Northeast Asian Neighbors Behaving Badly

Former US Ambassador to the ROK, Donald Gregg, is confusing diplomatic disagreement and an empirical impasse. That two countries could disagree over an issue, like the Cheonan sinking, is not surprising. What is embarrassing is when someone takes diplomatic consensus for truth


Yes, the North Koreans, Chinese and Russians won’t blame the North Koreans. Yes, a Russian team concluded the ship had been sunk by a mine. Yes, many South Koreans — for a litany of historical and political reasons — believe the official story is cover-up. A joint investigation team composed of South Korean, Australian, Swedish, Canadian, British and American experts, however, said it was sunk by a torpedo. That’s good enough for me, and frankly, it should have been good enough for Gregg.

But, when
Gregg claims that Seoul didn’t play well with its superiors in the region, now that’s something else.

Q: Did the Russian team receive any help from the South Korean government during its investigation?

A: The Russians were frustrated that they couldn’t get access to all of the material that they wanted to see, and were not allowed to conduct tests, so they were unable to carry out the investigation. This is also the reason no Chinese investigation team went to South Korea.

Q: Officials with the South Korean government have said off the record that China has not conducted an investigation into the Cheonan because “it doesn’t want to know the truth.”

A: What I heard from two senior Chinese officials during the past week was that they had been told by Russia that they wouldn’t be able to access any information if they went to South Korea, so that there was no need to send an investigation team to Seoul. China took their advice.

The subject of this diplomatic impasse is nearly irrelevant – what is worrying is how the main protagonists in the Six Party process are acting toward each other.

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Filed under: East Asia, Korea, Maritime, Military, Russia, USA Tagged: china, donald gregg. cheonan, prc, rok


Re: Northeast Asian Neighbors Behaving Badly

To the “outside” world intellectuals who don’t read Korean,

This is a remarkable story of people – the governed(although they are in theory supposed to be the actual governor in democracy), not their government - making difference in the world (history).

1. Compare and contrast.
“More enlightened” American people, Congress and media; Bush; WMD; War (and huge suffering),
“Supposedly less so enlightened” Korean people; Korean President Lee; Cheonan; prevention of War (so far).
(I am including among ‘the Korean people’ the Korean-Americans.)

2. Also remarkable is that the “inside” Korean people braved the government prosecution.
Caveat: Under the current South Korean regime, South Korean citizens can be sued for defamation by their own government officials, and defamation in South Korea is a crime (as well as a civil offense) prosecuted by the government’s own centrally controlled national prosecutors who selectively choose or choose not whom to prosecute.
Recently, Shin Sang-cheol, “an expert placed on the JIG [Joint Investigation Group] by” the National Assembly, got (criminally) sued for defamation by a government official for expressing disagreement over the current South Korean regime’s version of the Cheonan Incident. ( )

(South Korean people’s firsthand knowledge about the pro-government polls is that they are ridiculously overinflated.
A proof: war-fear-mongering South Korean President Lee Myung-bak got unexpectedly humiliated on the June 2 midterm election by the “Supposedly less so enlightened” Korean people,
when “survey conducted by the major daily [pro-government]Dong-A Ilbo and the Korea Research Center from May 24 to 26[7-days-before] forecast[ed] that Oh would beat Han by 20.8 percent.”
Actual election result: 0.6 percent(=”47.4 percent”-”46.8 percent.”)
*"Only three out of 10 South Koreans trust the findings of an international inquiry into the sinking of the Navy corvette Cheonan that blamed a North Korean torpedo attack."

3. A list of early English publications on Questions on the Cheonan Incident and the Power of South Korean Netizens can be found at (by LetsTry Reason) and newer writings at .

Also, look at: “the U.S, South Korea, the U.K, Canada and Australia, but not Sweden [NOT Sweden], contributed to the second-statement findings [claiming that North Korea might be guilty]” – “Five reasons why the the JIG’s 5-page statement cannot be considered scientific and objective, nor … ‘international’”
“Russian Probe Sees No North Korea Hand In Cheonan Sinking! Russia Says Sea Mine Sunk Cheonan”

4. Compare and contrast.
9/11; Al-Qaeda; brags We did it(, was not wrong, not sorry about it and we will do it again).
Cheonan; North Korea; brags We didn’t do it (therefore, presumably, was wrong, sorry about it and we will not do it). (Why the difference?)
Crime and punishment. If we are taking consequentialist moral philosophy, and if the utilitarian utility of punishment is to prevent future crime, then punishment serves little or no purpose (maybe to others but not)to North Korea who says ‘We didn’t do it,’ because either (a) the North didn’t do it, therefore the punishment will be outrageous injustice,
or (b) the North did do it, but ‘We didn’t do it’ basically implies ‘We will not do it.’
(This particular ‘it’ hardly gives the North any payoff.)
*If you don’t get scared of us, how can We become the terrorist, and if you don’t know We did it, how can you get scared of us?

5. Representative democracy is not pure democracy. (Pure)Direct democracy of a nation-size is now (or becoming) possible, through recent developments in computer science and technology, making secure private Internet-voting, democratic online discussions, cheap instantaneous micro referendum and freedom of choice to vote directly on an issue or use an agent possible.
The science (computer science) should finally make the people, the governed, the actual de facto governor in democracy.

6. I take this honor of hereby formally asking the folks in Norway to consider awarding a Nobel Peace Prize to the “Supposedly less so enlightened” Korean people including myself,
who in early days, among various activities, proposed the “outside” world contact initiative for the Cheonan peace, providing email addresses of all the foreign embassies in Korea, U.N., Hillary, Obama, and the foreign media.