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.

B.R. Myers Explains the Role South Korean Conservatives Played in the Impeachment of President Park

The always interesting B.R. Myers has an interesting essay posted about the role the Lee Myung-bak conservative right played in the impeachment of fellow conservative President Park Geun-hye:

Not until Park Geun-hye’s presidency (2013-2017) did the issue make a strong comeback. Conservatives in the National Assembly were then roughly divisible into a faction loyal to Park and one loyal to her predecessor Lee Myung Bak. Naturally his followers had learned to like the presidential system during his occupancy of the Blue House (2008-2013), only to find it inherently despotic again the moment Park took over. What really worried them was the likelihood that she would take revenge for the “nomination massacres” that had occurred during Lee’s rule, when he had excluded many of her followers from candidacies in parliamentary elections.

Sure enough, there ensued the “nomination massacre” of spring 2016, in which even some of the most popular pro-Lee or “non-Park” politicians were bypassed for nominations in favor of the president’s people. From then on calls for a parliamentary system grew in intensity until the Lee-conservative press broke the story of the Choi Soon-sil scandal in the autumn of 2016.

It was just what many pols had been waiting for: a chance to get the public so angry about the status quo that it would finally sign off on a whole new system of government. Conservatives were confident they could remove Park with left-wing help without losing the presidency altogether. They would simply make the returning hero Ban Ki-moon their candidate while pushing hard for constitutional revision, then trounce Moon in the election. What could go wrong?  [B.R. Myers]

Well a lot did go wrong if the Lee Myung-Bak supporters thought they could get Ban Ki-moon elected.  He ended up quickly dropping out of the election because of what he said was all the “Fake News” published about him.  It probably was all fake news, but if he can’t fire back against lies in the media he clearly did not have what it took to be the President of South Korea.  Without a strong candidate the Korean right ended up getting trounced in the election now leaving them in a worse position than if Park remained President.

Speaking of fake news I am still curious to who doctored and planted the tablet PC for the media to find?:

JTBC reporter Shim Su-mi reports where and how she found the tablet PC.

The evidence has turned out to be thinner than was initially believed. The tablet PC on which Choi allegedly edited Park’s Dresden speech had so obviously been tampered with that the court did not consider it in Choi’s trial. It is still unclear how Park’s pressuring of businesses to contribute to this or that national team or foundation differed to a criminal degree from established presidential practices. We have to wait and see, but the recent decision to charge her even with meddling in her own party’s nominations suggests a desperation to find things that will stick. While she may well have deserved impeachment by absolute standards, she was probably less deserving of it than a few of her predecessors.

The planting of the tablet PC is the real scandal which no one in the Korean media seems eager to try and uncover. The finding of the tablet is in my opinion what turned the tide against President Park.

Anyway so what happened after President Moon took power?  Well he staffed the Blue House with the same type of people that President Park had around her with hardly a complaint from the media and candlelight protest crowd:

The once bipartisan pretense that removing Park was a non-ideological response to her abuses of power is now upheld only by the right-wing impeachers and the foreign press. Upon his election Moon appointed several Gangnam leftists with records of tax avoidance, real-estate speculation, and the Choi-like pulling of strings on relatives’ behalf. This prompted much use of the crypto-Sinitic compound naero nambul, short for “When I cheat, it’s romance, when others do, it’s adultery.”

I recommend reading the whole essay at the link.

South Korean Left Wing Politicians Attempt to Take the Word “Free” Out of Constitution

It seems like Korean far left is attempting to try and implement their long alleged plan to confederate with North Korea on the terms of the Kim regime:

The fiasco of the ruling Democratic Party correcting its outline of a rewrite of the 1987 Constitution a few hours after its release raises serious concerns about the liberal party’s real motive for pursuing constitutional reform. In its original outline, the party removed the word “free” from Article 4, which defines the national policy direction of pursuing peaceful unification based on basic free democracy principles. The party restored the word “free” four hours later after the outline’s release and claimed it was a typographical error. But skepticism lingered.

The issue of leaving out the word “free” from the democratic order has long been disputed among liberal scholars. As the party’s floor spokeswoman Je Youn-kyung explained, a reunified Korea may not be able to stick to its political system of free democracy once it becomes one with North Korea, which has lived under a socialist system for more than a half a century. The unified Koreas may have to choose a different or unique hybrid system of free or socialist democracy with respect to North Koreans. The constitutional reform drafted by an advisory commission of the National Assembly, which also stirred controversy over being left-leaning, also took out the word “free” in its proposal.   [Joong Ang Ilbo]

You can read more at the link, but I think this was clearly a trial balloon by the Korean far left to see what the reaction would be.  The Korean far left also want to change the make up of the national parliament to get more left wing politicians inside of it.  Finally, they are pushing to make the South Korean presidency a four year term with the option for a four year reelection.  The Korean far left likely knows that they likely need at least eight years of ROK governmental control to completely transform the government and thus why they are pushing for this.

I guess we will see in the coming months if the ROK public wants to embrace these leftist policies.

Former President Park Reportedly “Regretful” that She Was Fooled By Choi Soon-sil

Here is the latest update on the status of ex-ROK President Park Geun-hye who continues to be jailed despite not being convicted of anything:

Yoo Yeong-ha

Former President Park Geun-hye, currently facing a criminal trial for conspiring with her friend to receive bribes from conglomerates, is extremely regretful that she was fooled by her longtime confidante, Park’s onetime defense lawyer said Wednesday.

Park was indicted in April 2017 for having abused her power to receive bribes from conglomerates by conspiring with her friend, Choi Soon-sil.

The former president is also charged with leaking confidential information to Choi. She has been boycotting the trial since October, describing the accusations as “political retaliation.”

All her lawyers, including a longtime associate, Yoo Yeong-ha, resigned from the case to protest a judge’s decision to extend her detention to April 2018.

In an interview with the JoongAng Ilbo, Yoo spoke for the first time about the case and his client. It was Yoo’s first media interview since Park was impeached and ousted from presidency in March of last year. The interview took place on Wednesday, and the JoongAng Ilbo published it in Friday’s edition.

Yoo said Park had not known about Choi’s alleged illicit activities when she was president. “The National Intelligence Service, police and the presidential senior secretary for civil affairs never briefed her about Choi,” Yoo said. “She said it is unfortunate that no one informed her about Choi’s activities.”

Park was indicted in April for alleged crimes committed during her failed presidency. Prosecutors said Park, in collusion with Choi, received massive bribes from conglomerates through two cultural and sports foundations Choi practically controlled. Samsung’s contributions to the foundations and generous sponsorship of equestrian training for Choi’s daughter, Chung Yoo-ra, were described as bribes, and Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong was also indicted for offering or promising the president a total of 43.3 billion won ($40.7 million).

Yoo said Park is firm on three key issues surrounding her charges. “Park is firm that she never heard from Choi that Samsung Group offered support for Choi’s daughter’s equestrian training,” Yoo said. “Park is also firm that she never asked Samsung Vice Chairman Lee to support Choi and her daughter. She also stands firm that she never ordered An Chong-bum, then senior economic affairs secretary, to create foundations.”

Regarding the newly added charges that Park had misappropriated the funds of the National Intelligence Service (NIS) and used the money for private purposes, Yoo said the former leader is also innocent on this count. Earlier this month, the prosecution said Park had used 1.5 billion won of misappropriated NIS funds for private affairs, including beauty treatments.

Yoo had visited Park at the Seoul Detention Center after the new charges were added. Speculation was high that Yoo would be rehired, but Park ultimately did not retain him.

“At the beginning of her term, Park was briefed that the Blue House of the previous administrations had received money from the NIS and used it, and there is no legal problem involving the practice,” Yoo said. “She therefore told her officials to do business as usual. She never received any report about spending the NIS money.”

Yoo added, “It’s also not true that Park used the NIS money for private affairs. A president has their own special-activities account. There’s no reason for her to use the NIS money.”

Yoo also said it is unfair to hold Park accountable for the administration’s creation and operation of a blacklist of liberal artists to oppress them and cut their funding just because she was briefed about a plan.

“She doesn’t seem to recall any specific order,” Yoo said. “If you argue that she made a tacit order for something just because she received a briefing about it, it means that presidents will be linked to all sorts of crimes in the future. No administration will be safe, if you use that logic.”  [Joong Ang Ilbo]

You can read more at the link, but on this issue I have yet to see the evidence that Park ever accepted a bribe or knew what Choi was up to.  If this all ends up being smoke and mirrors to get her out of office this is going to cause a precedent that whenever the conservatives take power they will legally go after liberal presidents for real or imagined reasons as well.

Picture of the Day: Lee Myung-bak Unhappy with Political Retaliation

Ex-president raps prosecution over investigation of his aides

Former President Lee Myung-bak speaks during a press conference at his office in Seoul on Jan. 17, 2018. Lee strongly protested prosecutors’ investigation of his former aides, denouncing it as “political retaliation” and urging prosecutors to take him on directly without harassing aides. (Yonhap)

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.

Democratic Congressmen Want Pentagon to Predict How Many People Would Die In Ground Invasion of North Korea

Maybe I missed it, but I don’t remember any lawmakers asking questions about how many casualties there would be in Libya and Syria before the Obama administration promoted conflicts in those two countries:

The only way to locate and destroy with complete certainty all components of North Korea’s nuclear weapons program is through a ground invasion. That blunt assessment from the Pentagon is in response to a letter from two Democratic congressmen asking about casualty assessments in a conflict with North Korea.

Rear Adm. Michael J. Dumont of the Joint Staff offered the assessment in response to a letter from Reps. Ted Lieu of California and Ruben Gallego of Arizona.

Dumont noted that the U.S. is evaluating North Korea’s ability to target heavily populated areas of South Korea with long-range artillery, rockets and ballistic missiles. He also pointed out that Seoul, the South’s capital with a population of 25 million, is just 35 miles from the demilitarized zone. The amount of casualties would differ depending on the advance warning and the ability of U.S. and South Korea forces to counter these attacks, he said.

“A classified briefing would be the best place to discuss in detail the capability of the U.S. and its allies to discuss capabilities to counter North Korea’s ability to respond with a nuclear weapon and eliminate North Korea’s nuclear weapons located in deeply buried, underground facilities,” he said. He also mentioned the possibility that chemical and biological weapons might be used by the North in case of a conflict.

Military officials would be happy to join “the intelligence community to address these issues in a classified briefing,” he said.

In a joint statement issued Saturday, 15 Democratic lawmakers and one Republican— all military veterans — called the assessment that a ground invasion would be required to destroy the North’s nuclear arsenal “deeply disturbing” and that such an action “could result in hundreds of thousands, or even millions of deaths in just the first few days of fighting.”

“It is our intent to have a full public accounting of the potential cost of war, so the American people understand the commitment we would be making as a nation if we were to pursue military action,” the lawmakers said.

They also said the Trump administration “has failed to articulate any plans to prevent the military conflict from expanding beyond the Korean Peninsula and to manage what happens after the conflict is over.”

“With that in mind, the thought of sending troops into harm’s way and expending resources on another potentially unwinnable war is chilling. The President needs to stop making provocative statements that hinder diplomatic options and put American troops further at risk,” they said.  [Associated Press]

I think the assessment that needs to be made is not a ground invasion, but what would happen in the aftermath of a limited bombing strike on their strategic facilities?  Would the Kim regime respond with a ground war that would lead to regime change and them getting the Muammar Gaddafi treatment?

Picture of the Day: Korean Left Wants to Arrest Lee Myung-bak As Well

Candles rekindled for protest

Protesters create the message “Arrest MB” with candles during a rally in downtown Seoul on Oct. 21, 2017. MB refers to former President Lee Myung-bak, who is accused of oppressing the media, artists, politicians and other prominent figures critical of him, using the intelligence agency as the controlling tool. Oct. 29 marks the first anniversary of the candlelight protest that led to the ouster of Lee’s successor, Park Geun-hye. (Yonhap)

Former President Park is Claiming “Political Persecution” and Human Rights Violations Over Continuing Detention and Trial

According to the Korea Times there is a bunch of mounting evidence against former ROK President Park Geun-hye proving she is corrupt has been found:

Ousted former President Park Geun-hye, who is on trial over massive corruption allegations, seems to be seeking sympathy from international society by claiming she is suffering from “political persecution.”

The change of strategy may have come because she is unlikely to get a favorable verdict in the trial, with her detention being extended recently for another six months.

But it seems unclear whether her playing the victim of political retaliation will work, because more and more evidence unfavorable to her is being found, and she has already faced strong criticism for denying all the allegations and attempting to cover them up.  [Korea Times]

You can read more at the link, but I would love to see a roll up of this evidence and how Park ordered a cover up.  I have yet to see a definitive roll up of the evidence just accusations in the media.  Maybe at some point we will see the evidence that proves she is corrupt.

Here is probably the statement that concerned me the most in the article:

Rep. Park Beom-kye also said she has four to six times as much space as other inmates, has enough furniture and received outside medical treatment at a hospital twice. “She can also receive treatment inside the prison any time she wants. The claim (of human rights violations) is unreasonable,” he said.

“She committed very serious crimes but she and the MH Group are likely to package her as a victim of political retaliation.”

The cell conditions I am less concerned about then the fact that Representative Park Beom-kye has already declared her guilty with no presumption of innocence until proven guilty.  That just feeds into Park Geun-hye’s claims that this is a political persecution.