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Journalists say most trusted media source is the Hankyoreh
By Kwon Kwi-soon
South Korean journalists have ranked the Hankyoreh first in a poll to select the most trusted media source in South Korea.
» A graph of responses to the Sisa Journal Survey. The Hankyoreh was selected as the most reliable Korean newspaper and second most reliable Korean media source. The upper graph illustrates trends in overall readership in South Korean newspapers from 2008 to 2010. From left, the Hankyoreh, Chosun Ilbo, JoongAng Ilbo, Dong-A Ilbo, and Kyunghyang Shinmun. The lower graph indicates the Confidence Index of Korean media. From top, the Dong-A, JoongAng Ilbo, Chosun Ilbo, Kyunghyang Shinmun, KBS, the Hankyoreh, and MBC.
Hangil Research conducted a poll at the behest of the Journalists’ Association of Korea of 300 journalists nationwide on August 11 to 13. A total of 16.6 percent cited the Hankyoreh as the most trustworthy media, making the paper No. 1. The Hankyoreh was followed by the Kyunghyang Shinmun (9.9 percent), KBS (6.9 percent) and Chosun Ilbo (6.0 percent). The Hankyoreh placed first in the same survey in 2006, 2007 and 2009.
In terms of influence, the Chosun Ilbo placed first at 36.9 percent, followed by KBS at 35.4 percent and MBC at 11 percent.
[Editorial] A return to resolving the N.Korea nuclear issue
The UN Security Council’s adoption of a Presidential Statement on the sinking of the Cheonan has heightened the need for a change in the situation on the Korean peninsula. Now is the time to work hard to move beyond the shadow of the naval incident and resolve the fundamental structure of conflict, starting with the nuclear issue.
Under the current circumstances, it is extremely difficult to prove whether the sinking of the Cheonan was an unexpected accident or a planned attack.
[Cheonan] [SK NK policy] [China confrontation]
Cheonan investigation team member indicted
Shin had been under fire by government officials for claiming that the government and military manufactured the cause of the sinking
» South Korean lawmakers from opposition parties including the main opposition Democratic Party (DP) submit a written request signed by 93 lawmakers for a parliamentary investigation into the sinking of the Cheonan to a National Assembly official, July 5. (Photo by Tak Ki-hyung)
By Noh Hyun-woong
Shin Sang-chul, the 52-year-old former member of the civilian-military investigation team that looked into the sinking of the Cheonan, has been indicted without detention. Shin has claimed that the government and military manufactured the cause of the sinking.
The Seoul Central District Court indicted Shin on Thursday on charges of defamation for claiming that the government and military have been covering up the cause of the Cheonan sinking, and that the real cause was that the ship had run aground or collided with another object.
Shin has been accused of claiming that the Cheonan sank after colliding with a U.S. warship after running aground, that survivors are being pressured or detained to cover the reason up and that there were no signs to show that warship sank from an outside explosion in 34 stories, media interviews and lectures between March 31 and June 15, including a story in the Internet news site “Surprise.”
Prosecutors opened the investigation after a series of complaints by the acting head of the investigation team, Defense Ministry and Navy Chief of Staff, beginning May 20.
In particular, prosecutors explained, “Shin was formally indicted due to the perceived seriousness of his crime given the nature of his continued spreading of false facts even after the complaints were received and he was under investigation.”
In order to determine the veracity of his Shin‘s claims, prosecutors visited the site where the Cheonan’s hull is being kept on July 30.
“Shin claims that there are scrapes on the hull from when the Cheonan ran aground, but an on-sight investigation revealed no such scrapes,” said a prosecution official. “In order to prove his claim, which does not accord with objective reality, Shin continued to claim new false grounds.”
During an interview with the Hankyoreh, Shin said, “I have been worried that the indictment will not go through, because I will prove that the investigation team’s announcement was a lie in the courtroom, where the truth is legally uncovered.
[Cheonan] [Coverup] [Human rights]
S.Korea military drill envisions 'occupying N.Korea'
(AFP) – 2 days ago
SEOUL — South Korean troops have been practising a war plan during joint military drills with the United States that envisions occupying and stabilising North Korea, news reports said Tuesday.
Communist North Korea has threatened fiery retaliation against the annual Ulchi Freedom Guardian (UFG) exercises involving tens of thousands of South Korean and US troops.
"Distinctive features of this year's exercises are the stabilisation operation, which is being led by the unification ministry," an unidentified military official was quoted as saying by the Dong-A Ilbo newspaper.
"The unification ministry is practising a programme aimed to turn North Koreans into Republic of Korea (South Korea) citizens, which is the culmination of such a stabilisation operation," he said.
`N. Korea Asked for Inter-Korean Summit Last Month`
AUGUST 19, 2010 00:54
North Korea is known to have asked South Korea to hold a high-level summit last month despite the sinking of the South Korean naval corvette Cheonan March 26.
In December last year, Pyongyang delivered a message to continue talks with Seoul through a senior member of the South’s ruling Grand National Party after holding dialogue with the South Korean Unification Ministry in November that year. Seoul, however, ignored or rejected the message.
[Overtures] [SK NK policy]
Military Toughens Rules of Engagement vs. N. Korea
AUGUST 25, 2010 08:11
The military said Tuesday that it has strengthened its rules of engagement in the wake of North Korea’s Aug. 9 artillery firing in which shells fell south of the inter-Korean sea border.
South Korea will allow the firing of artillery two to three times stronger on the North after sending a warning to Pyongyang should the communist country fire artillery beyond the Northern Limit Line, the de facto inter-Korean maritime border in the Yellow Sea.
NHRCK continues inaction over pending human rights issues
Speculation has arisen that the Human Rights Policy Division head resigned due to constant obstruction from the chairperson
» The Lee Myung-bak administration has driven a huge nail into the heart of the National Human Rights Commission of Korea. (Cartoon by Kim Young-hoon)
By Son Joon-hyun, Senior staff writer
A scene that has in recent history become typical took place at a general meeting of the National Human Rights Commission of Korea (NHRCK), that took place Monday late into the night.
[Human rights] [Lee Myung-bak]
S.Koreans weary of hardline N.Korea policy, survey says
The “Inter-Korean Integration Index” rate has dropped each year since the Lee administration took office
» Nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS George Washington arrives at a port of Busan to take part in South Korea-U.S. joint military exercises in the East Sea, July 21. (Photo by Kim Myung-jin)
By Lee Jae-hoon
Plummeting inter-Korean integration, diminishing satisfaction and trust.
This is the report card for the North Korea policy of the Lee Myung-bak administration as it rounds the halfway point of its term. It is evidence that South Koreans are increasingly exhausted with the hardline emphasis in North Korea policy and the deterioration of inter-Korean relations. It also means public pressure for changes in that policy is that much stronger.
[Lee Myung-bak] [SK NK policy] [Public opinion] [Takeover]
[Editorial] Returnee from the North
Voiceware Text Minimum living cost set at 1.43 million won Lee has much to do in second half Kim Yu-na splits with Orser Kim struggles to fend off attacks ANZ to inspect KEB over acquisition bid State seeks to take over five energy companies Leeum back in full swing with special exhibition Birthrate declines again in 2009 Hanwha chief visits suppliers Calls to Seoul hotline reach 20 million
Seoul prosecutors requested an arrest warrant for Han Sang-ryul, who returned to the Republic of Korea from North Korea via the truce village of Panmunjeom last week after staying in the North for 70 days. The prosecutors indicated that Han would be charged with violating the National Security Law for entering the territory of an anti-state entity -- North Korea -- communicating with its members, and praising the North Korean regime.
[National Security Law] [human rights]
The Problem with Lee's Reunification Plan
By Christine Ahn, August 19, 2010
On August 15th, the 65th anniversary of Korea’s liberation from Japan, South Korean President Lee Myung Bak delivered a speech outlining his plans for the reunification of Korea. Although the plans are still vague, like the creation of a “peace village” or a unification tax, a few things are clear.
Lee’s calls for reunification are at odds with his policy. “The next step is to carry out comprehensive inter-Korean exchanges and cooperation with a view to developing the North’s economy dramatically.” The truth is that from the day he came into office, Lee has effectively reversed any of the gains made towards reunification by his predecessors, Presidents Roh Moo-Hyun and Kim Dae-Jung. Lee has cut bilateral aid, stymied inter-Korea business efforts, and even thwarted efforts by South Korean NGOs from providing humanitarian aid to the North. For example, the Korean Sharing Movement, among the country’s most respected and organized humanitarian efforts, sent in 2007 some 3,000 of its members to North Korea to provide medical assistance, build homes and schools, and supplant North Korean cooperative farms with fertilizer. By the end of 2009, the Lee administration only gave clearance to 84 individuals.
The bottom line is this: the people of South Korea, North Korea and the United States are already paying a tax, but not for reunification, but for preparation for war. South Korea has been annually increasing its military spending by 10 percent, and is estimated to spend $665 billion in its Defense Reform 2020 Initiative. According to a State Department official, citing research by Doug Bandow of the Cato Institute, the United States expends nearly $15 billion annually to maintain its 27,500 troops on its some 85 bases and other installations.
[Lee Myung-bak] [Naiveté] [Unification cost]
North Korean refugees head for home
August 20th, 2010
Author: Andrei Lankov, Kookmin University and ANU
Sisa Journal, an influential and well-informed South Korean weekly, recently published an interesting statistic. It is well known that some 20,000 North Korean refugees currently reside in South Korea. However, the magazine reports that an estimated 200 of them are not here anymore. Surprisingly, they have moved back to the North.
It helps that the North Korean regime follows a lenient policy towards returning refugees. They are allowed to settle down in their native towns and villages, and if they make a sufficient donation (reportedly, a few tens of thousand dollars) they can even be granted good positions and privileges
[Refugee reception] [Spin]
N.Korea's Stealth Warfare Manual Revealed
The North Korean military has developed various kinds of camouflage materials like stealth paint and set up fake facilities and equipment to cheat state-of-the-art reconnaissance satellites and aircraft, a confidential field manual obtained exclusively by the Chosun Ilbo shows.
The manual was smuggled out of the North by a source through a Christian organization called Caleb Mission.
A South Korean intelligence expert who reviewed the manual said, "I was surprised to find that the North Korean military has done more intensive and careful research into stealth tactics than we thought. This is a useful piece of information that will be of great help to our military stepping up preparedness against the North."
[Religion] [Intelligence] [Military balance]
N.Korea 'Plotting Biochemical Attack' Kim Kyok-sik
North Korea is trying to launch a biochemical attack against the South prior to the G20 Summit in Seoul in November, a conservative activist claimed Thursday citing a North Korean source.
Choi Sung-yong of the group Family Assembly Abducted to North Korea said the North is preparing to send 20 different deadly biochemical weapons attached to balloons and parachutes across the border
[Bizarre] [cbw] [Buildup] [MISCOM]
Kim Jong-il's Bloody Purges
9 June 2010
North Korean leader Kim Jong-il is apparently conducting another purge of senior officials to cement his hold on power, the latest in a series of such maneuvers since he came to power in the 1990s.
In 2004, Kim Jong-il dismissed his brother-in-law, the first vice director of the party's Organization Department Jang Song-taek, and subordinates who appeared to be getting too powerful. In 2006, Kim fired premier Pak Pong-ju, who had introduced a modicum of the market economy.
North Korea develops radar-absorbing paint
By Jung Sung-ki
North Korea is believed to have developed a radar absorbing paint to conceal its fighter jets, warships and tanks from surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft flown by South Korea and the United States, a report said Monday.
According to the daily Chosun Ilbo, which obtained a classified North Korea field manual published in 2005, North Korea’s military has also built numerous fake foxholes and caves near the Demilitarized Zone to evade precision strikes.
The field manual was smuggled out of the North by a source through Caleb Mission, a South Korean Christian organization in South Chungcheong Province.
[Religion] [Espionage] [Military balance]
South Korean Pastor Han Sang-ryeol
South Korean Pastor Han Sang-ryeol, who travelled to North Korea without permission from South Korean government, displays a unification flag for One Korea shortly before crossing the border at the truce village, Panmunjom, Aug. 20. Han was arrested by South Korean police officers upon crossing the border. The police had dispatched around three thousand police officers to Panmunjom to keep the peace between the conservative groups who held demonstrations protesting his trip and liberal groups greeting him upon his return. After the Ministry of Unification refused Han’s request for a permit, the pastor traveled to North Korea by way of Beijing on June 12. He remained there for 70 days. (Xinhua Younhap News Agency)
Han returns from 70-day North trip
Pastor likely to face criminal charges of praising, encouraging the ‘enemy’
August 21, 2010
Before the return of Han Sang-ryol from an unauthorized trip to North Korea, war veterans from the South chant anti-Pyongyang slogans yesterday at a rally on the Unification Bridge near the demilitarized zone. They said Han, a pastor and anti-U.S. activist, must be sent back to the communist state. [YONHAP]
Police arrested Han Sang-ryeol yesterday when the 60-year Christian pastor and activist returned from a 70-day unauthorized trip to the North after receiving a hero’s farewell from his hosts, according to the Ministry of Unification.
Han is suspected of praising the “enemy” during the trip. The two Koreas are technically still at war.
The ministry said Han, wearing a white Korean traditional robe and holding a unification flag, walked south of the border at the truce village of Panmunjom at 3 p.m. The North advised the South in advance of Han’s time of arrival
[Human rights] [SK NK policy]
South Korea Arrests Activist for Visiting North
By CHOE SANG-HUN
Published: August 20, 2010
SEOUL, South Korea — A South Korean Christian pastor who has fueled a bitter debate by visiting North Korea without government permission was arrested on Friday during his trip home across the heavily guarded border between the countries.
The Rev. Han Sang-ryol held a unification flag Friday as he returned to South Korea from the North. He was later arrested.
The pastor, the Rev. Han Sang-ryol, a self-styled “unification activist,” was waving a “one-Korea” flag that showed an undivided Korean Peninsula as he stepped across the military demarcation line at the border village of Panmunjom, government officials said. He was immediately whisked away by South Korean authorities for interrogation.
A South Korean who visits the North without government approval can face several years in prison under the South’s National Security Law, written during the cold war. Several South Koreans have defied the law and made illegal trips.
The most famous case was Im Su-kyong, a student activist who entered the North in 1989 and was arrested upon returning home through Panmunjom. She was sentenced to five years in prison but was paroled in 1992.
Two other prominent South Koreans — Moon Ik-hwan, a Christian pastor, and Seo Kyong-won, an opposition lawmaker — were sentenced to prison for illegally visiting the North in the late 1980s. Hwang Sok-yong, a novelist, was arrested in 1993 for illegally entering the North five times between 1998 and 1991.
[Human rights] [SK NK policy] [Peace efforts]
A New Paradigm for Trust-Building on the Korean Peninsula--Turning Korea’s DMZ into a UNESCO World Heritage Site
By Seung-ho Lee
August 19th, 2010
Seung-ho Lee, President of the DMZ Forum (http://www.dmzforum.org/), writes, “An agreement by the two Koreas to register the DMZ for tentative listing as a UNESCO World Heritage Site status will give the Six-Party states a new paradigm for searching for peace on the Korean peninsula and for the denuclearization of North Korea. The environmental and cultural preservation of the DMZ will provide an unprecedented opportunity in resolving the military and political deadlock on the Korean peninsula.”
South Korean leader has reunification plan
North and South Korea Tuesday were marking the anniversary of the 1953 truce that ended the Korean War. But joint U.S.-South Korean military drills and the North's objections to them were underscoring continuing tensions in the region.
By Chico Harlan
Monday, August 16, 2010
TOKYO -- Saying that "unification will happen," South Korean President Lee Myung-bak on Sunday proposed a three-step plan to unify the Korean Peninsula and a new tax to help his country absorb the enormous costs of integration.
Unification talk, even hypothetical, is a delicate subject on the peninsula, especially at a time that North Korea is dealing with the poor health of its leader, Kim Jong Il, and a rushed succession process for his son, Kim Jong Eun. Analysts said Lee's proposal will probably draw a sharp backlash from the North.
Lee is the first South Korean president to propose a tax to help with the costs of unification, and his remarks reflect the growing sentiment among South Koreans that they must plan for a North Korean collapse. Though he offered no specifics about his ideas, Lee called preparations a "duty."
If North Korea collapsed, South Korea would face a massive burden as refugees flood across the border, requiring hundreds of thousands of troops. The cost of unification, according to one study, would exceed $1 trillion.
[Takeover] [Unification cost]
PSPD’s Stance on the Presidential Statement of the UNSC regarding the Sinking of the ROK Naval Vessel Cheonan
People's Solidarity for Participatory Democracy (PSPD) in the ROK extends its appreciation to the UN Security Council for its Presidential Statement on the Naval Vessel Cheonan released on 9 July. Deeply concerned with the incident, PSPD sent the letter and the report, ‘The PSPD's Stance on the Naval Vessel Cheonan Sinking' to the UN Security Council Member States on 10 June.
It is fully shared and appreciated by the people in Korea that UN Security Council extends “its deep sympathy and condolences to the victims and their families and to the people and Government of the ROK.”
PSPD also welcomes the Presidential Statement of the UN Security Council “stressing the importance of maintaining peace and stability on the Korean peninsula and in north-east Asia as a whole” and “encouraging the settlement of outstanding issues on the Korean peninsula by peaceful means to resume direct dialogue and negotiation through appropriate channels as early as possible, with a view to avoiding conflicts and averting escalation.” PSPD would like to note that this is consistent with its earlier call for the UN Security Council in its letter of 10 June.
In addition, PSPD takes note that the Presidential Statement referred both the findings of the investigation led by the ROK and the counterarguments from other relevant parties. This is in accord with the PSPD’s request in the same letter to the UN Security Council; “we hope that UN Security Council makes a fair and reasonable decision considering all the grounds.” It will contribute to the realization of “the settlement of outstanding issues on the Korean peninsula by peaceful means” and “appropriate and peaceful measures to be taken against those responsible for the incident aimed at the peaceful settlement of the issue.” The reference of the responses from the DPRK and other parties, in parallel with the findings of the ROK supports the position of NGOs and scientists calling for an additional investigation and verification on the Cheonan incident.
Reminded by such clauses in the UN Security Council Presidential Statement, PSPD reiterates its call for transparent disclosure of all relevant information regarding the Cheonan incident and an additional investigation and verification by the National Assembly of the ROK or with participation of relevant state parties. PSPD will keep sharing new factual findings as they arise with UN Security Council Member States.
[Cheonan] [Coverup] [UNUS]
An Open Letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon by the AHRC
An Open Letter to United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon by the Asian Human Rights Commission
Mr. Ban Ki-Moon
Office of the Spokesman for the Secretary General
SOUTH KOREA: NGOs facing reprisals for submitting information to UN Security Council
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) is writing this special appeal to you as United Nations Secretary General, as well as to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms. Navi Pillay and the presidency and members of the Security Council, in order to bring to your attention allegations that the government of the Republic of Korea is inciting reprisals against local non-governmental organizations. The organizations are facing threats and physical and legal attacks for submitting communications to the UN Security Council questioning the content of the government's report on the sinking of the Cheonan naval vessel in the Yellow Sea on March 26, 2010. There are also grave concerns the government may block funding for a range of civil society groups as a form of collective punishment against dissenting voices.
[Cheonan] [Coverup] [human rights]
N.Korea Unveils New Battle Tank
Intelligence authorities are analyzing footage of a new battle tank shown on North Korean state TV recently. So far the existence of the "Pokpung" (Storm) had only been a rumor.
A South Korean military source on Monday said the Pokpung appears to be an improved version of the North Korean Army's previous model "Chonma" (Flying Horse) in terms of firepower and maneuverability.
The Pokpung tank is also known as the M-2002, as it is presumed to have been rolled out in 2002.
The North Korean Army has about 3,900 tanks, much more than the South Korean Army's 2,300, but they are believed to perform much more poorly.
How Reunification Cost Is Calculated
The Unification Ministry on Monday explained how the government estimates the cost of reunification, saying the estimates factor in "all expenses needed in the process, from unifying two different political systems to integration and stabilization." The announcement follows President Lee Myung-bak's proposal of a "unification tax" on Sunday to prepare for what could be an astronomical outlay.
The total includes the estimated cost of crisis management in the initial stage of reunification for emergency food and medical supplies for North Korea. For example, if all North Koreans are to be provided with grain for two months, that would require 13,000 tons of grain per day for 23 million people to take in at least 1,600 calories a day. The cost would be about US$500 million, including transportation and incidental expenses, to supply North Koreans with 700,000 tons of corn at $420 per ton for two months. An additional $250 million would be needed supposing that medical expenses and costs for daily necessities account for 50 percent of the minimum food expenses.
[Unification cost] [Unification benefit]
The Sinking of the Cheonan: Engage or Retaliate?
A Time for Calmer Minds to Prevail
By Jin Jingyi
Despite emotions running high in both North and South Korea over the sinking of the South Korean warship Cheonan, with talk of war on both sides, now is not the time for confrontation and retaliation. The only solution can be found in dialogue and mutual understanding.
Then why is South Korea bent on internationalizing the incident, even at the risk of war?
On the surface, South Korea’s intent seems to be to maintain security by military means – in short, to punish the North by pressuring it to apologize and pledge not to repeat such behavior, and by doing so, to begin the process of reform and opening up that could lead North Korea to become a normal nation. But given the nature of President Lee Myung-bak’s North Korea policy, what lies beneath the surface is a desire to topple the Pyongyang regime, take over the country and thereby achieve unification.
[Cheonan] [SK NK policy] [Takeover]
Lee’s reunification plan excludes Korean Commonwealth
Experts say this plan excludes an interim period
By Sohn Won-jae
One stage of reunification remains out of view. Has it disappeared? Has it been briefly hidden? This is the curious result of the three-stage unification plan - peace community, economic community and national community - revealed by President Lee Myung-bak during his Liberation Day address.
The Cheong Wa Dae (the presidential office in South Korea or Blue House) said the three-stage plan is a successor and development upon the “national community unification plan,” the government’s only official unification plan since the Kim Young-sam administration. Kim’s plan calls for peace and reconciliation, followed by an inter-Korean confederation and finally reunification.
Professor Kim Yong-hyeon of the North Korean studies department of Dongguk University said, “The current administration holds the fundamental belief that unification will be led by South Korea, and that the process would be short.”
Kim also said, “When you consider the government’s view of reunification, it is highly possible that while the Korean Commonwealth stage has been kept alive in word only, it has actually lost its meaning as a stage of reunification.”
Lee proposes unification tax
Some analysts say the tax is premised on unification through absorbtion
On August 15, President Lee Myung-bak suggested that discussions take place for the establishment of a “reunification tax,” in order to prepare financially for Korean unification.
President Lee gave an address entitled “United Citizens for a Greater Republic of Korea” at a ceremony to celebrate the 65th anniversary of Korean independence held at Gwanghwamun Square. He said that reunification is a certainty, and that he thought that the time had come to prepare practical plans, such as a reunification tax in preparation for the day when it occurred. He went on to suggest that people in all sectors of society hold broad discussions on the issue.
The current political climate with strained inter-Korean relations due to factors such as the Lee Myung-bak administration’s hardline North Korea stance and the Cheonan incident is expected to impact analysts’ interpretation of the reunification tax. Some analysts have interpreted it as a tax formulated in terms of unification by absorption, following a sudden change in North Korean political circumstances.
[Takeover] [Lee Myung-bak] [Unification cost]
MB goes rogue
President Lee Myung-bak drives a motorcycle carrying two nominees. Lee wears a box for collecting a “unification tax” around his neck and considers introducing a new “shouting tax.”
The left one on the motorcycle is the vice minister nominee in charge of energy and national resources policy Park Yeong-joon who was suspected of being involved in an illegal civilian surveillance scandal when he was a top official at the Prime Minister’s Office.
On the right is National Police Agency Commissioner-designate Cho Hyun-oh. Bereaved family members of sailors who died during the sinking of the Cheonan are enraged as Cho says that during the funeral they “wailed like beasts.”
Cho has also been caught up in controversies regarding remarks about late President Roh Moo-hyun’s death and questions about funds collected for bereaved Cheonan family members.
President Lee Myung-bak has ignored calls for withdrawing nomination of these officials embroiled in scandal.
[Lee Myung-bak] [Cheonan] [Takeover]
Little enthusiasm for Lee’s unification tax proposal
Skepticism and criticism over who would pay for costs
August 17, 2010
President Lee Myung-bak’s proposal for a unification tax has been met with questions about its intention and efficacy, creating new controversy in inter-Korean relations already heightened after the Cheonan incident.
Some ruling Grand National Party members criticized the timing of the announcement, saying the decision was made too hurriedly, without taking into consideration the opinions of party members.
Meanwhile, research by the Korea Development Institute - commissioned by the Presidential Council for National Future and Vision - showed yesterday that North Korea’s collapse could increase the unification cost seven times as opposed to a peaceful, gradual unification.
The KDI analysis showed that South Korea would spend $10 billion annually for 30 years between 2011 and 2040 if unification were to proceed peacefully, but it would spend $72 billion annually if the North were to collapse.
North Korea’s gross domestic product was $24.8 billion in 2008, only 2.7 percent of the South Korea’s.
[Takeover] [Unification cost]
Posting NK-friendly material ruled illegal
By Lee Hyo-sik
Relaying and posting material sympathetic to North Korea and its leader Kim Jong-il on the Internet is a clear violation of the National Security Law, a court ruled Monday.
The Seoul Central District Court sentenced a 40-year old man, identified only by his surname Lee, to two years in jail, suspended for three years, finding him guilty of disseminating documents and songs praising the communist state and its activities.
[Human rights] [SK NK policy] [National Security Law]
Seoul needs $2.14 trillion for inter-Korean reunification
By Na Jeong-ju
South Korea needs a total of $2.14 trillion (2,525 trillion won) over the next three decades in the event of an abrupt collapse of the North Korean regime to cover the full costs of reunification, the presidential panel on future strategies said Monday.
It roughly amounts to $44,000 per South Korean citizen.
If the two Koreas are united peacefully following the North’s gradual opening of its economy, the total cost would be reduced to $322 billion ($6,600 per capita), according to the Presidential Council for Future and Vision.
[Unification cost] [Takeover]
South Korea's Case for How the Cheonan Sank
By Bill Powell Friday, Aug. 13, 2010
On a chilly evening in late March, a South Korean naval ship called the Cheonan was conducting routine exercises in waters just off the coast of a sparsely populated island in what the Koreans call the West Sea (better known as the Yellow Sea), only about 10 km from North Korean land. It was just before 9:30, and for most of the ship's 104 crew members, work was done for the day. Some sat in the ship's mess chatting; others were exercising in a small gym. A few had already headed to their bunks for a night's rest. The ship's commanding officer, Choi Won Il, had retired to his cabin for the night and was checking e-mail.
What happened next would shock and anger many South Koreans and roil the country's politics. It would also contribute heavily to a deteriorating diplomatic and security climate not just on the Korean peninsula but throughout East Asia. Within a few weeks, the South Korean government privately became convinced that a North Korean "midget" submarine had fired a torpedo that sank the Cheonan, killing 46 sailors. They went public with that suspicion on May 20. The South Koreans had dredged up the shattered vessel in sections and recovered the remains of what it claimed was the North Korean torpedo.
[Cheonan] [Evidence] [Coverup] [Media]
South Korea softens tone with North
Sun, 06 Jun 2010 09:44:30 GMT
South Korean President Lee Myung-bak says he wants the South to live in peace with the North.
The South Korean president strikes a conciliatory tone with the North over the sinking of its warship, saying he wants the South to live in peace and prosperity along with its northern neighbor.
"We have an unachieved dream… It is to become a unified country living in freedom, peace and prosperity with North Korean compatriots who are still suffering from poverty and suppression," the Associated Press quoted President Lee Myung-bak as saying on Sunday.
His comments come amid escalating tensions on the Korean Peninsula over the sinking of a South Korean warship near a disputed sea border with the North.
The remarks, which were made at a Memorial Day ceremony in Seoul in honor of the fallen soldiers, are believed to be a shift in South Korean policy regarding the sunken ship.
Earlier on Friday, the South asked the UN Security Council to punish the North for the attack with President Myung-bak accusing North Korea of undermining global peace.
[SK NK policy] [Cheonan] [Media] [Spin]
LEE PROPOSES UNIFICATION TAX
Joongang Ilbo (Seoul, 2010/08/16) reported that ROK President Lee Myung-bak proposed a unification tax on Sunday. "Reunification will happen," Lee said. "It is therefore our duty to start thinking about real and substantive ways to prepare for reunification, such as the adoption of a unification tax." As a follow-up measure to the unification tax proposal, Blue House officials said the government will study ways of establishing such a tax, taking into account public opinion.
COMMITTEE TO URGE PRESIDENT LEE TO SWITCH TO 'ACTIVE DETERRENCE
Yonhap Seoul, 2010/08/15) reported that an ROK presidential committee on military reforms plans to propose to President Lee Myung-bak that the military adopt an operational plan that allows its forces to preemptively strike DPRK bases if they see a sign of impending aggression, officials said Sunday. "This is a concept that allows for attacks if North Korea shows signs of preparing nuclear and missile attacks," one member said, citing a committee meeting he attended. Another member of the 14-person committee, headed by former professor Rhee Sang-woo and joined by Defense Minister Kim Tae-young, said, "The existing concept of deterrence was an approach based on the idea that the North would not attack, as long as we built up our forces, but the Cheonan case showed this concept to be unsuitable." [Takeover]
[OPLAN] [SK NK policy]
`Stronger Action on NK Aims for Regime Change`
JULY 26, 2010 12:07
A high-level government official said Sunday that South Korea and the U.S. aim to take strong action against North Korea’s sinking of the Cheonan to elicit a regime change in the North.
The comment came while the official explained to The Dong-A Ilbo of the recent diplomatic and security landscape surrounding South Korea. It indicates that the strong reaction of the two allies to the sinking is more than just about punishment, and instead could aim for a regime change in the North, which would be a fundamental solution to the problems facing Pyongyang.
Prior to this comment, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said new U.S. financial sanctions on the North are aimed at its leadership and assets after a bilateral meeting of foreign and defense ministers in Seoul Wednesday.
On her announcement, a Seoul official said, “The sanctions will be precision-guided toward certain accounts.”
The stronger sanctions and containment measures seem to reflect significant changes in variables of the North Korean leadership, such as the health of leader Kim Jong Il and confusion over his son’s succession.
The South Korean government, however, seems divided over hard-line measures on the North that aim for a regime change. The official said, “Some within the government have expressed opposition, saying a regime change could give rise to severe disorder.”
A diplomatic source added, “There is strong debate within the government over whether to continue the strong sanctions or talk with Pyongyang. President Lee Myung-bak has apparently not decided on the direction of North Korea policy yet.”
One expert said, “Sanctions will continue for awhile but the G20 summit that Seoul will host in November will become an important determinant (for North Korea policy).”
“If the government decides to continue sanctions for more than six months even after the G20 summit, it could be interpreted as an important strategic choice to actively pursue regime change in the North.”
[Sanctions] [Takeover] [SK NK policy]
Cheonan sinking: Re-igniting the Cold War in Asia
The sinking of a South Korean navy corvette by North Korea in March has become the catalyst for Cold War-type posturing, writes Hyung-A Kim.
More than 100 days after the sinking in March of the South Korean navy corvette, the Cheonan, with the loss of 46 lives, the UN Security Council presidential statement of 9 July epitomises the impasse that the global response to this incident has now reached.
The statement did not directly condemn or blame North Korea but simply stated that it ‘condemns the attack which led to the sinking of the Cheonan’, and called for ‘appropriate and peaceful measures to be taken against those responsible for the incident’. Yet, while the UN Security Council took more than a month to adopt this statement, the sinking has become the catalyst for some significant developments in Northeast Asia, reminiscent of the Cold War posturing of the past.
These developments include:
• the exploitation by the United States of the Cheonan incident to forge stronger US–Japan relations and maintain a strengthened alliance structure in Northeast Asia in order to keep China in check
• the use of the Cheonan incident
Ecumenical letter from Korean Christian Federation on Cheonan incident
On Critical Situation Prevailing on the Korean Peninsula
Dear Ecumenical Colleagues,
We send this letter to you, ecumenical colleagues in different countries who
have made positive efforts for the peace and reunification on the Korean
peninsula for last decades according to the summons of our Lord for peace,
sharing our hearts with each other, in order to inform you of the detailed truth
of the current serious developments of the Korean peninsula being created by
the anti-DPRK farce racket of the anti-DPRK hostile forces including the south
Korean and the United States regimes.
KPA warning on naval exercises
We send our warm greetings of Korean Committee for Solidarity with the World People.
Warmongers of the South Korean puppet military are going to kick off direct military provocations against the DPRK in the waters around five islets in the West Sea of Korea after escalating the madcap naval exercises targeted against it in the East and West seas of Korea in the wake of the fabrication of the “Cheonan” case.
The Command of Forces of the Korean People’s Army in the western sector of the front issued on Tuesday the following notice in this connection:
[Cheonan] [Military exercises]
N.KOREA STATIONS ANTI-AIRCRAFT MISSILES NEAR BORDER
Chosun Ilbo (Seoul, 2010/08/04) reported that the DPRK deployed long-range anti-aircraft missiles with a range of 250 km near the demilitarized zone around the time of it sank the Cheonan in March. A military source on Monday said the DPRK moved some SA-5 missiles from Hwanghae Province to areas near the DMZ. "Our fighter jets' activity is therefore somewhat restricted. For example, our fighters have to avoid SA-5 tracer radar detection for fear of an attack when it is activated." The move seems to be aimed at preventing ROK fighters from launching precision strikes on strategic targets in the DPRK, the source added.
[Military balance] [Takeover]
NK ASKED FOR SUMMIT BEFORE ATTACKING CHEONAN
Dong-A Ilbo ("`NK ASKED FOR SUMMIT BEFORE ATTACKING CHEONAN` ", Seoul, 2010/08/02) reported that sources said Sunday that the DPRK delivered three requests to the ROK through a senior official of the ROK ruling Grand National Party in December last year to hold a third inter-Korean summit and provide fertilizer aid. Seoul, however, failed to give a clear answer to the requests for several months. Pyongyang then launched armed provocations, including the attack on the naval warship Cheonan March 26.
[Overtures] [SK NK policy] [Lee Myung-bak] [Cheonan] [Summit] [NK SK policy]
The Maritime Boundary between North & South Korea in the Yellow (West) Sea
By Jon Van Dyke
Northern Limit Line and the five South Korean islets in the Yellow (West) Sea. Photo: stratfor.com
South Korea has become a dynamic and lively country, providing global leadership in numerous areas, but it is situated in a complicated region and faces serious challenges in dealing with its neighbors. The sinking of the 1,200-ton corvette Cheonan on March 26, resulting in the deaths of 46 sailors, is a ready reminder of the instability of the region, especially the unpredictability of North Korea, which, according to international investigators, launched the torpedo that sank this modern warship from one of its midget submarines.
The Northern Limit Line has been useful as a line of military control. But if the two Koreas were to be regarded as independent countries (rather than as two halves of a temporarily divided country), then this Line would not be viewed as a legitimate maritime boundary under the “equitable principles” that govern boundaries, because it denies North Korea access to adjacent sea areas. In blocking such access, the NLL is contrary to the principle of “non-encroachment” and to recent precedents because it gives the small islands equal capacity to generate maritime zones as the continental land mass of the North Korean coast. In case after case, tribunals have ruled that small islands should have limited capacity to affect a maritime boundary, especially when their effect dramatically changes the result that would exist in their absence.
DPRK condemns anti-submarines exercises
Large-scale anti-submarines exercises in the West Sea of Korea aimed to provoke a war of aggression against the DPRK
We send our warm greetings of Korean Committee for Solidarity with the World People.
As you might know, the south Korean authorities kicked off large-scale anti-submarines exercises in the West Sea of Korea from the 5th of August.
According military sources, in the exercises will be participated at least 4 500 troops of the three services of the south Korean army and marine corps, 29 warships of different types including destroyers, submarines and patrol craft and more than 50 fighters including F-15K and KF-16.
These war exercises are now under way with main emphasis on rounding off the naval tactical movement and methods of attacking DPRK’s submarines, warships and flying corps, conducting naval bombardment, discharging torpedoes, dropping underwater bombs and mines and infiltrating commandoes.
This is premeditated and undisguised acts of aggression aimed to provoke a war of aggression against the DPRK when a opportunity presents itself while threatening the DPRK by forces of arms and escalating the military confrontation and tension on the Korean Peninsula to an extreme phase.
S. Korea holds final day of massive naval exercises
SEOUL, Aug. 9 (Yonhap) -- South Korea staged a submarine hide-and-seek drill in waters off the west coast Monday on the final day of massive naval exercises that North Korea denounced as preparations for invasion.
Complicating the soaring tensions, North Korea seized a South Korean fishing boat in waters off the east coast on Sunday. Four South Koreans and three Chinese crew members were aboard the 41-ton Daeseung 55 that was presumed to be inside the North's exclusive economic zone (EEZ) at the time.Data picture
South Korea launched the five-day naval drills on Thursday in response to the North's sinking of the warship Cheonan in March, an attack in waters near the western sea border that left 46 sailors dead. The maneuvers, South Korea's largest-ever exercise in the Yellow Sea, were designed as a show of force and a warning against future provocations.
[Cheonan] [Joint US military]
MILITARY LOOKING INTO WHETHER N. KOREA INTENTIONALLY RELEASED MINES
Yonhap (Seoul, 2010/08/12) reported that military is looking into the possibility that DPRK land mines that have washed ashore the ROK's riverbanks may have been deliberately released, officials said Thursday. A total of 126 land mines packed in wooden boxes, 77 of them empty, have been found in ROK border areas since late last month. "We are paying attention to the fact that an unusually high number of North Korean mines was discovered this year, compared with previous years when the North had often been hit by torrential rains," said an official at the Joint Chiefs of Staff. "However, at this stage, it is difficult to conclude that North Korea released the mines on purpose," the official said on the condition of anonymity.
[Bizarre] [SK NK policy] [Media]
Demography is Destiny: Why South Korea Hasn’t Seen the Last of the Sunshine
By Timothy Savage
More than 24,000 people paid tribute to former South Korean president Kim Dae-Jung. (AFP: Jung Yeon-Je )
The autobiography of the late President Kim Dae Jung, best known for his “Sunshine Policy” of engagement with North Korea, recently hit bookshelves in Korea. Kim’s election in 1997 on his fourth try for the presidency marked the first peaceful transition to an opposition party in Korean history and ushered in an unprecedented 10 years of liberal rule. Many of the ruling elite saw Kim and his successor, Roh Moo Hyun (especially Roh), as interlopers, and viewed the election of the current president, Lee Myung Bak as a return to normalcy.
The results of South Korea’s June 2 local elections, therefore, came as something of a shock.
[Demographics] [Kim Dae-jung] [Lee Myung-bak]
Pieces of the Cheonan puzzle
Seunghun Lee, Professor of Physics, University of Virginia
» Members of a civic organization hold a demonstration to call for a reinvestigation into the sinking of the Cheonan in front of the Central Government Complex in Sejongro, Seoul, July 29.
Opinions remain divided over the cause of the sinking of the Cheonan. One theory is that the vessel ran aground early on. This idea was put forward by Shin Sang-chul and Lee Jong-in, who lack doctoral degrees but are rich in first-hand experience, and an identical conclusion was reached by a team of Russian experts. Another theory is that a North Korean torpedo was responsible, the conclusion reached by the South Korean government-sponsored Joint civilian-military Investigation Group (JIG) with more than 20 PhDs among its members. The types of evidence presented by the two groups also differ entirely in character. The former group has presented evidence that any sensible person could understand, including the clean condition of the surviving and deceased sailors, the lack of a water column, the damage state of the ship's screws' wing blades, and the fishing net wrapped around the propeller’s axis. On the other hand, the latter group has presented a piece of torpedo propeller.
That piece of metal is a ghost without substance, presented by the JIG in order to conceal the truth. Regarding the degree of corrosion of the metal surface, Lee Jong-in conducted his own experiment with small metal pieces under water, and argued that the JIG's claim that the chunk of the metal had been underwater for just 50 days was false. This is consistent with the results of visual examination done by Russian experts. The old pieces of metal that anyone with common sense would conclude had been underwater for years was presented by the JIG as “conclusive” evidence proving that a North Korean torpedo sank the Cheonan.
[Cheonan] [Coverup] [Diaspora]
Ink on torpedo fragment furthers Cheonan controversy
One scientist has claimed that temperatures do not rise in certain parts of the torpedo during an explosion due to disk plates
» The phrase “No. 1” remains visible on the torpedo designated as the weapon North Korea used to attack the Cheonan by South Korean government’s joint military-civilian investigation team.
By Kwon Hyeok-cheol
The debate over the phrase “No. 1” written in Korean on the back of a torpedo propeller fragment, presented by the joint civilian-military investigation team into the sinking of the Cheonan on May 20 as conclusive evidence of North Korea’s responsibility for the vessel’s sinking, has continued with new claims. One scientist has now stated that it stands to reason that the lettering would not have burned off because the temperature at the back of the propeller would not have changed during the explosion. Previously, scientists had questioned the possibility of the lettering not burning off in the high temperatures at the time of the explosion.
NKorea to investigate real causes of Cheonan sinking
Pyongyang, July 13 (Itar-Tass) --The DPRK’s authorities will make all the necessary steps to investigate the real circumstances of the Cheonan corvette sinking in the Yellow Sea on March 26 in the interests of peace, stability and denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, the KCNA news agency says in comments to the UN SC statement, showing its attitude to this incident.
The agency notes, the world mass media in general have evaluated the contents of this document as the failure of South Korean and U.S. efforts to hold DPRK responsible for the sinking of the vessel. Moreover, the Security Council has taken into consideration the opinion of all the interested sides and called for settling this problem peacefully by means of a dialogue.
Thus, the Agency emphasizes, the case of the Cheonan corvette, submitted on the Washington and Seoul’s initiative for UN SC’s consideration could be settled by South and North Koreas without any interference of this leading international organization. This is what DPRK has been insisting upon from the very beginning. “Seoul and Washington cannot hide the truth about the sinking of the South Korean corvette”, it says.
The UN Security Council condemned the attack on the South Korean warship Cheonan, but did not directly name North Korea as perpetrator. The statement says the SC “condemns the attack” and expresses “serious concern” over this event. It expresses grief and condolences to the government and the people of DPRK. There is an appeal to peacefully solve all the problems on the Korean Peninsula and to resume direct dialogue and consultations between the South and the North.
Speaking at the press-conference in New York, North Korean Ambassador Sin Son-Ho told the reporters the “statement was a victory of Pyongyang”.
Cheonan Sinking Was a Pyrrhic Victory for Kim Jong-il
Kang Chol-hwan North Korea has yet to be condemned for sinking the South Korean Navy corvette Cheonan in March, which killed 46 sailors, as China, Russia and some South Korean pro-Pyongyang organizations are skeptical that the North is behind the sinking. This is why a Japanese newspaper says North Korea "won" the diplomatic war that followed to the incident. As even 30 percent of South Koreans are said not to trust the multinational inquiry that pointed to the North as the culprit, the victim finds itself in the odd position of being made more uncomfortable than the perpetrator.
Military in Conflicting Reports Over N.Korean Shelling
There were conflicting reports Tuesday about where artillery shells North Korea fired into waters near the Northern Limit Line on Monday landed. South Korean sentries along the west coast testified that some landed as far as 4 or 5 km south of the de facto sea border.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff on Monday claimed none crossed the border, but on Tuesday a JCS spokesman told reporters "around 10" artillery rounds landed 1 to 2 km past the NLL in the West Sea.
The conflicting statements have fuelled suspicion that the military failed to abide by a rule to counter North Korean artillery fire with an equal response and is now downplaying the extent to which the shells were lobbed across the NLL.
N.Korea Gives Fair Warning of Imjin River Dam Release
North Korea on Sunday afternoon told the South that if heavy rains continue it would have to release water from a dam on the upper Imjin River after 8 p.m. that day, according to the Unification Ministry. The North Korean media reported North Hwanghae and Gangwon provinces have seen heavy rainfall, reaching 143 mm near Kaesong on Saturday.
On Sept. 6 last year, North Korea without warning discharged a large amount of water from an Imjin River dam, resulting in flash floods south of the border that killed six people. In an inter-Korean meeting later, the North agreed to a request from the South for fair warning in the future and expressed condolences over the deaths. The rare expression of regret was apparently part of a charm offensive since Pyongyang was trying through secret channels to arrange an inter-Korean summit.
[NK SK relations] [Media] [Summit]
North Korean Poster Depicts a Ship Suffering an Eerily Evocative Attack
By CHOE SANG-HUN
Published: July 16, 2010
SEOUL, South Korea — A propaganda poster recently smuggled out of North Korea depicts the North Korean military smashing an enemy warship in half, a scene evocative of the sinking of a South Korean warship earlier this year.
Although the poster did not identify the ship in the poster as the Cheonan, the South Korean corvette sunk in March, it raised suspicions that North Korea might have begun bragging about the sinking for domestic propaganda purposes, said Radio Free Asia, which released a photograph of the poster this week.
With a caption that says “If they attack, we will smash them in a single blow,” the poster shows the red fist of a North Korean sailor splitting an enemy ship.
[Cheonan] [Media] [Conditionality]
KOREAN REUNIFICATION INDEX DECLINES FOR 2ND STRAIGHT YEAR
Arirang News (Seoul, 2010/08/11) reported that according to the Institute for Peace and Unification Studies at Seoul National University on Tuesday, its index which shows the feasibility of the overall integration of the ROK and the DPRK in political, economic, social and cultural aspects has declined for a second straight year. In 2008 the index dropped 61 points to 212.2 out of a total 1,000, with a high score indicating substantial integration. Last year it went down again to 198.6, dropping for two consecutive years for the first time, IPUS said.
[SK NK policy] [Lee Myung-bak] [Unification cost] [Dilemma]
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