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.

President Moon to Hold Beer Summit with ROK Business Leaders

Considering that President Moon has plans to increase taxes on the wealthy and businesses to create a welfare state, President Moon better serve some pretty good beer to get these ROK business leaders on board:

President Moon Jae-in is set to hold his first dialogue with top business leaders here this week over beer to help break the ice and possibly allow more frank discussions, an official from the presidential office, Cheong Wa Dae, said Tuesday.

The talks will be held Thursday and Friday, each day involving part of the top executives from the 14 largest business conglomerates, according to Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Park Soo-hyun.  [Yonhap]

You can read more at the link.


President Moon Calls for Signing A Peace Treaty to End the Korean War

I foresee this being the opening gesture by the Moon administration towards some kind of freeze deal with North Korea that has a growing chorus from experts and the media:

President Moon Jae-in speaks about peace on the Korean Peninsula, inter-Korean relations and unification at the old city hall of Berlin, Germany, Thursday. The non-profit Korber Foundation invited the President to the event. / Yonhap

President Moon Jae-in said Thursday he will seek to pursue a peace treaty with North Korea, taking a step forward for inter-Korean reconciliation despite Pyongyang’s test-firing of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) two days earlier.

Moon’s pledge comes after North Korea and China have repeatedly called for the signing of a peace treaty with the United States to formally end the Korean War and settle the security crisis on the peninsula.

The President appeared to be seeking U.S. support in his push for a peace treaty as the U.S., on behalf of the United Nations, signed the 1953 armistice agreement with North Korea and China. South Korea was not among the signatories.

“We should make a peace treaty joined by all relevant parties at the end of the Korean War to settle a lasting peace on the peninsula,” Moon said during his Korean-language invitational speech at the Korber Foundation, a nonprofit think tank in Berlin. “I will take a comprehensive approach to North Koream nuclear issues to pursue the peace treaty along with complete denuclearization (in the region.)”  [Korea Times]

You can read more at the link, but remember North Korea does not want peace, it wants peace treaty negotiations.  There is a big difference.

Picture of the Day: Barack Obama Meets with President Moon in Seoul

Moon meets Obama in Seoul

South Korean President Moon Jae-in (R) and former U.S. President Barack Obama pose for a photo during their meeting at the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae in Seoul on July 3, 2017, in this photo released by the presidential office. Obama has visited South Korea to attend a leadership conference organized by the vernacular daily Chosun Ilbo. (Yonhap)

President Trump Pushes President Moon on Paying More for US Troops

It seems like an inevitability that the ROK will end up paying more for the upkeep of the US-ROK alliance since it is an issue that President Trump continues to highlight:

President Moon Jae-in, left, shakes hand with U.S. President Donald Trump in their joint press conference in the Rose Garden of the White House on Friday. [YONHAP]

President Moon Jae-in faced a demand on Friday by U.S. President Donald Trump to resolve trade imbalance between the two countries and pay more of the cost for the presence of U.S. troops in Korea, while winning assurances for stronger defense measures to deter North Korea’s rapidly advancing threats.

In the joint press conference that followed the Oval Office summit, Trump said the era of strategic patience with the North Korean regime has failed. “And frankly, that patience is over,” he added. After calling upon regional powers and all responsible nations to implement sanctions and pressure North Korea to end its nuclear and missile programs, Trump said now the goal is “peace, stability and prosperity for the region.”

The United States will defend itself and its allies, Trump said, and as part of that commitment, he said he wants to ensure that the cost of U.S. military presence in South Korea is equitably shared. “Burden sharing is a very important factor,” he said. “A factor that is becoming more and more prevalent, certainly in this administration.”

Trump also spoke of a “fair and reciprocal economic relationship” with South Korea, while complaining that the Korea-U.S. free trade agreement has increased the U.S. trade deficit with South Korea by more than $11 billion.  [Joong Ang Ilbo]

You can read more at the link.

People’s Party Member Arrested for Making False Allegations Against President Moon’s Son

An alleged dirty trick that was used against President Moon during the presidential campaign has led to one arrest and maybe more to come:

Lee You-mi, a member of minor opposition People’s Party, enters the courthouse in Seoul for a court review on the prosecution’s request of her arrest warrant over false allegations she made against President Moon Jae-in’s son on June 29, 2017. (Yonhap)

A member of a minor opposition party was arrested Thursday for making false allegations about President Moon Jae-in’s son during the election campaign earlier this year.

A Seoul court approved the prosecution’s request for the arrest warrant for Lee You-mi, a member of the People’s Party, on charges of spreading misinformation in violation of the election law.

Lee is accused of fabricating a story in the lead up to the May 9 presidential election about an unfair hiring of Moon Joon-yong by a public agency in late 2006, when his father was a presidential secretary.

She had been held in custody for questioning by the prosecution since early this week.

Lee reportedly confessed to creating the anonymous tip-off by concocting an audio file and a captured screenshot of mobile phone chat disguising them as records of conversation with a man claiming to be a friend of Joon-yong’s exposing the alleged preferred treatment.

Lee handed them to a former senior party official named Lee Jun-seo. The prosecution has barred the official from overseas travel on suspicions that he is behind the smearing scheme. The prosecution is set to summon him for questioning this week.  [Yonhap]

You can read more at the link, but according to the article the former Presidential candidate for the people’s party Ahn Cheol-soo has not commented on this allegation yet.  If a political party is going to try and play dirty tricks like this they had better hope they win because as we have seen before President’s in Korea will go after their enemies.

Presidents Trump and Moon Begin US-ROK Summit at the White House

So far so good for the Trump-Moon summit in Washington, D.C.  I wonder when North Korea will commit some kind of provocation this week in response?:

South Korean President Moon Jae-in, center, poses with U.S. President Donald Trump, second from right, in their first meeting at the White House, Washington, D.C., Thursday, along with South Korean first lady Kim Jung-sook, second from left, and U.S. first lady Melania Trump. / Yonhap

President Moon Jae-in and U.S. President Donald Trump had “frank and serious” discussions on North Korea, a free trade deal and other issues in their first meeting over dinner at the White House, Friday, according to Cheong Wa Dae.

After the meeting, Trump wrote on Twitter that he discussed with Moon a “new trade deal,” indicating the U.S. request for a renegotiation of the countries’ bilateral free trade agreement.

Yoon Young-chan, Moon’s top press officer, refused to elaborate on this, only saying, “The leaders agreed to resolve the North Korean nuclear issue, establish peace on the Korean Peninsula and ensure economic prosperity for both nations based on their strong alliance.”

It was the first time that Trump has invited a foreign head of state and the spouse to dinner at the White House since his inauguration in January, Cheong Wa Dae said. First lady Kim Jung-sook and U.S. first lady Melania Trump were also present.  [Korea Times]

You can read more at the link.

USFK Responds to President Moon’s Claim THAAD was Only to Install One Launcher this Year

It appears that President Moon can’t keep his THAAD excuses straight and USFK has had to correct the record:

A THAAD interceptor launcher is in place at a former golf course in Sejongju, North Gyeongsang Province, in this file photo. (Yonhap)

The U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) said Friday it has an “original” agreement with South Korea to deploy the THAAD missile defense system here as soon as possible.

It was in response to President Moon Jae-in’s view that the deployment process has been “accelerated for some reason” that he does not know.

He has apparently questioned the transparency of the related procedures, especially at home.

“Originally, the alliance decided to deploy THAAD as soon as able in order to substantially improve our layered missile defense against North Korean missile threats,” a USFK spokesperson told Yonhap News Agency.

She would not discuss specifics on the timeline, however, citing “operational security reasons.”

The official stressed that the U.S. “trusts” South Korea’s official stance that the THAAD deployment was an “alliance decision.”

“We have worked closely and have been fully transparent with the ROK government throughout this process,” she said, using the acronym for South Korea’s formal name, the Republic of Korea.

It’s rare for the USFK to issue a statement on the sensitive THAAD issue. It usually leaves it to the Pentagon or refers media to South Korea’s defense ministry.

It came a day after a foreign news report said that Moon, a liberal leader who took office in early May, took issue with the timeline of the deployment of the U.S. strategic asset on the peninsula.

In an interview with Reuters, Moon was quoted as saying that just one THAAD interceptor launcher was originally scheduled to be installed this year, with five others to arrive in 2018.  [Yonhap]

You can read more at the link, but the ROK government and I believe President Moon knew about the six launchers and have just been using this for domestic political reasons to appease his anti-US base.  His upcoming summit with President Trump could be very interesting.

President Moon Says He Does Not Need President Trump’s Permission to Negotiate with North Korea

I think the interviewer could have used a better word choice, but I think this is much to do about nothing:

“CBS This Morning” co-host Norah O’Donnell and South Korean President Moon Jae-in

South Korea or its head of state Moon Jae-in does not need permission from the U.S. president or anyone else to engage North Korea in dialogue, Seoul’s presidential office Cheong Wa Dae said Wednesday.

“Resumption of dialogue with North Korea may need to be pursued in close cooperation and consultation with the United States, but South Korea does not need to be allowed by the U.S. to do so,” Kwun Hyuk-ki, a Cheong Wa Dae spokesman, told Yonhap News Agency.

The remarks came in reaction to a question by a U.S. journalist in a recent interview with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, in which the interviewer from U.S. broadcaster CBS stated it was not clear whether U.S. President Donald Trump would “agree to allow” his South Korean counterpart to negotiate with the North Koreans.  (…..)

Many South Koreans reacted with anger in online postings.

“The president must have been very offended when given the question. He still managed very well,” one Internet user said on a local internet bulletin board.

Without interpreting what the word “allow” may have intended to mean, the Cheong Wa Dae spokesman flatly dismissed the notion that the South Korean president would ask for U.S. permission to engage with North Korea.  [Yonhap]

You can read more at the link, but President Moon’s interview with Norah O’Donnell can be viewed at this link.