Blue House Official Criticized for Writing Book with Sexist Themes

Probably not the smartest move to write a book saying things like this and then expect to be involved in politics:

Tak Hyun-min

Cheong Wa Dae official Tak Hyun-min, who got into hot water last month over sexist remarks, is under more fire after another book he co-wrote featured similar sentiments.

In “The more I talk, the freer I become” he wrote: “I lost my virginity to a middle school student when I was in high school. She was not pretty, but it didn’t matter because she was just a sex object.”

He even said he had “shared” the student with his classmates.

He also said: “Men’s sexual fantasy is always with teachers … when I was a student, I would feel horny even with pregnant teachers.'”  (………)

Even female lawmakers from the ruling Democratic Party of Korea (DPK) have called for Tak’s resignation.  (…….)

“Guidebook of Men’s Mind” contained phrases such as: “It’s like a terror attack against men if a woman with a flat chest wears a tank top.”  [Korea Times]

You can read more at the link, but both conservative and liberal parties in Korea are calling for Mr. Tak to resign.

President Moon Orders Investigation of Why THAAD Battery Was Deployed With All of Its Launchers

A standard THAAD battery comes with six launchers, you would think the President’s staff would know this, even Wikipedia knows this:

A Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense battery launcher is being installed on a former golf course in Seongju, North Gyeongsang Province on Wednesday. /Yonhap

South Korea’s presidential office made it clear Tuesday that it has not received any formal briefing from the defense ministry on the presence of additional THAAD rocket launchers here.

The ministry said it has already briefed Cheong Wa Dae on the issue, responding to President Moon Jae-in’s call for a probe into the matter related to the allies’ missile defense system.

Moon said it’s “very shocking” that the ministry had kept secret or did not announce the introduction of four more THAAD rocket launchers, according to his spokesman Yoon Young-chan. The equipment arrived in Korea apparently weeks or months ago.

A ministry official, however, said Wee Seung-ho, deputy minister for policy, briefed Moon’s national security adviser Chung Eui-yong on pending defense issues last Friday.

“At that time, he reported the entry of four additional launchers (into South Korea),” the official said on the condition of anonymity, adding it reflects the ministry’s official position.

Moon’s office refuted the ministry’s statement.

There was no report on the extra THAAD launchers waiting to be installed at a former golf course in Seongju, North Gyeongsang Province, which has been chosen as the THAAD site, said Cheong Wa Dae.

One thing that seems certain is that Moon did not receive any briefing on the subject during his visit to the ministry a week after taking office. It’s not clear whether he first raised the THAAD issue.

The State Affairs Planning Advisory Committee, a de-facto transition team for Moon, also said that it was told about only two THAAD launchers in operation, not about the other four, when receiving a briefing from the ministry.

The truth behind the dispute remains unconfirmed.  [Yonhap]

The Joong Ang Ilbo is reporting that the Defense Ministry may be trying avoid an environmental assessment for the four launchers:

“The president was briefed that four launchers, in addition to the two already installed in Seongju, were clandestinely brought in and stored in Korea,” Yoon Young-chan, senior secretary for public relations, said Tuesday. “Today, Moon ordered his senior secretary for civil affairs and chief of the national security office to conduct a thorough investigation over how the four additional launchers were brought in.”  (…….)

“Moon asked his aides to investigate why the four additional launchers were brought in, who made the decision, why it was not made public and why the new administration was not told about it,” Yoon said. “He also ordered that the investigation must look into the suspicion that the four launchers were kept secret in order to avoid an environmental impact assessment.”  [Joong Ang Ilbo]

If an environmental assessment was done for two launchers, what difference would four more make?  They have to tear up a few more putting greens to put them in?  It is not like an old growth rain forest needs to be cut down to put the launchers in.

You can read more at the link, but I would not be surprised if this is a political show to demonstrate to Moon’s supporters that the new administration is going to get tough on the Defense Ministry in regards to the THAAD deployment without actually changing the decision.

I guess we will see what happens.

President Moon Says He Will Pay for His Own Groceries

President Moon is very skilled politician because this announcement will go over very well with the Korean public:

President Moon Jae-in presides over a senior secretariat meeting in the Blue House on Thursday. It was the first meeting of its kind since President Moon was sworn in on May 10. [YONHAP]

President Moon Jae-in has decided he will not use the Blue House budget to pay for his private expenses, including groceries for his wife and himself and even food for his pets.

“From now on, meals that are not parts of official meetings will be paid from the president’s own money,” said Lee Joung-do, general affairs secretary of the Blue House. “We will stop using the state budget to pay for meals and personal purchases of the presidential family. It is the president’s strong will to clearly distinguish what should be paid with tax money and what should not.”

Until now, money from the special expense account of the Blue House was used to pay the living expense of the president and his family. Lee said Moon’s decision will save a considerable amount.

Special expenses accounts exist for almost all government ministries for activities that require confidentiality. Because no receipts are required, the accounts are often used for non-official purposes.

Although the Blue House did not make a comparison, the move appeared to be the latest in a series of actions taken by Moon to differentiate himself from predecessor Park Geun-hye.

A minor part of the presidential abuse of power and corruption scandal that led to Park’s impeachment and removal involved a personal health trainer she hired as a presidential secretary. Park used the special expenses account to pay for her clothes and beauty treatments. She saved most of her annual salary of 210 million won ($187,835).

According to Lee, 16.2 billion won was allocated to the special expense account of the Blue House this year. As of now, 12.7 billion won remains, and Moon wants to save 5.3 billion won to use for job creation for the young and programs for needy people.  [Joong Ang Ilbo]

You can read more at the link.

ROK Foreign Minister Nominee Asks Daughter To Give Up US Citizenship

This seems like a lot to ask of her daughter that grew up in the United States and has been a US citizen for over a decade:

Kang Kyung-wha

Foreign Minister nominee Kang Kyung-wha said Friday she expects her first daughter will give up her U.S. citizenship and switch to Korean soon.

“There will be a family meeting to discuss this matter,” Kang told reporters. “I think my daughter will decide to give up American nationality. What’s important is how she feels about it.”

Kang’s daughter, who was born and grew up in the U.S., chose to become American in 2006 when she was 22.

Her daughter’s nationality has emerged as a controversial point ahead of her confirmation hearing. Cheong Wa Dae earlier said it heard from Kang before she was nominated as the country’s first female foreign minister that her daughter may discard her U.S. nationality.  [Korea Times]

You can read more at the link.

Democratic Congress Members Call for Negotiations with North Korea

It is amazing to me that people continue to think that Pyongyang will negotiate away their nuclear weapons without the viable threat of military action against them.  They might as well as advocate for North Korea having nuclear weapons because that is what over two decades of negotiations has led to:

A group of 64 U.S. Democratic lawmakers warned President Donald Trump in a letter Tuesday that he would need congressional approval for any pre-emptive strike on North Korea and encouraged “direct” engagement with the isolationist regime.

“Few decisions are more needing of debate than a move to launch attacks, or declare war, on a nuclear-armed state such as North Korea,” stated the letter addressed to Trump. It went onto warn that an “inconsistent or unpredictable policy runs the risk of unimaginable conflict” with such a volatile country as North Korea.

The letter was signed by a group of congressmen in the House of Representatives led by Reps. John Conyers of Michigan, Barbara Lee of California and Jim McGovern of Massachusetts.

The lawmakers called for more information about what steps the administration is taking “to advance the prospects for direct negotiations that could lower the potential for catastrophic war and ultimately lead to the denuclearization of the peninsula.”

They continued, “In the event that your plans do include an ill-advised military component, we stand ready to exercise our constitutional duty to approve, or reject, any such military action.”

This comes amid concerns in Congress over the Trump administration’s erratic policy toward the North, as the U.S. president has declared “all option are on the table,” leaving a door open to military action including a pre-emptive strike. Trump has also said that he is open to talks with the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un under the right conditions.

The congressmen underscored that while the U.S. Constitution and the War Powers Resolution of 1973 provide the president the authority to act in cases of emergencies, “both require an affirmative authorization from Congress before our nation engages in military action abroad against a state that has not attacked the U.S. or our assets abroad.”

The letter stressed the past three U.S. administrations under presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton ruled out the possibility of military action against Pyongyang and “ultimately determined there was no military option that would not run the unacceptable risk of counter-reaction from Pyongyang.”

Such retaliation from the North, it pointed out, could endanger as many as a third of the South Korean population, nearly 30,000 U.S. troops in the region as well as over 100,000 U.S. citizens living in Korea.

The congressmen encouraged Trump to adhere to a diplomatic approach, expressing support for U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s recent statement that his preferred method for resolution is “direct talks with North Korea,” persuading the North that they do not need nuclear weapons to secure the existence of the regime. They also backed Tillerson’s remarks reassuring Pyongyang that Washington did not seek a regime change in the North or its collapse.

“President Trump’s irresponsible statements on North Korea endanger our troops, our regional allies such as South Korea and Japan, and global security more broadly,” said Conyers, dean of the House of Representatives and one of two remaining Korean War veterans serving in the U.S. Congress, in a press release. “As someone who has watched this conflict evolve since I was sent to Korea as a young Army lieutenant, it is a reckless, inexperienced move to threaten military action that could end in devastation instead of pursuing vigorous diplomacy.”  [Joong Ang Ilbo]

You can read more at the link.

Park Geun-hye’s Lawyer States Prosecution Mostly Using News Articles as Evidence

I am not a lawyer so I am wondering if anyone who is a lawyer knows if news media articles can be considered evidence in a US court?  If so how strong of evidence would that be?:

Former President Park Geun-hye attended her first court hearing over the corruption scandal that removed her from office and denied all charges against her, Tuesday.

This is the first time in 53 days that she has made a public appearance since she was arrested, March 31.

Handcuffed and with her trademark hairstyle, Park arrived at the Seoul Central District Court before entering the courtroom at 10 a.m.

Park and her confidant of 40 years Choi Soon-sil saw each other for the first time in eight months since Choi left for Germany last September after the corruption scandal broke out.

Park entered the courtroom first and sat looking straight ahead not turning her head even the slightest, while Choi entered the courtroom and sat two seats away from her, next to her attorney Lee Kyung-jae.

When asked by presiding Judge Kim Se-yun, on her current occupation, Park said, “I don’t have an occupation.”

When offered a chance to speak, Choi whimpered and said, “I am a sinner for having Park whom I’ve been close to for more than 40 years stand trial.”

“I do not believe Park was involved in any criminal activities, bribery or otherwise. I think the prosecution is pushing this too far, and I wish the court would clear her of the suspected wrongdoings thereby letting her remain as the president who devoted her life to the country.”

Choi blamed her former associate Park Won-oh, a former head of the Korea Equestrian Federation, over allegations that Samsung offered financial support for her daughter, the former dressage competitor Chung Yoo-ra.

“My daughter already had her own horse when she was in Germany. Then Park asked Samsung for support and Samsung bought a horse and a car. I can take responsibility for that, but not the charges by the prosecution that the support for my daughter was in return for the government-backed merger of Samsung’s two units,” she said.

Park’s defense attorney Yoo Young-ha said the charges against her lacked foundation and largely relied on imagination, inference and media reports.

“Most of the evidence submitted by the prosecution is news articles. The prosecution determined news reports valid as evidence in a criminal case,” he said.  [Korea Times]

You can read more at the link.

President Moon Vows to Reform South Korean Business Conglomerates

Good luck with this because chaebol reform has been something that Korean politicians have tried in the past and it never seems to create much change in how they are run:

Moon Jae-in, who is sure to be South Korea’s next president, is expected to focus on the country’s four biggest conglomerates as he pushes for a broad corporate reform drive, his economic aides said Wednesday.

The new Moon government has two major goals in reforming the business giants: one is to keep growth and wealth from being concentrated in large family-run companies known as chaebol, and the other is to improve their governance structure for transparency and fair competition, Moon’s chaebol policy adviser Kim Sang-jo told Yonhap News Agency.

South Korea’s four largest chaebol groups — Samsung Group, Hyundai Motor Group, SK Group and LG Group — currently account for half the assets held by the country’s top 30 companies.

In his campaign pledges, Moon vowed to “gradually but fully” achieve his reform goals during his five-year term in office that began Wednesday, a day after the people voted him in.  [Yonhap]

You can read more at the link.

As Expected Moon Jae-in to be Elected as the Next President of South Korea

Koreans will be waking up with Moon Jae-in as their new President:

Moon Jae-in, the presidential candidate of the liberal Democratic Party, speaks to his supporters and party officials at the National Assembly after an exit poll showed him set to win South Korea’s presidential election held May 9, 2017. (Yonhap)

Moon was estimated to have garnered 41.4 percent of all votes, according to the exit poll conducted by three major local broadcasters — MBC, KBS and SBS.

The front-runner was followed by Hong Joon-pyo of the conservative Liberty Korea Party with 23.3 percent.

The outcome of the exit poll was announced as the one-day voting came to an end at 8 p.m.

Apparently seeing no possibility of the actual outcome of the vote being any different from the exit poll, Moon said his election, if confirmed, would mark the people’s and the party’s victory.  [Yonhap]

What surprised me about this election was how far the software mogul and populist candidate Ahn Cheol-soo dropped by getting 21% of the vote when at one point in the campaign it appeared he was challenging Moon Jae-in’s polling numbers.  Something else surprising is how well the conservative candidate Hong Joon-pyo did considering the drag that the scandal plagued former President Park Geun-hye created for conservative candidates.

I think what this means that instead of conservative voters rallying around Ahn Cheol-soo to deny Moon an election victory, they instead voted for Hong.  Hong and Ahn’s numbers together would have been enough to defeat Moon.

Here is what Moon Jae-in had to say about his election victory:

Seemingly moved by the overwhelming support, he threw his hands up to the sky and gave his symbolic thumbs-up gesture, prompting thunderous applause from party members and supporters there.

“This crushing victory was expected and is a victory of longing,” Moon told jubilant party members. “‘I will achieve reform and national unity, the two missions that our people long for.”

He went on: “The results will come in hours, but I truly believe that today is the day that opens the gateway to a new Korea. I will embody the public’s passion. Your sweat and tears will never be forgotten within me.”  [Korea Times]

I am not sure what the new Korea is going to look like, but everyone will find out over the course of the next five years of Moon Jae-in’s presidency.