貨物船に浸水、14人救助 能登半島沖の日本海

Helicopter Rescue (Sankei photo)

A relatively restrained Japanese commentator observes:

Actually, there is nothing exceptional about this incident. It was rather routine really. A Cambodian freight ship sprang a leak and called for assistance. Some soldiers stationed on a isolated island outpost got the distress code and relayed the message to neighboring countries where upon a naval helicopter was dispatched and saved all the crew members transporting them to safety. In all fairness, this was standard operating procedure.
So why the headlines? Firstly, the military outpost that got the SOS was the disputed Takeshima Islands/Liancourt Rocks and the soldiers stationed there were Korean military. Secondly, the naval helicopter that rushed to the rescue was of the Japanese Maritime Defense Force. Adding insult to injury, the winter winds that blow from west to east would have meant that it would have been easier for a Korean helicopter to reach the sinking ship than a Japanese helicopter flying against the 20m/sec wind.
Nice to know all the crew members survived. Bad day for Koreans though. Japanese reactionaries are not going easy on an opportunity to laugh their heads off.

Regardless of the funny side of the the incident, any helicopter pilot would tell you that it is sometimes better to fly upwind while empty (and therefore downwind with the rescued passengers) than the opposite.

Posted by Dokdodevil, filed under diplomacy. Date: March 15, 2015, 11:21 pm | No Comments »

World Naval Developments – June 2014, by Norman Friedman

Late in June Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced that Japan would modify its military policy to make contributions to collective defence permissible.

In the past, the ‘Peace Constitution’ has been interpreted to prohibit anything but direct self-defence, which is why the Japanese military is the Self-Defence Force (at one time even the right to self-defence was questioned by some Japanese). Mr. Abe outlined four possible scenarios for such action, including assisting the United States against both ballistic missile attack and attacks on US warships.

The idea of collective defence goes much further. It might include the creation of a Far Eastern collective defence organization of like-minded governments. The Japanese have already decided that they can sell arms to countries not engaged in war. The combination of Mr. Abe’s declaration and the arms sales decision might enable Japan to build a kind of Far Eastern NATO. That would not be irrational for the Japanese, considering that Japan depends heavily on seaborne traffic, much of it moving through South Asian waters.

For some time proponents of a more active Japanese military stance have pointed out that modern technology makes it more and more difficult to distinguish between offense and defence, and between defence mounted entirely from Japanese soil and collective defence in more forward areas. For example, many of North Korea’s missiles seem to be aimed at Japan as much as at South Korea. However effective a Japanese missile defence shield may be, attacking some of these missiles at source might be a valuable form of defence.

Similarly, Japan depends on seaborne imports for her survival. Convoy operations may seem to be the appropriate form of defence, but it is not clear that they would be entirely effective against fast nuclear submarines. In that case, the best defence might be to attack the enemy’s submarines somewhere closer to their bases. Would such operations be offensive or defensive? If Japan’s US ally were conducting them, would Japanese participation be appropriate or even necessary? As Chinese military power grows, at what point should Japan take up more of the burden of measures which ultimately protect her?

The US government, which has long hoped that Japan would take a more active role in defending the Far East, applauded Abe’s action. Japan is already involved in the US ballistic missile defence program, and Japanese ships have participated in maneuvers alongside the US Navy. The Japanese have also provided valuable logistical support, for example in the Middle East. Japanese policy has gradually expanded the definition of direct defence of the country.

For example, Japan accepted that maritime defence had to extend out to at least 1000 nm, and that in turn justified the construction of helicopter-carrying destroyers, the latest of which are clearly helicopter (and perhaps STOVL) carriers. A realist contemplating the Chinese navy would have to point out that the potential threat to Japanese shipping includes missile-carrying bombers as well as submarines. During the Cold War the US Navy concluded that missile-armed surface ships were not enough to deal with the analogous Soviet threat. Carrier-borne fighters were essential. Japan may be edging towards building carriers. Would they be offensive or defensive? Is the distinction meaningful?

The Chinese were predictably furious at Mr. Abe’s announcement. Japan is the only Far Eastern country which has the resources to stand up to the growing Chinese military machine. If economics were the sole determinant in forming alliances, and if only a Chinese threat mattered, Japan would become the core of a Far Eastern alliance including India, Australia, and Korea.

Early in the Cold War the US Government tried to create a Pacific equivalent of NATO anchored on Japan. In fact, Japan was and is proportionately far more powerful in the Far East than Germany was and is in Europe. The idea failed because proposed alliance members (Australia and the Philippines) were more worried about a resurgent Japan than about the apparently more abstract threats posed by Mao’s China and Stalin’s Soviet Union. Even South Korea, which really had felt the effect of Communist aggression, was unwilling to join with its former occupier. The brutalities of the past were just too close. As recently as 2012, the Korean government found that popular pressure blocked an agreement to share intelligence with Japan. The South Korean government was notably unhappy at Mr. Abe’s announcement.

The problem lies in the past, and in the uses different governments make of it. By the end of World War II, the Japanese were saying that they had fought a just war to liberate Asia from Western colonialism. Many of those they had liberated had fared rather badly during the war; the Japanese were at least as brutal as those they displaced. However, when the war ended, in some places the Japanese handed over power to anti-colonial movements. They can, for example, take considerable credit for the emergence of Indonesia and Vietnam as independent countries. This just-war message is displayed in detail at Yasukuni, the Japanese war memorial.

Those badly victimized by Japan during the war find this less than palatable. Wartime Japanese brutality may be explainable by the exigencies of war, but Koreans remember 40 years of Japanese colonial rule, culminating in horrific atrocities. In recent years they have been particularly infuriated by Japanese refusal to apologize for the forced prostitution of hundreds of thousands of Korean women during World War II.

The Chinese situation is no happier. World War II in the Far East began with Japanese invasions of Manchuria and then of China proper. In China the Japanese committed numerous atrocities, beginning with the Rape of Nanking. Ultimately the war cost at least 15 million Chinese lives. The struggle against Japan holds particular significance for the current Chinese Communist government. It has long used the war as a unifying national theme, claiming that the wartime Communists were particularly effective in resisting the Japanese. It seems that Chinese nationalism, as symbolized by the fight against Japan, has been promoted particularly actively in the quarter-century since the Tien-an-Men Square massacre (June 1989, with related massacres in other Chinese cities). It does not help that Prime Minister Abe has visited Yasakuni (despite, incidentally, US government advice not to go). The Japanese argue that Yasakuni is a privately-run museum and shrine, hence does not reflect official policy.

It seems unlikely that the Japanese will retreat under Chinese pressure. Presumably the Chinese are looking for ways to preclude the formation of a Japanese-led anti-Chinese alliance. They may see South Korean hatred for Japan as a valuable fulcrum. At one time, Koreans felt dependent on the United States to stave off the North Koreans. Given their very considerable economic strength, they are increasingly independent-minded. For example, for years US policy was deliberately to limit the ranges of South Korean missiles, for fear that the South Koreans might turn their attention to their old enemy, Japan.

In recent years the South Koreans have broken free of US-sponsored limits. Ironically, some of their missiles are described as relatives of Russian weapons; the Russians sold weapons to Korea because they owed South Korea so much hard currency. The irony is that Russia is also the main weapon supplier to North Korea. In 2015 South Korea is to take over command of the joint UN (mainly Korean and US) force in that country.

Reportedly the South Koreans are developing a pre-emptive concept called ‘Kill Chain,’ which they see as a deterrent against a North Korean attack. Anyone looking at the possibility of a Chinese-South Korean alignment might ponder the visit of the current Chinese President to Seoul without any visit to Pyongyang. In the past, Chinese Presidents have certainly visited Seoul – but they have been careful to visit North Korea first.
What should we do? We certainly do not want the Chinese to run us out of the Far East, as they appear to want to do. That requires that we reassure our friends in that vast area. We typically imagine that countries are either on our side, neutral, or hostile. That omits the possibility, which the Korean and Japanese cases illustrate so well, that countries friendly with us may wish to erase each other. We are already familiar with this sort of situation in the Middle East, but it is much more universal than we may imagine. How do we sustain a necessary degree of power in an area without being crippled by local enmities?

Air-Sea Battle proposals often include dispersal of US ground-based combat aircraft throughout the Far East, so that they are difficult to destroy on the outbreak of war. That may or may not be a very good idea. For example, dispersed aircraft entail disproportionately high support costs. Modern ground bases are not so easy to conceal, and they don’t move at high speed. What typically is not taken into account is the politics of such dispersal. Placing military assets on someone else’s soil requires his permission. Governments usually extract a veto on operations undertaken from their soil. In 1986, US bombers based in the United Kingdom were deployed in a strike against Libya. British permission apparently was not sought, and the result was a much-reduced US air footprint in the UK – and rules which made it impossible to repeat a unilateral strike.

Perhaps it is time to remember that our naval forces are sovereign territory, the only kind from which strikes of any kind can be mounted without someone else’s permission. Carrier battle groups are hardly inexpensive, but it is well to remember a history of governments denying us the use of bases on their territory. Again and again our experience has been that once we show that we can act unilaterally, other governments (in whose interest it would be to act) decide to join us. That was certainly the case during both Gulf Wars. When we applaud Mr. Abe’s initiative to join in collective defence, it may be well to understand that he may see participation as valuable leverage. To the extent that he provides essential support, he can help decide what we can and cannot do. The same might be said of others in the region, such as the Koreans.

*Norman Friedman is author of The Naval Institute Guide to World Naval Weapon Systems

Posted by Dokdodevil, filed under diplomacy. Date: July 7, 2014, 6:11 pm | No Comments »

“North Korea’s state-run media has issued rare criticism of a Chinese mining company that accused it of being a “nightmare” to do business with.

Chinese firm Xiyang was working on an iron ore venture, but said it stopped after facing unreasonable demands.

Xiyang failed to honour investment promises and was to blame, KCNA news agency says.

A North Korean spokesman issued a statement carried by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) saying that Xiyang “is chiefly to blame from the legal point of view”.

“It [Xiyang] has carried out only 50% of its investment obligations though almost four years have past since the contract took effect,” the spokesman said.

Xiyang said it invested more than $37m (£23.32m) on the project, but shelved it after North Korea asked for significant changes to the contract.

The company also said that North Korea violated its own investment laws, telling Reuters news agency that it had been “cheated”.

“They just don’t have the conditions for foreigners to invest. They say they welcome investment but they don’t have the legal or social foundations,” Wu Xisheng, vice-general manager, told Reuters.”

BBC 5 September 2012

Posted by Errol, filed under diplomacy, Economics, finger chopping wacky, Funny, Law, Politics, Scams. Date: September 5, 2012, 8:17 am | No Comments »

After South Korea beat Japan 2-0 in the bronze medal play-off last Friday, Korean footballer Park Jong-woo ran around, holding up a sign with the Korean national flag and a slogan saying: 독도우리땅 (Dokdo Our Land).

The Dokdo Rocks are known as Takeshima in Japan and have been disputed territory between Japan and Korea for more than half a century.

The Korean Olympic Committee claims that it was not Park’s sign, but a flag he had seized from a fan, stressing that the provocative incident was not preplanned.

The IOC committee said it would withhold the bronze medal from Park until the case is reviewed by FIFA.

The statutes of both the IOC and FIFA prohibit political statements by athletes and players.

Posted by Errol, filed under diplomacy, finger chopping wacky. Date: August 12, 2012, 8:21 am | No Comments »

The South Korean government last week surprised the International Whaling Commission with an announcement that it would draw up plans for a research take of an unspecified number of minke whales off South Korea’s coast.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard called for an immediate diplomatic protest, which is understood to have been made in Seoul.

Korean Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan, told Australia’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Senator Bob Carr today, that Korea would take the advice of the International Whaling Commission on the subject, indicating that plans for scientific whaling would not proceed.

The Sydeny Morning Herald, July 12, 2012

Beluga Whale

Beluga Whale

Posted by Errol, filed under diplomacy. Date: July 12, 2012, 12:33 am | No Comments »

Follow the link to see a video response to MBC’s xenophobic rant show. 원숭이는 한국에 다 왔다!



Posted by Errol, filed under diplomacy. Date: July 2, 2012, 7:35 pm | No Comments »

Chinasmack has a story of two (suspected) Korean men beating up two young Chinese women.

“In the video, the two young women who were beaten up can be seen initially on the far left side of the counter deciding on what to order. There appears to be three open registers, and the two potentially Korean-speaking men appear to have initially lined up at the left register, while another man had lined up at the rightmost register.

The women walked over from the far left to queue up behind the young woman at the “center” open register. After that woman is served, the two young women who were beaten walk forward to order and that is when the allegedly Korean men, who are used to the Korean male privilege concept of Korean males being always served first, start yelling and then attack the two young Chinese women.”



Posted by Errol, filed under Crime, diplomacy, finger chopping wacky, Language, Law. Date: May 20, 2012, 6:38 am | No Comments »

More powerful than Michael Stipe.

An Egyptian Islamist MP has resigned from the radical Al-Nour party and from parliament after claiming he had been attacked by gunmen to cover up for plastic surgery to his nose, the party says.

Plastic surgery is considered forbidden by ultra-conservative Salafists.

Trying to keep up with the wave.

Posted by Errol, filed under diplomacy, finger chopping wacky, Funny, Science, Technology. Date: March 5, 2012, 9:16 pm | No Comments »

Vietnamese authorities are planning to ban young Vietnamese women from marrying Korean men over the age of 50 beginning as early as April.

This is a response to allegations that marriage to Korean men is a form of human trafficking.

Cambodia recently introduced regulations banning marriages between Cambodian women and Korean men over the age of 50, that have a monthly income of less than $2,550.

Korea Times 02-17-2012

Posted by Errol, filed under diplomacy, Economics, K-girls. Date: February 17, 2012, 7:06 pm | No Comments »



Late last month, the diplomatic corps in Korea sent a strongly worded letter to the Korean government calling for an independent inquiry into the death of the Thai ambassador’s wife.

The letter questioned the level of professionalism in many Korean hospitals and the level of English communication available.

According to the Thai Embassy, the ambassador’s wife complained of pain throughout her time at Soon Chun Hyang University Hospital in Yongsan District, Seoul, and her condition deteriorated to the point of passing out while waiting for an X-ray on Sept. 17.

But “the hospital made no effort to call any doctor, nurse or CPR team to rescue her,” the official said.

Moon Gwang-lip, Joongang Ilbo, November 16, 2011

Posted by Errol, filed under diplomacy, Science. Date: November 16, 2011, 8:14 am | No Comments »

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