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 Forecasting America's Destiny ... and the World's


Generational Dynamics Web Log for 22-Jul-2010
22-Jul-10 News -- US/S.Korean naval exercises begin Sunday

Web Log - July, 2010

22-Jul-10 News -- US/S.Korean naval exercises begin Sunday

Korean Air Lines terrorist bomber visits Tokyo

US / South Korean naval exercises to begin on Sunday

Yellow Sea and Sea of Japan -- called East Sea and West Sea, respectively, by S. Korea
Yellow Sea and Sea of Japan -- called East Sea and West Sea, respectively, by S. Korea

Despite objections from China, the U.S. and South Korea will conduct large scale naval exercises in the Sea of Japan (East Sea) starting on Sunday, according to Chosun.

Codename "Invincible Spirit," the exercise will last four days from Sunday and involve over 200 fighter jets including four F-22 stealth fighters, 8,000 forces, and 20 warships including the U.S. nuclear-powered aircraft carrier George Washington and South Korea's 14,000-ton transport ship Dokdo.

The article says that a decision had been made to hold the exercises in the Sea of Japan rather than the Yellow Sea because of China's objections.

However, the NY Times reports that a later announcement by the US Department of Defense said that later exercises would be in the Yellow Sea.

China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) held its own military supply drill in the Yellow Sea during the last weekend, according to Xinhua. Codenamed "Warfare 2010", the drill's announced objective was to improve defense capabilities against long-distance attacks. Four helicopters and four rescue vessels were deployed for the exercise on Saturday. According to the article, the drill was not linked to the planned U.S/S. Korea drill.

Xinhua says that the Yellow Sea exercises are expected in early September. The article quotes China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang as expressing "deep concern" over the US-S.Korea announcement, and saying, "We resolutely oppose any foreign military vessel and aircraft conducting activities in the Yellow Sea and China's coastal waters that undermine China's security interests. We will continue to follow closely the developments of the situation.

As we recently reported, China is making extraordinary claims of sovereignty over large sections of the South China Sea (see "28-Jun-10 News -- Military tensions increase in South China Sea"), and is also making various claims in the East China Sea and the Yellow Sea.

The U.S./South Korea war games were scheduled in reaction to the sinking of the South Korean warship Cheonan in March. South Korea has produced evidence that proves that the Cheonan was sunk by a North Korean missile, but North Korea vehemently denies this, and China is siding with North Korea. The United Nations refused to blame North Korea, and recently issued a statement saying less than nothing.

United States announces new sanctions on North Korea

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced new sanctions on North Korea in a visit to South Korea on Wednesday. The sanctions target illicit and lucrative activities like counterfeiting and contraband sales, according to CS Monitor.

The new measures are unlikely to have any effect, because they repeat piecemeal steps of the past, according to the article.

The article quotes Brookings Institution expert Ken Lieberthal as saying, "The one approach that has caught North Korea’s attention in the past is financial sanctions that disrupt its access to the international banking system. If we are not resorting to any Treasury-Department-sponsored efforts to get at North Korea’s banking activities abroad, there is reason to lack confidence that more sanctions will have any significant effect."

This quote references a 2005 incident where the U.S. Treasury designated a Macau bank as a money launderer of North Korean illicit assets. This designation caused a chain reaction in the international banking system that shut down many of North Korea's illegal activities. The move was highly effective, but the U.S. backed down after a few months, giving North Korea a victory.

Now, North Korea seems to have scored another victory by sinking the Cheonan and getting away with it.

Tensions are extremely high on the Korean peninsula, and the South Koreans are furious that the North got away with it. There's still a desire for revenge on the part of the South Koreans. It's possible that one side or the other will cross some line at any time, causing a military confrontation.

Korean Air Lines terrorist bomber visits Tokyo

This is a complicated story, so I'm going to try to outline it.

Now, believe it or not, Kim Hyon Hui has arrived in Tokyo for the purpose of answering questions by the relatives of Yaeko Taguchi and other North Korean abductees. According to Yomiuri, it's doubtful that Kim will provide any new information that will shed light on the fate of the abductees.

How did this bizarre visit come about?

Kim now lives in South Korea. In 1989 she was sentenced to death in South Korea for the bombing, but in 1990 she was freed.

Recently, the Japanese asked the South Korean government to allow Kim to visit Japan. Japan's purpose was to humiliate North Korea and "generate resentment toward the abductions and prick public awareness of the issue."

This played right into the hands of the South Koreans, who also wish to humiliate North Korea for the Cheonan attack.

I'm sure that this will be turned into a movie before long.

Plight of ethnic Koreans living in Japan

I came across a couple of very interesting videos, produced by al-Jazeera, about the lives of Koreans living in Japan. They describe that, despite attempts by the Japanese to assimilate them into their culture, many of the Koreans are discriminated against, and remain loyal to their homeland -- and in this case, their homeland is North Korea.

Japan invaded and colonized Korea in 1905, and was only expelled when Japan was defeated in World War II. Korea's attitude toward Japan remains bitter to this day, especially because of the use of Korean "comfort women" by the Japanese army during World War II. In fact, it was this use of comfort women that motivated the North Korean abductions of Japanese women in the 1970s, described in the previous story.

North Koreans remained in Japan after WW II and the occupation ended, and now there are large groups of third and fourth generation Koreans still living there.

The first video is a news story tied to the visit of Kim Hyon Hui, described above. It describes how ethnic Koreans prefer to attend special schools partially funded by North Korea, where lessons are taught in Korean and classrooms feature portraits of leader Kim Jong-il.

The second video focuses on how ethnic Koreans (called Zainichi Koreans) in Korea suffer discrimination and racism.

If you have a few minutes available, the two videos are worth your time. Their point of view is more sympathetic to the Koreans than to the Japanese, but they provide an interesting description nonetheless.

Additional links

Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is expressing increasing concern about a "fairly significant investment" in equipment such as satellites, aircraft, anti-ship missiles and a planned aircraft carrier group VOA. As I've said in the past, we can be certain that China is planning a full-scale war with the United States. The only thing we don't know is when they plan to start it.

In the past, North Korean president Kim Jong-il has refused to allow statues of himself to be erected, as this would symbolize the end of his regime. But now a new bronze statue of Kim Jong-il is sparking rumors that he is close to death. Telegraph

Is the sharp fall in the Baltic Dry Index caused by too many ships? Or is it caused by a sharp drop in shipments of iron ore and steel to China? Ambrose Evans-Pritchard favors the second reason. Telegraph

Supporting Evans-Pritchard is a report that China's Ministry of Commerce is saying that the outlook for exports for China in the last half of the year is "grim." The reason is planned austerity measures in European countries, as well as in Brazil and India. Xinhua

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are requiring much larger bailouts that the administration has previously indicated. Anew report by the administration's TARP inspector general, Neil Barofsky, indicates that bailouts are $700 billion larger than anticipated, due largely to guarantees of bad mortgages by Fannie and Freddie. (I heard one TV pundit call Fannie and Freddie the garbage dump of American finance.) Reuters

The housing market is stalling again. In markets across the country, home sales are deteriorating, inventories of unsold homes are piling up and builders are scaling back construction plans. The expiration of a federal home-buyers tax credit at the end of April is weighing on the market. WSJ (Access)

A new United Nations scandal is brewing. Inga-Britt Ahlenius, a Swedish auditor who stepped down Friday as undersecretary general of the Office of Internal Oversight Services, personally attacked Ban Ki-Moon, accusing him of undermining her attempts to identify corruption. Washington Post. Ban's aides are circling the wagons and striking back. Independent

Iran's shippers are being severely crippled by new sanctions that the United States and the United Nations imposed a few weeks ago. Washington Post

Thailand is receiving a great deal of international criticism for remaining under emergency law, two months after the Red-Shirt protest movement became dormant and goes underground. ISN Security Watch

British prime minister David Cameron is being criticized for saying that the UK was the "junior partner" in the allied WW II fight against Nazi Germany. BBC

India has traditionally favored the Palestinians over the Israelis, and formal relations between India and Israel were not established until 1992. But India also has a military alliance with Israel, and must walk a tightrope between the Jews and the Arabs. Al-Jazeera

Saudi Islamic scholars are having a debate about "Dark-Eyed Virgins." Among the questions being discussed and debated are: Are terrorists exploiting young men, telling them that if they become suicide bombers, then dark-eyed virgins will welcome them in paradise? And the most important question of all is: Is there sex in Paradise? The scholars' answer is "Yes." Memri. There's no word from the scholars about whether female suicide bombers in Paradise are welcomed by dark-eyed studs.

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 22-Jul-10 News -- US/S.Korean naval exercises begin Sunday thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (22-Jul-2010) Permanent Link
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