New Eastern Outlook

New Eastern Outlook
Sat, 03 Jun 2023 10:59:17 +0000

1. Read more about the “lanti-leaflet law” and the activities of Park Sang-hak and Co

Korea anti-leaflet law

After the publication of the piece on "Three Steps closer to the Red Line," the author was asked to elaborate on the situation pertaining to the anti-leaflet law and the activities of Park Sang-hak and his "Fighters for a Free North Korea.

We depicted the biography of Park Sang-hak in our previous article dealing with him, including attempts at terrorist attacks from the territory of the PRC with the help of drones, which he recognized himself, and the fact that, according to defector Hong Gang Chol, in their circle the plan to deliver objects infected with coronavirus to the North was quite discussed: "People in the defector community did talk about it. Sending contaminated items will only hurt other Koreans. Basic human decency tells you that even an enemy should not be treated that way."

In 2020, Park's activities caused problems in inter-Korean relations. More precisely, the "Olympic thaw" prohibited hostile actions against each other, but for a while the South did not prevent the leaflet-launchers, in parallel explaining to the North that it was a democracy and they could not just go ahead and ban it. Against this background, from April to June 2020, the Fighters launched a total of 500,000 leaflets to the North.

As a result, Kim Yo-jong virtually slammed her fist on the table, after which the North blew up the inter-Korean communications office in Kaesong. She also promised a similar retaliation if the leaflet launches continued. After this, Moon Jae-in regained his senses and did what he should have done in the early days of the Olympic thaw. In July 2020, the Ministry of Unification revoked the licenses of two North Korean defector groups, including the Fighters for Free North Korea, saying that their leafleting campaigns were "seriously impeding" unification efforts and threatening the safety of South Koreans in the border areas.

Park Sang-hak was, roughly speaking, stripped of his accreditation (which deprived the Fighters of the right to various benefits available to registered organizations and made fundraising from sponsors difficult) and dragged through the courts, and an additional clause was added to the law on inter-Korean exchanges that banned the launch of leaflets across the border as an act potentially dangerous to residents of the border areas from which the launches took place. Under the new ban, violators face up to three years in prison or a maximum fine of 30 million won ($23,700).

The explanation is simple – the northerners have repeatedly promised to respond to such launches with fire. And there is a high probability that the balloon launchers will depart and the North Korean bullets and missiles will be "intercepted" by the locals. The punishment was quite substantial, but Park Sang-Hak did not relent and, depending on the political situation, sometimes the police detained the "activists," but more often they managed to launch balloons.

Of course, the law has been widely criticized by Western "human rights" organizations, which have been feeding Park Sang-hak, and by conservative officials, including Yoon Suk-yeol's administration. His unification minister, Kwon Young-se, criticized the law as malignant and a violation of the right to freedom of expression even before he took office.

Not surprisingly, after the conservatives came to power, Park felt secure in announcing that he was temporarily suspending the dropping of leaflets and propaganda materials in the DPRK. Instead, they will send medications that can help North Koreans in the fight against COVID-19. In fact, instead of medication they chose vitamin C and a cheap painkiller/antipyretic Tylenol, and the anti-Pyongyang propaganda was present anyway.

In all, during 2022, Park said to have sent balloons with leaflets to the North nine times.

The Ministry of Unification responded each time the flyers were launched with demands to refrain from the practice, but each time these were exhortations rather than harsh measures. In June 2022, A spokesman for the ministry, for example, said that such actions violated the law on inter-Korean relations, but in response to a question about whether punishment would follow, he said that relevant bodies would take care of it.

And although on July 7, the police (once again) launched an investigation into the actions of members of the organization that violate the law on the development of inter-Korean relations adopted under the previous administration of the Republic of Korea, there was no talk of Park being taken into custody.

On September 23, 2022 ministry spokeswoman Lee Hye-jong said that the government was concerned that some organizations continued to send leaflets despite repeated calls from the authorities to refrain from such actions. The ministry urged activists to refrain from sending leaflets amid lingering fears that such a campaign could lead to escalation of tension on the peninsula, and promised to take action if Pyongyang staged a "provocation" in response to the launch of leaflets.

Even when Park was apprehended and interrogated in October 2022, he was not detained, and a ministry spokesperson told reporters on condition of anonymity: "We fully understand the group's efforts to assist the North Koreans, but as the government seeks inter-Korean cooperation in the field of health, we have repeatedly publicly urged them to refrain (from launching), given that this will be real help to the North Koreans."

Two trials were initiated at the same time. The "fighters" filed a judicial protest against the decision to revoke their accreditation. However, in September 2022, the Seoul Administrative Court upheld the decision of the lower-instance court, stating that the launching of the leaflets was against the public interest of ensuring security in the border areas. On December 8, 2022, the Court of Appeals also ruled in favor of the ministry's 2020 decision to revoke accreditation.

However, on May 3, 2023, the Supreme Court overturned the decision of the lower courts, additionally stating that "sending leaflets to North Korea plays a positive role in showing North Koreans the reality of their nation's regime, calling attention to their human rights situation." In addition, "is difficult to justify or prove that leafleting puts people's lives in any danger."

Thus, Park Sang-hak celebrates victory and promises "together with other like-minded human rights activists to continue spreading truth and freedom in the North."

At the same time, on November 10, 2022, 23 right-wing NGOs submitted a petition to the Constitutional Court that demanded that the law on inter-Korean exchanges be revised and the 2020 amendments be removed from it. An important point in their petition was the opinion of Unification Minister Kwon Young-se, which argues that sending out such materials is "political activity" and its prohibition may constitute a violation of freedom of political activity or expression.  In addition, the terms used in the law, including those that prohibit any activities in border areas that could cause "injury to life and limb and serious danger," are worded so vaguely that the law could be applied arbitrarily.

On March 9, 2023 Kwon Yong-se again criticized the law, as absolutely malignant, and noted that if the ruling People's Power party wins the 2024 parliamentary elections, the relevant bans will probably be removed from it.

Thus, the law on banning leaflets is currently awaiting the decision of the Constitutional Court; in parallel, the Conservatives are waiting for the parliamentary elections, where, if they manage to get a majority, they will try to change the law through the parliamentary procedure. In any case, the author believes that the law will be repealed and this will untie the hands of the hawks. The speed of the process may indeed vary, but it is not a question of "if," but "when."

Konstantin Asmolov, PhD in History, leading research fellow at the Center for Korean Studies of the Institute of China and Modern Asia at the Russian Academy of Sciences, exclusively for the online magazine "New Eastern Outlook."

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New Eastern Outlook
Sat, 03 Jun 2023 05:59:45 +0000

2. Iran still rolling with the punches

Iran still rolling with the punches

Another wave of Western provocations cannot harm the Iranian regime.

Instead of rapprochement with the West in order to ease the burden of anti-Iranian sanctions and to push its conditions under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Iran chose to increase its engagement with Russia and China after the start of Russia's special military operation in Ukraine. This situation has brought the JCPOA negotiations in Vienna to a standstill. Consultations on the nuclear deal are in intensive therapy mode at best.

Despite unprecedented pressure on Tehran and its economy from Western governments, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and his clerics and military will not retreat from their hard line to please local or international critics. This is due to the fact that since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Iran has developed a multi-level political system based on theocracy combined with democratic elements. Over time, this structure has become stagnant and slower to adapt to changing demands.

Under these conditions, externally provoked protests and unrest, coupled with the degradation of the country's economic situation, have become widespread and are attracting increasing attention from international observers. However, as practice shows, Iranian demonstrators receive only rhetorical support from the West and cannot count on the US and EU to provide practical assistance to overthrow the regime. Moreover, open support for the protest movement by Western countries could undermine public confidence in the opposition itself and provoke retaliation from the Iranian government, which has experience in suppressing unrest.

It should be noted here that the Ayatollah regime was originally very closely linked to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). This paramilitary structure was adapted and equipped to deal with such unrest. The tandem between the government and the IRGC was cemented by the pragmatic nationalism of the Iranian elite, tired of the Pahlavi Shah's rule.

Thus, the West is left to prey on the financial disadvantage of the Iranian population, which has lately, due to the frantic inflation rate (about 50%), been resulting in labor unrest and ethnic tensions. Thus, the most intense unrest was recorded in the Kurdish northwest of the country, in the Sistan and Baluchestan Province inhabited by non-Persian-speaking Sunnis, and the Azerbaijani-populated provinces of Ardabil, as well as East and West Azerbaijan. This has provoked Tehran's strikes against Iraqi Kurdistan, as well as a diplomatic crisis with Baku.             Tensions in the oil sector, as well as in other industries such as farming sector, metallurgy and food processing, have also taken on a pro-Western tone. The confrontation between the regime and the opposition culminated in the death in custody of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in September 2022. The incident sparked a new wave of demonstrations and pressure from Europe, criticizing the local authorities for human rights violations. The consequence was Germany's cancellation of export credits stimulating trade with Iran, as well as the European Parliament's recognition of the IRGC as a terrorist organization.

However, the West does not offer anything in return. And as you know, Western human rights activists, apart from naive promises that constitutional reforms will happen easily, cannot provide any guarantees. Only the son of the late Shah Reza Pahlavi believes in serious political transformation, but even with his arrival it is unlikely that any profound changes will take place.

To summarize, no matter how long Tehran declares the development of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, its message will never be heard in Western capitals. Despite the strongest push and constant incitement and provocations from the West, the clerical regime continues to hold its ground. Perhaps Supreme Leader Khamenei lacks popularity with the population, perhaps street protests have been too harshly suppressed, perhaps Israeli attacks can disable Iran's nuclear capabilities. All this, however, will only further unite Iranians and make the country more secure. For opponents of the regime, predicting its demise remains a matter of hope, not expectation.

Bakhtiar Urusov, a political observer, exclusively for the online journal "New Eastern Outlook."

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New Eastern Outlook
Fri, 02 Jun 2023 12:59:30 +0000

3. Every Time Putin Utters a Truth – The World’s Liars Go Crazy

Every Time Putin Utters a Truth - The World's Liars Go Crazy

Many people in my country are beginning to understand the lies and control mechanisms put in place by our elites. Liars are easily found over time.  A Cold War mentality of our elite dinosaurs grafted onto the new breed of soulless elites is now crystal clear. The proxy war in Ukraine, the aggression toward China, and the hubris of Western leadership are finally tipping the scales.

Take this lead to an article from AP and Euronews the other day as a prime example. The author, Mark Armstrong, tried to convert fact into fiction by complaining the Russians are "claiming" the G7 and NATO are trying to divide Russia. Say what?


"G7 leaders at the summit in Hiroshima announced new sanctions on Moscow, while Putin accuses the West of trying to divide the people of Russian, whose 'diversity is their strength.'"


There it is. Put out on the newswires, as if the West's leadership has not already admitted that chopping up Russia is the goal! Russian journalist and former editor of the Ukraine branch of Forbes, Leonid Bershidsky, makes a case for this. The self-exiled Putin hater cites the work of Vladimir Sorokin the novel "Telluria," about a worldwide breakup of nations leading to a dystopian/medieval future. The author melds apocalyptic catastrophe with what he and others see as sensible – the dissolution of the Russian Federation. Bershidsky is not alone.

In May of 2022, US journalist Casey Michel called for the "decolonization" of Russia. In January of this year, he doubled down in the Financial Times with a pseudo-intellectual yard about the West needing to strike while Putin's Russia is divided and weak because of the Ukraine conflict. Michael, who became one of the Russophobic remora of George Soros when he worked at ThinkProgress, is paid to talk about bad old Putin and how Russia is falling apart all the time.

All the stories Westerners read can be traced back to Soros, ousted Russian mafia oligarchs, Bill Browder, and the Garry Kasparov (is recognized as a foreign agent) types of pissed-off and frustrated do-nothings. So, the average American is faced with believing the same people who fired Tucker Carlson, the technocrats who rigged Facebook and Twitter against Trump, or the truth worded by the man they are all making legend, Vladimir Putin. The Russian leader had this to say about the new scale of the war on Russia by the Western elites:

"Practically, the entire arsenal – economic, military, political, informational – is directed against us, and the most powerful anti-Russian propaganda has been deployed."

But a New York Times or Wall Street Journal story will proclaim that Putin is nuts and only wants a new Soviet Union! It's beginning to crack, however, the massive PR campaign, that is. When former German Chancellor Angela Merkel spilled the beans about the "fake Minsk" negotiations, many people noticed. A fake peace negotiation so that Ukraine could be made ready to attack Russia! Wow. What a bombshell. Then Pulitzer Prize winner Seymour Hersh tells the world that the U.S. Navy blew up Nordstream, Russia, to Germany gas pipelines. Elite-owned media immediately claimed Putin blew up his gold mine.

Lunatic South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham called for Putin to be assassinated. U.S. President Joe Biden has said Mr. Putin cannot remain in power. Over at Project Syndicate, Professor Nina Khrushcheva says, "Putin's War Will Destroy Russia." Of course, Project Syndicate has also received grants from George Soros's Open Society Foundations, The Politiken Foundation in Denmark, Die Zeit, ZEIT-Stiftung, and The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, to name a few elitist entities standing behind.

Given the weight of propaganda against Russia by our leadership in every domain, I could go on endlessly. I won't even start on Hollywood and how any bad guy depicted these days has some ties to Russia. The only films with the shadow elites running things are the Bond flicks, and now the arch nemesis of Spectre, 007, is dead. It's no secret to anyone that the West needs the massive resources the pirates tried to wrestle from the Russian people before Putin took over after the Yeltsin disaster. The vast wealth of Russia makes London trillionaires' mouths water. The old money of Europe running Ursula von der Clucky and the other puppet chickens of the EU. They must have that wealth before Western resources run out. It's all or nothing for them now. This is why we are on the verge of WWIII.

I am only happy to brag, a bit here since I've been telling people the truth about Putin and Russia for almost a decade. I only hope the liars running the propaganda game for the elites in my country are forced to work at McDonald's under assumed names when it all comes out. Stating the obvious, Vladimir Putin receives the geopolitical wrath of sellouts. I'll be he's no longer even bothered by them.

Phil Butler, is a policy investigator and analyst, a political scientist and expert on Eastern Europe, he's an author of the recent bestseller "Putin's Praetorians" and other books. He writes exclusively for the online magazine "New Eastern Outlook"

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New Eastern Outlook
Fri, 02 Jun 2023 09:59:19 +0000

4. The West increasingly isolates itself

The West increasingly isolates itself

Following the demise of the Soviet Union, the United States felt that it would always be the lone superpower and that its hegemony would not be challenged.

The failure of American policy in Iraq, followed by a chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan, did not undercut Washington's claim to global dominance.

When Russia demanded an end to NATO's eastward expansion, even though previous US leaders had assured Moscow that Eastern Europe would not be included in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the USA, confident in its impunity, simply ignored Russia's proposals.

When Moscow was compelled to initiate a special military operation in Ukraine to relocate the immediate threat away from its borders, the current US administration was enraged – no one could even contemplate issuing such a challenge at the time.

Washington, having pressed its allies, decided that by means of economic warfare, including open robbery and terrorist actions to undermine gas pipelines, it could force Russia to abandon its course and inflict a "strategic defeat" on it.

American hawks anticipated that by compelling Western Europeans to join the unprecedented campaign of sanctions, the Russian economy would collapse; many Western officials predicted that it "would be ripped to bits" and Russian citizens would revolt against Putin.

When this promise failed and the Russian Federation managed to adjust and even started to return to economic growth, the neocons in Washington decided to arm the Ukrainian regime with the latest weapons, including missiles, tanks, aircrafts, and so on, with the goal of fighting Russia down to the last Ukrainian and defeating the Russian army on the battlefield.

The defeat of Ukrainian armed formations in Artemovsk (Bakhmut) marked a serious change in the balance of forces in the theater of operations. At the same time, Western propaganda attempts to convince the global South, i.e. developing countries, that Russia is the aggressor and Ukraine is the victim are failing. The Economist, a reputable British publication, which cannot be suspected of pro Russian sympathies, reported that " today most countries refuse to heed the US's call to enforce sanctions on Russia." "The Biden doctrine fails to rebut the narrative of American decline."

In this regard, the magazine concludes that Joe Biden's global vision is too timid and pessimistic. This is not surprising, since today's Western elites are short-sighted and tend to mistake wishful thinking for reality. Characteristically, the official approval ratings of all the leaders of the G7 countries are noticeably below 50%. Even the American media noted that most voters were constantly dissatisfied with the Administration'sactions. For instance, according to the Observer (the UK), the reasons for Biden's disappointing position are the problems of the national debt, inflation, crime, and the fears of citizens due to his age.

The Al Jazeera website noted on May 30 that Washington's miscalculations in the Ukraine conflict could have devastating consequences for the entire world.

According to Bloomberg, Chinese diplomacy and Beijing's investment in infrastructure, along with Russian supplies of weapons, nuclear technology and fertilizers, outweigh Western appeals.

Al Arabiya TV argued that the recurring political circus around the US debt ceiling will weaken the dollar in the long run as confidence is further eroded. In fact, the US party system is putting politics on hold and taking the world hostage… Petty squabbles between political parties in the United States can threaten the livelihoods of billions of people around the world.

Developing countries are becoming increasingly conscious that Western powers' existing status is founded on plundering their natural wealth and neocolonial exploitation of their resources. According to Saudi Arabia's daily newspaper Arab News, average per capita income is more than 50 times higher in rich countries than in low-income countries, and the World Bank estimates it will take more than a century to close the income gap if current growth rates continue.

The countries of the global South are aware that Western policies are designed to perpetuate this inequality: even the UN Secretary-General has admitted that half of the earth's wealth belongs to 26 people, while the vast majority live in poverty. According to António Guterres, the G7 countries received $280 billion from the IMF, while the African states received only $34 billion. Meanwhile, the G7 countries have a population of 772 million, while the African continent has 1.3 billion people.

More and more people in developing countries are coming to believe that the myriad of global problems facing humanity require the Western powers to reconsider their line, for "ignoring Russia's geopolitical influence and perspectives has only exacerbated tensions, prolonged conflicts and prevented the achievement of common goals and peace."

According to the Saudi press, the exclusion of Russia from the G7 decreases the potential for constructive dialogue and cooperation on topical issues. Russia's involvement might allow discussions on a variety of critical issues, including the Ukrainian conflict, cybersecurity, and global economic stability.

The fact that the USA and its allies prioritize equipping Ukraine with different types of weapons and training personnel for offensive operations proves that they are not interested in making peace. So Ukraine could be Biden's fateful moment.

The developing countries believe that G7 should reconsider its approach.

All attempts by Western powers to force developing countries to adopt anti-Russian sanctions, whether through pressure, threats, or intrigue, have failed. China, India, Brazil, and other countries of the global South, with their own interests in mind, are in favor of an early end to the war and peace negotiations.

At the same time, these states are trying to escape from the Western tutelage and, above all, to reduce their dependence on the dollar: more and more loudly sound the call to move in trade to the calculation of national currencies.

The following fact is quite telling: The Iraq's Interior Ministry recently announced a ban on the use of the US dollar in personal and commercial transactions, a move aimed at strengthening the Iraqi dinar, the country's national currency. This action is consistent with the new course in various Middle Eastern countries seeking to reduce their dependence on the dollar.

This trend will only gain momentum in the foreseeable future. In this sense, the growing number of Asian, African and Latin American states that would like to join the BRICS is very telling. Currently, 30 states have already stated this wish.

Veniamin Popov, Director of the Center for the Partnership of Civilizations at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO) of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Candidate of Historical Sciences, exclusively for the online journal "New Eastern Outlook".

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New Eastern Outlook
Fri, 02 Jun 2023 04:59:56 +0000

5. Three Steps closer to the Red Line

Three Steps closer to the Red Line

In late April and early May 2023, the Yoon Suk-yeol administration took several steps towards aggravating inter-Korean relations. However, although the Washington Declaration was the most notable of them, the author draws attention to three less noticeable events that can make a much more serious contribution to the aggravation of the situation on the Korean Peninsula.

The first step – This is the decision of the court, which restored the accreditation of the so-called "Fighters for a Free North Korea (FFNK)". It is this NGO that launches millions of leaflets across the border, and also long before the events in Ukraine tried to blow up statues of North Korean leaders with the help of drones in order to pass off these terrorist attacks as the actions of "Christian resistance" inside the DPRK, whose existence could become a pretext for "humanitarian intervention" along the Yugoslav model.

It is worth recalling that at one time the "fighters" seriously discussed sending objects infected with coronavirus to the North in order to cause an epidemic, and then an uprising and regime change as a result of protests. At the same time, the outbreak of "fever" in the North began at the very end of April – the beginning of May 2022 and on April 25-26, FFNK sent 20 balloons and 1 million propaganda leaflets to North Korea. It was believed that in a balloon, suspicious objects would not have been able to penetrate into the area from where, according to the DPRK, the epidemic began (far away). However, in January 2023, Park Sang-hak stated that since 2020 they had been using not only balloons to deliver leaflets, but also drones, one of which flew to Pyongyang. This gives the version of the South Korean origin of the virus additional credibility.

In 2020, Park and Co. were actually subjected to special law prohibiting such actions, and FFNK, roughly speaking, was deprived of accreditation, which, in particular, stripped them of the opportunity to officially attract sponsorship. "Fighters for a Free North Korea" filed an administrative lawsuit to overturn the decision of the Ministry of Unification, but in September 2022, the Court of Appeal upheld the decision of the lower-instance court,

And on May 3, 2023, the Supreme Court overturned the decision of the lower courts, additionally stating that "sending leaflets to North Korea plays a positive role in showing North Koreans the reality of their nation's regime, calling attention to their human rights situation."

It is clear that after Yoon Suk-yeol came to power, anti-Pyongyang NGOs realized that their hands were untied, and, feeling their impunity, could take steps that could provoke the North Korean leadership to respond in a way that the international community would consider inadequate. Recall that even under Moon Jae-in, the North Koreans promised not only to shoot down leaflets, but also to respond with fire at the launch sites. It was for this reason that the locals were strongly opposed to Park, since they did not want the political games of these groups to become a danger to their lives.

Second step – this is the decision of the Seoul Central District Court, the defendant in which is the leader of North Korea. On May 8, 2023, three former South Korean prisoners of war (more precisely, two living former prisoners and relatives of one deceased), including 91-year-old Kim Song-tae, again won a lawsuit for damages for forced labor during stay there in captivity. The Seoul Central District Court ordered North Korea and Kim Jong-un personally to pay 50 million won ($37,900) to each of them. The trio, they said, had been taken prisoner during the 1950-53 Korean War, after which they were forced to work in a coal mine and on construction sites for about 33 months, without being allowed to return. It is unclear in what capacity they stayed in the DPRK after that, but in 2000-2001 they managed to escape, and in September 2020 they began a lawsuit demanding compensation from Pyongyang.

This is not the first such verdict: in July 2000, the same court issued a similar decision, but then there were two plaintiffs, and compensation was equal to 21 million won. Now the plaintiffs intend to seek payments from the Fund for Inter-Korean Economic and Cultural Cooperation.

Why is the author more afraid of such actions than of exercises? North Korea is an ideocratic state in which "insulting the highest dignity" is an act so unforgivable that it cannot fail to provoke retaliatory actions, even if they cause more than just reputational damage to the country. Therefore, mockery of the leader of the country or sentencing him in the course of a lawsuit, which seem to a person out of context "mere trifles", are perceived as an encroachment on the basics of the state. By playing these strings, you can easily provoke the North.

Third step – This is a return to big politics and to a high post of an extremely odious person.

On May 11, 2023, during the inaugural meeting of the Presidential Committee on Defense Innovation Yoon Sook-yeol said that he was considering the possibility of creating a Strategic Command "to strengthen the jointness of the three branches of the armed forces and combine and effectively operate the fighting capabilities spread across the services." A lot of routine words were said that "we must reinforce our military's active deterrence response capabilities" and "possess the overwhelming military power to deter North Korea's provocation mentality in advance," but for the author, it is more important who will innovate, and in the future – be responsible for defense strategies.

The committee consists of 11 members, chaired by the President, and eight civilians, including former Defense Minister Kim Kwang-jin, whom Yoon Suk-yeol addressed as "vice-chairman". That is, Kim will be the de facto head of the committee tasked with reforming the South Korean armed forces.

According to Korea Times, the former defense minister was known as "the most feared soldier in North Korea" because of his stance of "zero tolerance for the regime's provocations during his tenure." His approach included statements of readiness to launch an airstrike on the DPRK in the event of new provocations, and orders in the style of "shoot first, report later." In response, the DPRK used his photo as targets for artillery exercises. Moreover, Kim was one of the most visible and bright hawks that Park Geun-hye, who replaced Lee Myung-bak, was forced to "push up" to the Security Council in order to tear him away from the real command of the troops.

However, in March 2018, he was charged with political interference and abuse of power, but in October 2022, the Supreme Court returned the case back to the Seoul High Court.

Still, speaking to reporters, the presidential administration official said Kim, who also served as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and national security adviser, is one of the most qualified, ideal people to fulfill this crucial role.

Kim's return to the armed forces theoretically means that he can bring in those officers, one of whom once claimed to the author that "if politicians do not interfere with us, then we can destroy North Korea in 96 hours."  This means that the likelihood of provocations also increases. And when they happen, it doesn't matter whether these actions were carried out at the instruction of the president or were the initiative of Kim or his even more zealous subordinates. These are very serious steps towards a dangerous line.

All this increases the likelihood that the inter-Korean conflict will happen not on direct orders from above, but due to the fact that modern analysts underestimate the military potential of the DPRK and may be in captivity of the assumptions widespread under Lee Myung-bak that North Korea is on the verge of collapse and only a strong push is needed. I would like to hope that such plans will not come true.

Unfortunately, the author states that one of his pessimistic forecasts has materialized. Partly because of the need to strengthen party unity, partly because he was not professionally engaged in foreign policy, Yoon "hands over" the inter-Korean direction and foreign policy to those who were in charge of them not even under Park Geun-hye, but under Lee Myung-bak. Some respondents of the author argue that after Yoon's national security adviser Kim Sung-han had left his post (very likely due to American leaks), his first deputy, Kim Tae-hyo, who was not only one of the biggest and most famous hawks since the days of Lee Myung-bak, but also took part in the development of the "denuclearization-openness-3000" program, gained great influence. A remake of the "denuclearization-openness-3000" was the "bold initiative" of Yoon Suk-yeol: let North Korea first completely disarm, and then receive a lot of economic assistance. This approach was outdated back in the days of Lee Myung-bak, which indicates either Yoon's low competence in foreign policy, or a simple two-way move, which Lee Myung-bak used at one time and it may be used by Yoon Suk-yeol: a proposal is put forward that is acceptable in the eyes of the West, but absolutely impassable in practice. The North, of course, refuses it, after which the South, with the words "now we have no other choice," safely moves on to "Plan B", stating that Pyongyang, which rejected such a wonderful idea, bears full responsibility for further developments.

Konstantin Asmolov, PhD in History, leading research fellow at the Center for Korean Studies of the Institute of China and Modern Asia at the Russian Academy of Sciences, exclusively for the online magazine "New Eastern Outlook."

Сообщение Three Steps closer to the Red Line появились сначала на New Eastern Outlook.

New Eastern Outlook
Thu, 01 Jun 2023 12:59:13 +0000

6. The G7 countries demonstrated a Cold War mentality in their attacks on China

The G7 countries demonstrated a Cold War mentality in their attacks on China

The Chinese Foreign Ministry protested to Tokyo over the G7 summit's vilification of Beijing and interference in Chinese internal affairs.

The G7 summit, which took place in Hiroshima, Japan, from May 19 to 21, was not without controversy. The leaders of the so-called most industrialized countries have once again demonstrated their exclusivity and pretention to judge everyone and everything. The communiqué produced at the summit drew "much" attention to China; in particular, the G7 countries expressed worry over Taiwan, the South China Sea, human rights, and the "non-market practices" of the PRC.

This cavalier attitude on the part of the leaders of the collective West could not have gone unanswered by China. Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Sun Weidong protested to the Japanese ambassador in Beijing over the inflated issues related to China at the G7 summit in Hiroshima. According to a Chinese foreign ministry statement, Japan, which holds the G7 presidency this year, attacked and vilified China along with other countries during the G7 events in Hiroshima as well as in the joint G7 statement. "Such gross interference in China's internal affairs violates basic principles of international law and harms China's sovereignty, security and development interests. In this regard, Beijing expresses its acute discontent and strong protest," the statement stressed.

The Chinese diplomat also noted that the G7 has a confrontational and Cold War camp mentality and its actions violate historical trends, objective facts and international morality. Sun Weidong pointed out that the issues related to Hong Kong, Xinjiang and Tibet are exclusively internal Chinese affairs, and no outside forces will be allowed to interfere in any way. Accusations of "economic coercion" of other countries and creating a "debt trap" cannot be addressed to Beijing, while the initiator and the biggest source of risk to the international order and the functioning of the world economy at the moment is the United States, the deputy minister pointed out.

"Gone are the days when individual Western countries could unreasonably interfere in the internal affairs of other states and manipulate global affairs. We call on members of the G7 to comply with the general trend of the era of openness and tolerance, to stop participating in closed and exclusive small formats, suppressing other countries, and creating and provoking division and confrontation," the Chinese Foreign Ministry stressed.

Bakhtiar Urusov, a political observer, exclusively for the online magazine "New Eastern Outlook."

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