‘Shocked’ South Korea Leader Orders Probe Into U.S. THAAD Additions

FILE PHOTO: A Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) interceptor is launched during a successful intercept test, in this undated handout photo provided by the U.S. Department of Defense, Missile Defense Agency. U.S. Department of Defense, Missile Defense Agency/Handout...

By Heekyong Yang and Ju-min Park for Reuters – South Korean President Moon Jae-in has ordered a probe after his Defence Ministry failed to inform him that four more launchers for the controversial U.S. THAAD anti-missile system had been brought into the country, his spokesman said on Tuesday. The Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system battery was initially deployed in March in the southeastern region of Seongju with just two of its maximum load of six launchers to counter a growing North Korean missile threat. During his successful campaign for the May 9 presidential election, Moon called for a parliamentary review of the system, the deployment of which infuriated China, North Korea’s lone major ally. “President Moon said it was very shocking” to hear the four additional launchers had been installed without being reported to the new government or to the public, presidential spokesman Yoon Young-chan told a media briefing. Moon had campaigned on a more moderate approach to Pyongyang, calling for engagement even as the reclusive state pursues nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs in defiance of U.N. Security Council resolutions and threats of more sanctions.

Time For Peace Negotiations In Korea, Not Escalation

Thaad Protest in South Korea

By staff for Center for Peace and Disarmament at People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy. The state of affairs on the Korean Peninsula is more volatile than ever, now that President Park has been impeached and new government is to be constituted through an early presidential election in South Korea. The Trump administration, in the meantime, is fueling the escalating tension even further with messages that it will not rule out a preemptive strike on North Korea, and that it will redeploy strategic nuclear warheads to South Korea if necessary. The situation is further destabilized by the Trump administration’s decision to send an aircraft carrier to waters near the Korean Peninsula. The latest military stance and strategy of Washington, however, completely overlooks the desire of Koreans for peace. The Kim Jong-un government in Pyongyang meanwhile has warned of another upcoming nuclear test it intends to conduct, poised as it is to show off its growing nuclear capabilities. An existing crisis is already escalating in Northeast Asia over the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system that the South Korean and U.S. governments have decided to deploy in South Korea. All these acts of military bravado, taking hostage the lives and peace of Koreans, must cease now. It is time for policymakers to be responsible and return to dialogue and negotiations and stop fueling the growing tensions.

S Korean Activists Discuss Left Priorities In The Moon Jae-in Era, Part 3

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By Staff of Zoom In Korea – In response to his election, KCTU said in its statement, “While we will support the administration when it moves in the right direction, we will not hesitate to criticize it and make it the target of our struggle should it fail to do so.” Moon promised that he would build a country where the dignity and rights of workers are respected. It is our assessment that while his labor policy is focused on creating new jobs in the public sector, it is weak in the area of promoting fundamental labor rights. The key question is how much will Moon be able to control the chaebols, which dominate the country’s economy, and change the existing laws and labor relation practices to ensure the guarantee of fundamental rights for all workers. The Korean economy is deeply enmeshed in the global recession and relies too heavily on the chaebols. Many of the economic problems the country faces—from low growth to inequality and youth unemployment—can be solved under a system where the working class plays a leading role. In this sense, strengthen unity and solidarity among workers is more important than ever.

Reunification On The Korean Peninsula: Toward A Peaceful Confederation

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By Moon J. Pak for Zoom In Korea – In any serious effort to peacefully unite the two Koreas in the future, there will be big hurdles of history and geopolitics to overcome. Due mainly to its unique geopolitical location, surrounded by large, aggressive and ambitious neighbors, China, Japan, Russia, Mongolia, Manchuria and more recently the neighbor across the Pacific, the U.S., the 4,000-year-old history of Korea is tumultuous, to say the least. The country was invaded, occupied, colonized by all of these neighbors. Although Korea fought back, it has never retaliated and invaded any neighboring countries. Despite thousands of years of troublesome and cruel foreign invasions, Korea has maintained its national, ethnic and cultural identity. In the evolution of modern Korea, this ancient pattern of competing for dominance over Korea repeated itself. China, Russia and Japan struggled over the peninsula, which resulted in the colonialization of the country by Japan in 1910. Japan considered Korea to be its geopolitical stepping-stone to the continent. Japan’s ambition for domination over Asia was permanently thwarted in 1945 with the end of the World War II.

The United States Should Listen To South Korea—Or It Will Reap The Whirlwind

From ZoomInKorea.org

 By Tim Shorrock for The Nation – Gwangju, South Korea—On May 2, Moon Jae-in, the Korean politician who is expected to win next Tuesday’s presidential election here, issued a stern warning to the United States. Pointing to the escalating tensions between North Korea and the United States, he told The Washington Post that South Korea must “take the lead on matters on the Korean Peninsula.” Seoul, he added, “should not take the back seat.” Moon, a progressive politician with deep roots in South Korea’s left, has repeated these words throughout his campaign. They signal his wish to change the dynamics of US-South Korean relations and meet his country’s desire for a more independent foreign policy. In particular, he wants to use economic and political incentives to ease tensions with the North—a position anathema to many in Washington. The US government, Congress, and the Pentagon should listen to Moon and his voters. Over the past two months, President Trump has done more to alienate South Korea than any American leader in the past 40 years. If Trump and the American politicians and pundits who support his militaristic approach to North Korea aren’t careful and continue to ignore this country’s wishes, they could spark the most serious wave of anti-Americanism in the South since 1980.

After The S Korean Election: The Movement That Ousted Park Cannot Rest

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By Hyun Lee for Zoom In Korea – Front-runner Moon Jae-in, of the main opposition Minjoo Party, is the greatest beneficiary of the mass protests that led to Park Geun-hye’s impeachment. Widespread discontent against Park and the conservative Saenuri party have catapulted Moon to the front of the pack with a significant lead over the other candidates. Moon was Chief of Staff for the late former President Roh Moo-hyun, who served from 2003 to 2008 and continued his predecessor Kim Dae-jung’s “sunshine policy” of engagement and economic cooperation with North Korea. If elected, Moon is expected to reverse South Korea’s policy toward North Korea to one of engagement. He has pledged to reopen the Kaesong Industrial Complex—the joint inter-Korean economic project that was the last remaining hallmark of peaceful North-South engagement before it was shut down by the Park administration in 2016. The question is: if Moon is elected, will the United States be willing to recalibrate its North Korea strategy to allow Moon to lead? And if not, how much will Moon stand up to the United States to chart an independent path?

THAAD Rocket Fuel: Likely Ground Water Contamination Coming To Seongju, South Korea

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By Bruce K. Gagnon for Organizing Notes – The unwelcome US deployment of the THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) missile defense (MD) system in Seongju, South Korea is not only a significant threat to regional peace but is also a major environmental catastrophe waiting to happen. The reason is that rocket fuel contains a deadly chemical component called perchlorate. And since the Seongju area is a melon farming community the risk of ground water contamination by perchlorate should be alarming to all concerned. Perchlorate, the explosive ingredient in solid rocket fuel, has leaked from military bases and weapons and aerospace contractors’ plants in at least 22 states, contaminating drinking water for millions of Americans. In the US scientists have warned that perchlorate could cause thyroid deficiency in more than 2.2 million women of childbearing age. This thyroid deficiency could damage the fetus of pregnant women, if left untreated. Reports indicate that 20 million to 40 million Americans may be exposed to the chemical.

Protests, Hunger Strike Against U.S. THAAD In South Korea

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By Yamei of Xinhuanet. On Wednesday, about 20 U.S. trucks and trailers carried part of THAAD elements, including radar, to a golf course at Soseong-ri village in Seongju county, North Gyeongsang province. The golf course was designated as the THAAD site. The installed THAAD elements include two mobile launchers, an AN/TPY-2 radar and other equipments. A THAAD battery is composed of six mobile launchers, 48 interceptors, the radar and the fire and control unit. The deployment of THAAD in South Korea has been strongly opposed by regional countries, including China and Russia, as it breaks strategic balance in the region. Following the unexpected deployment, protests have been staged by the general public, residents and peace activists. Residents and peace activists, who had been on the guard right beside the entrance road, tussled with thousands of South Korean policemen on Sunday to block two U.S. oil tankers attempting to enter the golf course.

South Korea’s Likely Next President Warns US Not To Meddle In Nation’s Democracy

Flickr/ Tim Green

By Jason Ditz for Anti-War – The split between Moon and Trump is so dramatic, in fact, that Moon has felt the need to publicly warn the US against “meddling” in the nation’s politics, not just directly in the election itself, but also with policy decisions made in the lead-up to the election. Indeed, Moon and his allies warn that the biggest problem is the US rushing through measures in the lame-duck government ahead of the election, noting that agreements on things like the THAAD anti-missile system, and then hastily putting the system in place before any public hearings or environmental assessments were allowed to take place. Analysts even suggest that President Trump’s talk of making South Korea pay for THAAD might help Moon,, because he is seen as more likely to stand up to the US on the deployment, and doesn’t feel particularly wedded to any agreements on the deployment, which were made in the post-impeachment, pre-election environment specifically to avoid real political debate.

US & South Korea Force THAAD Through Protesters

Riot Police THAAD Being Forced Through Protesters 4-26-17

By Staff for Zoom in Korea. The residents of Seongju and Gimcheon were caught off guard when the United States Forces Korea and the South Korean Defense Ministry forced key parts of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile system into the former Lotte Skyhill Golf Course in the early morning hours of April 26. Many of the THAAD parts, including the AN/TPY-2 radar, are believed to have been transported into the deployment site. Below is a minute by minute breakdown of the conflict. The environmental impact assessment has yet to be completed, they also noted, yet the key THAAD components have already been transported into the deployment site. A total of 12 protesters sustained injuries and were escorted to the hospital in ambulances. The Defense Ministry reportedly told the South Korean media that it plans to transport the remainder of the THAAD components into the deployment site by the end of this year.

U.S. Missile Madness Hypocrisy

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By Bruce K. Gagnon for Organizing Notes – Today the Pentagon will test fire a nuclear missile from Vandenberg AFB in California into the Pacific landing at their often radiated target Kwajalein Atoll Just yesterday the Pentagon tried to sneak the THAAD ‘missile defense’ system in the dark of night into the new base in Seongju, South Korea but protesters were there along with a zillion police pushing them back…

The USFK Take Control Of THAAD Site through Brute Force

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By Staff of Zoom In Korea – And please help us in calling the Defense Ministry to complain and tell them to stop the forced deployment of the THAAD system! During the protest on Saturday April 22, the Seongju Struggle Committee condemned the United States Forces Korea (USFK) and the South Korean government for rushing to begin construction of the THAAD base even before completing the necessary prerequisite steps — “It is illegal to bring in construction-related material when the results of the environmental impact assessment have yet to come out.” On April 20, the South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that the South Korean government had handed over the former Lotte Skyhill Golf Course to the United States Forces Korea. The USFK is proceeding with preparations for the THAAD deployment. On the same day, U.S. military personnel were seen driving construction vehicles through Soseong-ri Village into the deployment site. Thirty residents and Won Buddhists attempted to block two vehicles from entering but were unsuccessful. The South Korean police disrupted the peaceful protest of the residents and created a path for the vehicles to enter the deployment site.

The Long History Of US Abuses To Korea

A US soldier walks around the rubble of Hamhung, North Korea, in an undated photo.

By Anthony Gronowicz for A People’s History of US Foreign Policy. The first battle, May 4, 1949—the biggest–initiated a series of clashes that culminated in the publicly declared start of the Korean War on June 25, 1950. This May 4th combat occurred when Rhee’s forces crossed the 38th parallel, only to have two of his infantry companies defect to the communist side. Numerous August skirmishes led the U.S. Korean Military Advisory Group Commander, General W.L. Roberts, to conclude, “Each was in our opinion brought on by the presence of a small south Korean salient north of the parallel …the South Koreans wish to invade the North. … almost every incident has been provoked by the South Korean security forces.” By June 25, 1950, hundreds of troops had been killed as thousands of soldiers fought countless small engagements. Convincing evidence has yet to be shown that the North was preparing to invade the South.

South Korean Delegation Opposes THAAD Missile Deployment At Seongju

Delegation to stop THAAD missile deployment in South Korea. Photo: Anne Meador

By John Zangas for DC Media Group – A South Korean delegation spent Easter Sunday at the White House decrying plans to deploy the THAAD missile system in Seongju County, South Korea. The anti-war activist group also expressed concerns that the deployment marked increased militarism in Asia and in the Pacific, and with it increasing tensions between North and South Korea. About thirty took place in the peaceful event. It was the last stop in a 9 city tour. The Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile system is a mobile trailer launched high altitude anti-missile which uses its own Mach +8 speed to destroy incoming ballistic missiles both inside or outside the atmosphere. The Lockheed Martin system was deployed to South Korea to counter the North Korean missile program.Many South Koreans in Seongju County remain opppsed to the THAAD deployment, according to Rev. Sounghey Kim, co-chair of the Seongju Struggle Committeeto Stop THAAD Deployment in South Korea. Rev. Sounghey Kim, who is Buddhist, expressed worry that deploying the system in Seongju, a primarily agricultural region far south of the border of North Korea…

Newsletter: Dangerous War In Korea Brewing

South Korean anti-war protest

By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers for Popular Resistance. North Korea, which has borders with Russia and China, is in Trump’s cross hairs and a US military attack risks a larger war. The US public is being given partial and inaccurate information and is largely uninformed about the country. The rhetoric from the Trump administration threatening a military attack on North Korea comes at the end of a massive military exercise that included mock nuclear attacks by the United States and a mock assassination of the North Korean leader. The United States claims the exercises are because North Korea is developing nuclear weapons and long-range missiles, but North Korea has offered to stop building such weapons if the United States stops their military exercises that regularly practice attacking their country. President Trump has refused, as did President Obama before him. In fact, both presidents have escalated their military exercises on North Korea. This is a time for a renewed and independent peace movement. The movement must understand the US has a bi-partisan problem of two parties controlled by Wall Street and war.