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New Korea-US OPLAN calls for “preemptive attack,” R-E-S-P-E-C-T… and other things

– A South Korean military official who asked not to be named told the JoongAng Ilbo that Korea and the United States signed in June a new operation plan (OPLAN) which would guide joint military operations in the event of a war with North Korea. What’s interesting about this OPLAN is that unlike the OPLANs of the past, which called for the allies to respond to a North Korean invasion by falling back to assigned locations, waiting for reinforcements and counterattacking, the latest plan – called OPLAN 5015 – calls for launching an immediate counterattack sans retreat, and operations to take out North Korea’s missiles, nukes and other WMDs, something the JoongAng calls a “virtual preemptive attack.”

The military official said offensive punch has grown significantly with its development of nuclear weapons and missiles and the OPLAN was changed because the South would suffer too many losses unless the North’s offensive power was blunted quickly.

That’s not all. The military official said OPLAN 5015 also includes joint plans to respond to localized North Korean provocations. Seoul had been calling for such a joint action plan, but Washington had been worried that the South Korean military might overreact to a provocation and blow things up into a full-scale war. Now, however, the United States would provide support with its own weapons in the case of a localized North Korean provocation should such support be needed. The official said the United States’ basic position is to deter North Korean provocations and maintain the peace regime on the Korean Peninsula, but the new OPLAN greatly reflects the South Korean position.

MARMOT’S NOTE: Seems to me Seoul is trying to keep the North Koreans honest by scaring them with the United States, something the South Koreans have done before. Not sure how the Americans are going to feel about leaking this stuff to the press, though.

– Speaking of Korea-US military cooperation, SBS laments the fact that during the last crisis, South Korea was almost completely dependent on US intelligence gathering and strategic weaponry. It was the United States that detected the disappearance of North Korea’s submarine fleet. It was the United States that detected the movement of North Korean hovercrafts south towards the DMZ. Seoul had to rely on American strategic assets to respond to North Korea’s show of force.

SBS concludes with some quality whinging about how South Korea has been prevented by “surrounding nations” (but really, mostly the United States) from developing nuclear submarines and missile/rocket systems that could be used to deter the North or launch spy satellites into space. Mind you, these complaints are in large part justified IMHO, but me thinks a large part of the problem is simply bureaucratic inertia – Korea has been relying so long on US intelligence and strategic assets that it’s simply easier to keep doing so rather than change it. And perhaps that’s not such a bad thing – alliances, like all organizations, need a division of labor, and perhaps its more efficient to rely on the Americans to do what they do best – like high-tech intelligence gathering and strategic air and sea assets.

– Heo Yeong-il, the vice spokesperson for the opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy, has resigned after he posted on Facebook that he “respects” North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Well, he actually said he respected both South Korean president Park Geun-hye and Comrade Kim for making tough decisions during the latest crisis, and that he actually respected Park more for making the really tough call, but that was enough for people to call for his head. In announcing his resignation, he apologized to the two soldiers who had their legs blown off at the DMZ and explained that all he was trying to do convey to people how much he wanted peace and reunification.

PHOTO: Joint Korea-US exercises in 2011. © Republic of Korea Armed Forces

DPRK gov’t increasingly sensitive to public opinion: report

Yonhap reports that North Korea has seemed unusually conscious of public opinion under Kim Jong Un’s watch.

Take, for instance, North Korean military politburo chief Hwang Byeong So, the head negotiator during recent talks with the South in Panmunjeom, going on North Korean TV on Tuesday morning to brief the public on the results of the talks from the night before (see photo above).

Now, North Korea usually announced agreements with the South through media such as the KCNA or Rodong Shinmun, but you never see a chief negotiator going on TV himself to a) explain the deal and b) calm the public down after going all “semi-war” on them.

Ditto his attempt to spin the joint agreement, which doesn’t-technically-apologize-but-really-actually-apologizes for the land mine attack, in a way that makes it seem as if Pyongyang is sticking to its previous story, namely, that the land mine attack was a South Korean frame job.

According to Yonhap, this is in line with a noticeably growing number of measures taken under Kim Jong Un that seemed aimed at domestic public opinion.

When a high-rise apartment collapsed in Pyongyang in May of last year, the authorities reported it immediately in the KCNA and other media, blaming the accident on poor supervision by the builders. The Rodong Shinmun ran a photo of State Security Minister Choe Pu Il, whose ministry was responsible for the construction site, apologizing before local residents.

Just prior to Kim taking official power in February 2010, Prime Minister Kim Yong Il went before the public in December 2009 to calm things down when currency reform measures went sideways. Speaking before thousands in downtown Pyongyang, Kim apologized for the side-effects caused by the currency reform and closing of markets and promised that measures would be taken to improve things. Such a spectacle, Yonhap notes, is even rarer in North Korea than news of executions, such as the one that befell Korean Workers Party secretary Pak Nam Ki, the actual architect of the currency reform.

Yonhap says the measures show that Kim, who took power rather unexpectedly with hardly any preparation, is working hard to win public support.

I’ll give the North Koreans this – they really know how to troll

The Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland, North Korea’s equivalent of South Korea’s Unification Ministry, is engaging in some creative trolling by denying-but-not-really-denying responsibility for a land mine attack on a South Korean patrol in the DMZ that they apologized-but-not-really-apologized for.

At Uriminzokkiri, the committee quoted an unnamed South Korean civil group which released a statement claiming, among other things, that the mine attack was a frame-up by the South Korean government.

Let’s be clear – the North Korean government itself isn’t denying it planted the mines… not that it has ever actually admitted to having done so, mind you. All it is doing is simply quoting a South Korean civic group which is claiming North Korea didn’t plant the mines. Nudge nudge, wink wink.

Then we have Hwang Pyong So, head of North Korea’s military politburo and his side’s chief negotiator during the marathon talks at Panmunjeom, doing some trolling of his own on North Korean state TV:

During his appearance on the North’s Korean Central Television, the director of the General Political Department of the (North) Korean People’s Army, said, “South Korea promised to stop its propaganda broadcasting that it unilaterally resumed after creating a groundless incident. So, we decided to lift our semi-war state.”

He made the remarks after returning to the North after completing four days of marathon talks with his South Korean counterparts.

Hwang’s remarks that avoided using the word “landmine” were seen as an apparent effort to indirectly deny the North’s provocative act, which maimed two South Korean soldiers.

On a related note, Moon Jae-in, the head of South Korea’s largest opposition party, is criticizing national security adviser Kim Kwan-jin for telling the press that North Korea apologized for the mine attack and promised to take measures to prevent a recurrence when, according to the joint statement, it didn’t. He said this could harm trust with North Korea, although given North Korea’s subsequent antics, I think it’s safe to assume trust isn’t really a major concern beyond the Military Demarcation Line. I do worry, however, that the opposition may use Kim’s overenthusiastic explanation of the agreement results to explain away North Korean bad behavior, i.e., “North Korea wouldn’t be trolling us if Kim Kwan-jin hadn’t provoked them.” I haven’t seen anyone go there yet, but let’s watch and see.

Oh, and that link has a photo from Tony Toutouni’s Instagram feed on the sidebar. Christ, what a douche.

On the MUST READ list is Joshua Stanton’s breakdown of the agreement. Read it in its entirety, but here’s his executive summary which, I’m sad to say, is probably as good a postmortem as you’ll find:

They came, they talked, and they signed, but they solved nothing. Plus or minus one piece of paper, three severed legs, and an implicit promise of payment, we are where we were on the morning of August 4th, when Staff Sergeant Kim Jung-Won and Sergeant Ha Jae-Heon embarked on their fateful patrol.

As I predicted hours before the deal was announced, Pyongyang didn’t apologize, and Seoul will continue to pay. The loudspeakers will be switched off. There will not be an all-out war, and probably never would have been. The limited, incremental war will resume, only at a time and place more to Pyongyang’s advantage.

My guess is that most analysts who prefer not to label the Ikes and the Tinas will be pleased that “both sides” found a “face-saving” way to “de-escalate” a situation that one of the sides created with malice aforethought, and will now use for its financial and political benefit, but I can’t see how we’re any closer to lasting peace or security.

Oh, and if you’re the parent, spouse or child of a North Korean submariner, you’ll be happy to learn that all those missing subs have been returning to base.

PHOTO: South Korean marines looking for North Korean wood box mines on the coast of Ganghwado Island in 2010. © Republic of Korea Armed Forces.

All not so quiet on the DMZ front

OK, where to begin:

According to Yonhap, not only has North Korea sortied 50 submarines to God-only-knows-where, but it’s also moved about 10 hovercrafts from a base in the northern part of the country to West Sea base of Goam-po, just 60 km from the NLL and, incidentally, a Kaesong mandu‘s throw from Baengyeongdo. The Chosun Ilbo reported back in 2011 that the Goam-po base can house about 60 hovercraft in its hangers. If mobilized all at once, those 60 craft could land 1,800-3,000 North Korean special forces operators on Baengyeongdo within 40 minutes.

The Yonhap article also notes that North Korea has dispatches some elite special forces operators to the DMZ area, presumable to take out the loudspeakers Pyongyang hates so much.

Anyway, the North Korean military has been very, very busy, but South Korean military officials think this might be a good opportunity to figure out what North Korea’s operational manual for “semi-war” situations might look like.

– Yes, North Korea’s submarines are old and probably more a threat to their crews than anybody else, but they can still cause plenty of damage, as the 2010 sinking of the South Korean warship Cheonan well demonstrated. SBS reports that once submerged, North Korea’s diesel subs are notoriously difficult to find, and they could be put to use launching attacks on South Korean warships or shutting down South Korean ports by mining shipping lanes – both really dick moves.

SBS also did some whinging about how South Korea doesn’t have nuclear-powered subs it could use to permanently loiter outside North Korean sub pens. It also noted something else I’d never considered. South Korea, too, could also sortie its sub fleet, but since North Korea doesn’t have satellites and, presumably, would never know unless the South Korean Navy issued a press release, such a move would have little effect as a show of force.

– South Korea might not have nuclear subs, but you know who does? America! South Korea’s defense ministry spokesman said in a briefing this morning that South Korea and the United States were closely watching the “crisis situation” – his words, not mine – on the Korean Peninsula and were flexibly considering when to deploy strategic U.S. assets. And by strategic assets, we mean the B-52s in Guam, B-2 stealth bombers and nuclear-powered subs based in Yokosuka, Japan. The United States has deployed these assets during North Korea’s previous seven declarations of “semi war” in the past. For instance, it deployed a significant number of assets, including the aircraft carrier USS George Washington, to Korea after the shelling of Yeonpyeong-do in 2010.

The ministry spokesman’s statement may generate controversy, though, as high-level inter-Korean talks are currently underway, and if there’s anything guaranteed to make the North Koreans freak, it’s talk about U.S. strategic assets.

– Speaking of those talks, which are going on their fourth day, they don’t seem to be going much of anywhere, but who knows – the fact that they’ve kept talking for two days might itself indicate some progress. Or not.

More later…

PS: Yep, I’m still alive.

UPDATES

– Well, maybe the stuff about the hovercraft is BS (HT to Steve Miller. The blogger/podcaster, not the vocalist/guitarist):

This is odd as the Korean press is citing “multiple military officials” in the story about North Korea moving the hovercraft. Of course, they might not necessarily mean as much as you might ordinarily think.

– Speaking of bullshit, get a load of what the North has been saying about the South. Hey, whatever helps you sleep at night, comrades.

Oh, and North Korea has gone back to calling the South the “puppet government.”

– President Park said at a meeting this morning that unless North Korea apologizes and takes measures to prevent provocations from happening again, South Korea would take corresponding measures AND keep the loudspeakers in place.

– B-52s, butts and boobs. This is why I love the Dong-A Ilbo – it’s almost as good as an episode of “Strike Back.”

스크린샷, 2015-08-24 13:52:09

UPDATE II

Explosion at a U.S. military base in Tokyo (police are investigating) and a massive fire at Nippon & Steel Sumitomo Metal. Could all be an accident, of course (HT to Joshua Trevino).

Top Image: South Korean marines on coastal patrol, June 3, 2015. © Republic of Korea Armed Forces

Chinese Armour Moving Towards the DPRK Border?

When there are threats to the whole of Korea, can America realistically be relied upon to guarantee the integrity of all of Korea for Koreans?

chinese tanksThere are reports that China is shifting armour and military assets to the border region with North Korea (cite).

The Hong Kong-based Oriental Daily reported Saturday that internet users have been uploading photos of what appear to be PLA armored vehicles and tanks passing through the streets of Yanji, the seat of the Yanbian Korean autonomous prefecture in eastern Jilin province. The city, considered a key transport and trade hub between China and the DPRK, is less than 30 kilometers from the 1,400-kilometer border. The military deployment is believed to reflect how seriously Beijing considers the the current standoff between North and South Korea.

 

A Change Not Heard Before?

DMZ_shellSomething new that has not been heard before?

As most know, South Korea has turned their speaker broadcasts back on in response to the sneak attack perpetrated by DPRK soldiers, who planted mines on the southern side of the DMZ last week. The speakers have been off since 2004 and as Choe Sang-hun points out, this return to broadcasting seems to be a concern to the leadership in the north and to a degree of sensitivity that is different from the past.

Why?

The North is desperate to stop loudspeaker broadcasts because they can undermine the morale of front-line North Korean troops and its military’s psychological preparedness,” said Cheong Seong-chang, a senior analyst at the Sejong Institute in Seoul. Given the North’s sense of crisis and anxiety over the loudspeakers, it is highly possible for the North to attempt a military provocation if the broadcasts continue. . .  (cite)

Early this week, the South Korean Army fired about thirty 155-milimeter shells into North Korea, targeting a rocket launcher after an incoming missile was detected (cite).

The events of the coming weeks may prove interesting.

Looking Through The Big End of A Telescope – Dynastic Rule & Revisions To Be Made

what_happenedMurder and dynastic rule is a good idea that has persevered through the ages, especially now

The Sukarno Education Foundation, run by a daughter of Indonesia’s founding president, will award a peace prize to Kim Jong-un in September for his “peace, justice and humanity”.

Ms. Sukarnoputri herself was an elected ruler of Indonesia in turn, not unlike South Korea’s current president.

Ms. Sukarnoputri justified the North Korean leader’s suitability for the award:

“should be honoured for his fight against neo-colonialist imperialism . . . the allegations about human rights abuses are untrue. Those Western governments like to put ugly labels on North Korea.” (cite)

. . . and some Americans think electing another Bush or Clinton is a good idea.

So, you want to take a trip through memory and time?

The Chinese Communist Party wants to commemorate its supposed victory over Japan at the end of World War II, since it is a useful foil and has invited South Korean president Park to attend:

The government in Beijing will invite world leaders to this year’s commemorations of China’s “War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression as well as the World Anti-Fascist War,” the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said. (cite)

Some think she should go simply because Kim Jong-un might be there and the CCP is maybe keen on cultivating the future relations on their own terms.

What to do?

The comically tragic case of Kim Ryeonhee

This article is very long, but it was somewhere between a hilarious and an interesting read. To summarize, 46-year-old Kim Ryeonhee, landed at Incheon airport on September 16, 2011. By her own account, she lived a middle-class lifestyle in Pyongyang as the wife of a doctor until she got sick and decided to seek treatment in China.

In China, she found that the treatment was too expensive to afford, so she decided to just work at a restaurant and take the money back to North Korea. While working there, she came across a broker who took North Korean defectors to South Korea and told her that she could make even more money in the South. By the time she realized that she couldn’t just spend a few months working in the South and then leave, it was already too late, the broker had her passport and wouldn’t let her leave. She says that she didn’t try to escape anyway because it would have endangered the other defectors.

So, she arrived in South Korea and immediately declared that she wanted to be sent back. The National Intelligence Service wouldn’t send her back, though, so she decided to go through the process of becoming a South Korean citizen and then just fly to China. However, having already requested deportation to the North, she was refused a passport. She then tried to get North Korea to help her, calling the North Korean consulate in Shenyang five times.

This, along with supposedly having given information about other defectors to a North Korean spy outside of a soccer game, led to Kim being charged with violating the South Korean National Security Act and being charged with a spy. She was convicted but given a suspended sentence, which is how she met with the Hankyoreh reporter who wrote this.

In effect, Kim stands as a South Korean citizen with a travel ban, not entirely uncommon if you consider travel bans on those who want to fight for ISIS, for example, or anyone else with ongoing legal proceedings, as is the case for Kim. On the other hand, Kim and her lawyers have pointed out that South Korea does send back North Korean fishermen who drift into South Korean waters, while North Korea does the same. At the same time, there is no process for sending back defectors to the North, which is why Kim remains where she is.

The top comment on the article incredulously asks “So you were living a middle-class lifestyle in Pyongyang, left it to get a part-time job here, got caught and now you can’t go back? And you expect us to believe that?”. Clearly, something about this doesn’t add up, because how can Kim declare, over and over, that not only is she a North Korean citizen with no desire to live in the South, but that Kim Il-sung “is like my parents, my body, my soul”? Why would someone like that willingly come to South Korea? Why would she worry, as she did, about the other defectors she met in China, who presumably did not share her affection for Kim Il-sung?

One thing that appears to be true, though, is that Kim was vocal about not wanting to come to the South when she found out, while in China, that she probably wouldn’t be able to slip out of South Korea as easily as she could slip out of China into North Korea. Another defector testifies to this.  It’s possible that Kim simply made a dumb mistake in agreeing to come South and couldn’t undo it. It’s also possible, likely even, that she didn’t have the foresight, once having agreed to come to South Korea, that she could have kept her mouth shut and obtained a passport to go to China, if going back to North Korea was her goal.

On the other hand, if her story happened exactly the way she says it did, going public in South Korea with her story and having her photo (and name, if that’s her real name) published in South Korean newspaper can’t be good for her. She says that when she explained her situation to the North Korean consulate in Shenyang, they responded by asking “how can someone who received the generosity of the Fatherland commit a sin like this?” Clearly, she won’t just get to go back to her home in Pyongyang, so she must have motivations other than patriotism for wanting to go back to the country she didn’t seem all that concerned about in 2011.

If Kim is a spy, she doesn’t seem like a very good one. The five calls she made to the North Korean consulate were used as evidence in her espionage case, with the prosecution arguing that she received instructions from North Korean intelligence officials, but it seems overly obvious for a spy to simply dial up the consulate. If she was a spy, she wouldn’t declare her loyalty to the North before even coming to the South, but it seems even less likely that she would have made, and would have been taken, thousands of kilometres from China’s Shandong province to Laos and then Thailand, where she boarded a plane to Incheon.

Whatever the truth is, it seems safe to say two things about it. First, it probably will never be known in this case, because Kim’s story is so utterly unbelievable, in the literal sense of the word. Second, whatever her past and whatever her motivations, it’s safe to say that things have horribly gone wrong for Kim. She may have been a spy at some point, or perhaps was a spy whose mission went awry, but she seems destined to live in this limbo for the foreseeable future. If what she is saying is the truth, she appears to be an incredibly naive woman who made some bad decisions with horrible, irreversible consequences.

June: Struggle Against U.S. Imperialism Month

dprk_propEric Talmadge of the Associated Press has posted an interesting article on June, in the DPRK, as being the “Struggle Against U.S. Imperialism Month”, wherein the official history of the state’s struggle against America is remembered:

. . . it’s a time for North Koreans to swarm to war museums, mobilize for gatherings denouncing the evils of the United States and join in a general, nationwide whipping up of anti-American sentiment. . . the North Korean version of the war, including the claim that it was started by Washington, is radically at odds with that of the United States and often doesn’t even jibe well with documents released over the years by its wartime allies, China and the Soviet Union. . . At the Susan-ri Class Education Center, guide Choe Jong Suk, a somber middle-aged woman in a black-and-white traditional gown, gave a well-practiced lecture on the variety of tortures — 110 in all, she said — inflicted on Koreans by the U.S. that, she said, were “worse than the methods of Hitler.”

Which is far worse than the crimes comitted by the DPRK against its own citizens (Godwin’s Law here?).

You can read the full article here.

More Shizzilistic Science from the DPRK

DPRK_scienceThe Associated Press has reported that the DPRK has a cure and preventative for MERS, SARS, HIV/AIDS and likely the Ebola virus (cite).

. . . The official Korean Central News Agency said scientists developed Kumdang-2 from ginseng grown from fertilizer mixed with rare-earth elements. According to the pro-North Korea website Minjok Tongshin, the drug was originally produced in 1996.

I know this remarkable stroke of good fortune will be well recieved by the large community of AIDS-infected English teachers here in the ROK.

Kim Jong-Un – The Busiest Man in the DPRK

Busy? Yeah, I’m busy but not like Kim Jong-Un, who is so busy that he canceled his attendance in Moscow of the 70th anniversary of the Second World War’s end citing “internal Korean affairs” as being the cause.

What in Korea could be keeping him at home? It’s simple. He has been busy. . .

. . . The director general of North Korea’s Unhasu Orchestra and three members of the troupe were stripped naked and shot dead with machine guns in a public execution in Pyongyang last month, a resident of the North Korean capital said, as South Korea’s intelligence agency issued a tally of 15 executions ordered by leader Kim Jong-un so far in 2015.

watching_uand I almost choked when I read that these people were killed “while 400-500 members of the Pyongyang artistic community were forced to watch . . . There has been no execution done in this cruel way, so all people who saw this scene were shocked” and one of the people killed was a composer even!
Certain sources have stated that up to fifteen highly placed officials were executed this year by his busy-ness and there are even photos of some of it as well.
There are other North Koreans who are busy as well, like its diplomats when “A U.S.-organized event on North Korea’s human rights briefly turned into chaos at the U.N. on Thursday as North Korean diplomats insisted on reading a statement of protest (amid shouts from defectors) and then stormed out.” <link>
Yes, Kim Jong-Un has been busy shoring up his grip on power but, like many things in life, the harder you try to avoid something, the more likely it will become a visitor at night, when it is least expected.

KJU climbs Mt. Paektu, provides precious “pabulum” to press

Kim Jong Un scaled Mount Paektu, the highest mountain on the Korean peninsula, on Saturday, according to North Korea’s state-controlled newspaper, Rodong Sinmun.  The Rodong Sinmun further reported that Kim delivered a speech, three days after the celebration of Kim Il Sung’s 103rd birthday, on the significance of Mount Paektu.

Climbing the 2,744 m (9,003 ft) Mt. Paektu is no mean feat; doing so in a double-breasted wool overcoat and oxfords is… wait for it… legend-ary.

The western press has lapped up Kim Jung-un’s precious use of pabulum as reported in the Rodong Shinmun:  “When one climbs snow-stormy Mt. Paektu and undergoes the blizzards over it, one can experience its real spirit and harden the resolution to accomplish the Korean revolution. Climbing Mt. Paektu provides precious mental pabulum more powerful than any kind of nuclear weapon and it is the way for carrying forward the revolutionary traditions of Paektu and giving steady continuity to the glorious Korean revolution.”

Here is the piece as published by the Rodong Shinmun:

Kim Jong Un, supreme commander of the Korean People’s Army, climbed the top of Mt. Paektu at dawn of Saturday, together with the members of KPA fighter pilots’ expedition of the revolutionary battle sites in the area of Mt. Paektu.

With a broad smile on his face, the Supreme Commander said that the look of Mt. Paektu is impressive and the sunrise over Mt. Paektu is a charming and beautiful sight rare to be seen, adding the new morning of Korea dawns from Mt. Paektu.

“Mt. Paektu is the ancestral mountain and the sacred mountain of revolution associated with the soul of the Korean nation and suggesting the spirit of Songun Korea, and it is the cradle of the Korean revolution, the symbol of victory and the eternal beacon of the Songun (army-first) revolution”, he said, adding:

“When one climbs snow-stormy Mt. Paektu and undergoes the blizzards over it, one can experience its real spirit and harden the resolution to accomplish the Korean revolution. Climbing Mt. Paektu provides precious mental pabulum more powerful than any kind of nuclear weapon and it is the way for carrying forward the revolutionary traditions of Paektu and giving steady continuity to the glorious Korean revolution.”

KJU Summits Mt. Baekdu 01

KJU Summits Mt. Baekdu 02

The revolutionary spirit of Paektu, the spirit of the blizzards of Paektu, is the noble spirit the army and people of the DPRK should keep in their minds forever, he said, adding that they will have nothing to fear and they will do everything when they live in the spirit.

Saying that the Korean revolution started in Mt. Paektu is not yet over, he expressed expectation and belief that the fighter pilots would fully discharge their mission as heirs to the Songun revolution. And he had a photo session with them on the top of Mt. Paektu.

He was accompanied by Hwang Pyong So, Choe Ryong Hae, Kim Yang Gon, Ri Jae Il and Ri Pyong Chol.

KJU Summits Mt. Baekdu 03

KJU Summits Mt. Baekdu 04

In addition to republishing the Rodong Shinbum’s pabulum, the western press has focused on the obviously photoshopped images:

South Korean news agency Yonhap reported the Kim Jong Un visit to Mount Paektu was presented in a manipulated photo image, seen above. In the circled area, one soldier is standing without support. Photo by KCNA/Yonhap

South Korean news agency Yonhap reported the Kim Jong Un visit to Mount Paektu was presented in a manipulated photo image, seen above. In the circled area, one soldier is standing without support. Photo by KCNA/Yonhap

Perhaps a long-time Marmot’s Hole commenter could lend his Photoshop skills?


Okay.

What I want to know is where’s his cane?

I feel like KJU is sandbagging us like Yoda in Star Wars Episode III when all along he hobbles with a cane, and then…  BAM!  He opens up a can of whoop-ass on Count Dooku.

From now on, whenever I see Kim Jung-un, I’m going to think foppish Mr. Peanut carrying a cane as an affectation.  How long until he assumes the monocle?

An Evil Twin, Christian Hostages and Media Players that Can Get A Person Killed

Saenuri Party Chairman Kim Moo-sung has an evil twin.

He sounds like him and talks just like him and he is calling women to ask for money and is getting it.

The real Saenuri Party Chairman Kim Moo-sung is not amused, especially since he is not getting a cut and has warned people that this phone twin of his is evil and is actually a scam artist:

A number of people told me they received a phone call from me asking for money. Fortunately many did not wire the money as demanded to a bank account…The victims told me that the suspect’s voice and the way he talks on the phone were identical to mine.

Remember, if your phone rings and it is Kim Moo-sung asking for money, hang up on him.

The DPRK has taken prisoner two South Koreans in Dandong, China (not North Korea).

The DPRK alleges that the two are spies for South Korea but it turns out they are affiliated with a church around Dandong, thus this might explain why DPRK agents were allowed to apprehend the two South Korean citizens in Dandong, China – the same city that Kevin and Julia Garratt (Canadian couple that ran a coffeeshop) lived in.

What is the fifty-dollar gadget that can get a person killed in North Korea?

How about a hand-held media player called a Notel that can play DVDs or video files from memory sticks?

People are exchanging South Korean soaps, pop music, Hollywood films and news programs, all of which are expressly prohibited by the Pyongyang regime, according to North Korean defectors, activists and recent visitors to the isolated country. “The North Korean government takes their national ideology extremely seriously, so the spread of all this media that competes with their propaganda is a big and growing problem for them,” said Sokeel Park of Liberty in North Korea (LiNK), an organization that works with defectors.

From Russia, With Very Little in the Way of Love

Other than the PRC intervention during the Korean War, in Korea, Russia has had a rather devious hand in Korean affairs since attempting to install a proxy in Korea (Kim Il Sung) and now Putin’s Russia has decided to be friends with the DPRK, however, it becomes apparent that Russia had sold an SS-N-6 submarine-launched ballistic missile several years ago, which the North Koreans promptly have been reverse engineering and are now attempting to develop a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) based upon the Russian-supplied version, thus it is a disingenuous Russia that complains about South Korea installing a THAAD system in their country, complaining that it is “destablizing” . Russia and the PRC have helped create a potentially destablizing situation in Asia through their selling of weapons technology to the DPRK but, this did not stop the Russian Government from talking garbage:

. . . Such a development (regional THAAD defense) cannot but cause concern about the destructive influence of the United States’ global missile defense on international security . . .

Though the Russians have lost much through their aggression in the Ukraine, they are not above playing the perennial spoiler by using the DPRK as a proxy, befriending them simply to spite other countries like America .

As for the latest insult to humanity that is Russian foreign policy nowadays, Russia has invited Chinese and North Korean leaders to attend their WWII anniversary in Moscow, which might be one reason why Chancellor Merkel has decided to skip the event.

Also, over time, I’ve read quite a few comments from people that claim that the US would have been more active in dealing with the DPRK if they had oil – well guess what?

They’ve might have lots of oil too and a good bit more of natural resources that could keep a Kim Dynasty in power for a long time – that is, if they can get it out of the ground and without the direct help of China or dealing with commodity price fluctuations.

100 Years of Beauty: Korea

Following up their December 2014 viral video 100 Years of Beauty in 1 Minute:  USA , those clever folk at cut.com have released their fourth installment in the series, 100 Years of Beauty in 1 Minute:  Korea.

The videos show an actress/model in time-lapse motion undergoing a century of makeup, hairstyle, and attitude changes representative of the beauty standards and zeitgeist for each decade of the last 100 years for each depicted country and culture.

The first two videos in the series looked at American trends for both white and black women, which seemed like easy and natural choices.  The third video, released in February, intriguingly spotlighted Iran’s beauty trends for women.  In an equally intriguing choice, cut chose Korea’s for March.

Here is the first video, depicting white American female beauty, in the series:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LOyVvpXRX6w&w=560&h=315]

Although the model of course ages no more than eight hours over the course of the video shoot, she seems to represent beauty representative of different aged women in the videos.  For example the representative look seemed late 20ish for the ’50’s and high school senior/late teens for the ’80’s.

Here is the video for 100 Years of Beauty – Korea:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5SWHjWtykns&w=560&h=315]

I’m glad I wasn’t here in the ’90’s.

The Korea video splits in the ’50’s, depicting the political separation and split in beauty trends for the North and the South.  Immediate comments from my small, unscientific, not random sample include “Those Yalu girls really knock me out”, “they leave the South behind”, and “…that Pyeongyang is always on my mind”.  One stammered, “I want back in the DP, back in the DP, back in the DPRK.”

There is no word yet whether cut will feature beauty representative of males or transgenders in the series.

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