ROK and Inter-Korean relations
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Protests Challenge Naval Base Construction on Jeju Island, South Korea: Hunger Strike Precipitates a National and International Movement
In May 2011, ‘Vimeo’ and ‘Youtube’ posted a film interview with Korean film critic Yang Yoon-moo.1 The interview shows why Yang has struggled against the naval base building for 4 years in Gangjeong village, Jeju Island south-west of the mainland of Korea and strategically located in relation to China, Japan, Korea and Russia.
In addition, the film shows his forcible arrest by police on April 6, 2011. Following his arrest he maintained a hunger strike for 71 days including 57 days in prison. Why did he (and fellow residents of Gangjeong village) conclude that have no other choice than to risk their lives to prevent the construction of a base?
Yang Yoon-moo is widely recognized as Korea’s most prominent film critic
The movement against construction of a naval base on Jeju Island began in 2002 when the Korean navy announced plans to pursue an ‘ocean navy strategy’ to build military strength at sea through deploying large warships (Chosun.com, May 27, 2007). Challengers pointed out that the base would become a center for a naval arms race in the Asia-Pacific and a new phase in the ROK-US military alliance with Jeju as a focal point for monitoring and challenging China.2
[China confrontation] [Joint US military]
Elderly Blogger Probed for Promoting N.Korea
Prosecutors are investigating a 79-year-old man for posting over 70,000 messages praising North Korea on websites and his personal blog. "I am a nephew of South Korean partisan leader Shin Deok-kyun, and I visited North Korea five times between 1981 and 1995, where I had my picture taken with Great Leader Kim Il-sung, Dear Leader Kim Jong-il and Minister of Armed Forces O Chin-u," the Korean-Canadian introduced himself on a pro-Pyongyang website in December last year.
The Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office on Monday said the man, only identified as Kim, is suspected of violating the National Security Law by writing and disseminating pro-North Korean messages on various websites under the moniker Bomhosu (Spring Lake) since 2005.
[NSL] [Human rights]
Marine Corps shooting spree kills 4 soldiers
By Lee Tae-hoon
A Marine Corps corporal killed four soldiers and wounded another in a shooting spree Monday at his military unit based on Ganghwa Island near the maritime border with North Korea in the West Sea.
“The shooter, identified only as Kim, went on a shooting rampage inside his barracks at 11:50 a.m., killing four and wounding two, including himself,” Kim Tae-eun, a spokesman of the Marine Corps, said in a press conference televised nationwide.
Hitting Below the Belt: Pyongyang Spills the Beans on Secret Summit Talks
By Aidan Foster-Carter
Just when you thought inter-Korean relations couldn’t get any worse, they do. The North has found a fresh weapon, and on June 1, 2011 launched a sneak attack on the South—with a follow-up ambush a week later. Fortunately, we’re not talking ships sunk or islands shelled like last year. But words can do damage too, and this was a low blow.
But Korea itself has plenty of examples of secret talks over the past four decades. It’s worth taking a minute to recall these—many remain little-known—and how much they achieved. Here, as always, Don Oberdorfer’s book The Two Koreas is a fascinating guide through this labyrinth.
It all started with Kissinger’s visit to China, which alarmed Park Chung Hee and Kim Il Sung alike. That prompted the two Koreas to start Red Cross talks at Panmunjom in August 1971, but these got bogged down in reiterating entrenched positions.
Gateway to Inter-Korean Summits
By: Sarah K. Yun (email@example.com)
Winston Churchill coined the term “summit” in the early 1950s to define meetings between leaders of great powers in the Cold War. While summits have allowed needed personal contacts for leaders, they may result in an illusion of mutual understanding. As the Lee Myung-bak administration comes to a close, the issue of a North-South summit has again been raised in light of North Korea’s disclosure of the secret inter-Korea meetings in Beijing, where North Korea alleged that South Korea offered cash in return for a series of summits. With tensions and provocations between the two sides at a new high and South Korea’s demand for an apology for the acts of last year unmet, the leak raises the question of the timing and utility of a summit.
South Korea's FTA strategy
A free trade agreement (FTA) between South Korea and the European Union took effect on July 1. A close look at South Korea's strategy for securing FTAs with EU and the United States -- although the U.S. Congress has not approved the deal -- could give us a fresh perspective for reviewing Taiwan's economic strategy.
In seeking these FTAs, South Korea is aiming to wean itself from its technological reliance on Japan and ease the pressure from China's manufacturing prowess. A more important goal is to make itself a bridgehead for European
[FTA] [Development strategy] [Sandwich]
Korea to Export Military Vessels to India, Indonesia
Korea is expected to sell minesweepers worth US$500 million to India and submarines worth $1-1.2 billion to Indonesia, a government official said on Thursday. They are the country's biggest arms exports so far, exceeding even the $400 million sale of T-50 supersonic trainer jets to Indonesia.
"Outbidding an Italian rival early this year, a Korean firm has been chosen as the priority negotiating partner for India's minesweeper project," a government source said. "The negotiations are in their final stage and the contract will likely be signed as early as August."
India is expected to buy eight minesweepers worth $500 million.
Seoul to build large seedling facilities for NK
Lee Don-koo, Korea Forest Service (KFS) Minister
By Kim Tae-gyu
The Korean government is to build large-sized seedling facilities to help North Korea fight against deforestation, which has accelerated over the past two decades.
Korea Forest Service (KFS) Minister Lee Don-koo made the remarks during a recent interview with The Korea Times to mark the 100th day ahead of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) session to be held here in October.
``By 1996, North Korea lost 1.69 million hectares of forests. Since then, the country has seen additional 1.2 million hectares gone due to reckless logging to sow corn. If we don’t take instant action, the cost to restore the areas would amount to as high as $30 billion,’’ Lee said.
[Unification cost] [Tribute] [Takeover]
Kim Jong-il's Brother 'Under House Arrest in Pyongyang'
Kim Pyong-il North Korean leader Kim Jong-il's half-brother Pyong-il, the North's perpetual ambassador to Poland, is rumored to have been under house arrest since he arrived in Pyongyang in May.
SKorean court reduces sentence of Christian activist who made unauthorized trip to NKorea
Text Size PrintE-mailReprintsBy Associated Press, Published: June 30
SEOUL, South Korea — An appellate court has reduced the sentence of a South Korean pastor who made an unauthorized visit to North Korea.
The court cited the Rev. Han Sang-ryol’s past efforts to ease tension on the peninsula.
.A district court earlier sentenced Han to five years in prison for illegally entering North Korea last year and praising the communist country. Both Han and prosecutors appealed.
[Human rights] [NSL]
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