ROK and Inter-Korean relations
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Can N.Koreans Topple Their Dictator?
Kang Chol-hwan The North Korean regime is paying close attention to the latest developments in Libya because of the similarities between the Moammar Gadhafi and Kim Jong-il regimes. These include the psychopathic personalities of the dictators, their iron grip on power, and their hoarding of national assets to ensure their survival and buying of loyalty.
North Korea did not worry much about the uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia which led to the ousters of their dictators, but closely monitored the Libyan revolution. When the Libyan rebels were cornered, North Korean state media confidently warned, "Only death awaits traitors to the revolution." It remained silent when Gadhafi was on the run after NATO forces intervened. Following the uprising in Libya, North Korea's National Defense Commission, which protects the Km Jong-il regime, went into emergency mode, while all universities in Pyongyang were closed indefinitely in June.
Kim Jong-il's fate could change if Seoul acts. The 23 million North Koreans need the help of the South to topple their dictator. South Korea's Constitution stipulates that it is its responsibility to protect the lives of all Koreans.
Military Chief Designate Warns N.Korea Over Provocations
South Korea's nominee for chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Jung Seung-jo, pledged strong retaliation against any North Korean provocations. The army general said in a confirmation hearing at the National Assembly on Tuesday that if any enemy attacks the South, he would make sure they pay a heavy price.
Jung said if he had been the chairman of JCS during North Korea's artillery attack on Yeonpyeong Island last year, he would have advised the president to use fighter planes in response.
The general added the right to self-defense should apply not just to the location where the attack started but also against the regime that orders such provocations.
Jung, a former deputy commander of the South Korea-U.S. Combined Forces Command, is to replace the outgoing Gen. Han Min-koo in a reshuffle of top military officials.
Seoul vote to offer hint of Korea’s future
By Christian Oliver in Seoul
Voters cast their ballots for the mayoral elections in Seoul
Millions of people in Seoul are voting in a critical mayoral election on Wednesday that will offer an indication of the political future of Asia’s fourth-biggest economy over the next six years.
Lee to Visit Russia, France Next Week
President Lee Myung-bak visits Russia next Tuesday, followed by a trip to France to attend this year's Cannes G20 summit.
During his two-day stay in St. Petersburg, Lee will meet his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev and discuss economic collaboration and North Korea's nuclear issue.
They are also expected to exchange views on a project that aims at building a pipeline to carry Russian natural gas through North Korea to the South. The project, which has been discussed for about 20 years but never materialized, was agreed in principle by North Korean leader Kim Jong-il and Medvedev on Aug. 24, but resurgent tensions between the two Koreas make it unlikely in the near future.
On Wednesday, Lee flies to France to take part in G20 Summit in Cannes on Nov. 3 to 4.
Lee is expected to deliver a keynote speech at the G20 Business Summit attended by some 200 business bigwigs and leaders of international bodies on corporations' role in overcoming the ongoing crisis.
South Korea changes course on the North: back to the F word
October 19th, 2011 Author: Aidan Foster-Carter, Leeds University
After three and a half years of a hard line with nothing to show for it except worsened inter-Korea relations, Lee Myung-bak is at long last executing a U-turn. Not openly and without fanfare of course; but the signs are clear.
[Easing] [SK NK policy]
Gadhafi's Death Is Bad News for N.Korea
Kim Jong-il (file photo) North Korean leader Kim Jong-il lost another dictator friend when Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi was killed last Thursday. Gadhafi's ouster was the third of its kind this year after former Tunisian president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak were toppled in January and February
N.Korea Misreads the Libyan Situation
North Korea's Foreign Ministry on Tuesday slammed the U.S. military intervention in Libya, calling it an "indiscriminate armed intervention" based on a "deceptive resolution" and used the occasion to once again justify its own nuclear program. "It was fully exposed before the world that Libya's nuclear dismantlement much touted by the U.S. in the past turned out to be a mode of aggression whereby the latter coaxed the former with such sweet words as 'guarantee of security' and 'improvement of relations' to disarm and then swallowed it up by force," a spokesman said. North Korea "was quite right when it took the path of Songun [military first], and the capacity for self-defense built up in this course serves as a valuable deterrent for averting a war and defending peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula."
Military accused of citizen surveillance cover-up
DP committee warns DSC not to downplay hacking into university professor’s email
By Lee Soon-hyuk
Following the revelation that agents belonging to the Defense Security Command (DSC) hacked the email of 48-year-old professor Ki Gwang-seo of Chosun University, claims have emerged that the DSC has formed a committee to play down and cover up the incident. With a string of testimonies emerging from within the military that the DSC fabricated the case and made deceptive reports even to the Cheong Wa Dae (the presidential office in South Korea or Blue House) and the Ministry of National Defense, the scandal seems likely to intensify.
Economic aide's story of Park Chung-hee
By Do Je-hae
The latest book on the late former President Park Chung-hee (1917-1979) titled “The Park Chung-Hee Paradigm” contains intimate stories about the political leader who virtually built modern Korea.
This book is written by one of his close economic aides who served the late President during the height of nation’s economic and industrial transformation in the 1960s-70s. Park rose to power through a military coup on May 16, 1961 and ruled the nation until he was assassinated by the head of the Korean Central Intelligence Agency in 1979.
The author Hwang Byung-tai first met Park in 1964, two years after Park launched his first “five-year economic plan.”
It was and still is uncustomary for a young bureaucrat in his or her 20s to present a briefing to the President, but this is how Hwang came to work as a close aide to Park for 12 years.
Park chaired monthly economic meetings with officials from relevant ministries. It was during one of these meetings that Hwang, then a director at the Economic Planning Board, was instructed by his boss to present the state of foreign investment projects.
His boss was the late Chang Key-young (1916-1977), founder of The Hankook Ilbo and The Korea Times. As minister of the Economic Planning Board at the time, Chang was also the deputy premier.
Koreas react differently to Gadhafi's death
The two Koreas on Friday showed differing responses to the death of former Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, with the South welcoming the historical transition while the North's state media remained silent.
In a statement issued by Seoul's foreign ministry, South Korea said it "welcomes the Libyan people's historical transition from a gloomy old era" following Thursday's killing of the 69-year-old former leader in his hometown of Sirte.
Who Are the S.Koreans Who Praise the N.Korean Regime?
Some 70 South Koreans have been investigated by police for creating websites praising North Korea, which is against the law in the South. They range from a veteran passenger plane pilot who makes a six-figure annual salary to a worker at the Military Manpower Administration, lawyers and teachers. Who are these people who ignore evidence of massive incompetence, state brutality and inveterate belligerence in North Korea to declare their loyalty to the hereditary regime?
[Editorial] Dangers of rewriting history for our children
The Lee Myung-bak administration’s goals in pushing revisions to history textbooks have become apparent. The new middle school textbook writing standards released a few days ago omit the “critical approach to dictatorial rule during the Rhee Syng-man and Park Chung-hee administrations” demanded by the previous standards, stipulating only “an account of the development process of liberal democracy.” This is an attempt to sanitize the autocratic practices of the two administrations into the “development of liberal democracy.”
Fighter Jets 'Could Respond to N.Korean Provocation'
South Korean fighter jets could fly into North Korea if the North launches another military provocation, Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin said Wednesday.
Answering a question from Grand National Party lawmaker Kim Jung-hoon whether it is possible for South Korean fighter jets to strike North Korean military positions across the military demarcation line if the North shells South Korean territory again as it did last year, Kim said there is “no problem” with that idea.
Kim earlier said the South "can strike not only the sources of provocation but their backup" if the North provokes again.
A Defense Ministry official later tried to soothe ruffled feathers by claiming Kim meant "to clarify the principle of responding resolutely to the North's provocation, rather than talking about any concrete operational plan."
A military officer said, "This is a matter we need to consider carefully. If the North provokes again, we could launch a precision strike at the source of the provocation with fighter jets or missiles from areas south of the military demarcation line. But fighter jets might be shot down if they fly into North Korean airspace before the enemy's anti-air defense is neutralized."
Series documents first interviews with Park Chung-hee’s assassin
The Hankyoreh explores ‘Testimony on the Park Chung-hee Era’ in previously unreleased recordings
By Kim Kyung-ae, Senior Staff Writer
Kim Jae-kyu: “You know martial law was declared in Busan this September.”
(When the Busan-Masan Uprising erupted on Oct. 16, 1979, the Park Chung-hee administration declared emergency martial law on Busan as of midnight Oct. 18)
Attorney: “That’s right.”
Kim: “I ate with the president after that. There were some remarks about the Liberal Party. Home Minister Choi In-kyu [of Syng-man Rhee’s government] had given the order to fire.”
A: “He killed them all.”
Kim: “He said, ‘I do not do those sorts of things. I do things myself. That way, everything is fine when I am no longer president. Are they going to force me to step down?’ He was that kind of person, uncompromising.”
A: “Oh? He said he would give the order to fire?”
Kim: “[He said,] ‘I am giving the order myself.’”
A: “Park Chung-hee [said that]?”
N.Korea in Frantic Preparation for 2012 Celebrations
Agency Several North Korean spies have been arrested for plotting to assassinate South Koreans involved in anti-North Korean campaigns, National Intelligence Service Director Won Sei-hoon told a National Assembly audit Tuesday.
Hwang Jin-ha, a Grand National Party lawmaker and member of the National Assembly’s Intelligence Committee, quoted Won as adding in the closed-door session that security for the potential victims has been increased.
Won also revealed that in North Korean military exercises in June, the ground forces focused on simulating attacks on South Korea, and the navy concentrated on sea infiltration, while the Air Force trained to conquer frontline islands in the northwest of South Korea using fighter jets and helicopters.
[Buildup][Military exercises] [KIS2012]
Korea Sees Future in War Drones
Korea is keen to enter the international race to build war drones or unmanned aerial vehicles. UAVs are either remote-controlled or self-steered and have made headlines when the U.S. used them to attack suspected terrorists in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
There are estimates that UAVs will account for about half of the fighter aircraft around the world by 2030 or so.
KAI is also developing an unmanned attack aircraft with Hanyang University and Konkuk University that can carry bombs and attack North Korean artillery or coastal batteries hidden behind mountains.
[UAV] [Military balance] [Arms sales]
Pilot under probe for pro-N. Korea activities
A local pilot with a South Korean passenger airline is under police investigation on suspicion of uploading pro-North Korean materials on the Internet in breach of the National Security Law, police said Wednesday.
The 44-year-old plane captain surnamed Kim posted about 60 articles or video clips that extol or propagandize the virtues of the communist country on his website, the National Police Agency said.
Kim has been barred from leaving the country following the launch of the investigation. His airline, after being notified of the probe, suspended him from flying on fear that he would fly northward to defect to the communist country, the police noted.
Kim's posting of pro-North content, some of which was produced in the North, goes against the anti-North Korea law that prohibits issuing or possessing such materials, the police also noted.
W5,000 Compensation Shows Contempt for the War Dead
A woman whose brother died fighting in the 1950-53 Korean War has been told by the Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs she will get just W5,000 (US$1=W1,142) in government compensation. The woman, identified only by her surname Kim, found out only a few years ago that her older brother had died in the war and applied for compensation three years ago. The paltry compensation became known after a panel of judges at the Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission ruled that the payment was unjust and told the ministry to reconsider.
Arab Spring Inspires N.Korean Artist to Defect
A North Korean artist who was sent to work in Egypt reportedly defected to the South Korean Embassy there after experiencing the Arab Spring that swept across the Middle East early this year. A government official on Monday said the artist (38) from Pyongyang sought refuge in the embassy in Cairo on Oct. 8 and is now in South Korea.
In mayoral polling, bipartisan agreement over close race
Analysts say a host of factors are impacting current polls, leaving voter turnout as a decisive factor
By Song Chae Kyung-hwa
Analyses on future trends in public opinion on the Seoul mayoral race are varied, with polls showing Grand National Party (GNP) candidate Na Kyung-won leading opposition candidate Park Won-soon by as much as 5.5 percentage points over last weekend.
Kyung Hee University Political Science Professor Kim Min-jeon said, “South Korean voters tend not to talk about it when they do not support the ruling party, so there have always been hidden opposition votes in the opinion polls.”
“The hidden votes may be fewer than we saw with the last local elections because it is late in the administration’s term, but they are still there, and we should not rush to predict the election outcome based on the current results,” Kim added.
South Korea’s young people are wary of unification
By Chico Harlan, Published: October 17
SEOUL — Younger South Koreans are increasingly second-guessing a national goal. They don’t think an eventual unification with North Korea will restore order and salve old wounds; they think it will turn a prosperous country into a chaotic one. More than half of those in their teens and 20s don’t even think unification is necessary — though they’re taught to believe as much starting in fifth grade.
For those who remember the Korean War and its aftermath, the Korean Peninsula’s split is untenable. “I will never accept it as a permanent condition,” President Lee Myung-bak, whose brother and sister were killed in the war, said last week in an address to the U.S. Congress.
[Unification] [Public opinion]
N.Korea Condemns S.Korea's Unification Broadcasts
North Korea has called on South Korea to halt its broadcasts on unification, saying they are insulting and provocative. North Korea's government-run news agency KCNA, in an article Friday, denounced the South's Unification Ministry for launching broadcasts, which it said were meant to tarnish the communist country. The article quoted the North Korean committee which handles inter-Korean affairs as calling the move a grave provocation.
South Korea's Unification Ministry, which is in charge of relations with North Korea, recently launched weekly television broadcasts and daily online radio broadcasts to try to raise public awareness on potential unification with North Korea.
N.Korea Moves Arms Closer to Border
North Korea has recently moved fighter jets near the Northern Limit Line, the de facto maritime border, and ground-to-air missiles close to Baeknyeong Island. There is speculation that it plans a minor provocation while South Korean president Lee Myung-bak visits the U.S. since any show of unity between the two allies tends to incense the North.
"The North Korean military was seen moving mobile missile launchers at a ground-to-ship missile base near the NLL," a government source said. "There's likelihood that the North will launch a military provocation" while Lee is away.
The government is closely watching movements of North Korean artillery units.
An intelligence source said, "The North Korean Army is showing movements similar to those seen right before it shelled Yeonpyeong Island last year."
Lee was quoted by a source as saying prior to his departure for Washington, "If the North launches a provocation during a Seoul-Washington summit, it will become an international issue rather than a domestic one." He instructed the military to "strongly respond" if the North does.
228 fall victim to landmines since Korean War
By Kim Rahn
Kim, now 56, accidently stepped on a landmine while out with his sisters on a mountain near his home in Gangwon Province when he was in the fourth grade.
He lost his sight in one eye and had his left hand blown off. Additionally both his legs were dislocated. To make matters worse he failed to receive the appropriate emergency treatment.
Kim is one of many people who have been killed or injured by landmines left over from the Korean War (1950-1953).
Indonesia to Buy Korean Submarines
Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering has been awarded exclusive negotiator status to sign a W1 trillion export contract for diesel submarines with the Indonesian Defense Ministry and Navy, the company said Monday (US$1=W1,170).
Korea was in competition with Russian, French and German firms. It became a priority negotiator alongside a French company in June.
The winning bidder will build three 1,400-ton subs worth W1.2 trillion, making it Korea's single biggest arms export.
Korea will join the group of submarine exporters only 20 years after it took over submarine technology from Germany.
Only four countries -- Russia, Germany, France, and China -- export diesel subs. The U.S. and Japan build them for their own use.
According to market researcher ICD Research, a total of 154 subs worth $180 billion are expected to be built around the world over the next decade, including some 100 diesel subs.
[Arms sales] [Double standards]
Korea to make $1.1 bil. sub sale to Indonesia
1,300-ton, Type-209 submarine
By Jung Sung-ki
Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME) has begun final-phase negotiations with the Indonesian government over the construction and sale of three 1,300-ton, Type-209 submarines valued at $1.1 billion, the company said Tuesday.
Korea’s biggest arms sale is expected to be completed by November.
Previously, a $400 million deal with Indonesia to sell 16 T-50 Golden Eagle supersonic trainer jets, jointly built by Korea Aerospace Industries and Lockheed Martin of the United States, was the biggest weapons sale.
[Arms sales] [Double standards] [Military balance] [Missiles]
Scholar urges Lee to continue 'bad cop' role with NK
By Sunny Lee
BEIJING — The Lee Myung-bak administration should refrain from launching any major new initiative on North Korea as the President’s term nears its end. Lee’s tough policy on Pyongyang has its own merits and he is advised to exit his presidency keeping policy continuity and allow the next occupant of the presidential office to make a switch, if any, said a well-known Korea expert.
“We know the good cop, bad cop story. Lee has been playing a bad cop role with North Korea. A bad cop also has its own merits,” said Shin Gi-wook, director of the Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center at Stanford University.
[SK NK policy] [Lee Myung-bak] [China NK]
KBS to Make Documentary About Kim Jong-il
KBS will produce a three-part biographical documentary about North Korean leader Kim Jong-il and air it late this year. "It's one of global programs we planned early this year," a KBS spokesman said.
New Nuclear Envoy Attended Talks with N.Korea in Beijing
Wi Sung-lac (left) and Lim Sung-nam Lim Sung-nam, who has been appointed top negotiator to the six-party nuclear talks, attended denuclearization talks with North Korea in Beijing last month along with his predecessor Wi Sung-lac, it emerged Wednesday.
A government source said, “Due to the importance of the issue, Lim attended the meeting as an observer."
SKorea refuses to send back 2 NKoreans found in southern waters, citing their desire to defect
( no / Associated Press ) - North Korean defectors are escorted by South Korean officers upon their arrival at Incheon International Airport in Incheon, west of Seoul South Korea, Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2011. Nine North Koreans who defected to Japan arrived in South Korea for resettlement.
CAPTIONFULLSCREEN Text Size PrintE-mailReprintsBy Associated Press, Thursday, October 6, 4:42 AM
SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea refused Thursday to hand over two North Koreans found on a small wooden boat in southern waters, a development expected to draw an angry response from North Korea.
The two North Korean men were spotted by South Korea’s navy just south of the Koreas’ eastern sea border earlier this week, and Pyongyang has demanded their return.
..More than 21,000 North Koreans have fled to South Korea since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War, with defections surging in recent years amid economic hardship in the North.
Defections are a sore point in relations between the divided Koreas; South Korea accepts those who choose to defect and repatriates those who wish to return home. But the North often claims that its citizens are held against their will in the South and that South Korean officials pressure them to defect.
Lee Buys Retirement Plot in Southern Seoul
President Lee Myung-bak will live in Naegok-dong, Seocho district in southern Seoul after he steps down from office, instead of returning to his old home in Nonhyeon-dong, Gangnam. Cheong Wa Dae said Sunday. Lee bought the 462 sq.m plot in his son's name.
[Editorial] President’s retirement residence riddled in illegalities
» Construction is in progress for the post-retirement residence for President Lee Myung-bak. (Photo by Kim Bong-gyu)
Controversy has been stirred by the revelation that President Lee Myung-bak is building a private residence to live in after his term in office, in the Naegok neighborhood of Seoul’s Seocho district, in the name of his son, Lee Si-hyung. The Cheong Wa Dae (the presidential office in South Korea or Blue House) scrambled to provide explanations yesterday afternoon, but this did nothing to decrease suspicions. On the contrary, the incident provides a graphic illustration of the extent to which the Cheong Wa Dae’s working methods are riddled with opportunism and deception.
'Seoul to stay course on NK policy'
By Kim Young-jin
The Lee Myung-bak administration will not veer from its principles-based approach to North Korea even as it searches for ways to bring the communist state back to the negotiating table, the head of a state-run unification think tank said Thursday.
The forecast by Kim Tae-woo, the recently-appointed president of the Korea Institute for National Unification (KINU), comes amid vigorous public discussion over Lee’s policy as it explores ways to be “flexible” toward Pyongyang amid a recent warming trend.
[SK NK policy]
Ex-vice unification minister to head Kaesong park committee
A former vice unification minister has been named to lead a committee that oversees the inter-Korean joint industrial complex in North Korea, a unification ministry official said Monday.
Hong Yang-ho, who served as Seoul's No. 2 point man on North Korea from 2008 to 2010, is scheduled to take office as the chairman of the Kaesong Industrial District Management Committee in the North's western border city of Kaesong, the official said.
The joint committee is composed of some 50 South Korean civilians and eight North Korean officials.
The factory park has become the last-remaining symbol of inter-Korean rapprochement that has boomed following their first-ever summit in 2000.
More than 47,000 North Koreans work at about 120 South Korean firms operating in the industrial zone to produce clothes, utensils, watches and other goods. The project serves as a key legitimate cash cow for the impoverished communist country. (Yonhap)
N. Korea warns over anti-Pyongyang leaflets
North Korea warned on Saturday it could take physical action against South Korea in response to the South's "ceaseless provocative war moves."
The (North) Korean Central News Agency, Pyongyang's state-run media, said the Korean Peninsula was at "the crossroads of dialogue or confrontation and peace or war." It accused South Korea of intruding into North Korean waters in the Yellow Sea and of sending anti-North Korea propaganda leaflets across the border.
"In September alone, more than 80 warships of the South Korean navy intruded into the waters of the North side in the sea, while anti-communist right-wing conservative organizations scattered a lot of leaflets and undesirable USBs and pamphlets into areas of the north side (of the border)," the KCNA said in an English-language dispatch.
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