer line of effort regarding the ROK/US alliance.

China and South Korea plan security talks as efforts to  repair relations after US missile row continue:

  • Beijing says it hopes the two sides can cooperate on North Korea, 
  • trade and technology following a meeting between the two countries’ 
  • foreign ministers on Saturday
  • Relations are slowly getting back on track after the 2016 dispute that 
  • saw South Korean businesses hit by an economic backlash from its 
  • most important trading partner

 

14. Exclusive: South Korea steel giant POSCO weighs how to exit Myanmar military-backed venture – sources

Reuters · by Cynthia Kim · April 5, 2021

 

15. Looking beyond the North in South Korean foreign policy Looking beyond the North in South Korean foreign policy

eastasiaforum.org · by Chung Min Lee · April 5, 2021

Important analysis and perspective from our good friend Professor Chung Min Lee.

Conclusion: “A lasting road to peace and prosperity on the peninsula can only be achieved if South Korea amplifies its international leverage by enhancing its contributions to the global commons. This cannot happen if it continues to focus myopically on a peninsular peace regime without taking into account the gross human rights abuses of the North Korean government or crafting a more realistic roadmap towards verifiable denuclearisation. South Korea will also miss out on a key opportunity to strengthen its alliance with the United States at a time when Washington needs crucial support from allies.

As important as the North Korea issue is, Seoul would gain significant dividends by focusing on global areas of cooperation with the United States and mending seriously strained relations with Japan. Globalising South Korean foreign policy should receive bipartisan support. In an era of unprecedented decoupling, but also growing entanglement, it makes sense for South Korea to accentuate its increasingly prominent role as an outward-looking techno-democracy. To do otherwise would be to go back in time and forfeit a rare opportunity to augment South Korea’s strategic regional and global leverage.

 

————–

 

Unconventional Warfare:

 

Old: “UW is a broad spectrum of military and paramilitary operations, normally of long duration, predominantly conducted by indigenous or surrogate forces who are organized, trained, equipped, supported, and directed in varying degrees by an external source. UW includes guerilla warfare (GW) and other direct offensive low-visibility, covert, or clandestine operations, as well as the indirect activities of subversion, sabotage, intelligence collection, and evasion and escape (E&E).  

JP1-02 DoD Dictionary of Military Terms and FM 31-20 Special Forces Operations, 1990

 

New (and current): UW is defined as “activities conducted to enable a resistance movement or insurgency to coerce, disrupt or overthrow an occupying power or government by operating through or with an underground, auxiliary or guerrilla force in a denied area” (JP 1-02 and JP 3-05)

 

2017 NDAA: “Irregular Warfare is conducted in support of predetermined United States policy and military objectives conducted by, with, and through regular forces, irregular forces, groups, and individuals participating in competition between state and non-state actors short of traditional armed conflict.” 

DanielRiggs
Mon, 04/05/2021 – 9:24am

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