If the ROK-US Alliance Were a Picture…

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, center, and U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, second from right, are briefed at the truce village of Panmunjom in the demilitarized zone that separates the two Koreas. (Pool photo by Paul J. Richards)…it would look spruce. But, really, this looks like damage control.

U.S. officials said they expect an announcement Wednesday of “country-specific sanctions” against North Korea. One official described them as “strong,” and said they would target banks and other institutions but declined to be more specific.

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.

South Korea’s Robotic Crutches

Engkey, the ESL Foreign Teacher KillerI’m continually worried that the US imparted to the ROK the wrong culture of technological quick fixing. Case in point: robots.

I don’t know why the ROK Prime Minister’s Office and the Justice Ministry are even bothering with rationalizing the country’s E-2 visa programEngkey is out to make foreign humans irrelevant.

The trials and errors at the Korea Institute, a wooded top-security compound for the country’s best scientific minds, represent South Korea’s ambitious robotic dreams.

Half of the Truth Squared, Reconciled by Addition

The ROK Truth and Reconciliation Commission investigating civilian deaths during the Korean War is nearly finished, but any conclusions it reaches are undercut by a glaring problem.

The commission was handicapped from its inception by political battles between liberals and conservatives. One of the most contentious issues of all was how to deal with wartime killings by American forces.

The eight mass killings that the commission determined as unlawful and eligible for compensation by Washington were all investigated by commissioners appointed under Mr. Roh’s government.

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.

DPRK’s Burmese Lifeline

In addition to the weapons sales and tunnel expertise the DPRK is trading for Burmese raw goods, including food,  New Old FriendsYangon is helping to extend Iran’s strategic reach in Southeast Asia.

…the Burmese military regime has recently boosted ties with Iran, which according to the UN report is also allegedly receiving nuclear and missile technologies from North Korea.

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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Change of Command Ceremony - 25 June 2010

Our two year adventure in Korea has come to an end.  The family is now back in the US.  My good friend, Lieutenant Colonel Samuel "Tripp" Blanton and I took over our commands two years ago on 20 June 2008 in a joint change of command ceremony - "joint" meaning Army and Navy.  I'm of course with the US Navy and the Commanding Officer of MSCO Korea.  Tripp is the Battalion Commander for the US Army's 837th Transportation Battalion.  On that rainy day in 2008, the ceremony was held onboard the USNS POMEROY.  Unfortunately, the weather wasn't great so we held the ceremony inside the ship on one of her decks.  It was a very nice event even though we had to revert to our inclement weather plan.

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