South Korean Ruling Party Leader Surprised President Trump Asked To Move Korean Factories to the US

I don’t see what is so surprising about President Trump’s comment, it is no secret that he has been pushing to bring manufacturing jobs back to the United States:

While circling the sky near the inter-Korean border last week, U.S. President Donald Trump posed a question that later took the leader of South Korea’s ruling party by surprise.

According to Choo Mi-ae of the Democratic Party, Trump was on his Marine One helicopter to the heavily fortified demilitarized zone when he turned to White House chief economic director Gary Cohn and said: “I just saw something amazing. There are so many factories. Can’t they be built in the U.S.?”

The trip to the DMZ was later canceled due to fog and Trump had to turn back to Seoul to continue his two-day state visit. The trip was watched closely because Trump had threatened to use military options against North Korea and engaged in a war of words with the regime over its nuclear and missile programs.

“I think President Trump understood, while he was in the air for 30 minutes, that 25 million people were living in the area below him and that they would be wiped out in the event of war,” Choo said in a meeting with reporters in New York. “But I was so surprised when Director Cohn told me this story. Wasn’t (Trump) essentially saying we should build our auto parts factories in the U.S., too?”  [Yonhap]

You can read more at the link.

South Korea Agrees to the “Three Nos” with China on THAAD Deployment

Here is how South Korea has ended its dispute with China about the deployment of the THAAD battery to Seongju:

The recent agreement to restore relations between South Korea and China was achieved by having South Korea assuage China’s security concerns through public pronouncement of the “three no’s” – no additional THAAD deployment, no participation in the US’s missile defense network and no establishment of a trilateral military alliance with the US and Japan. But since the situation is liable to change with conditions on the Korean Peninsula and the interests of the countries concerned, it’s hard to say how the government’s promise of the “three no’s” will play out.There’s not likely to be a push for additional THAAD deployments under the administration of South Korean President Moon Jae-in. For one, opposition to THAAD deployment is the prevailing view among the Moon administration’s base of supporters.

Furthermore, since THAAD is designed to intercept enemy missiles at the high altitude of 40 to 150 km, it cannot defend the Seoul region, which is close to the armistice line, and can therefore only be deployed in the southern part of the country. Since one THAAD unit is already deployed in this southern area, there would seem to be little reason to deploy another. But if North Korea’s nuclear weapon and missile threat grows even more, South Korea could conceivably find itself under increasing pressure in a variety of ways to allow further deployment.Seoul’s declaration that it will not participate in the US missile defense network has been the government’s basic stance going all the way back to the Kim Dae-jung administration. This is in consideration of China, which suspects that the US wants to build a missile defense network in northeast Asia to neutralize China’s military.

In exchange, Seoul has announced that it will build what it calls “Korean Air and Missile Defense” through local development of M-SAM (medium-range surface-to-air missiles) and L-SAM (long-range surface-to-air missiles).But South Korea and the US are also hurrying to set up a system that would enable detection and tracking information of missiles launched by North Korea to be shared in real time to facilitate the effective interception of those missiles. This would mean linking South Korea and American missile defense by means of sharing information. Such steps would naturally cause South Korea to move toward participating in US missile defense, some argue.

There’s virtually no possibility of a trilateral military alliance forming between South Korea, the US and Japan. Given popular sentiment in South Korea, it’s hard to imagine a military alliance being signed with Japan.  [Hankyoreh]

You can read more at the link, but I always find it interesting how many in the ROK treat the Japanese as the enemy when it is China that economically and diplomatically punished them over the past year.  What makes it even worse is that the deployment of THAAD was to protect South Korea from a threat the Chinese helped to create in the first place.  You would think there would be mass anti-Chinese protests about this, but the best the ROK has done is a one man protest.  I guess everyone else in South Korea is to busy waiting in line to take their picture with a comfort woman statue.

Al Jazeera Interviews Muslims About What Islam Is Like In South Korea

It has been 10 years since the Taliban took a group of South Korean missionaries hostage.  They killed two of them and sexually assaulted some of the women before releasing them in return for millions of dollars in ransom money and the withdrawal of ROK troops from Afghanistan.  The hostage taking was of course used by anti-US leftists in South Korea to further push anti-US sentiment.  In recognition of the 10 year anniversary of the hostage taking, Al Jazeera thought it would be a good time to interview Muslims in South Korea and see what their thoughts are about Islam in the ROK:

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Korean hostage crisis in Afghanistan, which was a turning point in the history of Islam in Korea. Today, South Korean Muslims make up a tiny minority, 0.2 percent, of the predominantly Christian and Confucian society.

As South Korea is opening its doors to Muslim tourists, trying to fill the vacuum left by the declining number of Chinese tourists following the debacle launched with the deployment of the US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system, various generations of native Korean Muslims reflect on their double identity as Koreans and Muslims in South Korea.

The number of Muslim tourists coming to the country saw a 33 percent increase last year from 2015 and is expected to reach 1,2 million people by the end of 2017, as revealed by the Korea Tourism Organization (KTO).

Tapping into this economic potential, the country has increased the number of Halal certificates for its restaurants and prayer rooms, and the Seoul Tourism Organization is promoting a series of videos showcasing Muslim-friendly restaurants around the capital.

Islam and the Korean Peninsula share a history of mutual fascination and curiosity. From the era of the Silk Road in the 9th century to today’s modern interconnected world, the bonds that were once forged through maritime travel have now been passed on to a new generation of young Muslim Koreans, who try to find a balance between their Korean culture and newfound religion.

Retracing the history of Islam in Korea and its reintroduction to the country by Turkish troops during the 1950-1953 Korean War, Al Jazeera spoke with several generations of South Korean Muslims, who expressed the difficulties they face in the Confucian Korean society dominated by class, age hierarchy, a strong drinking culture, and a distrust of Islam.  [Al Jazeera]

You can read the interviews at the link, but it is more of the religion of peace talking points which is a bit ironic considering the interviews are in recognition of the 10 year anniversary of the kidnapping, murder, and sexual assaults caused by Islamic extremists on South Korean missionaries.

Korean Man Sentenced to 25 Years In Prison for Setting Ex-Girlfriend on Fire

Considering this guy’s violent past you would think he would have been locked up long ago before he did something like this:

A man in his 50s who poured gasoline on his ex-girlfriend and set her alight was sentenced to 25 years in prison.

The woman, also in her 50s, suffered serious burns and died of complications two weeks after the incident in March 2016.

The Seoul Southern District Court on Monday found the man guilty of attempted murder.

“It was a premeditated crime,” Judge Shim Gyu-hong said. “The ruling was made after taking into account the nature and circumstances of the crime and his criminal record that indicates there are high chances of him committing another crime.”

He had been convicted more than 20 times for violent acts.

The man lived with the woman for a year in 2005. She dumped him in 2006. He tried unsuccessfully to restore the broken relationship over 11 years.

In March 2016, the man visited the woman at work holding a bag containing a gasoline-filled container and a lighter. When she refused to talk to him, he opened the container, poured the gasoline onto her head and set her on fire.  [Korea Times]

What I don’t understand is how is this a conviction for attempted murder when the woman died in the hospital two weeks later?  It seems like murder to me.

What is a “Tenpro” Girl in South Korea?

A journal from Duke University’s East Asia studies department has an article published that describes South Korea’s “Tenpro” prostitution culture:

Tenpro (Koran for “ten percent”) are a special kind of sex worker conceptually defined and imagined as women who are intellectually and aesthetically in the top ten percentile of all women, similar in concept to a high-end escort of the United States. Because of the exclusivity and secrecy that surrounds these exceptionally beautiful tenpros, this glamorous business had been veiled from the eyes of the general public. Only recently, with the spread of this business practice and heightened interest in this topic, a few former tenpros like Mihee have released detailed first-hand accounts of their lives.

According to a research conducted by the Korean Ministry of Gender Equality and Family, an average of 49 Korean men out of 100 are predicted to have had used some sort of sexual service, despite the fact that prostitution is illegal in Korea. Additionally,  research conducted by the Korean Women’s Development Institute indicates that prostitution amounts to approximately 1.6 percent of Korea’s GDP, or 13 billion US dollars. When we compare this figure to that of America’s, which is currently estimated to be 14 billion dollars, or less than 0.1 percent of its GDP, we see that an average Korean man spends 16 times more than their American counterparts on sexual services.   [Duke East Asia Nexux]

You can read the rest at the link, but the article concludes by stating that high end prostitution services in Korea is so popular because it is a status symbol for the well off to flaunt their wealth to their peers by affording “Tenpro” girls.

North Korean Defector Shot While Crossing the DMZ Now Trying To Survive from Roundworm Outbreak

This is pretty disgusting that the North Korean soldier that defected to South Korea recently through the Joint Security Area had an 11-inch worm pulled out of his intestine:

A North Korean soldier shot multiple times while defecting to the South is in a stable condition but riddled with parasites that could complicate his chances of survival, his doctor said Thursday.

The soldier dashed across the border at the Panmunjom truce village on Monday, as former comrades from the North opened fire on him, hitting him at least four times.

He was pulled to safety by three South Korean soldiers who crawled to reach him, just south of the dividing line.

The young man was rushed to hospital in South Korea by helicopter where he has undergone two rounds of emergency surgery.

“Vital signs including his pulse are returning to stability”, attending doctor Lee Cook-Jong told journalists.

However, he warned, the un-named soldier could rapidly deteriorate at any moment.

“We’re paying close attention to prevent possible complications,” said Lee, who on Wednesday said “an enormous number of parasites” including roundworms had been found in the small intestine.

“I’ve never seen anything like this in my 20 years as a physician”, he said, adding the longest worm he removed was 27 centimetres (11 inches).

Parasites, especially roundworms, are widespread in North Korea — as they are in many developing countries — where people eat uncooked vegetables that have been fertilised with human faeces, experts say.  [AFP]

You can read more at the link.

China Advocates for US to Agree to a “Freeze-for-Freeze Scheme” With North Korea

As I have said before from the Chinese perspective a freeze deal between the US and North Korea is in their interests.  Freezing US-ROK joint military exercises is a way to reduce military readiness and push forward the long term goal of separating the ROK from the US:

China reiterated on Thursday that the most reasonable way to resolve North Korea’s nuclear stalemate is to push for a stop to joint military exercises between South Korea and the U.S. in exchange for freezing Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile provocations.

“China sees the freeze-for-freeze scheme is the most reasonable way,” Geng Shuang, China’s foreign ministry spokesman, told a regular press briefing.

He made the remarks in response to what U.S. President Donald Trump earlier said.

Explaining the outcome of his 12-day Asia trip that also included a summit with Chinese leader Xi Jinping, Trump said on Wednesday (Washington time) that the two leaders agreed that they “would not accept” the freeze for freeze agreement, “like those that have consistently failed in the past.”

The spokesman said stopping the joint military exercises and provocations at the same time is the “first step” necessary to create an environment for talks and called for other countries to “actively” consider the method that China had proposed.  [Yonhap]

You can read more at the link, but the whole dispute over the US deployment of the THAAD battery to South Korea is just another front in China’s long term effort to separate the US and the ROK.

5.4 Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Pohang, South Korea

I have always felt that if a major earthquake struck South Korea it would be devastating and this 5.4 magnitude quake hopefully serves as a wake up call to improve building standards in the country:

Vehicles in Pohang, South Gyeongsang Province, got crashed by concrete slabs that fell from the top of a building next to them after a 5.4-magnitude earthquake struck the city on Wednesday afternoon. / Yonhap

A series of powerful earthquakes struck the southeastern city of Pohang, Wednesday, shaking many parts of the country, including Seoul nearly 300 kilometers away.

The first major quake 5.4 in magnitude struck Pohang at 2:29 p. m. , the Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA) said. The epicenter was measured about nine kilometers north of Pohang and nine kilometers beneath the surface.

The quake was followed by aftershocks of lesser intensity, including a 3.6-magnitude one at 3:09 p.m. When a 4.6-magnitude quake occurred 8 kilometers north of the city at 4:49 p.m. , residents across South Gyeongsang Province feared whether the tremors had yet to end. Fire departments in Changwon city 130 kilometers away from Pohang received dozens of calls from worried citizens.

Nuclear reactors in Ulsan, some 80 kilometers south of Pohang, operated normally with no sign of radiation leaks, Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power said.  [Korea Times]

You can read more at the link.