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)

President Moon Warns Defense Ministry that Clashes Along Korean DMZ Are A “High Possibility”

I think President Moon is telling these ROK military leaders something they already know all to well:

South Korean President Moon Jae-In warned Wednesday there was a “high possibility” of military clashes along the border with North Korea as tensions mount over Pyongyang’s weapons ambitions.

Moon, who was sworn in last week, warned that the North’s nuclear and rocket programs were “advancing rapidly”, days after Pyongyang launched what appeared to be its longest-range missile yet.

“I will never tolerate the North’s provocations and nuclear threats,” he said on a visit to the defence ministry, urging the South’s military to adopt a “watertight defence posture”.

“We are living in the reality where there is a high possibility of military clashes” along the disputed sea border off the Koreas’ west coast or along the heavily-fortified land frontier that divides them, he said.  [Korea Herald]

You can read more at the link.

Picture of the Day: South Korea’s “First Dog”

Abandoned dog to become 'first pet'

This photo from animal advocacy group CARE on May 14, 2017, shows the abandoned dog Tory, which will be adopted by President Moon Jae-in to become the “first dog.” Tory was rescued two years ago from a dog meat farm but was left unadopted because of prejudice against black dogs. Moon’s office said it was in talks with CARE on details for adopting Tory, which is set to become the world’s first abandoned dog to become a first dog. (Yonhap)

North Korea Welcomes Moon Jae-in Presidency with Successful Ballistic Missile Launch

The Kim regime has welcomed the new ROK president the way they typically do by conducting a provocation:

North Korea fires a medium-range ballistic missile in February in this file photo. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (KCNA-Yonhap)

North Korea launched a ballistic missile Sunday morning from a site north of Pyongyang, South Korea’s military said, as President Moon Jae-in immediately convened an emergency meeting of the National Security Council (NSC) to discuss the issue.

“North Korea fired an unidentified missile at around 5:27 a.m. today from an area in the vicinity of Kusong, North Pyongan Province,” the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said in a statement

The projectile flew some 700 kilometers, it said, adding it’s analyzing more details.

The flight distance suggests a success of the missile test, the North’s first military provocation since the inauguration of Moon last week.  [Yonhap]

The type of ballistic missile has not been disclosed yet, but PACOM has already said that it was not an ICBM.  However, the Japanese are calling this the highest fired missile they have seen yet from North Korea:

Japan’s Defense Ministry said the missile flew for about 30 minutes, reaching an altitude of more than 2,000 kilometers and was believed to have traveled some 800 kilometers before falling about 400 kilometers outside of Japan’s exclusive economic zone, according to the Japan Times.

Japanese Defense Minister Tomomi Inada was quoted as saying that the launch, which was likely conducted at a steep or “lofted” trajectory, could be of a “new type of ballistic missile.” It hit the highest-ever altitude recorded by Japan’s defense authority for a North Korean missile.  [Joong Ang Ilbo]

At least one scientist thinks this is a new type of missile that has been tested:

“I don’t believe the missile test Sunday involved existing models, such Pukguksong-2 or Scud-ER, considering its flight distance was about 700 kilometers,” said Kim Dong-yup, a professor at the Institute for Far East Studies of Kyungnam University. “The test appears to be aimed at developing a new type of missile with an improved performance.”

David Wright, co-director of the Global Security Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists, told the Associated Press that Sunday’s launch may have been of a new mobile, two-stage liquid-fueled missile that North Korea displayed during an April 15 military parade to mark that 105th anniversary of the birth of its founder Kim Il-sung

Wright estimated that the missile had a range of 4,500 kilometers if it travelled on a standard, instead of lofted, trajectory.  [Korea Times]

If the range of this missile is 4,500 kilometers that means it is not designed to strike South Korea or Japan which it already has SCUD and Nodong missiles to hit these two countries with.  Instead the only reason to develop a missile with this range would be to strike Guam which would be within its 4,500 kilometer maximum range since it is roughly 3,300 kilometers from North Korea:

This test may be a response to the fact that the USS Carl Vinson carrier strike group is supposed to be in the Sea of Japan (East Sea) conducting exercises.

In response to the provocation the Chinese are urging all parties to show the typical “restraint” they always seem to put out after a North Korean provocation.  The United States is trying to play the Russians against the North Koreans after this test since the missile landed close to Russia:

Fox News reported that the White House said North Korea has been a “flagrant menace for far too long” and that Trump “cannot imagine that Russia is pleased” with the latest missile test because the missile landed closer to Russia than to Japan. U.S. National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster also condemned the launch in a 25-minute phone call with his South Korean counterpart Kim Kwan-jin and agreed to combine forces towards denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula.   [Joong Ang Ilbo]

I doubt Putin really cares, and then in South Korea new President Moon Jae-in wants North Korea to change its attitude if it wants negotiations:

During his first NSC meeting at Cheong Wa Dae, President Moon strongly condemned the launch, saying, “It was an apparent violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions and also a serious challenge to peace and security on the Korean Peninsula as well as the international community.”

Moon said he found North Korea’s provocation regretful, citing that it came despite his speech to make full-pledged efforts to bring peace to the peninsula during his May 10 inauguration ceremony.

“I’m strongly warning North Korea, and at the same time, I find its reckless provocation deeply regretful.”

The president said he is open to resuming dialogue with North Korea, but added his government would deal sternly with the North’s provocations to ensure that the reclusive state does “not make a misjudgment.”

“We must show the North that dialogue will be possible only when it changes its attitude,” he said.  [Korea Times]

Good luck with that since people have been waiting decades for North Korea to change its attitude.  As this test proves, a new ROK President promising Sunshine Policy 2.0 is not going to change the nature of the Kim regime.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in Was Former Commando Who Was Part of Operation Paul Bunyan

New ROK President Moon Jae-in was once a ROK Special Forces commando who served during the 1976 Operation Paul Bunyan.  Moon’s involvement with this operation reminded me of this story of the crazy ROK commandos who accompanied the US soldiers who chopped down the tree:

Moon was a commando in the Korean Army in 1975, a year after a court gave him 10 months’ probation for leading an anti-government demonstration in 1972. [Korea Times]

The dumptruck with the engineers pulls up next to the tree, so they can stand on it instead of having to use a ladder. The ROK’s with us, who are “supposed to” be limited as we are, with just .45’s and axe handles, begin throwing sandbags out of their deuces, Under the sandbags they have M-16’s, M-60’s, and a few M-79’s.

Several f them head over to Exum’s deuce and stand around watching the KPA guards across the bridge. I’m on the detachment that’s facing north, and I can see the 4 guards over there frantically running about and trying to get a hold of a superior on the phone. I look over at KP#3, a North Korean checkpoint just outside of the JSA and situated up on a hill, and I can see the guards up there run outside with a machinegun and set it up covering us. About two minutes later, a bunch of the KPA guard trucks and several buses pull up across the bridge from us. It seems like they sit there forever, several minutes at least. A few of the ROK marines with us unbutton their shirts, showing that they have claymore mines strapped to their chests and they have the clacker (firing mechanism) in their hands. They start yelling and waving at the KPA to come on over. One of the ROK’s is laying on his side, on the ground, supporting his head his his hand, looking all casual and care free. Once in a while he lifts his head a bit and hits the rear tire of Exum’s deuce with the back of his fist, shaking the entire truck bed. Anybody who’s ever been on a deuce knows that’s not easy.

Unfortunately President Moon was not one of the crazy commandos with claymores strapped to their chest.  He was in a back up role to respond to assist the crazy commandos if trouble was to occur.  Regardless it must have been interesting for Moon to be part of such a major moment in South Korea’s modern history.