What We Are Told and Not Told About the South China Sea | New Eastern Outlook


31-07-20 02:52:00,


If war breaks out between China and the United States, there is a high probability that the precipitating factor will be the South China Sea. The United States is currently running another of its so-called “freedom of navigation” exercises in the region, employing no less than two aircraft carriers, together with their supporting armada of warships. The western media regularly report these naval exercises but rarely if ever is the historical situation put into any kind of context.

There are in fact a number of important features of this confrontation between China and the United States that are seldom if ever discussed. A complaint by the Philippines to the Permanent Court of Arbitration received a judgement on 12 July 2016. The court ruled that there was no evidence of China having exercised exclusive control over the sea or its resources at any time. Therefore, the court ruled, there was no legal basis to the so-called “9 Dash Line” that China claimed to be within its exclusive jurisdiction.

China rejected the court’s findings. This was hardly surprising from a purely historical point of view as China is able to demonstrate extensive control over the region going back hundreds of years, as Jianming Shen detailed in a lengthy scholarly analysis back in 2002.

But historical situations are often of dubious relevance in the world of modern geopolitics. They are certainly not relevant in helping to understand the attitude and behaviour of the contemporary government in Beijing. But that is only part of the story. Historical precedents are certainly of no interest to the United States and Australia in their pursuit of what they are pleased to call “freedom of navigation” exercises in waters thousands of kilometres distant from their respective borders.

This however, is simply empty verbiage. Neither country is able to point to a single incident of such free passage of civilian ships being in any way hindered. Given that at least 80% of China’s seaborne exports traverse the South China Sea, China of all nations has the greatest interest in unimpeded freedom of passageway.

It would be both illogical and counter-productive for China to engage in any exercise that jeopardised the freedom of passage of civilian ships. Apart from its own vested interest,

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Rare South Korean defector moves to North, like his high-ranking parents did 30 years ago


08-07-19 08:35:00,

The son of a former South Korean minister, who fled to the US and later to North Korea, has followed in his late parents’ footsteps. The rare northward defector says he will devote the rest of his life to the reunification cause.

The South Korean Ministry of Unification confirmed on Sunday that Choe In-guk, son of former South Korean foreign minister Choe Tok-sin and Ryu Mi-yong, touched down in Pyongyang on Saturday, saying that the circumstances around his visit are the subject of an investigation.

The ministry said, according to South Korea’s Newsis News Agency, that Choe did not seek approval for his trip. Under current regulations, South Koreans must obtain a permit from both Seoul and Pyongyang before crossing the border to the North. Choe is believed to have traveled through a third country to circumvent the ban.

Photos of Choe’s welcome at the Pyongyang Airport were published by the North Korean state-controlled news website Uriminzokkiri.

Photos show Choe smiling as he is greeted with a bouquet of flowers presented by North Korean officials, who appear to be equally overjoyed at his arrival. In a statement he gave just after setting foot on the North Korean soil, 73-year-old Choe regretted not having settled down in Pyongyang earlier, while heaping praise on the country’s late leaders Kim Il-sung, Kim Jong-il and the current leader Kim Jong-un, and their “great love and care” for his family.

Choe In-guk’s father Choe Tok-sin fell out with South Korea’s strongman president Park Chung-hee in the 70s and sought to emigrate to the US in 1976. His career made a sharp U-turn in the 80s when he, along with his wife Ryu Mi-yong, moved to North Korea after several meetings with Kim Il-sung.

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Both became members of political elite in their newfound home. Choe Tok-sin served as the deputy head of Pyongyang’s Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland, while his wife was the chairwoman of a minor North Korean party and was awarded several prestigious government orders.

“To live in and follow a country for which I feel thankful is a path to protect the will left by my parents.

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South Korea’s Candlelight Revolution and the Future of the Korean Peninsula | Asia-Pacific Research


06-12-18 08:27:00,

Opening remarks

The year 2018 has witnessed extraordinary changes in the Korean peninsula.1 So many, in fact, that the initial amazement may have worn off a little, and discontent with the pace of change may have set in. But even a brief recapitulation of major occurrences will remind us what an amazing year it has been.

The year began with the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s New Year Address in which he promised DPRK participation in the PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games and proposed a new beginning in inter-Korean relations. North Korean athletes and artists did come to the Games, along with a high-level official delegation that met with President Moon Jae-in and other important South Korean officials. But a truly historic breakthrough occurred at the April 27 meeting of the two leaders in Panmunjom, producing the Panmunjom Declaration, which promised a drastic improvement in North-South relations and full denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. The meeting, though filled with dramatic moments, was more business-like than the two previous inter-Korean summits (of 2000 and 2007), yet the informal and business-like atmosphere, with live television coverage of much of the event, had an even greater impact on popular consciousness in South Korea and abroad. This was presumably the case in North Korea too, though without live coverage there, viewers received only an ample broadcast of taped scenes.

Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump at the Singapore summit

The US-DPRK summit in Singapore on June 12, the first ever between the two countries, was another historic breakthrough. In their Joint Statement the two leaders promised to work for a new relationship between the hitherto hostile countries, while Chairman Kim reaffirmed his commitment to full denuclearization. I shall come back later to the meaning of the Singapore agreement, but I should note that between the first Moon-Kim meeting and the Singapore summit a second inter-Korean summit occurred in Panmunjom in May, after Trump suddenly canceled the scheduled Singapore meeting. The two Korean leaders met, quite business-like and unannounced, for an emergency consultation to get the negotiation process moving again.

While progress in US-DPRK relations has been limited—though stopping joint US-ROK military exercises must mean a lot more to the DPRK than they publicly acknowledge—unprecedented events have continued to transpire between two Koreas.

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Military Plot in South Korea: Mayhem in the Defense Intelligence Agency | New Eastern Outlook

Military Plot in South Korea: Mayhem in the Defense Intelligence Agency | New Eastern Outlook

13-08-18 07:53:00,


We are continuing to follow the scandal linked to the attempted “military coup“. It is worth reminding the readers that, in essence, the events that transpired in March 2017 involved a detailed plan by the Defense Security Command (the name given to the defense intelligence agency in South Korea) to potentially introduce martial law in anticipation of the decision by the Constitutional Court of Korea on Park Geun-hye’s impeachment. The corresponding plan made by intelligence officers contained detailed instructions on deployment, and assigned locations for the army and military equipment.

There was a public outcry in response to this case as soon as it was publicized by the Center for Military Human Rights Korea on 6 July 2018; however, these plans have been public knowledge since March.

Notably, the media has been somewhat prone to exaggeration in its discussions about the “coup”. The plan was to introduce martial law if the court had decided to keep Park Geun-hye in power, which would have resulted in crowds flooding the streets in protest. Instead the plan has been portrayed as if the Commanders had intended to declare a state of emergency to prevent Park Geun-hye from being removed from power, or if she had planned to introduce martial law on announcement of her impeachment.

Author does not see anything sinister in this exact plan in comparison to what a national martial rule entails.  What would have been truly frightening is a) if military personnel had attempted to implement their plan once impeachment was confirmed and not in the opposite scenario or b) if they had forced Park from power and established a military junta. But there is no support for either theory.

Still, the South Korean President took advantage of the situation in order to deal a blow to the Defense Security Command where his political opponents were entrenched in.    On 16 July Moon Jae-in demanded to see all the relevant documents from the Ministry of National Defense and other subordinate bodies. He then remarked that although an assigned group of military prosecutors were to investigate the situation, he, as the Commander-in-chief, would like to familiarize himself with the case.   This is a clear sign observed earlier with cases that conservative presidents took control over,

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South African Ruling Party Calls All White People “Murderers”

South African Ruling Party Calls All White People “Murderers”

06-08-18 09:40:00,

Update: The party has subsequently deleted the tweet and said it was quoting someone else, though lawyers say they can still be held accountable.

Via The Citizen,

A tweet on the ANC’s parliamentary Twitter account shocked many on Thursday when it appeared to call all white people murderers.

The tweet, which has subsequently been deleted, read: “The biggest mistake we are making is to consult murderers. White people are 9% of the population, they own 79% of land. They never came and consulted us for the land. If they want us to forgive them now, then let us share the land, the mineral resources.”

Thanks again for confirming everybodies suspicion. Please see below, and please explain to me how this does not look like your views. pic.twitter.com/LGRj5MBCBe

— Geoffness (@TheGeoffness) August 2, 2018

It was not in quotation marks, so when it was read out of context it came as a bombshell to many, who assumed that this was the view of the ANC itself.

The party then told its critics that it had merely been quoting the remarks of one of the members of the public who had come to parliament’s constitutional review committee’s public hearing on the review of section 25 of the constitution that was being held in the town of Beaufort West in the Western Cape.

The tweet is a contribution/remark made by a member of the public. All tweets are a thread from the contributions made by the public, they are not the views of the ANC.

— ANC Parliament (@ANCParliament) August 2, 2018

However, this didn’t sit well with critics, who pointed out that the party should have made that clearer, by at the very least putting the statement in quotation marks.

Subsequent to the criticism, that was what the account began to do, in an attempt to make it clearer that it was not necessarily expressing the views of the ANC itself.

Nevertheless, this still didn’t well with some. A legal expert, Helene Eloff, also weighed in to make it clear that the ANC had blundered and could be held liable for the view expressed,

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South America’s “Made in USA” Growing Crises. Economic Destabilization of Brazil, Argentina and Venezuela | Global Research – Centre for Research on Globalization

South America’s “Made in USA” Growing Crises. Economic Destabilization of Brazil, Argentina and Venezuela | Global Research – Centre for Research on Globalization

12-06-18 07:16:00,

Emerging market economies are heading for an economic implosion. From South America to South Asia conditions are deteriorating rapidly and heading for an even more severe economic crisis in which many are already mired. At the head of this list is Brazil and Argentina. Others increasingly fragile, however, include Turkey, Indonesia, Malaysia, and even India, which has covered up its weak economic condition, and massive non-performing bank loan problem, by manipulating its GDP to falsely exaggerate its growth rate.

Business pundits, and even some commentators on the ‘left’, argue that emerging market economies, of which all the above are key members, now account for more than half of the world’s GDP. This suggests their vulnerability to US and G7 economies is less than it has been in the past. The so-called advanced economies–i.e. the USA, Japan, Canada, UK, France, Germany, Italy (the ‘G7–are increasingly irrelevant. But global GDP numbers are manipulated everywhere to show a stronger growth than actually has been occurring. Overnight, economies like India double their GDP numbers by redefining categories that compose their Gross Domestic Product, GDP, by manipulating price estimations that boost real GDP and by introducing statistical assumptions in their estimation of growth that are gross misrepresentations. GDP is thus not a good indicator of the condition of their economies. Even so, global GDP itself is now slowing this past year, as global trade also slows (even before USA precipitated ‘trade wars’ take effect). But this idea of declining vulnerability of economies like Brazil and Argentina is incorrect.

GDP numbers obscure the still significant vulnerability of emerging market economies (EMEs) to the advanced economies and their policy actions, especially the USA. This is true for even the largest EME’s like Brazil, Argentina, Turkey, Indonesia, India and others. More symptomatic economic indicators of the growing crisis in EMEs are their currency declines, money capital outflows, rising domestic interest rates, and rising import cost inflation.

USA Levers of Economic Power: Currency, Credit Access & Central Bank Rates

While the EME’s share of global GDP has risen in recent decades, the world economy is nevertheless still largely manipulated by the USA and other G7 economies. That manipulation is exercised by the USA in particular by several means: through its dominant currency, the US dollar;

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North And South Korea Agree To Form Joint Team, Will March Together At Olympic Opening Ceremony

North And South Korea Agree To Form Joint Team, Will March Together At Olympic Opening Ceremony

17-01-18 02:36:00,

In a decision that Yonhap called an “unprecedented breakthrough”, North and South Korea have agreed to form their first joint Olympic team and will march together under a unified flag during the opening ceremony. The two Koreas agreed to form a joint women’s ice hockey team to take part in the Winter Olympics to be held February 9-25 in Pyeongchang, the two countries announced Wednesday.

Seoul’s Unification Ministry said the agreement was during talks on Wednesday at the border village of Panmunjom, after the North agreed to make its first appearance in the Olympic games in the South. North Korea boycotted the last Olympics held in the South in 1988.


Pictures of South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader

Kim Jong-un seen on a sign during a rally on Tuesday

The Seoul ministry said athletes from the two Koreas will march together under a ‘unification flag’ depicting their peninsula during the opening ceremony.

The rival nations have formed joint sports teams only twice before, both times in 1991, when they participated together in a youth soccer tournament and a table-tennis championship. Previous negotiating sessions designed to send a joint team to the Olympics were not successful the VOA reported.


Korea flag-bearer’s Bora Lee and Jong-In Lee, carrying a unification flag

during the 2006 Winter Olympics

The International Olympic committee is slated to meet on January 20 at its Switzerland headquarters to discuss the details of the joint team as well as the North’s participation in the Games.

The two Koreas have been pressing ahead with a flurry of projects to cooperate in the Olympics since North Korean leader Kim Jong-un abruptly said in a New Year’s speech that he was willing to send a delegation to the games.  

Critics say Kim’s overture is an attempt to use improved ties with Seoul to weaken U.S.-led international sanctions on the North while buying time to perfect his nuclear weapons program. But the moves nevertheless have provided a temporary thaw in the Koreas’ long-strained ties and fostered optimism that he North won’t launch any new provocations,

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