US and South Korea Discuss Deploying Strategic Bombers in Korea
South Korea and the U.S. held its annual Security Consultative Meeting (SCM) on Thursday October 20. South Korean Defense Minister Han Min-goo met with U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter to discuss strengthening U.S. military capabilities in South Korea. The two defense chiefs vowed to deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system by the end of 2017.
As part of their discussion to strengthen U.S. “extended deterrence” in Korea, the two defense chiefs also considered the permanent deployment of “U.S. strategic assets” such as B-2 stealth bombers and other nuclear-capable weapons. This could mean that at least one nuclear-capable U.S. weapons technology will be stationed in South Korea on a rotational basis at all times.
100 Days of Candlelight Actions in Seongju
October 20 marked the 100th day of candlelight vigils in Seongju since the U.S. and South Korean governments announced in July their decision to deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile “defense” system within the county of Seongju.
Despite the challenges they have faced in their struggle to overturn the THAAD deployment decision, the people of Seongju have shown their resolve to prevent the weapon of war from entering their land of peace. Even with attempts by the government to undermine the anti-THAAD movement, the people of Seongju gathered every night to light their candles for peace. In spite of the government actively trying to isolate the people of Seongju from national and international solidarity, cause internal divisions, red-bait and falsely accuse protesters of being “pro-North sympathizers,” the residents of Seongju have vowed to continue fighting until the decision of the THAAD deployment is overturned.
SOUTH KOREA NEWS
New Evidence Exposes Police Cover-up in Baek Nam-gi Death
Since the death of farmer Baek Nam-gi in late September, the South Korean police have demanded possession of Baek’s body for an autopsy against the family’s wish.
Despite the abundance of evidence that directly attributes Baek’s death to the blast of water fired by the riot police using water cannons during mass demonstrations in November 2015, the police have been downplaying the use of the water cannon as the direct cause of Baek’s death. Without any consideration of the public’s demands for accountability for those responsible, the police and ruling party lawmakers continue to pressure the Baek family to give up his body for an autopsy.
A condensed version of the original police incident report submitted to the National Assembly did not contain critical information about the severity of the injury sustained by Baek and the cause of injury as assessed by the police.
But new evidence that emerged this week reveals that the police had originally reported Baek’s injury (which eventually led to coma and death) as caused by a water cannon operated by riot cops. The full police report filed immediately following the incident says that Baek sustained injury from being struck by a water cannon and required a respirator due to discernable symptoms of brain injury. This new evidence shows that from the beginning, the police had full knowledge and a detailed record of Baek’s injury, from what caused it to the type of medical attention he received.
The recent discovery is indicative of the National Police Agency’s active involvement in intentionally concealing evidence that shows the police and the Park Geun-hye administration as responsible for Baek’s death.
For more on state repression by the South Korean police and the ruling party against Baek’s family and supporters and their attempts to evade responsibility for Baek’s death, see “Fallout from Baek Nam-ki’s death feeding spike in national mistrust” by The Hankyoreh.
Featured News & Articles
People across the U.S. mobilized on April 14-15 to demand an end to U.S. wars around the world. In dozens of cities, including New York, Oakland, Washington DC, and Atlanta, protesters rallied as part of the “Spring Action to End U.S. Wars at Home and Abroad.” In NYC, Korean Americans joined the action to express messages of solidarity and call for end to U.S. war threats in Korea.read more
April 16 marked the four-year anniversary of the Sewol Ferry Tragedy. This year, the South Korean government held its first official memorial for the three hundred four victims, who lost their lives in the 2014 disaster. 5,000 people including family members and high-level government officials attended the event to pay their respects.read more
Weekly News Roundup
On April 22, 80 people blocked two military vehicles carrying hazardous material from entering the deployment site for the U.S. THAAD missile defense system. The protesters stood their ground for six hours to stop the vehicles from crossing Jinbat Bridge to the deployment site.read more