Tag Archives: South Korea

South Korea-US Alliance has never been more important

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Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III, Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken, South Korean Minister of Foreign Affairs Chung Eui-yong and Minister of National Defense Suh Wook stand in solidarity as they begin the “Two-plus-Two” talks in Seoul March 18, 2021.

Seoul: “Amid increasing global threats, the Alliance between South Korea and the USA has never been more important”.

This was reiterated at the end of a Joint Foreign and Defense Ministerial meeting between Republic of Korea (ROK) Minister of Foreign Affairs Chung Eui-yong and Minister of National Defense Suh Wook and United States (U.S.) Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III in Seoul on Thursday March 18, 2021.

A joint statement released by the Governments of the United States and the Republic of Korean-region reiterates that the ROK-U.S. Alliance, forged in blood on the battlefield 70 years ago, serves as the linchpin of peace, security, and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula and the Indo-Pacific region.

U.S.-Korean Alliance is Key to Peace, Stability in Northeast Asia

Both sides have reaffirmed a mutual commitment to the defense of the ROK and to the strengthening of the ROK-U.S. combined defense posture, consistent with the ROK-U.S. Mutual Defense Treaty.

U.S. officials have especially reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to the defense of the ROK and its extended deterrence using the full range of U.S. capabilities.

Both sides have underscored commitment to strengthening the Alliance deterrence posture, and have reiterated the importance of maintaining joint readiness against all shared threats to the Alliance through combined training and exercises.

Both Secretaries and Ministers noted that U.S. forces in the ROK continue to play a critical role in maintaining peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and in the region, and committed to continuing to ensure that we have the force posture and capabilities necessary to meet our common challenges.

Both sides affirmed that the agreement in principle on a new multi-year Special Measures Agreement is a symbol of the shared commitment to the ROK-U.S. Alliance, supports the stable presence of U.S. forces stationed in Korea, and enhances our combined defense posture.

The Ministers and Secretaries noted that since both sides have decided to pursue the transition of wartime Operational Control (OPCON) in 2006, the ROK and the United States have achieved great progress through their combined efforts and reiterated their firm commitment to wartime OPCON transition consistent with the Conditions-Based OPCON Transition Plan (COT-P). Building on this progress, the leaders pledged to continue efforts toward the transition.

The Ministers and Secretaries emphasized that North Korean nuclear and ballistic missile issues are a priority for the Alliance, and reaffirmed a shared commitment to address and resolve these issues.They affirmed the importance of full implementation of relevant UN Security Council resolutions by the international community, including North Korea. The ROK and the United States are closely coordinating on all issues related to the Korean Peninsula.

Both sides shared the view that these issues should be addressed through a fully-coordinated strategy toward North Korea between the ROK and the United States. To this end, they committed to maintain high-level consultations on the United States’ ongoing North Korea policy review.

The Ministers and Secretaries affirmed the importance of ROK-U.S.-Japan trilateral cooperation and pledged to continue promoting mutually-beneficial, forward looking cooperation to promote peace, security, and prosperity in the region.

Without naming China but focusing on the backdrop of increasing challenges to the regional security environment, both sides underscored the shared values of the ROK-U.S. Alliance. They also underlined the two countries’ commitment to opposing all activities that undermine and destabilize the rules-based international order.

The ROK and the United States have emphasized that they remain united in their shared commitment to maintaining peace and stability, unimpeded lawful commerce, and respect for international law.

The ROK and the United States reiterated their resolve to continue to work together to create a free and open Indo-Pacific region through cooperation with the ROK’s New Southern Policy.

The two countries, it has been stated, are united in their dedication to support ASEAN centrality and other regional efforts.

Both sides acknowledged the contributions of ongoing bilateral dialogues to expanding regional coordination with the Pacific Island countries and in the Mekong sub-region.

They committed to deepening cooperation across a range of areas including trade, health, non-proliferation, nuclear energy, COVID-19,combatting the climate crisis, space, and cybersecurity.

Women Hockey: India beat Korea 2-1

Harpal Singh Bedi

Lalremsiami takes a shot at the goal

New  Delhi: Striker Lalremsiami and Navneet Kaur scored goal in each half  to enable India  pip spirited Korea 2-1 in the opening Women’s hockey match of  the three-match Bi-lateral Series at Jincheon (Korea) on Monday.

As per the information received here, the Visitors started the game on an attacking note forcing the hosts to be on the defensive.

India missed a chance to take the lead when they missed out on an opportunity to score through a penalty corner early in the first quarter. However young striker Lalremsiami put the visitors ahead with a splendid field goal in the 20th minute.

Indian team, backed by good results in their previous  tournaments in Spain and Malaysia earlier this year, exhibited  fast paced game throughout

Navneet celebrates a goal

The visitors second goal came in the 40th minute when Navneet Kaur struck beautifully that took India’s lead to 2-0.

Though the hosts earned five penalty corners in the course of the match, including a penalty stroke in the last quarter, they managed to convert only one PC in 48th minute through Shin Hyejeong.

India’s experienced goalkeeper Savita made some commendable saves to keep her team in lead throughout the match.

Speaking about their performance today, India’s Chief Coach Sjoerd Marijne said: “Considering this was our first match, I think the result was good but the performance can be better. We tried some new things in the match and it was interesting to see how we handled the change.”

India will play their second match against the hosts on Wednesday, 22 May.

For the upcoming match, Marijne feels the team must up their technical skills. He said, “We must bring our technical skills to a higher level in order to play faster and that will be one of our priorities for the next match.”

India has emerged as a leading investment destination: Suresh Prabhu

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Minister for Commerce and Industry meets captains of top Korean industries

Seoul, South Korea: Minister for Commerce and Industry, Suresh Prabhu spoke of India’s emergence as one of the world’s leading investment destination and commitment to promoting free and fair world trade at the 7th Asia-Europe Economic Ministers (ASEM) meeting on Friday.

Prabhu arrived in the Republic of Korea on September 21, to attend the 7th Asia-Europe (ASEM) Economic Ministers meeting and the 3rd Joint Ministerial Review of the India-Korea Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA).

Addressing the 7th ASEM meeting, Prabhu underscored the challenges that lay ahead in ensuring free and fair trade as embodied in the WTO.

The Minister commended ASEM for addressing global issues of common interest in the spirit of mutual respect and equal partnership.

On the sidelines of this meeting, the Commerce and Industry Minister had productive meetings with the Minister of State for Economy and Finance of France, Mr. Benjamin Griveaux; the State Secretary of the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries of Norway, Ms Dilek Ayhan; the State Secretary for Trade, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, Ms Susanne Hyldelund, and the DG of the Ministry of Industry & Economy of Spain, Mr. Jose Louis Kaiser Moreiras.

Later in the day Prabhu met, the Chairman of Korea’s ruling Democratic Party, Ms. ChooMi-ae and discussed the rapid progress in bilateral ties since the inauguration of President Moon Jae-in’s administration in May 2017. Ms. Choo highlighted the importance attached by President Moon to the bilateral relationship with India and his commitment to elevate it to the next level. Calling India a shining star in the global economy, Ms. Choo noted that the “elephant was out performing the dragon”. Later, Prabhu met the Chairman and CEO of Korea’s most influential media house, the Chosun Ilbo, Bang Sang-hoon to discuss bilateral economic ties, and to consider hosting the next India-Korea Business Summit at an early date, focusing on sectors which would energize the bilateral trade relationship.

Earlier, on September 21, the Minister for Commerce and Industry met the senior leadership of top Korean industries, including Samsung, Kia motors, Lotte, Kumho-Asiana, Hyundai Electric, Posco, LS Group, Toray Chemicals, CJ Logistics and Tongyang Moolsang. In a detailed exchange of views with these businesses, and the Federation of Korean Industries, issues and prospects for more business cooperation were discussed. Attendees represented a cross section of Korean businesses already operating in or interested in expanding their operations in India.

China to Safeguard Security of its ‘Front-line state North Korea’, in case of Regime Collapse: How it concerns India?

Major General S B Asthana,SM,VSM (Retd)


Kim Jong-nam

The statement of Chinese Defence spokesman Ren Guoqiang to indicate that China will take the “necessary measures” to safeguard national security in the event of the collapse of the neighbouring North Korean regime (South China Morning Post, February 23, 2017), clearly proves the extent to which China has been supporting North Korea as its ‘Frontline state”, and how far it can go to help it, in case the recent crisis of alleged assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s half-brother Kim Jong-nam, showing alleged North Korean connections and use of banned nerve agent VX, flares up to threaten the stability of North Korea.

This concept of North Korea being used as a ‘Frontline state’ against US and its ally South Korea, dates back to Korean War, when China entered the War with an aim to avoid US/South Korea to be its neighbor, as a permanent military threat.

Chinese Sanctions not Effective (A suspected double game)

Earlier this month the renewed missile test besides isolating Pyongyang, has put China in Tight spot, for not putting enough pressure on them. China’s announcement last week to suspend all imports of coal from North Korea for the rest of the year, to deprive them financially (Coal exports makes up about 35 percent of North Korea’s economy. 90 percent of its trade is with China which is based on coal export) is being viewed as ‘Too little and too late’ because it is also estimated that China’s trade with North Korea has increased tenfold over last 15 years, including some major infrastructure projects, despite China claiming to support UN sanctions, and opposing nuclear tests by North Korea .North Korea continued nuclear misadventure, and despite China being party to UN Resolution is being looked upon to put more pressure on them, being their economic lifeline. The continuation of nuclear adventure by North Korea means either China does not have enough leverage on North Korea, or China is deliberately not putting pressure on them, to use them as front line state against influential zone of US including South Korea. Now China is also worried about deployment of THAAD in South Korea, after reassurance by General Mattis, the Secretary of Defence in Trump Administration, during his visit, arguing that the system could be used to spy on Chinese missile flight tests, hence some actions against North Korea are in sight.

Why North Korea continues Nuclear Misadventure and acts like alleged assassination of people closer to Hierarchy?

Washington Post in its article “These 5 things help make sense of North Korea’s nuclear tests and missile launch” had brought out five basic reasons, as possible logic for nuclear misadventure by repeated nuclear tests in Southeast Asia. Basically it all amounts to Kim Jong-un trying to retain unhindered autocratic use power, and demonstrating his strength to his countrymen, keeping his ‘Nuclear program’, and ‘Hate America tag’ as a rallying point for his leadership, generating faith in him, and generating spirit of nationalism and anti-American sentiments. The alleged assassination is also being linked to a possibility of eliminating any future contender for power as media reports of last two days suspect a link up with North Korean intelligence agency RGB. The non-cooperation of their diplomats in investigation to an extent that Malaysia said on Saturday it would issue an arrest warrant for a North Korean diplomat wanted for questioning over the murder of Kim Jong-nam, if he doesn’t voluntarily cooperate with the police (SCMP, February 24). If these allegations get proved, it might have a backlash and internal disturbance in North Korea.

How Frontline State Theory of China affects India?

Applying the same logic as applicable to North Korea, China finds an ‘All weather Friend in Pakistan’ which can be used as a ‘Frontline State’ to keep Indian Army engaged, without getting directly involved. It can be used for warm water access through CPEC, and most importantly, attempt to deny the strategic space of Pakistan to US by making it a ‘Frontline State’, although this may not be that easy as Pakistan has some critical dependencies on US and so far Pakistan has been able to calibrate its relations with both, getting the best from both, although the balance is now tilting in favour of China.

Why Pakistan continues to dream Kashmir?

I wish to draw a similarity of this model towards Pakistan Army’s logic to continue to be the strongest power-centre, using Kashmir Issue as a rallying point, and perceived Indian threat, as a logic for holding the reins of power, even if a notional democratic Civil Government is in place. The numbers of military coups in Pakistan bear a testimony to that. In Pakistan every political party has to toe the line of the Army to have Kashmir as an agenda, and use it as a rallying point to muster votes and support, besides remaining in good books of the Pakistan Army. Today neither US nor China can put enough pressure on Pakistan to move away from this narrative, as they know that it is fully engrained into their DNA.

The agenda of Kashmir is being misused to generate the spirit of perceived nationalism, and arouse anti-India sentiments, even if it amounts to misadventures like proxy war, helping terrorists, creating stockpile of tactical nuclear weapons, continued missile tests, and having an ambition of having the largest nuclear arsenal in South Asia. Despite such similarity in these models of North Korea and Pakistan, it is surprising that the whole world rightly criticises North Korea, but not many eyebrows are raised on aiding Pakistan, although the risk of tactical nuclear/dirty bomb sneaking to militants are much more from Pakistan. Apparently its geographical location, strategic importance, usability and amenability to major powers helps in overlooking a grave eminent danger of militancy.

One of the Takeaways’ for India is that with two nuclear powers on its flanks, India should also build a THAAD system of the capability matching the system which South Korea and Japan are trying to install. We need to look way beyond the existing systems, which will take time and the clock is already clicking. Secondly, with CPEC in progress the stakes of China in Pakistan are increasing manifold, hence in future clashes, China may not remain as neutral as it has been in past.




(Connect with author on Facebook, Linkedin,and Twitter as Shashi Asthana)

Older version of the article published in Indian Defense Review, 27 February, 2017.