Should the Trump Administration Agree to Attend an Inter-Korean Summit If It is Held In Seoul?

I have been saying for years that the ROK government should only agree to another Inter-Korean Summit if it is held in Seoul.  Mr. William Brown an adjunct professor at Georgetown University shares this assessment:

Will President Moon Jae-in accept North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s invitation to Pyongyang?

It must be a very tricky decision for Moon. If he raises the issue of denuclearization, North Korea might revert to its belligerent stance.

But if Moon opts to go to Pyongyang for talks for the sake of talks it could jeopardize the alliance between South Korea and the United States, or other allies.

William Brown, adjunct professor at Georgetown School of Foreign Service, suggests Moon make a counteroffer by inviting Kim to Seoul to avoid the same old mistakes his liberal predecessors have made.

“We have seen far too many VIP trips to Pyongyang over the past decades, and every time, Pyongyang has hoodwinked the visitors into giving it something, even billions of dollars,” Brown said in an interview, citing former President Kim Dae-jung.

“I’m sure Kim Jong-un is well aware of that and in need of big money. So, Kim wants an improvement in inter-Korean ties but only to help him pursue his new ‘unification’ dream.”

He pointed out the North has “engagement” down to a fine art, knowing how to cater to foreign and South Korean egos.  [Korea Times]

You can read more at the link, but after the first Inter-Korean Summit in Pyongyang with ROK President Kim Dae-jung, the then North Korean leader Kim Jong-il promised to visit Seoul at the next Inter-Korean Summit.  During the administration of ROK President Roh Moo-hyun a second Inter-Korean Summit was held in Pyongyang.  Kim Jong-il said that he could not hold the summit in Seoul due to “security concerns”.

This is of course nonsense, the real reason he did not want to come to Seoul is because of the propaganda value it gives to the ROK government.  The Kim regime has long held that the ROK government is an illegitimate puppet regime of the evil American Imperialists™.  Kim Jong-un traveling to Seoul for talks gives legitimacy to the ROK government and eliminates the propaganda value to North Korea of ROK government leaders making kowtowing tribute visits to Pyongyang.

Considering the North Korean sympathizers within the Moon administration it is unlikely they would demand that the next Inter-Korean Summit be held in Seoul.  Instead if the Trump administration says they would participate in a Inter-Korean Summit if it is held in Seoul this may force the ROK government’s hand to ask that the summit be held in Seoul.  This would then put the onus on the Kim regime to see how serious they are about peace.  If Kim Jong-un refuses to attend an Inter-Korean Summit in Seoul it shows he is not serious about peace and instead just looking for another payday.

North Korean Defector Arrested for Making Payments and Planning Return to North Korea

How come I get the feeling there is more to this story?:

A North Korean defector has been arrested and indicted on charges of supporting the North and preparing to defect back to Pyongyang in violation of the National Security Law, prosecutors here said Sunday.

The defector identified only as a 49-year-old woman is accused of sending 130 tons of rice worth about 105 million won (US$97,000) to North Korea’s State Security Ministry, according to the Suwon District Prosecutors’ Office.

The rice was sent via a broker in China on two occasions last year, the prosecutors said.

Prior to her arrest, the defector again attempted to send additional rice to the North by remitting 80 million won to the broker, they noted.

The former North Korean woman is also suspected of having attempted to return to the North, as she has sold her house in the South and disposed of other personal belongings.

It is rare for a North Korean defector to voluntarily send rice to a North Korean government organ.

The woman came to the South in 2011 and began contacting the North’s government early last year, prosecutors said, adding she told investigators she wanted to return to the North to be reunited with her son.  [Yonhap]

I would not be surprised if this woman was being blackmailed with threats by Kim regime agents against her son if she did not send the payments.

Picture of the Day: Foreigners Celebrate the Birth of Kim Jong-il in North Korea

N.K. celebrates birth anniversary of former leader

People in North Korea dance on the streets in this photo from the North’s Korean Central News Agency on Feb. 16, 2018, to mark the birth anniversary of the country’s late former leader Kim Jong-il, which is named “the Day of the Shining Star.”  (Yonhap)

President Moon’s Chief of Staff is a Former Supporter of North Korea’s Juche Philosophy

Keep the name Im Jong-seok and his background in mind over the next year as South Korea likely moves forward with appeasement Sunshine 2.0 with the Kim regime:

President Moon Jae-in’s chief of staff, Im Jong-seok, left, fires back at opposition lawmaker Jun Hee-kyung, who raised questions about his ideological background. [YONHAP]

I knew very little about Im Jong-seok until he became President Moon Jae-in’s chief of staff in May. All I knew was that as president of the National Council of Student Representatives, he served a prison term for orchestrating his fellow student Lim Su-kyung’s unauthorized trip to North Korea in 1989.

The council had been influenced by Kim Il Sung’s Juche idea of self-reliance and supported North Korean ideas like the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Korea, abolishing the National Security Law and achieving unification with North Korea based on a federal system. Therefore, it might be natural that some people consider the president’s chief of staff as a former Juche activist since he had been the head of a pro-North group. I thought so, too. If the public is wrong, it is up to Im, as a public official and politician, to set the record straight.

It was a surprise to me that Im responded fiercely when Juche was debated during the National Assembly’s audit of the Blue House on Nov. 6. Jun Hee-kyung, a lawmaker from the opposition Liberty Korea Party lawmaker, brought up the issue and said she saw the Blue House being dominated by Juche supporters and National Council of Student Representatives alumni.

The opposition party’s attack might have been expected, but Im questioned Jun’s motivations in the inquiry. “I don’t know how you lived during the Fifth and Sixth Republic juntas when soldiers-turned-politicians infringed democracy,” Im fired back.

But that was it. I wonder why Im let go of such a great opportunity. If he had said, “I never supported Juche and believe in liberal democracy; how can you say I support Kim Il Sung’s philosophy?,” all doubts could be cleared. But he did not.

So I traced his past and found many aspects of an emotional North Korea sympathizer.  [Joong Ang Ilbo]

You can read more at the link.

Gangwon Province Governor Wants to Host 2021 Asian Winter Games with North Korea

It truly is amazing how South Korean politicians want to reward the Kim regime’s crimes against humanity and threat to world peace by letting them co-host a major sporting event:

A South Korean province is considering a proposal to co-host the 2021 Asian Winter Games with North Korea in a bid to strengthen inter-Korean ties, South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency said on Saturday, quoting provincial governor Choi Moon-soon.

Gangwon province, host for the current 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, is considering the idea also as a way of making further use of Olympics venues, Choi was quoted as saying.

North Korea is participating in the Pyeongchang Games at the invitation of the South, which is using them to help ease tensions between the two countries, still technically at war.

The host city for the 2021 event has not been decided yet.

A spokesman for South Korea’s sports ministry said it “hopes to continue sports exchanges with North Korea after the Winter Games” but it had not yet discussed any bid for the 2021 Games.  [Reuters]

I hope Gangwon is not chosen for the host site for the 2021 Asian Winter Games simply because of this idea.  Plus how many missile and nuclear tests will there be between now and 2021?

Tweet of the Day: Can A Democracy Activist Be An Admirer of Kim Il-sung?

What the US Should Do with North Korea After the Winter Olympics

Here is what ROK Drop favorite Bruce Klingner says should happen after the conclusion of the Winter Olympics:

Kim Yo Jong, sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, North Korea’s nominal head of state Kim Yong Nam, Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee, and South Korean President Moon Jae-in watch an Olympic hockey game in Gangneung, South Korea on Feb. 10, 2018. (Felipe Dana / Associated Press)

Seoul worries that Washington won’t risk Los Angeles for Seoul, but that it would trade Seoul for Los Angeles. Concern is so acute in South Korea, in fact, that Moon thought it necessary to declare: “There cannot be any military action on the Korean Peninsula without a prior consent of the Republic of Korea.”

All this fear could lead to discord between the United States and South Korea, something that in turn could be exploitable by Pyongyang. The North’s participation in the Winter Olympics, which highlighted common Korean themes, is part of Kim’s campaign to drive a wedge between the allies.

If it plays a high-stakes game of brinkmanship, the United States will paint itself into a corner. By defining the completion of North Korea’s ICBM program as an intolerable and strike-inducing event, the Trump administration would be drawing a red line it is not necessarily prepared to hold.

Eventually, every poker player must deliver on their bet, or be revealed as a bluffer. If the United States comes out looking like a bluffer, American credibility will be gravely eroded.

We are now closer to a war on the Korean Peninsula than at any point since 1994. The Trump administration should avoid both a premature return to negotiations and a reckless preventive attack. Instead, it should respond to the growing threat by seriously pursuing its policy of “maximum pressure.”   [LA Times]

You can read more at the link, but I think it is arguable that all the talk of a preemptive strike is part of the “maximum pressure” strategy.  The US government is putting everyone on notice that if maximum pressure does not work because other countries are not complying than the preemptive strike is an option that will be used instead.

Picture of the Day: North Korean Cross Country Skier Finishes 107th

N.K. cross-country skier Pak Il-chol

Pak Il-chol of North Korea competes in the men’s 15km cross-country skiing event of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics at Alpensia Cross-Country Skiing Centre in PyeongChang, east of Seoul, on Feb. 16, 2018. He finished 107th among 116 contestants who completed the race. (Yonhap)