Tag Archive | "South Korea’"

South Korea, US Fail to Agree on Sharing Costs for USFK’s Stationing


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Seoul and Washington failed to agree on the amount of South Korea’s financial contributions for the stationing of the US Forces Korea (USFK) in South Korea, the Yonhap news agency reported, citing a government official.

“Again, nothing is agreed until everything is agreed … There’s still a big difference over the total amount [of Seoul’s financial contributions]. The two sides will continue consultations through diplomatic channels. If necessary, we can have [formal] negotiations next month,” the official said, as quoted by the Yonhap news agency.

The official noted that there would be no more formal talks in December.

The 10th round of negotiations on dividing the cost of the USFK’s stationing between representatives from South Korea and the United States began on Tuesday and lasted for three days.

Washington’s push for an increase in Seoul’s contribution is regarded as an obstacle to reaching the deal. In 2018, South Korea has paid some $859 million to maintain the US forces, which serve as a deterrent against possible aggression of North Korea, the news outlet reported.

Seoul has been sharing the cost for the stationing of about 28,500 US servicemen within the framework of the Special Measures Agreement (SMA) on cost sharing, due to expire at the end of this year, since 1991.

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S. Korean President Moon’s Pardon: No “Prisoners of Conscience”


S. Korean President Moon’s Pardon: No “Prisoners of Conscience” Were Included in the Special Pardon.

Official Statement About the Special Pardon on December 29, 2017

No prisoners of conscience were included in the Special Pardon.

On December 29, 2017, President Moon Jae-in granted a special pardon in his first year in office. Since he left out the chance on the National Liberation Day and Chuseok, we looked forward to his first amnesty. However, we cannot believe the result even if we get to the contents. He is the president who didn’t release a single prisoner of conscience. So, why did he drag on until the last working day of 2017?

President Moon did not keep the victims of the former government warm.

The Minister of Justice took credit saying this special pardon was designed from the very start to help those convicted of crimes while trying to make a living. But it is not different from the previous disappointing government. This special pardon ignored all prisoners of conscience including Lee Seok-ki and Han Sang-gyun as well as the victims associated with the Sewol Ferry Tragedy and THAAD. 

The conscience of the government stopped in front of prisoners of conscience.

A related official of the Blue House said,

“There was a concern that the special pardon would lead to national division.”

It sounds like a cowardly excuse. The government would rather say that it was afraid that the approval rating or votes in the local election in 2018 would fall. As the poet Song Kyung-dong said,

“Is the government of Moon Jae-in afraid of Park Geun-hye and Lee Jae-yong in prison?”

President Moon Jae-in must know that human rights issues should be decided by a majority decision.

However, the fact that he dealt with all results through electronic approval during his vacation comes to our attention.

December 29, 2017, will be recorded in history as the day when the conscience of the government which was established as a result of the people’s Candlelight Movement [and the impeachment of president Park] betrayed both the prisoners of conscience [including those imprisoned by President Park] as well as the Candlelight Movement. 

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

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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.


South Korea’s new President may turn to peace

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South Korea: Moon Angered by Arrival of Weapons


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.

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South Korea’s President Park Outmaneuvers Parliamentary Opposition; Protests Call for Her Immediate Ouster


Park Geun-hye, who faced imminent impeachment at the start of this week, blindsided opposition parties on Tuesday with what appeared to be an offer of resignation. And with this game-changing move, she has effectively put off impeachment and may even avoid it all together.

Here’s how it all went down-

Opposition parties drew up a motion for impeachment this week. They need a two-thirds majority for the motion to pass the National Assembly – which means they need at least twenty-eight members of the conservative Saenuri party to vote with them. And earlier in the week, it was looking like they had those twenty-eight votes in the bag due to an internal split within the Saenuri Party.

(The Saenuri Party is split between the pro-Park and anti-Park factions. The anti-Park faction, with the support of the conservative media, spent the past month trying to distance itself from the crisis-ridden president and calling on the leadership of the Saenuri party to step down. It intended to dissolve the party and reorganize and rebrand itself as a new conservative party in time for the next presidential election. In order to do so, however, it needs to buy time, and the impeachment process, which requires a Constitutional Court ruling that can take up to six months, seemed its best option.)

Park Outmaneuvers Opposition; Protests Amp up Call for Immediate Ouster

So it looked as though the anti-Park faction in the Saenuri party would go along with the opposition parties’ motion for impeachment, which the opposition was planning on presenting for a vote on Friday.

But that plan fell apart when Park broke weeks of silence on Tuesday to lob a monkey wrench in the process. She announced that she would be willing to step down before the end of her term if the National Assembly can ensure a “stable transfer of power” in accordance with “legal procedures.”

Park Geun-hye during her third address to the South Korean public since the eruption of the corruption scandal; Photo - getty images Korea

After Park’s announcement, the anti-Park forces in the Saenuri party had a sudden change of heart. They proposed to postpone the impeachment vote until December 9 to see if all parties can come to an agreement for a “stable transfer of power.” Meanwhile, the pro-Park forces have proposed a timeline of April 2017 for Park’s resignation, followed by a new election in June 2017.

So for now, Park remains in the Blue House. And if the opposition parties are unable to secure a two-thirds majority by December 9, impeachment, which had seemed a foregone conclusion just a few days ago, may become out of reach.

Embedded in Park’s announcement was an even more cunning ploy. Technically, Park’s public offer on Tuesday was not to “resign,” but to step down after a “reduced term” in accordance with “legal procedures.” Reducing the president’s term requires a constitutional amendment, which has been on the Saenuri party wish list for some time.

Without a viable presidential contender, the Saenuri party has been wanting to overhaul the country’s political system into a parliamentary system, which would relegate the president to a largely ceremonial role and empower the federal legislature to choose a prime minister, who would act as the government head. The Saenuri party, confident that it can eventually lure members of the centrist People’s Party into an alliance to gain the upper hand in the legislature, believes changing to a parliamentary system is its best bet to secure its ruling power long term. And discussion of legal procedures for reducing her term, as Park suggests, would open the door for the Saenuri party to propose the constitutional amendment and system overhaul it had been wanting to pursue all along.

A well-played hand by Park.

December 3, 2016 - 1.6 million South Koreans take to streets in Seoul to demand Park's ouster; Photo - Voice of People
December 3, 2016 - Sixth consecutive weekly mass demonstration - citizens have stepped up their demands and symbollically showing the growth of their candlelights to torches; Photo - Voice of People

But the wild card that Park, or her puppeteer, hasn’t yet accounted for is the power of the mass protests on the streets. This week’s events have fueled even more public anger and brought out 2.12 million people in protests across the country today in the sixth consecutive week of protests. South Korean media report 200,000 in Busan, 100,000 in Gwangju, 50,000 in Daejeon, 10,000 in Jeju, 12,000 in South Jeolla, 15,000 in Jeonju, 15,000 in Ulsan, 4000 in Sejong and 1.6 million in Seoul. Some held up images of Park Geun-hye in handcuffs and prison garb.

If the opposition parties’ gamble on impeachment fails on December 9, the line in the sand will only become clearer. It may finally consolidate the opposition around the people’s demands, which are–Park’s immediate resignation, investigation of the president for her involvement in the corruption scandal, and the dissolution of the Saenuri party.

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