Category Archives: Koreas

North Korea Transfers Missile Goods to Iran During Nuclear Talks | Washington Free Beacon

North Korea supplied several shipments of missile components to Iran during recent nuclear talks and the transfers appear to violate United Nations sanctions on both countries, according to U.S. intelligence officials.

Since September more than two shipments of missile parts have been monitored by U.S. intelligence agencies as they transited from North Korea to Iran, said officials familiar with intelligence reports who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Details of the arms shipments were included in President Obama’s daily intelligence briefings and officials suggested information about the transfers was kept secret from the United Nations, which is in charge of monitoring sanctions violations.

North Korea Transfers Missile Goods to Iran During Nuclear Talks | Washington Free Beacon

NORAD Chief: North Korea Has Ability to Reach U.S. With Nuclear Warhead on Mobile ICBM – USNI News

North Korea has the ability to launch an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of hitting the West Coast of the U.S. with a nuclear weapon from a mobile launcher, according to a Department of Defense intelligence assessment cited by the head of NORAD in a Tuesday press briefing.

Not only does the Pentagon worry that the road mobile weapon — the KN-08 — is able to launch with reduced warning from inside North Korea but also that the current regime has advanced its nuclear weapons technology enough to arm the ICBM with an effective warhead.

NORAD Chief: North Korea Has Ability to Reach U.S. With Nuclear Warhead on Mobile ICBM – USNI News

US Cites Growing N. Korea Long-Range Missile Threat

President Obama’s National Intelligence Director recently told the U.S. Congress that North Korea has made advancements toward developing a long-range ballistic missile that could reach the U.S. At the same time, a possible deployment of a U.S. missile defense system in South Korea is being debated, but for officials in Seoul, these two issues are not necessarily related.

In written testimony to Congress, James Clapper, the U.S. National Intelligence Director, last week said that North Korea has taken steps to deploy a long range, inter-continental ballistic missile (ICBM) called the KN-08 that will be capable of reaching the U.S.

US Cites Growing N. Korea Long-Range Missile Threat

North Korea Advances Along The Nuclear Path: Washington Should Switch From Coercion to Engagement

North Korea continues along the nuclear path. A new report warns that Pyongyang could amass a nuclear arsenal as large as 100 weapons by 2020. With that many warheads the North would move from marginal local player to significant regional power in the same league as India, Israel, and Pakistan. Iran’s potential program, currently the subject of frenzied negotiation, suddenly looks much less threatening.

Washington has no realistic strategy to deal with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Some policymakers have advocated offensive military action, but that likely would trigger a war which would devastate South Korea. In contrast to Iran, U.S. presidents long ago stopped intoning that “all options” are on the table. The price of war simply would be too high.

North Korea Advances Along The Nuclear Path: Washington Should Switch From Coercion to Engagement

South Koreans Divided on Reactions to Knife Attack on U.S. Ambassador Mark Lippert – NYTimes.com

The knife attack last week on the American ambassador to South Korea, Mark W. Lippert, set off an outpouring of good wishes here for both the envoy and Seoul’s alliance with Washington.

But the response, led largely by conservative South Koreans, has provoked a backlash, with accusations that the government of President Park Geun-hye and its supporters are “worshiping” America and politicizing the case to discredit their critics.

Yet it did not take long for a counterreaction to kick in.

“This is too much! What they did was almost like god worshiping,” one blogger said. Another compared the wave of “I love America” feelings to shrines that ancient Koreans built to worship China for sending troops to help fight Japanese invaders.

… “But this scene makes me sick at the stomach. They are way overdoing it, and it actually will damage the image of the Americans and the alliance among Koreans.”

South Koreans Divided on Reactions to Knife Attack on U.S. Ambassador Mark Lippert – NYTimes.com

The reaction is mixed because quite a lot of South Koreans don’t particularly like America. Older South Koreans like America but the young ones don’t. My impression is that the South Korean people are tipping more and more into the anti-American category. Although, current polls show that South Koreans hold a mostly favorable view of the US – about 80%. That view is not very stable. Back in 2003 that view was even less than 50%.

I sense that many South Koreans will say the politically correct thing about America – that they hold a favorable view. However, they’re lying. Just give them an excuse to say how they really feel. Germans are like that too. Ask a German to pick his favorite (America or Russia), and he is going to need to some time to think it over. He wants to say Russia but knows he should say America.

Anti-Americanism in Democratizing South Korea | Brookings Institution

Although most South Koreans profess to hold favorable views of the United States, the phenomenon of anti-Americanism in this “pro-American” country is well known.

David Straub, who served as the head of the political section at the U.S. embassy in Seoul for three years, analyzes the arc of increasing anti-American sentiment from 1999 that climaxed in 2002 in massive demonstrations over the accidental killing of two schoolgirls by a vehicle driven by American soldiers. Straub argues—using case studies of major incidents during the period—that anti-Americanism was not simply a reaction to U.S. actions, but was powerfully embedded in a longstanding Korean national narrative of victimization at the hands of great powers, magnified by the election of a left-national government and media dynamics in the Internet age.

Anti-Americanism in Democratizing South Korea | Brookings Institution

The curious anti-Americanism of South Korean movies

So here is a little social science fun on the Korean movie industry. I live in Korea, so inevitably I watch the films; the geopolitical ones are the most interesting for international relations types. And if there is one trope I notice again and again (perhaps because I am an American), it is the preposterous American villain scenarios the Korean film industry just adores. There’s always a rogue American soldier or defence official ready to sacrifice Korea in the name of US global domination. Here are the most preposterous of the last decade:

Welcome to Donmaekgol (2005)

North and South Korean soldiers in the middle of the Korean War stumble across each other in a remote village untouched by the war. There they learn that the war was just a big misunderstanding (there’s no mention of Kim Il Sung or the communist invasion) and that the real enemy is the Americans who will imminently bomb the peaceful villagers. To the south, Korean officials arguing against the raid are over-ruled by the arrogant American air staff. But thankfully those Northern and Southern soldiers, who have since found their shared Korean-ness, work together to resist the air raid and save the idyllic village from American aggression.

The curious anti-Americanism of South Korean movies

I wonder how much of the the current international order is some kind of illusion?

North Korea May Get 100 Nuclear Bombs, Researcher Says – Bloomberg Business

North Korea may have as many as 100 nuclear arms in five years and become capable of mounting them on a range of road-mobile missiles, a U.S. researcher said.

Joel Wit, who researches North Korea at the U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University, made the projection Feb. 24 at a seminar in Washington. In an e-mailed analysis to Bloomberg News, he said his moderate projection for North Korea’s nuclear stockpile is for it to grow to 50 bombs by 2020 while the country develops a new generation of road-mobile medium- and long-range missiles tipped with nuclear warheads.

North Korea May Get 100 Nuclear Bombs, Researcher Says – Bloomberg Business

Russia is turning North Korea into its agent of mischief

Russian President Vladimir Putin is bent on restoring not only the old Soviet Union’s borders, but its sphere of influence and client states. States such as East Germany and North Korea were particularly useful in they insulated the Soviet Union from another World War II-style attack.

If you view Russia as continually under threat, as Putin and his allies do, you want the protection of those satellite nations back.

Russia is also looking for an Asian provocateur. Russia’s current ambition is centered on the Ukraine. An expansionist Russia could very much use an ally in Asia that preoccupied the United States, Japan, and South Korea with its sporadic, violent outbursts.

In that respect, North Korea fits the bill perfectly.

Russia is turning North Korea into its agent of mischief

North Korea Flight Tests New Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missile | Washington Free Beacon

North Korea conducted the first flight test of a new submarine-launched ballistic missile last month, defense officials said this week.

The flight test of what the Pentagon is calling the KN-11 missile took place Jan. 23 off the coast of North Korea from a sea-based platform—not a submarine—located off the coast of the communist state, said officials familiar with reports of the flight test.

U.S. intelligence ships and aircraft monitored the test and tracked the successful missile firing.

Additional details of the flight test could not be learned. A Pentagon spokesman declined to comment on the test, citing the sensitivity of information about North Korea’s SLBM program.

North Korea Flight Tests New Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missile | Washington Free Beacon

North Korea developing submarine-based missiles: US think-tank | Navy & Maritime Security News at DefenceTalk

“Development of a submarine-launched missile capability would take the North Korean nuclear threat to a new level, allowing deployment far beyond the Korean peninsula.”

Recent satellite images offer fresh evidence of North Korea developing a marine-based missile system that would give the nuclear-armed state a survivable second-strike nuclear capability, a US think-tank said Friday.

The commercial satellite pictures suggest the conning tower of a new North Korean submarine — first seen in July last year — houses one or two vertical launch tubes for either ballistic or cruise missiles, the US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University said.

“The boat could serve as an experimental test bed for land-attack missile technology which, if successful, may be integrated into a new class of submarines,” the institute said in an analysis posted on its closely-followed 38 North website.

Development of a submarine-launched missile capability would take the North Korean nuclear threat to a new level, allowing deployment far beyond the Korean peninsula.

North Korea developing submarine-based missiles: US think-tank | Navy & Maritime Security News at DefenceTalk

North Korea’s Nukes Are Scarier Than Its Hacks – Bloomberg View

A new analysis of North Korea’s nuclear program by a group of top U.S. experts, led by David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security, estimates that North Korea could have enough material for 79 nuclear weapons by 2020. The analysis, part of a larger project called “North Korea’s Nuclear Futures” being run by the U.S.-Korea Institute at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced and International Studies, has not been previously published. Albright said the North Korean government is ramping up its production of plutonium and highly enriched uranium, speeding toward an amount that would allow it to build enough nuclear weapons to rival other nuclear states including India, Pakistan and Israel.

“North Korea is on the verge of being able to scale up its nuclear weapons program to the level of the other major players, so its critical to head this off,” Albright said in an interview. “It is on the verge of deploying a nuclear arsenal that would pose not only a threat to the United States and its allies but also to China.”

North Korea’s Nukes Are Scarier Than Its Hacks – Bloomberg View