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This page includes materials on the stationing of US forces in ROK, MD, ROK reaction to US DPRK policy, etc. but does not attempt to go into wider US-ROK relations.
Nuclear reactors issue, KEDO, IAEA, etc. are currently on the nuclear programme page
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“We Pray, Peace Now, End the War!” - 70 days of global prayer for Korean Peninsula to be announced
World Council of Churches invites to the event announcing 70 days of global prayer for peace on the Korean Peninsula on 6 February at 11.30 CET at the Ecumenical Centre in Geneva.
A global prayer campaign for peace on the Korean Peninsula will occur from 1 March to 15 August, lasting 70 days and inviting hundreds of thousands of people worldwide to say: ““We Pray, Peace Now, End the War!”
Launch event of the global prayer campaign will take place in Seoul, with corresponding events the same day in Geneva and Washington DC on 6 February.
S.Korea Mulls Joint Drills with U.S. in California
By Yu Yong-weon
February 03, 2020 13:39
The South Korean military is mulling joint exercises with U.S. troops in California, which would require a large operation transporting tanks and other equipment there.
Large-scale joint drills here were suspended after the first U.S.-North Korea summit in June 2018, and frontline artillery training has been scrapped under an inter-Korean military agreement from September 2018.
"The government hopes to transport tanks and artillery by ship to the National Training Center at Fort Irwin in the Mojave Desert in California to conduct practical training with U.S. troops," a government source said Sunday.
"This will cost a lot and won't happen until 2022," the source added.
So far South Korea has sent only 10 to 200 troops a year to Fort Irwin, rising to 300 this year.
A military source said, "There have been fewer field drills above the regimental level and, among other things, fewer training exercises using tanks and armored vehicles in compliance with the inter-Korean military agreement and an agreement signed at the U.S.-North Korean summit."
Military authorities say the plan is aimed at improving the effectiveness of joint training with a U.S. military unit that will be deployed with the U.S. Forces Korea on regular rotation to take advantage of the superior facilities at Fort Irwin.
But observers suspect this is merely an expensive way of compensating for the closure of artillery training sites here.
It will probably cost billions of won to send scores of tanks and self-propelled guns on landing ships to the U.S. mainland (US$1=W1,188).
Former Joint Chiefs of Staff deputy chairman Shin Won-sik said, "I doubt the effectiveness, because there are big differences between the terrains and climates of the Korean Peninsula and the Californian desert."
[Joint US military] [US global strategy] [Pawn]
U.S. Spy Planes Monitor N.Korea
By Yang Seung-sik
January 29, 2020 09:56
U.S. special operations aircraft have been flying over the Korean Peninsula to keep up pressure on North Korea as it appears to limber up to a fresh provocation.
The last such plane was a C-146A Wolfhound tactical transport aircraft that repeatedly flew between Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek and the West Sea and Japan last weekend, a military spokesman here said Tuesday.
The C-146A is normally used to transport plainclothes U.S. special troops to operations chiefly in the Middle East and Africa. Last week an MC-130J Commando special operations tanker that is also used to carry special forces buzzed Japanese skies.
An MQ-4C Triton high-altitude drone arrives at Andersen Air Force Base in Guam on Sunday, in this photo from the U.S. Navy.
A flurry of their activities were traced on CivMilAir, a Twitter account tracking civilian and military aircraft.
The U.S. also recently deployed an MQ-4C Triton high-altitude drone with the Seventh Fleet, whose area of operations includes the Korean Peninsula.
A U.S. military spokesman said, "The introduction of MQ-4C Triton to the Seventh Fleet area of operations expands the reach of the U.S. Navy's maritime patrol and reconnaissance force in the Western Pacific."
[US NK] [Surveillance] [Special Forces]
North Korea Reiterates End to Test Moratorium
North Korea will no longer observe its self-imposed moratorium on nuclear and long-range missile testing, a counselor to Pyongyang’s mission at the United Nations in Geneva said Jan. 21. The April 2018 moratorium was designed to “build confidence with the United States,” but given that Washington “remains unchanged in its ambition to block the development” of North Korea, Pyongyang has “no reason to be unilaterally bound” by its past commitment, Ju Yong Chol said.
[US NK Negotiations] [Stalemate] [Moratorium18]
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U.S. Deploys 2 Aircraft Carriers Near Korean Peninsula
By Cho Yi-jun, Yang Seung-sik
January 20, 2020 09:45
The U.S. nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt left its home port of San Diego on Friday and headed to the West Pacific and South China Sea where the USS Ronald Reagan is already deployed.
The Roosevelt is affiliated with the 3rd U.S. Fleet that controls the area from the East Pacific and the U.S. west coast and was previously deployed in waters near the Korean Peninsula between late 2017 and early 2018 to pressure North Korea.
It joined the Reagan and USS Nimitz in U.S.-South Korea joint drills in the East Sea in November 2017 and sailed with the 7th Fleet, which patrols the West Pacific and East and South China Sea.
The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt leaves San Diego for a deployment on Friday. /Courtesy of U.S. Navy
Washington merely said that the Roosevelt is headed to the "Indo-Pacific," but military insiders believe it will conduct operations near the Korean Peninsula. The carrier group includes the Aegis-class destroyer USS Pinckney, which is capable of shooting down intercontinental ballistic missiles.
"The move appears aimed at responding to North Korea's ICBM threat and to escalating military tension just like in 2017," a military source here said.
Kevin Schneider, the new commander of the U.S. Forces Japan, told the Yomiuri Shimbun on Sunday that changes have been spotted in North Korea's military position and rhetoric over the last few months, making it the most imminent security challenge in Northeast Asia.
[Escalation] [US NK policy] [China confronation]
CNN Homes in on Korean 'Racism'
By Jo Jae-hee
January 20, 2020 10:50
CNN accused South Koreans of "the most bizarre criticism of a U.S. ambassador in recent memory" over the peculiar accusation here that Harry Harris' mustache evokes memories of Japan's occupation of Korea.
In a piece Friday titled "Racism, history and politics: Why South Koreans are flipping out over a U.S. ambassador's mustache," CNN said, "Harris was born in Japan to a Japanese mother and American father, who was a Navy officer, and some online commentators have pointed to Harris' heritage along with the mustache in their criticisms."
"But Harris isn't Japanese, he's a U.S. citizen. And calling him out for his Japanese ancestry would almost assuredly be considered racist in the United States."
Harris was the first American of Asian descent to lead the U.S. Pacific Command and was appointed to his current post in July 2018.
"South Korea is a homogenous society without racial diversity like the United States," CNN pointed out. "Mixed-race families are rare and xenophobia remains surprisingly common."
It was Minjoo Party lawmaker Song Young-gil who compared Harris to the mustachioed former Japanese viceroy to Korea, garnering some plaudits in the local Twittersphere. Wartime emperor Hirohito also sported a mustache, as did fascist dictator Gen. Hideki Tojo.
US ambassador's moustache gets up South Korea's nose
Harry Harris has been criticised for his facial hair, which reminds many South Koreans of the days of Japanese colonial rule
Justin McCurry in Tokyo
Fri 17 Jan 2020 03.12 GMT
Tensions may be running high on the Korean peninsula, but Harry Harris’s facial hair is vying with denuclearisation as the defining theme of his tenure as US ambassador to South Korea.
Harris, a former navy admiral who was born in Japan to a Japanese mother and an American navy officer, has been accused of insulting his hosts by growing a moustache that reminds many South Koreans of the days of Japanese colonial rule.
Japan’s 1910-45 rule over the Korean peninsula is a continuing source of resentment in South Korea, whose relations with its neighbour plummeted last year amid disputes connected to their bitter wartime history.
Social media users in South Korea launched their criticism of Harris’s appearance soon after he was appointed in July 2018, with some noting that during colonial rule all eight Japanese governors-general had sported moustaches.
The 63-year-old Harris told reporters in Seoul last week that he was being singled out because of his background.
Trump called for Seoul evacuation at height of North Korea tensions, new book says
“My moustache, for some reason, has become a point of some fascination here,” he said, according to reports. “I have been criticised in the media here, especially in social media, because of my ethnic background, because I am a Japanese-American.”
[Harry Harris] [Banality]
U.S. Urges N.Korea to Talk
By Cho Yi-jun
January 14, 2020 09:48
The U.S. has "reached out to the North Koreans" to ask it to resume denuclearization talks, according to a senior White House official on Friday.
In an interview with news website Axios, White House national security adviser Robert O'Brien said, "We've reached out to the North Koreans and let them know that we would like to continue the negotiations in Stockholm that were last undertaken in early October."
"We've been letting them know, through various channels, that we would like to get those [negotiations] back on track and to implement [North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's] commitment" to denuclearization, he added.
In a statement issued Saturday, North Korea's long-time nuclear point man Kim Kye-gwan signaled a microscopic thaw, saying the regime received a birthday message for Kim Jong-un "directly through a personal letter" from U.S. President Donald Trump.
O'Brien said, "All we know is we were told we were going to get a Christmas gift and the Christmas gift didn't come. And so I think that was an encouraging sign."
Cheong Wa Dae's national security adviser Chung Eui-yong (right) meets with his U.S. and Japanese counterparts -- Robert O'Brien (center) and Shigeru Kitamura -- in Washington on Jan. 8, in this Tweet from the White House.
North Korea dropped a heavy hint at a fresh provocation late last year by threatening the U.S. with a "Christmas gift" unless sanctions were eased.
Axios commented, "It appears President Trump is again trying to lean on what he has described as his warm personal relationship with the brutal North Korean dictator."
But Kim Kye-gwan in his statement also said that it is foolish to hope for the resumption of talks or try to create such an atmosphere based merely on the personal relationship between Kim Jong-un and Trump.
[US NK Negotiations] [Stalemate] [Robert O'Brien]
Trump Wishes N.Korea's Kim Jong-un a Happy Birthday
January 11, 2020 08:06
U.S. President Donald Trump has sent a happy birthday message to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, who is believed to have turned 36 Wednesday. It is the first recent reported contact between the two leaders amid stalled nuclear talks.
Trump asked that South Korea deliver the birthday message to Kim, according to South Korea's national security adviser, Chung Eui-yong, who met briefly with Trump this week in Washington.
[Trump] [Personal relationship] [Kim Jong Un] [Protocol]
US-DPRK relations in crisis as Trump administration refuses sanctions relief
Loud & Clear Interviews 25 December 2019
The improvement in relations between North Korea and the United States have stalled, as North Korean leaders have grown frustrated by an increasingly neoconservative foreign policy coming from the US and by a lack of sanctions relief. Washington, meanwhile, is angry that the North Koreans appear unwilling to give up their nuclear weapons program. And the North Koreans are promising a “Christmas present”for Washington. Emanuel Pastreich, founder and director of The Asia Institute, a pan-Asian think tank, and Simone Chun, a fellow at the Korea Policy Institute and a member of the Korean Peace Network, join the show.
[US NK Negotiations] [Stalemate] [Sanctions]
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