Wednesday, November 2, 2016

LTW: Choi Soon Sil Scandal

South Korea has fallen into unprecedented power vacuum as President Park Geun-hye had to make an apology on Oct 25 over the involvement of Choi Soon Sil, Park's personal friend of 40 years, in state affairs. Park’s apology came right after a media report that Choi has received drafts of presidential speeches and sometimes edited them, which was backed by confidential document files on Choi's tablet computer. Park admitted she sought help from Choi for her speeches during presidential elections in 2012, and continued do so even after she became the president. Choi is also at the epicenter of a corruption scandal in which Choi used her connection with the president to solicit 77.4 billion Korean won (U$69M) from Korea’s 62 large corporations for her cultural and a sports foundations. Despite Park's firing of 10 of her close aides involved in the scandal, and arrest of Choi over the weekend, the public is still very much outraged, suspecting Choi has been the real president of Korea and Park was only Choi's puppet. Political chaos seems unavoidable as Park still has 16 months to run the nation until Feb 2018 with both of her legs cut off.

 Protesters wearing masks of South Korean President Park Geun-Hye and her confidante Choi Soon-Sil perform before a candlelit rally in central Seoul on Saturday.
South Korea and the U.S. have been a blood ally for many years, sharing glory and pain together in good or bad times. It was manifested once again as the soon-to-be U.S. President Hillary Clinton, feeling sorry for ally nation's president's agony over document files in an aide's computer, has done her share with her e-mails to Huma Abedin's computer.

Friday, March 11, 2016

LTW: NK Bombs and Key Resolve

With 300,000 South Korean and 15,000 American troops in the war game dubbed Key Resolve and Foal Eagle, South Korea and the U.S. kicked of their largest-ever military exercise on Mar 7 to warn North Korean leader Kim Jong-un that any further provocation can lead to the demise of his regime. What's different from previous annual exercises is that this one is offensive, implementing a new military operation plan(Oplan 5015) for the first time which triggers preemptive strike if North Korea shows any sign of possible use of WMD. The joint drill is to last until the end of April.

Angered by Kim Jong-un’s H-Bomb test on Jan 6, and long-range missile fire disguised as a satellite launch on Feb 7, President Park Geun-hye has been lashing at Kim Jong-un, even taking this crisis as a good opportunity to “behead” Kim through Operation Gryphon Knife.  She shut down Kaeseong Industrial zone in North Korea where 50,000 North Koreans were working, asked Obama to fly a few F-22 stealth fighters to Korean peninsula, and threatened reluctant Chinese leader Xi Jinping to join U.N. sanctions or face THADD deployment in Korea that can neutralize Chinese ICBM capability against the U.S.  Kim Jong-un was still defiant,however, firing a few short range missiles last week, ordering “nuclear warheads to be ready for firing at any moment” and vowing “U.S. mainland can be devastated by nuke bombs.”   The tension in Korean peninsula keeps heating up at this time.

Donald Trump might become the next president of the U.S., and it is a concern to South Koreans because of his earlier interview that says “I order thousands of televisions, they’re all from South Korea. So we have 28,000 people on the border separating South Korea from this maniac in N.Korea. They are making a fortune. We get paid peanuts for deploying the troops to South Korea.”  Well, two things Mr. Trump should know. First, South Korea contributed $867M toward U.S. military costs in 2014, about 40% of the total.That ain't no peanuts.   Second, my two sons were among 600,000 young South Korean soldiers serving two draft years at $100 a month pay from the very government "making a fortune," fighting hard to take out the maniac desperate to fire a nuke bomb into Mr. Trump’s own backyard at any moment.