South Korea set to change policy on North as liberal wins election

from the Guardian

Moon Jae-in, a left-leaning liberal who favours engagement with North Korea, has won South Korea’s presidential election, raising hopes of a potential rapprochement with Pyongyang.

The former human rights lawyer won 41.4% of the vote, according to an exit poll cited by the Yonhap news agency, placing him comfortably ahead of his nearest rivals, the centrist software entrepreneur Ahn Cheol-soo and the conservative hardliner Hong Joon-pyo, both of whom have conceded defeat.

South Koreans who backed Moon, 64, will be hoping the election result will mark a clean break from the corruption scandal surrounding his disgraced predecessor Park Geun-hye.

Hours before polls closed, the national election commission forecast that turnout would exceed 80% – the highest since Kim Dae-jung was elected in 1997.

During a campaign in which Moon sought to add conservative voters to his liberal support base, the Democratic party candidate captured the public mood with vows to reform South Korea’s powerful chaebols, family-owned conglomerates, and tackle rising inequality and youth unemployment.

Moon has called for a more conciliatory approach to North Korea, after weeks of tensions over the regime’s ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programmes…

[read more here]

Lockheed Martin-Funded Experts Agree: South Korea Needs More Lockheed Martin Missiles

by Adam Johnson, FAIR

As tensions between the United States and North Korea continue to rise, one think tank, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), has become a ubiquitous voice on the topic of missile defense, providing Official-Sounding Quotes to dozens of reporters in Western media outlets. All of these quotes speak to the urgent threat of North Korea and how important the United States’s deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile system is to South Korea:

  • “THAADs are tailored to those medium-range threats that North Korea has in spades—North Korea regularly demonstrates that kind of capability,” says Thomas Karako, the director of the Missile Defense Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “THAADs are exactly the kind of thing that you would want for a regional area.” (Wired, 4/23/17)
  • But [CSIS’s Karako] called [THAAD] an important first step. “This is not about having a perfect shield, this is about buying time and thereby contributing to the overall credibility of deterrence,” Karako told AFP. (France24, 5/2/17)
  • THAAD is a decent option, says Thomas Karako, director of the Missile Defense Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, citing a perfect intercept record in trials to date. (Christian Science Monitor, 7/21/16)
  • Seeing THAAD as a “natural consequence” of an evolving threat from North Korea, Bonnie Glaser, a senior adviser for Asia at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), told VOA that Washington should continue to tell Beijing “this system is not aimed at China … and [China] will just have to live with this decision.” (Voice of America, 3/22/17)
  • Victor Cha, a Korea expert and former White House official now at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, played down the chances that THAAD would be rolled back. “If THAAD is deployed prior to the elections and given the North Korean missile threat, I don’t think it would be prudent for a new government to ask that it be walked back,” Cha said. (Reuters, 3/10/17)
  • Thomas Karako, senior fellow with the International Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said China’s indirect, retaliatory measures over the THAAD deployment would only stiffen the resolve of South Korea. He called the Chinese intervention “short-sighted.” (Voice of America, 1/23/17)

The list goes on. In the past year, FAIR has noted 30 media mentions of CSIS pushing the THAAD missile system or its underlying value proposition in US media, most of them in the past two months. Business Insider was the most eager venue for the think tank’s analysts, routinely copyingandpasting CSIS talking points in stories warning of the North Korean menace.

Omitted from all these CSIS media appearances, however, is that one of CSIS’s top donors, Lockheed Martin, is THAAD’s primary contractor—Lockheed Martin’s take from the THAAD system is worth about $3.9 billion alone. Lockheed Martin directly funds the Missile Defense Project Program at CSIS, the program whose talking heads are cited most frequently by US media…

[read more here]

North Korea Today and Tomorrow: A Talk with Professor Charles K. Armstrong (video)

by Scott Creighton (H/T Jay H.)

A reader has sent me a link to a Youtube video recording of Prof. Charles Armstrong discussing the state of affairs in North Korea today and where he thinks it is headed in the future. The talk took place recently at Columbia University and was sponsored by the Asia-Pacific Affairs Council (APAC) of that same university which studies East and Southeast Asian affairs.

Prof. Armstrong talks about a changing dynamic in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) whereas they are actively seeking to open their nation to the outside world a bit. The new airport serves as a sign of this program. And he concludes his discussion by saying it’s possible, though they wont completely veer from the authoritarian path they are currently on, that this new openness will create a new version of North Korea but not one entirely different from what it is. He also stresses that this is not some obscure pipe-dream of a future in that North Korea is already moving toward this goal in many ways. He mentions a slightly better economy for the people of North Korea and the fact that fewer people are leaving the country now than there were just 5 years ago. He talks about how many North Koreans have cell phones and the readily available internet, though, according to him, it is still heavily controlled in terms of access to certain sites and ideas.

It’s an interesting talk and I thank Jay for sharing it with us.

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Kim Jong Un praises ‘landmark’ accord with S. Korea, talks unity & trust

(So much for 50 missing subs, huh? The State Department’s “land mine attack” bullshit just blew up in their faces, if you will pardon the pun)

from RT

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un made a surprise statement saying the recent agreement between the two Koreas marks a “landmark occasion” and paves the way for “reconciliation” and “trust” for the divided nation.

The North and South Koreas agreed to end their military standoff on Tuesday, after an exchange of artillery fire had raised tensions along the border to a critical level. The two countries will also be opening up new channels of communication in order to improve ties that have been cut off since 2010.

“The joint press release published at the contact provided a crucial landmark occasion of defusing the acute military tension and putting the catastrophic inter-Korean relations on the track of reconciliation and trust,” the North’s KCNA news agency quoted Kim as saying at a meeting with military aides.

[read more here]

Syria condemns US-South Korea provocations against DPRK

(And so do I)

from Sana News Agency

Syria expressed on Sunday its strong condemnation of the U.S.-South Korean military exercises and propaganda targeting the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).

“Syria has been following with concern the latest developments in the Korean Peninsula,” said Foreign and Expatriates Ministry in a statement.

It referred to the continued U.S.-South Korean joint military exercises and the “provocations” which South Korea carried out across the border with the DPRK “that are aimed at disrupting [the latter’s] security and stability.”

[read more here]

Cheonan Redux: South Korea Steps Up Provocation of North After a South Korean Land Mine Injures Two South Korean Soldiers

by Scott Creighton

South Korea appears to have been given the go-ahead to step up their provocation of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) in these, the latter stages of President Peace Prize’s tenure.

Recent reports have the South Koreans lobbing artillery shells into North Korea supposedly in response to a “rocket attack” launched by the north. This is all confirmed by South Korea’s Defense Ministry.

The Press TV article, like every other one I have read, takes the claim of South Korea’s ministry at face value, not asking for any form of confirmation that the North did in fact commit an act of open aggression by firing a rocket into South Korea. In fact, the only article I can find with any details on that crucial aspect of this event only offers the following information:

South Korea said its detection equipment had spotted the trajectory of a suspected North Korean projectile launched at around 3:52 p.m. (0652 GMT), which did not appear to have damaged the loudspeaker or caused any injuries. Reuters

According to Reuters, the area around a military base where the rocket supposedly struck was evacuated of all civilian prying eyes, making it easier to plant evidence perhaps.

There have been no reports out of North Korea of either the rocket attack or the shelling.

Shades of Tonkin perhaps? Or better still, the PCC-772 Cheonan?

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The Sony “Interview” Psyop Goes Full Retard

by Scott Creighton

Oh dear God.. commerce has been driven to a grinding halt. We must now take action to ‘fix’ the interwebs or else our “freedoms” are at stake.

Sony has come out and said they aren’t releasing the latest Seth Rogen piece of shit movie. This is a film where he once again professes his less-than-closeted love for James Franco while at the same time, does what he can to promote still more disinformation regarding North Korea. Of course, it’s “just comedy”… and we all know no one uses humor to promote disinformation (isn’t that right Jon Lebawitz Stewart?)

Sony has finally come out and claimed they have to postpone the release of their horrible, rote, sophomoric comedy “The Interview” because of some threats being supposedly made by a group that no one can really track back to North Korea.

You want to know what that is? Why they can’t track the threat back to North Korea?

Because North Korea doesn’t give a shit about some stupid fucking Seth Rogen movie. That’s why.

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