ROK and Inter-Korean relations
S. Korea Polarized Over NK Human Rights
By Seo Dong-shin
Politicians and the public in South Korea are deeply split over Seoul's abstention from voting on the resolution on North Korea's human rights situation at the United Nations.
The resolution passed the U.N. social and humanitarian committee Thursday with 84 in favor, 22 against and 62 abstentions. It will be sent to a plenary session of the U.N. General Assembly, which normally accepts the vote of the panel.
The resolution, presented by the European Union (EU), calls on the Stalinist North to stop alleged human rights abuses.
Explaining Seoul's stance on the issue in New York, Shin Kak-soo, South Korean delegate to the U.N., said that South Korea shares the concerns of the international community, but it has other policy objectives toward the North that are vital for peace and security on the Korean Peninsula.
Seoul Abstains From NK Human Rights Vote
By Park Song-wu
South Korea abstained from voting on North
Korea's human rights situation in a session of
the U.N. General Assembly in New York on
The EU-led resolution, submitted on Nov. 2,
passed the session in the third committee, which
deals with social, humanitarian and cultural
A majority vote was necessary to adopt the
Before the voting started, the South Korean
delegation explained that it also attaches great
importance on resolving the North's human rights
But the delegation added that South Korea needs
to pursue more important issues, such as
reconciliation with North Korea and the peaceful
settlement of Pyongyang's nuclear programs.
Series of Anti-APEC Rallies Expected During
PUSAN (Yonhap) _ A series of anti-APEC rallies
are scheduled to take place in Pusan today, when
U.S. President George W. Bush and other regional
leaders open their two-day summit, according to
South Korean civic group officials.
Clashes between protesters and the police may
happen, as the police warned of stern action if
demonstrators veer from pre-sanctioned rally
areas and try to march to summit venues.
A coalition of 35 civic groups based in Pusan
plans to gather up to 100,000 protesters today
to oppose Bush's presence at the summit and free
trade policies, said Park Jin-hyun, a spokesman
for the Anti-APEC Pusan Civic Action.
Former envoy to U.S. grilled by prosecutors
November 17, 2005 ? Seoul prosecutors yesterday
questioned Hong Seok-hyun, the former South
Korean ambassador to the United States, in
connection with allegations of illegal Samsung
Group political contributions to presidential
candidates in 1997.
The investigation was prompted by a petition
from a civic group after an audio tape of an
illegally bugged conversation surfaced last
summer. The conversation reportedly included Mr.
Hong and a Samsung executive discussing such
Mr. Hong, also the former publisher of the
JoongAng Ilbo, appeared at the prosecution
yesterday morning, telling reporters he intended
to cooperate with the authorities.
Hong Seok-hyun Summoned for Questioning
By Kim Tong-hyung
The prosecution summoned former Korean
Ambassador to Washington Hong Seok-hyun
Wednesday and questioned him over his alleged
involvement in Samsung Group's provision of
slush funds to presidential candidates ahead of
the 1997 election.
Hong, 56, who resigned from his post as
ambassador in September after just seven months,
is suspected of relaying illegal campaign funds
from Samsung to politicians in the past
The former ambassador is also suspected of being
involved in Samsung's alleged bribery of
prosecutors ahead of the Chusok holidays in 1997.
Detention of Ex-Spy Chiefs Angers DJ
By Lee Jin-woo
The detention of two former intelligence chiefs,
who were allegedly involved in eavesdropping
scandals during the Kim Dae-jung administration,
has enraged Kim, former president and Nobel
Peace Prize laureate, and his aides.
Ex-spy chiefs jailed in wiretap investigation
November 16, 2005 ? The Seoul Central District
Court last night issued detention warrants
sought by the prosecution and naming two former
intelligence agency heads. The warrants were to
have been executed before midnight yesterday;
both men have denied the charges.
This is the first such action against heads of
an agency that, in Korea's authoritarian past,
was almost a law unto itself. Its influence,
though, has been greatly curbed in the last two
The request by prosecutors to detain Shin Kun
and Lim Dong-won in connection with charges that
they ordered illegal wiretaps on the
conversations of Koreans had drawn criticism
from the Blue House and the Uri Party, although
Chun Jung-bae, the justice minister, defended
the decision to do so as "legitimate." Both men
headed the agency during the Kim Dae-jung
administration from 1998-2003.
Ex-Intelligence Chiefs Put to Jail
By Kim Tong-hyung
The Seoul Central District Court on Tuesday
issued arrest warrants for two former
intelligence chiefs who for their alleged
involvement in the spy agency's illegal
wiretapping operations during the 1998-2003 Kim
The court charged former Unification Minister
Lim Dong-won, 71, who directed the National
Intelligence Service (NIS) from 1999 to 2001,
and Shin Gunn, 64, who succeeded Lim as director
through 2003, for directing intelligence agents
to spy on high-profile figures such as
politicians, businessmen and journalists during
Noam Chomsky Society Established
The Korean Society for Chomsky Studies holds its
launching ceremony and first
academic conference at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies in eastern Seoul on
Around 200 scholars around the nation have joined the interdisciplinary
academic society to cover the life and studies of the American linguist Noam
Chomsky is the creator of the theory of generative grammar and has written
numerous influential books on the subject. A professor of linguistics at the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Chomsky is also known for his political
writings and his criticisms of U.S. foreign policies.
Digging Starts to Recover Remains of Silmido
By Seo Dong-shin
A team of military personnel and civilian experts on Tuesday began unearthing a
site at a cemetery in Kyonggi Province, where the bodies of members of the
so-called Silmido Unit are believed to have been secretly buried 34 years ago.
The excavation came as the military fact-fining committee, which pledged to
shed light on the military's wrongdoings under previous authoritarian
governments, included the Silmido incident on its investigation list last
[Human rights] [Assassination]
Time for the North to reciprocate
[LETTERS to the editor]
I read an interesting article on how the
Ministry of Unification is willing to take out a
loan to continue aiding North Korea (Editorial:
"Financing aid to the North," Nov. 8). This is
The South Korean government must not be
oblivious of the fact that there are just too
many people waiting for government help on our
side. Thousands of people are hungry and
penniless, and desperately need financial aid.
It would be a great paradox to help feed North
Koreans with a loan while leaving South Koreans
Wiretap charge hits 2 ex-aides
November 15, 2005 ? Prosecutors asked a court
for detention warrants yesterday against Lim
Dong-won and Shin Kun, who headed the
government's intelligence agency in the Kim Dae-
They were charged with involvement in illegal
domestic surveillance of Koreans during the Kim
Dae-jung administration, from 1998 to 2003.
Prosecutors said the two men controlled
wiretapping efforts here in violation of privacy
Park Joins Seoul Mayoral Race
By Lee Jin-woo
Rep. Park Jin, left, of the largest opposition
Grand National Party, who is a candidate in the
Seoul mayoral election next year, stands side-by-
side with Goh Kun, a leading hopeful in the 2007
presidential election, during an event
celebrating the publication of Park's
autobiographic book on dieting, at the Sejong
Center for the Performing Arts in central Seoul,
Rep. Park Jin of the main opposition Grand
National Party (GNP), who has drawn keen
attention by losing more than 18 kilograms in
just three months by starting what he called a
``dolphin diet,'' announced Monday his bid for
the party's internal race for Seoul mayoralty.
NK Boats Cross Sea Border
SEOUL (Yonhap) . Nine North Korean fishing boats and one patrol boat crossed
early Sunday morning into South Korean waters in the Yellow Sea, but returned
to the North after the South Korean Navy's warning, the military said.
After the fishing boats sailed
12th Reunion of Separated Families and Relatives Ends
Mt. Kumgang Resort, November 10 (KCNA) -- The 12th reunion of separated families and relatives that began at Mt. Kumgang Resort came to an end today. Separated families and relatives from the north side had reunions with their counterparts from the south side in the wake of the latter's reunion with the former from Nov. 5 to 7.
They had a group reunion on Nov 8.
Former envoy returns here to face prosecution questions
November 14, 2005 ? Hong Seok-hyun, the former Korean ambassador to Washington, returned to Korea on Saturday and told reporters he expects to be summoned by prosecutors this coming week and would give them a detailed statement.
The Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office said Thursday that it would summon Mr. Hong to answer questions on an alleged illegal political funding scandal.
The former chairman of the Joong-Ang Ilbo allegedly discussed distributing campaign funds to candidates during the 1997 presidential campaign with a Samsung Group executive, Lee Hak- soo. This conversation was illegally recorded by the nation's intelligence agency.
Mr. Hong resigned as ambassador in September due to the scandal, and had been staying in the U.S.
In July, the People's Solidarity for Participatory Democracy, a civic group, asked the prosecution to investigate Mr. Hong, based on the illegal tape. The prosecution has finished questioning other participants involved in the scandal, including Mr. Lee.
by Moon Byung-joo
Hong Returns Home to Face Summons
By Kim Tong-hyung
Former Korean Ambassador to Washington Hong Seok- hyun returned to Seoul Saturday to face a summons over his alleged involvement in a campaign fund scandal.
The prosecution said Sunday it will call in Hong this week to inquire into whether he played a role in Samsung Group's alleged provision of illegal campaign funds to presidential candidates ahead of the 1997 election.
North's fishing boats cross Yellow Sea line
November 14, 2005 ? Nine North Korean fishing boats yesterday trespassed across the maritime inter-Korean border in the Yellow Sea, the Northern Limit Line, the Joint Chiefs of Staff announced.
The small North Korean fishing craft sailed about 11 miles south of the boundary between 2:30 a.m. and 5 a.m., and one North Korean patrol boat chased them about 3 miles into South Korean waters in an attempt to corral them. After broadcast warnings from the South Korean Navy, the North Korean patrol boat responded tersely, "We know the situation. Do not fire."
The patrol boat pulled back after about 40 minutes, and the other fishing boats followed. The last boat re-crossed the line at 7:30 a.m. An official at Seoul's military headquarters said the intrusions were probably innocent and stemmed from a lack of navigation equipment.
Abductee is allowed a reunion
Kidnapped fisherman greets mother after 18 years
November 09, 2005 ? MOUNT KUMGANG, North Korea ?
A South Korean fisherman abducted to North Korea
was reunited with his mother after nearly two
decades of life in the communist country. The
tearful meeting was a part of the two Koreas'
separated family reunions at the mountain resort
Kim Jong-sim, 74, told her first son of his
father's death five years ago as she burst into
tears. Jeong Il-nam, 50, unsuccessfully tried to
hold back his tears. His North Korean wife tried
to calm her mother-in-law.
The scene, however surreal, was a reflection of
the complicated issues in North-South Korea
relations since the turn of the century when
Seoul began serious efforts to bring a thaw to
relations between the two Koreas. Tokyo has been
making strenuous efforts to rescue its own
citizens kidnapped to North Korea, and Seoul's
reluctance to risk North Korean ire by doing the
same has triggered criticism in the South.
Mr. Jeong was one of the 12 crewmen aboard the
Dongjin, which was seized by a North Korean
patrol boat on Jan. 15, 1987. The North's Red
Cross said a week after the abduction that it
would return the crew to the South, but the
promise was never kept. In 1998, North Korea
announced that Dongjin was a spy ship and said
the crew had "voluntarily" asked to stay in the
North. The families of the 12 fishermen
organized a lobby in 2000 and filed a suit
against the government last year.
Mr. Jeong, who met his mother with a North
Korean official beside them, was the 11th South
Korean abductee allowed by the North to attend a
reunion, and the fourth Dongjin crew member to
At yesterday's reunion, 99 South Koreans were
allowed to see 200 North Korean family members.
DPRK Red Cross Delegation Leaves for Seoul
Pyongyang, November 8 (KCNA) -- A delegation of
the DPRK Red Cross Society headed by Paek Yong
Ho, vice-chairman of the C.C., the DPRK Red
Cross Society, left here today to attend the
15th general meeting and the meeting of the
council of delegates of the International
Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent
Societies to be held in Seoul. It was seen off
at the airport by Min Pyong Gwan, secretary
general of the C.C., the DPRK Red Cross Society,
and officials concerned.
Abductee to NK Reunited With Mother
By Seo Dong-shin & Joint Press Corps
A South Korean woman, named Kim Chong-shim,
right, holds tight her son, Chung Il-nam, who is
believed to have been abducted to the North,
during the family reunion at Mt. Kumgang in
North Korea, Tuesday. / Yonhap
MT. KUMGANG _ A South Korean fisherman who is
believed to have been abducted by a North Korean
patrol boat 18 years ago met his mother during
the second round of the 12th family reunion
sessions that started here Tuesday.
Kim Chong-shim, 72, of South Cholla Province in
the South, is a member of the second batch of
145 South Koreans who are visiting the mountain
resort for a reunion with their long-lost family
members residing in the North.
Her son, Chung Il-nam, now 49, was allegedly
abducted near the West Sea border to the North
in January 1987, while aboard on Tongjin No. 27
along with 11 other fishermen.
The South Korean government believes they were
kidnapped by North Korea, but the communist
country has been claiming the fishermen crossed
the border voluntarily.
Test Fire of Air-to-Air Missile Successful
By Jung Sung-ki
A test fire of the AIM-9L air-to-air missile on A-50, an upgraded version of
the country's supersonic jet trainer T-50, has been successful, proving the
light attacker's efficiency, the Air Force said Tuesday.
In the test fire at an air base in Sachon in South Kyongsang Province, the A-50
successfully hit an unmanned target 1.5 miles away from the aircraft in the air
with the sophisticated air-to-air missile, it said in a statement.
The AIM-9L, dubbed ``Dog Fighting,'' is the supersonic, heat-seeking,
air-to-air missile carried by an aircraft. It is equipped with a high-explosive
warhead and an active infrared guidance system.
``This successful test fire and flight has proven the maneuverability and high
performance of the A-50,'' an Air Force spokesman said.
NK Red Cross Delegation En Route for Seoul
SEOUL (Yonhap) -- A North Korean delegation for an international Red Cross
general assembly in Seoul left for the South Korean capital Tuesday, the
North's official Korean Central News Agency reported.
According to the report, the delegation, headed by Paek Yong-ho, deputy chief
of the North Korean Red Cross, left Pyongyang for Beijing.
North Korea observers here said the delegation is expected to stay in the
Chinese capital until Thursday, one day before the start of the meeting of the
International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in Seoul.
Some direct flights have been used between the Koreas following the joint
declaration of peace and reconciliation at the historic inter-Korean summit in
2000, but a regular direct flight service has yet to begin.
Teachers' union presses on with anti-APEC class
November 08, 2005 ? The Korea Teachers and
Educational Workers Union said yesterday that it
would have a special welcome for the Asia-
Pacific Economic Cooperation forum next week:
Its member teachers will hold special classes
denouncing the group, globalization and the
United States in their elementary and secondary
In a statement yesterday, the union asserted
that the classes would give students only the
"minimum" information they needed about the APEC
meeting and the group.
"The government is promoting the APEC forum as
if it will boost globalization and the domestic
economy, but it is the naked truth that people
around the world are fiercely against
globalization and President George W. Bush. We
have to explain to students why there are people
demonstrating in Busan," the statement said.
The union's spokesman, Han Man-jung, noted that
the video is a "cleaned-up" version of one that
was shown in Busan last month and stirred an
outcry after it was posted on the Internet.
"The new teaching materials do not contain
parodies, curse words, or slang," he said. "Of
course, President Bush's bad policies and how he
makes war are still included." It was not clear,
however, if the video, like the original
version, would attack Mr. Roh.
The Education Ministry said it would review the
contents of the video, which the union said it
would finish editing by tomorrow. "Even without
foul language, any material that leans toward
one ideology is inappropriate for educational
purposes. If that is the case, we still will ban
the video," a ministry official said, adding
that teachers who defied the ban could be
[Human rights] [Anti-Americanism]
Financing aid to the North
Controversy is heating up over the Unification
Ministry's plan to resort to issuing government
bonds to finance aid to North Korea. Supporters
say, "We have no other choice, if we are to
maintain peace on the Korean Peninsula," while
critics say, "It is absurd to go into debt to
help North Korea when the domestic economy is
also in difficulty."
There seems to be public sympathy for basic
humanitarian aid for North Korea and mutually
beneficial inter-Korean economic cooperation
programs such as the development of the Kaesong
Industrial Complex. If the two Koreas were
suddenly unified with the North in its current
condition, the South would not be able to cope
with the unification cost. In that respect,
economic improvement in the North is needed.
But, regarding the details of the aid and
economic cooperation programs, which cost
astronomical amounts, there are conflicting
opinions among South Koreans. [Collapse]
Separated Families Reunited in NK
MOUNT KUMGANG, North Korea (Yonhap) ? Separated family members from the two
Koreas exchanged liquor, food and other types of local specialties during the
second day of their reunion here on Sunday.
After a group reunion of all participants Saturday at the mountain's Onjonggak
Rest House, a total of 100 North Koreans took buses to their South Korean
relatives' lodging, the Haegumgang Hotel, and met their long-lost family
members in their hotel rooms.
Some of the 441 South Koreans warmly welcomed them from the balconies of their
rooms, waving to the people getting off the buses. During the reunion, the
North Koreans gave paintings, liquor, health foods and other local specialties
as presents, while the South Koreans presented their northern relatives with
rings, jackets and underclothes.
Ex-Presidents' Medals May Be Stripped
By Lee Hyo-sik
The government is considering stripping former Presidents Chun Doo-hwan and Roh
Tae-woo of their military honors following the revision of the law governing
state decorations, officials said on Monday.
The Ministry of Government Administration and Home Affairs said that it has
asked the Ministry of Government Legislation and a fact-finding committee of
the Defense Ministry to evaluate the legality of awarding military medals to
former presidents and 79 others for their roles in military coup in December
1979 and the Kwangju civilian massacre in May 1980
Rights panel lags on North, critics charge
November 05, 2005 ? Through September, the
National Human Rights Commission only used 41
percent of the budget allocated for research on
North Korean human rights issues this year, a
National Assembly audit found.
The commission only used 53 percent of the
budget for the same purpose last year. The
budget for next year is set at 148 million won
($141,000), similar to the levels for this year
and last year.
In a report, the Assembly's Legislation and
Judiciary Committee said that despite various
forums, international symposiums and research
activities on the human rights situation in the
North, the commission had failed to provide a
comprehensive survey of its findings.
Opposition parties are attributing the lack of
spending to the Roh administration's policy of
refraining from confronting Pyongyang over human
North's new puppet state
[LETTERS to the editor]
Since the division of Korea in 1945 North Korea
has claimed itself to be the "legitimate" Korea
and South Korea and its government "puppets" of
the imperialist Americans. This line of thinking
holds some currency with the hyper-
nationalistic, (usually) younger South Koreans
and other confused segments of South Korean
society who resent the perception of a master-
servant relationship with the United States.
The current South Korean President, Roh Moo
Hyun, vowed during his 2002 presidential
election campaign not to "kowtow" to the United
States. Although he hasn't been totally
successful with that pledge, he instead
"kowtows" to the North Korean government. He and
the ruling Uri Party use every opportunity to
please their new master, Kim Jong-il.
Union faces criticism over ideology
November 05, 2005 ? [First in a series]
Following the furious public criticism of the
ideologically biased classes of the Korean
Teachers and Educational Workers Union, the
JoongAng Ilbo is running a series of articles
that offer a closer look into the past and
present of the union. ? Ed.
When it was launched in 1989, the Korean
Teachers and Educational Workers Union had the
lofty vision of pursuing "true education." The
launch itself made big headlines, as public
school teachers had formed the union illegally.
The union was based on a group called the
Association of Teachers Nationwide for
Democratic Education, formed in 1987.
This group pursued "teaching to promote the
democratization of education, and education for
the nation." Cheong Jin-gon, the founding
member, said, "We gathered our strength from our
stance and from proper teaching."
Today, it has developed into a 95,000-member
nationwide group. The left-leaning union these
days has again surfaced as a headline-maker, but
this time, it has nothing to do with its lofty
visions of 16 years ago.
The headlines are over a video that the union
recently prepared to be used as teaching
material, espousing leftist rhetoric against
globalization and the United States.
580 S. Koreans to Visit NK for Reunions
By Seo Dong-shin
Red Cross of South and North Korea will hold the
12th round of face-to-face reunions of family
members separated by the inter-Korean border
bisecting the Korean Peninsula, at Mt. Kumgang
in North Korea, from today through Thursday.
The first batch of some 440 South Koreans will
enter the North today and meet with about 100
North Korean family members at a hotel at Mt.
Former Korean Spy Lays Bare Covert Operations
By Kim Hyung-jin
SEOUL (Yonhap) _ For most of his neighbors, Kim
Dong-sok, 82, was just one stubborn-looking man
walking with a cane until he published a memoir
last week revealing what he did during the
Korean War as a South Korean spy.
As the commander of a South Korean counter-
intelligence military unit, called HID, Kim
claims in the book that he led some 260 covert
infiltration and espionage missions into North
Korea during the three-year war which ended in
In a recent interview at his home in southern
Seoul, Kim said his missions in North Korea
ranged from assassinating and kidnapping
communist leaders to collecting intelligence.
"In terms of spy activities, I'm sure I was the
best," Kim said as a matter-of-fact. "I
infiltrated the enemy lines about 260 times by
either parachuting from planes or sailing by
His book, titled "This man, Kim Dong-sok,"
revealed some untold Korean War episodes such as
the kidnapping of a top North Korean military
officer and an assassination attempt on the then
North Korean leader, Kim Il-sung, father of
current leader Kim Jong-il.
A few days after MacArthur's personal
comment on Dean, Kim said he, along with four
fellow agents, infiltrated into eastern North
Korea and captured Ri Young-hee, the commanding
general of the North's 17th army division.
It is the first time that the abduction of a
general-grade North Korean officer during the
war has been unveiled.
"I took him to the U.S. military. It took only
15 minutes for them to force Ri to spill
everything," Kim said. "Soon afterwards, Ri's
division suffered massive aerial bombardment."
The 2nd U.S. Infantry Division in South Korea
subsequently designated Dec. 16 as "Governor
Kim's Day." Kim was once appointed by the South
Korean government to serve as a nominal governor
of a North Korean province, a symbolic move by
Seoul to promote its unification drive.
Kim "has been a hero in his passionate
resistance to communist aggression; a lifelong
patriot of the Korean people; a faithful friend
of America and its soldiers deployed to the
Republic of Korea," the U.S. division said in an
acknowledgment on Kim's Day.
In 2002, the U.S. division built a memorial hall
in honor of Kim.
[Terrorism] [Korean war events] [Pro-Americanism]
Hong Seok-hyun to Return Home Around Nov. 10
Former South Korean Ambassador to Washington
Hong Seok-hyun will return home around next
Thursday from the U.S., local broadcaster YTN
The prosecution called on him twice to return to
Seoul for questioning on his alleged involvement
in the eavesdropping scandal, but he has not
responded to the request.
Hong was said to have delivered money from the
Samsung Group to Lee Hoi-chang, then
presidential candidate of the opposition Grand
National Party for the 1997 election, when he
worked as head of a Samsung-affiliated newspaper
JoongAng Ilbo, according to ceased audiotapes.
Entry of 1,000 NGO Activists Banned Ahead of APEC
SEOUL (Yonhap) ? South Korea's police agency
said Wednesday it has temporarily banned the
entry to South Korea of almost 1,000 people from
foreign non-governmental organizations, in a
tightening of the country's security ahead of
the upcoming Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation
The National Police Agency said it has banned
998 members of 20 overseas non-governmental
organizations from entering the country as they
have criminal records for participating in
[human rights] [Double standards]
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