Inside the Ring

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Defense officials said the Pentagon has intelligence showing China is supplying large quantities of small arms, ammunition, rocket-propelled grenades and components for roadside bombs to Iran and that some shipments were flown directly to Iraq and Afghanistan on Chinese transports.

China’s government denied knowing about the shipments when questioned by U.S. officials and instead asked for additional intelligence about them.

The arms were requested by the Iranians, who asked that the serial numbers be removed to prevent tracing their origin. They were described by defense officials as late-model arms and U.S. Army specialists said they had been sent to the region in the past three months.

South Korea absent

A defense official said Pentagon officials and U.S. veterans are upset that South Korea’s government prevented all official representatives from attending the June 12 Victims of Communism Memorial ceremony, despite the fact that 54,000 Americans died retaking the country from communist North Korea after its 1950 invasion. Some 224,000 South Koreans also were killed in the war.

More than 1,000 people, including many foreign diplomats, attended the unveiling of the monument to honor the estimated 100 million people who have been victimized by communism since the Bolsheviks first seized power in Russia in 1917.

“There was not a single representative from the Republic of Korea, Korean Embassy or Korean War Veterans Groups,” said the defense official, who noted that organizers were told that embassy personnel could not attend.

The official said it appears that the current pro-North Korea government in Seoul is “so interested in appeasement they will dishonor their own war dead killed by communism both in the North and South, during the Korean War and since.”

Army Maj. Gen. John K. Singlaub, a former chief of staff of U.S. Forces Korea, said the South Koreans’ failure to send a representative was an insult.

“Of all the nations that were attacked and occupied by communists, the United States lost more people trying to retake that land for the South Koreans and we suffered greatly,” Gen. Singlaub said.

A South Korean Embassy spokesman could not be reached for comment.

Meanwhile, China’s communist government protested the memorial ceremony. Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang told reporters June 13 that Beijing said the United States should stop “making ideological judgments” about other nations.

The death toll from communism in China has been estimated at 19.5 million to 75 million.

Scorpion react

Former Office of Naval Intelligence official Bruce Rule wrote to challenge Ed Offley’s account of the sinking of the USS Scorpion in 1968 that killed 99 sailors.

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