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By On August 16, 2018

Moon Jae-in's 2018 Liberation Day Speech and South Korea's Foreign Policy

The commemoration marking the anniversary of the end of World War II is always a bittersweet moment in South Korea. It marks a day of euphoria on the Korean peninsula that carries with it both the legacy of the past and the burdens of the future. As Korean War historian Sheila Miyoshi Jager observes, “Korea was not liberated by Koreans, and so Korea was subjugated to the will and wishes of its liberators.” Moon Jae-in’s speech marking the seventy-third anniversary of the end of World War II is particularly fascinating in its bold effort to challenge that assertion. This can be seen both through Moon’s efforts to redefine South Korea’s fraught diplomatic relationship with Japan and for the insight the speech provides into Moon’s audacious and potentially risky effort to redefine inter-Korean relations and reshape the geopolitical landscape in Northeast Asia.

Moon†™s efforts to come to terms with Korea-Japan relations are particularly conflicted. Moon begins his speech by asserting that “The history of pro-Japanese collaborators was never a part of our mainstream history.” Instead, Moon defines a liberation narrative that celebrates South Korean agency by drawing on South Korea’s impressive post-war accomplishments as the only former colony to “succeed in achieving both economic growth and democratic progress.”

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But the examples Moon uses in his speech to demonstrate Korea’s desire for liberation in his speech all involve resistance to Japanese colonial rule. In addition, Moon’s rejection of the terms of the December 2015 comfort woman agreement made by his predecessor led the Moon administration to establish August 14 as a new holiday, Comfort Women Memorial Day, and to launch a new think tank devoted to comfort woman research, the Women’s Human Rights Institute of Korea.

Moon stated his Comfort Women Memorial Day address his view that the comfort woman issue cannot be solved diplomatically, but rather should be addressed through global consciousness-raising about sexual violence against all women. Unfortunately, Moon’s message was badly undercut domestically since it coincided with the South Korean judicial acquittal of former South Chungcheong provincial governor Ahn Hee-jung on charges of raping his secretary.

Rather than helping to marginalize Japan’s historical legacy as part of Korea’s liberation narrative (and thus reducing its salience as a diplomatic stumbling block), the steps Moon has taken thus far appear more likely to perpetuate it, just as Japan’s establishment of Takeshima Day (to mark Japan’s claim to the island that South Korea effectively occupies and refers to as Dokdo) strained Korea-Japan relations over a decade ago during the adm inistration of Roh Moo-hyun in which Moon previously served.

These developments have contributed to a hardening of public opinion over the comfort woman issue within the past year in both Japan and South Korea, as shown in the 2018 annual Genron NPO-East Asia Institute (EAI) Joint Poll on Japan-Korea relations and other polls. (Interestingly, the Genron-EAI shows that a plurality of Japanese and a majority of South Koreans support strengthened trilateral security cooperation among the United States, Japan, and South Korea.) Under Moon and Abe, Japan-South Korea relations appear cordial, but fragile.

The centerpiece of Moon’s speech on the future of the inter-Korean relationship turns on the phrase “taking responsibility for our fate ourselves” as a way to overcome historic divisions that have hobbled Korea’s autonomy. Moon outlines his administration’s efforts to win international support for his efforts to promote regional peace and prosperity, including a greement with President Donald Trump to “resolve the North Korean nuclear issue in a peaceful manner.”

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Looking forward to a third inter-Korean summit in Pyongyang, Moon declares the objective of the meeting as “an audacious step to proceed toward the declaration of an end to the Korean War and the signing of a peace treaty as well as the complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.” Moon then presents a bipartisan vision of Korean peninsula-centered Northeast Asian economic integration, beginning with his proposal to establish an East Asian Railroad Community. This is a concept that has been endorsed under various names by every South Korean president since Kim Dae Jung. It is evocative of the same elements contained in the Eurasian Initiative and Northeast Asia Peace and Cooperation Initiative (NAPCI) launched by Moon’s discredited prede cessor, Park Geun-hye.

The key to unlocking a new way forward, according to Moon, is Korean leadership as “the protagonists in Korean peninsula-related issues. Developments in inter-Korean relations are not the by-effects of progress in the relationship between the North and the United States. Rather, advancement in inter-Korean relations is the driving force behind denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.” It is a bold approach that places South Korea at the crossroads of Northeast Asia and crystallizes Moon Jae-in’s efforts to manage the conflict between South Korea’s desire for autonomy and its need for alliance. The coming weeks and months will test whether Kim Jong Unâ€"and President Trumpâ€"accept Moon’s proposition that a Korean peace will catalyze regional and global stability.

UpSource: Google New s South Korea | Netizen 24 South Korea

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By On August 16, 2018

Report: South Korea Bans Over 27000 BMWs From its Roads

Report: South Korea Bans Over 27,000 BMWs From its Roads

After a wave of engine fires, the South Korean government wants every at-risk vehicle inspected before they can be driven again.

James GilboyView James Gilboy's Articles

South Korea's Ministry of Transportation announced Tuesday that it will place a moratorium on driving un-inspected BMW vehicles due to a high risk of engine fires.

This follows an August 3 advisory against driving potentially affected vehicles, according to Nikkei Asian Review, and has now developed into a first-ever ban from driving vehicles at risk. Of 106,317 affected BMWs in the country, 27,246 were reportedly not yet inspected as of Monday, and owners of these vehicles will receive notice s via mail urging them to have their vehicles checked out.

The driving ban takes effect once owners receive government notice, and those that ignore the ministry's driving ban can be punished with up to a year's imprisonment, and a â‚©10 million (almost $8,900) fine. Transport Minister Kim Hyun-mee reportedly said that punishment will likely be lighter for most drivers and will instead result in a warning in most cases.

A total of 38 BMW vehicles have reportedly caught fire in South Korea during 2018 alone, according to Aju Business Daily. The source of the fires is thought to be a problem within the exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) coolers of diesel vehicles, which can clog too easily with sediment, increasing the temperature of exhaust gases entering the intake manifold. BMW apologized for the issue last week, but the transport ministry is now suspicious that the EGR problem could be related to software meant to cheat emissions and is investigating th e matter.

BMW issued a widespread fire risk recall in the U.S. last November for two major faults, affecting a combined million-plus vehicles. It also recalled about 30,000 i3 hybrids last year for an issue that likely impacted only one owner, but the recalls have done little to dissuade customers from buying more Bimmersâ€"the automaker is steaming toward another year of record sales.

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Source: Google News South Korea | Netizen 24 South Korea

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By On August 16, 2018

South Korea Budgets $880 Million for Tech Including Blockchain

The South Korean government will invest over $880 million next year in order to boost the development of innovative technologies including blockchain.

According to a government release on Tuesday, deputy prime minister Kim Dong Yeon hosted a ministerial meeting on Aug. 13 to address the administration's investment plan for innovation growth in the next five years.

Data disclosed on the website of the Ministry of Economy and Finance shows that the government is set to allocate 1 trillion won (about $880 million) in 2019 â€" an 80 percent growth compared to that in 2018 â€" for technologies including blockchain, big data and AI. Further, the authority said it will invest a total of $8â€"9 billion in the same areas over the coming five years.

The goal is to "focus on promoting big data and AI, developing blockchain technology to ensure data management security and b oosting the sharing economy," according to the statement.

The high-level investment plan doesn't yet provide a breakdown for how the funds will be allocated across the different sectors.

The budget plan follows previous indications from the Ministry of ICT that it will allocate $9 million in 2019 for blockchain startups. CoinDesk reported in June that the Ministry of ICT is working with other government agencies to develop six pilot programs that will adopt blockchain in major public services.

Korean won image via Shutterstock

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

Source: Google News South Korea | Netizen 24 South Korea

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By On August 16, 2018

South Korea data: Iranian crude imports halve to 5.78 mil barrels in Jul

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Source: Google News South Korea | Netizen 24 South Korea

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By On August 16, 2018

South Korea's Leader Proposes Broad Economic Cooperation With the North

  1. South Korea's Leader Proposes Broad Economic Cooperation With the North New York Times
  2. South Korean leader wants rail, road links with North as first step toward economic integration Washington Post
  3. South Korea Plans to Start Railway Project With North Korea This Year Voice of America
  4. North Korea Lashes Out At Administration Officials 'Going Against' President Trump NPR
  5. South Korea plans to build 'railway community' in Asia Aljazeera.com
  6. Full coverage
Source: Google News South Korea | Netizen 24 South Korea