Free Korea

    • North Korea’s mining industry is collapsing, and steel may be next
      OVER THE LAST YEAR, THE BRAVE COVERT CORRESPONDENTS of the Daily NK and Rimjin-gang have reported from inside North Korea on the effects of sanctions on North Korean industry. It’s now clear that those effects have been severe. That’s good news, because North Korea’s mining and steel industries are closely linked to its military and its WMD programs. It’s also terrible news, because a lot of people who worked in those industries are now living through some very hard times. In Musan in far north Ryanggang Province, a UN ban on iron exports had largely shut down North Korea’s largest iron ore ... read more
      Source: Free KoreaPublished on 2018-11-13By Joshua
    • Moon Jae-in chases Kim Jong-un while South Korea’s economy burns
      Just over a year ago, Bloomberg Opinion published an op-ed under the title of “Can South Korea Save Liberalism?” It purred that Moon Jae-in was “charting an entirely contrary course in economic policy than much of the rest of the developed world” that was “unapologetically … dependent on the kind of taxing and spending conservatives loathe.” “If successful,” it hypothesized, “the experiment could alter how governments tackle the most challenging problems of our day.” As recently as June, The Diplomat published an article explaining that Moon’s economic policy was meant to unburden households of excessive debt by putting more income ... read more
      Source: Free KoreaPublished on 2018-11-02By Joshua
    • DOJ indicts Singaporean businessman for conspiring to violate North Korea sanctions
      The U.S. Attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York has indicted Singaporean national Tan Wee Beng for laundering money on behalf of two sanctioned North Korean banks—Daedong Credit Bank of Panama Papers infamy, and Korea Kwangson Banking Corporation of Dandong Hongxiang infamy. Both banks have been designated and blocked for years under Executive Order 13382, for proliferation financing. Both banks are also designed by the U.N. Security Council. You can read the indictment here and the Justice Department’s press release here. The counts include conspiracy to violate the IEEPA (the statutory authority for U.S. national sanctions), bank fraud, ... read more
      Source: Free KoreaPublished on 2018-10-29By Joshua
    • Moon Jae-in’s unilateral sanctions violations are decoupling South Korea’s alliance with the U.S.
      A FEW JOURNALISTS HAVE (if belated and partially) figured out that Moon Jae-in’s promises to Kim Jong-un would violate a series of U.N. Security sanctions. The latest example of this is Moon’s promise to start rebuilding a railroad connection to Kaesong, North Korea before the year ends. Let’s go to the resolutions to see what provisions this most clearly offends, starting with UNSCR 2321 … “32. Decides that all Member States shall prohibit public and private financial support from within their territories or by persons or entities subject to their jurisdiction for trade with the DPRK (including the granting of ... read more
      Source: Free KoreaPublished on 2018-10-17By Joshua
    • From Sunshine to solar eclipse: Can Moon Jae-in censor his way to reunification?
      FOR MORE THAN 20 YEARS, THE STATED PREMISE OF THE SUNSHINE THEORY of “engagement” with the regime in Pyongyang has been that economic incentives and integration would gradually draw it into the community of civilized nations and spur political reform, disarmament, and peace. The Sunshine Policy and its progeny promised that the gentle suasion of liberalization would win over even those responsible for “crimes against humanity, arising from ‘policies established at the highest level of State,’” including as complete an extirpation of freedom of speech, religion, and press as any regime in human history has ever enforced. But how can a political ... read more
      Source: Free KoreaPublished on 2018-09-24By Joshua
    • The U.S.-Korea alliance is “in jeopardy” & it’s not even (mostly) Trump’s fault
      MAKING THE ROUNDS IN WASHINGTON THIS WEEK IS THIS MUST-READ REPORT, in Tokyo Business Today, by Stanford Professor Daniel Sneider: “Behind The Chaos Of Washington’s Korea Policy.” The report is based on Sneider’s discussions with insiders familiar with the administration’s North Korea negotiations and policymaking, and yes, you should be worried: [T]he spoken, and unspoken, aim of most professionals implementing North Korea policy is to hold off President Trump from meeting North Korean leader Kim Jong Un again. They worry about a repeat of the June spectacle in Singapore when Trump made significant concessions that undercut their attempts to ... read more
      Source: Free KoreaPublished on 2018-08-29By Joshua
    • New head of S. Korea’s ruling party once said North’s abuses were “not something other countries can intervene in”
      ON SATURDAY, SOUTH KOREA’S RULING “DEMOCRATIC” PARTY PICKED LEE HAE-CHAN as its new Chairman. Lee, who previously served as Prime Minister under Roh Moo-hyun, promised “unwavering efforts toward … inter-Korean peace.” The Joongang Ilbo calls him “a staunch liberal.” Lee replaces Choo Mi-ae, another “liberal” who was fond of making public threats to sue opposition politicians for criminal libel. In South Korea, the term is also broad enough to include the President’s Chief of Staff, Im Jong-seok, who as far as anyone can tell from his public silence is an unreconstructed sympathizer of North Korea’s ultra-nationalist totalitarianism, who once led a violently ... read more
      Source: Free KoreaPublished on 2018-08-28By Joshua
    • Why the domestic troubles of Trump & Moon are grave news for Koreans
      POLITICIANS DO THEIR WORST DIPLOMACY WHEN THEY’RE WEAK AT HOME. SCANDAL TEMPTS THEM TO SEEK GLORY ABROAD. The hyenas of the world’s ecosystem see them limp and decide to prey on them, or on the calves they can’t protect. Of Mr. Trump’s troubles, you already know plenty that I need not repeat here. Whatever your view of those troubles, they aren’t going away, and if you correctly acknowledge their political element, they’re apt to be more serious next January. The North Koreans know this, and given their successful flattery and manipulation of Mr. Trump thus far, it’s a sure bet ... read more
      Source: Free KoreaPublished on 2018-08-24By Joshua
    • If the deal-maker didn’t make a deal & the peace-maker didn’t make peace, could Twitter be wrong?
      DONALD TRUMP’S MOST LOYAL ADMIRERS ARE READY TO AWARD HIM A NOBEL PEACE PRIZE. These people actually believe that Agreed Framework III proves his hype about what a great deal-maker he is. Moon Jae-in’s most loyal admirers are ready to award him a Nobel Peace Prize. These people actually believe that the Panmunjom Summit proves his hype about what a great peace-maker he is. It often seems that everyone on Twitter but me belongs to one of these tribes, which despite their temporary tactical alliance, generally hold each other in contempt. Each tribe can be right in its appraisal of the ... read more
      Source: Free KoreaPublished on 2018-08-22By Joshua
    • A new report says South Korea spends more to influence Washington than Israel, China & Saudi Arabia combined
      IN WASHINGTON, THERE IS GROWING UNEASE ABOUT how far and how fast South Korea’s anti-anti-North Korean President, Moon Jae-in, is moving to undermine the pressure of U.S. and U.N. sanctions before Pyongyang takes meaningful steps to disarm. The unease is greatest in Congress, where there is also unease that both Moon and Trump have done so much to legitimize a tyrant who would, in a more just world, be hauled before a tribunal and sentenced to spend the remainder of his life eating stewed vegetables. But with Moon now openly violating U.N. sanctions — and probably U.S. law — why ... read more
      Source: Free KoreaPublished on 2018-08-21By Joshua
    • Guest Post: Finlandizing freedom’s frontier
      The following guest post is submitted by Dr. Tara O. I’ve left Dr. O’s post in its original pdf format. Click to read: ~   ~   ~ Seoul Vulnerable DMZ Abandonment and Destruction of ROK Mil Capability 2018-8-17 Share 0 Tweet 0 Google Plus 0 reddit 0 Email 0Shares ... read more
      Source: Free KoreaPublished on 2018-08-20By Joshua
    • The Myth of Maximum Pressure: Why Trump’s North Korea sanctions strategy must change or fail
      If you’re a journalist or scholar who writes about North Korea, you’re apt to think that the Trump administration really did impose more-or-less “maximum” pressure on Kim Jong-un, although this was never really true. If your understanding of sanctions is based on a 1980s concept of sanctions as trade blockades that require the cooperation of every customs inspector at the country’s border, you’re also apt to harbor several other misunderstandings about how sanctions work, and consequently, to add to the torrent of flawed journalism and commentary about North Korea and sanctions. You’re apt to measure sanctions’ effectiveness in terms of ... read more
      Source: Free KoreaPublished on 2018-08-16By Joshua
    • South Korea has been caught violating 3 UN resolutions this week (so far)
      South Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade now admits that it first suspected that subsidiaries of its national power company were importing North Korean coal as early as October 2017. For those of you who don’t do math, that was ten months ago. The result of that extensive ten-month investigation? Despite all the red flags that should have put everyone involved in this transaction on notice that they were buying North Korean coal, the South Korean government cleared its banks, the power companies, and (naturally) itself of any wrongdoing and charged three small-time importers with falsifying the certificates of origin ... read more
      Source: Free KoreaPublished on 2018-08-15By Joshua
    • South Korea implicated in large-scale violations of U.N. coal, shipping sanctions against North Korea
      This week, a scandal is burgeoning in South Korea that a wholly owned subsidiary of the nation’s largest power company purchased large quantities of North Korean coal in violation of the coal export ban of UNSCR 2371. The other day, I tweeted about a Korean-language report in the right-leaning site Pennmike, indicating that a Belize-flagged ship carrying North Korean coal was spotted in the port of Pyeongtaek. We’ve since learned that this violation was part of a broader, long-standing, illicit trade. An opposition lawmaker claimed Sunday that three more foreign vessels suspected of carrying North Korean coal, a banned ... read more
      Source: Free KoreaPublished on 2018-08-07By Joshua
    • Kaesong is a buffalo jump for amoral politicians & unlawyered cretins
      Mark Lambert, who is “U.S. State Department official in charge of Korean affairs,” and who is also a mensch, is in South Korea this week, where he will meet with Korean officials, and also with “a group of South Korean businesspeople involved in inter-Korean economic projects.” Over the course of 15 years, this blog has followed the various get-broke-quick buffalo jumps that promoters, most of them amoral politicians who specialize in throwing away other people’s money, euphemistically call “inter-Korean projects.” Whoever knows the history of inter-Korean projects or invests there without learning it, and who still invests in North Korea anyway, proves ... read more
      Source: Free KoreaPublished on 2018-07-26By Joshua