Small Wars Journal

04/18/2021 News & Commentary – Korea

Sun, 04/18/2021 - 12:41pm

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

1. Opinion | How this Biden nominee can pull off a deal with North Korea where others failed

2. The Most Urgent North Korean Nuclear Threat Isn’t What You Think

3. South Korea’s No Good Very Bad Year

4. DNI: Cyber Is The Common Weapon Among Top Adversaries

5. Ruling or fleeing North Korea's hell

6. International human rights groups urge Biden to highlight rights issue in North Korea policy

7. S. Korean, Japanese activists, religious leaders urge US to change its N. Korea strategy

8. Kim Jong-un branded 'modern day Hitler' by furious North Korean defector

9. Kerry says U.S. intervening in Japan's water dumping is not 'appropriate'

10. U.S. lawmakers ask Korea to reconsider the anti-leaflet law

11. Court orders Tokyo to pay 'comfort women' legal fees

12. How to Stop North Korea From Becoming a Nuclear Weapons Superpower

13. North Korea's New Arduous March: What Biden Should Do (And Not Do)


1. Opinion | How this Biden nominee can pull off a deal with North Korea where others failed

NBC News · by Christine Ahn · April 17, 2021

I certainly hope the DEPSECSTATE does not adopt the Christine Ahn appeasement strategy.

I wonder why Ms. Ahn uses so many north Korean talking points.  Perhaps it is her connection to the north Korean United Front Department

But it is a real reach to assess the Perry Policy review proposals that would have led to a breakthrough even if Gore had won the 2000 election. The Perry Policy was a good test of the regime and the regime failed the test and from that point on we should have realized the nature, objectives, and strategy of the Kim family regime.

I certainly want peace, reconciliation and unification on the Korean peninsula.  However, we will never get there by appeasing the regime and allow Kim to successfully execute his long con, political warfare strategy, and blackmail diplomacy which is what Ms Ahn's advice will lead to if followed.


2. The Most Urgent North Korean Nuclear Threat Isn’t What You Think · by Toby Dalton

Spoiler alert: Proliferation.

We need to either aggressively implement the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) or develop a new program that will shut down proliferation. This must be conducted regardless of the status of negotiations with north Korea.  This is one of the most dangerous violations of the UN Security Council Resolutions and it must be enforced.  And to bet the horse more dead this is just another indication of the nature, objectives, and strategy of the Kimfamily regime and it is difficult to accept that the regime will conduct any negotiation in good faith as it continues its proliferation activities.


3. South Korea’s No Good Very Bad Year · by Mason Richey · April 16, 2021

A tough critique on South Korea and the pandemic.

And a sober conclusion: “Fortuna’s wheel will turn again, but South Korea has seen better days. Of course, the Lord helps those who help themselves, and the question is: “What can South Korea do to help its cause?”

The ship has sailed on fast-track vaccine procurement, so South Koreans will need patience until herd immunity. But the wait will be easier if the Moon administration shows humility in the face of popular anger and focuses on its original campaign pledge: Fighting corruption, helping the middle class and small business, and chastening the oligopolistic conglomerates dominating the local economy. On the foreign policy front, improving relations with the United States, an important ally, while focusing less on quixotic breakthroughs with North Korea would be a start. Placing more emphasis on effective participation in multilateral regional and global engagement could restore some lustre to South Korea’s fading star.


4.  DNI: Cyber Is The Common Weapon Among Top Adversaries · by John A. Tirpak · April 17, 2021

Including Kim Jong-un's "all purpose sword."

Excerpts:North Korea continues to see nuclear weapons as its guarantor of survival against foreign intervention and attack, and the intel community believes that Kim Jong Un thinks he will “over time … gain international acceptance and respect as a nuclear power.” He is apparently not swayed by pressures to change course in this regard. Kim is also building his conventional forces and cyber capabilities as further deterrents and coercive capabilities.

Haines said North Korea’s conventional military power will pose “an increasing threat to the United States, South Korea, and Japan.” Pyongyang paraded its growing missile capability in January 2021 and October 2020.

Although North Korea ended its self-imposed moratorium on nuclear weapons and ICBM testing in late 2019, it hasn’t conducted any new tests of such systems since.

“Kim may be considering whether to resume long-range missile or nuclear testing this year to try to force the United States to deal with him on [his own] terms,” the DNI said.

In cyber, North Korea “probably possesses the expertise” to cause “temporary, limited disruptions of some critical infrastructure … and business networks” in the U.S. and may be able to disrupt software supply chains. It has conducted cyber theft operations “against financial institutions and cryptocurrency exchanges worldwide,” and likely has gotten away with stealing “hundreds of millions of dollars,” which it‘s likely using to fund missile development, the DNI said.


5. Ruling or fleeing North Korea's hell

The Korea Times · April 18, 2021

I pay attention to Lee Seo-hyun (and her brother and father).  I recommend watching their YouTube channel for important and unique insights into north Korea.

Such as this insight: “Pyonghattans are the wealthiest people in North Korea, but they may also be the most watched people in the world. No matter where Pyonghattans are, at their organizations, at work, at home, they are being watched, and they know it. Every word and move is watched, even if they cry hard enough for the dictators. A higher position means higher levels of surveillance. It's very normal for Pyonghattan residents to have their phones and their homes tapped. I remember my mom and I whispering into each other's ears at home about Kim Jong-il having many wives. It's been six years since my family left North Korea, but my mom still sometimes whispers directly into my ears. And I remind her every time: "Mom! We're not in North Korea anymore!"

North Korea brainwashes us with propaganda and lies, tries to scare us about the outside unknown world, and makes it so difficult to escape. It puts one final barrier in our brains: guilt.

Once we learn how cruel the regime is, we realize what can happen to those left behind if we leave. It is another moral dilemma that the cruel regime forces on us with its "guilt by association" strategy of punishing entire families for the actions of one person.


6. International human rights groups urge Biden to highlight rights issue in North Korea policy

The Korea Times · April 18, 2021

We must have a human rights upfront approach.  I think those who advocate for focusing on denuclearization and setting aside human rights out of fear that it will prevent reaching denuclearization are mistaken.  We must not neglect the human rights of 25 million Koreans in the north. It is a moral imperative and a national security issue.


7. S. Korean, Japanese activists, religious leaders urge US to change its N. Korea strategy

Hani · by  Cho Yeon-hyun · April 16, 2021

You certainly can't argue with peace as an objective. But we must approach peace on the Korean peninsula with a realistic assessment of the nature, objectives, and straggly of Kim Jong-un and the Kim family regime.

These proposals for declaring the end of the war or establishing some kind of peace regime without radical changes to the military posture in the north are actually putting the region on a path to conflict.  As painful as it sounds, the status quo based on deterrence and defense is much more likely to prevent conflict than a premature end of war declaration.  Kim only will accept an end of war declaration if he thinks it can set the conditions for his successful strategy.  However, he is more interested in sanctions relief through coercion and blackmail diplomacy.  He certainly does not want an end of war declaration just for the sake of an elusive "peace". He does not seek peace.  He seeks domination.

Excerpts: ““Any political compromise that sets aside the issue of historical awareness will destabilize Korea-Japan relations and fail to bring about lasting peace in the region,” said the letter, which was reportedly sent to Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and the leaders of more than a hundred nonprofits and religious groups, representing Catholics, Protestants, Jews, and Muslims.

“We hope the Biden administration will consolidate its efforts to improve the relationship between the two Koreas, between Korea and Japan, and between Korean and the US by advancing the peace process on the Korean Peninsula. We also hope that Korea will not be included in the QUAD alliance that will strengthen the new Cold War system in Northeast Asia and strengthen the division system on the Korean Peninsula,” the KJ Platform said in its letter.

“We reiterate that an agreement to end the Korean War cannot be a diplomatic card calling for the denuclearization of the DPRK [North Korea]. This is ending the disastrous history of war and the history of division on the Korean Peninsula.”


8. Kim Jong-un branded 'modern day Hitler' by furious North Korean defector · by Michael Moran · April 17, 2021

This is a much different YouTuber who has become a successful capitalist with her sensational videos on YouTube.


9. Kerry says U.S. intervening in Japan's water dumping is not 'appropriate' · Sarah Kim


10. U.S. lawmakers ask Korea to reconsider the anti-leaflet law · Sarah Kim

Excerpts:Rep. Christopher Smith, a Republican of New Jersey and a co-chair of the commission, in his opening remarks labeled the South's anti-leaflet law the "anti-Bible and BTS balloon bill," noting that the balloons carry religious information and items related to Korean pop culture such as K-pop band BTS across the border.

 He said that he believes that the new law, currently under review by the Korean Constitutional Court, "unduly infringes upon freedom of expression under both the Korean constitution and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights."

 Smith added that the supermajority of President Moon Jae-in's Democratic Party (DP) in the National Assembly has "led to a gross overstepping of authority" and criticized the "harassment" of defector groups that send balloons to the North.  

 He continued, "But perhaps even more significant than the bending of the knee toward North Korea are efforts to equidistance Korea from the United States and toward China," as Washington has pressured Beijing over rights issues and its growing assertiveness in the Asia-Pacific region.  

Smith added, "Korea must resume its commitment to civil and political rights in particular, and human rights in general."  


11. Court orders Tokyo to pay 'comfort women' legal fees · by Michael Lee

More ROK-Japan friction.


12. How to Stop North Korea From Becoming a Nuclear Weapons Superpower

The National Interest · by Doug Bandow · April 18, 2021

When did we last intervene in north Korea? Oh yes, in 1950-53 when north Korea attacked the South.

I do not think Mr. Bandow has any appreciation for our alliance structure and that we have built it to support our interests and not solely for the defense of allies.

But we should test the statement in the conclusion: Are we more secure in the US that at virtually any point in history?

Excerpts: Equally important, the United States must consider the price it is willing to pay to defend its allies. Especially in a world in which most of America’s friends are well able to protect themselves and are not critical to America’s survival. The only existential military threat facing the United States today is nuclear war. Thus, there is nothing more important for Washington than precluding, deterring, thwarting, or otherwise defeating such an attack. Which requires avoiding involvement in any war which the DPRK perceives as posing an existential threat, meaning any conflict with America.

Despite a world filled with conflict and upheaval, the United States is more secure today than at virtually any other point in American history. The primary dangers come from getting entangled in other nations’ conflicts, such as on the Korean Peninsula. The results were awful in 1950. If the DPRK creates a nuclear arsenal numbering in the hundreds, then the consequences could be cataclysmic for the United States, unless Washington abandons its interventionist addiction.”


13. North Korea's New Arduous March: What Biden Should Do (And Not Do)

The National Interest · by Ted Galen Carpenter · April 18, 2021

This is appeasement and will only cause Kim to double down on his long con, political warfare strategy, and blackmail diplomacy.  His proposal does not recognize the nature of the Kim family regime.

Excerpts: “Indeed, the Biden foreign policy team should adopt the opposite approach. Kim’s language conveys a tacit admission that North Korea’s chronic policy of self-isolation has not served the country, or the regime, particularly well. Minimizing interaction with the outside world did not even shield North Korea from the ravages of the coronavirus pandemic.

That realization may well make Kim more receptive to productive negotiations on an array of issues. The Biden administration should seize that opportunity by making timely concessions and seeking to achieve some attainable goals. The demand for complete denuclearization, though, is not on the list of such goals; it remains, as it always has, a poison pill that terminates any prospects for constructive diplomacy.

A key timely concession would be the easing of economic sanctions. In addition to being one creative component of a wiser foreign policy, such a move would constitute basic humanitarianism—especially if North Korea is facing a crisis comparable to the horrible famine of the 1990s. That concession also would facilitate negotiations on other important issues.




"The mind is everything. What you think you become." 

- Buddha


"It is common sense to take a method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something."
- Franklin D. Roosevelt


   "The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity." 

- Amelia Earhart





Categories: News