US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson signaled on March 17 that military action against North Korea is “on the table.” Speaking to Sputnik, Russian political analyst Dmitry Verkhoturov described a three-phase war scenario which the Pentagon is likely to implement.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson stated Friday that military action against North Korea is “an option.”
“If they [Pyongyang] elevate the threat of their weapons program to a level that we believe requires action then that option is on the table,” Tillerson told journalists during his visit to South Korea.
“Certainly we do not want for things to get to a military conflict. But obviously if North Korea takes actions that threaten the South Korean forces or our own forces then that would be met with an appropriate response,” he added, as quoted by NBC News.
A day earlier, while being in Tokyo, the US Secretary of State announced that “the policy of strategic patience [toward North Korea] has ended.”
Speaking to Sputnik Korean, Russian political analyst and expert on North Korea Dmitry Verkhoturov shed light on the potential consequences of a US military operation against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).While it is highly unlikely that Washington wants history to repeat itself for the US in North Korea, Verkhoturov noted, referring to the Korean War (1950-1953), they definitely have a blitzkrieg plan.
That said, the Russian expert described a three-phase war scenario which the Pentagon may be considering.
“The first element — a strike by hypersonic high-precision weapons on the most important military facilities,” Verkhoturov suggested.
The expert drew attention to the Trump administration’s “kinetic options,” mentioned by the Washington Post Friday.
According to Verkhoturov, the options allegedly envisage the use of penetrating munitions, such as BLU-113 bombs used by US Air Force in Iraq, or an X-51A Waverider hypersonic missile, tested in real flight in 2013.
“Both types use kinetic energy,” he remarked.Most likely the Pentagon is planning to test its latest military strategy — the so-called Prompt Global Strike (PGS) that can deliver a precision-guided conventional weapon airstrike anywhere in the world within one hour, the expert believes.
“If it works against the DPRK, it will show the world the irresistible power superiority of the United States,” he said.
“The second element is a massive air raid with the newest unobtrusive F-22 aircraft (at least four F-22s have been transferred to South Korea) and F-35 (which are currently based at Iwakuni airbase in Japan),” he noted.
It is assumed that the DPRK air defense system will not be able to repel the raid of the newest aircraft and they will manage to destroy the country’s control systems and the most important facilities already struck by high-precision hypersonic weapons, according to Verkhoturov.
“The third element is the landing of a limited contingent of ground forces to promptly seize or eliminate the North Korean political and military leadership. After this, the war must be completed,” the expert suggested.
United States Forces Korea (USFK) soldiers line-up during a display of military equipment at Yongsan US military base in Seoul. (File)
However, there is many a slip between the cup and the lip, as the proverb goes.
Verkhoturov underscored that North Korea is not Iraq or Libya: it is a hard nut to crack. Moreover, the US may face blowback from Pyongyang.
“First, there is a developed system of underground shelters in the DPRK to survive air strikes, which had been built in the course of more than 60 years after the Korean War. There are a lot of them and all of them cannot be destroyed,” the Russian expert stressed.
“Second, in the event of strike against military headquarters and communications, [Pyongyang] has spare command posts, special procedures for transferring powers and comprehensive plans for independent action in case of war. Third, the DPRK has the capability of launching its own preventive or rapid retaliation strike with new solid-fuel missiles,” he elaborated.
In this light, it is doubtful that Washington would be able to eliminate the country’s control system, command posts and ballistic missile silos with the Prompt Global Strike, the expert remarked. Given this, the US army would face a number of hurdles, giving the opportunity for the North Korean Army to swing the balance in its favor.
At the same time, the war of the Korean Peninsula may turn into a longstanding conflict and deal a heavy blow to South Korea’s economy; it may also seriously undermine Japan and upset the post-World War II balance of power in the region, according to Verkhoturov.
Therefore, the “military option” against North Korea should be off table, according to the Russian expert.
“One can only hope that the ‘new approach’ of the US toward the Korean peninsula will be truly ‘different’,” he concluded.
In this video investigative journalists, Luke Rudkowski and James Corbett of the Corbett Report discuss the disastrous geopolitical situation with Kim Jong-un of North Korea. We go over the position of China, Russia, and the U.S in this situation. As missile defense systems are being set up in South Korea which is causing a conflict between these world powers.
This may be the closest that we have been to war with North Korea since the original Korean War ended in 1953. The North Koreans are feverishly working to develop intercontinental ballistic missiles that could strike the U.S. mainland, and meanwhile Donald Trump has not moved from his position that North Korea will simply not be allowed to have ICBMs. If North Korea does not blink, it means that we are literally counting down the days until we go to war. Unfortunately, North Korean leaders appear to literally be insane and they have shown absolutely no signs of backing off. In 2016, North Korea tested two nuclear bombs and test-fired 24 missiles, and so far this year they have test-fired five ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan.
During a joint press conference with the South Korean Foreign Minister on Friday, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson boldly declared that “all options are on the table” when it comes to North Korea…
US military action against North Korea is an “option on the table,” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has stated, adding that Washington’s “strategic patience” with the isolated country has ended.
“Let me be very clear. The policy of strategic patience has ended. We are exploring a new range of diplomatic, security and economic measures. All options are on the table,” Tillerson told reporters during a joint news conference with South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se on Friday.
In addition, Tillerson specifically declined to rule out a preemptive strike against the regime.
Needless to say, the ultra-paranoid leadership in Pyongyang was totally freaked out by what Tillerson had to say. The following comes from the Washington Post…
Soon after Tillerson’s remarks, in a sign of mounting tensions, the North Korean Embassy held an extraordinary news conference in Beijing to blame the potential for nuclear war on the United States while vowing that its homegrown nuclear testing program will continue in self-defense.
North Korea has amassed a sizable nuclear stockpile and appears at the brink of being able to strike the U.S. mainland and American allies in Asia.
What has brought this crisis to a breaking point is the fact that North Korea has continued to work on developing an ICBM that could deliver a nuclear payload to the United States.
Just before he took office in January, Trump tweeted: “It won’t happen!” when Kim said North Korea was close to testing an ICBM.
I believe that Trump means what he says.
So now Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un are locked in a very dangerous game of chicken. Both of them are known to be extremely strong-willed, tempermental, and unwilling to back down when threatened.
Making matters worse, this year we have Kim Jong Un on one side: A young, relatively inexperienced and unpredictable leader prone to aggression who could be facing internal turmoil (one explanation for killing his brother).
On the other, we now have President Trump. In such a high-stakes standoff, if we’re not careful, these two leaders could prove to be a volatile — and deadly — mix.
In short, what we have now is a regional tinderbox ready to be lit by a small spark that could lead to an exchange of fire and subsequently another war.
And actually the truth is that the conflict has already started. It is widely known that the U.S. has already been conducting cyberattacks against North Korea’s nuclear program, but if those cyberattacks end up not being enough the Trump administration will order a preemptive military strike.
In recent days, the U.S. military has deployed a 100,000-ton Nimitz-class aircraft carrier to the region. The USS Carl Vinson is carrying more than 40 F-18s, and it is being escorted by a number of very powerful destroyers and cruisers.
And it is also being reported that SEAL Team 6 is being deployed to South Korea in order “to practice incapacitating North Korean leadership in the case of conflict”. The following comes from Zero Hedge…
On March 1, the WSJ reported that the options contemplated by the White House in response to recent North Korean acts, include “the possibility of both military force and regime change to counter the country’s nuclear-weapons threat.” The review came es amid recent events have strained regional stability including last month’s launch by North Korea of a ballistic missile into the Sea of Japan, and the assassination of the estranged half brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Malaysia.
And, according to a report in Yonhap, said “regime change” may come far sooner than expected: the South Korean website writes that U.S. special operations forces, including the unit that killed Osama Bin Laden, will take part in joint military drills in South Korea “to practice incapacitating North Korean leadership in the case of conflict”, a military official said Monday.
The U.S. Navy’s Special Warfare Development Group, better known as the SEAL Team 6, will arrive in South Korea for joint military drills and take part in an exercise simulating a precision North Korean incurion and “the removal of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un”, according to the Ministry of National Defense Monday.
But regime change in North Korea would not be easy, and unless the U.S. was willing to use nuclear weapons in a first strike the North Koreans would almost certainly be able to strike back very hard.
North Korea has the fourth largest army in the entire world, and it is being reported that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has personally ordered his entire military to go into “combat mode” in anticipation of a conflict with the United States…
It’s been at least 24 hours since any further sabers were rattled between China, US, South Korea, and North Korea (oh and Japan), but it according to DailyNK.com, Kim Jong Un has ordered the entire North Korean army into “combat mode” to tighten security and consolidate sentiment in response to military drills conducted by South Korea and the US, which began in early March.
A source in South Pyongan Province told Daily NK that following the order from Kim Jong Un, every last soldier– even if away on business, on leave, off-base for training, or even those with a recent death in the family–were ordered back to their units. The authorities have ordered the military police in each region to summon all soldiers back to their bases.
North Korea has overwhelming military superiority over South Korea, and unless the U.S. was willing to use nukes, any U.S. strike would almost certainly provoke a North Korean invasion of South Korea. The following description of what that might look like comes from the Daily Mail…
North Korea, most rogue of rogue nations, has struck. The nuclear explosion, similar in size to that which levelled Hiroshima, signalled the start of a blitzkrieg-style ground invasion intended to swiftly overwhelm its richer, more advanced neighbour.
A second atomic warhead, inbound on a crude Rodong rocket, has been successfully intercepted by America’s THAAD (Terminal High-Altitude Area Defence) anti-ballistic missile system. But Seoul’s torment is only beginning as hundreds of North Korean heavy guns rain down shells on the capital, many containing Sarin nerve gas.
The city, bunched up against the North-South border, is hopelessly vulnerable to a mass sneak attack of the kind now taking place, as hundreds of thousands of North Korean troops, and thousands of tanks, pour out of innumerable underground bunkers built within miles of the Demilitarized Zone between the two countries.
Unless the U.S. is willing to nuke North Korea into oblivion (and this would almost certainly not happen), the scenario detailed above is very likely to actually happen someday.
And once North Korea invades, the United States will be forced to come to South Korea’s aid and the Second Korean War will have begun.
If we do go to war with North Korea, Trump will get the blame, but the truth is that Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton also deserve much of the blame for allowing things to get to this point.
It is absolutely unthinkable that we would allow the North Koreans to develop ICBMs that could deliver nuclear payloads to U.S. cities.
But it is almost as unthinkable for us to go to war with North Korea.
Both possibilities are absolutely horrific, and so let us hope that cooler heads will prevail and that Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will be able to work things out.
The United States installation of THAAD missile system in South Korea turned out to be the final nail to the coffin of the US-NATO world hegemony. It provided the pretext for a more aggressive China-Russia reaction to the US military provocations in the region.
Contrary to Western media, the THAAD installation in South Korea is not aimed at Pyongyang, but on China and the South Koreans are shaving their heads in protest.
Russia-China Full Military Cooperation vs. NATO Formally Announced
The BRICS are not hiding their irritation over NATO warmongers anymore, they are now making their military intentions known, globally. As if we don’t know this already, but no less than Chinese President Xi jinping announced the formal military cooperation with Russia to create a new Russia-China World Order against the Khazarian NATO.
Chinese President XI Jinping in his speech on Friday the 1st of July, noted the strategic need for an alliance between Russia and China, which he believes will determine the future world order.
“The world is on the brink of radical changes. We see how the EU is gradually crumbling and the US economy is collapsing. This will end in a new world order. So, in 10 years we will have a new world order unlike anything before in which the key will be the Union of Russia and China,” said XI.
In his opinion the relations of Russia and China should not be confined to the economic relations, these countries should create an alternative military alliance.
“We are now witnessing the aggressive actions by the United States against Russia and China. I believe that Russia and China may form an alliance before which NATO will be powerless and it will put the end to the imperialist aspirations of the West,” he said.
The world order should be decided not by one country or a few, but by broad international agreement, said Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, on Friday.
“It’s for the people of all countries to decide through consultations what international order and global governance systems can benefit the world and people of all nations,” Xi said here at a rally marking the Party’s 95th founding anniversary.
Xi said China will actively participate in the building of global governance system and strive to contribute Chinese wisdom to the improvement of global governance.
“China will work with people of all countries to push the world order and global governance system toward a more just and reasonable direction,” he said.
China advocates that people of all countries join together to change pressure into power, risks into opportunities, and replace confrontation with cooperation and monopolies with win-win deals, said Xi.
China will always follow a path of peaceful development and an opening up policy featuring mutual benefit and win-win deals, he added.
The purpose of China’s foreign policy is safeguarding world peace and promoting common development, according to Xi.
“China is willing to expand common interests with other countries, build a new type of international relations with cooperation and mutual benefit as its core values,” said Xi.
The president noted China’s development of a more comprehensive model of international cooperation, such as the “Belt and Road” initiatives.
“We are not growing our sphere of influence, but supporting mutual development of all countries. We are not building our backyard garden, but a public garden for all countries,” he claimed.
“China advocates a community of common destiny of mankind, and opposes the Cold War mentality and zero-sum game. China holds that regardless of size, strength and wealth, all countries are equal, and all peoples have the right to choose their own development paths,” said Xi.
Yue Gang, a retired colonel, said the statements signaled the countries’ ambition in boosting their positions in the world order. “China used to play the supporting role in cooperation with the US… It is now joining hands with Russia in playing a more important role in global governance,” he said.
This is the first time that China openly acknowledged the need for Russian-Chinese full military cooperation, although there were already covert military cooperation in the recent past especially with regards to keeping the whole Eurasian continent under control.
This is just the culmination of the massive US-NATO defeat in Turkey and the West Philippine Sea last week, whereby their plans of starting regional wars in those parts of the world were muted down by non-cooperation.
Just as Erdogan’s grip on Turkey was hanging on the balance, he masterfully switched side towards Russia at a perfect time with an official apology for his country’s downing of the Russian Sukhoi Su-24 warplane last year, paving the way for Vladimir Putin to resume his suspended geopolitical engagement with the NATO member.
What sealed the fate of NATO in the region was when the Russian intelligence intercepted the plan to oust Erdogan weeks after the official apology through a military coup directed right from NATO airbase inside Turkey. This critical information enabled Erdogan to defeat the coup even before its hasty execution. giving way for a massive purge of 5th Columnists in the country.
What is more interesting is that, in the immediate aftermath of the coup, some of the NATO buildings inside its airbase in Turkey were burned down by forces loyal to the country, and the entire airbase is in a virtual lockdown right thereafter.
There’s of course a valid concern that Erdogan may be overplaying his card at home at this moment, but Vladimir Putin is imposing preconditions about how exactly the Russia-Turkey partnership be resumed starting from the closing down of Turkey’s border with Syria, purposely to cutoff the Daesh Islamic State supply lines to pressure the terrorists to surrender, or perish in Aleppo and in Raqqa.
NATO responded with an attempt to revive the Ukraine-Crimea card, but ended up in futility.
But the problem for the US-NATO warmongers, on top of the aforementioned debacles, is that both Japan and the Philippines are not fully cooperating with the former’s military intentions in the Southeast Asia region. This put China and Russia at a very distinct advantage, and they are not shy of using this edge over the US, not anymore.
The preliminary talks about the peaceful resolution of the West Philippine Sea / South China Sea issue started in Hong Kong with smiles between the two parties.
Former Philippine president Fidel V. Ramos met with his Chinese friends representing the government of China to schedule a formal talk about how the two countries could cooperate bilaterally in the region without resorting to aggressive provocations which nobody wins but the outsiders.
In order to foster and “build trust and confidence and to reduce tensions and to pave the way for overall cooperation for the benefit of both their peoples and the region,” they explored possible human and ecology options, such as:
Encouraging marine preservation;
Avoiding tension and promoting fishing cooperation;
Anti-drug and anti-smuggling cooperation;
Anti-crime and anti-corruption cooperation;
Improving tourism opportunities;
Encouraging trade and investment facilitation, and;
Encouraging think tank exchanges on relevant issues of mutual concern and interest;
Both China and the Philippines underscored the importance of building trust for their long term beneficial relationship. Both countries value their long history of friendship as neighbors and are raising the prospect of further cooperation for the sake of future generations.
Earlier, China welcomed the appointment of Fidel Ramos as the Philippine special envoy to deal with the West Philippine Sea issue. Being a WestPointer himself and a former Carlyle Group consultant, Ramos should know by now his geopolitics especially with the not-so-good outcome of his participation to the CIA Yellow revolution in 1986 that toppled the dictator Marcos.
The first thing that the CIA’s unwitting puppet Cory Aquino did was to mothballed the just completed Bataan Nuclear Power Plant, and put all government owned corporations into private hands, both classic economic hitman strategies to forcibly put the country in shackles of economic slavery in the decades to come.
After the removal of Marcos, the country remain an underdeveloped agricultural islands, plundered for their natural resources, to continue feeding the Khazarian controlled Japanese industrial infrastructure, in turn to continue churning out cheap, high quality products, to subsidize Western economies.
In short, the economic development of the West is due in part to a well-laid out geo-economic infrastructure which, at its very foundation, is a quicksand combination of Asian and African sweatshops, scorching desert hell holes and highly automated mechanized assembly lines, all under the full control of the Khazarian financial and military mafia who impose no limits to their own caprices.
Realizing their enormous economic, manpower and military capabilities, the BRICS countries are no longer passively accepting this one-sided state of global affairs. They are rising up, and rightfully so.
With Chinese president Xi Jinping’s latest Russia-China led World Order pronouncements, they are now officially turning over the present corrosive Khazarian Babylonian fiat system on its head, and are both ready to take the ongoing massive global redevelopment dubbed as “One Belt, One Road” to the next level with a combined military force that can effectively dwarf any other military organizations before it.
Duterte has also leaked Japan’s intention to peacefully engage China in the region, during the recent state visit of Japanese foreign minister in the Philippines.
The three-some Japan, Turkey and Philippine non-cooperation to US-NATO hegemony is making sure no more war outside the West will ever be fought in the foreseeable future.
This does not mean, however, that the Khazarians could not launch any war of whatever form against their own people in the West, because they are already doing the attacks on their healthcare and food systems, in conjunction with the creation of massive debts across the entire spectrum of their own economy in the last five decades, or so, at the very least.
The continued denial and inaction of the victims, in spite of the massively devastating leaks against their leaders being spoon fed to them through the Wikileaks infrastructure, are testing their collective will whether they truly deserve their imagined freedoms [what’s left of them anyway], or not.
Having made the decision to deploy their THAAD anti-ballistic missile system, the US is deliberately undermining stability in Northeast Asia and across the globe, prompting the just indignation of China and Russia, says a recent editorial in the People’s Daily, the official organ of China’s ruling Communist Party.
Last month, the United States and South Korea concluded an agreement to deploy the US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system on South Korean territory. Washington cited increased tensions on the peninsula over North Korea’s nuclear and missile program for the deployment.
Subject to an inevitable barrage of sharp criticism from Pyongyang, which claimed that the system was being deployed to try to decapitate the country’s top leadership, the US-South Korean decision has also raised significant concern in China and Russia.
Late last week, the People’s Daily issued a scathing criticism of the US move, warning that China and Russia would be forced to take “unexpected” but justified “countermeasures that the US and South Korea cannot afford.”
“These actions,” the paper emphasized, “are aimed at protecting [China and Russia’s] own security interests and guard[ing] the global strategic balance in international relations.”
Beijing, People’s Daily recalled, considers the stability of the Korean Peninsula absolutely vital to the security of Northeast Asia; accordingly, Beijing has done everything possible to prevent the deterioration of the security situation, including through initiatives to denuclearize the region and to assist in the normalization of relations between the conflicting parties.
“However, the US and its allies are still obsessed with an outdated mentality to gain a physical and psychological edge by increasing their military presence,” with “the deployment of THAAD [serving as] another risky action produced by such a mentality.” Washington, the paper noted, was being “selfish” through its moves “pursuing absolute security at the cost of other countries.”
Ultimately, People’s Daily emphasized that China and Russia “don’t want to see a Northeast Asia trapped in another Cold War or another arms race. However, a sound international relationship requires the efforts of all concerned sides.” Therefore, the paper noted, “if the US and South Korea are stiff-necked in the THAAD plan despite the warning from China and Russia, they have to pay the price caused by their presumptuous deed.”
South Korea has more alcoholics than any other country, but it seems unlikely to quit the drink any time soon.
Seoul, South Korea – A young woman is hunched over a toilet bowl in a coffee shop in downtown Seoul, her dishevelled hair masking her face.
A police officer tries to rouse her, but there is no response. “I think she’s totally passed out,” says Officer Hazel Chang.
Chang and her colleague carry the woman to their car, and take her to the police station where medics examine her and officers phone her parents.
It is just one of many alcohol-fuelled incidents the police see during a typical night on the streets of Seoul, the South Korean capital, where people can be seen staggering about precariously and veering dangerously into traffic.
Here, alcohol is an essential part of daily life for many, with South Koreans drinking more hard liquor than anyone else in the world, according to the research firm Euromonitor.
It is cheap, considered a must if you want to get ahead in business and viewed as a way to relieve stress in a society with some of the world’s longest working hours.
But South Korea is also home to more alcoholics than any other country, and alcohol-related social costs amount to more than $20bn a year, Ministry of Health and Welfare estimates show.
Every few days, Suh Seung-Beom, a banker in Seoul, gets business contacts and friends together for drinking sessions.
Like most Koreans, their drink of choice is soju, a spirit made from rice.
On a recent night out, it was not long before Suh and his associates were feeling the effects of the potent liquor.
But he denies that getting drunk is the goal of these marathon drinking sessions. “It’s just a means to build bonds in business and with people. At work we can’t be so open. But here we can make memories,” he tells Al Jazeera.
One of Suh’s drinking partners, Brent Lee, who works for the Korea Federation of Banks, does not believe that he and his friends drink too much.
He says drinking alcohol is beneficial to society because it helps people relieve stress. The police officers who patrol Seoul’s busiest entertainment district disagree.
‘I think drinking is a problem’
Their beat is the busiest in the country, and almost every call they get involves someone who has drunk too much.
Officer Chang, a former schoolteacher, has been shocked by the level of drinking she has encountered since joining the force two months ago.
“I think drinking is a problem … a big problem,” she says.
South Korean police carry an unconscious drinker out of a coffee shop in Seoul, South Korea. Managers of the shop say she came in drunk, and when she passed out, her friends left her [Steve Chao/Al Jazeera]
Officer Chang’s partner, Choi Kyung-reol, says in recent years there has been an increase in the number of calls police receive involving people who have drunk too much.
“We’re especially seeing more women taking to the bottle heavily. It’s really heartbreaking,” says Officer Choi.
“I don’t see us making much difference out here. People are drinking and partying harder. And often in cases when we intervene to help, they get violent.”
Public health experts say part of the problem is that there are no laws restricting binge drinking.
On average, South Koreans consume 14 shots of hard liquor a week, while Americans drink about three and Russians about six, according to Euromonitor statistics.
“It leads to all kinds of illnesses including liver disease, yet there are no government guidelines to say how much is too much,” says Chun Sung-soo, from the Korea Public Health Association.
Chun says there is a lack of awareness about the health risks of drinking heavily.
After public pressure, South Korea’s government is considering banning celebrities under the age of 24 from appearing in liquor ads [Steve Chao/Al Jazeera]
He says the government invests only a small fraction of what it makes in taxes from the sale of alcohol in public awareness campaigns.
“For 20 years, we’ve been proposing policies that can drastically reduce alcohol consumption – like increasing the price, regulating how much is sold, limiting ads … but they never pass in the national assembly,” he says.
Chun believes politicians are under pressure from liquor companies not to take action. One man taking on the big liquor firms is Kim Jin.
Kim is the first in Korea to launch a class-action lawsuit against firms using celebrities in advertisements to promote alcohol.
“People obviously look at these advertisements and see celebrities downing liquor. Because they’re so famous, naturally this encourages consumers to drink more. It leads to overdrinking and people getting knocked out.”
‘A culture of drinking to excess’
Ham Soonbok, aka the ‘Bomb Shot Aunty’, is known to hold legendary drinking parties at her restaurant. Many come from all over South Korea to try her various cocktails [Steve Chao/Al Jazeera]
Kim knows better than most the consequences of drinking too much.
He has been an alcoholic for decades, spent all his earnings on liquor and lost his marriage. “Whenever I started drinking, I wouldn’t eat or drink anything else. I’d just keep downing liquor for 40 days straight. I often ended up in hospital and couldn’t work. In the end … I lost my wife,” he says.
He now suffers from cirrhosis of the liver, a chronic condition caused by overdrinking. But he admits that he is still drinking.
While Kim offers a cautionary tale, Korea’s younger generation shows no sign of letting go of the culture of drinking to excess.
Jiyeon Shin, a university student, says she usually goes out drinking five times a week with friends.
She often studies 18 hours a day and says stress is what drives her and her friends to drink.
“I think maybe now I’ve become a bit of an alcoholic,” she says. “It’s usually me who initiates the drinking and it often ends up with throwing up and hangovers.”
Asked whether she could ever imagine a day when South Koreans drink less, Jiyeon is adamant.
“Absolutely not. Liquor is something that’s naturally shared between friends and family. I think Korean drinking culture is very uplifting. So I don’t think the day we have less will ever come … nor should it.”