Friday, August 30, 2013

The Struggle for a Korean Peace Treaty: Dispatch From Seoul by GREGORY ELICH

Seoul, South Korea.
Sixty years have passed since the end of the Korean War, and still the sides remain technically at war. The armistice that ended hostilities was meant to be a temporary measure leading to the signing of a peace treaty. Within three months of the armistice taking effect, a political conference was to have been held “to settle through negotiations the questions of the withdrawal of all foreign forces from Korea” and the “settlement of the Korean question.” That conference never took place, and a peace treaty remains no closer to attainment than it was sixty years ago.
Given the growing tensions on the Korean Peninsula, Korean activists regard the signing of a peace treaty as an urgent goal. Several events in Korea marked the July 27 anniversary of the armistice, beginning with the Great International Peace March that began on July 4 at Jeju Island, where a naval base is under construction. From there, marchers made their way north to Seoul.
I was honored to join two of the most prominent and hard-working activists working on Korean issues, Tim Shorrock and Hyun Lee, in participating in the Symposium on Concluding a Peace Treaty on the Korean Peninsula, which was held in Seoul.
Shorrock, who writes for The Nation and Salon, was the first U.S. journalist to expose the full story of the Kwangju massacre. In 1980, South Korean troops crushed resistance to military rule through violent repression, killing many in the process. Shorrock interviewed people who had lived through those events. Through the Freedom of Information Act, he obtained documentation of meetings and contacts between the U.S. and the South Korean governments, which showed that the U.S. had given the green light for the crackdown. In recent years, Shorrock has exposed the extent of privatization of government intelligence work, a pattern that is representative of the trend throughout the Federal government. Shorrock is a member of the Working Group for Peace and Demilitarization in Asia and the Pacific and on the advisory board of the Korea Policy Institute.
Hyun Lee is a producer on the Asia Pacific Forum program on WBAI in New York, and a member of the Korean-American activist group Nodutdol and the Working Group for Peace and Demilitarization in Asia and the Pacific. She has also written for such publications as Foreign Policy in Focus. Lee impresses with her tireless dedication, and she contributed an enormous amount of time and energy in helping to organize events and to ensure their success.
On our first full day in Seoul, we joined Canadian political economist Michel Chossudovsky, Japan-based videographer James Corbett, Andy Hu, editor-in-chief for Beijing-based April Media, and Xiong Lei, a journalist and guest professor at Beijing Foreign Studies University, Tsinghua University, and Renmin University of China, for a series of media interviews.
Afterwards, we met officials of the Unified Progressive Party for a wide-ranging discussion at the National Assembly. The party currently has six members in the National Assembly (out of 300), a respectable total for an organization that receives little coverage in the mass media, and which finds itself the target of red-baiting. The Unified Progressive Party defines itself as “a party for laborers, fishermen and the working class,” and “the only one that identifies itself as a party for independence, peace and reunification.” In all, the party has around 100,000 members, and it is the members who set the party’s agenda. The top priority for the party is “peaceful reunification through implementation of the June 15 and October 4 Joint Declarations,” and along those lines it has been working assiduously on behalf of a peace treaty on the Korean Peninsula. Our discussion centered on the challenges facing the achievement of a peace treaty, as well as the work of the party in the face of smears by right-wing forces.
That evening, various delegations, including the 40-some strong Japanese delegation, met for a dinner hosted by the Korean Alliance of Progressive Movements, the co-organizers of the conference along with the Unified Progressive Party. Both organizations provided us with an exceptionally warmhearted hospitality that made a deep impression.
The Korean Alliance of Progressive Movements (KAPM) describes its mission as striving “to unify progressive movements,” since dispersed forces make social change difficult. The KAPM “struggles for a new society and for reunification, including struggles against neoliberal globalization, imperialism, and war, by rising above traditional solidarity struggles that have been limited to defending the basic rights of various sectors and classes.” The struggle is an international one, and the KPM “extends solidarity to the world. We clearly recognize that the global effects of neoliberalism and militarism must be countered by international solidarity of all peoples.”
Among those who sat at my dinner table was the Rev. Lee Gang-sil, a member of KAPM. Her husband, the Rev. Han Sang-ryol, was due to be released from prison the following month after serving three years in prison for violating South Korea’s National Security Law. This vaguely-written law can be – and often is – used to suppress the Left and to impose censorship and restrict the range of allowable discourse. The Rev. Han – co-founder of the Korean Alliance of Progressive Movements – was imprisoned for visiting North Korea to attend an event to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the June 15 Declaration on reunification, signed between South and North Korea in 2000. Han had visited North Korea on prior occasions to mark the anniversary. However, by 2010 the reactionary administration of South Korean president Lee Myung-bak had severed nearly all ties and agreements with its neighbor to the north. Lee imposed the National Security Law on a frequent basis to repress advocates of better relations between the two Koreas, and the Rev. Han was one of many victims.
The struggles of today connect with those of the past, and along those lines we began the next day by paying a visit to Seodaemun Prison, which was built in 1907 by Japanese colonial forces. As we walked through the rows of prison cells and viewed the torture chambers and execution building, the museum’s charming docent explained the prison’s role in the suppression of the Korean independence movement. The docent told us several touching stories of independence activists who had been imprisoned and then tortured and killed. After the Korean Peninsula was free of colonial rule in 1945, the prison remained in use for similar purposes while South Korea was under rule of right-wing dictatorships, and it did not close until 1987. Dissidents and leftists arrested for violating the National Security Law were imprisoned and tortured. With the advent of democracy in South Korea, prisoners are no longer tortured, but it remains an important task for the National Security Law to be rescinded.
We next visited the War and Women’s Rights Museum, which is dedicated to the suffering of women during wartime, with its main focus on telling the story of Korean “comfort women” forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese Imperial Army during World War II. The Korean Council for the Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan founded the museum last year, with the hope that others would learn from their experience, and the conviction that the fate of the comfort women should never be repeated again. After viewing the artifacts and displays, I watched an unsettling animated audio testimony of one survivor’s experiences.
On the afternoon of Friday, July 26, we attended the International Symposium on Concluding a Peace Treaty on the Korean Peninsula. The participants in the International Peace March had arrived in Seoul by now and were in attendance, and they received a rousing standing ovation from the audience and speakers.
Lee Jung-hee, chairperson of the Unified Progressive Party, welcomed the guests, and warned, “The potential for military confrontation has reached its climax. We could learn from these experiences that peace cannot be attained in an unstable environment under the armistice agreement. We need to declare an end to the war and conclude a peace treaty on the Korean Peninsula immediately. Our challenge is to create a stable peace system now.”
Oh Jong-ryul, chairperson of the General Assembly of the Korean Alliance of Progressive Movements, reminded the audience that it is always ordinary people who suffer the most in wartime. “Among 200,000 comfort women, I wonder how many women were from families of capitalists, the big landowners or pro-Japan noblemen. Among one million student soldiers conscripted for aggressive wars, how many soldiers came from families of capitalists, big landowners or pro-Japan noblemen?”
Michel Chossudovsky gave the keynote speech, and he talked of the total devastation inflicted on North Korea by American carpet bombing during the Korean War. Addressing U.S. geopolitical interests, he said: “Washington’s objective in Asia is to create political divisions, not only between North and South Korea, but also between North Korea and China. The ultimate objective is also to threaten China. In other words, the so-called Asia Pivot is a much broader process of militarization, which threatens Russia and China with nuclear warheads, and it’s geared toward the militarization of both East Asia and Southeast Asia.”
Hattori Ryoichi, a former member of the House of Representatives in Japan, argued that six essential steps are necessary to establish lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula: 1) an end to the Korean War through a peace treaty; 2) the establishment of a security standing committee comprised of representatives from the same nations that have been engaged in six-party talks on North Korean denuclearization; 3) a declaration by the two Koreas affirming each other’s social system, with no hostility; 4) mutual energy support; 5) a prohibition against independent sanctions; 6) and the establishment of a nuclear weapon-free zone.
Xiong Lei emphasized the importance of reciprocity and balance in achieving peace on the Korean Peninsula. “If one side has got three-fold guarantees while the other side faces three-fold threats and if one side has constantly staged joint military exercises to intensify the situation while the other side without any sense of security is demanded to disarm the most effective weapons in its mind, there will be no equity or justice to speak of, nor will it be possible to realize peace on the Peninsula.”
According to Park Sun-Song, a professor at the Department of North Korean Studies at Dongguk University and a former director of the Peace Center for Peace and Disarmament of the People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy, in the long process of normalization of relations hostile acts will first have to disappear. Then disarmament and denuclearization can take place, ultimately leading to economic cooperation between the two Koreas, which should reduce economic disparities.
Park Kyoung-soon, vice chairperson of the Unified Progressive Party, pointed out, “The key reason why the peace regime on the Korean Peninsula is not yet established is the U.S. hostile policy towards North Korea. The United States does not apply to North Korea the basic principles of international relations that one respects the sovereignty and peaceful coexistence of others. Instead, the United States defined North Korea as the axis of evil and is seeking a strategy to subvert North Korea.” Park added, “The outbreak of war on the Korean Peninsula is only a matter of time” if the current situation persists, and another war would threaten to destroy civilization on the Korean Peninsula. “That is why I emphasize the urgency of the peace treaty on the Korean Peninsula.”
Tim Shorrock warned, “As reflected in the U.S. mass media, the DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the official name for North Korea] is widely seen as a vassal of China that is run by crazy people with no claim whatsoever to national sovereignty. It’s not unusual to hear U.S. officials and even reporters talk casually about bombing the DPRK. These views, framed by decades of anti-communism and distorted by racism, deny the true history and nature of Korea on both sides of the DMZ and are in my opinion the biggest barriers to peace. We see these views reflected in U.S. foreign policy and, unfortunately, in the American progressive movement.”
Watanabe Kenju, president of the South Korea-Japan People’s Solidarity Network, argued that in order to dispel distrust and promote North Korean denuclearization, South Korea and Japan should offer the denuclearization of Northeast Asia, which would entail their rejecting the protection of the American “nuclear umbrella.” This would enable North Korea to proceed with denuclearization with an easy mind.
The presentation by Min Byung-ryul, member of the Supreme Council of the Unified Progressive Party, was action-oriented, and he called for a strengthening of international solidarity. Among his recommendations was that “various strategies for Asia” are needed “to be free from the U.S. forces.” The U.S. Asia Pivot presents “a very important challenge in Northeast Asia and for international solidarity.”
One of the most significant speeches at the conference was delivered by Joo Je-jun, director of the Policy Department of the Korean Alliance of Progressive Movements. Joo spoke of the growing militarization of the Korean Peninsula, pointing out that if the salaries of its soldiers are included, then the military budget of South Korea would rank among the five highest in the world. South Korea has recently been expending huge sums on the purchase of next generation weaponry from the United States and Western Europe. Joo revealed the astonishing statistic that 43 percent of U.S. weapons exports are going to South Korea.
As nearly three quarters of the weapons imported by South Korea come from the United States, Joo said, “This clearly explains why the U.S. created and strengthened tensions against North Korea in the last sixty years through the Korea-U.S. alliance and how big the profits are for the U.S. military-industrial complex.”
The biggest victim of this policy, he said, is the Korean people. “The money that ought to go into social welfare constantly flows to the defense budget,” placing South Korea at the bottom of thirty other OECD countries in terms of spending on social welfare.
The symposium ended with a talk by Lee Tae-ho, secretary-general of the People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy. Lee spoke of recent measures taken by the U.S. and South Korea. “The U.S. and South Korea are strengthening the nuclear umbrella with their absolute superiority in conventional arms and strategies. In this context, insisting on the abolition of the North Korean nuclear program is unlikely to resolve the situation. South Korea, the U.S., Japan and other neighboring countries as well as North Korea are not ready to abandon their nuclear deterrence policy. A nuclear deterrence policy results in another nuclear threat. The ineffectiveness of such unilateral measurement has been revealed in many cases such as the nuclear tests conducted by North Korea and deadlock situations in the Six Party Talks. It is time to take another stance unless South Korea wants to provoke North Korea’s militarization.”
To mark the anniversary of the armistice on July 27, South Korean, Chinese, Japanese, U.S. and Canadian activists travelled to the Demilitarized Zone. We held a rally at the site of the Bridge of No Return, where prisoners of war were exchanged after the Korean War. Among those who spoke at the rally was Andy Hu, who said, “We all know that the Korean War not just divided North and South Korea, but also contributed to postponing the reunification of China. And there are also those who suspect that the Chinese position to combat imperialism has shifted. And some say that China itself has become the aggressor in many aspects. And we’re here to tell you that spirit has not been lost and that the Chinese people do still firmly oppose all acts of aggression here or in any part of the world.”
We also stopped at the Dorasan Train Station, just meters from the Demilitarized Zone. The rail connection between North and South Korea was restored during the administration of Roh Myun-hun. It was ironic to see a photograph of President George W. Bush signing a railroad tie during his visit on February 20, 2002, given that the U.S. subsequently attempted to delay or block the reconnection of rail service. Yet South Korea persisted, and the first train since the Korean War travelled between the two Koreas in 2007. In recent years, trains ferried supplies along this line to the Kaesong Industrial Complex until it closed earlier this year.
We next went to the Yongsan military base in Seoul, which houses the headquarters of the United States Forces Korea. There we joined a demonstration to demand the signing of a peace treaty. Also joining the demonstration were our colleagues from the symposium and members of the Great International Peace March. The police were out in full force, and when marchers attempted to post signs on the wall of the base, the police swarmed in, snatched down the signs and formed a line with their shields up, to protect the wall from further “desecration.” Undeterred, the demonstration proceeded with great enthusiasm. Tim Shorrock was one of the speakers, and he told the crowd: “As an American, I say for South Korea to be a sovereign country this joint command has to end. And as an American, I must support Korea’s right to determine its own future free from foreign influence. The first step is an end to this joint command.”
When the demonstration was coming to a close, we went to Seoul Plaza to join a 25,000-strong protest against the intervention by South Korea’s National Intelligence Service (NIS) in the presidential election last December. Weeks beforehand, it had been revealed that the spy agency had used hundreds of internet IDs to upload comments and articles to smear labor activists and liberal and left political candidates as followers of North Korea. He chief of the NIS ordered agents to write articles and posts, and out over 5,000 posts that have been identified so far, more than 1,700 were direct attempts to sway the election in favor of the conservative New Frontier Party.
Demonstrations had been taking place on Seoul Plaza on a weekly basis, in ever stronger numbers and would continue to grow after our departure from Korea. By August 10, the weekly demonstration had grown to 50,000, entirely filling the plaza and leaving no space for the additional demonstrators who had come to join the protest. Since that time candlelight demonstrations have spread to towns and cities across South Korea.
In an apparent attempt to stifle the growing protests over the abuse of power by the NIS, on August 28, agents of the NIS raided the homes and offices of ten members of the Unified Progressive Party, including that of Assemblyman Lee Seok-ki. Three party members, including the party’s vice chairman, Hong Soon-seok, were placed under arrest and charged with treason.
In a press conference held on the day of the raids, party chair Lee Jung-hee charged the government with conducting a witch hunt. “This is an attempt to silence the candle-light protests as the truth of the fraudulent crimes of the National Intelligence Service are exposed, and voices demanding accountability from President Park Geun-hye intensify,” she declared. “The ruling forces, which talked about dissolving our party and tried to annihilate the progressive forces, have now set into motion their scheme to hold onto power.”
The Unified Progressive Party has a leading role in the mass protests against the NIS, and the repression appears to be an attempt to crush opposition. Certainly the demonstrations were having an effect. Both of the demonstrations I attended were the most inspirational I have ever participated in, bursting with energy and conviction and characterized by a militant spirit. The organizers were extremely efficient and capable. Koreans know how to do demonstrations, perhaps due to the experience of the long struggle to bring democracy to South Korea.
There is a scene toward the end of Bill Morrison’s film, The Miners’ Hymns, comprised of a series of clips of British mineworkers on the march. At one point, a march is shown led by children skipping with joy as the music on the soundtrack soars. It is a moment I find deeply affecting and one which illustrates that those who struggle for the rights of working people and against militarism are on the side of life. The demonstrations in Korea exude that same joyous spirit of resistance, and it was impossible not to feel deeply moved.
The struggle for a peace treaty on the Korean Peninsula will continue, and the international delegations at the symposium committed to working together in the future to achieve our common goal. The symposium’s International Peace Declaration outlined our aims:
We cannot continue with the instability of the past 60 years of the armistice. Now is the time to end the Korean War once and for all and open a new era of peace and cooperation.
1. Peace negotiations between North Korea and the U.S. must start at once, and a Peace Treaty must be signed to realize full and complete peace in the Korean Peninsula.
2. All relevant countries must stop military exercises and shows of force that damage Northeast Asia’s Peace and Cooperation and must lead efforts to establish a peace and cooperation regime.
3. South and North Korea must fully implement the South-North Korea Joint Declaration that was agreed upon and widely supported by international society!
Gregory Elich is on the Board of Directors of the Jasenovac Research Institute and on the Advisory Boards of the Korea Policy Institute and the Korea Truth Commission. He is the author of the book Strange Liberators: Militarism, Mayhem, and the Pursuit of Profit

Thursday, August 29, 2013

The mythology of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution and the Chinese ultra-left - Donald Parkinson |

The mythology of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution and the Chinese ultra-left - Donald Parkinson |

Cultural revolution propaganda poster
An account and critique of the Chinese Cultural Revolution, which portrays the "revolution" as a factional squabble within the Communist Party bureaucracy which enabled the working class to begin to assert themselves as an independent force for a time before being crushed by the state.
The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution is claimed by many Maoists as the highest point of communism in the history of mankind. Maoists such as the RCP and Kasama and even more anarchist leftists like Michael Albert see the event as evidence of the liberatory potential of Maoist thought. The New Left in general was enamored by the events in China and radical newspapers from the era are full of Mao portraits and quotes from the Little Red Book. “It is right to rebel” being taken up as a slogan made the Maoists seem like they were more anarchist than the anarchists, the “hardest” of the revolutionaries.
If anything, the Cultural Revolution exposes the poverty of Maoist politics. Maoism only promised “the right to rebel” to the extent that rebellion stayed within the confines of Maoism.
To call what happened during the years considered the height of the GPCR (66-69) a revolution, nonetheless a proletarian one, is certainly a misnomer. A more apt description would be that it was a bureaucratic power struggle that in many cases got out of hand. Gaps in authority were certainly created by Mao’s chaotic tactics of consolidating power and workers certainly took advantage of these gaps in authority. But in the end Mao’s Cultural Revolution wasn’t much different from Stalin’s – an attempt to solve the problems of socialism-in-one-country through purging the state leadership of corrupt “capitalist roaders” rather than changing the social relations that led these corrupt positions to develop.
The very concept of Cultural Revolution is foreign to Marx’s conception of revolution. Marx viewed proletarian revolution as a process that is not merely political but social. There is no separate category of Cultural Revolution differentiated from the revolution which transforms the totality of social relations.
Marxist-Leninist dogmatism claims that the expropriation of the bourgeoisie, nationalization of property and establishment of central planning under the rule of party eliminates the basis of class antagonisms. Yet it was clear that China in 1966 was no workers utopia that had ridden itself of all social contradiction. In Mao’s eyes the remaining contradictions of society were contained strictly within the political/cultural superstructure, for the economic base no longer contained class antagonism. Maoist theory claimed that the superstructure was “relatively autonomous” from the base and hence a “cultural revolution” was needed to purge the revisionist leadership within the CCP. This was not a Marxist theory of revolution, but rather a populist theory that was not dissimilar from Bismark’s Kulturkamf. READ MORE

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Asia Eyes The Arctic | The Diplomat

Asia Eyes The Arctic | The Diplomat

The human species is good at one thing, and one thing only.

Japan’s Debt Servicing Costs to Consume 21% of Budget | Pacific Money | The Diplomat

Japan’s Debt Servicing Costs to Consume 21% of Budget | Pacific Money | The Diplomat

Japan is not alone.
It is the system that is to blame.
And that system is called capitalism.
It is the Ism that will bring a global society to its knees, while a few percentile soar to the top.

Let’s Hope Xi Jinping’s a Maoist | China Power | The Diplomat

Let’s Hope Xi Jinping’s a Maoist | China Power | The Diploma


In the context of the Bo Xilai trial, much has been made about Xi Jinping’s Maoist tendencies in recent weeks. Earlier this month, for instance, the Wall Street Journalran an article about the potential for political reform under Xi that was entitled, “China's Leader Embraces Mao as He Tightens Grip on Country.” Similarly, the always insightful John Garnaut had a piece in Foreign Policy that rightly argued that Mao’s influence in the modern CCP has not ended with Bo’s downfall.
Xi’s Maoism has understandably elicited alarm in light of the enormous devastation Mao wreaked upon China throughout his lifetime. Indeed, Mao was not unlike the Imperial Japanese he fought against in that he claimed to free the Chinese nation from one form of imperialism, only to condemn it to a fate that was in many ways just as bleak.
But while Mao was certainly ruthless, he was also ruthlessly effective, fundamentally transforming China with astonishing speed multiple times during his rule. Of course, in Mao’s case these transformations were often ill-devised if not downright malicious. But Mao’s power, like all forms of power, was objective in the sense that it could have been used for good or evil.
Which is why Xi’s Maoism may not be a bad thing entirely. Of course, no one wants to see anyone gain as much absolute power as Mao had. Deng and the Eight Immortals were right to try and prevent any single individual from wielding as much power as Chairman Mao. But thanks in part to their efforts, it doesn’t seem like a realistic possibility that Xi will ever become the absolute dictator Mao was.  READ MORE

Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Mongol Horse: Supreme on the Steppe | Asia Life | The Diplomat

The Mongol Horse: Supreme on the Steppe | Asia Life | The Diplomat
Flickr (singerstone)
Yesterday we considered thecontrasts of modern Mongolian life and the nation’s post-1990 boom. With so much in flux these past few decades it is difficult to find elements of continuity – especially in the nation’s capital, Ulan Bator, where one-third of the Mongolia’s population lives and continues to build this young, burgeoning urban center.
But beyond the urban sprawl and clusters of gers (traditional portable houses) that fan out beyond the city’s limits it does not take long before the concrete gives way to grass and the crowds of people give way to herds of quasi feral herds of Mongol horses.
“They're everywhere, as common as cows on Western farmland,” Shatra Galbadrah, a resident of Ulan Bator who works as the Mongolian liaison for a 1,000-kilometer horse race called the Mongol Derby, told The Diplomat. “There is one main breed seen all over Mongolia. If you go 20 kilometers from any town they're all over the place. READ MORE

Friday, August 23, 2013

Are U.S. Alliances Hindering Integration in Asia? | China Power | The Diplomat

Are U.S. Alliances Hindering Integration in Asia? | China Power | The Diplomat
On August 8, I had the opportunity to attend the second China-South Korea strategic dialogue, which brought together scholars and diplomats from both countries. During the discussions, I got the feeling that the two countries’ representatives held almost opposing views on the contemporary roles of the U.S.-South Korea alliance. Chinese scholars believed that as a legacy of the Cold War, the continuation of U.S.-South Korea alliance was one of the main factors for tensions on the Korean peninsula and in Northeast Asia. In contrast, Korean scholars see the alliance as a linchpin for peace and stability on the peninsula and in Asia generally.
Evaluating the functions of the post-Cold War alliance system in Asia is important if we are to understand the roles of the U.S. in Asia, relations between the U.S. and Asian countries and relations among Asian countries. My own view is that U.S. Asian alliances are not only the product of history, but even more a reflection of the realities of current international politics in Asia. Certainly, the alliances have played a positive role in humanitarian disasters, preventing Japanese remilitarization and maintaining the balance of power on the Korean peninsula. But even as we recognize the positive elements, we should also be concerned about the growing adverse effects, which can be generalized as the following four points. READ MORE

China’s Troubled Myanmar Policy | The Diplomat

China’s Troubled Myanmar Policy | The Diplomat
People from Myanmar living in Malaysia shouts slogans during protest against Myitsone dam project, near Myanmar embassy in Kuala Lumpur

Korean economy may head for `perfect storm'

Korean economy may head for `perfect storm'

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Lius of Shanghai: A Chinese Family in Business, War and Revolution :: JapanFocus

The Lius of Shanghai: A Chinese Family in Business, War and Revolution :: JapanFocus

The eldest son, the father, and the second son at the beginning of the Sino-Japanese War shortly before the father fled from Shanghai leaving leadership of the family firm in the hands of these two young men, c. 1938. (Courtesy of the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences) - See more at:

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Friday, August 16, 2013

South Korea Goes “All In” on Submarines | Flashpoints | The Diplomat

South Korea Goes “All In” on Submarines | Flashpoints | The Diplomat

This week South Korea launched its fourth Type 214 submarine at a ceremony off the Coast of Geoje Island that was attended by President Park Geun-hye.
The ceremony, like the new submarine itself, was tinged with references to Imperial Japan’s colonization of the Korean Peninsula, and Seoul’s emergence as a power that will never again be forced to submit to such humiliation.
For instance, the submarine has been named Kim Jwa-jin, after a famous Korean independence fighter. Notably, the last submarine South Korea launched, the Ahn Jung-geun, was also named after a famous independence fighter.
In speaking at the ceremony, President Park declared “The Kim Jwa-jin submarine will not only contribute greatly to safeguarding our maritime sovereignty, but also become a symbol to promote our country’s defense science and technology.”
“I will not tolerate any kind of attempts at damaging our national interests and maritime sovereignty,” the ROK president vowed.
Indeed, the Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN) already operates 12 submarines and Seoul has ambitious plans for its underwater future. READ MORE

Smartphone Showdown: LG G2 vs. Samsung Galaxy S4 | Pacific Money | The Diplomat

Smartphone Showdown: LG G2 vs. Samsung Galaxy S4 | Pacific Money | The Diplomat

Monday, August 12, 2013

South Korea: Who Should Have Wartime Command? | The Diplomat

South Korea: Who Should Have Wartime Command? | The Diplomat
South Korea must decide if it is a sovereign country or just another colonial puppet of the U.S.A. !
The saga over U.S. OPCON – wartime control of the South Korean military – continues.
The continuing soap opera overthe US “OPCON” in South Korea – US operational control of the Southern military in a shooting war (presumably with the North) – rolls on. Seoul has recently requested another push-back of the date when it would re-assume OPCON from the Americans. This is the second such request, raising the obvious question of whether this should go forward at all. Does it make sense to replace a joint structure with something less joint, when it would still need to function as such in a conflict? Especially now that North Korea is a confirmed nuclear power and recently provoked some of the most severe tensions since 1950? (If you have never heard of this issue and do not know the debate, here is a pretty good place to start).
Back in 2006, the South Korean government first insisted on the reversion of OPCON by 2012; the U.S. agreed. As a sovereign state, the Republic of Korea is fully entitled to such choices, and the decision was marketed as such by the South Korea left, which held the presidency at the time. Korea’s sovereignty was being restored, America’s semi-imperial dominance was being curtailed, and so on. The national security ramifications were generally glossed over; instead the government played to nationalist Korean voters and latent anti-Americanism (thebeef protests would break shortly afterwards). And at the time, during the Sunshine Policy, North Korea seemed reasonably well-behaved. READ MORE