ROK and Inter-Korean relations
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.Korea Rejects Seoul's Proposal of Liaison Office
North Korea has rejected President Lee Myung-bak's proposal that the two countries set up liaison offices in each other's capitals. Calling Lee's idea an "anti-reunification" move, the official Rodong Shinmun daily on Saturday said Lee's proposal was a "shallow tactic to dodge its responsibility for damaging inter-Korean ties and to distract public opinion." This was the first North Korean response to the proposal Lee made in the U.S. on April 17.
Elite Korean Schools, Forging Ivy League Skills
By SAM DILLON
Published: April 27, 2008
SEOUL, South Korea — It is 10:30 p.m. and students at the elite Daewon prep school here are cramming in a study hall that ends a 15-hour school day. A window is propped open so the evening chill can keep them awake. One teenager studies standing upright at his desk to keep from dozing.
Son of Moonies founder takes over as church leader· Move aimed at broadening appeal of movement
· Harvard man at helm, but father will retain control
Justin McCurry in Tokyo The Guardian, Saturday April 26 2008
Some 3,600 couples attend a Unification Church ceremony at a gymnasium in Seoul. Photograph: Jung Yeon-Je/AFP/Getty images
Sun Myung Moon, the founder of the Unification church known globally as the Moonies, has handed over control of the movement to his Harvard-educated youngest son in what is being seen as an attempt to broaden the controversial religious organisation's appeal.
In a ceremony near Seoul last week, 28-year-old Hyung Jin Moon was anointed chairman of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, the name the church has used since the late 1990s. "I hope everyone helps him so that he may fulfil his duty as the successor of the True Parents," Moon, 88, said, in a characteristically immodest reference to himself and his wife
Seoul blocks trip by eight students to N. Korea
The Unification Ministry on Friday blocked a trip by eight student representatives to a joint inter-Korean event at North Korea's Mount Geumgang because of their affiliation with an organization suspected of pro-Pyongyang activities, ministry officials said.
The decision came one day before the eight student representatives were to travel to the communist nation along with 34 other students. The rest of the group will travel Saturday to attend the fifth North-South student leaders' meeting, according to the ministry officials. The meeting lasts until Monday.
"This is the first time in recent years when a group as large as eight has been blocked from a visit to North Korea all at the same time," an official said, asking not to be identified.
Pro-Pyongyang daily dismisses concern over sidelining Seoul
A pro-Pyongyang daily in Japan dismissed Friday mounting concerns that North Korea may try to sideline South Korea at the six-party talks on dismantling the communist state's nuclear programs.
North Korea has stepped up harsh rhetoric against Seoul recently to protest its tough position while being cooperative in Washington's efforts to restart the stalled negotiations.
Seoul has ignored the rhetoric, considering it part of diplomatic tactics by Pyongyang to gain the upper hand in future dialogue with the South. Local news media, however, raised concerns that Seoul may have to shoulder the heavy cost of denuclearizing its neighbor if the South is sidelined in the nuclear dispute.
The Choson Sinbo, newspaper of the pro-Pyongyang General Association of Korean Residents in Japan, claimed in a commentary that the South's conservative forces accustomed to "sycophancy toward the U.S." have "arbitrarily distorted" the North's true intention.
The daily, which usually represents Pyongyang's position, alleged Seoul is using the nuclear dispute as an excuse to handle inter-Korean relations as part of the South's foreign diplomacy.
Government of the rich
High-ranking officials in President Lee Myung-bak’s administration disclosed their assets in a report released on April 24, revealing again that the rumors that the government consists mainly of people who own multiple properties in the Gangnam area are not baseless. The average value of the assets held by the Cabinet ministers is approximately 3.1 billion won, while that of the 10 highest-ranking officials in the presidential office of Cheong Wa Dae, or the Blue House, including Lee’s chief of staff, is about 3.5 billion won. These minister- and vice minister-level officials have properties in the so-called "bubble seven" areas of metropolitan, which indicate districts of Gangnam, Seocho, Songpa, Mokdong, Bundang, Pyeongchon and Yongin.
Seoul to Buy Precision Missiles Against NK Nuclear Threat
By Jung Sung-ki
South Korea will equip its F-15K fighters with state-of-the-art precision cruise missiles in a bid to strengthen the country's defense ``against North Korea's nuclear threat,'' an arms agency official said Friday.
The missile is expected to be used in striking key nuclear facilities in North Korea should hostilities breakout, defense sources said.
The Defense Acquisition Program Administration announced that it would purchase hundreds of ``JASSM-level'' cruise missiles by 2011.
JASSM is the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile developed in the United States. The missile has a range of 370 kilometers and its latest version, the JASSM-Extended Range, has a range of some 1,000 kilometers, according to missile experts.
[Military balance] [Rocketry] [Threat]
Globalization Sparks Demand for Multicultural Talent
Korean companies are offering high salaries to talented young people who can speak less-common foreign languages such as Arabic and Czech. Help-wanted ads on Internet job sites and university websites call for people with a strong command of Arabic, Central Asian and Slavic tongues.
As they advance into the global community, Korean businesses are searching out new markets hidden behind the big ones
Korea Takes First Steps in Education Exports
Thursday 10 a.m. at the front gate of Sogang University Graduate School of International Studies, and blond students with backpacks are running into the building. In the classroom, half of the 20 or so students are from abroad, and in the whole of the graduate school, 60 out of 110. In business terms, more than half of the education services at Sogang University Graduate School of International Studies is consumed by foreign customers. "Finally, the era of education exports has begun," says Lee Kyu-young, the dean of the Graduate School.
Lee leads list of multimillionaires
April 25, 2008
President Lee Myung-bak is the richest man in his administration, leading a list of multimillionaires who currently serve as ministers and secretaries, the latest government report showed yesterday.
The 103 highest-ranking civil servants of the Lee administration have assets averaging 2.28 billion won ($2.29 million), the Government Officials Ethics Committee disclosed.
Half of 40 Richest Linked to Chaebol
By Yoon Ja-young
More than half of the nation's 40 richest people come from five chaebol families and Rep. Chung Mong-joon of the Grand National Party is the richest man in the country ? worth $3 billion in net assets ? Forbes.com said Thursday.
The largest shareholder of Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) enjoyed the soaring value of his stake in the world's largest shipbuilder. Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Chung Mong-koo, an elder brother of Chung Mong-joon was the second richest.
Forbes.com reported the list of the country's 40 richest people based on net worth of stocks they held on April 1. In a more updated report by Chaebul.com, however, Chung Mong-koo became richer than his younger brother, thanks to increased stock prices as of April 18.
Forbes.com noted the downfall of Samsung Group Chairman Lee Kun-hee, who ran the country's largest conglomerate for over two decades. The billionaire announced his resignation Tuesday after being charged with tax evasion.
Though he was ranked as the country's third richest with $2.7 billion, it estimated that he could be the country's richest person if the allegation that he's stashed assets worth $4.5 billion in borrowed-name accounts is proven.
S. Korean Puppets' Support for U.S. Moves for War against DPRK Assailed
Pyongyang, April 23 (KCNA) -- The Secretariat of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland (CPRF) released information bulletin No. 935 Wednesday denouncing the south Korean puppets for supporting the U.S. moves to provoke a war against the DPRK.
The 14th south Korea-U.S. defence analysis seminar was reportedly held a few days ago under the co-sponsorship of the "Institute for Defence Studies" of south Korea and the institute for analysis and concept of the U.S. army, the information bulletin says
NIS Whistleblower to Air Kim Dae-jung Nobel Claims
A former agent who quit the National Intelligence Service in 2000 after exposing illegal activities by the spy agency is to shed light on suspicions of NIS lobbying for former president Kim Dae-jung to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 2000. The press conference will be held on Saturday in Washington D.C., when Kim Ki-sam visits to participate in the North Korea Freedom Week, he told the Chosun Ilbo by phone Tuesday.
N. Korea Bars S. Koreans from Taking Poultry, Eggs to Gaeseong
North Korea Tuesday asked South Korea not to bring birds, poultry and bird meat and eggs to the joint Gaeseong Industrial Complex, a North Korean border town, the Unification Ministry said.
Pyongyang said the measure, which will go into effect Saturday, is to prevent avian flu from spreading to the communist state, according to the ministry's spokesman Kim Ho-nyoun.
The ban from the North Korean quarantine office in the industrial park came after a South Korean soldier was reported to have contracted the disease.
NK Dam Could Threaten S. Korean Regions
A region northwest of Seoul could be hit by severe drought or flooding after North Korea completes a dam in the upper stream of a river that flows across the inter-Korean border this summer, the Unification Ministry said Tuesday.
The construction of the Hwanggang Dam, which began in 2002, is 95 percent complete and likely to be finished around August or September, the ministry said.
Anniversary of April Joint Conference Marked
Pyongyang, April 21 (KCNA) -- A national meeting was held at a plaza of the United Front Tower in the Ssuksom Revolutionary Site on Monday to mark the 60th anniversary of the historic Joint Conference of Representatives of Political Parties and Public Organizations in North and South Korea.
Present there were Yang Hyong Sop, Kim Ki Nam, Vice-Premier Ro Tu Chol, the chairpersons of the friendly parties and other officials concerned, recipients of National Reunification Prize, former unconverted long-term prisoners who are pro-reunification patriotic fighters, officials of national institutions, people from all walks of life in Pyongyang and overseas compatriots staying in the socialist homeland.
Samsung Chairman to Resign
By CHOE SANG-HUN
Published: April 23, 2008
SEOUL - Lee Kun Hee, Samsung Group's chairman, indicted on tax evasion charges, announced Tuesday that he would step down after 20 years of leadership, during which Samsung soared to become South Korea's best-known global brand but was dogged by corruption scandals.
"Today I decided to resign," Mr. Lee, 66, told a nationally televised news conference, with top executives from his 59-company conglomerate standing behind him with grim faces.
"I thought I had a long road to travel and a lot of things to do. I have regrets. But I think this is time for me to leave, taking all the mistakes of the past with me."
It was a surprise move. Although Samsung insiders had indicated that Mr. Lee might take decisive action to salvage his group from its worst public relations crisis in years, few South Koreans had predicted Mr. Lee's resignation. He had survived the previous corruption scandals and even a conviction on bribery charges in the 1990s to hold on to his chairmanship.[Corruption]
N. Korean official warns against Seoul's tough stance
A North Korean official indicated Pyongyang will unleash more threats if Seoul sticks to its tough policy toward the communist state, a pro-Pyongyang online newspaper in Los Angeles said Sunday.
North Korea has stepped up its rhetoric and threats against Seoul since late last month, in what analysts say is an attempt to push conservative President Lee Myung-bak, who took office on Feb.
25, into the engagement policy of his two liberal predecessors.
Lee proposes permanent diplomatic channel with N. Korea
South Korean President Lee Myung-bak on Thursday proposed that the two Koreas set up a high-level diplomatic channel and create the first liaison offices in the two countries' capitals.
First Korean Astronaut Goes Into Space
The first Korean has gone into space. Carrying South Korea's first astronaut Yi So-yeon (30) and two other astronauts, the Soyuz-FG rocket blasted off successfully from Kazakhstan's Baikonur Cosmodrome or Space Center about 2,100 km southeast of Moscow at 8:16:39 p.m. on Tuesday by Korean standard time.
The Soyuz TMA-12, in which the three astronauts sit shoulder to shoulder, completely separated from the rocket in three stages after eight minutes and 48 seconds. The spacecraft then ignited its own engine to fly at the speed of 1,500m per second and reach its initial orbit of 220 km from Earth nine minutes and 48 seconds after launch.
Rocket & Space Corporation Energia, the manufacturer of the Soyuz rocket, announced the spacecraft entered orbit as scheduled and the launch was successful.
Defense Ministry renames 2002 West Sea maritime clash
New name, more closely reflects national maritime strategy, ministry says
The National Defense Ministry has changed the official name of a West Sea maritime clash that took place between the South and North Korean navies in 2002 to the Second Yeonpyeong Naval Battle.
According to a press release from the ministry on April 8, the government’s decision to change the name was based on the idea that the June 2002 West Sea clash was similar to the Yeongpyeong Naval Battle of June 1999 in that both were conflicts over the Northern Limit Line, the de facto maritime border between north and south that was set by the United Nations at the end of the Korean War but is not recognized by North Korea. The ministry said that it also took into consideration the nation’s custom of naming naval conflicts according to the name of the site on or near which they occurred and the order of occurrence. In consequence, the existing Yeongpyeong Naval Battle will be named the First Yeonpyeong Naval Battle.
Major S. Korean newspapers in flux under new administration
Changes in editorial position reflect shift in political landscape, desire for individuality and power
Are South Korea’s three major newspapers going a different way under the Lee Myung-bak administration? The Chosun Ilbo, JoongAng Ilbo and Dong-A Ilbo have been critical of previous governments in their reports and editorials, but their editorial positions seem to be changing these days, presenting different views of the major polices and political moves made by the Lee administration, which took office on February 25. Chosun seems to be distancing itself from the incumbent government, while the other two are being more friendly toward it.
Pragmatism and North Korea Policy
By Rudiger Frank
Policy Forum Online 08-028A: April 8th, 2008
As soon as the usual two strong years in office of the new administration in Seoul are over, the Blue House, facing renewed pressure from its voters, will have to return to the engagement policy anyway. On the balance sheet we will see nothing but a loss of time and of influence. Confidence, contacts, access that have been destroyed during this period will have to be rebuilt, if this is possible at all."
The space opened by South Korea's withdrawal will be filled quickly. China and Russia will expand their presence in North Korea. Joint Ventures will be founded, the special zone in Sineuiju will be opened, Russia will build the railway, and Pyongyang will find new ways to cooperatively deal with Washington and even with Tokyo.
South Korea will wake up one day and realize that it has given up all the precious leverage it once had over Pyongyang, just like Russia did under Yeltsin.
[SK NK policy]
Lee Myung Bak Regime's Sycophancy towards U.S. and Anti-DPRK Confrontation Hysteria Blasted
Pyongyang, April 1 (KCNA) -- Rodong Sinmun Tuesday carries its commentator's article exposing and denouncing the Lee Myung Bak regime's sycophancy towards the United States and anti-DPRK confrontation hysteria.
Statement Issued on Anniversary of April 3 Uprising on Jeju Island
Pyongyang, April 3 (KCNA) -- A spokesman for the Central Committee of the Democratic Front for the Reunification of the Fatherland, released a statement Wednesday on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the April 3 uprising of Jeju islanders in south Korea.
The uprising fully demonstrated the indomitable will and stamina of the south Koreans to reject outsiders' domination and interference and achieve the reunification and independence of the country by the efforts of the independent driving force of the nation and dealt a heavy blow at the U.S. imperialists who worked hard to strengthen their colonial rule over south Korea and their moves to keep the Korean nation divided, the statement said, and went on:
Pyongyang Urges Seoul to Honor Summit Accords
By Jung Sung-ki
A senior North Korean official urged South Korea Saturday to honor summit declarations on cross-border economic cooperation, criticizing the incumbent South Korean government's tougher stance on the North.
.Korea’s Once-in-a Lifetime Chance to Wake Up
Breaking a long silence in the wake of the South Korean presidential election, the North has cranked up the rhetoric as if it was about to do something drastic. It is apparently going to "reduce us to ashes", and along the way take "military steps" of an unspecified nature. Overnight, we are told by some, the Lee Myung-bak administration's new North Korea policy has torn asunder the trust built by the decade-long Sunshine Policy. How odd, since Pyongyang has performed the self-same antics whenever a new government took office in the South, suspending inter-Korean dialogue and exchanges at each turn.
S. Korea's Grain Self-Sufficiency Remains Low
Amid keen interest in food security in the wake of soaring international grain prices, a study says that South Korea ranks near the bottom among OECD member states in grain self-sufficiency.
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