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KCNA Commentary Accuses S. Korean Chief Executive of Her Reckless Remarks
Pyongyang, May 29 (KCNA) -- The south Korean chief executive is letting loose a spate of reckless remarks against fellow countrymen.
She made no scruple of making such rubbish as "the DPRK cannot succeed in its new strategic line on simultaneously pushing forward economic construction and the building of nuclear force and "it is like a "fresh gambling." Her remarks are part of her mud-slinging aimed at hurting the dignity of its supreme leadership.
She made such remarks as a follow-up of her outbursts calling for "a change" in the DPRK, decrying its line as an "impossible goal" during her U.S junket, not content with talking nonsense that "nukes would not help residents eke out their living."
This is a blatant challenge to the DPRK's great inheritance of its earlier line at a new high stage. What she uttered only betrays her political ignorance and confrontation nature as a sycophant who is unable to shape even a simple strategy for carving out the destiny of the nation.
[NK SK policy] [Park Geun-hye]
N.Korea Says Factory Owners Can Come to Kaesong
North Korea on Tuesday said it is ready for talks to resume business in the Kaesong Industrial Complex if the South Korean factory owners visit.
The North's Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland in a statement said, "South Korean authorities need not worry unnecessarily about the owners' safety. They can send them together with members of the complex management committee if they are still concerned."
The industrial park was effectively shut 50 days ago after the North closed the border amid rising tensions.
Korea Ranked Near Bottom in Quality of Life
Australia has the best quality of life in the OECD, a survey suggests. The Wall Street Journal on Monday reported that the OECD's Better Life index puts Australia on top for the third year running.
The index awards points in 11 categories like housing, income, jobs, education and health. Although the OECD does not announce the overall rankings, the WSJ said, "If each of the 11 categories in the survey is given equal weight, Australia's cumulative ranks rises to No. 1."
Even as advanced countries suffered economic slumps, Australia's economy has managed to grow steadily.
Second was Sweden, followed by Canada, Norway, Switzerland, the U.S., Denmark, the Netherlands, Iceland and the U.K.
Korea ranked near the bottom in all categories except education and public safety. In the area of work-life balance, it ranked fourth from the bottom after Turkey, Mexico and Japan. That means Koreans work too much and rest too little.
Seoul denies civilians permission to visit North Korea
Posted on : May.29,2013 14:41 KST
Outside the office of the emergency committee for normalizing operations at the Kaesong Industrial Complex at the Korea Federation of Small and Medium Business building in Seoul’s Yeouido neighborhood, a committee member talks on the phone while a slogan about the 56th day of the complex’s closure is reflected in the mirror behind him, May 28. (Yonhap News)
S. Korean government insisting that inter-governmental talks must come before any other contact with the North
By Kang Tae-ho, senior staff writer
On May 28, North Korea indicated through the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland (CPRF), an organization it uses to deal with South Korea, that it is willing to officially allow members of the Kaesong Industrial District Management Committee (KIDMAC) and representatives of tenant companies that want to retrieve the completed products at the Kaesong complex to visit the North with guaranteed safety. But the South Korean government has disallowed the visit, insisting that inter-governmental talks must take place first.
Experts pointed out that North Korea’s offer came shortly after special envoy Choe Ryong-hae visited China and said that Pyongyang was willing to resume the six-party talks and other dialogue with countries in the region. Considering this, experts say, the South Korean government should accept the North’s offer and then gradually expand to inter-governmental talks.[Rebuff] [SK NK policy]
CPRK Spokesman Urges S. Korean Authorities to Face Up to Trend of Times
Pyongyang, May 28 (KCNA) -- The south Korean authorities in a statement of the Ministry of Unification and press briefing on Monday totally declined the DPRK's offer for a joint event to mark June 15, saying that "its sincerity is doubtful," "it is to create discord among those in the south" and that "it seeks a political aim".
They also openly declared the stand not to allow south Korean businessmen's visit to the Kaesong Industrial Zone (KIZ), trumpeting about "south-north authorities' dialogue for carrying out of raw and other materials and finished products."
Worse still, they urged the DPRK to control "words and deeds," speaking ill of its due criticism of the reckless remarks made by the Chongwadae chief hurting the dignity of the supreme leadership of the DPRK and its new line on simultaneously pushing forward economic construction and the building of nuclear force.
Old Political Fault Lines on N.Korea, U.S. Disappearing
The traditional lines between progressive Koreans as anti-American and conservatives as anti-North Korean are disappearing, a survey suggests.
The East Asia Institute recently published a poll about attitudes to politics and national security and found that among progressive voters, the proportion of those who are in favor of the Korea-U.S. alliance rose from 29 percent 10 years ago to a whopping 62.4 percent this year. Meanwhile among conservative voters, the proportion who want South Korea to give aid to North Korea rose from 33.9 percent a decade ago to 47.6 percent this year.
Seoul Rejects Pyongyang's Proposal to Celebrate June 15 Declaration
Seoul has indirectly rejected a proposal by Pyongyang asking local civic groups to help it organize a ceremony marking the anniversary of a landmark inter-Korean declaration that was signed 13 years ago. North Korea made the request last week.
The declaration, signed by then-president Kim Dae-jung and former North Korean leader Kim Jong-il after the first inter-Korean summit on June 15, 2000, outlines five main provisions to be implemented by the two sides in hope of a peaceful reunification.
Seoul's Unification Ministry said Monday in a statement that if Pyongyang wants to thaw strained relations, it should first respond to Seoul's request for inter-Korean talks.
The ministry stressed that the North should make an effort to restore trust by reconnecting the military hotline at Kaesong and resolving pending issues at the suspended industrial zone, rather than trying to contact civic groups.
[Rebuff] [SK NK policy]
S. Korean government says “no dialogue for the sake of dialogue”
Posted on : May.28,2013 14:41 KST
Pyongyang had offered non-governmental joint events to commemorate Joint Declaration; Seoul says government contact must come first
By Park Byong-su and Cho Hye-jeong, staff reporters
The South Korean government sent a strong message to North Korea on May 27 declaring that it would make “no concessions.”
In particular, it dismissed recent remarks by North Korean military vice-marshal Choe Ryong-hae referring to “dialogue and negotiation,” arguing that they were lacking in specifics and sincerity. Seoul’s position on the matter is that denuclearization has to come first.
The government also indicated it would not be permitting joint events proposed by Pyongyang through non-government groups to commemorate the signing of the Joint Declaration of June 15, 2000 (signed by Kim Dae-jung and Kim Jong-il), maintaining that dialogue between North and South Korean authorities would have to happen first.
The approach appears to be based on the judgment that the offers were part of a strategy by Pyongyang to foment divisions in South Korea.
[Rebuff] [SK NK policy]
The differences between two presidents’ handling of scandal
Posted on : May.28,2013 14:39 KST
Former pres. Roh swiftly investigated wiretapping allegations; current Pres. Park’s reaction has been different
By Kim Jong-cheol, political correspondent
As a scandal over illegal political involvement engulfs the National Intelligence Service, attention is turning to the differences between the reactions of current President Park Geun-hye and late former President Roh Moo-hyun.
Both were faced with some “mopping up” after their predecessors, but Park’s approach so far has been vastly different from Roh’s.
[Roh Moo-hyun] [NIS]
NK to talk to Gaeseong bizmen
By Chung Min-uck
North Korea invited South Korean businessmen and officials to talk about reopening the joint industrial complex in the North’s border city of Gaeseong Tuesday.
A statement issued by a spokesman for the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea, the North’s body in charge of cross-border affairs with Seoul, said Pyongyang has already approved a plan by South Korean business representatives to visit the industrial complex for its normalization and other purposes.
“We have given permission for the visit and can even discuss the shipment of leftover products at the industrial complex,” it said. “If the South Korean entrepreneurs visit the North, discussions can also be had on the normalization of the complex.”
The North’s committee said it will fully guarantee safe passage of all South Koreans who cross the border for the visit.
“If the South feels uneasy, it can send members of the South Korean Gaeseong Industrial District Management Committee with the businessmen,” the statement said.
However, the Ministry of Unification which handles inter-Korean affairs downplayed the remarks, sticking to its position that government-level talks should be held first.
Talks with N.Korea Must Not Repeat the Cycle of Failure
North Korea has promised China to seek dialogue on its nuclear program, including through a revival of six-party talks that had ended in 2009. Senior apparatchik Choe Ryong-hae met Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday and was quoted by Xinhua news agency as saying North Korea expressed "willingness to open dialogue" with "concerned parties" to "ensure stability on the Korean Peninsula."
But that is no guarantee that North Korea will suddenly stop its belligerent antics that have continued for almost six months now and sit down at the negotiating table. Pyongyang is probably more interested in winning back China's support with these pledges. Choe pointedly said the purpose of his visit to Beijing was to bolster ties between the two countries. He would not have said it if there were no problems in relations.
Letters from 50 POWs in N.Korea Come to Light
Some 50 letters sent by South Korean prisoners of war who still remain in North Korea provide a revealing insight into their plight. The letters, obtained by the Chosun Ilbo, were sent by the survivors to relatives in the South between 2000 to 2005.
They were carried by couriers from North Korea to South Korean activists in China and then passed on. Many were sent from North Hamgyong Province on the northern edge of the reclusive country.
[Editorial] Seoul must be more active in Northeast Asian diplomacy
Posted on : May.27,2013 13:30 KST
The military tensions triggered in Northeast Asia by North Korea’s recent long-range rocket launch and third nuclear test have begun to ease, and diplomatic efforts among relevant countries are picking up. North Korea, the cause of the tensions, dispatched Choe Ryong-hae, vice marshal of the (North) Korean People’s Army to China last week as a special envoy for leader Kim Jong-un. During his visit, Choe met with Chinese President Xi Jinping and indicated that Pyongyang was willing to try addressing the tensions through dialogue and negotiations. North Korea also welcomed Japanese Cabinet Secretariat Advisor Isao Iijima for a recent visit, where it sounded out the possibilities for a third summit meeting with Tokyo. Whatever its aims may be, it’s encouraging to see Pyongyang opting to solve things through dialogue and compromise rather than military provocations.
Korea to buy 20 anti-sub aircraft
By Kang Seung-woo
The Ministry of National Defense has decided to purchase 20 anti-submarine warfare patrol aircraft from 2018 to beef up the Navy’s surveillance capabilities of North Korea’s submarines.
Currently, an aging squadron of 16 P-3C Orions, developed by Lockheed Martin, is operational in the Navy after being introduced to Korea in 1995.
“The Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) is currently working on a plan that is likely to be an overseas purchase program,” an unidentified source told Yonhap News, Sunday.
N.Korea's Military Reshuffles Are a Dangerous Sign
North Korea's hawkish Gen. Kim Kyok-sik has been named army chief, while his predecessor Hyon Yong-chol has apparently been moved to the 5th Corps in the central region. The equally hawkish Kim Yong-chol, the director of the Reconnaissance General Bureau, has apparently been appointed vice army chief.
Kim Kyok-sik was in charge of troops on the western coast during a naval skirmish in November 2009, in March 2010 when the North sank the Navy corvette Cheonan, and when it shelled Yeonpyeong Island later that year.
Former North Korean leader Kim Jong-il was fond of the general's belligerent ways and described him as a "fighter." Intelligence reports after the inauguration of former President Lee Myung-bak warned that Kim Kyok-sik had been appointed to lead a provocation against the South, but Seoul failed to heed the warning.
It cannot afford to repeat that mistake.
Park to Visit China in Late June
President Park Geun-hye will visit China in late June at the invitation of China's President Xi Jinping, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told reporters Thursday.
Hong said the two countries face new opportunities to strengthen bilateral relations. He did not mention a specific date and said merely the two sides are "closely negotiating" the timing.
This is the first time a newly-inaugurated Korean president has chosen China as the destination of her second overseas trip. Until now, Korean presidents have always visited the U.S. first and Japan second.
N.Korea Invites S.Koreans to Mark June 15 Declaration
North Korea has invited a South Korean civic group to help organize a ceremony marking the 13th anniversary of a landmark inter-Korean declaration signed on June 15, 2000.
The declaration, signed by then-president Kim Dae-jung and former North Korean leader Kim Jong-il after the first inter-Korean summit, outlines five main provisions to be implemented by the two sides in hopes of a peaceful reunification.
They include resolving the reunification issue without foreign interference, tackling humanitarian issues like reunions of families separated by the Korean War, and developing trust through economic cooperation.
NK proposes June 15 joint declaration
By Kim Tae-gyu
North Korea invited South Korean civic groups to hold an event at either Gaeseong or Mt. Geumgang next month to celebrate the 13th anniversary of the June 15 South-North Joint Declaration in 2000.
The South Korean committee established to realize the five-point declaration said Thursday that its counterpart in the North made the proposal through fax Wednesday.
The late former President Kim Dae-jung and late North Korean leader Kim Jong-il met in June 2000 and made the landmark declaration that brought about a reconciliatory mood on the Korean Peninsula.
S.Korea Mulls Response to N.Korea's New Rocket Launchers
South Korean military authorities are trying to figure out how to respond to a three-day test of North Korea's new multiple rocket launchers.
The new MRLs are deemed to be more formidable and have a longer range than the 240-mm MRLs currently aimed at the Seoul area
Korea Unveils First Indigenous Utility Helicopter
President Park Geun-hye poses aboard the Surion, Koreas first homegrown utility helicopter, at the Army Aviation School in South Chungcheong Province on Wednesday. /Courtesy of Cheong Wa Dae President Park Geun-hye poses aboard the Surion, Korea's first homegrown utility helicopter, at the Army Aviation School in South Chungcheong Province on Wednesday. /Courtesy of Cheong Wa Dae
Korea's first indigenous utility helicopter, the KUH-1, was finally unveiled to the public on Wednesday at a ceremony held with President Park Geun-hye and other high-ranking officials in attendance, showing the results of a six-year project.
Its development represents a giant leap in domestic aviation technology. Pilots displayed stunt-like flight maneuvers and soldiers demonstrated fast-rope descents, contributing to the festive mood.
Called Surion in Korean, it was developed by Korea Aerospace Industries and the Agency for Defense Development, with some foreign support. Each of its two engines commands over 1,800 horsepower, and the chopper can fly at speeds of up to 272 kph.
Equipped with radar, laser and missile-warning receivers, it has been deemed fit for combat operations.
Pres. Park says no special offers until N. Korea shows signs of change
Posted on : May.23,2013 16:04 KST
President Park Geun-hye (center) give a thumbs-up with pilots at a rollout event for the KUH-1 Surion utility helicopter at the Army Aviation School in Nonsan, South Chungcheong province, May 22. (Blue House photo pool)
Foreign affairs officials preparing for Park’s summit in China, the first to take place before a summit with Japan
By Seok Jin-hwan, Blue House correspondent
President Park Geun-hye said neither Seoul nor Washington would be making “any concessions or offers” on the crisis emerging from North Korea.
Speaking at a rollout event on May 22 for the KUH-1 Surion utility helicopter at the Army Aviation School in Nonsan, South Chungcheong province, Park said Pyongyang has “continued making provocations and threats recently, refusing our offers of dialogue and launching ballistic missiles.”
[Park Geun-hye] [SK NK policy]
Fear Prevails Over Greed: The Kaesong Shutdown
By Alexandre Mansourov
21 May 2013
North Korea’s shutdown of the Kaesong Industrial Complex (KIC) is the culmination of a steady deterioration in inter-Korean relations during the political transition from Kim Jong Il to Kim Jong Un in the North and conservative rule in the South. Pyongyang appears to have decided to close the KIC primarily for internal security concerns and for fear of incrementally losing ground to enemy states in a Munich-like fashion, thereby stoking more appetite for land grab and inadvertently inviting the US-ROK aggression. The North Korean regime’s March declaration that the inter-Korean relationship had collapsed into a state of war provided the rationale for redefining the KIC as a strategic and military liability that exposes the North to the risk of US-ROK humanitarian intervention, as opposed to a political and diplomatic asset that stabilizes cross-border relations or a source of foreign exchange and advanced technology and know-how. In Pyongyang’s deliberations, fear prevailed over greed and chronic internal weakness precipitated external retreat.
Rainy Season Brings Test for Kaesong Complex
It has been 40 days since North Korea ordered all South Korean workers out of the inter-Korean Kaesong Industrial Complex and 15 days since the last South Korean citizens left the industrial park. Seoul has not yet shut off power and water supplies, so it is still possible to resume operations there, but experts say the chance will be lost once the rainy season starts.
"The precision machinery there needs to be oiled continuously since it's extremely vulnerable to rust," said Cho Bong-hyun of the IBK Economic Research Institute. "A lot of it is probably in an irreparable state already and all will become useless if it’s left idling past the rainy season."
The rainy season usually arrives in mid- to late June and lasts for about a month.
The hunt is on for former president Chun Doo-hwan’s concealed assets
Posted on : May.20,2013 15:30 KST
One citizen takes a photo of an image of former president Chun Doo-hwan in Seoul Square on May 17, one day before the anniversary of the May 18 Democratization Movement. The title of the poster was “How should be deal with Chun Doo-hwan’s unpaid debt?” (Newsis)
Chun is believed to be hiding gains from insurrection and bribery, while not paying his debt to the state
By Ko Na-mu, staff reporter
The South Korean state has been very generous with former president Chun Doo-hwan.
According to May 19 accounts from the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office, Chun had an outstanding balance of 167.2 billion won (US$149.6 million) as of May on the 220.5 billion won (US$197.2 million) in penalties imposed on him by a 1997 Supreme Court verdict. Prosecutors have succeeded in getting just 53.2 billion won (US$47.6 million) from him. Chun’s situation contrasts sharply with that of another former president, Roh Tae-woo, who has paid all but 23 billion won (US$20.6 million) or so of his 239.8 billion won (US$214.5 million) in penalties.
[Chun Doo-hwan] [Corruption]
N. Korea offered May 6 as a deadline for Kaesong talks
Posted on : May.20,2013 15:36 KSTModified on : May.20,2013 16:29 KST
Seoul did not disclose N. Korean proposal to maintain idle Kaesong businesses
By Kang Tae-ho, senior staff writer
North Korea gave Seoul until May 6 to submit an opinion for discussions on the Kaesong Industrial Complex.
A document containing this information was faxed recently to tenant companies. The government disputed the sincerity of the request, but questions remain as to why it did not reveal the content of Pyongyang’s offer at the time.
On May 18, a second document in the name of North Korea’s Central Special Zone Development Guidance General Bureau was sent to some of the companies. The two-page text stated that North Korea had told Seoul it was willing to cooperate on the recovery of businesses’ finished products and raw materials, asking for a schedule for concrete discussions and travel plans by May 6.
NK defector policy needs fix
The North’s Korean Central News Agency broadcasts a discussion with defectors who returned to the North, Friday. They mostly said they were tempted to go to South Korea, but the reality was too harsh. Yonhap
By Jun Ji-hye
The government is facing growing calls to overhaul its treatment of North Korean defectors as the number returning to the communist country are reportedly increasing.
The North had treated defectors like betrayers; but it recently changed its approach, using them as propaganda tools.
On Friday, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) aired a discussion with three defectors ? Lee Hyuck-cheol (26), Kim Kyung-ock (41) and Kang Kyung-sook (60) ? who had returned to the North.
“My elder brother who went to the South first told me that he was operating a big company and had several cars. He asked me to follow him, but in reality, he was barely eking out a living in the dormitory of a church. He even asked me to give him a half of my resettlement funds,” said Lee.
Lee went back to the Stalinist state in a fishing boat he stole from Yeonpyeong Island last month.
[Defector] [Refugee reception]
Kaesong businessmen languish, wishing they could get back to work
Posted on : May.18,2013 15:14 KSTModified on : May.18,2013 15:49 KST
Members of the Emergency Committee for Measures to Normalize Operations at the Kaesong Industrial Complex have a meeting calling for government support at the offices of the Korea Federation of Small and Medium Business in Seoul’s Yeouido neighborhood, May 17. They expressed depression and dissatisfaction with the South Korean government, saying, “The South Korean government concealed the fact that North Korea proposed allowing a return to get products and materials at Kaesong”. (Newsis)
Ongoing stalemate at industrial complex leaves tenant businesses in a lurch, wishing the government would find a solution
By Lee Jung-hoon, staff reporter
They had lost their jobs, and as soon as they took their seats, they pulled out cigarettes. All of them said they hadn’t been smoking for the past few years. It was after the North Korean workers were withdrawn from the Kaesong Industrial Complex on Apr. 7 that they picked up the habit again.
The three men are branch heads of clothing companies operating in Kaesong: Park Yong-guk, 50, of Green Fabric; Jang Min-chang, 52, of S&G; and Lee Hyeong-ro, 54, of 9JIT. They had remained at Kaesong as long as they could until Apr. 27, when they had no choice but to return to South Korea. Ten days later, on May 7, they met with the Hankyoreh to talk about their experiences at Kaesong.
[Editorial] Get to the bottom of allegations of N. Korean involvement in democracy movement
Posted on : May.18,2013 15:05 KST
The Gwangju Democratization Movement of 1980 marks its 33rd anniversary this year, but its democracy activists are going through the wringer right now. The government declined to give their iconic "March for the Beloved" official memorial song status, and the conservative Chosun Ilbo and Dong-A Ilbo television stations have made baseless claims calling the events of that year a "riot incited by the North Korean military." The disparagement has been coming online and in print.
At the center of it all are the Chosun Ilbo and Dong-A Ilbo. On their programs "Jang Sung-min's Current Affairs Talk" and "Kim Gwang-hyeon's Balanced Views," they've been bringing out men purported to be former North Korean special forces soldiers to claim that country's military was involved in the events of 1980.
S. Korea deploys Israeli missiles to protect border islands
South Korea has placed Israeli precision-guided missiles capable of striking North Korean coastal artillery on its Yellow Sea border islands, a military official said Sunday.
"Dozens of Spike missiles and their launchers have recently been deployed on Baengnyeong and Yeonpyeong islands," an official for the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said. "They can destroy (North Korea's) underground facilities and can pursue and strike moving targets."
[Military balance] [NLL]
In South Korea, high-profile defector is accused of spying for the North — by his sister
By Chico Harlan,
Sunday, May 19, 9:57 AM E-mail the writer
SEOUL — Earlier this year, one of the most prominent North Korean defectors, Yoo Woo-sung, walked out of his apartment building here and found four South Korean government vehicles waiting for him.
Authorities hauled Yoo away and arrested him on charges of espionage. They had learned of his alleged crime, court documents show, thanks to testimony from his sister, who said Yoo had been sent on a mission by North Korea’s secret police to infiltrate the defector community and pass back information about the people he met.
Yoo, 32, is being held at a detention center on the outskirts of Seoul, his case a reminder of how this peninsula’s messy and sometimes covert conflict has left the South on edge, with people here unsure whom they can trust.
Defectors from the North are increasingly facing the brunt of this suspicion. As more flee to the South — some 25,000 in total, nearly all coming in the past two decades — South Korean analysts and government officials say the North has expanded a program used to sow anxiety and collect information, both by disguising spies as defectors and by pressuring defectors to become spies after they arrive. The South, in turn, has raised its guard about those entering the country, changing its protocol three years ago to allow for lengthier interrogations of arrivals from the North
[Editorial] Simply telling Pyongyang to fix its bad behavior will not build inter-Korean trust
Posted on : May.17,2013 17:11 KST
President Park Geun-hye continues to make aggressive statements as Seoul and Pyongyang face off over the Kaesong Industrial Complex. There is now little hope of a turnaround in the current dispute, and at this rate, things could degenerate even further.
It is certainly dismaying that North Korea rejected a May 14 proposal from the Ministry of Unification for working-level talks. In its refusal the following day, it dismissed the offer as a "cunning ploy." It also pointed to what it characterized as "hostile acts" against it, including military exercises with the US, and said that the "future of the Kaesong Complex and inter-Korean relations hangs on how the leaders in Seoul behave." Pyongyang is wrong to continue tying the complex's fate to other military and political issues. The military exercises it referred to are a reality that will always exist so long as there is a South Korea-US alliance. A more realistic approach would be for it to use a regularly functioning complex as a stepping stone for addressing other issues, rather than shutting it down as part of an attempt to lash out at South Korea and the US.
[Joint US military] [SK NK policy]
Inter-Korean relations not improving under Park’s trust-building process
Posted on : May.17,2013 17:08 KST
To improve ongoing crisis, President Park Geun-hye might need to make more proactive gestures to North Korea
By Gil Yun-hyung, staff reporter
President Park Geun-hye's "trust-building process" for the Korean Peninsula is failing to connect with North Korea.
Much of the failure is due to the thorny political situation caused by North Korea's third nuclear test and closure of the Kaesong Industrial Complex, but Park's impatient approach with Pyongyang might be making the problem worse.
During a May 15 meeting at the Blue House with the heads of political bureaus at various news outlets, Park made a number of statements that were critical of North Korea.
"Have we ever succeeded by making a historic offer to North Korea?" she asked at one point.
She also said the leaders in Pyongyang needed to "behave like gentlemen" on the recovery of finished products and raw materials from companies at the Kaesong Industrial Complex, adding that it was "not right for a responsible government to normalize [the complex's operations] on poor terms."
Seoul did not N. Korean proposal to maintain idle Kaesong businesses
Posted on : May.17,2013 16:51 KST
South Korean government did not publicly acknowledge proposal that could have offered a way to address the Kaesong shutdown
By Kang Tae-ho, senior staff writer and Kim Kyu-won, staff reporter
When the final South Koreans were withdrawn from the Kaesong Industrial Complex on May 3, North Korea said that it would allow South Koreans to visit the complex to maintain the facility and to bring back raw materials, but the South did not accept this proposal. The fact was brought to light in a report by the North Korean state-run wire service Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
A president can’t run from his illegal acts
Posted on : May.17,2013 16:42 KST
Members of civic groups hold a press conference on May 16 in front of former president Chun Doo-hwan’s house in Seoul’s Yeonhui neighborhood. The civic groups are asking for the government to look into Chun’s alleged concealed property assets. Chun is being asked to return 167.2 billion won to the court that he received as bribes while serving as president by October. (by Ryu Woo-jong, staff photographer)
[Chun Doo-hwan] [Corruption]
Round-table Talks Held with Inhabitants upon Their Return Home from South
Pyongyang, May 17 (KCNA) -- Round-table talks with inhabitants of the DPRK were held at the Koryo Compatriots House on Friday upon their return home from south Korea to which they had been taken due to south Korean puppet agents' sinister plots and alluremen t and appeasement.
N.Korea Slams Offer of Talks
North Korea on Wednesday derided South Korea's offer of talks to bring back South Korean goods and materials from the closed Kaesong Industrial Complex as a "crafty ploy."
The response came a day after the Unification Ministry proposed the talks to reduce the damage for the 123 businesses that were forced out of the industrial park.
A spokesperson for the North Korean committee in charge of the industrial complex reminded "the South Korean authorities once again that the prospect of the Kaesong complex and the future direction of bilateral relations depend entirely on their attitude," the official KCNA news agency reported.
"If the south truly intends to normalize operations at the Kaesong complex, it should not talk about dialogue about minor matters like carrying out of goods but opt to settling basic issues and stopping provocative remarks and the confrontation racket" against North Korea.
The North claimed the proposal was aimed at diverting public attention from the molestation scandal involving President Park Geun-hye's ex-spokesman Yoon Chang-jung.
But the spokesperson added the regime is "seriously considering" whether to deal with the Park Geun-hye government.
Prospect of KIZ Depends on Attitude of S. Korea
Pyongyang, May 15 (KCNA) -- The spokesman for the General Bureau for Central Guidance to the Development of the Special Zone gave an answer to a question put by KCNA on Wednesday.
The spokesman accused the south Korean authorities of being so imprudent as to groundlessly take issue with the DPRK, far from paying due attention to the issues as regards the crisis in the Kaesong Industrial Zone (KIZ) and working hard to bring it into normal operation.
This is a crafty ploy to evade the blame for the crisis in KIZ and mislead public opinion, the spokesman said, adding:
Seoul Proposes Kaesong Talks
President Park Geun-hye on Tuesday called for talks with North Korea to discuss bringing South Korean products and raw materials out of the closed Kaesong Industrial Complex.
The Unification Ministry later the same day suggested to North Korea that officials from both sides meet in the border truce village of Panmumjom.
"I hope the Unification Ministry will propose talks with North Korea to bring back products and raw materials left behind at Kaesong as early as possible and reduce the damage for companies," Park said in a Cabinet meeting.
But a Cheong Wa Dae official said the real objective is to engage the North in dialogue. "This is part of her trust-building process of dealing firmly with provocations but always leaving open the door for talks," the official said.
Park recently outlined the strategy in Washington.
Clandestine Video Shows Work in N.Korean Arms Factory
TV Chosun was given clandestine video footage on Monday showing the inside of a heavily-guarded arms factory in North Korea.
The factory in the city of Sinuiju, North Pyongan Province near the border with China, barely stands out among the other structures in its rural surroundings.
But the entrance to the factory bears a large red star, showing it is related to the military.
The rare footage was obtained by evangelical group Caleb Mission, which supports North Korean defectors. "The factory was built to look like an ordinary structure on satellite photos," said Kim Sung-eun, a pastor who heads the mission. "The production lines are underground."
Pres. Park makes questionable mention of DMZ Peace Park
Posted on : May.13,2013 13:41 KST
With inter-Korean relations at a low point, the construction of a Peace Park appears unlikely
By Kim Kyu-won, staff reporter
Government ministries are reviewing the idea of creating a DMZ Peace Park, which South Korean President Park Geun-hye referred to on her trip to the US. But the project is virtually impossible given the current state of inter-Korea relations, so some observers are saying that the ministries’ activities are no more than an attempt to keep the president happy.
“Following the President’s speech before the US Congress, the Unification Ministry and other associated ministries have been reviewing and deliberating this issue,” said Kim Hyung-suk, spokesperson for the Unification Ministry, on May 12. “We believe that this project could become a symbol of peace between the two Koreas.”
“Since past administrations and civic organizations already looked into the idea of a DMZ Peace Park, the government already has a general outline of what it would look like,” Kim added.
“The Ministry of Unification has jurisdiction in this area,” said Kim Min-seok, spokesperson for the Ministry of National Defense. “If they move forward with the project, the Ministry of National Defense will support them.”
When the road that passes through the DMZ and leads to the Kaesong Industrial Complex was constructed, the Ministry of National Defense took charge of removing mines and managing the construction with the permission of the UN Command. It is still in charge of upkeep and maintenance for the road.
However, the government’s review of the DMZ Peace Park is also being criticized as a waste of time. The argument is that, with inter-Korean relations in such a bad state that even operations at the Kaesong Industrial Complex have been suspended, it would be nearly impossible to build the park in the DMZ.
[SK NK policy]
SKorean spies accused of boosting ruling party on Internet chips at agency’s credibility
By Associated Press,
Updated: Monday, May 13, 8:11 PM
SEOUL, South Korea — The scandal shaking up South Korea’s main spy agency is not cloak-and-dagger stuff, but the kind of low-grade trickery anyone with an Internet connection could pull off. And the target was not Seoul’s opaque rival to the north, but the country’s own people.
Internet postings ostensibly from ordinary South Koreans, but actually from National Intelligence Service agents, allegedly boosted President Park Geun-hye while she was running for the job as the ruling party’s nominee. She was reportedly dubbed “the best,” while her opponent, in a play on his name, was called “criminal.”
A police investigation conducted before the December election found no wrongdoing, but now police say at least two agents violated the law and the original investigation is itself being examined.
Say No to War on the Korean Peninsula! For a Lasting Peace in the Northeast Asian Region
By Dr. Kiyul Chung
Global Research, May 10, 2013
On July 27, 1953, Korean War hostilities were ended only temporarily by introducing the fragile Armistice Agreement which was signed by DRPK, China and USA/UN. However, that “temporary cessation” of the deadly military conflicts has not put an end to all hostilities as it was supposed to and as was clearly stated as its intent in the 1953 document. Instead, a situation has continued of the peaceful reunification of Korean peninsula being serially obstructed and with the DPRK put under continual siege and even serial threats of nuclear annihilation by the U.S. since November 1950.
The result has been that critical and scarce resources in both the southern and northern regions of Korea, resources needed to lift millions out of poverty in both the north and south, have been diverted from development into military and defense. This dangerous, unstable and development-damaging situation has been forcibly continued against the will of the great majority of over 80 million Korean populations in north, south and overseas.
[US NK policy] [MISCOM] [US global strategy]
Military officers found to have traveled out of jurisdiction to play golf amid tensions with N.K.
About 10 military officers were found to have played golf in breach of their obligation to remain close to their units in early March when tensions with North Korea were running high, a government official said Sunday.
The Office for Government Policy Coordination looked into who used the 29 military golf courses across the nation March 5-10 after media reports sparked criticism that senior officers played golf at a time when they were supposed to be on alert against North Korean threats.
The probe found about 10 officers, all below general grades, traveled out of their jurisdiction to play golf during the period, officials said. They were referred to the defense ministry and the ministry plans to issue rebukes to the officers, officials said.
The period was when tensions on the Korean Peninsula were rising sharply as North Korea churned out near-daily threats of war, even nuclear attack threats against South Korea and the United States, in anger over their joint military drills in the South.
"Most used golf courses close to their bases, but some have been confirmed to have played golf in areas far away from their bases," a government official said. "We asked the defense ministry to deal with them according to the regulations."
Warrant sought for progressive journalist
By Kang Hyun-kyung
The prosecution Friday sought an arrest warrant for Joo Jin-woo, a progressive journalist of the popular podcast show Nakkomsu, for spreading false information about President Park Geun-hye’s brother.
In an interview with a weekly magazine Sisa-in last year before the presidential election, he was quoted as saying that Park Ji-man could have been involved in the murders of two relatives in September 2011 near Mt. Bukhan in Seoul.
Park’s relative Yong-soo was found dead hanging from a tree near a trail on the mountain and another relative was stabbed to death 3 kilometers away from the scene.
Police concluded that the former killed the latter after a fight over monetary issues, then committed suicide by hanging himself.
Joo questioned the results of the investigation, and further claimed that Park Yong-soo was murdered and that Park Ji-man might have been complicit in this.
President Park’s brother filed a complaint with the prosecution, claiming that the journalist was propagating false rumors about him.
Joo is also being investigated for defaming the late President Park Chung-hee, father of the incumbent President Park.
Joo returned to Seoul in March to be questioned by the prosecution after a months-long stay abroad in the wake of the presidential election last year.
S. Korean Authorities Accused of Threatening to Stop Screening Documentary on Cheonan
Pyongyang, May 10 (KCNA) -- The Secretariat of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea released information bulletin No. 1036 on Friday accusing the south Korean authorities of threatening to stop screening a documentary on the Cheonan warship sinking case.
Recently conscientious film makers of south Korea produced a documentary "Cheonan warship project" which denies the results of investigation made by the puppet regime into the case.
It was presented to the "Jonju international film festival" late in April. It raised a series of conflicting points in the investigation results which asserted the warship was sunk by a torpedo of the north and fully probed the truth of the case, drawing great attention of the public circles.
PROJECT CHEONAN SHIP
Interpreting an event of ROKS Cheonan corvette, torpedoed and sunken by North Korea, this documentary rebuilds the event with a different insight. No one can tell if the investigation of Cheonan has reached compelling conclusion. But the film tells and reveals how unreasonable Korean society is.
The era of zero inter-Korean contact
Posted on : May.10,2013 16:01 KST
With Kaesong’s closure, imaginative solutions are needed to bring lasting peace to the Korean peninsula
By Kim Yeon-chul, Inje University professor
The road is now blocked. All we can do now is stand and sigh on an empty path. We have returned to an era where there is no contact between South and North Korea. It is the first time since the Red Cross talks of 1971 that all contact has been cut off, all hotlines shut down, all exchange halted, all communication severed. It is painful to see a “zero” indicating the amount of human exchange and trade between the two sides. The economic cooperation that began 1989 is now, for all intents and purposes, dead.
[SK NK policy] [Engagement] [Park Geun-hye]
KPA Command in Southwestern Sector of Front Issues Order for Its Units to Make Counterstrike at Enemies
Pyongyang, May 7 (KCNA) -- The Command of the Korean People's Army in the southwestern sector of the front announced the following report on Tuesday:
No sooner had the Key Resolve and Foal Eagle joint military exercises against the DPRK been ended than the U.S. imperialists and the south Korean puppet forces restarted shelling drills targeted against the areas of the north side from the waters off Paekryong and Yonphyong islands in the West Sea of Korea from May 5.
The prevailing situation goes to prove that they are persisting in their premeditated military provocations in a bid to push the present state of war to an actual war.
What matters is that such military provocations are timed to coincide with the U.S.-south Korea joint anti-submarine exercises started in the West Sea of Korea from May 6 and the dangerous U.S.-south Korea joint naval war drill to be staged in the East Sea of Korea from about May 10 even with the super-large nuclear-powered carrier Nimitz involved.
The Command issued the following order to those units under it in view of the prevailing situation:
1. KPA units in the southwestern sector of the front will take immediate counteractions in case even a single shell drops over the territorial waters of our side due to the enemies' provocative shelling in the southwestern waters.
2. In case the enemies recklessly counter our counterstrikes, all striking forces will turn the five islands in the West Sea of Korea into a sea in flames with prompt actions of units of the rocket forces deployed in the southwestern sector of the front.
3. All the units and sub-units under the KPA Command in the southwestern sector of the front will simultaneously start military actions, in line with the operation plan finally ratified by the KPA Supreme Command, by the future order.
[Zero tolerance] [NLL] [Military exercises] [Provocation]
Kaesong Complex Still Gets Minimal Power Supply
South Korea will keep supplying a minimal amount of electricity to the joint-Korean Kaesong Industrial Complex north of the border although all South Korean firms have left, the government said Monday.
Unification Ministry spokesman Kim Hyung-seok told reporters, "We're providing a minimum amount of power for lighting and a water treatment facility." About 3,000 kW of power, about 1/10 of the normal amount, is still being supplied.
In a report to the National Assembly's Foreign Affairs and Unification Committee, Unification Minister Ryoo Kihl-jae said, "Since April 27, we've been supplying electricity [to Kaesong] through distribution rather than transmission lines."
S. Korea to be visited by UN human rights special rapporteur
Posted on : May.7,2013 15:04 KST
Margaret Sekaggya, UN special rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders.
Civic groups now preparing a report on the situation of S. Korea’s human rights defenders
By Um Ji-won, staff reporter
Civic group representatives gathered on May 6, ahead of a visit by a UN special rapporteur who will assess South Korea’s human rights situation.
The participants criticized South Korea’s legal and institutional practices for having repressed and not protecting human rights defenders.
The Sarangbang Group for Human Rights, People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy (PSPD), and around 20 other human rights and civic groups gathered at Zelkova Hall in PSPD’s offices in Seoul’s Tongin neighborhood for a report on the 2013 situation for South Korea’s human rights defenders. The meeting was organized ahead of a scheduled May 29 visit by Margaret Sekaggya, the UN’s special rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders.
Electricity use at Kaesong hums along at bare minimum
Posted on : May.7,2013 14:53 KSTModified on : May.7,2013 14:54 KST
The “Peace” substation at Kaesong Industrial Complex. The substation supplies electricity to the city and complex in Kaesong.
South Korea still supplying enough power to keep the lights on; demand has fallen since the factories shut down
By Kang Tae-ho, senior staff writer and Ha Eo-young, staff reporter
The amount of electricity capacity being supplied to the Kaesong Industrial Complex has fallen to one fifth of the capacity available during normal operations of the complex.
During a work report delivered to the foreign affairs and unification committee at the National Assembly on May 6, Ryoo Kihl-jae, Minister of Unification, was asked whether the supply of electricity had dropped to 10% of capacity. “On Apr. 27, or about 20 days after the factories shut down, we started supplying electricity using the distribution method instead of the transmission method,” Ryoo said. “That supply is sufficient to operate the water purification system and distribution plant that has provided drinking water to the residents of Kaesong city. We did not give the North advance notice that we would be decreasing the supply of electricity.”
“Since the demand for electricity has decreased considerably following the suspension of operations at the Kaesong complex, it was natural for us to reduce the capacity from 100,000kW to 20,000kW,” said a senior Ministry of Unification official.
N.Korea Lays Down Conditions for Reopening of Kaesong Complex
North Korea on Sunday laid out conditions to reopen the Kaesong Industrial Complex, which was left empty when all South Korean staff pulled out after the regime refused to discuss the matter.
Pyongyang said Seoul must "stop all hostile activities and military provocations" if it is "sincerely worried about the fate of [the industrial park] and afraid of stalled inter-Korean relations."
The North cited among these hostilities regular simulation wargames between South Korea and the U.S. planned for the summer.
[Joint US military]
Kaesong companies trying to stay afloat while complex is closed
Posted on : May.6,2013 15:39 KST
Ongoing suspension of operations making business extremely difficult for firms with factories in Kaesong
By Gil Yun-hyung, staff reporter
“You need to keep watching the circuit board as you solder. It’s not an easy job, is it?”
On May 3, the last seven South Koreans left who had been left at the Kaesong Industrial Complex returned to South Korea. On the same day, Koh Byeong-seon, president of Dongwoo Control, one of the companies operating at Kaesong, was at the company’s headquarters in Incheon, watching the production line with eyes bleary from lack of sleep.
Dongwoo Control, a manufacturer of printed circuit board (PCB) controllers that are used in electronic devices such as rice cookers and water heaters, began work at Kaesong at the end of 2007.
Main opposition party's new chief urges dialogue with N. Korea
The new leader of South Korea's main opposition party called for President Park Geun-hye on Saturday to clarify her North Korea policy of "trustpolitik," saying that it's rather vague and may fall short of easing tensions on the Korean Peninsula.
Kim Han-gil, 60, became the new leader of the Democratic Party (DP), which has been previously known as the Democratic United Party, at the leadership election earlier in the day.
"With the only title of 'trustpolitik' proposed by President Park, it is not easy for us to convince North Korea to change its attitude," Kim told reporters after the election.
[SK NK policy]
Last South Koreans leave the Kaesong complex
Posted on : May.4,2013 12:32 KST
The last South Koreans, including complex management committee chairman Hong Yang-ho (second from the left), return from the Kaesong Industrial Complex through Inter-Korean Transit Office, May 3. (by Kim Tae-hyeong, staff photographer)
Joint industrial zone now completely empty for first time in its history; S. Korean government forced to pay N. Korea US$13 million
By Kang Tae-ho, senior staff writer
The last seven South Koreans at the Kaesong Industrial Complex came home on May 3, completing the evacuation that was held up when North Korea prevented them from leaving on Apr. 29 because of unpaid bills and other administrative issues.
The seven, who included five complex management committee members and two KT employees, returned via the Inter-Korean Transit Office on May 3. Around the same time, five people, including committee deputy chairman Kim Ho-nyeon, arrived with two trucks loaded with money, paying off the March wages and taxes demanded by the North before returning home. The payment was made by the South Korean government, as getting money from tenant businesses was judged to be unlikely for the time being.
The seven South Koreans, who included committee chairman Hong Yang-ho, remained at the complex after the evacuation of 43 other workers on Apr. 29. For five days, they held discussions with Pak Chol-su, head of North Korea's Central Special Zone Development Guidance General Bureau, on the payment of unpaid March wages, communications costs, and corporate taxes. North Korea asked for a total of US$13 million: US$7.3 million in March wages for its workers, US$4 million in 2012 corporate taxes, and US$1.7 million for communications, waste disposal, and other expenses. It also sought US$1.2 million in April wages, but put the matter off for future discussion after the South Korean side refused to agree to it.
Police to block defectors from sending pamphlet balloons to N. Korea
Posted on : May.4,2013 12:16 KSTModified on : May.4,2013 12:44 KST
Pyongyang has objected to the balloons, and Seoul now preventing them to avoid further inflaming inter-Korean tensions
By Kang Tae-ho, senior staff writer
Gyeonggi Province police agency and Paju police decided to completely block Fighters for Free North Korea (FFNK), a North Korean defector organization, from launching pamphlet-filled balloons into North Korea from Imjingak near the DMZ on May 4 as they had planned.
The police are planning to mobilize 500 officers on May 4 to prevent members of the defector organization and residents of the area from entering Imjingak starting at 8 in the morning. The Ministry of Unification has also asked the organization to refrain from disseminating pamphlets to North Korea until the Kaesong situation has calmed down, sources say.
[Provocation] [SK NK policy] [Dialback]
N.Korea Flapping About Outstanding Kaesong Payments
North Korea has so far been unable to explain back payments it is demanding from South Korea as firms evacuate the Kaesong Industrial Complex north of the border, Unification Ministry spokesman Kim Hyung-seok said Wednesday.
North Korea kept 43 South Koreans from leaving Kaesong for more than seven hours on Monday, demanding Seoul pay some US$8 million, but was unable to come up with a detailed invoice. Seven South Koreans are being kept back at the inter-Korean industrial park until the money is paid.
North Korean threats repel sports stars from the South
By Jung Min-ho
North Korea’s recent war rhetoric has failed to frighten South Koreans, but seems to be scaring some outsiders, including athletes.
Many international sporting events here have been and are expected to be cancelled as foreign athletes refuse to come to Korea amid tension generated by Pyongyang.
Kazakhstan figure skater Denis Yuryevich Ten recently cancelled a plan to attend the Bolshoi Ice Show, which was scheduled from May 1 to 26 at Seoul’s Mokdong Ice Rink, because of the situation in Korea.
Political parties oppose power cutoff to Gaeseong
By Chung Min-uck
Both ruling and opposition parties Wednesday opposed an immediate cutoff of water and power supplies to the North Korean border city of Gaeseong despite a possible shutdown of the inter-Korean industrial complex there.
Kaesong Debacle Means Hard Times for Inter-Korean Ties
Most of the 50 remaining South Korean workers at the Kaesong Industrial Complex came home late Monday night. They are staff from the committee in charge of operating the industrial park, utility KEPCO, the Korea Water Resources Corporation, the Korea Land and Housing Corporation, telecom provider KT and Woori Bank.
But five members of the management committee and two KT staff are stuck there while the North tries to squeeze every last penny out of the South by seeking payment of back wages and other fees it claims are due.
Why is N. Korea still keeping 7 S. Korean workers at Kaesong?
Posted on : May.1,2013 16:39 KST
After being refused access, a representative of the Corporate Association of Gaesong Complex looks down at the ground on the south side of the Unification Bridge that leads to the Kaesong Industrial Complex from Paju, Gyeonggi Province, Apr. 30. (Yonhap News)
Whether or not the industrial complex can avoid a complete shutdown may indicate the future of inter-Korean relations
By Kim Kyu-won, staff reporter
With South Korea pulling nearly all of its workers out of the Kaesong Industrial Complex, all eyes are turning to the remaining seven and the potential role they might play in inter-Korean relations.
North Korea has not yet allowed them to return, citing practical administrative concerns. But the significance of their continued presence could be greater than that. The South Korean government is watching closely to see what North Korea does next.
The seven South Koreans remaining at the complex as of Apr. 30 were five officials of the South Korean management committee for the complex, including chairman Hong Yang-ho, and two KT employees. The “practical administrative issues” cited in their continued presence involved calculating unpaid March wages and taxes. North Korea is reportedly demanding over US$10 million, a larger amount that the initially stated figure of US$7 million to US$8 million.[Kaesong]
N. Korea warns Seoul not to wreck Kaesong industrial complex
North Korea warned Tuesday that if South Korea moves to shut down a joint industrial complex at the center of new friction between the two sides, it will never be pardoned.
The two Koreas are at loggerheads over how to do with the joint industrial complex in the North's border city of Kaesong whose future has been thrown into doubt after both sides withdrew all of their manpower from the zone.
In a commentary by its government newspaper Minju Joson, North Korea argued that the current trouble being faced by the joint industrial complex must have been premeditated by South Korea.
But it was North Korea that created the trouble for the Kaesong Industrial Complex. The North abruptly withdrew all of its 53,000 workers from the zone on April 9, blaming South Korea for holding joint military exercises with the U.S.
South Korea responded by deciding last week to pull out all of its manpower from the complex. On Tuesday, only seven South Koreans remain there, and they will all be withdrawn as soon as accounting and other outstanding issues are cleared, according to Seoul officials.
In the newspaper commentary, carried by its Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), North Korea accused the Seoul government of trying to cover up its premeditated scheme to scuttle the project by pledging to provide financial assistance to companies in financial strain.
"No one will be fooled by such a poor trick," the commentary said.
Some North Korean watchers in Seoul speculated that while Minju Josun's claim is primarily intended to hold South Korea accountable, it may be a sign that Pyongyang does not want to take the first step to close down the industrial park completely.
S. Korean government to run damage control on Kaesong fallout
Posted on : Apr.30,2013 15:36 KST
A task force will assess companies’ losses and provide compensation
By Park Byong-su, staff reporter
The government launched a joint response team to provide assistance to the companies that had withdrawn from the complex. But with disagreement between government and the businesses about the scale of damages and compensation, the process is not likely to work out smoothly.
The government hosted a meeting of the joint response team, chaired by Kim Dong-yeon, chief of the Prime Minister’s Office, on Apr. 29 at the government office in Seoul. Participants in the meeting discussed a study of losses suffered by the companies at the complex and ways that various government ministries could support the companies.
The South holds the key to Kaesong: water and lights
Posted on : Apr.30,2013 15:13 KST
Electricity towers on the south side of the DMZ that separates North and South Korea and supply power to the Kaesong Industrial Complex, Apr. 29. The last South Korean workers are this week withdrawing from the industrial complex.
The industrial complex relies on running water and electricity provided by the South to keep running
By Gil Yun-hyung, staff reporter
“Water is likely to be one of North Korea’s biggest concerns. If their electricity is cut off, the purifiers stop working, and that would have a direct impact on the lives of residents of Kaesong.”
This was the rather unexpected answer given on Apr. 29 by a Corporate Association of Gaesong Industrial Complex (CAGIC) source as a solution to the current crisis with the complex, which appears in danger of closing down after nine years of operation.
“In the short term, electricity and running water are North Korea’s benchmarks for gauging whether South Korea has any real intentions of keeping the complex going,” the source said.
To date, the complex has used electricity produced in the South by the Korea Electric Power Cooperation (KEPCO) and transmitted to a 100,000-kilowatt on-site substation. Water from the Wolgot Reservoir north of Kaesong is purified at a Korea Water Resources Cooperation plant, which processes 30,000 tons a day for drinking. But the water doesn’t just supply the complex; some Kaesong residents also benefit. Now the question of whether South Korea continues its electric and water services looks to be North Korea’s way of sounding out its intentions with the complex.
Sister of alleged N. Korean spy says she was illegally detained
Posted on : Apr.30,2013 10:41 KST
Allegations brought against NIS that N. Korean woman was coerced into signing a statement about her brother’s activities
By Lee yu-jin, staff reporter
The sister of a North Korean defector accused of espionage while working as an official for the city of Seoul alleged on Apr. 27 that she was compelled to testify after being subjected to abuse and threats while under illegal detention for six months by the National Intelligence Service (NIS).
'We are open to dialogue with NK'
By Chung Min-uck
Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se said Monday the government is still open to dialogue with North Korea despite its series of provocative acts.
North Korea said Monday it would take “final and decisive” action, which many analysts interpret as the complete closure of the Gaesong Industrial Complex.
“We decided to bring back all the remaining personnel in Gaeseong for their protection,” said Yun during a forum in Seoul co-hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the private East Asia Institute. “Nevertheless, the window for dialogue with North Korea is still open.”
[SK NK negotiations]
Park Denounces 'Fickle' N.Korea
President Park Geun-hye on Monday vowed the government will do its best to support the companies who have been forced to abandon the Kaesong Industrial Complex.
Speaking in a meeting with senior Cheong Wa Dae staff, Park said, "The whole world watched on TV as our workers left Kaesong with cars stuffed with their belongings. Who in this world would want to invest in North Korea now when they see mutual agreement burst like a bubble?"
Park also met with two U.S. Congressmen, Steve Chabot, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, and Eni Faleomavaega, a representative from American Samoa. She called North Korea "too unpredictable."
She asked how anyone can do business with a country that does not honor agreements and promises of stable conditions.
Woori Bank Shuts N.Korean Branch
The sole branch of a South Korean bank in North Korea has closed down eight years after it opened. Two remaining South Korean staffers of Woori Bank at the inter-Korean Kaesong Industrial Complex headed back to the South on Monday night carrying around US$100,000 from the bank’s safe.
They were part of 50 South Korean workers who had stayed in the industrial park as the South waited for North Korea to respond to an offer of talks to keep the operations going.
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