ROK and Inter-Korean relations
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Seoul dismisses N. Korean accusation, vows to defend sea border
South Korea on Saturday dismissed as "unworthy" a claim by North Korea that the current maritime border in the West Sea had been drawn unfairly and thus should be moved further south.
In a statement issued on Friday, North Korea's navy accused South Korea of recently infiltrating dozens of warships into its waters across the disputed sea border, called the Northern Limit Line (NLL).
Spokesman for KPA Navy Command Issues Statement
Pyongyang, March 28 (KCNA) -- A spokesman for the Navy Command of the Korean People's Army issued the following statement on Friday blasting the moves of the south Korean military authorities to "protect" the "northern limit line" at any cost:
The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the south Korean armed forces at a confirmation hearing of the "National Assembly" on March 26 blustered that he would "defend the northern limit line in the West Sea as a line based on the conception of the territory under any circumstances".
His provocative outbursts are very dangerous and treacherous ones as they are not a simple expression of an individual view but openly reveal the wild ambition of the south Korean authorities.
His vow to defend the "northern limit line" devoid of any legal validity betrays the intention of the south Korean military to put into practice the already worked out scenario for invading the north.
The "northern limit line" on which the south Korean military has insisted as a shield is a bogus line as it was unilaterally drawn by the U.S. imperialists right after the ceasefire without any agreement with the DPRK side.
The south Korean warlike forces are now taking very disturbing military moves, vociferously asserting that the "northern limit line defends five islands in the West Sea" and "Yonphyong Islet is like a dagger to be thrust into one's throat while Paekryong Islet the one to be thrust into one's side".
N. Korea Slams 'Preemptive Attack' Remark
North Korea's military said Saturday that South Korea should retract its top military official's remark about an attack on the communist nation and apologize for it, threatening to suspend all inter-Korean dialogues and contacts.
On Wednesday, Gen. Kim Tae-young, the new chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the South would strike the North's nuclear sites if the communist country attacks the South with nuclear weapons. [Media] [Disinformation]
Watching the Rusting Statues of Syngman Rhee
Reassessing Syngman Rhee
In a corner of a backyard in a private residence in Myeongryundong, Seoul, sit two statues of Korea’s first president Syngman Rhee, rusting away. The statues were erected in the late 1950s during Rhee’s term and were pulled down during the April 19 uprising. Only the head is left of the statue that once stood on Mt.Namsan and is covered in blue rope, while the other statue that used to stand in Tapgol Park downtown stands right next to it gathering dust. The only reason these statues are kept in the backyard after spending years at a junk yard is because one high-ranking union official in the Rhee administration saved them during the late 1960s. The official emigrated to another country and sold the house, including the statue.
How many half-decent countries on the face of the earth let the statues of their first presidents roll around in the dirt in this manner?
There are probably few figures in our history who spark such stark divisions among supporters and opponents. One side honors Rhee as the father of our nation who set the Republic of Korea on the path of the prosperity it enjoys today, while the Left belittles him, accuses him of being a dictator and blames him for dividing the two Koreas. Those are the claims of people who are on the same side as North Korea, insisting that the Korean War was a war of unification
Three nothings for North Korea
Kim Ji-seok, Editorial writer
William James (1842-1910), the American pragmatist philosopher, said that if you are trying to find the truth of one idea in comparison to the truth of another and cannot find a concrete difference, then it’s not worth debating. Action, he said, is the only way thought can have meaning. In other words, if you want to see what is right, see how your choice means something in the real world. The power of pragmatism comes from its silsa gusi, "seeking answers based on actual fact."
President Lee Myung-bak says pragmatism is his philosophy of statecraft, and you often hear his people talking about "pragmatist North Korea policy" and "pragmatism toward the North." It is an expression of an intention to place value on results when it comes to policy toward Pyongyang. It has been a month since Lee was inaugurated, however, and what you see are more "nothings" than silsa gusi.
For starters, there aren’t any real goals.
President Lee Myung-bak’s North Korea Policy:
Denuclearization or Disengagement?”
By Leonid Petrov
March 27th, 2008
Leonid Petrov, Research Associate in the Division of Pacific and Asian History at Australian National University, writes, “During the last decade, the dynamics of inter-Korean cooperation have made unprecedented progress. It would be unforgivable to slow down this process only because someone may find a peaceful compromise excessively expensive. Let us not forget that this matter is about the future of the Korean people, and attempts to economize on the future of the people sooner or later leads to political bankruptcy.”
Lee Calls for ‘New Spirit’ in Dealings With N.Korea
President Lee Myung-bak on Wednesday called for "a new basic spirit" to be established in inter-Korean relations based on a landmark 1991 agreement. "What is the most important is the Basic Agreement between North and South Korea. And it's necessary to respect its spirit," Lee said in a policy briefing by the Unification Ministry.
Designated Military Chief Backs Northern Limit Line
The Northern Limit Line, the de facto border in the West Sea, "should be defended under any circumstances," said Gen. Kim Tae-young, the nominated chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on Wednesday. "It is a quasi-border, part of the nation's territorial sovereignty." Gen. Kim made the remarks during his confirmation hearing at the National Assembly's Defense Committee in reply to a question from Grand National Party lawmaker Kong Sung-jin.
Retrogression on North Korea policy
Statements by the Unification Ministry on Tuesday hint that inter-Korean relations, which have enjoyed steady advances in recent years, are going to stall or take steps backwards. There has been a major loss of continuity and originality in policy towards North Korea, and the ministry’s report on its activities is a list of vague themes that are out of touch with reality. The tone of policy has been tailored to fit President Lee Myung-bak’s ideology, and it is in no small way possible it will lead to renewed conflict between the two Koreas.
The new North Korea policy’s emphasis is negating the accomplishments of Presidents Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun. A brief example would be how there is no single mention of the October 4 Summit Declaration and the June 15 Joint Statement, which should be a most basic part of inter-Korean relations.
North’s nukes on attack radar
New military chief says plans exist for possible ¡®pre-emptive strike¡¯
March 27, 2008
The South Korean military is prepared to launch a pre-emptive attack on North Korea’s nuclear installations if they become a military threat, Gen. Kim Tae-young, the newly designated chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in a hearing yesterday.
It was the first time the military has confirmed contingency plans for a pre-emptive attack on Pyongyang’s nuclear facilities and comes as Seoul¡¯s new conservative government is being closely watched for signs of how it will approach North Korea. [Military balance]
More tough talk on North Korea from Lee gov’t.
March 27, 2008
In a sign of the new administration¡¯s revamped policy on North Korea, the Unification Ministry yesterday announced a plan to synchronize its work on inter-Korean relations with the country¡¯s diplomatic efforts on various fronts.
Underscoring the ministry¡¯s changed ¡ª and tougher ¡ª stance on the North, the ministry aims to put more pressure on Pyongyang to improve human rights conditions.
Lee steps up anti-nuclear pressure on N. Korea
President Lee Myung-bak Wednesday urged North Korea to completely abandon its nuclear weapons program to pave the ground for inter-Korean peace and closer economic cooperation.
[SK NK policy]
Soju makes government list of necessities
March 26, 2008
In its efforts to help low-income households win the battle against inflation, the government yesterday released its list of 52 items for which it will monitor prices.
The listed items include necessities like rice, wheat flour, electricity fees and bus fare. Soju made the list, but beer did not
S.Korean Rights Commission to Question N.Koreans
The National Human Rights Commission will conduct a survey of 13,000 North Korean defectors living in South Korea on human rights in the North. The survey is the NHRC’s first project dealing with North Korea’s human rights violations since it picked the issue as one of six key tasks for this year.
In praise of dictatorship and colonial rule
Scholars of the so-called "New Right" have released an "alternative textbook" of modern and contemporary Korean history. It was three years in the making, a project they started because they believe current textbooks take away from the historical legitimacy of the Republic of Korea as a state and that they instill a left-leaning view of history.
The book’s contents are as expected. Ideology and deliberate purpose overwhelm objective fact and assessment to the point you doubt their consciences as academics.
Their version of history goes like this. There was no homegrown effort at, or "sproutings" of, modernization in the last years of the Joseon dynasty (July 1392 - August 1910). Modern civilization was something that was imported through colonial rule, and it was this that led to economic growth. The governments of Syngman Rhee (Rhee Syngman) and Park Chung-hee were the revolutionary beginnings of liberal democracy and economic development. Their condensed version of history would be that modernization began with colonial rule and was completed by the dictatorships. Given that it was the pro-Japanese collaborators who, from positions of power, sought to maintain and strengthen the dictatorships, the "values" they are trying to defend are obvious enough.
[Japanese colonialism] [Development]
Tree planters to battle deforestation in North
March 25, 2008
More than 1,000 South Koreans will visit North Korea to plant trees to help stop deforestation.
The visits will start this weekend and continue through next month.
The Onnuri Community Church in Yongsan, Seoul said yesterday that it has reached an agreement with North Korea to allow 500 South Koreans, including church members, celebrities, students and business-people, to visit Kaesong on April 5 to plant 16,000 fruit trees.
The participants will leave Seoul at 6 a.m., plant trees at a park in Kaesong and return to Seoul in the evening.
'Alternative' History Textbook Published
The Textbook Forum, a group set up by new right intellectuals in 2005 with the goal of correcting ideological bias in Korea’s history textbooks, on Sunday published its first alternative textbook on the history of modern and contemporary Korea after three years of efforts. Its writers said they decided to publish the textbook "to address and correct problems in the current textbooks, which have trivialized the historical meaning of the Republic of Korea based on a nationalist view of history and a unique theory of national division."
South Ready to Help North's Forestation
By Jung Sung-ki, Bae Ji-sook
President Lee Myung-bak said Friday that South Korea should launch efforts to help the forestation of North Korea to prepare for the reunification of the two Koreas.
Lee also reiterated his willingness to push the cross-country canal project as a way to clean contaminated river water.
``South Korea should begin now to cooperate on the forestation of North Korea,'' Lee said, while being briefed by the Ministry of Environment on its policy goals in Gwangju, Gyeonggi Province. The North has not yet responded
Anonymous Korean War Dead Still Await Trip Home
By CHOE SANG-HUN
Published: March 23, 2008
PAJU, South Korea — The hillside cemetery here is unlike any other in South Korea. The graves, arranged in neat rows, have no headstones. Instead they have identical three-foot-tall, white wooden stakes, most of them reading "Anonymous" and revealing little else about who lies beneath.
In contrast to the Korean tradition of aligning graves toward the south, these face north, looking homeward.
Decades after they fell in combat during the Korean War, from 1950 to 1953, or in postwar espionage missions, the Communist warriors buried here still await a trip home. Their remains are unclaimed by their government, which has refused to negotiate for those of the veterans and, in the case of armed infiltrators, denies their existence. [Human rights]
Voters moving away from GNP before elections
March 22, 2008
One out of three people who supported President Lee Myung-bak¡¯s election have changed their minds about his party and will not vote for the Grand National Party in the April legislative elections, according to a new poll released yesterday.
The result is a significant reversal. Just three months ago anything Lee touched seemed to turn to political gold. He won the election by 5.3 million votes and it seemed guaranteed that the Grand National Party would sweep the April 9 National Assembly elections with a massive majority.
North Korean Border Falling Down
A North Korean drug dealer crosses the Duman (or Tumen) River naked. After crossing the river from the North Korean side, he offered a drug deal to a Chosun Ilbo news team. He admitted that he traffics in drugs and women in complicity with the leader of a North Korean platoon of border guards.
Dandong is a Chinese border city situated at the mouth of the Apnok (or Yalu) River. When the night comes, Shinuiju, the North Korean city opposite Dandong, is shrouded in darkness while Dandong twinkles with bright neon lights. Here, people from both Koreas mingle: there are a restaurant run by the North Korean government, hideouts for North Korean refugees, South Korean businessmen, senior members of the North Korean Workers' Party who are visiting on business, and many more.
More than words
Kang Tae-ho, Senior reporter for inter-Korean affairs
For the moment, North and South Korea are just watching each other.
Unification Minister Kim Ha-joong, talking to reporters on March 13, said Seoul would "wait until all conditions are mature and ripe and will not get impatient." Pyongyang is waiting as well. So not getting impatient is one thing, but what happens to inter-Korean dialogue? Is the window of dialogue going to just open up if you wait? The economy is worrisome enough, now you wonder if inter-Korean contact is going to become unstable as well.
Blade Found in Tuna Can
A piece of disposable blade found in a tuna can of Dongwon F&B.
By Kim Rahn
A fragment of a disposable blade was found in a tuna can, heightening consumer anxiety over food sanitation following a rat head being found in a popular snack.
Impasse in inter-Korean relations creates uncertainty about family reunions
Concern for aged families grows as S. Korea attempts to entice North with offer of humanitarian aid
» South and North Koreans cry as they separate from one another after a family reunion at Mount Geumgang, in North Korea, on October 19, 2007. This is the first time they have met in more than half a century.
Despite a sense of urgency for aged families who have been separated for more than a half century since the 1950-53 Korean War, there remains a great deal of uncertainty about whether family reunions between South and North Korea can be held in the first half of this year. Inter-Korean talks have virtually been halted since South Korea’s December presidential election and, accordingly, no discussions have been held on the issue of family reunions. "While North and South Korea have groped for a solution that they can’t see, there have been no visible results," a South Korean Red Cross official said.
‘Left-Leaning’ Cultural Leaders Urged to Quit
Minister of Culture Yu In-chon
By Han Sang-hee
The nation's top cultural policymaker urged left-leaning leaders of cultural organizations appointed under the Roh Moo-hyun administration to step down, Wednesday.
In a speech at the Gwanghwamun Culture Forum at the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts, Yu In-chon, the minister of culture, sports and tourism, said those ``who have their own philosophies, styles and originality will step down voluntarily. Keeping their posts (when the former President Roh's administration is over) is like betraying their lives.''
A Cultural and Philosophical Perspective
on Korea’s Education Reform:
A Critical Way to Maintain Korea’s Economic Momentum
By S. J. Chang
During the past several decades numerous discussions
about the problems of education in South Korea have been
advanced by government offi cials, education experts, teachers,
students, parents, as well as the general public. Yet the
problems still persist, and many would argue that the situation
has been worsening in recent years.
Finding life in S. Korea difficult, N. Korean refugees seek asylum in Europe
Lack of government resettlement funds and few employment opportunities lead N. Koreans abroad
» North Korean defectors gather in front of a job search board in Seoul on March 17. The unemployment rate for North Korean defectors in South Korea is 5-8 times higher than what it is for South Korean citizens.
An increasing number of North Korean defectors who have found it difficult to settle in South Korea are seeking asylum in welfare states in Europe. Last year, 72 defectors asked for asylum in Norway, compared to 26 in the previous year, according to the U.S. government-funded broadcasting service Voice of America on March 17.
It is known that a considerable number of North Koreans who have asked for asylum in other countries are not recent defectors, but North Koreans who have gained South Korean citizenship and lived in the country for a period of time following their defection, or are former residents of China pretending to have just defected from North Korea. [Refugee reception]
N. Korea accuses Seoul of stepping up 'propaganda broadcasting'
North Korea accused conservatives in South Korea of stepping up "propaganda broadcasting" aimed at fueling cross-border tensions and undermining the communist regime, a state-controlled front said Sunday.
In a communique carried by the (North) Korean Central News Agency, the Democratic Front for the Reunification of the Fatherland claimed conservatives in the South were using radio broadcasts as a tool to bring down the Pyongyang regime.
It said broadcasts by North Korea Reform Radio, the Open Radio for North Korea and several Christian evangelical programs reaching North Korea were using human rights as a weapons to hurt the communist regime.
This, the reunification front said, is in direct violation of the spirit of the June 15 Declaration reached between the two leaders in 2000, and would have a detrimental effect on bilateral relations.
"Such actions are anti-unification and anti-nationalistic in nature and will lead to ideological confrontation," it said in the message picked up in Seoul.
Anti-DPRK Smear Broadcasting Campaign Accused
Pyongyang, March 16 (KCNA) -- The south Korean conservative ruling quarters are these days conducting anti-DPRK smear broadcasts more viciously than ever before in conspiracy with the right-wing conservatives of the United States and Japan.
A spokesman for the Central Committee of the Democratic Front for the Reunification of the Fatherland in the DPRK issued a statement in this regard on Sunday.
The statement bitterly denounced such campaign as an unpardonable, anti-reunification and anti-national crime designed to turn the favorably developing inter-Korean relationship to that in the era of confrontation before the adoption of the June 15 declaration.
The right-wing conservatives in south Korea have gathered riffraff to set up such smear broadcastings as "broadcasting for the north", "missionary broadcasting for the north" and "broadcasting for reform in the north" and use them as a shock brigade in the campaign against the DPRK, it pointed out, and said:
Recently they established again the anti-DPRK smear broadcasting called "voice of freedom". And they have intensified broadcasts full of falsity and deceptive propaganda against the north from the very day of its start.
Furthermore, "Radio Free Asia" and "Voice of America", broadcastings speaking for the U.S. right-wing conservatives are joining in the above-said campaign while instigating the south Korean conservatives to do so. In the meantime, the Japanese reactionaries openly set up an anti-DPRK broadcasting under the prime minister's control to join in the smear campaign. [Disinformation]
Lee Suggests 'Shuttle Diplomacy' With N.Korea
President Lee Myung-bak on Tuesday called for a pragmatic diplomacy to maximize the national interest, adding, "I don't agree with such concepts as pro-American or pro-Chinese policy."
Who Decides N.Korea Policy?
The Lee Myung-bak government has established a foreign affairs and national security policy council led by the foreign affairs minister. It replaces the standing committee of the National Security Council, which served as the command center for foreign policy over the past 10 years. In the last administration, the unification minister led the committee, followed by the presidential senior secretary for foreign affairs and national security chairing the committee in the latter half of his term. The NSC advises the president on national security matters or coordinates the opinions of related ministries on those issues. The ministers of foreign affairs, unification, and defense, as well as the National Intelligence Service chief, the head of the Prime Minister’s Office and the presidential chief secretary for foreign affairs and national security are members.
The appointment of the foreign minister to head the policy council reflects the desire of the Lee administration to approach North Korea policy from a multilateral perspective, including the U.S., Japan and other allies, rather than from the perspective of just the two Koreas.
From N.Korea to Siberia: One Man’s 15-Year Odyssey
Kim Man-soo is a North Korean defector. But he did not cross the Duman or Tumen River to escape the communist country, as so many do: he wandered the frozen wastes of Siberia. The North Koreans sent him to Siberia as a logger in May 1993, thee years after he got married. Leaving his pregnant wife behind, he went, lured by wages people said were 100 times higher than those of average workers back home. At a logging camp in Tinda, he worked and worked to earn enough money to cover the bribes he had to pay North Korean government officials to get there.
Not a few people at the camp were crushed by falling logs or trees. "Ten people were killed at a time," Kim recalls. "The coffins were standing against the walls of the train, because the pianos North Korean officials bought with the bribes occupied the floor."
North Korean defector Kim Man-soo.
Young North Koreans volunteered to work in timber camps in Siberia just as South Korean miners went to Germany in the 1960s
Sect Gets Green Light to Build Korea’s First Private Jail
Korea's first private prison could open in Yeoju, Gyeonggi Province within three years. The Agape Spiritual Center, a "pan-denominational" Christian group that has been pushing for such a facility, on Monday said it received construction approval from the government of Yeoju County and completed the administrative procedures to establish a prison. The group is to begin construction in April once it has found a contractor.
This prison aims at reducing the recidivism rate to less than 5 percent through correctional programs based on what the group says are Christian beliefs.
Changing course on North Korea policy
Having stood back and watched what policy changes there were going to be after South Korea’s change of government, on Thursday North Korea referred critically to the South’s "conservative ruling elements." It was a simple reaction to the fact the South’s representative to the United Nations criticized the North for its human rights record while before the Security Council, but it suggests that inter-Korean relations are not going to be easy going. Pyongyang is also angry about the "Key Resolve" U.S.-Korea joint military exercises that ended on Friday.
NK Executes 15 for Attempting to Cross Border: Group
North Korea has publicly executed 15 people for attempting to flee the communist country or helping others flee, an aid group claimed Wednesday.
Thirteen women and 2 men were executed by a firing squad on a bridge in the northeastern border town of Onsong on Feb. 20, the Buddhist group Good Friends said.
"Most of them had been jailed for trying to cross the river to China to seek economic assistance from their relatives, or for assisting neighbors trying to cross the river," the group said in its weekly newsletter. It did not provide sources for the information.
South Korea's Lee rebuffed North offer to meet: report
Tuesday, March 4, 2008; 9:27 PM
SEOUL (Reuters) - New South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, who has pledged a tougher policy in dealing with North Korea, rebuffed his communist neighbor's offer to meet in January, a news report said on Wednesday.
The proposal was made through South Korea's National Intelligence Service "for responsible officials from the two sides to meet," the conservative Dong-a Ilbo newspaper quoted an unnamed government official as saying.
Don’t Stop Pushing North Korean Human Rights Issue
Home> Editorials Updated Mar.5,2008 10:11 KST
At the seventh session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on Monday, the new government of President Lee Myung-bak pressed North Korea to take action to improve its human rights situation. In a keynote speech, Park In-kook, deputy foreign minister for international organizations and global issues, said South Korea was urging North Korea to take appropriate measures to improve its human rights situation in response to international concerns based on the importance of human rights as a universal value.
Shock Greets Chosun Film on N.Korean Refugees
Viewers in Korea and abroad responded with shock to a documentary on North Korean refugees produced by the Chosun Ilbo and aired on cable TV channels Monday. Internet portal sites including Chosun.com and Naver were inundated with postings saying it had been high time the story was told.
Park Chung-hee Reforms Greatest Historic Achievement: Gallup Poll
President Park Chung-hee's Saemaeul or New Community Movement, an effort to modernize Korea during the 1970s, was chosen by the largest number of Koreans as the greatest achievement in the 60-year history of the republic. In the polll conducted on Sunday by Gallup Korea at the request of the Chosun Ilbo on the daily's 88th anniversary, 40.2 percent picked the Saemaul Movement, followed by the hosting of the Seoul Olympics in 1988 (30.1 percent), and the five-year economic development plans and the development of heavy and chemical industries (29.9 percent).
Upgrading North Korea policy
Kang Tae-ho, Senior reporter for inter-Korean affairs
Have difficulty blooming but
Wilt before you know it
No chance to see them at all
No chance to think of your beloved
So, gone before you know it
(Poem by Choe Yeongmi titled "At Seonun Temple" (Seonunsaeseo)
The camellias at Seonun Temple, located in Gochang, are said to begin budding in late February. They are in full bloom until early April, so right now is the season to see them. It occurs to me that instead of getting to see camellias, I have to watch the start of the administration of Lee Myung-bak and the exit of the administration of Roh Moo-hyun. Things get messed up before you know it. And it’s hard to do well. The essence of the problem is not the Lee administration’s examination process for its appointments. Actually, right now it is upholding standards for choosing people that are too tough. It will continue to be difficult for them to find the people they need. Criticizing them, however, is easy, while sharing responsibility is difficult. Even those who criticize are not free from the responsibility of ensuring that Lee’s administration does well. I’d like to refrain from having everyone pound on them for being lacking in ethics. If for no other reason than that there are five long years ahead.
Frankly, though, I’m not sure about what will happen. No sooner has Lee’s administration taken control than the country is facing economic crisis. In the United States, the financial crisis is already spreading and turning into economic stagnation and crisis. The Korean economy, too, is at risk
Lee Gov't Takes Stand on N.Korean Human Rights
The just-inaugurated Lee Myung-bak administration on Monday made it clear to the international community that it will get more active on the human rights of North Koreans than the previous two administrations. The new South Korean government represented by Park In-kook, deputy foreign minister for international organizations and global issues, presented a position on the human rights issue in North Korea at the seventh session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.
N.Korea Bans Civilian Aid Workers From South
North Korea has halted visits by South Korean civilian aid workers to Mt. Kumgang and Kaesong. A South Korean Unification Ministry official said a North Korean bureau for central guidance in tourism projects to the scenic Mt. Kumgang and historic Kaesong areas faxed a request that South Korean civilian aid workers immediately but temporarily halt visits to the two regions. The North, however, will continue to allow in relief supplies. Pyongyang did not elaborate on the reasons.
Food Crisis Looming Over Korea
The international food crisis prompted by smaller grain production and dwindling stockpiles of grains is also making things more difficult for Korea. According to predictions by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the world will produce 29 million tons of grain less than estimated consumption this year, and the world's year-end stock-consumption ratio will drop to 14.6 percent, hitting an all-time low.
Unification Minister-designate plans to implement universally agreeable policies
Kim Ha-joong will work to balance pragmatism and globalization with policies on N. Korea
BEIJING - "I will handle North Korea with policies that are agreeable to everyone," said Kim Ha-joong, a career diplomat who has been appointed to lead the Unification Ministry. The ministry is charged with working toward reconciliation with North Korea.
Unification Minister-designate plans to implement universally agreeable policies
Kim Ha-joong will work to balance pragmatism and globalization with policies on N. Korea
Military alert after North warning
March 04, 2008
Just before stepping down from his post, former Defense Minister Kim Jang-soo warned military officers to be on alert for a possible confrontation with North Korea this year.
According to military sources, Kim, who left office last week, warned key officers to be ready for trouble with the North, as Pyongyang¡¯s anger rises over the latest South Korea-U.S. joint military exercises.
[Bizarre] [Joint US military]
Human Trafficking Thrives Across N.Korea-China Border
A 26-year-old North Korean woman, Mun Yun-hee crossed the Duman or Tumen River into China in the dawn of Oct. 22 last year, which at that point was some 40 m wide, guided by a human trafficker. She was being sold to a single middle-aged Chinese farmer into a kind of indentured servitude-cum-companionship. Both of them wore only panties, having stored their trousers and shoes in bags, because if you are found wearing wet clothes across the river deep at night, it is a dead giveaway that you are a North Korean refugee.
BBC to Air Chosun Ilbo’s N.Korea Documentary
The Chosun Ilbo will introduce a global cross-media program in cooperation with the world's leading broadcasters. The newspaper has agreed with BBC, BBC World and TBS of Japan to air a documentary series about North Korean refugees entitled "On The Border" throughout the world.
Experts point out Lee’s pragmatic diplomacy lacks comprehensive North Korea policy
Lee Myung-bak administration may be overemphasizing its own values, to the detriment of foreign relations
The Hankyoreh and the Korea National Strategy Institute, a non-partisan think tank, held a forum on the foreign and security policies of President Lee Myung-bak’s administration on February 28. Participating in the forum, chaired by Professor Kim Yeon-cheol of Korea University, were Professors Park Sun-seong of Dongguk University, Park Geon-yeong of Catholic University and Lee Hee-ok of Sungkyunkwan University. The participants urged the new administration to take a comprehensive approach to the North Korea nuclear weapons issue and follow the principle of action-for-action, appearing concerned that the president’s foreign policies, especially those related to North Korea, may be placing too much emphasis on its own values and brand of morality, instead of on more pragmatic principles
Skywalkers in Korea Cross Han Solo
Kwon Won-tae of South Korea participates in the first World High Wire Championships in Seoul, in which participants cross the Han River on a 1 km (0.62 miles) wire, May 3, 2007. The event is part of the annual "Hi Seoul Festival" organised by Seoul City which began April 27 and lasts ten days. (Lee Jae-Won - Reuters)
By BO-MI LIM
The Associated Press
Thursday, May 3, 2007; 3:34 PM
SEOUL, South Korea -- They came from all over the world, poles in hand, and feet ready to inch more than half a mile across a high wire strung over the Han River in a spine-tingling battle of balance, speed and high anxiety.
As part of its annual city festival, the South Korean capital staged Thursday what was billed as the world's first high-wire championship, drawing 18 contestants from nine countries for three days of supreme feats of concentration.
Each acrobat must navigate the 1.2-inch-thick wire that spans the river, with the top prize of $15,000 going to the person crossing it fastest.
Outgoing Defense Minister Satisfied With Achievement
Outgoing Defense Minister Kim Jang-soo talks with officials of the Korea Military Academy while in northern Seoul to give a lecture to cadets Feb. 27. / Yonhap
By Jung Sung-ki
In the days following the second inter-Korean summit talks in Pyongyang last October, one picture was widely featured in every newspaper across South Korea.
The picture showed Defense Minister Kim Jang-soo standing upright, not bowing as he shook hands with North Korean leader Kim Jong-il during a ceremony, while other South Korean delegates, including then spy chief Kim Man-bok, bowed their heads.
Kim's behavior was welcomed by those who feared the South would make too many concessions to the North during the summit, even on major security issues such as the western maritime border, Northern Limit Line (NLL).
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