Living Here During the North Korean Threats


My new home, Cheonan is smaller than what I’m used to,...

My new home, Cheonan is smaller than what I’m used to, with a little over 600,000 people —but it’s not a small city, by any means. It is definitely growing on me. Feels like a small but bustling city full of university students.

Korea, Round 2

I couldn’t stop thinking about Korea, and now I’m back in the country for another year. Maybe. Admittedly, the first two weeks have been tough. I had been pinning for Korea for so long, I was surprised when I wanted to immediately leave upon arrival. Below are a few reasons why this might be:

Destination: Cheonan Postal Museum (Cheonan, Chungcheongnam-do)

I know what you’re thinking – a postal museum? – and have this to say: I love getting off the beaten path. Since people seem to cover the same places over and over again, I’ve made it a point to try seeing the places where most foreigners don’t venture.

The 우정박물관 (u-jeong bak-mul-gwan) was originally on the fourth floor of Seoul’s main post office. After the building was torn down, the postal museum moved here in February 2004, and is part of the Ministry of Information and Communication Officials Training Institute in Cheonan. The museum covers the entire history of the postal system, but covers it in a fairly swift fashion that doesn’t take long to see.

It’s Hard to Believe in the Lee Administration

Thermal image of Cheonan sinkingErich Weingartner underscores the most annoying aspects of the Cheonan disaster: the Lee administration and the ROK military establishment keep doubt alive with their ham-fisted performances.

The Power of One Poster

“Ready to crush any attack with a single blow!”It’s a bizarre way to prove if the DPRK really did sink the Cheonan, a propaganda poster spotted by a Chinese businessman in the DPRK has become the latest argument for North Korean culpability.

Radio Free Asia based its report on an interview with the businessman, who took the photo of the poster on a recent trip to North Korea. The poster is shown on the RFA Korean Web site. The RFA did not specify the date the photo was taken but, citing unnamed sources, said it was likely the poster was made after the Cheonan sinking to encourage military heroism among North Korean soldiers.

Two More Oppose Official Cheonan Line

Two American scholars have expressed skepticism about Seoul’s official line on the Cheonan sinking.

An international investigation concluded in May that North Korea torpedoed the South Korean warship Cheonan in late March, killing 46 sailors. North Korea denied it launched an attack and warned that any punishment would trigger war.

But Jae-jung Suh, a political scientist at Johns Hopkins University, and Seoung-hun Lee, a University of Virginia physicist, said the report issued after the investigation had numerous flaws and did not jibe with experiments they carried out to replicate the conditions caused by the type of blast that allegedly sank the ship.

Not Moscow Too

After repeated diplomatic insults, I’d think Seoul would want to regain wartime OPCON from the US. Even Russia has dared to snub the Lee administration. No respect!

According to military and foreign affairs supports connected to Russia, the Russian government provided notification of its independent investigation results only to the Chinese and U.S. governments last week, and South Korea only found out about the content indirectly through those two countries.

The UNSC Cheonan Statement Is a Gift the US Doesn’t Deserve

I’m not surprised. Dismayed, yes. But, strangely I feel vindicated.

Friday’s U.N. Security Council statement condemning the March sinking the South Korean warship Cheonan, but not fingering the culprit, may look like another example of the grubby compromises required to close a deal here.

But it could have been a lot worse.

In the final stages of the closed door negotiations of the text, North Korea’s veto-wielding champion, China’s U.N. envoy Li Baodong, sought to gut the statement of any language that even hinted at North Korean responsibility, diplomats familiar with the talks told Turtle Bay.

Did Canadians Really Examine Cheonan Remains?

The most recent CanKor Report, #324 – sorry, just an email distribution as of posting this – posts links to a series of previously published articles casting doubt upon Canada’s role in the investigations leading to the publication of the official report on the Cheonan sinking. Erich Weingartner posts a clarification here that includes all those links.

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