Category Archives: Koreas

Book review: The art of hating Uncle Sam in South Korea – Asia Times

In 1999 David Straub drew what would turn out to be a nightmare assignment, as he relates in an important and compelling new book. Straub’s posting to head the political section in the US Embassy in Seoul coincided with the beginning of a three-year period during which the South Korean news media engaged in “what seemed to be competitive reporting” to cast United States Forces Korea “in the worst possible light.”

First came widespread media and public outrage in response to a 1999 American Associated Press investigation that documented panicked US Army soldiers’ mass killing of suspected North Korean infiltrators in civilian clothing – who turned out to be innocent South Korean civilian refugees – in the early days of the Korean War 49 years earlier.

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“Thereafter, almost every week seemed to bring a new Korean report of some fresh American outrage, usually involving USFK,” Straub writes. The list of grievances – some of them blown far out of proportion, according to Straub’s account – grew to include even a fatal traffic accident in which GIs were involved.

Book review: The art of hating Uncle Sam in South Korea – Asia Times

N. Korea: U.S. Has Declared War – The Daily Beast

A top North Korean diplomat said on Thursday that the U.S. has “crossed the red line” and declared war against the country by placing the country’s leader Kim Jong Un on a list of sanctioned individuals in connection with alleged human rights abuses in the authoritarian state. Han Song Ryol, the top diplomat in charge of U.S. affairs at the North’s Foreign Ministry, said, “The Obama administration went so far to have the impudence to challenge the supreme dignity of [the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea].” He added, “The United States has crossed the red line in our showdown. We regard this thrice-cursed crime as a declaration of war.” North Korea, as a nation, has been sanctioned several times for its nuclear weapons, but Kim Jong Un had not been personally sanctioned before the U.S. announced this new measure on July 6.

N. Korea: U.S. Has Declared War – The Daily Beast

Kim says missile launch gives North Korea ‘capability’ to attack US in Pacific | Fox News

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un trumpeted the success of a powerful new midrange ballistic missile test that state media said Thursday propelled one of the weapons more than 870 miles high, saying it would allow strikes on U.S. forces throughout the region.

That ability would back up years of threats and boasts from North Korea and has long been a worry for the United States and its allies, Tokyo and Seoul. It explains in part North Korea’s tenacious testing of the Musudan missile, which was only a success after five failures in about two months. The missile’s potential 2,180-mile range puts much of Asia and the Pacific within reach.

Kim says missile launch gives North Korea ‘capability’ to attack US in Pacific | Fox News

Exclusive: North Korea restarts plutonium production for nuclear bombs – U.S. official | Reuters

North Korea has restarted production of plutonium fuel, a senior U.S. State Department official said on Tuesday, showing that it plans to pursue its nuclear weapons program in defiance of international sanctions.

The U.S. assessment came a day after the U.N. nuclear watchdog said it had “indications” that Pyongyang has reactivated a plant to recover plutonium from spent reactor fuel at Yongbyon, its main nuclear complex.

Exclusive: North Korea restarts plutonium production for nuclear bombs – U.S. official | Reuters

North Korea Threatens South’s Ships After Sea Border Chase – ABC News

North Korea on Saturday threatened to fire at South Korean warships if they cross into its waters, a day after the South’s navy fired warning shots to chase away two North Korean ships that briefly crossed a disputed western sea boundary.

In a statement released through state media, the General Staff of North Korea’s Korean People’s Army called the South’s action a “reckless military provocation” meant to kill the chances for dialogue between the countries.

The KPA said that the North Korean ships were unarmed and within the North’s sea territory when “many armed ships” from the South approached them and fired without warning.

North Korea Threatens South’s Ships After Sea Border Chase – ABC News

Retired U.S. commander: North Korea collapse not far off

A former U.S. Forces Korea commander says a North Korea collapse could take place sooner than expected.

“First off, I believe there will be strong provocations, strong attacks by North Korea that could quickly escalate into a much bigger conflict,” said retired four-star Gen. Walter Sharp, Stars and Stripes reported.

“Secondly, there will be instability in North Korea that I believe will lead to the collapse of North Korea much sooner than many of us think.”

Retired U.S. commander: North Korea collapse not far off

Obama’s Asian nuclear nightmare – POLITICO

Fueled by Trump’s rhetoric and North Korea’s threats, Japan and South Korea are eyeing nuclear weapons of their own.

North Korea is expanding its nuclear arsenal and upgrading its ballistic missiles. China is growing and modernizing its stockpile. Most strikingly, Pentagon planners worry that Japan and South Korea might explore developing nuclear arms of their own for the first time—promoted in part by the recent conclusion by U.S. and South Korean intelligence agencies that North Korea’s bizarre regime can now mount a small nuclear warhead on missiles capable of striking Japan and South Korea.

Obama’s Asian nuclear nightmare – POLITICO

Photos of every day life in North Korea – Tech Insider

In August 2015, Getty Photographer Xiaolu Chu toured inside the walls of North Korea. While in the notoriously secret country, visitors are instructed on what they can and cannot photograph. Custom agents screen any computers, hard drives, cell phones, and memory cards, prior to entering the country. While in the country, Chu was able to secretly take these photographs with his cell phone.

Photos of every day life in North Korea – Tech Insider

S.Korea protests North Korea’s massive water release from dam | NK News – North Korea News

South Korea criticized North Korea for releasing large amounts of water into the Imjin River on late Monday night, without any warning, resulting in unusually high water levels on the South Korean side of the river.

Seoul strongly urged that Pyongyang issued a clear warning before such discharges in the future, as similar incidents in the past have resulted in fatalities on the South Korean side.

No such casualties were suffered this time.

“We express our strong regret that North Korea released the water without telling South Korea first,” the Ministry of Unification (MoU) spokesperson said during the Monday regular briefing.

S.Korea protests North Korea’s massive water release from dam | NK News – North Korea News

N.Korea deploying ICBMs near Chinese border

The North has been constructing ICBMs bases near its border with China with the apparent aim of avoiding having its KN-08s destroyed by allies’ precision bombing in the event of a contingency, the report added.

U.S. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper also said in February that Pyongyang “has already taken initial steps toward fielding this (KN-08) system, although the system has not been flight-tested.”

It could be the North’s second missile to be operationally deployed without test-firing, after the Musudan intermediate-range ballistic missiles (IRBMs). The hostile state deployed the Musudans in 2007 without carrying out any test-firing, according to the Ministry of National Defense.

N.Korea deploying ICBMs near Chinese border