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.

Former President Park Says Ongoing Trial and Detention is “Political Revenge”

Considering how long this has dragged out I am still waiting for the definitive evidence that Park Geun-hye was helping Choi Soon-sil shake people down for money for her daughter’s equestrian training.  Until the definitive evidence is shown then Park has a point that this is “political revenge”.

Former President Park Geun-hye leaves the courtroom after attending a hearing at the Seoul Central District Court in southern Seoul, Monday. / Yonhap

Former President Park Geun-hye said Monday that she has “lost faith” in the nation’s justice system, claiming she is nothing but a victim of political revenge.

Her remarks came during a hearing at the Seoul Central District Court after it decided last week to extend her detention for another six months.

“I was supposed to be released today,” she said during the hearing at the court. “But the court issued another arrest warrant ... I can’t accept its decision.”

In protest of the decision, her lawyers resigned the same day.

“My lawyers and I felt helpless,” she said. “I have lost faith that the court will do a fair job in accordance with the Constitution and conscience.”

This was the first time she has spoken publicly since her trial began six months ago. After being ousted and arrested in March over a massive influence-peddling scandal involving her friend Choi Soon-sil, she barely said anything except yes or no whenever cameras were around.

Park insisted on her innocence, saying, “I did not comply with requests to favor anyone while in office. She also claimed the trial has shown that various suspicions surrounding her are false.

Then, in an apparent message aimed at President Moon Jae-in, the rival candidate she beat in the 2012 presidential election, and his governing Democratic Party of Korea, Park claimed she is just a victim of political strife.

“I hope I will be the last victim of political revenge in the name of the rule of law,” she said.

“The last six months have been a horrible and miserable time for me. I had trust in a person who later betrayed me. As a result, I have lost my honor and everything else in life.”  [Korea Times]

You can read the rest at the link, but the Korean left has been going after former conservative President Lee Myung-bak as well to get him thrown in jail.  The Korean left has longed blamed conservatives for uncovering former President Roh Moo-hyun’s corruption which led to his suicide shortly after his presidency.

Former President Park’s Detention Extended for Additional Bribery Accusations

More corruption charges have come up against former President Park claiming she was receiving kickbacks from SK and Lotte in order to get a new warrant to keep her detained for up to six more months:

A Seoul court on Friday extended the detention of former President Park Geun-hye who stands trial in a massive corruption case that led to her ouster early this year.

The Seoul Central District Court approved an additional arrest warrant for Park, acknowledging that she may destroy evidence.

The fresh warrant allows authorities to keep her in detention for another six months, until April 16, 2018. Her initial arrest warrant was due to expire Monday. Prosecutors made the request late last month saying more time is needed to finish court procedures.

Given the gravity of the case and public concern, the prosecution has said it plans to finish the remaining court interrogations of witnesses before the end of this year to speed up the pace.

The court has held 80 trial sessions for Park’s case since May — four sessions every week since June.

She was removed from office and arrested in March on charges of bribery and abuse of power. She stands accused of colluding with her longtime friend Choi Soon-sil in taking some 43 billion won (US$37 million) from top conglomerates, including Samsung, and letting her friend meddle in state affairs.

The additional warrant has been issued based on the charges that were not included in the first warrant, in which the prosecution accused Park of taking or demanding kickbacks from two other conglomerates — SK and Lotte.  [Yonhap]

Blue House Attempting to Keep Former President Park Imprisoned By Bringing Back Sewol Allegations

Is it just me or is the detention of former President Park really beginning to stink with the Blue House suddenly finding documents in regards to the Sewol tragedy to hopefully keep her imprisoned?  I thought they had all this evidence of her corruption to keep her imprisoned?:

Presidential Chief of Staff Im Jong-seok shows the enlarged documents from the former Park Geun-hye administration that have allegedly been manipulated to falsify the time of the first report to Park on the Sewol ferry sinking in a press briefing held at the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae in Seoul on Oct. 12, 2017. (Yonhap)

The presidential office Cheong Wa Dae said Thursday that it has found documents from the former administration that show the former president may have lied about her role in dealing with the tragic sinking of the Sewol ferry three years ago.

The documents, found in the crisis management office at Cheong Wa Dae, included a daily journal from the office drafted April 16, 2014, when the passenger ferry sank in waters off the country’s western coast, killing more than 300 people, according to Im Jong-seok, the presidential chief of staff.

Im said the daily log showed the first report of the accident was made to then-President Park Geun-hye at 9:30 a.m., instead of at 10 a.m., as earlier claimed by the ousted leader and her aides.

The Cheong Wa Dae official said the document was revised Oct. 23, 2014, to say the first report was made at 10 a.m.

“The reason they pushed back the time of the first report to the president by half an hour appears to have been an attempt to reduce the time between the first report and Park’s first order, said to have been made at around 10:15 a.m.,” Im said at a press briefing, apparently suggesting a 45-minute gap between the first report and the first order would have aggravate criticism for her inaction during the accident that left 304 people dead.  [Yonhap]

You can read more at the link.

 

Picture of the Day: Political Payback?

Ex-President Lee criticizes Moon's drive to remove past ills

Former President Lee Myung-bak (C) leaves his office in Seoul on Sept. 28, 2017, in this image taken from Yonhap News TV. Lee castigated President Moon Jae-in’s sweeping campaign to address the alleged misdeeds of previous governments. “I am watching these events unfolding in the name of eliminating the accumulated ills surrounding the previous governments, when the security situation is grave and people’s livelihoods are difficult,” Lee, who led the country from 2008-2013, wrote on Facebook the same day. (Yonhap)

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.