George Friedman Believes War with North Korea is Imminent

Well respected geopolitical analyst George Friedman believes that the US military is currently posturing itself for war with North Korea:

The US is preparing to attack North Korea, according to Geopolitical Futures founder George Friedman — setting the stage for a difficult, messy war with potentially catastrophic consequences.

Speaking Monday to a rapt audience at the 2017 Strategic Investment Conference in Orlando, Friedman said that while it was unlikely the US would take action before President Donald Trump returns home at the weekend, North Korea’s actions appeared to have “offered the US no alternative” to a clash.

According to Geopolitical Futures analysis, evidence is mounting that the enmity between the two is escalating to a point where war is inevitable.

Friedman said that on May 20, the USS Carl Vinson supercarrier and USS Ronald Reagan were both within striking distance of North Korea.

Additionally, more than 100 F-16 aircraft are conducting daily exercises in the area, a tactic that foreshadowed the beginning of Desert Storm in 1991.

F-35 aircraft have also been deployed to the area, and US government representatives are expected to brief Guam on civil defense, terrorism, and Korea on May 31.

All of these strategic moves telegraph one outcome — conflict.  [Business Insider]

You can read more at the link, but I think posturing for war does not necessarily mean war is imminent.  The Trump administration may have the US military posturing for war to show the Kim regime they are serious about beginning negotiations to end their nuclear program.  If they don’t negotiate military force may be an option.  The problem is that the Kim regime likely does not believe that military force will be used because of the artillery threat to Seoul in response.

An imminent war with North Korea actually conflicts with Friedman’s prediction in his book “The Next 100 Years: A Forecast for the 21st Century”.  In the book he predicted no major war against North Korea and that the Kim regime would collapse leading to a unified Korean peninsula in the 2020’s.

Chinese THAAD Boycott Expected To Ease After Moon’s Election

Many people have kind of expected the Chinese boycott to slowly dwindle away after a while and it appears it is beginning to go away:

China appears to be easing up on a wide-ranging unofficial boycott of Korean goods and service over the stationing of a Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense battery from the U.S. here.

The state-run People’s Daily, a bellwether of official opinion, repeatedly referred to Korea as a “close neighbor” recently after a telephone call between President Moon Jae-in, who is skeptical about the deployment, and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on May 11. This was closely followed by the dispatch of a special envoy to Beijing, former prime minister Lee Hae-chan, last week.

Korean businesses are resuming marketing in China that ground to a screeching halt amid the THAAD spat, and there are signs of sales recovering.

Chinese travel agencies expect Beijing to lift a ban on cut-price group tours to Korea as early as July, and visa applications are rising to 50 to 60 percent of last year’s level after falling to as low as 20 percent.

Chinese travel agencies are asking Korea tour operators about their packages again. The head of one travel agency here said, “Last week, three or four Chinese travel agencies expressed interest in summer tours. We have yet to see actual reservations, but the atmosphere has definitely changed. [Chosun Ilbo]

You can read the rest at the link.

President Moon’s Dokdo Tie Sees Surge In Online Sales

It did not take long for President Moon to demonstrate his Dokdo cred:

President Moon Jae-in wears the Dokdo eared seal tie during a press conference on Friday to announce Kim Yi-su as the new chief justice. / Screen captured from KBS news

President Moon Jae-in’s tie featuring Dokdo eared seals has become a huge hit and has sold out in major online malls.

Moon wore the tie during a meeting with the major party floor leaders on Friday.

The tie received further public attention the same day when it was caught on camera during a press conference where Moon announced Kim Yi-su as the new chief justice.

A designer company made the tie to celebrate Korea’s 112th anniversary of proclaiming sovereignty over the East Sea island in 2012.

The eared seal on the orange tie is a kind of sea lion that was commonly found on Dokdo in the 18th century. Japanese fishermen hunted the seals to extinction during Japan’s colonial rule of Korea.

The tie is priced at 55,000 won ($48).  [Korea Times]

Picture of the Day: Ex-President Roh Memorial

Moon attends memorial for late President Roh

President Moon Jae-in (3rd from R, front), Kwon Yang-sook (4th from R, front), widow of the late former President Roh Moo-hyun, and other participants attend a memorial at the tomb of Roh in the southeastern city of Gimhae on May 23, 2017, to mark the eighth anniversary of Roh’s death the same day. (Yonhap)

Park Geun-hye’s Lawyer States Prosecution Mostly Using News Articles as Evidence

I am not a lawyer so I am wondering if anyone who is a lawyer knows if news media articles can be considered evidence in a US court?  If so how strong of evidence would that be?:

Former President Park Geun-hye attended her first court hearing over the corruption scandal that removed her from office and denied all charges against her, Tuesday.

This is the first time in 53 days that she has made a public appearance since she was arrested, March 31.

Handcuffed and with her trademark hairstyle, Park arrived at the Seoul Central District Court before entering the courtroom at 10 a.m.

Park and her confidant of 40 years Choi Soon-sil saw each other for the first time in eight months since Choi left for Germany last September after the corruption scandal broke out.

Park entered the courtroom first and sat looking straight ahead not turning her head even the slightest, while Choi entered the courtroom and sat two seats away from her, next to her attorney Lee Kyung-jae.

When asked by presiding Judge Kim Se-yun, on her current occupation, Park said, “I don’t have an occupation.”

When offered a chance to speak, Choi whimpered and said, “I am a sinner for having Park whom I’ve been close to for more than 40 years stand trial.”

“I do not believe Park was involved in any criminal activities, bribery or otherwise. I think the prosecution is pushing this too far, and I wish the court would clear her of the suspected wrongdoings thereby letting her remain as the president who devoted her life to the country.”

Choi blamed her former associate Park Won-oh, a former head of the Korea Equestrian Federation, over allegations that Samsung offered financial support for her daughter, the former dressage competitor Chung Yoo-ra.

“My daughter already had her own horse when she was in Germany. Then Park asked Samsung for support and Samsung bought a horse and a car. I can take responsibility for that, but not the charges by the prosecution that the support for my daughter was in return for the government-backed merger of Samsung’s two units,” she said.

Park’s defense attorney Yoo Young-ha said the charges against her lacked foundation and largely relied on imagination, inference and media reports.

“Most of the evidence submitted by the prosecution is news articles. The prosecution determined news reports valid as evidence in a criminal case,” he said.  [Korea Times]

You can read more at the link.

ROK Troops Fire Shots at Possible Drone Flying Over the DMZ

It looks like the North Koreans have flown another drone over the DMZ:

South Korean troops fired warning shots at an “unidentified object” flying across the heavily fortified border from North Korea Tuesday afternoon, the South’s military announced.

The military detected the object traversing the Military Demarcation Line (MDL) southward in the Chorwon area in the eastern province of Gangwon at around 4 p.m., according to the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS).

It added the South’s military fired warning shots along with dispatching a warning broadcast.

A defense source said the military fired more than 90 K-3 machine gun rounds, adding it may have been a drone.

The South’s military is analyzing the object and its route and has beefed up its air defense posture, said the JCS.  [Yonhap]

It looks like the ROK military needs to get themselves fielded with these systems to counter the drones North Korea is increasingly using.