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.

Picture of the Day: President Moon Together with PM Abe at APEC Summit

Leaders at APEC summit

Some leaders of the 21-member Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum — (clockwise from R, 1st row) South Korean President Moon Jae-in, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha, Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern — attend a group photo session during this year’s APEC summit in the central Vietnamese city of Danang on Nov. 11, 2017. (Yonhap)

Picture of the Day: President Moon Plants Tree with Indonesian President Widodo

Moon meets with Widodo

South Korean President Moon Jae-in (L) plants a commemorative tree with Indonesian President Joko Widodo at Bogor Palace south of Jakarta on Nov. 9, 2017, to mark his state visit to Indonesia. Moon, who arrived in Indonesia the previous day for a three-day visit, will hold a summit with Widodo to discuss ways to improve cooperation and joint efforts to denuclearize North Korea. (Yonhap)

Japanese Nationalists Call South Korean State Dinner an Anti-Japanese Banquet

It figures that the Moon Jae-in administration would find a way to stick to the Japanese during President Trump’s visit:

U.S. President Donald Trump hugs sex slavery victim Lee Yong-soo at a state dinner at Cheong Wa Dae in Seoul on Tuesday. /Yonhap

The rightwing government in Tokyo was duly incensed when Korea served U.S. President Donald Trump shrimp caught near Korea’s easternmost islets of Dokdo, to which Japan maintains a flimsy colonial claim.

Worse in the eyes of the nationalists in Japan was the invitation to a state dinner for Trump on Tuesday of a victim of imperial Japan’s sexual enslavement of women during World War II.

Tokyo protested through diplomatic channels that Cheong Wa Dae’s invitation of sex slavery victim Lee Yong-soo to the state dinner is “against the purport” of a 2015 agreement to compensate the women, which was once described as “a final and irreversible resolution,” according to the Yomiuri Shimbun on Wednesday.

The controversial deal, which trades indirect compensation for a promise to remove memorials for the victims from the vicinity of Japanese diplomatic missions, makes no mention of what events the victims of the atrocity can or cannot be invited to.

The new government of President Moon Jae-in wants to reverse it.   [Chosun Ilbo]

You can read more at the link, but why were the victims of Chinese and North Korean atrocities not invited to the state dinner?

President Moon Does Not Want A Trilateral Alliance with Japan

If South Korea had a trilateral alliance with Japan it would take away the best political foil that ROK politicians have.  How many times have we seen a ROK politician get into domestic political trouble and then suddenly they show up at Dokdo or push past historical issues:

President Moon Jae-in said Friday military cooperation with the United States and Japan is needed to rein in the rising threat from North Korea but was skeptical over elevating it to a trilateral defense alliance.

“South Korea-U.S. military cooperation as well as Japan has become important, but the cooperation is aimed at countering North Korea’s nuclear and missile provocations,” Moon said an interview with Singapore’s Channel NewsAsia at his office. “But I don’t think it is appropriate to develop the cooperation to a level of (trilateral) military alliance.”

Japan has increasingly sought a bigger international role in global military conflicts in recent years against China’s growing assertiveness in Asia. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is reconsidering its traditionally pacifist stance on defense in the face of threats from Pyongyang, which has shot two missiles over Japanese territory in the recent months.

“If Japan uses a nuclear-armed North Korea as an excuse for its military expansion, it would not be appropriate for ASEAN nations as well.”  [Yonhap]

You can read more at the link.

President Trump Enjoys “Taco Tuesday” with Troops At Camp Humphreys

This had to have been a pretty neat experience for the soldiers that attended this lunch with President Trump:

U.S. troops who had lunch with President Donald Trump on Tuesday at a military base in South Korea say he told them there was no place he’d rather be.

Trump and his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in joined 108 hand-picked servicemembers, including 20 South Koreans, for Taco Tuesday at a Camp Humphreys dining facility.

Pvt. Merion Holmes, 21, of Georgetown, S.C., said he was honored to see the president in person and found Trump’s words motivating.

“He said he’d rather eat with the troops than at a fancy restaurant,” Holmes told Stars and Stripes after the president’s 20-minute appearance. “It made me feel like he cared.”

Trump flew to Humphreys in a helicopter shortly after landing at Osan Air Base on Tuesday to begin his visit to South Korea, the second leg of his first official visit to Asia.  [Stars & Stripes]

You can read more at the link, but of significance is that ROK President Moon Jae-in made a surprise visit to Camp Humphreys as well to have lunch with President Trump.  This is reportedly the first time a ROK President has greeted a visiting foreign leader outside of Cheongwadae.

President Trump Agrees to Arms Deal with South Korea and Comments On North Korea Policy

So far so good for President Trump’s visit to South Korea:

South Korean President Moon Jae-in (R) and U.S. President Donald Trump hold a joint conference following their bilateral summit at the South Korean presidential office Cheong Wa Dae in Seoul on Nov. 7, 2017. (Yonhap)

The presidents of South Korea and the United States agreed Tuesday to completely remove the limit on the payload of South Korean ballistic missiles and discuss Seoul’s introduction of nuclear-powered submarines and other advanced weapons, Seoul officials said.

The agreement aimed at building up their joint deterrence against a provocative North Korea was made at a bilateral summit between President Moon Jae-in and President Donald Trump at the South Korean presidential office Cheong Wa Dae.

“The heads of South Korea and the United States reached a final agreement on removing the limit on missile payloads,” Moon said in a joint press conference with the U.S. president.

Trump arrived here earlier Tuesday on a state visit, becoming the first U.S. president to do so in 25 years.  [Yonhap]

You can read much more about President Trump’s comments at the link.  There was nothing he said that was unreasonable and in line with stated policy.