04/17/2021 News & Commentary – Korea

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

1. The Case for Maximizing Engagement With North Korea

2.  U.S.- Japan Joint Leaders’ Statement: “U.S. – JAPAN GLOBAL PARTNERSHIP FOR A NEW ERA”

3. SOCKOR Dedicates Headquarters Campus After Medal of Honor Recipient

4. Suga says he is prepared to meet N. Korean leader Kim to address abduction issue

5. U.S., Japan committed to complete denuclearization of N. Korea: leaders

6. FM Chung, U.S envoy hold dinner talks on climate change cooperation

7. U.S. congressmen call for amendment of anti-leaflet law

8. North Korea Gives Extra Food to Veterans for Former Leader’s Birthday

9. What can Joe Biden do about North Korea that Trump didn’t do?

10. Russian envoy says ‘no famine’ in North Korea, describes ‘extra-harsh’ COVID-19 restrictions

11. Is North Korea Returning to Diplomacy?

12. Kim Jong Un attends concert with North Korea’s first lady

13. North Koreans don masks to celebrate birth of country’s founder

14. 7 Years After Sewol Ferry Disaster, Bereaved Families Still Urge Government to Reveal the Truth

15. How South Korean Soldiers and YouTube Catapulted a K-Pop Girl Group to Fame

 

1. The Case for Maximizing Engagement With North Korea

38north.org · by Frank Aum · April 16, 2021

I am for engagement.  But first Kim has to want to engage.  Second, we have to have the right balance between engagement and protecting South Korea, seeking stability, stopping proliferation, halting global illicit activities, and putting pressure on the regime to halt its human rights abuses.  Third, engagement must be focused on a long term goal such as resolving the “Korea question.”  Lastly, we must understand that engagement without pressure (and without accountability for malign actions) will be assessed as appeasement and success for Kim’s long con, political warfare strategy, and blackmail diplomacy.

I am for engagement as long as we engage Kim Jong-un with the full understanding of the nature, objectives, and strategy of the Kim family regime.

I think the Biden administration is going to support engagement with its new Korea policy; however, it seems apparent that it is going to base the policy on the requirement for full implementation of all relevant UN Security Council resolutions. 

Conclusion: “To be sure, North Korea also has a say in whether engagement is possible. Its government faces significant constraints and sometimes can take months to respond to proposals. Also, Pyongyang—even more than Washington—can act cautiously out of fear. It often retreats into its shell during periods of crisis, like the current COVID pandemic, restricts the movement of foreigners and citizens to maintain strict control, and can sometimes create an inhospitable environment through its harsh treatment of foreigners suspected of threatening behavior. But just as often, North Korea is eager to engage, invite foreign delegations, seek meetings to discuss the potential for peacebuilding, and explore academic and scientific exchanges. The United States needs to be ready when North Korea reemerges from its COVID lockdown. Better yet, it should encourage the North’s reemergence by signaling a robust commitment to peace and engagement and reinvigorating offers for COVID assistance. As North Korea has noted, in a message of both warning and invitation, it will respond to the US based on “power for power and goodwill for goodwill.”

The future of US-DPRK relations is still to be determined. If the United States continues a policy of isolation and pressure, North Korea will likely remain a hostile and inscrutable security threat, a chronic hotspot draining attention and resources from other priorities, and, in the worst case, one miscalculation away from precipitating a nuclear catastrophe. By shifting to a comprehensive engagement policy, however, Washington could work together with Pyongyang to develop more nuanced understandings of each other, enhance mutual trust and reduce threat perceptions, manage and decrease nuclear and conventional risks, and cultivate the North’s ability to participate as a more responsible member of the international community.”

 

2. U.S.- Japan Joint Leaders’ Statement: “U.S. – JAPAN GLOBAL PARTNERSHIP FOR A NEW ERA”

APRIL 16, 2021 • STATEMENTS AND RELEASES

Key excerpt: “The United States and Japan reaffirmed their commitment to the complete denuclearization of North Korea, urging North Korea to abide by its obligations under UN Security Council resolutions, and called for full implementation by the international community. We intend to strengthen deterrence to maintain peace and stability in the region and will work together and with others to address the dangers associated with North Korea’s nuclear and missile program, including the risk of proliferation. President Biden reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to the immediate resolution of the abductions issue.

The common refrain in all recent allied (and Quad) statements has been about implementing or abiding by all relevant UN Security Council resolutions which of course calls for the denuclearization of north Korea, et el (while mentioning the desire for the denuclearization of the of the Korean peninsula).

 

3. SOCKOR Dedicates Headquarters Campus After Medal of Honor Recipient

dvidshub.net

I am glad they are able to honor COL Howard this way.  I remember meeting COL Howard for the first time when he was the SOCKOR Commander in 1989. We were out training with the 5th ROK SF Bde conducting live fire training. And when he came to observe the training the range caught on fire and he was able to watch an ODA and about 100 Korean SF try to put it out over the next hour.

You should be able to access other photos of the ceremony and the HQ here.  

And for a truly incredible and inspiring story please read this about COL Howard: “How Colonel Robert Howard Got to his Medal of Honor Ceremony.” 

 

4. Suga says he is prepared to meet N. Korean leader Kim to address abduction issue

en.yna.co.kr · by 변덕근 · April 17, 2021

But the regime would really have to come clean after all its lies to Japan about this issue.  Will it ever do so?

Interestingly, Japan is the only major country Kim has not met with in the region.

 

5. U.S., Japan committed to complete denuclearization of N. Korea: leaders

en.yna.co.kr · by 변덕근 · April 17, 2021

Through implementation of all relevant UN Security Council Resolutions.

 

6. FM Chung, U.S envoy hold dinner talks on climate change cooperation

en.yna.co.kr · by 송상호 · April 17, 2021
 

7. U.S. congressmen call for amendment of anti-leaflet law

donga.com · April 17, 2021

And going beyond the amendment, the ROK/US Alliance should initiate a comprehensive, sophisticated, and holistic information and influence campaign focusing on the resolution of the Korea question, influencing the 2d tier leadership, and preparing all Koreans for unification.  But I know that is a naive wish. But one can dream.

 

8. North Korea Gives Extra Food to Veterans for Former Leader’s Birthday

rfa.org  · by Hyemin Son

Does the regime really think these actions make it look good?  Or that the people don’t realize what an empty gesture this really is?

Excerpts: “The central government ordered local authorities to provide bonus food to veterans who were injured in the line of duty, or who fought in the 1950-53 Korean War, during which about 406,000 North Korean military personnel and 600,000 North Korean civilians were killed.

In the impoverished country where life expectancy for men is about 68 years, few veterans of that conflict are still alive, meaning most receiving this year’s food bonus are so-called “honored veterans”—former soldiers of any age who became disabled in the line of duty.

As North Korea reveres Korean War veterans, the authorities ordered that they be given slightly more food than the injured veterans, a point of contention for the latter group.

 

9. What can Joe Biden do about North Korea that Trump didn’t do?

NBC News · by Ken Dilanian and Carol E. Lee · April 17, 2021

My recommendation: Play the long game and conduct a superior form of political warfare focusing on solving the Korea question, implementing all relevant UN Security Council Resolutions, using a human rights upfront approach with a sophisticated information and influence campaign resting on a foundation of the strongest possible alliance deterrence and defense capability.

 

10.  Russian envoy says ‘no famine’ in North Korea, describes ‘extra-harsh’ COVID-19 restrictions

washingtontimes.com · by Guy Taylor

While there may not be a famine (at least not yet on sale of the Arduous March of 1994-96), the “extra-harsh” COVID 19 restrictions and their effects are what very well may cause internal instability.

 

11. Is North Korea Returning to Diplomacy?

thediplomat.com · by IsozakiI Atsuhito · April 16, 2021

We should remember that the concept of north Korean diplomacy (with Juche characteristics) is one of the long con, political warfare, subversion, coercion/extortion or blackmail diplomacy to establish the condition to achieve unification under the domination of the Guerrilla Dynasty and Gulag State to ensure survival of the Kim family regime.  So if it is “returning to diplomacy” we need to keep in mind what that means.

 

12. Kim Jong Un attends concert with North Korea’s first lady

upi.com · by Elizabeth Shim

But no military parade.

 

13.  North Koreans don masks to celebrate birth of country’s founder

Daily Mail · by Lydia Catling · April 16, 2021

Lots of photos at the link.

 

14.  7 Years After Sewol Ferry Disaster, Bereaved Families Still Urge Government to Reveal the Truth

thediplomat.com · by Mitch Shin · April 16, 2021

This is a wound that will not heal either in the Korean psyche or Korean politics.

 

15.  How South Korean Soldiers and YouTube Catapulted a K-Pop Girl Group to Fame

thediplomat.com · by Jenna Gibson · April 15, 2021

Soft power.

 

—————

 

“One can define their way to failure, but one must understand their way to success.”  

-Robert Jones

 

“I do not agree with a word you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

– Voltaire

 

“Having a strategy suggests an ability to look up from the short term and the trivial to view the long term and the essential, to address causes rather than symptoms, to see woods rather than trees.”
– Lawrence Freedman, Strategy: A History

DanielRiggs
Sat, 04/17/2021 – 12:44pm

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