Archive | South Korea

South Korea’s impeached President planned violent regime change for Pyongyang

NOVANEWS
Image result for south korean flag meaning
By Adam Garrie | The Duran 

A recent report from the Japanese outlet Asahi Shimbun appears to confirm a hypothesis recently published in The Duran that America’s recent fervor over North Korea has a great deal to do with the internal politics of South Korea, more so in many cases than it has to do with events in the DPRK (North Korea).

Impeached former South Korean President Park Geun-hye was known to be an avidly right-wing, anti-North Korean, militant leader. It was under her now disgraced leadership that South Korea agreed to house America’s THAAD missiles, a move that remains deeply unpopular among millions of South Korean citizens.

Now, Asahi Shimbun claims to have obtained documents from South Korea indicating that former President Park Geun-hye signed a document authorizing violent regime change in Pyongyang.

According to the report seen by the Japanese national newspaper, the Park regime was considering attempts at arranging deadly car accidents or train wrecks in order to kill North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un. Attempts at fomenting a violent coup in North Korea were also considered.

In light of these revelations, it is no wonder that North Korea has taken precautionary measures to defend its sovereignty against these violent threats of illegal regime change from its heavily armed and economically powerful neighbor.

According to the Japanese source, these plans have been taken firmly off the table by President Moon Jae-in, a man who is generally far more peace minded than his deeply militant predecessor.

America’s most bellicose posturing against Pyongyang came in the month prior to the South Korean special Presidential election which saw the peace minded Moon come to power in early May of 2017.

Although America still offers harsh rhetoric on all matters pertaining to North Korea, it was after the election of President Moon that America’s most violent rhetoric seemed to give way to talk of working with international partners including and especially China in order to resolve concerns over North Korea without the threat of military engagement.

These revelations which appear to be credible, demonstrate that Washington’s actions in respect of North Korea have as much to do with the developments in Seoul as they do with developments elsewhere.

READ MORE:

South Korea’s new President may turn to peace

Posted in South Korea0 Comments

South Korea: Moon Angered by Arrival of Weapons

NOVANEWS
 

South Korean President Moon Jae In demanded a probe yesterday into why he wasn’t told about the arrival of additional launchers for the country’s US-supplied terminal high-altitude area defence (Thaad) missile defence system.

President Moon vowed before taking office on May 10 to review deployment of a system that has infuriated both North Korea and China, which consider its powerful radar a security threat.

Many of his supporters don’t want the system, which US President Donald Trump said Seoul should pay for.

Senior presidential adviser Yoon Young Chan said Mr Moon had discovered that four more launchers for the Thaad system had arrived in the country since the original two launchers were installed in April.

Defence Ministry officials didn’t report their arrival when they gave the president’s policy advisory committee a briefing last Thursday.

“President Moon said that it’s ‘very shocking’ after receiving a report” on the incident from his national security director, Mr Yoon said.

The new president, who favours dialogue with North Korea, is working with cabinet members appointed by his pro-Washington conservative predecessor Park Geun Hye, who was ousted from office in March over a corruption scandal. Mr Moon has nominated some of his own cabinet members but they haven’t formally taken office.

He was sworn in as president straight after winning a May 9 by-election and hasn’t had the usual two-month transition period.

Washington stations about 28,500 troops in South Korea, supposedly as deterrence against potential aggression from North Korea.

After facing conservative attacks on his security views during the election campaign, Mr Moon toned down his Thaad criticism, saying that deployment would be inevitable if North Korea continued provocative test-firing of ballistic missiles.

THAAD in South Korea

The new president has said that he will employ both persuasion and pressure to resolve the North Korean nuclear stand-off.

Posted in South Korea0 Comments

South Korea’s new leader orders probe into ‘unauthorized’ US deployment

NOVANEWS
Image result for South Korea’s new leader CARTOON

South Korea’s new President Moon Jae-in has ordered an investigation into the “unauthorized” deployment of four additional THAAD missile launchers by the United States to the country’s soil.

Presidential spokesman Yoon Young-chan said Moon was “shocked” to hear that the four additional launchers of the so-called Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile system were installed without being reported to the new government or to the public.

“President Moon was briefed on such facts by National Security Office (NSO) chief Chung Eui-yong and said it was very shocking,” the spokesman told a news briefing on Tuesday.

The system was initially deployed to South Korea in March with just two of its maximum load of six launchers with the declared aim of countering North Korean threats.

The South Korean official further said the president had “ordered his senior secretary for civil affairs and the NSO chief to find the truth behind the unauthorized entry of the four rocket launchers.”

The deployment of THAAD, which came amid tensions with North Korea, was met with strong opposition from people in South Korea, including the residents of Seongju County, where the missile system is installed.

The installation was agreed by the government of Moon’s predecessor Park ­Geun-hye, who was impeached and ousted over a corruption scandal.

During his election campaign prior to the May 9 election, Moon had urged a parliamentary review of the controversial deployment, which has angered Pyongyang.

Russia and China have also expressed deep concern over the controversial deployment of the American missile system on the Korean Peninsula.

Chinese officials argue that the US system would interfere with their radars and could pose a threat to Chinese security.

Moscow has also warned that the deployment would only fuel tensions in the region.

Posted in South KoreaComments Off on South Korea’s new leader orders probe into ‘unauthorized’ US deployment

After The South Korean Election: The Movement That Ousted Park Cannot Rest

NOVANEWS
 

War threats before a major political election had been effective in the past in swinging the South Korean electorate to the right, but not this year. The conservative camp is battered and split into two warring parties following the impeachment of former President Park Geun-hye. The general public—its collective consciousness heightened through the mass protests that successfully ousted Park—is no longer rallying behind hawkish candidates who fan public paranoia to garner votes.

Barring a last-minute surprise upset, liberal democrat Moon Jae-in will be the next president of South Korea. But does he truly represent the interests of the millions who took to the streets to unseat Park and demand systemic change? And what are the tasks facing the left vis a vis the new administration? These are the questions this article will discuss, but first, let’s quickly review the field of candidates.

A Brief Run-down of the Candidates

Moon Jae-in

Image result for moon jae in

Front-runner Moon Jae-in is arguably the greatest beneficiary of the mass protests that led to Park’s impeachment. Widespread discontent against Park and her party as well as the public’s desire for political change have catapulted Moon of the main opposition Minjoo Party to the front of the pack with a significant lead over all other candidates.

Moon was the Chief of Staff for the late former President Roh Moo-hyun, who ruled from 2003 to 2008 and continued his predecessor Kim Dae-jung’s “sunshine policy” of engagement and economic cooperation with North Korea. If elected, Moon will likely reverse South Korea’s policy toward North Korea to one of engagement. He has pledged to reopen the Kaesong Industrial Complex—the joint inter-Korean economic project that was the last remaining hallmark of peaceful North-South engagement before it was shut down by the Park Geun-hye administration in 2016.

The question is, if Moon is elected, will the United States be willing to recalibrate its strategy to allow Moon to lead? And if not, how much will Moon stand up to the United States to chart an independent path?

Ahn Cheol-soo

Image result for Ahn Cheol-sooThe runner-up, according to polls, is Ahn Cheol-soo, who defected from the Minjoo Party to establish the centrist People’s Party in the lead-up to the 2016 general election. His public branding as a successful entrepreneur and political outsider had once made him wildly popular among young people. But his rightward shift in an attempt to court the conservative vote in the aftermath of Park’s impeachment has estranged him from his former fans. He promotes strengthening South Korea’s alliance with the United States and expanding it to a “comprehensive strategic alliance” that includes closer cooperation not just militarily but also in the areas of politics, economy and culture.

Hong Jun-pyo 

Image result for Hong Jun-pyo

Neck and neck with Ahn is Hong Joon-pyo, the governor of South Gyeongsang province and the candidate of the Liberty Korea Party, the right-wing faction of the conservative split. Hong has appealed to South Korea’s far right by doubling down on his conservative positions and slinging mud at his liberal opponents. He has said he wants to bring U.S. tactical nuclear weapons to South Korea and has blamed gay people for the spread of HIV/AIDS. 

Sim Sang-jung

Image result for Sim Sang-jungSupport for Sim Sang-jung of the left-leaning Justice Party climbed to a record 11.4 percent in the week leading up to the election. Disaffected voters disappointed by Ahn Cheol-soo’s rightward shift are turning to Sim whose progressive and principled stance on issues such as LGBT rights appeals to young voters seeking change. After splitting off in 2012 from the Unified Progressive Party, which was forcibly dissolved a few years later by Park Geun-hye, the Justice Party has embraced pragmatism over left ideology and rebranded itself as a reformist party to appeal to a broader public. The leaders of the party will likely take official positions in the new liberal democratic administration. Whether the party can consolidate forces on the left to build on the momentum of the mass movement that ousted Park and push for systemic change remains doubtful. 

Yoo Seong-min

Image result for Yoo Seong-min

Trailing far behind the rest of the pack is Yoo Seong-min, who represents the moderate, anti-Park faction of the conservative camp. He once served as Park Geun-hye’s chief of staff when she was a lawmaker in the National Assembly. But the two grew apart when his open criticisms of her policies drew her ire and he was excluded from the Saenuri Party’s nomination process in the 2016 general election. During Park’s political scandal, Yoo left the Saenuri Party to help found the splinter Bareun Party. His strongest base is in the conservative stronghold of Daegu and North Gyeongsang province.

Whoever is President, the Mass Movement Cannot Rest

Park’s historic impeachment, which created the opportunity for the upcoming election, did not come about through the political strength or deft maneuvering of the opposition parties. It was the organized power of millions of ordinary people, who rejected Park’s corrupt rule and took to the streets week after week, that pushed the wavering opposition parties into action. 

And that mass movement has now just about handed the presidency to Moon Jae-in. As a liberal democrat, Moon is far better than Park whose authoritarian rule rolled back decades of gains made by the country’s pro-democracy forces. But his party has done little to challenge the previous administration’s labor market reform initiative or block the ongoing deployment of a controversial U.S. missile defense system in Seongju. South Korean progressives note with bitterness that negotiations on the Korea-US Free Trade Agreement, which has led to privatization of public services, such as healthcare, began when Moon was in the Blue House as the chief of staff for former President Roh Moo-hyun. 

Clearly, the mass movement that ousted Park cannot rest after May 9 if it wants real change. Perhaps the greatest tragedy of this year’s election is that while people power created a historic opportunity for change, there is no political party that can consolidate that power and build on its momentum to fight for issues that are important to the broad majority of working people.

A decade of conservative rule—from Lee Myung-bak to Park Geun-hye, who jailed many opposition leaders, including Han Sang-gyun, the president of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions, and forced the dissolution of the opposition Unified Progressive Party—has battered and fragmented South Korea’s organized left. Whoever is president after May 9, the left has a lot of ground to regain.

The Rise and Fall of the Democratic Labor Party

The South Korean left’s entry into the political arena has its roots in the mass uprisings of 1987, a pivotal year for the country in many regards. The decades-long South Korean struggle for democracy culminated in the June people’s uprising of 1987 and finally put an end to a succession of U.S.-backed military dictatorships. The following months of mass labor strikes in industrial manufacturing zones across South Korea laid the groundwork for the eventual formation of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions. And for the first time since the division of Korea in 1945, masses of South Koreans openly called for reconciliation towards peaceful reunification. The formation of the National Council of Student Representatives (Jeondaehyeop) led to South Korean participation in the 13th World Festival of Youth and Students in Pyongyang in 1989 and the historic, defiant crossing of the DMZ by the late Reverend Moon Ik-hwan and then-student activist Lim Su-kyung

Image result for korea labor strike

1987, paradoxically, also marked the year that South Korea’s economy, once tightly controlled by an autocratic state, began its transition to a neoliberal market economy modeled after Reagonomics. Thus, the South Korean political forces post-1987 comprised of a political and economic ruling class that embraced neoliberalism and trampled on the rights of workers in the name of “globalization,” on the one hand, and a new democratic force borne out of militant resistance against the system of national division and capitalist exploitation on the other.

Despite major political differences on questions of strategy, the forces at the helm of the pro-democracy struggle, labor unions and social movement organizations joined together in 1987 to form the People’s Victory 21, which became the foundation for the establishment of the Democratic Labor Party (DLP) in 2000. The DLP went on to garner 13% of the general vote and gain ten National Assembly seats to become the third largest political party in South Korea in 2004. Its success in 2004 was due in part to a change in election law, which, for the first time, allowed proportional representation, but it would not have been possible without disparate political forces reaching beyond their differences to come together in a united front.

For a relatively small party, the DLP played a key role in South Korean politics from 2000 to 2008. Through direct democracy, the party kept itself firmly rooted in the struggles of workers, farmers and the urban poor, who made up the majority of its membership. Its principled and persuasive positions on behalf of politically marginalized sectors forced the established parties to adopt progressive reforms and had the effect of pulling South Korea’s entire political spectrum to the left. Before its forced dissolution in 2014, the DLP’s heir, the Unified Progressive Party was the most vocal opponent of Park Geun-hye’s policies on a range of issues, from privatization of public services to her hostile stance towards North Korea. 

In the last two decades, South Korea’s political and economic system began to show signs of faltering. The inter-Korean summits between Kim Dae-jung and Kim Jong-il in 2000 and Roh Moo-hyun and Kim Jong-il in 2007 shook the very foundation of South Korea’s decades-old political system based on national division. South Korea’s economy, which once grew rapidly through neoliberal policies that forced its workforce to tighten their belts and endure longer and harsher working conditions, faced persistent crises, and its core, festering with corrupt collusion between the country’s largest conglomerates and the government, is now laid bare for the entire world to see. 

The mass candlelight protests of 2008—which brought out tens of thousands to protest the reversal of a U.S. beef import ban as part of South Korea’s free trade negotiations with the United States—and the recent protests to oust Park Geun-hye were the embittered expressions of a populace frustrated with the country’s outdated political and economic system and in search of an alternative. The words to their anthem, sung in unison at every candlelight protest, is article one of the constitution: “The Republic of Korea is a democratic republic. All state authority shall emanate from the people.” More than just expressions of discontent over rotten beef or the president’s secret shamanic advisor scandal, the protests raised a fundamental question: the meaning of true sovereignty.

Image result for mass candlelight protests korea

The left, unfortunately, has not provided an answer. Friction due to political differences on questions of strategy led to a split in the DLP in 2008 and created deep rifts within the South Korean left. 2008 also marked the beginning of a decade of conservative rule, which systematically eroded the gains made by the pro-democracy forces in the previous decades. The previous Park Geun-hye administration’s transgressions against the people—from its mishandling of the Sewol Tragedy to its backdoor deal with the Japanese government to silence the former “comfort women” who endured sexual slavery by the Japanese imperial army during WWII—are too many to enumerate. What’s more egregious is the incompetence of the existing opposition parties that have failed to stand up to these overt acts of authoritarianism. The undisguised degeneration of South Korean politics and the rightward shift of the opposition parties are a direct result of the marginalization and isolation of the organized left following the DLP’s break-up.

Time to Regain Lost Ground

The South Korean people, who declared “Basta ya!” and gave Park Geun-hye the boot are still fighting—in the melon fields of Seongju, by the watery grave at Paengmok Harbor and on picket lines small and big across the country. Whoever wins the election on May 9, the mass movement that ousted Park will need to build on the momentum of its victory and keep the pressure on in a number of fronts.

Image result for Park Geun-hye

Former President Park Geun-hye

The most pressing task for the new administration will be to mediate the current crisis between the United States and North Korea. Despite Trump’s declared willingness to sit down with Kim Jong-un, no one—not even China—is able to broker such a meeting. That has to be the task of the incoming South Korean leader. For reconciliation with the North and permanent peace on the peninsula, the South Korean people will need to press the new administration to stand up to the Trump administration and chart an independent path. Demanding the United States end its provocative war exercises in exchange for a freeze of North Korea’s nuclear and missile tests and withdraw its dangerous missile defense system in Seongju is now more urgent than ever.

The fight against the government’s labor market reform initiative—aimed at turning South Korea’s entire workforce into a disposable pool of temporary and precarious labor and undermining the power of unions—will intensify even with a liberal democrat in the Blue House. Unless the mass movement continues to press the next administration, the corrupt system exposed through the Park Geun-hye-Choi Soon-sil scandal—the cozy back-scratching relationship between South Korea’s largest conglomerates and its political leaders—will remain unchanged.

Abolishing the National Security Law—mainly used to punish political opponents, dissolve social organizations and political parties and suppress progressive voices—is a task that even Moon Jae-in failed to do as Roh Moo-hyun’s chief of staff. It will take an organized fight from the left to overturn the archaic law once and for all.

What the movement to impeach Park Geun-hye laid bare is that South Korea’s current political and economic system is no longer sustainable. It also showed clearly that state power, which confines the democratic aspirations of the people, can also be pushed back by their organized power. The fissures in the political system exposed by their struggle are openings for the broader left. 

But people power does not emerge spontaneously. Only when the people are organized through social movements and have a political party that can fight for their interests can they mount effective and sustained resistance to challenge the status quo. A left political party cannot exercise its power in the political arena without the organized social movement of the disenfranchised, who make up the party’s base. Likewise, without a political party that can fight for their interests in the political arena, social movements can easily be defeated. A unified political party fighting in tandem with a social movement of the organized masses is essential for systemic change.

After May 9, the movement that ousted Park cannot rest, as the South Korean majority seeks, as a matter of survival, a political force that will forge a new path. Creating that force—by building social movements and unifying the left to build political power—should be top on the agenda of everyone on the left. And supporting that effort should be a priority for all those outside Korea who were inspired by the awesome mass protests that toppled Park Geun-hye’s regime.

Posted in South KoreaComments Off on After The South Korean Election: The Movement That Ousted Park Cannot Rest

THAAD Rocket Fuel: Likely Ground Water Contamination Coming to Seongju, South Korea

NOVANEWS
 

The unwelcome US deployment of the THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) missile defense (MD) system in Seongju, South Korea is not only a significant threat to regional peace but is also a major environmental catastrophe waiting to happen.

The reason is that rocket fuel contains a deadly chemical component called perchlorate. And since the Seongju area is a melon farming community the risk of ground water contamination by perchlorate should be alarming to all concerned.

Perchlorate, the explosive ingredient in solid rocket fuel, has leaked from military bases and weapons and aerospace contractors’ plants in at least 22 states, contaminating drinking water for millions of Americans.

In the US scientists have warned that perchlorate could cause thyroid deficiency in more than 2.2 million women of childbearing age. This thyroid deficiency could damage the fetus of pregnant women, if left untreated.

Image result for perchlorate

Reports indicate that 20 million to 40 million Americans may be exposed to the chemical.

“We know that the Center for Disease Control has found perchlorate in 100 percent of the people they’ve tested, so there’s widespread exposure, through contaminated drinking water and also through contaminated food,” one expert reported.

The government has found traces of a rocket fuel chemical in organic milk in Maryland, green leaf lettuce grown in Arizona and bottled spring water from Texas and California.

Iceberg lettuce grown in Belle Glade, Florida had the highest concentrations of perchlorate discovered anywhere.  The greens had 71.6 parts per billion (ppb) of the compound, the primary ingredient in rocket propellant. Red leaf lettuce grown in El Centro, California had 52 ppb of perchlorate. Whole organic milk in Maryland had 11.3 ppb of perchlorate.

Next week South Koreans go to the polls to elected a new president after the previous right-wing President Park was impeached.

The Pentagon rushed the THAAD deployment ahead of schedule wanting to lock-in the controversial MD system before a new government took office.  The US fears that the likely new President Moon (a progressive) would ultimately delay or possibly even prevent the US from deploying the interceptor system due to the outrage coming from China and Russia who view THAAD as really being aimed at them rather than North Korea.

As the people of Seongju continue their fight against THAAD they’d be wise to begin to talk about the likely groundwater contamination from the rocket fuel that will be transported and stored on site at the new base presently being constructed at a former golf course.  It’s only a matter of time that perchlorate will be seeping into the water and ultimately impacting their health and their melon crops.

Posted in USA, South KoreaComments Off on THAAD Rocket Fuel: Likely Ground Water Contamination Coming to Seongju, South Korea

South Korea Presidential Frontrunner Pledges to Review Divisive THAAD Deployment

NOVANEWS

Image result for South Korea FLAG

Moon Jae-in, the leading candidate in the upcoming presidential election in South Korea, is determined to reassess the controversial deployment of the US-built Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-ballistic missile system since it “did not follow a democratic procedure,” his press team said in a statement seen by Sputnik Korea.

“The THAAD deployment is an issue that must be decided by the next administration based on close discussions with the US and a national consensus, and approached with the best national interest in mind. Since this is an issue of great impact to our national security and comes with great economic costs, it must be ratified by the National Assembly as per the Constitution,” Yoon Kwan-suk, a spokesman for Moon Jae-in said.

The press office also commented on United States President Donald Trump’s suggestion that Seoul should pay for the deployment of a system worth $1 billion.

“The Liberty Korea Party, Bareun Party and the Ministry of National Defense have until now argued that the US will bear the cost of the THAAD operation,” the press office said. “If the reports are true, it is now clear that the decision to deploy the THAAD had a major flaw to begin with.”

The statement urged senior politicians in the former ruling party, as well as high-ranking defense officials, to disclose the details of the deal between Washington and Seoul on THAAD.

On Wednesday, the South Korean Defense Ministry said that components of the THAAD system have been deployed to their intended destination in the North Gyeongsang province. Washington has said that the move comes in response to North Korea’s muscle-flexing, but Jeong Uk-sik, the president of the Peace Network NGO, told Sputnik that THAAD will also be targeted against China.

“Undoubtedly, [Washington] has indicated that the US missile defense system must be alert not only to North Korea, but also China,” he said, citing the testimony made by Admiral Harry Harris, commander of US Pacific Command, during a hearing at the House Armed Services Committee.

“Harris’s report clearly shows that US Pacific Command has fostered closer ties with Japan, South Korea and Australia to create a comprehensive missile defense system based on THAAD and the radar deployed to South Korea is one of its links,” the analyst added. “As a result, THAAD and the radar are targeted not only against North Korea, but also China since they are links of a single US missile defense system.”China has been opposed to the THAAD deployment, saying that the move “seriously undermines” strategic security of Beijing and other countries in the region.

Posted in USA, South KoreaComments Off on South Korea Presidential Frontrunner Pledges to Review Divisive THAAD Deployment

South Koreans protest movement of US THAAD Missile System

NOVANEWS
Image result for South Koreans protest PHOTO
By Adam Garrie | The Duran 

In a further sign that the political climate of South Korea has turned increasingly anti-American/anti-militaristic since the impeachment and arrest of President Park in March of this year, South Koreans took to the streets to protest the arrival of the US THAAD Missile System in North Gyeongsang Province.

The THAAD system arrived in the country in March and is now being positioned at its permanent installation point in Seongju in the south east of the country.

The Duran has previously published a piece speculating that increased pressure from the US directed to North Korea, may actually be an attempt to meddle in the South Korean political process as special Presidential elections are to take place on the 9th of May. A war could possibly dispute those elections.

Initial reports state that 200 people blocked the entrance to the site where THAAD will be set-up and over 8,000 locals came out to protest. Local police who were escorting the US military convoy came under attack from outraged locals.

One must consequently question the following: with US rhetoric constantly stating how little the North Korean’s support their government. How much do South Korean’s support their government?

READ MORE:

Could the US go to war with North Korea to stop democracy in SOUTH Korea?

Posted in South KoreaComments Off on South Koreans protest movement of US THAAD Missile System

US Presence in South Korea Drives Instability

The Geopolitics of the US-North Korea Standoff

US and European interests continue to portray the government and nation of North Korea as a perpetual security threat to both Asia and the world. Allegations regarding the nation’s nuclear weapon and ballistic missile programs are continuously used as justification for not only a continuous US military presence on the Korean Peninsula, but as justification for a wider continued presence across all of Asia-Pacific.

In reality, what is portrayed as an irrational and provocative posture by the North Korean government, is in fact driven by a very overt, and genuinely provocative posture by the United States and its allies within the South Korean government.

During this year’s Foal Eagle joint US-South Korean military exercises, US-European and South Korean media sources intentionally made mention of  preparations for a “decapitation” strike on North Korea. Such an operation would be intended to quickly eliminate North Korean military and civilian leadership to utterly paralyze the state and any possible response to what would most certainly be the subsequent invasion, occupation and subjugation of North Korea.

The Business Insider in an article titled,SEAL Team 6 is reportedly training for a decapitation strike against North Korea’s Kim regime,” would report:

The annual Foal Eagle military drills between the US and South Korea will include some heavy hitters this year — the Navy SEAL team that took out Osama bin Laden, Army Special Forces, and F-35s — South Korea’s Joon Gang Daily reports. 

South Korean news outlets report that the SEALs, who will join the exercise for the first time, will simulate a “decapitation attack,” or a strike to remove North Korea’s leadership.

To introduce an element of plausible deniability to South Korean reports, the article would continue by stating:

Pentagon spokesman Cmdr. Gary Ross later told Business Insider that the US military “does not train for decapitation missions” of any kind. 

Yet this is a categorically false statement. Throughout the entirety of the Cold War, US policymakers, military planners and operational preparations focused almost solely on devising methods of “decapitating” the Soviet Union’s political and military leadership.

76345523

In more recent years, policy papers and the wars inspired by them have lead to documented instances of attempted “decapitation” operations, including the 2011 US-NATO assault on Libya in which the government of Muammar Qaddafi was targeted by airstrikes aimed at crippling the Libyan state and assassinating both members of the Qaddafi family as well as members of the then ruling government.

Similar operations were aimed at Iraq earlier during the 2003 invasion and occupation by US-led forces.

Regarding North Korea more specifically, entire policy papers have been produced by prominent US policy think tanks including the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) devising plans to decimate North Korea’s military and civilian leadership, invade and occupy the nation and confound North Korea’s capacity to resist what would inevitably be its integration with its southern neighbor.

A 2009 report titled, Preparing for Sudden Change in North Korea,” lays out policy recommendations regarding regime change in North Korea. It states in its description:

The authors consider the challenges that these scenarios would pose–ranging from securing Pyongyang’s nuclear arsenal to providing humanitarian assistance–and analyze the interests of the United States and others. They then provide recommendations for U.S. policy. In particular, they urge Washington to bolster its contingency planning and capabilities in cooperation with South Korea, Japan, and others, and to build a dialogue with China that could address each side’s concerns.

Preparations for these documented plans which include provisions for invasion, occupation and the eventual integration of North Korea with South Korea have been ongoing for years with the most recent Foal Eagle exercises being merely their latest, and most blatant manifestation.

The aforementioned Business Insider article would also report:

Yet a decapitation force would fit with a March 1 Wall Street Journal report that the White House is considering military action against the Kim regime. 

The SEALs boarded the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier and should arrive in South Korea on Wednesday, Joon Gang Daily reports. 

South Korea has also made efforts toward a decapitation force, and international calls for action have increased in intensity after North Korea’s latest missile test, which simulated a saturation attack to defeat US and allied missile defenses.

While US-European and South Korean media platforms continue claiming such preparations are being made in reaction to North Korean military programs, careful analysis of North Korea and South Korea’s respective economic and military power reveal immense disparity and North Korea’s military capabilities as solely defensive with any first strike against its neighbors almost certainly leading to retaliation and the nation’s destruction.

North Korea’s nuclear arsenal and its expanding ballistic missile capabilities serve then only to raise the costs of any first strike carried out against it by US and South Korean forces. Claims that preparations by US and South Korean forces to carry out these first strikes are in response to North Korean provocations mirror similar political deceit that surrounded and clouded debate and analysis regarding US aggression in North Africa and the Middle East over the past two decades.

Ultimately, regardless of what political leaders in Washington or Seoul claim, the historical track record of the United States and its allies speaks for itself. Its annual military exercises and its adversarial approach to negotiations and relations with North Korea serve only to further drive tensions on both the peninsula and across the wider Asia-Pacific region.

For the United States, the perpetuation of instability helps justify its otherwise unjustifiable presence in a region literally an ocean away from its own borders. And while Washington cites “North Korean” weapons as a pretext for its continued presence in South Korea, its decades-spanning policy of encircling and attempting to contain neighboring China serves as its actual purpose for remaining involved in Korea’s affairs.

Provocative policies coupled with equally provocative military preparations including these most recent exercises openly aimed at North Korea’s leadership, guarantee continued instability and thus continued justification for a US presence in the region.

Washington’s careful cultivation of tensions on the peninsula serve as just one of many intentionally engineered and perpetuated conflicts across the region. Knowing well that nations targeted by US subversion and provocations will make preparations to defend against them, and possessing the media platforms to portray these preparations as “provocations” in and of themselves, the US has persuaded entire swaths of both its own population and those in regions inflicted by instability it itself drives, that Washington alone possesses the ability to contain such instability with its continued, extraterritorial presence.

In reality, the true solution for establishing peace and prosperity in these inflicted regions is for the US to simply withdraw.

Posted in USA, South KoreaComments Off on US Presence in South Korea Drives Instability

The Korean Crisis and the THAAD Missile Deployment: A Growing Tinderbox in the South

THAAD_1

As the first military hardware associated with the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, commonly called THAAD, arrives in the southern region of the Korean Peninsula, the tensions around and within the  region seem to be escalating. A number of ongoing crises in South Korea are starting to take their toll, and could have regional and global implications.

The most prominent source of tension is the new missile system being erected in cooperation with the United States. The narrative in US media surrounding THAAD is that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, smeared as “the crazy North Koreans,” are threatening to destroy the Republic of Korea located in the south. The new missile system is said to simply be a mechanism for protecting a vulnerable, democratic US ally, that faces being wiped out. Mark Toner of the US State Department described the erection of THAAD as “frankly a response to a threat.”

Who is mad about THAAD? And Why?

Objections to THAAD are not only coming from Pyongyang. Moscow and Beijing have both spoken up against the new missile system for reasons that are routinely ignored in US media discourse.

South Korea is hardly unprotected and alone. The United States already has 28,500 troops in South Korea. It also has F-16 fighter aircraft and A-10 bomber jets. South Korea’s military is also very well stocked, with F-35 Fighter Jets, Aegis Destroyers, and all kinds of military hardware purchased from the United States.

The THAAD missile system being erected in a contract with Lockheed-Martin, in cold war terms, is a “strike enabling system.” Once the system is completed, the US and South Korean forces that are already in the Peninsula are free to launch an attack on North Korea, China, or Russia. The THAAD system, modeled after Israel’s Iron Dome, would prevent retaliation strikes aimed at disabling the attackers. THAAD enables the US and South Korea to begin striking countries in the region, while shielding themselves from any response. Furthermore, THAAD includes a radar system that will closely monitor regional activity, not only in North Korea, but also in northern China.

Its not hard to tell why Russia and China are loudly objecting to this multi-billion dollar military project. Strike enabling systems with penetrating radars are not a mechanism of defusing tension, in an already tense region. THAAD is the latest development in the Pentagon’s ongoing “Asian Pivot,” moving forces into the Pacific. Similar moves have already escalated tensions in the South China Sea.

US media’s justification for the project depends on a false, racist and cartoonish caricature of the DPRK. Fictional Hollywood movies, disproven news items about executions by wild dogs, and endless rumor mongering have all painted a picture of DPRK’s leadership as a group of people hell bent on nuclear war. In reality, the government in the north has frequently stated that its goal is peaceful, democratic re-unification of the peninsula, not war, death, and destruction.

Dissent, Repression & Democracy

At the same time this controversial and provocative missile system is being erected, the President of the Republic of Korea is facing impeachment. Park Geun-hye has had her power suspended as the country prepares for an impeachment trial. Park has been caught taking bribes, and giving favors to members of the corporate elite. Lee Jae-yong, described as the de-facto leader of the multinational electronics conglomerate known as Samsung is facing criminal charges for his illicit dealings with President Park.

Lee Jae-myung, a left-wing populist, is growing in popularity. Lee’s political career has been closely identified with expanding the social safety net and workplace protections. Lee is also a loud opponent of THAAD. Lee’s voice joins a chorus of Korean activists who have filled the streets protesting against the ongoing presence of US troops and the installation of the new missile system. The large anti-US, left-wing activist movement among Koreans, which made global headlines in prior decades has not gone away. It persists among young and old Koreans, despite the heavy restrictions on its activity and constant repression.

Global media has dubbed Lee Jae-myung as “the Bernie Sanders” of South Korea. However, there is one key difference between Lee and Sanders. Sanders identifies himself as a “Democratic Socialist.” Lee does not use such terms to describe himself, as doing so is illegal under the National Security Laws. While millions of Koreans living in the south identify with organized labor, anti-capitalism, socialism, and other radical left-wing ideas, their ability to express themselves is tightly restricted.

The slightest criticism of capitalism, discussions of the history of the Korean War, or statements in any way perceived as being supportive of their northern countryfolk can land citizens of South Korea in prison. The National Security Laws of South Korea are condemned by Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and many international bodies. A 24 year old photographer and activist named Park Jung-geun was convicted and given a 10-month suspended sentence simply for sarcastically tweeting the phrase “Long Live Kim Jong-Il” in 2012.

The Unified Progressive Party, a dissident voice in Korean politics, has been outlawed. The leaders of the party were imprisoned after an audio recording surfaced. The crime for which party leaders were sentenced to decades in prison was a hypothetical conversation about what to do in the context all out war between the North and South.

While the US media’s narrative ignores it, for the majority of the years following the country’s division in 1945, the southern half of the Korean peninsula has hardly been democratic. Military dictators like Sygman Rhee ruled with an iron fist. The scandal ridden President who faces a pending impeachment trial is herself the daughter of Park Chung-Hee, the military dictator who ruled the country until his assassination in 1979.

The current President’s father not only brutally repressed labor unions and dissident students, but also slaughtered thousands of Koreans simply for being homeless. In 1975, Hee issued an order for the police to remove all homeless people from the capital city of Seoul. Koreans determined by the police to be vagrants were placed in a network of 36 different prison camps throughout the country, and forced to work long hours. Torture was routinely utilized in these camps, and an unknown number died. While US media endlessly hypes up unsubstantiated claims about “labor camps” in the North, often coming from defectors with clear incentives to exaggerate, the reality of labor camps under the US backed regime in the south, and the thousands who died after being worked to death in them, has been largely glossed over.

What Role Will South Korea Play?

China hasn’t simply objected to THAAD with words. Chinese corporations are tightly controlled by the Communist Party, and their activities fit in with the country’s five year development plan. International observers have often commented on the Chinese governments ability to cooperate with the private sector in order to serve geopolitical goals. An undeclared boycott of South Korea is now being carried out by Chinese businesses.

China’s tourism websites have stopped booking packages in South Korea, which has been a popular destination for Chinese tourists in recent years. The Japanese-Korean conglomerate known as Lotte has also faced a sudden loss of Chinese business. 23 Lotte owned stores in China have been closed own. South Korean music and TV programs have been blocked from web-streaming services on the Chinese mainland. As China cuts off a large amount of its business dealings with South Korea, critics of Beijing are calling these measures “unofficial sanctions” in retaliation for THAAD.

During his Presidential campaign, Donald Trump questioned the US relationship with South Korea, saying “We are better off frankly if South Korea is going to start protecting itself … they have to protect themselves or they have to pay us.”

Though Lee Jae-myung is a leftist, and Trump is identified with the extreme right wing in the United States, on this issue, they seem to agree. Lee is quoted as saying “Americans impeached their establishment by electing Trump… Our elections will do the same.”

Lee Jae-myung, who wants to US military presence scaled back, is one of the “big three” expected to run in the upcoming Presidential election. More and more Koreans agree with his argument that allying with the United States against the north, China, and Russia, is not in the people’s best interest. Furthermore, less than 4% of the population stands behind the disgraced President. South Korea could soon be moving in the same direction as the Philippines, where the long standing neoliberal, pro-American status quo was shaken up by the election of Rodrigo Duterte.

With the THAAD controversy boiling, amid bribery scandals, impeachment proceedings, discontent with the status quo, and renewed tensions with the North, the southern half of the Korean peninsula is gradually becoming more and more of a global hotspot. The point of disagreement seems to be about the role southern Korean will play in the world. Will it remain an extension of US influence in Asia, or will the southern half of the Korean peninsula follow in the footsteps of its powerful Chinese neighbors and northern countryfolk? Will Koreans in the south declare their economic, political, and military independence from the United States and Japan?

These questions, which have driven so many uprisings, protests, military coups, and strikes since 1945 are not going away any time soon.

Posted in North Korea, South KoreaComments Off on The Korean Crisis and the THAAD Missile Deployment: A Growing Tinderbox in the South

The Korean Crisis, the US’ Next Phase of Pan-Eurasian Containment

NOVANEWS
Andrew Korybko

The security situation has markedly deteriorated on the Korean Peninsula in recent days following the North’s latest missile test, which Pyongyang antagonistically said was a drill for striking US bases in Japan in response to the latest US-South Korean military exercises that it rightly views as a sign of hostility.

These surprise launches prompted the Pentagon to speed up its planned deployment of the THAAD anti-missile system to South Korea, which has drawn the immediate ire of Russia and China who previously warned that it would set the precedent for undercutting their nuclear second-strike deterrent and spy on their territories.North Korea’s latest moves have also led to talk in Japan for a “first-strike option” to complement Tokyo’s militant reinterpretation of its post-war (supposedly) pacifist constitution. Not to be outdone, the Trump Administration ominously reiterated that “all options are on the table”, which Reuters reports could include “a return of U.S. nuclear weapons to South Korea, and even pre-emptive air strikes on North Korean missile installations.” China has frantically sought to cool down the dangerously rising temperatures on the peninsula and kick start a new round of negotiations by wisely calling for the dual suspension of the North’s nuclear and missile tests in exchange for the US and South Korea putting their joint military exercises on hold.

Neither side, however, seems ready to follow Beijing’s advice, thus running the risk that tensions will only continue to rise for the foreseeable future. This can’t help but work to Russia and China’s overall strategic detriment since the leading Eurasian Great Powers can ill afford for the US to open up yet another containment front against them. On the upside, however, this would serve to strengthen the already rock-solid Russian-Chinese Strategic Partnership and accelerate Moscow and Beijing’s previously stated joint efforts to confront THAAD, though both of them are at a loss for how to properly respond to their wayward and increasingly reckless North Korean partner.High Stakes

All of the actors in Northeast Asia have significant stakes in the outcome of the Korean Crisis, not least of which is that they’d all like to avoid the worst-case scenario of a nuclear war. Here’s a brief look at the interests and agendas that the exclusively Asian countries are pursing, followed later by an examination of the US and Russia’s:

North Korea:

Pyongyang has the long-term goal of reunifying the Korean Peninsula under communist leadership, though its short-term motivations are more directly geared towards countering US-South Korean belligerence in staging their inciting war games (which this year happen to be the largest-ever) so close to the DMZ. The North’s nuclear and missile tests are muscle flexing aimed at showing the US that it will not fall victim to a Yugoslav-Iraqi-Libyan-style regime change war, but its predictable knee-jerk reactions feed into US strategy by gifting Washington the excuse for THAAD and other expected future deployments which are tactically much more about subverting Russia and China than North Korea.South Korea:

Just like the North, the South also wants to reunify the peninsula, albeit under capitalist leadership, and its latest moves are responses to what it perceives as (and is led by the US to believe is) the “North Korean” threat, ignorantly unaware of how its own actions play into and actually started this whole escalation cycle in the first place. In regional terms, South Korea endeavors to remain the pivotal economy wedged between its larger Chinese and Japanese neighbors, ideally retaining respectable and positive relations with each, but the country is inadvertently endangering its pragmatic and profitable high-level ties with China because of THAAD and strategically converging with Japan despite Seoul’s historical-territorial disputes with Tokyo (as per the US’ envisioned Northeast Asian NATO plans).

Japan:

This archipelago country hosts the most US troops anywhere in the world at approximately 50,000 and is a key component of the Pentagon’s “Pivot to Asia”. The US and the Abe government aspire to help Japan return to its World War II-era sphere of influence in East and Southeast Asia in order for Tokyo to become Washington’s premier “Lead From Behind” partner in the Asia-Pacific. In pertinence to the problems on the Korean Peninsula, Japan plays the role of an indirect antagonist by giving the US an “unsinkable aircraft” carrier for deploying ever more THAAD-like systems under the cover of ‘responding’ to North Korea but in reality to undermine Russia and China. Tokyo also has personal disputes with Pyongyang over the latter’s alleged abductions of Japanese citizens throughout the years, while North Korea viciously hates Japan for its brutal 35-year-long occupation between 1910-1945.China:

Beijing wants a nuclear-free and stable Korean Peninsula preferably united by peaceful methods and becoming a militarily neutral country. China does not want to see American troops on the Yalu River again under any circumstances, as this would present a national security threat of the highest caliber. Accordingly, it also wouldn’t tolerate pro-American United Korean troops there either. China wants North Korea to act as a buffer between itself and the US military and its proxies, but it recognizes that this said buffer region also carries with it inherent risks as well. Other than the fact that the Kim government is irresponsibly enabling the US to expand its strategically disruptive military footprint in the peninsula, its sudden and unexpected collapse could generate a sweeping flood of millions of “Weapons of Mass Migration” into China which could later be exploited by any pro-American United Korean government to press ancient historical claims in destabilizing this part of the People’s Republic.American Aims

While none of the exclusively Asian participants in the Korean Crisis want a hot war to break out, the US doesn’t necessarily have the same reservations despite having at least 80,000 troops stationed in total in Japan and South Korea, to say nothing of their many dependents (family, contract workers, etc.). The author isn’t suggesting that the US’ one and only goal is to spark a regional war, but just that it comparatively has the least to lose out of any of the countries involved (whether directly or indirectly), and that its military forces are more than capable of obliterating North Korea, although likely with substantial American casualties depending on how long and effectively Pyongyang holds out (which could include a suicidal last-ditch nuclear strike).

Accepting that the above scenario is the worst-case and least-likely one (at least for the time being), it’s much more relevant to discuss the more realistic reason why the US instigated the Korean Crisis. In the larger scheme of things: the US is hoping that its provocations against Pyongyang can drive North Korea into simultaneously providing Washington with the indefinite ‘justification’ for THAAD and thus transforming the country into a troubling security liability for Russia and China. If successful, then Washington could cleverly prompt Moscow and Beijing into taking on the burden of dealing with Pyongyang and consequently making Kim Jong Un the ultimate international pariah by turning his last remaining partners against him.This would amount to skillfully utilizing Russia and China as the US’ ‘cat’s paws’ in handling North Korea, as all parties would by then have a large degree of common ground between them in working towards the same ends (restraining Pyongyang), whether together or separately, no matter which means they go about in attempting to do so (barring of course the unacceptable unilateral use of force by the US). There’s nothing wrong with multilateral cooperation on such a pressing regional security issue as North Korea, let alone one with such profound global implications, so the reader shouldn’t misinterpret this as necessarily being the author opposing this potential eventuality per se, but just that the US certainly has ulterior motivations in prompting this scenario in order to promote its own self-interests.

Russian Recourse to Prevent Divide And Rule

US Interventions in World Politics: Infographic
© AFP 2017/ AHMAD AL-RUBAYE
It was earlier alluded to how the leading Eurasian Great Powers of Russia and China can ill afford to intensely focus on the Korean Crisis at this moment in time, and the title of the article does indeed refer to the latest events being part of the US’ next phase of pan-Eurasian containment. What’s meant by this select choice of words is that the US has already engineered serious strategic proxy crises against Russia and China in Eastern Europe (Ukraine), the Mideast (“Syraq”), and Southeast Asia (South China Sea), and that yet another major disturbance in a different corner of Eurasia – this time one which borders both Great Powers – would occur at a very inopportune time for them.Moreover, the Korean Crisis is unfolding concurrently with the intensification of the existing containment proxy battlegrounds, with the Balkans boiling, the “Cerberus” coalition of the US-Israel-Gulf teaming up once more against Iran, and Myanmar slipping back into all-out civil war in parallel with Daesh ominously rising in the tri-border Mindanao-Sulawesi Arc between the Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia. Understandably, if the incipient Korean Crisis was paired with a Central Asian expansion of the Hybrid War on CPEC, then the entire supercontinent would be embroiled in destabilizing conflicts (or threats thereof), which would surely create the perfect divide-and-rule existential challenge for the emerging Multipolar World Order.

The most realistic recourse against this insidious stratagem is for Russia to leverage its newfound diplomatic balancing role in Asia by urgently staging a diplomatic intervention aimed at calming tensions between the two Koreas in order to stem the American-encouraged spread of pan-Eurasian destabilization. Moscow enjoys excellent relations with Beijing, is in a promising rapprochement with Tokyo, and has unrealized by strong potential to better its ties with both Koreas, so it’s perfectly positioned to liaison and mediate between the four most directly affected actors. While the ongoing “deep state” war in the US has considerably diminished the prospects for reaching a New Détente in the New Cold War, Russia could still find a way to utilize any pivotally forthcoming diplomatic role that it plays in the Korean Crisis to its own bargaining advantage in attempting to secure a holistic and comprehensive ‘gentleman’s agreement’ with the US.At the end of the day, since all Eurasian diplomatic roads lead through Russia nowadays and the solution to seemingly intractable conflicts like Syria and Afghanistan is being actively discussed in Moscow, there’s no reason why Russia shouldn’t be at the center of organizing multilateral efforts aimed at resolving the Korean Crisis too and simultaneously strengthening its own “Pivot to Asia.”

Posted in USA, North Korea, South KoreaComments Off on The Korean Crisis, the US’ Next Phase of Pan-Eurasian Containment

Shoah’s pages

www.shoah.org.uk

KEEP SHOAH UP AND RUNNING

June 2017
M T W T F S S
« May    
 1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
2627282930