Politics – Hwang Kyo-ahn is starting to fit into his new role of acting president of South Korea. On Monday, Hwang visited the Joint Chiefs of Staff as his first visit as president. During the visit, Hwang promoted national security, saying “a little ant hole can bring down a dike.” The visit is said to symbolize Hwang’s commitment to promote national security as acting president. Before the visit, Hwang ordered the military to take necessary precautions to ensure North Korea was unable to take advantage as South Korea awaits impeachment outcome with an uncertain future. Hwang, on Tuesday, again called for greater national security push, this time in the realm of cyber-security. His remarks on Tuesday come after reports that North Korea hacked into the Defense Ministry’s intranet, a hack which affected 3,000 plus computers at the ministry, including Defense Minister Han Min-koo. In the turbulent situation, Hwang appears to be ready to assume the role of interim leader, a trend which hopefully carries South Korea through the impeachment process.
Three high-ranking nuclear experts met in South Korea to discuss North Korea’s denuclearization in line with the recent rounds of sanctions – UNSCR 2321. the experts – South Korea’s Special Representative for Korean Peninsula Peace Kim Hyong-kyon, United States Special Representative for North Korea Policy Joesph Yun, and Japan’s Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau General-Director Kenji Kanasugi – will met again on Tuesday to share their thoughts on the future of North Korea with a focus on the role of the international community, focusing on China and Russia, two veto-holding members of the UN Security Council. They are also expected to discuss each countries respective sanctions, levied as supplementary actions to UNSCR 2321.
Economy – Chairman of the South Korean Finical Services Commission Yim Jong-yong stressed the need for South Korea to beef up its cybersecurity on the country’s finance related networks as a pre-emptive step to defend from North Korean cyber attacks against key state agencies. North Korea was accused of hacking into banks in 2013. The impeachment vote has also rocked the economy, though has not destabilized it entirely – experts, in fact argue the vote will have only a minor impact on the economy. Either way, Yim’s suggestion would ensure the finical networks are defended against possible intrusion from the reclusive North Korean regime or any actor.
Culture – A magnitude 3.3 earthquake shook Gyeongju on Monday. Reports indicate the epicenter was located 9km southwest of the city and the quake has been classified as an aftershock of the major earthquake which tore through the region in September.
China has agreed to temporarily cut off its coal exports to North Korea, a move seen as Beijing’s shift to join the international community in effectively implementing UNSCR 2321. A source cited in the Korea Times also said China’s coal exports next year would be less as more stringent UN restrictions are placed on the trade of coal to and from North Korea. UNSCR 2321, if implemented effectively by all states, will cut off North Korean coal imports by almost 70% annually. The move to limit the exporting of coal to North Korea was meant to close the loophole of livelihood circumstances, a loophole commonly exploited by North Korea.
I am finishing up the Park impeachment analysis and trying to game out some situations of the result. Life was a thing yesterday and I had some other things to take care of, so I apologize for not having it posted yet. Also, I am glad to see this format for Daily Update again, even though this is fairly lacking in meat and depth. Once I get the impeachment long read up and get through with life things currently requiring a fair amount of my time, I will post more meaty Daily Updates. Also, starting with this post, I am creating a tag for all Korean acting presidents this blog lives through. Hwang Kyo-ahn will be the first and hopefully no where near the last.