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Member since: Sat Mar 14, 2009, 08:45 PM
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Political impact of the Daegu-Gyeongbuk covid 19 cluster (South Korea)

(Source- JTBC 2.24) The overwhelming majority of cases in South Korea are centered in the Daegu-Gyeongbuk area. Daegu, economically and socially is an integral part of Gyeongsanbukdo (province) although a separate administrative region. Of the 833 confirmed cases of covid 19 today, a total of 682 come from this area (484+198). 82 percent of all cases in South Korea. The cluster of cases here have been confirmed overwhelmingly, (75%) directly or indirectly, to be associated with the Sincheonchi activities at its Daegu Church or Daenam hospital.

The Sincheonchi organization has declared it is in cooperation with the government public health effort to contain the covid 19 epidemic. A representative of the organization deplored the hate and discrimination it said it was experiencing as a result of recent events. Yet, As of news reports a several hours ago, the Sincheonchi cult organization in Seoul was uncooperative in providing a complete list of their members in Seoul, Korea. The cult organization there was being encouraged in their resistance to lawful public health measures by the charlatan minister, Jeon Kwang-hoon, who leads the unrelated Korean Christian Conference and directed the unlawful "Taegukki" (Korean flag) demonstration in Gwanghwamun last weekend. After the imposition of a state of emergency by the national government in South Korea, warrants will be sought against the Sincheonchi organisation for the relevant information needed for epidemiological tracking. Assemblies of persons in Gwangwhamun and other large public plazas in Seoul are now declared illegal for public health reasons. A group of persons said to be representing Daegu was present at the Kanghwamun plaza demonstration this weekend. The mayor of Seoul, Park Won-soon, confronted the entire gathered assembly personally as to the unlawful nature of the gathering in light of the public health emergency. He was booed and hissed.

Source- 미디어몽구 Media Mongul (youtube) 2.22. Minister Jeon Kwang-hoon waving US flag at Gwanghwamun Plaza as he addresses unlawful demonstration.

In public statements on the radio, yesterday, the mayor warned that police would blockade the public venues on February 29 when another Taegukki assembly led by the demogogue minister and his far right acolytes is anticipated. A confrontation is to be expected in which physical force would become a likely outcome to remove and disperse unlawful demonstrators violating the new health ban. Nominally, the Sincheonchi and Jeon Kwang-hoon are antagonistic to each other. Jeon Kwang-hoon is goading the Sincheonchi not to cooperate with the government, as well as his own followers. The mayor stated he suspected Jeon was not in his right mind.

If one views the entire situation in context, with the upcoming April 15 elections; US pressure on South Korea to cough up additional billions for defense cost sharing; the continuing thousands of far right demonstrators and Jeon himself, in Gwanghwamoon waving their US flags a stones throw from the US embassy building; the encouragement of resistance to public health measures by the religious right appears to be a concerted effort to take advantage of the public health crisis in South Korea to unseat the democratically elected administration of Moon Jae-in.

DongA.com reported this morning that Minister Jeon was arrested on grounds of violating South Korean election campaign laws.

Seoul- Right wing demonstrators violate emergency health ban

(Source- YTN News 2.22) Thousands of right wing demonstrators in Seoul at Gwanghwamun plaza creating a potential threat to public health. The government administration worries it may result in another cluster of covid 19 cases similar to the New Heaven and Earth outbreak in Daegu and Gyeongbukdo.

(Source- YTN News 2.22) The mayor of Seoul, Park Won-soon with microphone.

The mayor of Seoul, Park Won-soon, personally confronted far right wing Christian fundamentalists and Taegukki members in Gwanghwamun Plaza today for violating the new health restrictions on assembly there. The mayor requested that the crowd of demonstrators exercise self restraint and leave the plaza. The Taegukki members carried their organization's flags and the christian fundamentalists opposing Moon Jae-in carried Taegukki's and US flags. They jeered and booed the democratic party mayor.

(Source- YTN News 2.22) Minister Jeon Kwang-hoon on the flat screen.

Minister Jeon Kwang-hoon, the leader and organizer of the Taegukki demonstrations, said even if he caught the covid 19 virus, he'd still be a patriot. The mayor had apparently determined not to physically force evacuation of the demonstration although police were deployed in substantial numbers. Police posted notices of the illegality of the assembly, and participants were advised by loudspeaker of the fines for violation of the law. The mayor appealed to the crowd to cooperate with authorities in an attempt to control the outbreak of the virus.

In related news, Son Hak-kyu, representative of the center-right bareun mirae party, called for consideration of postponement of April 15 general elections due to the epidemic. At the same time far right groups ignore the new public health ban on assemblies of persons in public plazas in Seoul. At present the Blue House is not considering postponement of the general election. According to the YTN broadcast, such a postponement, by law, is the prerogative of the president in the event of natural disaster which precludes the elections as scheduled. Regardless of circumstances, such a development would be subject to political blow back. Inevitably to be used as evidence of the far right claim that President Moon is a dictator and the tool of the communist north. Other parties might view a postponement of the election as advantageous or not depending on their situations. The analysts on the YTN program felt that the administration still had time to see how the course of the contagion proceeded before being forced whether to consider such a measure.

South Korea: Island State

(Source- VOA News, 2.18)

The night time photo of the peninsula is used to emphasize the backward nature of North Korea's economy and the superiority of the free countries. Secretary Pompeo used this graphic in his recent Munich Security Conference presentation. Yet, at the same time the photo demonstrates how complete the separation of North and South Korea is. South Korea is, because of that separation, reduced to an island state cut off from it's historical land connections to the continent of Asia. This is in keeping with the US and Japanese "island strategy" to contain China's expanding influence and military power. I don't think it could be more vividly demonstrated.

Secretary of Defense Esper's presentation at the Munich Security Conference, on March 15, emphasized the Chinese threat:

"I continue to stress to my friends in Europe -- and just this past week again at the NATO Defense Ministerial in Brussels -- that America's concerns about Beijing's commercial and military expansion should be their concerns as well," Esper said.*

*World must 'wake up to the challenges presented by China,' says Defense Secretary
By Vivian Salama, CNN, Updated 6:59 AM ET, Sat February 15, 2020

The current South Korean administration is really not all that interested in US anti-China policies.

(Source- VOA News, 2.18) Thae bows to Hwang Kyo-ahn, former prime minister for Park Geun-hye's Saenuri Party, and titular leader of the right wing Liberty Korea Party. Both of the opposition candidates are currently running for National Assembly seats.

In the same program, Thae Yong-ho's right wing Liberty Korea Party election campaign announcement received tacit US promotion and endorsement in the guise of another North Korean cyber hacking news item. Thae will apparently be seeking a district seat in the April 15 general election in South Korea. He is a former North Korean embassy official who defected in 2016. VOA reported that Thae's hand phone, among others, had been hacked by North Korea. Clearly portions of this particular broadcast included thinly veiled interference in South Korean domestic politics by the VOA.

The new W76-2 low-yield Trident submarine warhead and North Korea?

William Arkin, one of the authors of the FAS article on the new “tactical” warhead on a strategic nuclear missile (which doesn’t make any sense) appeared on the Democracy Now program. He made it clear the new nuclear weapon is more likely to be targeted at North Korea or Iran.* Firing such a weapon at Russia makes no sense at all. Arkin explores the convoluted logic of theories related to such a limited nuclear attack on Russian targets in the article.

*US Deploys New Low-Yield Nuclear Submarine Warhead
Posted on Jan.29, 2020 in Nuclear Weapons, Russia, United States by Hans M. Kristensen
By William M. Arkin* and Hans M. Kristensen

It's quite likely that a target of the new "tactical" nuclear warhead on the submarine launched ballistic missile is North Korea. The weapon appears to be specifically designed to destroy a deeply hardened target in a tactical environment. The US conventional military tactic of “decapitation” of North Korean leadership has been discussed openly in South Korean media in recent years. It never seemed practical, a special operations tactic to resolve a strategic problem.*

*Shin In-Kyun describes North Korean attack scenarios, May 1, 2019

Some expert observers of North Korea regardless of their political persuasion regarded the "bloody nose," or any conventional military attack on North Korea as completely "off the table." Potentially, the new Trident low yield nuclear weapon is being deployed for the same decapitation mission. Yet, it looks as if the new Trident warhead would elicit the very response from North Korea that it's use is allegedly designed to preclude, a barrage of ballistic missiles on friendly targets. The unreasonable response one could anticipate from the North Korea leadership, in reaction to a limited "tactical" nuclear attack by the US wouldn’t conform, to the logic or illogic if you prefer, of US nuclear game theory. Coincidentally, authoritative sources emphasized that the US carrier strike force recently deployed to the Indo-Pacific had an ABM mission as there are multiple aegis equipped surface warships associated with the carrier.*

*Korean focus on Carrier Strike Group deployment? Jan. 23, 2020

Additionally, General John E. Hyten, Vice Chairman, JCS, made a widely circulated public statement about that time that he had 100 percent confidence in the strike force’s ability to deal with North Korean missile threats. The presentation of a potential first strike by a low yield nuclear weapon combined with a highly effective ABM capability suggests in the case of North Korea, a scenario, where a first strike, such as a decapitation strike, could be undertaken with confidence, if not impunity. This is not the case, because the irregular trajectories and terminal guidance of several of the North Korean short range ballistic missiles fired last year presented detection and tracking problems for the US, South Korea and Japan. This was the observation of media military and intelligence analysts in South Korea, which exacerbated concerns about the temporary South Korean withdrawal from GSOMIA, an intelligence sharing agreement among the three countries directed exactly at just such a threat. For those who may consider discussion of this scenario off base, keep in mind recent events involving the assassination of General Soleimani, which was a type of decapitation mission, and then the apparent absence of any effective defense against the subsequent Iranian ballistic missile barrage. These nominally unrelated events reflect national security thinking in Washington, D.C. and are intended to convey a message to North Korea.

In any case, if one were to consider the response from North Korea due to a “decapitation” attack with a small yield weapon like the W-76-2, let’s assume it succeeds with the precision and accuracy the new weapons are believed to have. Then in the aftermath of such an attack there remains a nuclear armed North Korea with unknown military commanders in unknown bunkers deciding what the response, if any, should be. Perhaps following US game theory they would decline to escalate the nuclear conflict. Or perhaps they wouldn’t. On the other hand, if the location of the bunker, or Kim Jong Un, was not precisely ascertained, and consequently the chairman or his successor survived, even for only for a brief time, a question arises about what would happen at that point. If one considers the desperation of the moment, the uncertainty, the confusion, and the likelihood of total destruction at the hands of the US military's vastly superior nuclear forces, what is the likely reaction of the North Korean leader? This thought arises, “Even though futilely suicidal, would he not respond in kind with nuclear armed ballistic missiles capable of reaching US bases in the region, where US and allied forces and command and control elements were plainly vulnerable?” Is this not in fact, exactly what would occur, given the ideological basis of North Korean communist doctrine and its self conscious role as the sacrificial victim of great power imperialism? Does the current deployment of US anti-ballistic missile forces in the region really give 100 percent assurance that this wouldn't be an effective response?

Conclusion, a “decapitation” attack with a “smaller” tactical nuclear warhead by the US would likely eventuate in a series of nuclear weapons detonating in the region.

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