Picture of the Day: Sunken Ferry Boat Emerges

Sunken Sewol ferry fully emerges from water

The sunken ferry Sewol ferry is loaded on a semisubmersible transport vessel in waters near Jindo, 472 kilometers southwest of Seoul, on March 26, 2017. The passenger ferry sank on April 16, 2014, killing more than 300 people, mostly high school students on a school trip, in the nation’s worst maritime disaster. Nine bodies are still missing. (Yonhap)

Why the Chinese Are Strongly Opposing THAAD Deployment

The viewpoint in this article is something that I have been saying for months that the Chinese are using the THAAD deployment to drive a wedge in the US-ROK alliance.  They have had success in the Philippines with this strategy and have been trying to replicate it in South Korea.  We will see if the strategy works when a ROK left wing politician likely gets elected May to the Presidency:

Chinese opposition to South Korea’s deployment of the THAAD missile defense system is less about missiles than about an ongoing effort to weaken—and ideally demolish—the United States’ network of formal and informal alliances in Asia that has underpinned the regional order for the last seventy years.

The THAAD controversy that heated up in 2016 once deployment became likely displays a familiar Chinese modus operandi: First, pick a fight over an allegedly offensive act. Next, follow up with vitriol and veiled threats, and then inflict economic pressure—while making bland denials or declaring it the spontaneous reaction of the righteously offended Chinese people.  [The National Interest]

You can read more at the link.

Picture of the Day: Dr. Corn to Run for Korean Presidency

'Dr. Corn' declares candidacy for presidential election

Kim Soon-kwon, a chair professor at Handong Global University and also known as “Dr. Corn” for his expertise in growing maize, holds a press conference in the southeastern city of Ulsan on March 23, 2017, to make a declaration to run in the May 9 presidential election. (Yonhap)

Korean Presidential Candidates Fail to Criticize China and Do Not Attend Ceremony Honoring Sailors Killed By North Korea

ROK-US relations could be interesting in the coming years considering how many of the liberal Presidential candidates have plans to appease China and North Korea:

However, only a minor opposition Justice Party has proposed a resolution against China’s increasing pressure on South Korea. In the past, the opposition lawmakers, which had showed a pro-China attitude under former President Roh Moo-hyun, contributed to worsening the relations between South Korea and the U.S. They are now calling for reversing the decision on the deployment of missile defense system, while not making any complaints about China’s irrational retaliatory actions against South Korean companies. Will they show the same attitude if the U.S. comes up with similar retaliatory behaviors?

China stood on North Korea’s side over the sinking of the Cheonan on March 26, 2010. Furthermore, the U.S. had to eliminate its plan on military drills against North Korea with its aircraft carrier in the West Sea after meeting with strong opposition from China. The second West Sea Defense Day Ceremony was held at the Daejeon National Cemetery on Thursday in order to honor and remember soldiers killed from the sinking of the Cheonan, the second battle of Yeonpyeong and the bombing of Yeonpyeong Island. However, opposition party members, including leading presidential candidates, Choo Mi-ae, head of the main opposition Democratic Party, and Park Jie-won, head of the People’s Party, did not show up at the event. It seems that opposition party members are putting a presidential election over national security, making the public feel anxious about South Korea’s national security if they win the election in May.  [Donga Ilbo]

You can read more at the link.

Salvage Workers Race Against Time to Complete Recovery of Sunken Sewol Ferry Boat

I feel horrible for the families that have to live through this tragedy all over again as the resources have finally been mustered to lift the sunken Sewol ferry boat:

Salvage operators will load the Sewol ferry onto a semisubmersible ship late into Friday night ― the final task before heading to land.

“We are racing against time,” said Lee Cheol-jo, an official from the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries, who is in charge of the operation. “With strong tidal currents expected in the area Saturday, the workers have to do everything correctly to finish the job hopefully before midnight.”

He said loading the ferry onto a semisubmersible ship is the trickiest stage of the operation, which requires optimal weather conditions.

The workers plan to finish the job before March 24, the last day of the neap tide period around the area. The next neap is not until April 5.

Lee said the rest of the operation will not be as vulnerable to weather conditions.

The semisubmersible ship will take the 6,825-ton ferry to Mokpo Port next week.

The sunken ferry was lifted from the depths, Thursday, nearly three years after it sank and left 304 people dead on April 16, 2014, in Korea’s worst maritime disaster.  [Korea Times]

You can read more at the link.

Picture of the Day: Anti-Japan Protest In South Korea

Rally against Seoul-Tokyo deal over comfort women

A protester expresses her objection to a 2015 Seoul-Tokyo landmark deal to settle the issue of elderly Korean women who were sex slaves for Japanese troops during World War II, as she takes part in a rally in front of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul on March 22, 2017, to support the former “comfort women.” (Yonhap)

Two US Soldiers Arrested for Smuggling Drugs Inside Cereal Boxes Into Korea

These idiots just never learn that Korean customs inspects the military mail and many people have been caught and arrested for mailing drugs into Korea:

http://img.koreatimes.co.kr/upload/newsV2/images/Y2017031504407-740.jpg

Prosecutors on Wednesday arrested U.S. soldiers and their Korean accomplices for smuggling bags of philopon methamphetamines worth 13.6 billion won ($11.9 million).

Suwon District Prosecutors’ Office arrested an American private, 20, and two Korean-Americans for infringing Korean narcotics laws. Prosecutors also booked without arrest another American private, 20, stationed at K-6 base in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province, for providing an address to where the contraband could be sent.

They are also searching for four Korean-Americans.

An accomplice in California sent the drugs to Korea in December, prosecutors claim.

They weighed 4.1 kilograms ― enough for 130,000 users.  [Korea Times]

You can read more at the link, but I hope they are sentenced to the maximum penalty allowed by Korean law.

US Secretary of State Announces Strategic Patience Policy With North Korea Has Ended

It appears to me that the Trump administration’s get tough on North Korea policy that includes increased emphasis on military strike rhetoric is aimed more at China than North Korea.  Tillerson seems to be basically signaling to the Chinese that if they don’t enforce stronger sanctions and reign in North Korea then the US will by military means:

In a press conference in Seoul, Tillerson declared the end of former U.S. President Barack Obama’s “strategic patience” policy and signaled a sharp turn toward a tougher policy involving ramped-up sanctions, pressure and even military actions.

“The policy of strategic patience has ended,” he said. “We are exploring a new range of diplomatic, security and economic measures. All options are on the table.”

Tillerson said that military measures could be one option if the threat from the North gets too high.

He also ruled out the possibility of any immediate negotiations. He noted that conditions are “not ripe” for any talks with the North, while calling on China to do more to induce a meaningful change in its behavior.

In Tokyo, he emphasized the need for a “new approach” after the failure of the past two decades of talks and aid to the North on hopes that it will take the path to denuclearization.

He didn’t provide details but provided a glimpse into what appears to be the Trump administration’s new policy toward the recalcitrant North, experts said.

Wang, meanwhile, hinted that China doesn’t see eye-to-eye with the U.S. on how to deal with the North. He said that diplomacy should be pursued and called for the resumption of the long-suspended six-party denuclearization talks.  [Yonhap]

You can read more at the link.