ROK and Inter-Korean relations
S, N Political Parties to Meet in July in NK
By Seo Dong-shin
Leaders of South Korea's Democratic Labor Party (DLP) and North Korea's Korean Social Democratic Party (KSDP) will meet in Pyongyang in July, DLP officials said Friday.
It will mark the first official inter-Korean meeting of political parties since the nation's division, if realized.
Ministry seeks independence for military
April 29, 2005 ? The Ministry of National
Defense said yesterday it will soon draft a plan
to put the country's military on an independent
footing, an effort it said would take as long as
The ministry said it would propose legislation
in the fall to give the program impetus, saying
that previous reform plans without National
Assembly backing had not fared well.
At a briefing for President Roh Moo-hyun,
Defense Minister Yoon Kwang-ung said the
ministry will submit reforms to the National
Assembly by October in order to legislate the
road map. According to Mr. Yoon, the plan will
include preparations for the U.S. transfer of
wartime operational command to South Korea.
Aiming to establish independent self-defense
capabilities by 2025, the plan will outline
conditions and steps needed to reshape South
Korea's readiness, which now depends on the U.S.
Mr. Roh promised that the administration would
appropriate the funding to carry out the
measures. Mr. Yoon said the defense budget
should be increased to 2.7 percent of gross
domestic product by the end of the Roh
administration. The nation's defense budget for
this year is 20.8 trillion won ($20.8 billion),
about 2.47 percent of the gross domestic product.
[Role of ROK military] [military balance]
Unification Minister Asks for NK's Trust
By Reuben Staines
South Korea's top unification official on
Thursday expressed disappointment at the lack of
progress in inter-Korean reconciliation and
urged North Korea to show some trust in his
Bill allows defectors divorce in absentia
April 27, 2005 ? The Ministry of Unification
said yesterday it has drawn up a bill to allow
North Korean defectors to seek divorces from
spouses still in their communist homeland.
According to the draft legislation, North Korean
defectors would become eligible to file for
divorce with the Seoul Family Court three years
after establishing South Korean family
Inter-Korean Relations Thawing, But Slowly
By Ryu Jin
While the Korean Peninsula remains under the
dark cloud of North Korea's nuclear weapons
program, inter-Korean relations seem to be
thawing with the advent of spring. Officials,
however, say it will take more time to ``melt
the ice'' of a long winter.
After top officials of the two Koreas met in
Jakarta last weekend, expectations in Seoul are
high that Pyongyang would soon send a message to
resume government-level talks that have been
left dormant since last summer.
Parties Differ Over Bill to Examine Modern
By Seo Dong-shin
The ruling and opposition parties on Sunday
failed to narrow differences on a bill to form
an ad hoc committee to rectify possible wrong
accounts of the nation's modern history from the
period of Japanese colonial rule to the present.
The parties have originally agreed to pass the
bill during this April session. If the bill is
passed, members of the committee will be
entitled to investigate and shed light on some
suspicious cases in the history.
Cases to come under close investigation of the
committee include the atrocities committed
during the Korean War (1950-1953), including
massacre of civilians.
The ruling Uri Party demanded that cases of
human rights abuse during previous authoritarian
regimes in the 1970s and 1980s be included
North, South, Overseas Korean Organizations
Adopt Joint Declaration for Peace Against War
Organizations in the North, the South and
overseas agreed on Mar. 20 to make energetic
efforts for peace against the U.S. war moves and
adopted a joint declaration. The declaration
demanded the Bush administration immediately
abandon the hostile policy and war preparations
against the DPRK it was intensifying under the
pretext of the nuclear issue and sincerely
approach the dialogue and negotiation from the
standpoint of peaceful co-existence.
Dictionary Compilation Work Being Promoted with Reunification in View
Interview with Mun Yong Ho, North Side's Chairman of Joint Compilation
Committee for a "Large Korean Dictionary"
North, South, Overseas Koreans Inaugurate Preparatory Committees for Joint
"Achieve Reunification By Our Nation Itself"
North, South agree to resume meetings
April 25, 2005 ? South Korean Prime Minister Lee
Hae-chan and North Korea's No. 2 leader, Kim
Yong-nam, agreed Saturday that dialogue and
official meetings between the two Koreas should
The two met for 40 minutes Saturday on the
sidelines of the Asia-Africa Summit meeting in
Jakarta, Indonesia. In the meeting, Mr. Lee told
Mr. Kim that talks between the two nations
should be resumed, according to a spokesman for
Tragedy marked Korea's path to democracy
April 25, 2005 ? April 26, 1991
Kang Gyeong-dae was a 21-year-old economics
major at Myongji University. Similar to other
college students at that time, Mr. Kang thought
street demonstrations were the best way to
change the world, and also better than staying
in the library.
President Roh Tae-woo, the successor of
President Chun Doo Hwan, was in power. On this
day, Mr. Kang was with his fellow student
activists on the street lobbing Molotov
cocktails toward riot police. But the riot
police reacted too strongly, and the result was
Mr. Kang was severely injured when he was beaten
by riot police with iron pipes. After he
collapsed on the street, Mr. Kang was taken to a
nearby hospital, but soon died. It was a time
when riot police and student activists were
enemies, and people on both sides suffered
injuries and deaths.
Mr. Kang's death ignited the anger of student
activists around the country, and it led to a
chain of suicides in his memory
Lee Hae-chan and Kim Yong-nam meet
Prime Minister Lee Hae-chan of South Korea,
right, and Kim Yong-nam, president of the
Supreme People's Assembly of North Korea,
greeting each other yesterday at the Asia-
African Summit in Jakarta. [photo]
NK Girl Longs for Mother's Love
By Park Song-wu and Reuben Staines
Kim Min-ah is undergoing a common experience for
a single 30-somethinger in South Korea _ her
mother is pressuring her to find a husband.
Unlike other women her age, however, her mother
cannot call to nag her about it every day. Kim
left her mother behind when she defected from
North Korea in the late 1990s.
Since coming to Seoul four years ago, the only
way Kim has been able to contact her mother is
by mobile phone hookups arranged by a Korean-
``My mother is always worrying about me and my
future,'' Kim told The Korea Times. ``But I am
more concerned about my mother's situation
Struggling herself to adjust to life in the
capitalist South, Kim has still managed to send
around 10 million won ($9,900) to her mother
through the broker over the past years.
[refugee encouragement] [Refugee reception]
Seoul Officials Visit NK for Bird Flu Talks
By Reuben Staines
In a sign of thawing relations, a South Korean
government delegation visited North Korea Friday
to discuss collaborative measures for containing
an outbreak of bird flu in the communist nation,
the Unification Ministry said.
Three officials and eight support staff traveled
by car across the heavily fortified
Demilitarized Zone to the North's border city of
Kaesong for the talks, the ministry said.
Groups flay rights panel over North
April 22, 2005 ? Civic groups concerned with
rights in North Korea attacked South Korea's
Human Rights Commission, a state agency, for
shying from confronting the communist regime
over what they see as a crucial issue.
The groups rebuked the commission after Cho
Young-hoang, president of the rights body, said
yesterday the panel has no official stance with
regard to North Korea. He also said it was up to
Pyongyang in the first instance, and not the
United Nations or international community, to
improve its own rights situation.
Mr. Cho's comments were made yesterday in a
submission to a Judiciary Committee meeting at
the National Assembly.
Local rights groups denounced the stance, saying
the body had issued opinions on touchy matters
such as the disputed National Security Law and
even on Iraq.
Is 'Hallyu' a One-Way Street?
By Park Chung-a
Asian media experts warn that Korea's one-way
flow of cultural products will result in only
short-term success of the ``hallyu (Korean
``Do you just want to earn quick money relying
on the boom of the Korean Wave? I hope the
Korean Wave is not a one-sided flow of culture
but a channel for interactive culture for mutual
interest,'' said Lee Jih Jyen, a chairman from
INSERIA in Taiwan, at the National Assembly's
public hearing on Wednesday to
discuss the boom of Korean culture in neighboring countries.
Activists Urge New Pope to Visit NK
By Reuben Staines
Catholic activists on Thursday called for newly elected Pope Benedict XVI to
visit North Korea and seek an improvement in human rights conditions in the
reclusive communist nation during a rally at Myongdong Cathedral in central
The Controversies of South Korean Society on the Issue of Human Rights in
By Bohyuk Suh
April 21st, 2005
Bohyuk Suh, an expert advisor at the National Human Rights Commission of
Korea, writes: "The North Korean human rights issue should not be the only
issue to be viewed, but rather, the general situation in and outside of
Korea, and the task of settling for peace on the Korean peninsular, should
be viewed together as a whole."
Foreign Ministry tries to untie Roh's knots
April 20, 2005 ? South Korea's Foreign Ministry
is currently playing defense on three dicey
issues: handling the stalemated six-party talks
on North Korea's nuclear arms, trying to explain
what the country's newly proclaimed "balancing
role" actually means, and deciphering what
President Roh Moo-hyun meant when he said this
week in Turkey that some Koreans were too "pro-
Police Investigate Parody of President Roh
By Lee Jin-woo
Police have launched an investigation into a
controversial parody of President Roh Moo-hyun,
which was posted on the Web site of a
conservative right-wing Internet media last
Toknypsinmun, a conservative online media
critical of reform-minded President Roh, placed
the spoof, in which a sniper was depicted aiming
at the President's forehead, on its Web site,
www.independent.co.kr on April 16.
In the parody, a smiling President Roh says,
``North Korean leader Kim Jong-il won't collapse
easily. And I hope it won't happen.'' The sniper
says, ``I'll shoot you in the head if you make
any more remarks supporting Kim, the enemy of
Prodigal son of the sea
Hwang Hong-ryeon, center, who took a fishing
boat last Wednesday to North Korea, was returned
yesterday with the vessel to Sokcho Port in
S. Korean Mil. Authorities Warned against
Infiltrating Warships into Waters of North Side
Pyongyang, April 18 (KCNA) -- The Navy Command
of the Korean People's Army Monday issued a
press release denouncing the south Korean
military authorities for infiltrating warships
into the waters of the north side in the West
Sea of Korea in a bid to deliberately strain the
situation. The press release said:
The south Korean military authorities
infiltrated a warship into the waters of the
north side south of Kuwol Hill from around 11:35
to around 12:05 Monday. They committed a similar
military provocation seven times on April 15 and
four times on April 16.
Megawati Stirs Inter-Korean Speculation
By Reuben Staines
A news report claiming that former Indonesian
President Megawati Sukarnoputri plans to pass on
an important message from North Korean leader
Kim Jong-il to President Roh Moo-hyun was
dismissed Monday as speculation.
Fisherman Questioned Over Defection Motive
By Jung Sung-ki
A South Korean fisherman, who crossed the
eastern sea border in the East Sea aboard a
vessel into the North last Wednesday, was
transferred to investigators on Monday for a
joint investigation of his defection, government
The fisherman, Hwang Hong-ryon, 57, resident of
Sokcho in Kangwon Province, was picked up by the
country's maritime police at around 3 p.m. near
the Northern Limit Line in the eastern waters
from North Korean authorities.
Two 250-ton patrol ships were sent the area to
receive Hwang and pull his ship, named Hwangman-
ho, to Sokcho, the officials said.
``I'm happy to be back,'' Hwang said after
arriving at the port around 5:40 p.m. ``I was so
intoxicated when I went over to the North.''
NK to Repatriate South Korean Fisherman
By Jung Sung-ki
North Korea said Saturday that it will send back
Hwang Hong-ryon, who crossed the sea border in
the East Sea into the North aboard his boat last
Wednesday, government officials said.
Kim Jong-il 'Sends Message to President Roh'
It was learned Sunday that North Korean leader Kim Jong-il has given former
Indonesian president Megawati Sukarnoputri a message to pass on to South Korean
President Roh Moo-hyun.
Prof. Kim Su-il of Pusan University of Foreign Studies, who accompanied
Megawati when she called on Roh ahead of her visit to Pyongyang, said he was
told this by the former Indonesian leader, who returned to Beijing from
Pyongyang on Friday.
Kim said Megawati was to have come to Seoul on Friday for a meeting with
Unification Minister Chung Dong-young, but the schedule changed and she would
now pass the message on to the president directly when he returns to Korea.
About whether the North's message is from Kim Jong-il himself, Professor Kim
said, "Former president Megawati plans to directly reveal that to President
Roh." But given how she will convey the message to President Roh, it's very
likely that the message is in the name of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il.
Attention is focusing on the message as it appears it will deal with either an
intra-Korean summit or the Kaesong Industrial Complex.
(Park Seung-jun, firstname.lastname@example.org )
N. Korea Says It Will Return S. Korean Defector
SEOUL, April 16 (Yonhap) -- North Korea said
Saturday it will repatriate a South Korean
fisherman who defected across the tense East Sea
border to the North by his boat on Wednesday,
according to government officials here.
The North informed the South Korean government
that it will return the fisherman, Hwang Hong-
ryon, and his 3.9-ton ship to the South via the
East Sea at 3 p.m. Monday, the officials said.
1,000 Guided Missiles to Be Introduced to Counter North Korean Artillery
APRIL 10, 2005 23:02
by Sang-Ho Yun (email@example.com)
The Ministry of National Defense (MND) has decided to introduce 1,000 Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) kits, a cutting-edge guided missile, in an effort to guarantee South Korea's independent deterrence against the North.
A MND official said on April 10, "The ministry recently reported the option of introducing 1,000 JDAM kits as part of its 2006-2010 Mid-Term National Defense Plan, and the National Security Council (NSC) is currently reviewing the details of the plan."
The need for adoption of JDAM has long been discussed within the military, but this is the first time that the exact scale of introduction has been clarified. By introducing a huge number of JDAM units, the Defense Ministry aims at carrying out a surgical strike against, and eventually destroying, numerous field artillery pieces deployed by the North Korean armed forces near the Demilitarized Zone in case of an emergency.
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