President Moon Advocates for A Freeze Deal with North Korea

Here we go again with more talk of a freeze deal with North Korea where the international community rewards North Korea for violating United Nations sanctions and receive little to nothing in return:

South Korea President Moon Jae-in (R) speaks in a press conference for South Korean journalists at a hotel in Manila, the Philippines on Nov. 14, 2017 on the outcome of his participation in the ASEAN forum. (Yonhap)

South Korea and the international community may begin discussions on possible rewards for North Korea if the reclusive state decides to at least freeze its nuclear program and come to the denuclearization dialogue, South Korean President Moon Jae-in said Tuesday.

“I believe it will not be easy realistically to move on to complete dismantlement of North Korean nukes in the near future, considering recent advances in North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs,” the president said at a press conference.

“That means it will likely be North Korea first freezing its nuclear program and then moving onto complete dismantlement, and if that happens, I believe we and the international community may discuss what we can do in return,” he added.

The South Korean president was attending a regional forum hosted by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Manila. He arrived here Sunday following trips to Indonesia and Vietnam.  [Yonhap]

You can read more at the link, but President Moon is also once again urging the North Koreans to take part in the Winter Olympics being held this upcoming February in South Korea.

I would love it if some journalist would ask President Moon if he would have advocated for Apartheid South Africa to participate in the Olympic Games?  Apartheid South Africa was shunned from the Olympics and they were not a threat to world peace or have any where near the level of human rights violations going in North Korea right now.

North Korean Soldier Is Shot After Rare Defection in the Joint Security Area

Here is something that continues to be a rare occurrence:

Wounded North Korean soldier who defected across the DMZ is rushed to the hospital. [Korea Times]

A North Korean soldier defected to South Korea through the Joint Security Area (JSA) in the Demilitarized Zone, Monday, the Joint Chiefs of Staff said.

He received gunshot wounds to the shoulder and elbow from North Korean forces while defecting. The soldier was airlifted by a United Nations Command helicopter to a hospital for treatment after arriving in South Korea, the military said.

“A North Korean soldier defected from a guard post on the North Korean side of the JSA toward our side at 3:31 p.m.,” according to a military official.

After hearing several rounds of gunfire, the South Korean military found him fallen and bleeding on the southern side of the JSA, 25 minutes later, according to the military. He was unarmed and wearing a combat uniform for a low rank, with his identity yet to be found, the military also said.  [Yonhap]

You can read more at the link, but North Korean soldiers stationed at the Joint Security Area are chosen for their family’s loyalty to the regime.  Assuredly this soldier’s family will be the ones that pay the consequences for his defection.

Kim Dae-jung’s Son Wants A Return of the Sunshine Policy

Can someone please explain to me what the success of the Sunshine Policy was that warrants it to be reimplemented?:

To mediate two volatile partners ― Washington and Pyongyang ― Kim called for Seoul to revisit the 20-year-old Sunshine Policy. “Some people blast the policy, saying it’s only devoted to showering North Korea with rice. However, the essence of the Sunshine Policy is constantly making efforts to take the helm in shaping the nation’s future.

“Given the characteristics of the incumbent U.S. administration, Seoul should be more proactive in addressing its needs. For example, the U.S. has urged its allies to maximize pressure toward Pyongyang while it’s maintaining unofficial contact with the North.”

He cited former President George Bush’s message of peace at the Dorasan train station near the inter-Korean border in 2002 as fruit from the Sunshine Policy. Only a month after the hawkish president blasted North Korea by calling it the “axis of evil,” the older Kim successfully persuaded his U.S. counterpart to promise to talk with North Korea.  [Korea Times]

You can read more at the link, but a return to the Sunshine Policy means is that the Kim regime will arm themselves with nuclear weapons and ICBMs quicker.

Kim Regime Returns South Korean Fishermen Who Strayed Into North Korean Waters

This return of the ROK fishing vessel by the Kim regime appears to have happened so rapidly because of the Vietnamese crew members on board at the fact the ROK has returned various North Korean fishing ships that strayed into South Korean waters when requested:

A fisherman sits on his boat in a small port on the island of Baengnyeong, which lies on the South Korean side of the Northern Limit Line, in the Yellow Sea, April 11, 2014.

North Korea sent back a South Korean fishing boat and its crew that Pyongyang says were detained for crossing the eastern sea border between the rivals.

While the North’s state media said the decision was based on humanitarian grounds, experts said it wasn’t clear whether the repatriation reflected intentions to improve relations with the South amid heightened animosity over Pyongyang’s expanding nuclear program.

The boat’s 10 crew members included not only South Koreans, but also three Vietnamese fishermen, which might have influenced the North’s decision for a quick repatriation, said Hong Min, an analyst at Seoul’s Korea Institute for National Unification.

Fishermen questioned

Hours after announcing the repatriation plans through the Korean Central News Agency, North Korea sent back the boat and fishermen in designated waters off the peninsula’s eastern coast Friday evening. The fishermen, who arrived at the South Korean port of Sokcho late Friday, appeared to be in good health, a South Korean coast guard official said.

The fishermen will be questioned by South Korean authorities over the circumstances of their detention and their experience in the North, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity citing office rules. The fishermen didn’t leave the ship as officials searched the vessel for nearly two hours in Sokcho before they were escorted to another port in nearby Uljin, where they might be questioned.  [Voice of America]

You can read more at the link.

 

South Korea Proposing Billions of Dollars In Economic Aid Despite North Korean Provocations

What does North Korea have to do to convince the Korean left that billions of dollars in economic aid the Kim regime can use to bolster their nuclear and missile programs is not a good idea?:

This file photo taken on Aug. 23, 2017, shows President Moon Jae-in presiding over a foreign and unification policy discussion meeting in Seoul. (Yonhap)

South Korea’s unification ministry said Friday it plans to seek trilateral economic cooperation involving the two Koreas and Russia after taking into account international sanctions and public sentiment.

President Moon Jae-in has unveiled the so-called new Northern Policy designed to expand economic cooperation with northern states including North Korea.

The Ministry of Unification said that the initiative involving the two Koreas and Russia will help implement Moon’s another vision to build a new economic belt with North Korea.  (…..)

The JoongAng Ilbo reported that the government plans to boost the fund by about US$2 billion to fund a potential trilateral project among Seoul, Pyongyang and Moscow to establish the complex in areas spanning the North Korean port city of Rajin and Russia’s Khasan.

Lee said that the report is not true, saying that the state inter-Korean cooperation fund for next year amounts to just 1.046 trillion won.

The idea of building a factory park in the Rajin-Khasan area was first floated under the liberal government of former President Roh Moo-hyun in 2003-2008. But it was known to be put on hold mainly due to North Korea’s first nuclear test in 2006.  [Yonhap]

You can read more at the link, but I am sure it would interesting to be a fly on the wall and listen to President Trump reaction after he reads this.

Moon Jae-in Draws Red Line Against North Korean Nuclear Weapons Development

It seems President Moon has made himself a pretty specific red line with North Korea that in my opinion he has no intention of actually enforcing:

The President’s definition of a “red line” for North Korea has fueled controversy, with critics questioning its adequacy.

At a press conference to mark his 100th day in office Thursday, President Moon Jae-in said that he would consider North Korea had crossed a red line “if it completes development of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) and weaponizes it by fitting a nuclear warhead on it.”

He also said, “North Korea is nearing the threshold of the red line.”

Some people, including Moon’s aides, interpreted the rare remarks as a warning to the North on its rapid progress in developing nuclear weapons and missiles. But criticism of his “diplomatic immaturity” was prevalent.

Pundits expressed concerns that the statement narrowed the Moon administration’s policy options in dealing with North Korea.

“Moon must be the first leader in the world who went into details of what constitutes a red line,” said Nam Sung-wook, a professor at Korea University’s department of unification and diplomacy. “Keeping ambiguity suits national interests. Moon may have said so to prevent a U.S. preemptive attack, but still, it exposed our intentions.”  [Korea Times]

You can read more at the link.

Increasing Number of Lawmakers Want South Korea to Develop Nuclear Weapons

Probably the most interesting thing to see if South Korea develops nuclear weapons is not North Korea’s reaction, but China’s:

No longer sure they can rely on the United States, an increasing number of South Korean lawmakers say their country should develop its own nuclear arsenal to deter an attack by Kim Jong Un, their belligerent neighbor to the north.

North Korea’s rapid missile advances, including successful tests of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) in July and again on Friday, are reviving calls for South Korea to assert its “nuclear sovereignty.” South Koreans are wary of President Donald Trump’s isolationist rhetoric and his calls for Asian allies to shoulder more of the defense burdens borne by the U.S. military.

“Trump’s ‘America-first’ policy has triggered this kind of public sentiment,” said Moon Chung In, a top national security adviser to South Korean President Moon Jae In. Trump also has wavered on his commitment to defending South Korea, he said, including suggesting during the campaign that South Korea and Japan should develop their own nuclear arsenals.

While President Moon, a liberal who took office in May, does not support calls for South Korea to join the nuclear club, polls show that a majority of South Koreans surveyed favor the idea. Support bumps higher whenever North Korea conducts a nuclear or missile test and members of South Korea’s two major conservative parties are pressing Moon to at least explore the nuclear option of developing nuclear weapons.  [Kansas City Star]

You can read more at the link, but members of the ROK parliament has long discussed developing nuclear weapons and it has been a popular idea with the ROK public.  However, until the ROK President decides to pursue them this is just all noise for now.

President Moon Continues to Advocate for North Korea to Join Pyeongchang Olympics

I will say it once again, if the South Africans were banned from the Olympics because of their Apartheid policies than why is North Korea with its far worse human rights violations being championed by President Moon to be part of the Pyeongchang Olympics?:

President Moon Jae-in, center, and former Olympic figure skating champion Kim Yu-na, at Moon’s left, both honorary ambassadors for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games, pose together to wish for the country’s successful hosting of the sporting event in a ceremony on Monday in Pyeongchang, Gangwon, some 180 kilometers (112 miles) east of Seoul. [YONHAP]

President Moon Jae-in renewed his invitation on Monday for North Korea to attend the Winter Olympic Games in the South next year, continuing his strategy of using sports diplomacy to thaw inter-Korean relations.

“I urge the North once again to make a decision,” Moon said. “We won’t have hasty optimism, but there is no need for us to take a pessimistic view either. We will leave the door open and wait until the last moment.”

Moon made the remarks during an event to promote the 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang, Gangwon. The games, scheduled for Feb. 9 to 25, 2018, will start 200 days from Monday. [Joong Ang Ilbo]

You can read more at the link.

North Korea Snubs Seoul’s Offer of Proposed Military Talks

I guess the Kim regime is too busy building ICBMs and nuclear weapons and don’t have time to talk to the Moon administration:

North Korea ignored South Korea’s proposal to hold military talks Friday, complicating President Moon Jae-in’s plan to improve relations starting with some kind of dialogue.

On Monday the South Korean military proposed talks on Friday to ease tensions along the demilitarized zone (DMZ), one of the most heavily fortified zones in the world. Seoul also proposed a meeting to discuss holding reunions for families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War on Aug. 1. Pyongyang has said nothing about either proposal.

“The North has yet to state its position [on our proposal for today]. As such, it has become effectively impossible to hold talks today,” said Moon Sang-gyun, the Defense Ministry spokesman, during a regular press briefing on Friday. The defense ministry continued that “restoring a communication channel in the military field” and “easing military tensions” on both sides of the border were tasks that required “a sense of urgency.”   [Joong Ang Ilbo]

You can read more at the link.

White House Says Conditions Not Met for Talks with North Korea

It looks like the US government will not be participating in any talks with North Korea any time soon:

The White House expressed veiled opposition to South Korea’s proposal for rare inter-Korean talks Monday, saying current conditions are “far away” from those needed to reopen dialogue with the recalcitrant state.

Seoul proposed military talks for this coming Friday and Red Cross talks on Aug. 1 to discuss ways to ease tensions along their shared border and resume reunions of families separated since the 1950-53 Korean War.

The offer came amid renewed tensions over the North’s first launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile on July 4.

“Well, obviously those comments came out of the Republic of Korea and I would refer you back to them,” Press Secretary Sean Spicer said during a briefing, when asked if there are certain conditions U.S. President Donald Trump would like to see met before the talks take place. “That being said, I think the president has made clear in the past with respect that any type of conditions that would have to be met are clearly far away from where we are now.”  [Yonhap]

You can read more at the link.