Monday, January 30, 2012
Saturday, January 28, 2012
Friday, January 27, 2012
Thursday, January 26, 2012
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Friday, January 20, 2012
Thursday, January 19, 2012
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
The American News Agency, The Associated Press, has opened a full bureau in Pyongyang. A welcome development. Yet, AP’s British based video news arm has operated in North Korea since 2006, a detail long kept under wraps in the US media. Forgotten or simply lost between the cracks is the equally ignored presence of a British embassy in the North Korean capital.
A fully accredited American agency in the DPRK, a country where the US is not the flavour of day, does raise eyebrows, a month after the death of Kim Jong il.
Much will not doubt be made of this: it signals a new initiative of a new leader possibly. Surely, Kim Jong eun has given it his caution. Still, North Korea does not make decisions rashly. The US and South Korean press will see this move as conformation of Washington’s and Seoul’s hardnosed policy. But, that is a self serving assessment, the establishment of a US, if not a western, news agency in Pyongyang has been in the works for a while, subject to much negotiation, as well as benign neglect on the part of the Obama administration. Kim Jong il’s stamp is on the deal even if no one is willing to admit it.
As GuamDiary has long insisted, the late ‘Dear Leader’ had never lost an opportunity to talk to the US on an even playing field without preconditions. And 2012 is year 100 of Kim Il Sung’s birth: an excellent moment of reporting for the North.
Not to be downplayed is AP’s presence will provide Pyongyang with an opening to the wider world so that its story can be told from the horse’s mouth without the usual spin the US and South Korea put on it for their own ideological and political purposes.
In a way, North Korea has assailed the Cold War propaganda machine that has functioned with a never ending of treacle. Of course, AP will not quiet that war, but now the field is clearer and the advantage is no longer the preserve of Washington and Seoul, even though ironically the AP bureau in Seoul will compete with its sister bureau in Pyongyang
Saturday, January 14, 2012
Friday, January 13, 2012
Thursday, January 12, 2012
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Monday, January 9, 2012
Saturday, January 7, 2012
Friday, January 6, 2012
Thursday, January 5, 2012
Wednesday, January 4, 2012
Tuesday, January 3, 2012
Responding to North Korea's military authoritative December announcement [30 December 2011] that the DPRK will not deal with the Lee Myung bak regime in Seoul, ROK's 'revanchist' president tried to smooth the sharp elbow reply with 'vanilla' observations that a new leader in the North offers the South opportunities in 'talking to' a Kim Jung eun & co.
Harvard's John Park read into Lee's word a 'high road ' appeal to reducing tensions in the divided Korean peninsula. GuamDiary questions Park's assertion. We look at Lee's openly broadside attack against Kim Jong il from day one of his ascension to the Blue House, beginning with the suppression of the 'Sunshine Policy', followed by denying fertilisers and food aid, and a propaganda war the person of the 'Dear Leader'; the South Korean president's assault, closely coordinated with the Obama administration, had revived the harsh winds of the Cold War which Lee's two predecessors Kim Dae Jung and Roh Moo hyun tamed and quieted. Not only that, he pushed the envelope so that either the North would implode or it would commit a warlike action that the ROK and US could take advantage of. Unfortunately for 'revanchist' Lee, the DPRK called joint US ROK's bluff during joint military exercises along the Northern Limit Line within a spittle of DPRK territorial waters in November 2010. Obama took fright that it would have to engage America in a third war in Asia; to his South Korean ally, the US president stayed Lee's hand, settling for 'rollinb back' the Northern regime through 'patient constraint'
Broadly speaking, GuamDiary has to restate the known history that the US and South Korea media conviently ignore in favour of the mystical veneration of hoary slogans from the last 60 years at least.
So we ask can the lame leopard as president of the ROK change his spots? Possibly, but we wont hold out breath.
Lee like Obama lost a golden opportunity to engage Kim Jung eun by sending food aid to the North. He did not; he only offered hollow buzzwords of 'new opportunities'.
2012 is an election year in South Korea. And there is a general dissatisfaction with Lee and his party. They lost the import post of mayor of Seoul Lee used as a springboard to win the Blue House in October 2011. His aggressive policy towards the DPRK has galvanised a broad swath of opinion in South Korea that considers Lee 'a national traitor' for abandoning the 'Sunns, shine Policy'.
Lee dropped another stitch by severely restricting an unofficial delegation of 18 South Koreans, headed by the widows of Kim Dae Jung and Hyundai's founder, to venture to Pyongyong to convey their condolence at Kim Jong il's bier. Were Lee 'sincere' in reducing enmity with the North, he could have easily allowed ordinary citizens in the South to do the same. Yet, he dare not! The feet that would have wended their way to the North would have been a referendum of the failure of his hostile policy towards Kim Jong il & co.
So, the cover the egg on his face, Lee peppered a hardline response to the North with empty pious hopes of opportunities to turn a new page on inter Korean relations. Will he? That is the question! Is he a leader who can and does grow? Judging by his record, prospects are indeed dim.
Streaming PR's 'News Hour', GuamDiary, at last, a strong expression of why the death of Kim Jong il provided an opportunity to depart from the disingenuousness of 'patient contraint', otherwise known as 'rolling back' North Korea.
Every idea behind 'rollback' is masked in larger consideration which is dishonest in a framework of 'realism' that tend to stave North Korea into submission to the non negotiable aims of the US and aided and abetted by a revanchist Lee Myung bak regime in South Korea.
Donald Gregg, chairman emeritus of the New York Korea Society, former ambassador to Seoul, former national security advisor to George WH Bush, and a 30 year veteran of the CIA, is a voice of reason in a level of discussion, thought, and implementation of 'pattient restraint' that is a willing acceptance of failure in the corridors of power in Seoul and Washington.
With a minimum of words, Gregg suggested that the death of the 'Dear Leader' is an occasion to lump the sinking of the 'Cheonan', the shelling of 'Yeongpyeong' military base, and the second nuclear test into the legacy of Kim Jong il. The advent of his son Kim Jong eun, furthermore, offers the US the opportunity to show maturity by making a gesture to the DPRK to lessen the tensions in the divided Korean peninsula.
A new opening! Sound advice you would think? Hardly. The US North Korean clerisy, as well as the Obama administration and the revanchist Lee Myung bak regime, view it as a weakening of the two countries' spirit. It was as though Gregg, who in some policy making quarters may be seen as a 'heretic'. Gregg's reputation and long government service do protect him from the direct criticism, if not condemnation, yet the failure of 'patient constraint' lies in US Korean history. More, Gregg put it bluntly, he is against holding a starving population hostage to the denial of promised food aid, a comment which Bobolina Hwang, now professor at Georgetown, former advisor in the Bush fils White House, and before that wrote policy on Korea at the right wing think tank, the American Enterprise Institute. She disagrred mostly with Gregg in that polite but sharp elbow difference of opinion. A hard liner she embraced 'rollback' forcefully, praising president Obama. Her standpoint is hardly surprising, since any opening to the North, would bring down the temple of orthodoxy that the past 60 years had thrown up against talking to the DPRK, even though Kim Jong il never tired signaling to Washington for talks with no preconditions which he transmitted through two former US president and any number of Americans and westerners visiting North Korea.
A thaw in relations would cut the ground from under a cottage industry of US North Korean clerics, thereby threatening jobs and fat salaries and overheated reputations. Unlike Gregg, Hwang, like her cohorts, is no risk taker, embroiled as they are in the byzantine politics and reflexes learnt and perpetuated during the heady days of the Cold War against the Soviet empire.
By steadfastly holding on the past, they got the answer they wanted by Kim Jong eun. No opening, no changes in DPeRK policy.
Tis a pity, Gregg is preaching to the deaf and dumb and dumber.
Kim Jung il's sudden death on 17 December 2011 allowed president Obama and his sidekick in Seoul the revanchist Lee Myung bak to wiggle out of pledges of hundreds of millions of dollars of food aid to North Korea.
These two defenders of 'democracy' and deep believers in the teachings of their professed saviour Jesus Christ took coward's courage in the gnomic formula first ennuciated by Donald Rumsford: 'unknown knowns', as well as the long cherished fear of the bogeyman they created in the image of the DPRK. In ordinary English, 'unknown knowns' means the truth is as plain as the nose on your face, yet Obama and Lee chose to ignore to ignore or not know it.
The demise of the 'Dear Leader' called for stability at home so that the passing of the baton of power to Kim's anointed successor the young Kim Jong eun could and would proceed without the slightest burp; which did happened to the distaste of the clerics and advisors in Washington and Seoul whose silly
predictions of collapse and doom proved manifestly wrong. Another black mark in the poverty of
their 'scholarship' that the poor taxpayer's pence pays for.
The 'young general' Kim Jong eun put the US and the ROK on warning as the two countries raised the tone of Cold War rhetoric and pursued the coordinated policy of 'patient constraint' to topple the DPRK.
What Obama and Lee did not expect, and what Kim Jung eun did was to announce the need for food aid
to tide a deeply undernourished North Korea.
Kim's appeal was an indictment of the Obama Lee policy, and showed the egg on the US and ROK's face for
not living up to pledges of food aid.
As former US ambassador to Seoul strongly suggested that the ascension to the supreme posts of power in North Korea offered an excellent opportunity to open lines of communications to the new regime, and that food aid should never be tied to food.
Obama and Lee dropped the stitch. GuamDiary finds it doubtful whether they ever had the foresight to seize the moment to offer food aid to North Korea, and thus live up to their hollow promises of better relations at the beginning of Kim Jong eun's reign, thereby easing the DPRK's resistance to rejoin the six party talks in Beijing to denuclearise the divided Korean peninsula.
Instead Obama and Lee head of two strong economies and military industrial complexes, feigned weakness. Consequently, they turned themselves into Pyongyang's cat's paw, for as the weaker , North Korea used its strength to stymie the US and ROK who are too cleaver by half . Sooner than later, Obama and Lee will have to put their money where their mouth is and supply food relief to the people of the DPRK. But before that, these two 'powerful' men had to show the world what fools they aure when an extended hand to Kim Jung eun would and could have perced the abcess of heightened tension.