Konstantin Asmolov

North Korea’s Missile Launches at the End of March 2021

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At the end of March 2021, North Korea launched a series of short-range missiles. Some were quick to describe the move as yet another start to escalation in tensions on the Korean Peninsula. At first, the DPRK test fired anti-ship cruise missiles on March 20 or 21. It was the first projectile launch since April 14, 2020, when North Korea fired missiles from both the ground and fighter jets…

On Russia’s Foreign Minister’s Visit to Seoul

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On March 23 – 25, 2021, Russia’s Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, visited South Korea. This was Lavrov’s first visit to Seoul since 2013, when he accompanied President Vladimir Putin. And before that, Lavrov had visited Seoul in 2009, after a trip to North Korea. This year’s event, devoted to the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relationship between Russia and South…

On the Death of South Korea’s First Female Tank Driver

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On March 3, 2021, transgender girl Byun Hee-soo was found dead in her home. Why does much of South Korea and the rest of the world talk about this? Byun’s case received widespread media attention at home and abroad because Staff Sgt. Byun Hee-soo, 22, was the first South Korean soldier to undergo sex reassignment surgery while on active duty (in late 2019…

Will South Korea become a QUAD+ Member?

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The US government is seeking to include Korea in an expanded version of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QUAD), a strategic forum created in 2007 to contain China. The Quad is made up of Australia, India, Japan and the United States, but the US wants to expand it by inviting South Korea, New Zealand and Vietnam. This project is known as QUAD Plus. So far the QUAD…

On Malaysia and the DPRK Breaking of Diplomatic Relations

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On March 19, 2021, the DPRK announced a complete break in diplomatic relations with Malaysia, accusing Kuala Lumpur of illegally extraditing a North Korean citizen to US authorities. The DPRK Foreign Ministry said in a statement published by the KCNA news agency that “Malaysian authorities committed an unpardonable crime…

How Much will South Korea Pay for American Troops under Biden?

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We can recall how one of the long-standing problems in the relations between Seoul and Washington under Trump was the question of how much the Republic of Korea would pay for American troops to be deployed on its territory. It is worth reiterating that by the autumn Korea was ready to pay 13% more than what had been set, while…

The Lead-up to the Local By-elections in the Republic of Korea

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On April 7, 2021 the South Korean ruling regime’s strength will be seriously put to the test. Unplanned elections will be held for the mayors of Seoul and Busan, the country’s capital and its second-largest city, which is a seaport in its southern part. In both cases, the elections were triggered by scandals related to the fact that the leaders…

Yet Another Failure of Seoul

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In July 2020, the Republic of Korea made an ambitious attempt to put its man — Yoo Myung-hee, director of the Trade Policy Department of the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Energy — in charge of the World Trade Organization. Speaking at a general meeting of the WTO, Yoo Myung-hee said almost immediately that the organization should become “the supreme court of international trade,” and the reasons…

On South Korea’s Prosecutor General’s Retirement

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The last text the author wrote about Yoon Seok-yeol ended in his conditional victory: on Christmas Eve his main opponent, Justice Minister Choo Mi-ae, retired, whereas he himself remained as Prosecutor General, and the attempt to dismiss him failed. However, on March 4, 2021, Yoon himself resigned in protest of the processes taking place in law…

Miracles of Sloppiness, or Another Ode to “Locked Borders”

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On the morning of February 16, 2021, a “suspicious man” was detained near a military checkpoint on the eastern segment of the inter-Korean border. According to the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the Armed Forces of Korea, the intruder was detected by a video surveillance camera. He was moving south near a military checkpoint located…

To What Extent does the Testimony given by DPRK Defectors Represent a Credible Source?

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On February 21, 2021, South Korean media outlets reported that four North Korean defectors plan to sue Unification Minister Lee In-young for defamation over his recent remarks casting doubt over what defectors say about the North’s human rights situation. The matter is that on February 3, Lee said during…

An Unpleasant Reminder of the US Defeat

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On February 25, 2021, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia ordered North Korea to pay 2.3 billion USD in compensation for damages to the crew of the USS Pueblo, which was hijacked in 1968. The American side claims that a marine research vessel was seized that was in international waters at the time of the incident. One of the 83 crew…


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