Small Wars Journal

06/19/2021 News & Commentary – Korea

Sat, 06/19/2021 - 12:10pm

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

1. U.S. brigade combat team arrives in S. Korea for rotational deployment

2. New U.S. nuke envoy arrives in Seoul

3. Kim Jong Un sends first official message to Biden

4. Kim Jong Un’s message for change of situations

5. N.K. leader vows to overcome difficulties as he concludes key party meeting: state media

6. North Korea attempted to hack South Korea's nuclear think tank, lawmaker says

7. Bad News: North Korea Is Suffering from Rapidly Rising Food Prices

8. Korean War hero advanced on path to sainthood

9. N.Korea's Kim tightens ruling party discipline, appoints new politburo members

10. Kim Jong-un readies North Korea for negotiations with US as food shortages bite

11. Step aside Gangnam, time for the older areas to shine

12. Here's why I want to open a North Korean restaurant in Seoul

13. South Korean man arrested after attempting to defect to North Korea

14. Jeju emerging as Asia’s coolest island getaway

15. Will Pyongyang return to negotiating table?

 

1.  U.S. brigade combat team arrives in S. Korea for rotational deployment

en.yna.co.kr · by 김승연 · June 19, 2021

Let's wait and see the north Korean response.

 

2. New U.S. nuke envoy arrives in Seoul

en.yna.co.kr · by 송상호 · June 19, 2021

This should be a very important and productive trip. This is likely to set the course for the combined approach of the new US policy toward north Korea. I just hope the US and Korean side can find agreement on the nature, objectives, and strategy of the Kim family regime. It is those differences that are going to hinder policy execution.

But a common approach for the ROK and US should be to provide Kim Jong-un the opportunity to act as a responsible member of the international community. This means not requiring concessions (or appeasement) in order to commit to negotiations.  If he takes advantage of the opportunity we can negotiate. If he does not we need to ensure we continue "stern deterrence" as President Biden has described it.

 

3. Kim Jong Un sends first official message to Biden

donga.com · June 19, 2021

Ah... "official message" to President Biden????  Something must be lost in translation, at least for the headline editor. While the statement issued by the Propaganda and Agitation Department through KCNA can be considered an official statement it certainly was not a traditional diplomatic communique from one head of state to another. Official response, perhaps. Official message to the US? I think not. 

I do wonder how confidential the timing of this message is with Ambassador Kim's trip to Korea this week. It really seems to me that this "message" will reinforce the factions within the Moon administration who think we should provide concessions (or appeasement) in the form of cancelling our exercises. It will make Ambassador Kim's job more difficult in trying to synchronize execution of a coherent alliance approach to north Korea as there are those within the Moon administration who believe in the fantasy that Kim will negotiate if we just cancel the exercises. And they are willing to risk the security of the ROK by doing so.

 

4. Kim Jong Un’s message for change of situations

donga.com · June 19, 2021

The Donga Ilbo editorial writers are saying in effect that the Kim family regime's political warfare strategy continues and the ROK/US alliance needs to conduct a superior form of political warfare.

Excerpts:Being pushed into a corner, Kim may pretend to be receptive to Washington’s appeasing gestures and make external appearances for the time being. However, chances are it may later focus on resolving imminent issues such as food shortages and COVID-19 vaccine supplies while gaining time by playing hard to get at the negotiating table for denuclearization. Behind the scenes, it may play a tug-of-war by threatening to carry out large-scale provocations while utilizing volatility in international politics in its interest.

Nevertheless, Pyongyang is not allowed anymore to use the tactic of “dialogue for dialogue” merely to overcome internal crises and extend the regime’s lifespan. The Biden administration already took a close look at the U.S.-North Korea dialogue that ended up three years ago in showy confrontation, dramatic transitions and disillusionment. Kim’s clichéd tactic of hopping from provocation to negotiation and vice versa will not work out again.

 

5. N.K. leader vows to overcome difficulties as he concludes key party meeting: state media

en.yna.co.kr · by 이해아 · June 19, 2021

How many times have we heard this over the decades???

Excerpt:As he wrapped up the meeting on Friday, Kim "solemnly swore on behalf of the WPK Central Committee that the Party will surely break through head-on the difficulties lying in the way of the revolution" and remain loyal to the revolutionary idea to the end regardless of the "severer difficulties it may be confronted with in the future," the Korean Central News Agency said.

 

6. North Korea attempted to hack South Korea's nuclear think tank, lawmaker says

ABCNews.com · by ABC News

We must not ignore Kim's "all purpose sword." He is wielding it on a daily basis.

 

7. Bad News: North Korea Is Suffering from Rapidly Rising Food Prices

The National Interest · by Stephen Silver · June 18, 2021

Sensational prices as we have seen in various reports but I doubt the rank and file population is phased by this as they must cope through other means.

 

8.  Korean War hero advanced on path to sainthood

aleteia.org · June 18, 2021

I am not a Catholic and I do not know how this works but I hope he is granted Sainthood. He is an inspiration to all of us regardless of religion. Even if you do not believe in miracles this story is still miraculous.

 

9. N.Korea's Kim tightens ruling party discipline, appoints new politburo members

nationalpost.com · by Hyonhee Shin · June 18, 2021

Standard operating procedure for the Kim family regime and the Workers Party of Korea.

 

10.  Kim Jong-un readies North Korea for negotiations with US as food shortages bite

Stuff.co.nz · by Julian Ryall · June 19, 2021

Video at the link.

One thing I have learned from watching these videos over the years is that in north Korea you had better be a damn good note taker -or be able to look like you are one!

I caution all those who think the scorpion has changed his nature. Perhaps he has and I hope it is true but I am not optimistic that he has jettisoned his political warfare strategy. If he has changed then he will need to show us that he can act as a responsible member of the international community.

While he wants sanctions relief we should keep in mind the suffering is because he has chosen to prioritize nuclear and missile development, the military, and the elite. He raises sufficient funds from his global illicit activities to feed the Korean people suffering in the north. He has made the deliberate policy decision to, in effect, starve them.

 

11. Step aside Gangnam, time for the older areas to shine

koreajoongangdaily.joins.com · by Lee So-Ah, Yoo Ji-Yeon, and Bae Jung-won

For those traveling to Korea and looking for something new.

 

12. Here's why I want to open a North Korean restaurant in Seoul

The Korea Times · by Sharon Jang · June 19, 2021

I have to admit that I have never acquired the taste for north Korean cold noodles.

Here's why I want to open a North Korean restaurant in Seoul

 

13. South Korean man arrested after attempting to defect to North Korea

UPI · by Elizabeth Shim· June 18, 2021

He probably needs a psychological evaluation.

 

14. Jeju emerging as Asia’s coolest island getaway

asiatimes.com · by Andrew Salmon · June 19, 2021

My wife and I spent our honeymoon here in 1987. We look forward to being able to return some day.

On a more important note the article discusses the effects of Chinese economic warfare due to the THAAD deployment.

 

15.  Will Pyongyang return to negotiating table?

The Korea Times · June 18, 2021

It could happen. Never say never. I am not holding my breath and it might occur later rather than sooner unless Kim thinks he has achieved conditions that will provide him an advantage. If he assesses his political warfare strategy and blackmail diplomacy are working he may decide to come to the table. Concessions and appeasement will cause him to judge his strategy a success and then he will double down.

 

---------------

 

“Nobody’s free until everybody’s free.” 

– Fannie Lou Hamer

 

"Liberty is slow fruit. It is never cheap; it is made difficult because freedom is the accomplishment and perfectness of man."

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

OTD 1952, U.S. Special Forces was created: "Only one organization was the predecessor to Special Forces and that was OSS." 

-Col. Aaron Bank

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