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N.Korea Says Clash 'Only a Matter of Time'
North Korea on Thursday warned a physical clash with the South is "now only a matter of time."
The North's official Korean Central News Agency said "Inter-Korean political and military tension has reached the extreme. A physical clash remains only a matter of time." It claimed South Korean and U.S. troops are "concentrating their energy on reinforcing their combat capabilities and preparing for a war against the North."
The news agency enumerated South Korean military exercises and said the "warmongers' confrontational action" had brought relations to a point "where it is difficult to save the situation or to straighten things out."
Citizens who led ad company boycott get criminal convictions
Court ruling effectively recognizes as legitimate only consumer actions permitted by the court
Citizens who had used the Internet to encourage a boycott of companies that advertise with the Chosun Ilbo, the JoongAng Ilbo and the DongA Ilbo because of the newspapers’ coverage of the public campaign to stop the resumption of American beef imports were convicted of crimes.
On February 19, Seoul Central District Court found an individual by the surname Lee to be guilty of the crime of “obstruction of business” because “it was illegal pressure that went beyond the limits of a legitimate consumer campaign.”
370,000 visit cathedral as funeral due today
February 20, 2009
Church officials prepare the late Cardinal Stephen Kim Sou-hwan for his funeral yesterday at Myeongdong Cathedral. Directing the rites was Cardinal Nicholas Cheong Jin-suk (second from right), who succeeded Kim as Korea’s second cardinal in 2006. [Joint Press Corps]
By 8 p.m. yesterday, over 370,000 mourners had stood in 3 to 4 kilometer-long lines for three days to pay last respects to Cardinal Stephen Kim Sou-hwan as he lay in state in Seoul’s Myeongdong Cathedral.
Many in South Korea say North is just crying wolf
Jung Yeon-je / AFP/Getty Images
South Korean protesters in Seoul shout slogans during a rally denouncing North Korea's threat to test-launch a missile.
'Every day I read the news about North Korea's latest threat, to launch this or bomb that -- then I yawn and turn the page,' one Southerner says after the North's latest threat to launch a missile.
By John M. Glionna and Ju-min Park
February 19, 2009
Reporting from Busan, South Korea -- Your nation is technically at war with North Korea, among the most hostile countries on Earth. It has long threatened to turn your homeland into "rubble" and is making noises about launching a long-range ballistic test missile any day now.
What do you think?
Many South Koreans will tell you plainly: baloney.
"Every day I read the news about North Korea's latest threat, to launch this or bomb that -- then I yawn and turn the page," said Kim Myung-gyu, who owns a restaurant in this southern resort city. "This isn't new behavior. It just doesn't scare me anymore."
Just down the street, Ko Yeong-sil took a break from his restaurant job to grab a cup of coffee. When asked about the looming North Korean missile launch, he laughed.
"It's no big deal," Ko said. "The media tries to scare us with stories about what North Korea could do. But it's not working."
An Expensive Division:
Looking at the High Cost of Maintaining Two Koreas
Christine Ahn | January 31, 2009
(Originally published by Korean Quarterly on January 31, 2009)
Last October, I hiked up Bukhan-san outside of Seoul to pay homage to my late parents whose ashes rest in a shrine near the temple my father helped rebuild after the Korean War. While there, I sipped tea with the sunim (monk) who asked why I was visiting Korea. I was in Korea to give a lecture about what the reunification of Korea looks like through Korean American eyes.
The monk wanted to know why a Korean American of my generation cared at all about the reunification of a distant land my family and I had left behind. "What do North and South Koreans have in common?" he inquired, to which I reminded him that Koreans in the north and south speak the same language, eat the same food, share thousands of years of history, and are connected by a mountain range that extends from Baekdu-san to Chiri-san. I explained that, from my vantage point as a woman of Korean descent living in the United States, the costs of the continuing division of Korea are enormous.
Yet the monk's question was more about the vast ideological divide separating Koreans, and for many South Koreans and Korean Americans, the cost of reunification is almost always couched in narrow economic terms, i.e. calculations of the economic costs to absorb the impoverished North. But what all the creative accounting often fails to consider is the cost of maintaining division.
For one, division means the continued militarization of the Korean peninsula, which has tremendous costs—not just in terms of billions of won and dollars spent on the military—but in the way that fear continues to grip the Korean people and cloud their ability to envision a more just and peaceful society.
Ploughshares into Swords: Economic Implications of South Korean Military Spending
by John Feffer
Institute for Policy Studies
In his paper, John Feffer explores these various controversies through his examination of the nature of South Korean military spending, the domestic economic (and inevitably political) impact of more won going into the defense sector, and whether South Korea’s military transformation reflects and contributes to a regional arms race.
South Korea is currently engaged, once again, in a large-scale, expensive modernization of its military that aims to provide the country with a more robust and self-sufficient defense. Although the North Korean threat still serves to justify military spending in the South, other rationales in the movement have gained prominence, such as perceptions of a weakening U.S. security commitment, “unspecified” threats from around the region, and the technological requirements of the “revolution in military affairs.” But another rationale has shaped South Korean military spending, and this rationale may become even more salient during this period of global economic crisis—that growing the military is good for the economy. Is that true, or does the global recession necessitate a less ambitious military modernization in South Korea?
[Military balance] [Threat]
How Far Will the Seoul-Pyongyang Aggravation Go?
By Alexander Vorontsov
February 19th, 2009
Alexander Vorontsov, Head of the Korea and Mongolia Department at the Institute of Oriental Studies at the Russian Academy of Sciences, writes, “there are grounds to believe that Seoul has opted for a DPRK strategy that in a number of basic features repeats the ‘regime change’ policy towards North Korea that was pursued in the first six years of George W. Bush administration.”
[SK NK policy]
N.Korea Classified a 'Direct, Serious Threat'
The Defense Ministry on Tuesday said it decided to define North Korea as a "direct, serious threat" in the 2008 White Paper published Friday. The word "direct" is added to the 2006 definition. It is the strongest expression South Korea has used about the North since striking the phrase "main enemy" from the biennial white paper amid thawing relations in 2004.
"We've decided to define the North as a direct, serious threat because the security environment has changed considerably since the North's missile and nuclear tests in 2006 and that its conventional forces are still threatening." a ministry official said.
Defense Ministry decides not to classify N. Korea as its ‘main enemy’
Designation as a ‘direct and serious threat’ is separate from a readiness posture or the recognition of a realistic threat
» Members of Solidarity for Peace And Reunification of Korea urge U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to initiate dialogue with North Korea as soon as possible in a demonstration in front of the U.S. Embassy in Seoul on February 17, in advance of Clinton’s upcoming visit to Korea later this week.
The Ministry of National Defense made the determination not to refer to North Korea as the “main enemy” but as a “direct and serious threat” in its 2008 Defense White Paper.
“It was determined that North Korea would be listed as a ‘direct and serious threat’ in the 2008 Defense White Paper that will be issued on February 20,” an authority at the ministry said Tuesday. In so doing, the ministry expressed its intention not to repeat a previous designation of North Korea as the country’s “main enemy,” in spite of repeated demands from conservatives since the launching of the Lee Myung-bak administration last year.
This approach by the Defense Ministry is a simple issue of expression regarding whether or not to call North Korea the country’s main enemy, and it is known to have reflected an understanding that this is separate from a readiness posture or the recognition of a realistic threat.
[Column] A pragmatic approach to N. Korea
The North Korean nuclear issue, which the Lee Myung-bak-Barack Obama partnership is to navigate as they spend the next four years with one another, is a very important issue for the peace and denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and the advancement of the South Korea-U.S. alliance. In fact, due to mixed signals from the United States recently, the North Korean nuclear issue and South Korea-U.S. relations are demanding profound discernment from our part. To all outward appearances, the Lee-Obama partnership is taking shape as something like the Kim Young-sam-Bill Clinton partnership. At that time, South Korea ended up left out of talks on resolution of the North Korean nuclear issue as a result of the severance of inter-Korean relations, and as the U.S.-North Korean Geneva Agreement was signed through direct dialogue between those two countries, South Korea was left to shoulder the after-the-fact economic support. But the Lee-Obama partnership is far more complex. Furthermore, given that the Obama administration is calling for renegotiation of the South Korea-U.S. free trade agreement, economic conflict between South Korea and the United States is inevitable as well if we insist on the impossibility of such renegotiation. Despite the surface discourse about restoring the South Korea-U.S. alliance, a serious internal combustion is taking place now over the two major issues of security and the economy.
Seoul 'Ready for Any N.Korean Provocation'
South Korean military authorities say they are ready to deal with any impending provocation by North Korea. The North has dropped heavy hints at naval activity in the West Sea and seems to be preparing for a missile test launch.
In a question-and-answer session at the National Assembly on Monday, Defense Minister Lee Sang-hee said, "There is a chance that North Korea will launch an attack on our naval ships and fire ship-to-ship missiles in the West Sea. Our military will cultivate superior combat capabilities in peacetime and win in the shortest time possible with the combined capabilities of our forces in all scenarios."
Civic groups go ahead with balloon release on Kim Jong-il’s birthday
Unification Ministry talks about an investigation into groups that sent N. Korean money and leaflets in balloons bound for the North
» Members of Fighters for Free North Korea and Families of the Abducted and Detained in North Korea are making ballon which will carry the leaflets and North Korean money to the region of North Korea in front of the civilian passage restriction line, Paju city, Gyeonggi Province, on February 16.
In accordance with the birthday of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, Families of the Abducted and Detained in North Korea, or FAD, and Fighters for Free North Korea resumed their distribution of leaflets to North Korea on Monday. Along with the leaflets, they also enclosed bills of 5,000 North Korean won that were brought into the country without government approval.
Much authority given to field commanders
Move by military chief means quick action can be taken if North attacks
February 17, 2009
Defectors from North Korea and right-wing activists launch a balloon containing leaflets and North Korean banknotes from the Freedom Bridge during a rally timed on the birthday of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il yesterday, near the border village of Panmunjom.?[NEWSIS]
Defense Minister Lee Sang-hee told the National Assembly yesterday that he has largely delegated authority to operational commanders in the field to make decisions and take action speedily in case of a North Korean provocation.
Noting the increased threats by the North’s artillery deployed along the border, a Grand National Party lawmaker questioned Lee about the South Korean military’s countermeasures.
Vietnamese Mother Denied Custody of Biological Children
By Park Si-soo
A court rejected a Vietnamese woman's request Monday for the custody of her biological children who she had with a Korean husband.
The Seoul Family Court cited the ``children's lack of awareness'' of her as their mother as its primary reasoning. The 26-year-old married to a divorced Korean man in his 50s in August 2003 and gave birth to two daughters in the following two years.
But, immediately after the birth of the two children, they were sent to the husband's former Korean wife.
The Korean woman, now recognized by the children as their mother, has nurtured them since then.
The biological mother reportedly claimed during court proceedings that the Korean used her as a ``surrogate mother,'' which is strictly banned in South Korea. It remains uncertain whether or not the Korean woman is sterile.
S. Korea Braces for West Sea Conflicts
By Jung Sung-ki
Defense Minister Lee Sang-hee said Monday that he has mandated field commanding officers in the Army, Navy and Air force to immediately respond to any North Korean provocations without permission from their leaders. He said the government needs to consider joining the U.S.-led global missile defense system, an issue which liberal forces in the country have vehemently opposed to.
[Missile defense] [Threat]
Israeli Radar to Track N. Korean Missiles
By Jung Sung-ki
South Korea's Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) is likely to select Israel's Green Pine radar systems for the country's independent low-tier missile shield to enter service by 2012, a source said Sunday.
The ballistic missile early warning radars, part of the Air and Missile Defense-Cell (AMD-Cell), a missile defense command-and-control center to be built by the same year, will play a key role in monitoring, tracking and intercepting incoming cruise and ballistic missiles from North Korea, said the source.
The agency plans to buy two sets of the radar systems by 2010.
South Korea has not taken part in the U.S. missile shield because of financial constraints and possible anti-U.S. sentiment. It also does not want to provoke neighboring countries such as North Korea and China.
[military balance] [Missile defense]
N.Korean Refugees Suffering Illness, Discrimination
The most common ailments among North Korean refugees are dental disease followed by tuberculosis, according to Hanawon, the government-run institution for North Korean refugees.
Fears of Naval Clash Growing
There are growing fears that the two Koreas could clash again near the Northern Limit Line, the de-facto border in the West Sea which the North refuses to recognize.
As a result of a surprise attack by the North Korean Navy in 2002, six South Korean sailors were killed and the patrol boat Chamsuri 357 went down, creating deep resentment in the South Korean Navy. There were about 30 North Korean casualties in the clash. North Korea has since reinforced equipment, including installing new guns on ships, and intensified exercises
Gov’t report shows the military gaining influence in the North
51 of 302 top Pyongyang officials appointed since 2007
February 13, 2009
North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, right, accompanied by his new military commanders, watches an artillery unit complete a firing drill. Newly appointed minister of the People’s Armed Forces, Kim Yong-chun, stands to Kim’s left. The North’s Korean Central News Agency released the photo yesterday, but did not say when Kim’s inspection took place. [YONHAP]
A recent increase of post?Korean War generation hard-line military officials in the North Korean leadership may be behind escalated tensions on the peninsula, South Korean officials said yesterday.
The Unification Ministry on Wednesday issued a publication titled “2009 North Korea Power Elite,” analyzing 302 top North Korean officials.
Police Labels 1,800 Civic Groups 'Illegal and Violent'
The National Police Agency submitted to government ministries Friday a list of organizations involved in illegal protests and violence.
This includes more than 1,800 civic organizations including members of the People's Association for Measures Against Mad Cow Disease, which hosted last summer's massive protests against the resumption of U.S. beef imports. A number of minor opposition parties such as the Korea Democratic Labor Party are also on the list.
The ministries will review the list to decide whether to continue government subsidies for them. The People's Association claims that the police only supports pro-government organizations and has no regard for public benefit.
Parties wrangle over unification minister nominee
Democrats prepare to block nominee’s confirmation as Grand Nationals dig in their heels for a fight
Tension is brewing between the ruling and opposition parties ahead of the confirmation hearing for Hyun In-taek, recently nominated to be the nation’s new unification minister. During the hearing to be held today, opposition parties plan to lay bare what they say are the problems with the Cabinet reshuffle the government undertook on Jan. 19, citing the government’s loose standards in choosing candidates for key posts. Though burdened by a raft of allegations against the unification minister-designate, the ruling Grand National Party remained on the defensive, saying that the allegations against Hyun are just a political tactic. The main opposition Democratic Party, which is critical of Hyun’s hard-line stance against North Korea, is ready to block confirmation of Hyun, calling him an “anti-unification speculator.”
Hyun is facing a wide-range of allegations. He is under fire for plagiarizing one of his own articles, questions about previous land transactions, and, for underreporting the price of a house he sold in Seoul in 2002, tax evasion. Suspicion is also mounting over where he got the money to buy an apartment in Seocho, an affluent district in southern Seoul.
Publishing exec prosecuted for defaming Park Chung-hee confirmed innocent
‘Freedom of expression regarding historical facts must be protected more than the reputation of the deceased’: Supreme Court
» An illustration depicting former President Park Chung-hee, who was reported to have participated in the subjugation of troops fighting against the Japanese for independence of Korea. The Supreme Court confirmed the original verdict of not guilty for a publishing company president prosecuted for defaming Park’s reputation through the publication of a book making a similar claim..
The 3rd Division of the Supreme Court (Chief Justice Ahn Dai-hee) announced Sunday that it had confirmed the original verdict of not guilty for Yu Yeon-sik, 49, president of the publishing company Ifield, who was prosecuted on charges of defaming the dead by publishing a book stating that former President Park Chung-hee participated in the subjugation of an troops fighting against the Japanese for Korean independence.
In 2004, Yu published a book by Korean-Chinese writer Liu Ranshan entitled Ilsongjeong Pureun Sole Seongujaneun Eopseotda, which contained the line, “Park Chung-hee volunteered to serve in the special Korean unit in Jiandao, participating in the subjugation of the Northeast Anti-Japanese United Army, and through these services matriculated as a second-term student at a Manchurian military academy
[Park Chung-hee] [Japanese collabotators] [Japanese colonialism]
Lee’s lead man on North faces query over taxes, ability
February 09, 2009
Hyun In-taek, South Korea’s unification minister-designate, faces growing questions over alleged illegalities and his ability to lead inter-Korean dialogue at a time when relations between the two countries are being sorely tested. Hyun is girding for a National Assembly hearing today. Lawmakers are set to grill him about suspected tax evasion, double publishing of research papers and faking his children’s home address so they could attend good schools.
North Korea yesterday renewed its ongoing criticism of Hyun since his designation late last month. It remains to be seen how the Korea University politics professor and a major architect behind President Lee Myung-bak’s North Korea policies will weather the scrutiny. Some of his academic peers also question his competence.
N.Korea 'Could Fire Missiles Across Sea Border'
The government believes that the most likely provocation during North Korea's current grandstanding could be the firing of missiles across the Northern Limit Line, the de facto sea border which Pyongyang refuses to recognize.
Policy of aversion toward inter-Korean declarations
There is a problem with the Unification Ministry’s recent decision to disallow article exchanges between the South Korean media outlets Tongil Eollon and the North Korean news site Uri Minjok Kkiri. Not only were the reasons cited by the ministry too vague, a comparison with other examples of article exchanges already taking place also shows that it goes against fairness. It is a more severe problem if the government adopted this measure out of a sense of aversion toward the June 15 Joint Declaration.
'More N.Koreans Fleeing China Since Olympics'
The number of North Korean refugees arriving in Thailand via China has risen sharply since the Beijing Olympics, the Yomiuri Shimbun reported Wednesday. Thailand is the main transit place for North Koreans before they move to South Korea.
Thai police statistics quoted by the Japanese daily show a mere 140 North Koreans arrested there between January and August last year. But in the period from September to November after the Beijing Olympics, 250 North Koreans were arrested in 14 areas in northern and northeastern Thailand bordering Burma and Laos
S.Korea Vows Action on 'Brokers' Who Abuse Defectors from North
The South Korean government says it will take tougher action against its own citizens who commit crimes in the process of assisting North Korean defectors in other countries. Allegations of rape by one young girl waiting to come to South Korea highlight the vulnerability many North Koreans face during their illegal journey through China.
South Korean lawmaker Park Sun-young paints a dire portrait of a 16-year-old female North Korean defector she met recently in a Southeast Asian country.
She says the young girl is so traumatized, she has bitten away all of her fingernails, exposing raw flesh beneath. When she starts to talk, says Park, the girl begins to shiver and cry.
The girl Park is describing is one of tens of thousands of North Koreans who have crossed into China to flee hunger, deprivation, and political repression at home. Because China, an ally of the North, does not recognize them as refugees, the defectors endure a harrowing period of hiding out from police as they travel to a Southeast Asian country where they can seek asylum.
On top of that trauma, this young girl told Park she was locked away and raped many times over a period of about half-a-month by a South Korean who told her he was there to help.
Unification Ministry forbids North-South news article exchanges
S. Korean media association says use of ‘June 15 Joint Declaration’ in its name was a factor in what was a political decision
Citing “harm to national security,” the government says it is no longer going to permit “article exchanges” between media organizations in North and South Korea, the first time it has taken action of that kind.
The Ministry of Unification announced Wednesday that it had informed the Southern Committee for the Realization of the June 15 Joint Declaration’s (615 Gongdong Seoneon Silcheon Nam Cheuk Wiwonhoe) Media Headquarters that it was rejecting an application submitted in October of last year for permission to exchange news articles with its Northern counterpart organization.
[Human rights][SK NK policy]
A Ramping in Tensions Leads to Extreme Statements from the North
by Nicole Finnemann (firstname.lastname@example.org)
After an eventful month of increasing tension and hostile gestures between the two Koreas, North Korea declared its past military agreements with South Korea to be effectively dead. On January 30, the Committee for the Peaceful Reunifcation of Korea, the North Korean agency in charge of relations with the South, accused South Korean president Lee Myung Bak of not holding to the South’s end of the agreements, thereby rendering them no longer valid in their entirety. The accords the North has declared invalidated include a 1991 agreement on reconciliation and non-aggression, which incorporated the promise that it would honor the western sea border claimed by South Korea. They also repudiated the 1953 armistice that ended the Korean War, calling it a “useless piece of paper.” “Relations between the north and south have worsened to the point where there is no way or hope of correcting them,” said a statement from the Committee.“They have reached the extreme point where the clash of fire against fire, steel against steel, has become inevitable.”
Kim Jong-il to get birthday balloons filled with leaflets and money
Two groups could face prosecution for their actions, but plan to go ahead with what they say is a humanitarian gesture
» At the Unification Ministry on February 2, Choi Sung-yong, head of the Abductees’ Family Union, right, and Park Sang-hak, head of the Fighters for a Free North Korea, announce that they will send balloons filled with North Korean currency to their families in North Korea on February 16, the birthday of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il.
Two groups that have been launching anti-North Korean “leaflet balloons” say they are going to send “hundreds of 5,000 North Korean won bills and 300,000 leaflets” across the border on the occasion of North Korean National Defense Commission Chairman Kim Jong-il’s birthday this coming Feb. 16.
Unification Minister-Nominee Hyun Under Scrutiny
By Michael Ha
Unification Minister-designate Hyun In-taek is facing allegations he may have duplicated his academic papers in multiple journals without properly citing them.
Hyun said that he was not aware that his paper was published for a second time.
The nominee is set to undergo a confirmation hearing at the National Assembly next week.
During the 1990s, the minister-designate, who has been working as a political science professor at Korea University, reportedly published two very similar academic papers in two separate scholarly journals.
N.Korea Must Stop Its Pointless Threats
North Korea's Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland in a statement on Friday declared "all agreements related to the dissolution of inter-Korean political and military confrontations nullified" and that "the basic inter-Korean agreement and the provisions concerning the maritime military demarcation line contained in an appendix to the agreement are all scrapped." The North, the statement said, will not observe agreements concerning "recognition and respect of the other's system,” "non-interference in the other's domestic affairs," "prohibition of slander and defamation," "prohibition of acts destroying or overthrowing the other party" and "prevention of military confrontations," provided for in the July 4, 1972 Joint Statement, the 1992 Basic Agreement between North and South Korea and the Oct. 4, 2007 Summit Declaration. This is an unacceptable attempt to bully the South into submission.
Koreans Back Aid-for-Denuclearization Policy for NK
More than two-thirds of South Koreans said they support their government's policy linking economic aid to Pyongyang's denuclearization, according to a private poll Monday.
The poll, conducted by the Korea Economic Research Institute, found that 68.4 percent of the respondents said they were supportive of the aid-for-denuclearization policy by the government of President Lee Myung-bak, whereas 27.2 percent said they didn't support it, according to Yonhap News.
North Korea Scrapping Accords With South Korea
By CHOE SANG-HUN
Published: January 29, 2009
SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea unilaterally declared on Friday that it was scrapping agreements it had signed with South Korea to ease military tension on the divided Korean Peninsula.
The announcement followed a series of recent saber-rattling gestures from North Korea that officials and analysts in Seoul have said were aimed at raising tension to gain attention from the new administration of President Barack Obama and to win concessions from President Lee Myung Bak of South Korea.
“All the agreed points concerning the issue of putting an end to the political and military confrontation between the North and the South will be nullified,” said a statement from the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea, the North Korean agency in charge of relations with South Korea.
It said the accords to be nullified included a 1991 agreement on reconciliation and non-aggression, as well as North Korea’s promise, contained in the agreement’s appendix, that it would honor the western sea border claimed by South Korea.
North Korea has flouted these agreements by developing nuclear weapons and sparking naval clashes on the disputed sea border in 1999 and 2002. After the 1999 clash, it unilaterally re-drew the sea border.
[Inversion] [NLL] [Media]
N. Korea threatens to invalidate inter-Korean accords
Lee administration’s N. Korea policy blamed for driving inter-Korean relations ‘to the brink of war’
North Korea announced yesterday that it will invalidate all inter-Korean agreements, including one dealing with the maritime border between North and South, and said that South Korea’s “confrontational” policy has driven inter-Korean relations to the brink of war.
In a statement released early in the day by the Committee for Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland (Jo Pyeong Tong), a state body affiliated with the North's Workers' Party of Korea in charge of South Korean affairs, North Korea said, “All of the agreements concerning the issue of putting an end to the political and military confrontation between the North and South will be nullified.” North Korea also declared that “the Agreement on Reconciliation, Non-aggression, Cooperation and Exchange between the North and the South and the points on the military boundary line in the West Sea stipulated in its appendix will be nullified.”
Possibility of military conflict looms large over inter-Korean relations
North’s recent statements and South’s adherence to its strategy of waiting have contributed to increase in tension
A statement released Friday by North Korea’s Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland (Jo Pyeong Tong) is being viewed as a sequel to a statement made Jan. 17 by the North Korean Army that threatened an “all-out confrontational posture” against South Korea.
The core of the recent statement said that “the indiscriminate anti-North Korea confrontational maneuvers by the South’s conservative authorities” have “driven inter-Korean relations to the worst possible state, one close to war.”
Police manipulated online polls to reverse public opinion about Yongsan tragedy
Employees of companies affiliated with the police were told to put a positive spin on the police’s role in the deadly clash
» Kang Ki-kap, the chair of the Democratic Labor Party, and Chung Sye-kyun, the chair the Democratic Party, and the leaders of other political parties and civic organizations criticize the Lee administration for its handling of the police crackdown on people protesting against a redevelopment project at a press conference at the Christian Center in Jongno on January 29.
It has been confirmed that police tried to reverse public opinion about the Yongsan redevelopment demonstration that left six people dead last week by ordering officials to participate in online polls about the incident and circulate video images of protesters engaging in acts of violence. Cheong Wa Dae also appears to be changing its position on whether it will rescind its nomination of Seoul Police Commissioner Kim Seok-ki as new chief of the National Police Agency.
Inter-Korean relations cannot be resolved with a strategy of waiting
Inter-Korean relations have continuously deteriorated since the Lee Myung-bak administration took office, and they are now facing a new hurdle. The Committee for Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland statement released by North Korea yesterday is at a different level from previous measures. They declared the complete invalidation of all agreements made so far to reduce the political and military standoff between the two Koreas and of provisions regarding the Northern Limit Line in the West Sea. If this is interpreted as written, we are returning to a Cold War era standoff situation where a military conflict could erupt at any moment over the NLL. The CPRF statement says that “the indiscriminate anti-North Korea confrontational maneuvers by the South’s conservative authorities” have “driven inter-Korean relations to the worst possible state, one close to war.” But the statement itself harms inter-Korean relations.
DPRK to Scrap All Points Agreed with S. Korea over Political and Military Issues
Pyongyang, January 30 (KCNA) -- The Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea issued a statement Friday in connection with the situation on the Korean Peninsula growing tenser as the days go by due to the south Korean conservative authorities' reckless moves to escalate the confrontation with the DPRK.
Citing facts to prove that the Lee Myung Bak group, far from reflecting on the treacheries of pushing the north-south relations to a serious crisis, shamelessly is challenging the north, raising a hue and cry over the "threat from the north" and "adherence to principle," the statement said:
The inter-Korean relations have reached such pass that there is neither way to improve them nor hope to bring them on track. The confrontation between the north and the south in the political and military fields has been put to such extremes that the inter-Korean relations have reached the brink of a war.
The group of traitors has already reduced all the agreements reached between the north and the south in the past to dead documents.
Under such situation it is self-evident that there is no need for the DPRK to remain bound to those north-south agreements.
The statement vehemently denounced on behalf of all the Koreans the Lee group for having pushed the inter-Korean relations to the brink of a war through its moves to escalate the confrontation with the DPRK in gross violation of the inter-Korean agreements.
In view of the prevailing situation the statement solemnly clarified as follows:
First, all the agreed points concerning the issue of putting an end to the political and military confrontation between the north and the south will be nullified.
Second, the Agreement on Reconciliation, Non-aggression, Cooperation and Exchange between the North and the South and the points on the military boundary line in the West Sea stipulated in its appendix will be nullified.
Holding the Lee Myung Bak group wholly accountable for the present grave situation to which the inter-Korean relations have been pushed, the statement continued:
Never to be condoned are the crimes the Lee group has committed against the nation and reunification by bedeviling overnight the inter-Korean relations that had favorably developed amidst the support and encouragement of all the Koreans and ruthlessly scrapping the inter-Korean agreements.
The Lee group seems to wait for something, calling for "adhering to the principle" but it will only face a heavier blow and shameful destruction.
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