04/21/2021 News & Commentary – Korea

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

1. After Trump ‘Failed,’ South Korean Leader Hopes Biden Can Salvage Nuclear Deal

2. In NYT interview, Moon urges Washington to resume dialogue with Pyongyang

3. Moon says public consensus needed for granting pardons to two jailed ex-presidents

4. What to Make of China’s New Special Representative on Korean Peninsula Affairs

5. N. Korea tightens antivirus measures in border city along China

6. Seoul court rejects sexual slavery claim against Tokyo

7. Stop controlling press (South Korea)

8. North Korea Working on Nampo Missile Test Stand Barge

9. Last-remaining int’l aid workers leave N. Korea: Russian official

10. FM calls N. Korea’s cross-border firing a ‘minor’ violation of military peace deal

11. North Korea ‘hiding existence of Covid-19 vaccines from public’, claims Russian ambassador

12. Think the Coronavirus Is Curbing Kim’s Atomic Appetite? Think Again.

13. Why Kim Announced Another Arduous March and Why He Will Fail

14. COVID-19 Exacerbates North Korea’s Bad Choices

15. China Secretly Sends Food Aid to North Korea by Rail

16. In South Korea, Antagonism Toward China Is Growing

17. Innovating Our Approach to Human Rights in North Korea

18. Why You Shouldn’t Be Afraid of Kim Jong-un

 

1. After Trump ‘Failed,’ South Korean Leader Hopes Biden Can Salvage Nuclear Deal

The New York Times · by Choe Sang-Hun · April 21, 2021

What is lacking in this interview is a discussion of President Moon’s “peace agenda.” I am surprised that he did not use this interview to discuss his vision and the author only offers this:

“Mr. Moon is not only scrambling to salvage his “Korean Peninsula Peace Process” but also arguably his greatest diplomatic legacy.

As his North Korea policy has faltered, critics have called him a naïve pacifist who bet too much on Mr. Kim’s unproven commitment to denuclearization.”

Excerpts: “I hope that Biden will go down as a historic president that has achieved substantive and irreversible progress for the complete denuclearization and peace settlement on the Korean Peninsula,” Mr. Moon said in the interview from Sangchunjae, a traditional hanok on the grounds of the executive residence, Blue House.

“I believe that if we build on what President Trump has left, we will see this effort come to fruition under Biden’s leadership,” he said.

But Mr. Moon’s team argues that the phased approach is the most realistic, even if it is imperfect. As his administration sees it, North Korea would never give up its arsenal in one quick deal, lest the regime lose its only bargaining chip with Washington.

The key​​, Mr. Moon said, is for the United States and North Korea to work out a “mutually trusted road map.”

American negotiators under Mr. Trump never made it to that point. Both sides could not even agree on a first step for the North and what reward Washington would provide in return.

 

2. In NYT interview, Moon urges Washington to resume dialogue with Pyongyang

en.yna.co.kr · by 이치동 · April 21, 2021

Yonhap’s assessment of President Moon’s NY Times interview.

 

3. Moon says public consensus needed for granting pardons to two jailed ex-presidents

en.yna.co.kr · by 이치동 · April 21, 2021

I did not expect to hear this from President Moon. Will public opinion demand their pardons?

 

4. What to Make of China’s New Special Representative on Korean Peninsula Affairs

38north.org · by Yun Sun · April 20, 2021

I guess the PRC-nK alliance will continue as closer than lips and teeth. An interesting assessment in the conclusion that China appears to be ready to ramp up diplomatic activities over north Korea.

Conclusion: This year marks the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Sino-North Korean Mutual Aid and Cooperation Friendship Treaty. The Treaty automatically renews every 20 years. Given that no advanced notice for cancellation has been announced by either side, the Treaty will continue for the foreseeable future. In light of the changes to US-China relations and the conditions in North Korea, China appears to be ramping up its personnel appointments, resources and efforts to prepare for diplomatic engagement over North Korea. The decisions are strategically timed to echo the completion of the Biden administration’s North Korea policy review. Beijing may not feel the ball is in its court and could wait for Washington to reach out first, but its interest and posturing are fully panned out.

 

5. N. Korea tightens antivirus measures in border city along China

en.yna.co.kr · by 이원주 · April 21, 2021

China-nK trade may resume with new safety measures but it seems the regime will continue to crack down on smuggling and other border activities. Will the legal trade be sufficient to relieve the suffering of the Korean people?

 

6. Seoul court rejects sexual slavery claim against Tokyo

AP · by Kim Tong-Hyung

 

7. Stop controlling press (South Korea)

The Korea Times · April 21, 2021

Excerpt: “The ruling camp is apparently seeking to introduce the bills to tame the media outlets ahead of the presidential election scheduled for next March. It is under attack for trying to prevent media companies from producing articles critical of the government and the DPK in the name of thwarting fake news. Former DPK Chairman Lee Nak-yon once said the party will closely monitor media outlets. Yet, it is totally improper to blame the press for its defeat in the by-elections. Ruling party members should first reflect on themselves and humbly acknowledge their mistakes. Above all, they must immediately stop their attempts to control the mass media.”

 

8. North Korea Working on Nampo Missile Test Stand Barge

beyondparallel.csis.org · by Joseph Bermudez and Victor Cha · April 20, 2021

Images at the link.  

 

9. Last-remaining int’l aid workers leave N. Korea: Russian official

en.yna.co.kr · by 강윤승 · April 21, 2021

Again this is because of Kim Jong-un decision making.

 

10. FM calls N. Korea’s cross-border firing a ‘minor’ violation of military peace deal

en.yna.co.kr · by 김승연 · April 21, 2021

Note this is discussing an event from last May not recently.

But what I think is important is that the ROK wants to give the north a pass for the actions. It continues to try to paint the picture that the 2018 Comprehensive Military Agreement is working. The north has failed to live up to the agreement in multiple ways while the ROK has tried to implement all aspects of it in good faith. Rather than give the north a pass, the Foreign Minister ought to be calling out the north’s (and lack of actions).

 

11. North Korea ‘hiding existence of Covid-19 vaccines from public’, claims Russian ambassador

Mirror · by Ryan Merrifield · April 20, 2021

Perhaps easy to do when the north has no vaccines.  

 

12. Think the Coronavirus Is Curbing Kim’s Atomic Appetite? Think Again.

The National Interest · by Soo Kim · April 20, 2021

We need to keep emphasizing this:Coronavirus or not, Kim’s appetite for nuclear and missile bargaining with the United States remain intact. For the Biden administration, this likely spells further weapons demonstrations from North Korea, with potentially longer-range, more power missile demonstrations to test Washington’s resolve in its nuclear negotiations with Pyongyang.”

 

13. Why Kim Announced Another Arduous March and Why He Will Fail

The National Interest · by Jihyun Park · April 19, 2021

We can see how Kim Jong-un has been laying the groundwork for blame on sanctions, COVID, and natural disasters over the past few months. 

But the conditions are much different than the 1990s and the way the regime was able to survive that place with aid from South Korea and the development of markets as a safety valve may no longer be viable “rescue adoptions.”

 

14.  COVID-19 Exacerbates North Korea’s Bad Choices

The National Interest · by Bruce W. Bennett · April 20, 2021

And all the bad choices have been made by Kim and he will continue to make bad choices given the nature of the Kim family regime.

 

15. China Secretly Sends Food Aid to North Korea by Rail

rfa.org · by Jieun Kim

Things might be so bad that China had to activate its safety valve. Remember China’s “3 No’s” toward nK: No War. No instability and regime collapse. No nukes. two out of three is not bad. But seriously I think the Chinese fear nK instability and this may be one course of action to try to prevent it.

 

16. In South Korea, Antagonism Toward China Is Growing

voanews.com · by Jingyi Ge and William Gallo

Will this have any effect on the Moon administration foreign policy toward China?

 

17.  Innovating Our Approach to Human Rights in North Korea

YouTube

This 90 minute session is worth every minute of time spent listening to it. These escapees provide very powerful and important insights. Anyone who focuses on north Korea should watch this video.

 

18. Why You Shouldn’t Be Afraid of Kim Jong-un

Anin Justice Mag · by Alexander Bird · April 20, 2021

This is one of the most unbelievable pieces of propaganda about north Korea (and China) that I have seen lately (that was not written by the regime’s Propaganda and Agitation Department though I think they will be using the information and spin in this for their future messages).

I have to beg to differ with the author. He is not presenting “facts.” It is all spin for some kind of agenda.

 

————–

 

“And I have no doubt that the American people generally believe the world is safer, and that we are safer, when we are stronger”

– Jeane Kirkpatrick

 

“strategy formation walks on two feet, one deliberate, the other emergent.”

– Lawrence Freedman, Strategy: A History

 

“Government exists to protect us from each other. Where government has gone beyond its limits is in deciding to protect us from ourselves.”

– Ronald Reagan

DanielRiggs
Wed, 04/21/2021 – 10:10am

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