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Priest could face National Security Law over comments
Posted on : Nov.27,2013 16:22 KST
Legal experts says Park Chang-sin’s comments are not likely enough for him to be convicted according to NSL
By Kim Won-chul, staff reporter and Park Im-geun, North Jeolla correspondent
Conservative organizations are rushing to lodge complaints against Catholic priest Park Chang-shin for violating the National Security Law through comments he made about North Korea’s 2010 shelling of Yeonpyeong Island in a special mass held by the Jeonju diocese of the Catholic Priests’ Association for Justice (CPAJ). It appears that the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office will soon decide which local office of the prosecutors will handle the case.
Many legal professionals believe that it will not be easy to substantiate the charges based only on Park’s comments. Nevertheless, the prosecutors are likely to follow the wishes of President Park Geun-hye, who came forward to say that she will not “tolerate behavior that hurts the public’s trust or divides people.”
On Nov. 26, the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office discussed where to assign Park Shin-Chang’s case, since complaints have been lodged at their offices, the Seoul Central Prosecutors Office, and the Gunsan branch of the Jeonju Prosecutors‘ Office. “We were planning to assign the case today, but we received another complaint from a conservative organization late in the afternoon, so the decision was delayed,” said a source at the Supreme Prosecutors Office who spoke on condition of anonymity. “We might get more complaints in the future, so we will assign them all at once after waiting a little longer.”
Korea to purchase 4 airborne tankers
By Kang Seung-woo
Korea will purchase four in-flight refueling tankers from 2017, the nation’s arms procurement agency said Wednesday.
The decision comes amid the growing importance of improved airborne operations due to China’s self-declared controversial Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ).
According to the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA), the military decision-making committee, chaired by Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin, decided to import four aerial refueling tankers
[Military balance] [China confrontation]
Park administration’s prickly reaction to priest’s comments
Posted on : Nov.26,2013 16:13 KST
Members of the Korean Victims of Agent Orange Veterans’ Association Jeolla Province chapter tussle with police during a press conference outside of Susongdong Cathedral in Gunsan, North Jeolla Province denouncing comments made about North Korea by Father Park Chang-shin during a special mass held by the Jeonju diocese of the Catholic Priests’ Association for Justice, Nov. 25. 12 other conservative groups were present on that day. (Yonhap News)
Ruling party avoiding calls for president to step down and honing in on priest’s N. Korea remarks
By Seok Jin-hwan, Blue House correspondent, Kim Su-heon and Cho Hye-jeong, staff reporters
Key figures in the government and ruling party - including President Park Geun-hye, Prime Minister Chung Hong-won, and Saenuri Party leaders - unleashed a barrage of criticism on Nov. 25 in response to comments made on Nov. 22 by priest Park Chang-shin. During a special mass calling for Park’s resignation held by the Jeonju diocese of the Catholic Priests’ Association for Justice (CPAJ), Father Park Chang-shin mentioned North Korea’s shelling of Yeonpyeong Island.
During her morning meeting with Blue House secretaries, President Park referred to Father Park’s comments. “There have been a lot of activities that are stirring up confusion and divisions,” the president said. “Do not intend to tolerate behavior that hurts the public’s trust and divides people.” Park had previously brought up the fact that Nov. 23 was the third anniversary of North Korea’s provocative shelling of Yeonpyeong Island.
[Park Geun-hye] [North wind]
[Editorial] Government shouldn’t miss priest’s message of criticism
Posted on : Nov.25,2013 15:28 KST
Controversy is spreading about the special mass held by the Jeonju diocese of the Catholic Priests’ Association for Justice (CPAJ), at which priests called for the resignation of President Park Geun-hye. The Blue House and the Saenuri Party (NFP) have gone on the offensive in regard to comments about the Northern Limit Line (NLL) and the 2010 sinking of the Cheonan warship that were made in a sermon during the mass.
It is true that there was ample room for misunderstanding in the comments made by Father Park Chang-shin in regard to the NLL. Nevertheless, this is no excuse for the Blue House and the ruling party to embark on a full-scale witchhunt for pro-North Korea sympathizers. After all, that would not change the fact that government agencies broke the law by interfering in the presidential election.
“What is North Korea supposed to do if the US and South Korea continue their military drills around the NLL, which is disputed territory? Of course they’re going to shoot. That was what the Yeonpyeong Island shelling was all about,” Park Chang-shin said in his homily during the special mass on Nov. 22.
[Religion] [NLL] [Provocation] [Park Geun-hye]
[Editorial] President should respond sternly to state interference, not priest’s comments
Posted on : Nov.26,2013 16:09 KST
President Park Geun-hye has made it clear that she plans to respond sternly to comments made during a recent special mass calling for her resignation held by the Jeonju diocese of the Catholic Priests’ Association for Justice (CPAJ). Speaking about “a lot of activities that are stirring up confusion and divisions” during a Nov. 25 meeting of senior Blue House secretaries, Park said that she and the rest of the administration “do not intend to tolerate behavior that hurts the public’s trust and divides people.” Her remarks seems to have been directed at comments by veteran priest Park Chang-shin, who gave a sermon on Nov. 22 at the mass urging Park to resign.
[Park Geun-hye] [Park Chung-hee] [NIS]
CPAJ's anarchic stance joined by Buddhists, Christians
Korea's buddhism and christian authoritative groups announced they will accompany the anti-government movement raised by Jeonju diocese of the Catholic Priests’ Association for Justice on last Friday.
By Ko Dong-hwan
The heated stand-off between President Park Geun-hye and Jeonju diocese of the Catholic Priests’ Association for Justice (CPAJ) is going onto a fiercer round as authorities representing Buddhists and Christians decided to side with the Catholics, sources reported on Tuesday.
Liberal Buddhism cult Lotus World, a branch of the JoGye Order of Korean Buddhism, announced on Monday it will hold a special congregation at noon Thursday at Seoul JoGye Temple to call for repentance and validated pursuit of democracy by the Park’s administration.
The congregation’s demands made to the government will target issues including the government’s alleged interference with the 2012 presidential election, the ongoing ideological conflicts spurred by Park’s administration, growing destitution among citizens, and a more active role of the government in resolving North Korean issues.
[Park Geun-hye] [Democracy] [Religion]
Priest under probe for pro-NK call
By Kim Tae-gyu
The prosecution has launched an investigation into a “progressive” priest whose “pro-North remarks” during a mass last week ignited uproar from the government, the ruling party and conservative civic groups.
The prosecutors’ office in Gunsan, North Jeolla Province said Tuesday that it will question Father Park Chang-shin, who is accused of making pro-North Korea comments in a sermon that justified the belligerent regime’s provocations.
[Park Geun-hye] [Cheonan] [Coverup] [Yeonpyeong] [Provocation]
Catholic mass deepens confrontation
By Jun Ji-hye
A mass organized by members of a Catholic community here calling for President Park Geun-hye’s resignation is aggravating confrontation between rival political parties.
The Catholic Priests’ Association for Justice (CPAJ) held the mass Friday, and called on Park to step down and for her predecessor, Lee Myung-bak, to be arrested, to take responsibility for the National Intelligence Service’s (NIS) alleged meddling in the 2012 presidential election.
Ambassadors pitch 'New World' wine
Argentine Ambassador Jorge Roballo, left, speaks with an official from an Argentine winery during the wine-tasting event held at Banyan Tree Hotel in Seoul, Monday. / Korea Times
Envoys from non-traditional wine-growing countries have gotten aggressive recently trying to attract Korean consumers as wine consumption here is on the rise following a brief sales slump in 2009.
Ambassadors from Argentina and Georgia have been especially active in trying to turn Korean consumers’ attention to so-called “New World” wines.
In a speech at a wine-tasting event at Banyan Tree Hotel in Seoul, Monday, Argentine Ambassador Jorge Roballo claimed that Malbec wine from Argentina has “conquered” the European and North American markets.
Yongusil 19: Gleason, Draudt, and Denney and “New World Disorder” at the Asan Institute
By Sino-NK | November 25, 2013
The front cover to the Plenum 2013 proceedings. | Image: Sino-NK
Since its foundation in early 2008, the Asan Institute for Policy Studies has grown from a small think tank tucked away peacefully atop a sleepy hill near Gwanghwamun to the fifth most influential think tank in East Asia. Institutionally it is structured like other American think tanks; the difference is in the “ecosystem.” Whereas American think tanks compete with each other for funding, personnel, and prestige,Asan is in a league of its own: Korea has no think-tank ecosystem, nor does it really have think tanks—the Sejong Institute lacks depth and the Korean Development Institute (KDI) is still a government institution. Thus, with a patron in Saenuri assemblyman and Hyundai Heavy Industry CEO Chung Mong-joon, Asan goes about its operations largely free of both financial constraints and domestic competition.
With its unique position, ambitious mandate, and reliable financial support, Asan runs a vigorous public relations campaign. There area multitude of means by which it engages the public: book launches, networking lunches, special lecture series, forums, and plenums. Of these events, “Asan Plenum” is the biggest, and arguably has the most impact. With one such plenum per year, Asan brings together scholars, practitioners, and students from across the globe to talk about a range of issues. Under the ominous theme of “New World Disorder,” Asan 2013 Plenum covered a breadth of (disorderly) issues, from human security in North Korea to Asian capitalism post-2008 financial crisis.
NIS accused of massive pre-poll tweeting
Rep. Kim Han-gil, fourth from left, chairman of the main opposition Democratic Party (DP), together with other DP members, marches down the street from Seoul Plaza to Gwanghwamun Square, Thursday, to criticize the National Intelligence Service (NIS) accused of posting more than 1.2 million Twitter comments to exert influence in the 2012 presidential election. The party called for an immediate launch of a special probe into the NIS election meddling scandal. / Yonhap
By Jun Ji-hye
Prosecutors said Thursday that National Intelligence Service (NIS) agents posted more than 1.2 million Twitter comments during a smear campaign targeting opposition candidates in the run-up to last year’s presidential election.
Among the comments, approximately 640,000 were directly related to the election, while 560,000 were about sensitive political issues.
Based on the findings, prosecutors requested the Seoul Central District Court to allow them to modify an indictment against former NIS director Won Sei-hoon.
Writer sparks dispute over Cheonan
By Chung Min-uck
Novelist Lee Oi-soo
A writer’s lecture delivered to the 2nd Fleet Command at the Pyeongtaek Navy Station, Gyeonggi Province, is causing controversy because he previously claimed that North Korea was not involved in the 2010 sinking of the naval vessel Cheonan.
The lecture was videotaped recently and is to be broadcast on an MBC TV program.
The government concluded that North Korea was responsible for sinking South Korea’s naval corvette, Cheonan, resulting in the deaths of 46 sailors.
But novelist Lee Oi-soo later dismissed the findings of the official investigation describing it as a work of fiction fabricated by the government.
Catholic priests call for Pres. Park to resign
Posted on : Nov.23,2013 14:34 KST
Priests and laypeople from the Jeonju diocese of the Catholic Priests‘ Association for Justice (CPAJ) marched after a special mass on the evening of Nov. 22 to hold a candlelight vigil in front of a Lotte Mart in Gunsan, North Jeolla Province. (by Kim Bong-gyu, staff photographer)
Interference in last December’s presidential election and highhanded response prompt calls for Park’s resignation
By Park Im-geun, North Jello correspondent, Jung Dae-ha, Gwangju correspondent, Kim Kwang-soo, Busan correspondent and Choi Sang-won, South Gyeongsang correspondent
Priests from the Jeonju diocese of the Catholic Priests' Association for Justice (CPAJ) held a special mass on the evening of Nov. 22 at the Susong Cathedral in Gunsan, North Jeolla Province. At the mass, the priests declared that the presidential election was illegal and rigged because of the interference by the National Intelligence Service (NIS) and other state institutions. The priests also called on President Park Geun-hye to resign.
Up to this point, Catholic priests and laypeople in dioceses around the country had held special masses at which they presented statements and asked for Park to apologize and punish the those responsible for the election interference, but this is the first time since she took office that priests have explicitly demanded that she step down.
[Reporter’s column] The government’s uncalled for slander of a political party
Posted on : Nov.23,2013 14:49 KST
A ministry spokesperson’s comments on a political party sound like the kind of bluster N. Korea resorts to during times of high tension
By Choi Hyun-june, staff reporter
At the briefing room on the third floor of the Seoul Central Government Complex, at around 10:30 am on Nov. 22, Unification Ministry spokesperson Kim Ui-do was reading out a statement, a message to North Korea about anti-government agitation in the South and the detention of South Korean citizens. Along the way, he said something quite odd.
“North Korea has been misrepresenting even people who deny South Korea’s Constitutional order as ‘forces for democracy,’” Kim said. “In doing this, it is basically admitting that it has been manipulating a particular group here.”
The “people who deny the Constitutional order” was a reference to the Unified Progressive Party (UPP), which the administration in Seoul submitted a disbandment request to the Constitutional Court for last month. When journalists asked Kim if he was talking about the UPP, he replied, “North Korea called them ‘forces for democracy,’ and there’s already been a request to the Constitutional Court for a hearing to disband them.”
Survey shows a third of young S. Koreans negative on unification
SEOUL, Nov. 19 (Yonhap) -- A third of young South Koreans are negative on possible unification with North Korea, a poll showed Tuesday.
The survey of 814 adults and 105 security and foreign affairs experts released by Hyundai Research Institute found that 31.6 percent of the respondents in their 20s said they don't need unification with North Korea.
It also showed that 22.6 percent of the respondents in their 30s said they are not in favor of unification.
Still, it showed that 78 percent of the 814 ordinary adults and 98.1 percent of the security experts that they shared the need to unify with North Korea.
The 9th Hankyoreh-Busan International Symposium’s first day of discussion
Posted on : Nov.21,2013 14:59 KST
The first session of a discussion on “the new type of US/China great power relationship and peace in Northeast Asia” as part of the 9th Hankyoreh-Busan International Symposium opened at Nurimaru APEC House in Busan’s Haeundae district, Nov. 20. (by Lee Jeong-ah, staff photographer)
Symposium brings together scholars to discuss the great power relationship between the US and China
By Choi Hyun-june, staff reporter in Busan
The 9th Hankyoreh-Busan International Symposium opened on Nov. 20 at Nurimaru APEC House in Busan’s Haeundae district. The topic of the two-day event this year was “the new type of US/China great power relationship and peace in Northeast Asia.”
Participants argued that a relationship of stable cooperation was the only way to bring peace to the region.
The symposium was attended by some 30 professors and researchers from South Korea, the US, China, and Japan. The focus of the presentations and discussions was on how to forge peace in Northeast Asia at a time when the emerging great power China is demanding a “new type of great power relationship” with the established superpower of the US.
The “new type of great power relationship” is an idea expressed by Chinese President Xi Jinping during a US visit last year, holding that the two sides should pursue shared development through peace and cooperation while avoiding encroaching on each other’s key interests.
[Interview] Why are only big companies exempted from inter-Korean sanctions?
Posted on : Nov.19,2013 13:02 KST
After Russian president’s visit last week, a few large corporations have gotten permission to join project in N. Korea
By Choi Hyun-june, staff reporter
On the afternoon of Nov. 13, just after her summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, President Park Geun-hye announced a plan for South Korean indirect investment in economic cooperation with North Korea. The plan would allow businesses like KORAIL, POSCO, and Hyundai Merchant Marine to take part in the Rajin-Hasan project, a joint North Korean-Russian effort.
At roughly the same time, Kim Se-byeong, the 63-year-old president of Sangha CM, was meeting customers as an insurance solicitor. Kim, who is part of the “first generation” of businessmen involved in inter-Korean economic cooperation efforts, was disturbed to hear the news.
“It’s ridiculous to see them giving preferential treatment to the big companies when they should be looking out for the SMEs,” he said. “The standards should be the same, at the very least. I can’t see how they can waive the terms of the May 24 measures just for the big companies.”
The May 24 measures brought inter-Korean trade to a complete halt in 2010 after the sinking of the ROKS Cheonan warship.
[Sanctions] [Rason] [Chaebol]
78% of Koreans Support Reunification
Seventy-eight percent of Koreans now support reunification of the peninsula, according to a survey released by the Hyundai Research Institute on Tuesday.
But the younger people are, the less urgent they believe reunification to be. Support was at only 66.8 percent among those in their 20s, 74.9 percent among those in their 30s, 84.6 percent among those in their 40s, and 84.2 percent among the over-50s.
Among academics and other experts, support is almost unanimous with 98.1 percent.
The divide becomes clearer in answer to the more specific question whether reunification would be in the national interest. Some 67 percent of the general public said yes compared to 98.1 percent of experts.
Most believe it will take more than a decade, with 55.4 percent of the general public and 68.6 percent of experts, followed by six to 10 years.
Some 19.4 percent of the general public and a mere two percent of experts said reunification is impossible.
The survey was conducted among 814 ordinary people and 105 experts in October and November, the institute said.
[Unification] [Public opinion]
[Special report] Inside the NIS’s psychological warfare
Posted on : Nov.20,2013 11:56 KST
A detailed report on how the intelligence agency sought to manipulate public opinion ahead of last December’s presidential election
By Jung Hwan-bong, staff reporter
“When the last typhoon passed by, the Blue House sent out a headline to the newspapers. Whether the typhoon actually caused a lot of damage or not didn’t matter. The papers were just supposed to fit it in somehow. The headline was ‘Thanks to the Four Major Rivers Project, 100-Year Typhoon Causes Less Damage.’”
This was the first post that a National Intelligence Service (NIS) agent surnamed Kim, 29, voted down on Aug. 27, 2012, after registering an account on Today’s Humor, a website that is popular with young people.
Ten minutes after registering on the site, Kim gave thumbs down to a post criticizing then president Lee Myung-bak’s Four Major Rivers Project. The next day, Aug. 28, Kim set up four more accounts on the website. At Today Humor, it is possible to set up an account simply by providing an email address. The user’s real name, resident ID number, and phone number are not required.
[Special report] The truth of Cyber Command’s political interference
Posted on : Nov.20,2013 15:55 KST
Cyber Command has claimed that online messages were employees’ personal activity, not official operation
By Ha Eo-young and Jung Hwan-bong, staff reporters
The Ministry of National Defense has been arguing that the politically slanted online messages and Tweets by agents in the military’s Cyber Command are nothing more than the agents’ “personal deviations.” The claim is that these activities were not connected to similar messages by National Intelligence Service (NIS) or part of any organized military activity, and that the military command was unaware of them.
But current and former senior military officers have made very specific and concrete claims that the Cyber Command did conduct a psychological operations campaign on NIS orders, with daily reports on the results provided to the military leadership.
Some of the officers making the claims have experience working under the Cyber Command. If the allegations are true, it would mean that the denials to date from the ministry and NIS are false, and that the NIS did in fact orchestrate and control political online and Twitter activities by agents in the Cyber Command‘s division 530.
A soldier comes to block the entrance of the Cyber Command headquarters in Seoul’s Yongsan district, part of the Ministry of National Defense complex, on the day that a search and seizure operation was carried out related to the agency’s political interference ahead of last December’s presidential election, Oct. 22. (by Ryu Woo-jong, staff photographer)
¦ NIS directives in the name of ‘cooperation’
The current and former military officers said NIS directions to the Cyber Command did not come in official document form. The methods used were designed not to leave a trail, including verbal commands and demands for video distribution that would not be identifiable as part of an operation. When orders were given on paper, they were often couched under the title “operational coordination.” So-called “atypical psychological operations directives” - with a different format from internal military drafts - were delivered to the director and key officers with the division 530, the Cyber Command’s psychological operations division.
S. Korean conservative media gushes over Pres. Park as she travels overseas
Posted on : Nov.18,2013 13:17 KSTModified on : Nov.18,2013 14:03 KST
The substance of president’s visits apparently missed by Korean media who were too busy fawning over her style
By Choi Won-hyung, staff reporter
Press coverage of President Park Geun-hye’s European tour is turning into a lovefest.
With Park recently touring Western Europe to follow her recent visits to the US and China, South Korean news outlets have been following a rigid formula of fawning over Park’s traditional hanbok outfits, command of local languages, and cordial reception.
Indeed, the three issues came up over and over in local reports on the European tour last week. The Dong-A Ilbo, which dedicated a four-page spread to Park’s hanbok outfits ahead of a September summit with the Vietnamese president, tackled the issue once again for the Europe trip, praising her fashion sense as “politics of color” in a Nov. 7 story on her dinner as a guest of the British state. An unnamed source was quoted as saying, “She demonstrated both dignity and warmth in orange, which Europeans love.”
JTVC, a TV network affiliated with the Joong-Ang Ilbo, also highlighted Park’s “hanbok democracy” in a Nov. 11 show featuring hanbok designers and fashion reporters as panelists.
Another running theme in the reports was the cordial reception Park was greeted with overseas. Many newspapers ran Park’s ride in a golden coach with the Queen of England as a front-page story, with accompanying pictures. The online newspaper Edaily printed a story on Park’s state dinner in Great Britain that read, “A sky that had been pouring rain since morning began to clear around the time the welcome ceremony started, and the sun was shining by the time the royal carriage pulled up to Buckingham Palace with Park inside.”
The description had many netizens scoffing at the “over the top” language.
Roh Foundation raises suspicions over summit transcript’s disappearance
Posted on : Nov.18,2013 14:07 KST
Saenuri Party deputy floor leader Yoon Sang-hyun at a Nov. 17 press conference at Saenuri headquarters in Seoul’s Yeouido neighborhood. (by Lee Jeong-woo, staff photographer)
Ruling party still trumpeting issue of 2007 inter-Korean summit, possibly to distract from their own scandals
By Cho Hye-jeong, staff reporter and Kim Jong-cheol, political correspondent
The Roh Moo-hyun Foundation stated its suspicions on Nov. 17 that the announcement of the results of the investigation into the disappearance of the transcript of the 2007 inter-Korean summit was a “vast conspiracy” organized by the ruling Saenuri Party (NFP).
This comes as the Saenuri Party continues its attack on the opposition political parties, calling for major figures from the Roh administration to admit their wrongdoing.
Some analysts believe that the ruling party is attacking the late Roh Moo-hyun in an attempt to draw attention from the case of the National Intelligence Service (NIS)’s interference in the election and other pressing political issues.
[NLL] [NIS] [KR-summit07]
DPRK NDC Policy Department Warns Park Geun Hye and Her Group against Their Sophism
Pyongyang, November 15 (KCNA) -- Such anachronistic and treacherous acts of Park Geun Hye and her group as clinging to the coattails of foreign forces, their backs turned on the nation, would only result in wringing their necks. A spokesman for the Policy Department of the DPRK National Defence Commission said this in a statement Thursday.
He served the following warning to them:
They should not dare utter words about the nukes of the DPRK and its line of simultaneously pushing forward economic construction and the building of nuclear force any longer.
They should not behave impudently in a bid to lead someone to "changes".
If Park wants to build confidence and receive the treatment as "head of state," she should come to her senses and properly behave.
Their vociferous talking about those matters as dictated by their American master would only add to the thrice-cursed crimes committed by them as sycophants and traitors and maniacs keen on confrontation with fellow countrymen.
They should know well that no one is more miserable than those political servants dancing to the tune of others, bereft of their own senses.
Park should know that genuine confidence can be built only when she respects all the north-south joint declarations and agreements reached according to them, common achievements of the nation, before grumbling about someone's "breaking of promise" and good treatment would be accorded only when she stops deliberately speaking ill of someone.
Dispute over summit transcript deepens
By Chung Min-uck
The dispute over the transcript of the 2007 Inter-Korean Summit is deepening even after the prosecution announced the result of its four-month investigation into allegations surrounding the records.
The ruling Saenuri Party, citing the latest prosecutor’s announcement that the late President Roh Moo-hyun ordered the deletion of the transcript, ratcheted up its criticism against the main opposition Democratic Party (DP), Sunday.
Prosecutors say 2007 inter-Korean summit transcript was partially deleted
Posted on : Nov.17,2013 10:59 KST
Senior prosecutor Lee Jin-han announces the results of an investigation into the missing transcript from the 2007 inter-Korean summit at the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office in Seoul’s Seocho district, Nov. 15. (pool photo)
Democratic Party denies intentional deletions were made to hide former Pres. Roh’s comments about NLL
By Sung Han-yong, political correspondent
Prosecutors said on Nov. 15 that the transcripts of the 2007 summit between then South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun and North Korean leader Kim Jong-il were “deliberately deleted or destroyed on orders from President Roh” to prevent them from entering the National Archives.
Two former Blue House unification, foreign affairs, and national security policy officials, office director Baek Jong-chun and secretary Cho Myung-kyun, were indicted without detention and charged with violating the Presidential Records Act and damaging a public electric record by allegedly destroying drafts on Roh’s orders.
The opposition Democratic Party and the Roh Moo-hyun Foundation fired back at what they called “politicized targeting” by prosecutors, arguing that failure to send the document reported as a final version to the Presidential Archives was the result of a staff oversight.
This is the latest chapter in a long-running political battle touched off ahead of last December’s presidential election after the camps of then President Lee Myung-bak and Saenuri Party (NFP) candidate Park Geun-hye orchestrated a campaign accusing Roh of “abandoning” the Northern Limit Line with North Korea in the West (Yellow) Sea based on alleged comments in the transcripts. The saga continued even after the election, with the National Intelligence Service (NIS) releasing the transcripts, the National Assembly voting to read the meeting minutes, and now the disappearance of a portion of the transcripts.
[Editorial] The farce over allegedly deleted inter-Korean summit transcripts
Posted on : Nov.17,2013 10:55 KST
On Nov. 15, prosecutors indicted two former Blue House officials from the Roh Moo-hyun administration’s unification, foreign affairs, and national security team - office chief Baek Jong-chun and secretary Cho Myung-kyun - for the “grievous crime” of allegedly violating the Presidential Records Act by destroying transcripts from the 2007 inter-Korean summit between Roh and then North Korean leader Kim Jong-il. But the announcement reads as though the real culprit was Roh himself. The late former president is painted as orchestrating a deliberate cover-up and destruction - an allegation that ignores his generosity in leaving transcripts, and even recordings, with the National Intelligence Service (NIS) to make them easier for future presidents to access. Simply put, this finding is breathtaking in its wrongheadedness.
Ahead of last December’s presidential election, members of Saenuri Party (NFP) candidate Park Geun-hye’s camp repeatedly broke the seal on important classified transcripts and used them in an attempt to influence the election. Saenuri lawmakers like Chung Moon-hun and Kim Moo-sung painted Roh red by accusing him of “abandoning” the Northern Limit Line (NLL) with North Korea in the West (Yellow) Sea at the summit. Once the actual transcripts were released, they turned out to include a bit of coarse language, but nothing whatsoever about abandoning the NLL. Roh-era defense minister Kim Jang-soo even testified before the National Assembly that Roh had explicitly ordered observance of the NLL. These are the plain facts.
Study: Pres. Park even guiltier of cronyism than her predecessor
Posted on : Nov.15,2013 15:51 KST Modified on : Nov.15,2013 16:01 KST
Despite election pledge to make fair appointments, Park has scratched the backs of those who scratched hers
By Ryu Yi-geun and Lee Wan, staff reporters
South Korean President Park Geun-hye promised not to make so-called “parachute appointments,” but according to a recent study released on Nov. 14, her administration has made these appointments more often than her predecessor, Lee Myung-bak.
Parachute appointments refer to appointing someone from outside an agency to be the head of that agency because of their political influence rather than their professional credentials. Such appointments usually do not involve a normal vetting process.
The Public Policy Institute for People (PPIP) and the Hankyoreh analyzed the executives at 295 public agencies. According to the analysis, 77 agency heads had been appointed since the end of February, when Park was inaugurated as president, and 35 of these, or 45.5%, or nearly half, were parachute appointments.
This contradicts a statement that Park made when after she was elected. “Parachute appointments hurt the morale of hard-working people, and these need to be eliminated in the new administration,” she said.
Between March and October 2008, the first phase of the Lee Myung-bak administration’s time in power, 78 of 180 newly appointed government agency heads were parachute appointments, or 43.3% of the total. Compared to this, there has been a small but definite increase under the Park administration.
Questions over admissibility of key evidence in UPP trial
Posted on : Nov.15,2013 15:44 KST
Unified Progressive Party lawmaker Lee Seok-ki gets into a police van to leave Suwon District Court after a hearing on his charges of plotting an anti-government insurrection, Nov. 12. (News1)
Original recordings of meeting not been found, leading to suspicions that recordings could have been tampered with
By Hong Yong-deok, south Gyeonggi correspondent
On Nov 14, in the second hearing in the trial in which Lee Seok-ki and other lawmakers with the Unified Progressive Party (UPP) are facing charges of plotting an anti-government insurrection, it was disclosed that the original recordings of meetings the defendants attended were deleted in nine of the 44 recordings that the prosecutors submitted as key evidence.
The revelation has triggered a sharp counterattack about the admissibility of the recordings as evidence. The defendants’ attorneys argued that there is Supreme Court precedent showing that digital copies of originals are not admissible as evidence.
The prosecutors countered that the original file exists for the recording of the May meeting when the defendants plotted insurrection and incited others to do the same.
Statement on Peace and Reunification of
the Korean Peninsula
We, the delegates of the 10th Assembly of the World Council of Churches (WCC) meeting in Busan
from 30 October to 8 November 2013, bear witness to the suffering of the men, women and children
of the one Korean people through decades of violence caused by war and hostility that have left them
divided into two nations.
Division, war and the suffering contradict God’s will for the fullness of life. Therefore, we call upon the
churches of the world, and upon those holding social, economic, political and governmental power, to
pursue a lasting and sustainable peace with justice that will reunify and reconcile the people of Korea.
The central theme of our assembly is a simple prayer, “God of life, lead us to justice and peace.” It is
our prayer that the vision and dream of all Koreans, their common aspiration for healing,
reconciliation, peace and reunification may be fulfilled.
Fragility of South Korea democracy exposed
November 6th, 2013
Authors: Emma Campbell and Suwon Barb Lee, ANU
The arrest and resignation of two prominent public figures in the wake of sex and political scandal are exposing the fragility of democracy in South Korea.
Lee Seok-ki of the leftist Unified Progressive Party speaks before leaving the National Assembly in Seoul, South Korea, 4 September 2013. He was recently arrested for an alleged pro-North Korean conspiracy. (Photo: AAP)
South Korean Prosecutor General Chae Dong-wook was forced to resign in September ostensibly because of a private scandal involving a child born out of an adulterous relationship. There is widespread suspicion, however, that political forces were responsible for the departure of Mr Chae.
The Prosecutor General had been investigating alleged interference by South Korea’s National Intelligence Service (NIS) in the 2012 presidential election in favour of the successful candidate Park Geun-hye.
Many believe that the Blue House, the office of South Korea’s President, had pressured Mr Chae to step down in order to guard the Park administration’s reputation and protect the NIS from reform. Public support for reform of the NIS is growing as a result of the organisation’s alleged actions and the subsequent investigation.
Since its formation in 1961 by President Park’s father, the authoritarian president Park Chung-hee, the NIS has been a powerful and conservative force in the nation’s politics resistant to external accountability and regulation.
A second controversy relating to the NIS also erupted when the left-wing lawmaker Lee Seok-ki was arrested for an alleged pro-North Korean conspiracy. The arrest resulted from information collected by the NIS over the past three years.
Moon, prosecution split over summit minutes
By Jun Ji-hye
The prosecution is expected to announce the result of its investigation into the controversy surrounding the transcript of the minutes of the 2007 Inter-Korean Summit next week after finishing questioning Rep. Moon Jae-in and other key figures.
It reportedly concluded that the late Roh Moo-hyun government deliberately disposed of its copy of the minutes and did not hand them over to the National Archive of Korea (NAK).
After being questioned for over nine hours at the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office, Moon ? who was chief of staff under the Roh regime ? returned home late at night. Moon was also the former presidential candidate of the main opposition Democratic Party (DP) in the 2012 presidential election.
[NLL] [Roh Moo-hyun] [Moon Jae-in]
N.Korea Accepts Seoul's Call for Kaesong Talks
North Korea has accepted South Korea's offer to hold working-level talks next week to improve the competitiveness of the joint industrial park in Kaesong.
South Korea's Unification Ministry said Friday that Pyongyang notified Seoul it wants to hold three meetings on Wednesday and Thursday to discuss investment protection, workers' rights and internationalization.
A South Korean official said travel, communications and customs will be discussed at a later date.
[Special report] Fleeing discrimination at home, S. Koreans seek asylum abroad
Posted on : Nov.7,2013 10:07 KSTModified on : Nov.7,2013 15:20 KST
Conscientious objectors and sexual minorities leave a country that is still fairly intolerant of difference
By Park Hyun-jung, Hankyoreh 21 reporter
His name, Ye-da, seemed somehow meaningful - a combination of the Korean words for “Jesus” and “Buddha.” But 23-year-old Lee Ye-da may never again be able to live with the parents who gave him that name. When we arrived at Paris’s Charles de Gaulle International Airport last August, we found it teeming with unfamiliar faces. Making our way to a tourist information booth near the second floor terminal, we saw a young Korean couple - tourists, apparently - chattering as they walked past. In their place appeared Lee Ye-da
UN report: 9 out of 10 conscientious objectors are South Korean
Posted on : Jul.16,2013 15:59 KST
On July 6, 2008, conscientious objectors and human rights activists criticized the Defense Ministry for trying to bury a plan that would allow conscientious objectors to perform alternative forms of service in front of the Hyatt Hotel in Seoul, where UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was meeting with National Human Rights Commission of Korea President Ahn Gyeong-hwan.
Government continues to ignore UN recommendation on developing alternatives to armed service
By Um Ji-won, staff reporter
Nine of every ten people behind bars around the world for conscientious objection to military service on religious or philosophical grounds are South Korean, a UN study has found.
According to an analytical report on conscientious objection by the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), a total of 723 people are in prison around the world for conscientious objection, of whom 669, or 92.5%, are South Koreans.
Next in line is Armenia with 31 conscientious objectors; Eritrea with 15; and Turkmenistan with eight.
The UNHRC published an analytical report on conscientious objector human rights on June 3, its first since 2006.
[Human rights] [ROK military]
[News analysis] UPP’s progressive platform blown up into “pro-N. Korea”
Posted on : Nov.6,2013 18:07 KST
Citizens in a waiting area at Seoul Station watch Minister of Justice Hwang Kyo-ahn announce the government’s submission of a petition seeking the disbandment of the Unified Progressive Party, Nov. 5. (Yonhap News)
UPP members are currently under trial on charges of seeking to carry out an insurrection
By Kim Won-chul, staff reporter and Yeo Hyeon-ho, legal correspondent
The Ministry of Justice’s argument in requesting a Constitutional Court hearing on dissolving the Unified Progressive Party (UPP) on Nov. 5 can be summed up in one sentence: The so-called Revolutionary Organization (RO) activity allegedly organized by lawmaker Lee Seok-gi violates the democratic order, and the UPP should be dissolved because it is a “pro-North Korea” party identified with that activity.
But the RO case is still being tried, and the facts have yet to be confirmed. The ministry is being accused of leveraging negative opinion on the UPP to rush into a hearing.
[Human rights] [Democracy]
Defense intelligence director says N. Korea would win in a one-on-one war
Posted on : Nov.6,2013 18:14 KST
Official says even though the South’s military budget is exponentially bigger, US alliance would be needed to win a war
By Kim Kyu-won, staff reporter
The director of the Defense Intelligence Agency touched off a furor by saying at a National Assembly audit that South Korea would “lose” in a one-on-one war with North Korea.
South Korea’s 2013 military spending is 33 to 34 times more than North Korea‘s.
Speaking at the National Assembly’s National Defense Committee annual audit of his office at the Ministry of National Defense on Nov. 5, Cho Bo-geun reportedly responded to a question about who would win in a war between South Korea and North Korea by saying, “If we fight as an alliance with the US under the current operational plan, we‘ll win by an overwhelming margin. If South Korea fights alone, North Korea has the superior fighting strength, so South Korea would lose.”
Rep. Moon denies surrendering NLL
By Kim Jae-won
Rep. Moon Jae-in of the Democratic Party speaks to reporters before entering the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office in southern Seoul, Wednesday.
/ Korea Times photo by Shim Hyun-chul
Rep. Moon Jae-in of the main opposition Democratic Party (DP) was questioned by the prosecution Wednesday over the controversial transcript of the 2007 Inter-Korean Summit between the late former President Roh Moo-hyun and his North Korean counterpart Kim Jong-il in Pyongyang.
Park Says Kim Jong-un Is 'Hard to Trust'
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is "hard to trust" and "hard to predict," President Park Geun-hye told the BBC in an interview broadcast Monday.
She was referring chiefly to the North's abrupt cancellation of reunions of families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War. "It's hard to trust someone who doesn't honor their promises." However, she said, "We will keep the door to dialogue open and continue our efforts to build trust."
The interview with BBC took place on Oct. 29 ahead of Park's visit to France, the U.K. and Belgium.
`NK leader eager to learn about Park Chung-hee'
Donald Gregg, former U.S. ambassador to Korea, speaks during a recent interview with The Korea Times at the Lotte Hotel in downtown Seoul.
/ Korea Times photo by Shim Hyun-chul
Gregg challenges President to reach out to North Korea
By Oh Young-jin
Donald Gregg has challenged President Park Geun-hye to become the fourth great head of state of Korea.
“Park has the basic equipment,” Gregg said in a recent interview. “Her chance is for her to recognize, difficult as it is, the need for eventual unification to take place and for her to be the one who starts it.”
The U.S. ambassador to Korea from 1989 to 1993 said that the alternative is for her to be remembered as a “B+ President.”
He recalled how President Park’s 2001 meeting with then North Korean leader Kim Jong-il in Pyongyang came about.
Lim Dong-won, the architect of President Kim Dae-jung’s “Sunshine Policy,” said the now deceased leader of the North told him that among biographical sketches on the Cheong Wa Dae website: “The one that was the most interesting to me was that of Park Chung-hee.”
[Park Chung-hee] [Park Geun-hye]
South Korea moves to ban small leftist party
November 6, 2013 - 12:28PM
Lee Jung-hee, chairwoman of the opposition far-left United Progressive Party, is surrounded by media as she leaves the party headquarters.
Lee Jung-hee, chairwoman of the opposition far-left United Progressive Party, is surrounded by media as she leaves the party headquarters. Photo: Reuters
Seoul, South Korea: The government of President Park Geun-hye asked the Constitutional Court of South Korea on Tuesday to disband a small leftist party accused of supporting North Korea at the cost of the South's national security.
Since its founding in late 2011, the United Progressive Party has been the lightning rod for criticism from Ms Park's conservative Saenuri Party. Several of its key members, including the lawmaker Lee Seok-ki, were arrested in September on charges of plotting an armed rebellion against the South Korean government in the event of war on the divided Korean Peninsula.
The government's decision, adopted during a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday and quickly endorsed by Ms Park, who was on a visit to Europe, marked the first lawsuit of its kind. No political party in South Korea has been shut down by the government or a court decision since Syngman Rhee, South Korea's dictatorial founding president, forced the closure of a leftist party in 1958.
Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/world/south-korea-moves-to-ban-small-leftist-party-20131106-2x0nh.html#ixzz2jqVJ97pn
[Democracy] [Human rights] [Prk Geun-hye] [Park Chung-hee]
N.Korea 'Has the Edge in Nuclear, Biochemical Weapons'
The South Korean army is inferior to the North Korean army in a one-on-one in terms of so-called asymmetric warfare capabilities, a Defense Ministry official told a parliamentary audit Tuesday.
Cho Bo-keun said South Korea alongside the U.S. would win an overwhelming victory over North Korea, and even in a one-on-one fight between the two Koreas, the South Korean military is far superior in terms of conventional weapons and firepower.
"But the North Korean army is rapidly increasing asymmetric war capabilities with the focus on strikes on the Seoul metropolitan area," Cho added.
The arms where the North has an advantage include nuclear and biochemical weapons, ballistic missiles and long-range artillery, he said.
He also claimed the North is trying to develop an electromagnetic pulse bomb to paralyze electronic equipment, a kind of Bigfoot of the arms world.
Cho confirmed that the North Korean army has deployed within 100 km from the demilitarized zone some 700,000 soldiers or 70 percent of its service personnel, plus 8,000 guns or 80 percent of its field artillery, and 2,000 tanks.
Since the successful test-launch of a long-range rocket in December last year, the North has been continuing research and development of intercontinental ballistic missiles by conducting five engine tests this year, the ministry said.
[Military balance] [Asymmetry]
Gov't seeks to disband 'pro-NK' party
Rep. Lee Jung-hee, center, chairwoman of the Unified Progressive Party (UPP), speaks during a press conference at Seoul Plaza in downtown Seoul, Tuesday. Lee criticized the government for filing a petition with the Constitutional Court to disband the leftist party, calling it a return to dictatorship. / Yonhap
Fate of far leftist party tossed to Constitutional Court
By Chung Min-uck
The government Tuesday filed a petition with the Constitutional Court calling for the banning of the far left-leaning minor Progressive Party (UPP) for engaging in seditious activities to aid North Korea.
It is the first such petition since the court was established in 1988 and was filed after being approved by the Cabinet earlier in the day. It is now two months since Rep. Lee Seok-ki and other party members were arrested on charges of conspiring to overthrow the government
[Democracy] [Park Geun-hye] [Park Chung-hee] [UPP]
Fate of far-left party hangs by thread
Members of the leftist Unified Progressive Party (UPP) clash with police in front of the Seoul Plaza Tuesday, hours after the government filed a petition with the Constitutional Court to ban the party for its alleged link with North Korea. / Yonhap
By Kim Jae-won
The leftist Unified Progressive Party (UPP) was once a promising party, drawing more than 10 percent of votes and having 13 seats at the parliamentary election in April last year.
However, the minor opposition party is now on the verge of being disbanded for the first time in the country’s 65 years of Constitutional history.
[Democracy] [Park Geun-hye] [Park Chung-hee] [UPP]
Outward Migration Flows in the Event of Regime Collapse: an Interview with Dr. Go Myong-hyun
By Darcie Draudt | October 22, 2013
Bruce Bennett’s recently published RAND report on the “possibility of a North Korean regime collapse” has scholars and specialists alike engaging the scenario. In the event of state collapse in North Korea, one of the most pressing concerns, especially for China, is outward migration flows. How will the millions of people living in the China-DPRK react to the fall of the regime? More importantly, where will they go–north, south, or nowhere at all?
The concluding panel of the September 25-26 “North Korea Conference” at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies addressed the prospects of sudden regime collapse. Dr. Go Myong-hyun, research fellow at the Asan Institute, presented on the outward migration flows that might result from such a contingency. Sino-NK Assistant Editor Darcie Draudt interviewed Dr. Go as a follow-up to that presentation. — Steven Denney, Managing Editor
Park Open to Meeting with Kim Jong-un
President Park Geun-hye has said she is open to a meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un if that helps improve inter-Korean relations and bring peace to the peninsula.
"We are ready to help North Korea," Park told French daily Le Figaro on Saturday. "My position is that I can hold a meeting at any time if it is necessary for development in the South-North relations or peace on the Korean Peninsula."
But she reiterated that there should be no talks for talks' sake, and that "what is most important is sincerity."
A Cheong Wa Dae official, providing the customary gloss on presidential remarks, said this was a "message urging the North once again to change."
[Park Geun-hye] [SK NK policy] [Spin] [Preconditions]
Korea to Buy U.S. Surveillance Drones in 2017
South Korea has now fixed on 2017 as the year to buy Global Hawk high-altitude drones from the U.S., signing the contract next year.
The aircraft would be used to monitor North Korea for up to 42 hours at a time from a height of 20 km.
The acquisition will allow Seoul to establish its own "kill chain" whereby it can detect signs of an impending ballistic missile launch and destroy it early.
During the parliamentary audit last Friday, Defense Acquisition Program Administration official Lee Yong-geol, told a parliamentary audit the drones will cost "a little over" W900 billion (US$1=W1,061).
[UAV] [Military balance][Surveillance]
Spokesman for C. C., KSDP Slams S. Korean Authorities for
Their Moves to Dissolve Unified Progressive Party
The present conservative ruling forces and the coteries of the "Saenuri Party" of south Korea set up a "special team for measures against unconstitutional political parties and organizations" at the judicial body after labeling the Unified Progressive Party an "unconstitutional political party following the north". They are busy making a legal examination for forcibly dissolving the party. They are blustering that they would stage a trial for formally dissolving it around late in October.
The coteries of the "Saenuri Party" went the lengths of putting the dissolution of the Unified Progressive Party on major agenda at the state inspection at the "National Assembly", crying out for an "immediate dissolution of the Unified Progressive Party, the enemy of liberal democracy and unconstitutional political party".
Companies urge full normalization on lawmakers’ visit to Kaesong
Jointly operated industrial complex still operating far below capacity after prolonged shutdown
By Lee Seung-jun, staff reporter
“Credit is a company’s lifeblood. But the long-term shutdown has left the credit here shattered like a broken jar.”
These were the words of Han Jae-kwon, head of an emergency committee set up to urge a full normalization of operations at the Kaesong Industrial Complex.
“Before anything else, we need to see authorities from North and South declaring their solid commitment to developing the complex,” Han continued.
On Oct. 30, members of the National Assembly’s Foreign Affairs and Unification Committee and Vice Minister of Unification Kim Nam-shik visited the complex. Representatives of tenant companies came out in force to share the difficulties they have faced caused by the complex’s shutdown earlier this year. The companies made requests for efforts to improve inter-Korean relations and get operations at the complex back to normal.
Is Park really a fashion icon?
How Korea’s first female president has media outlets scrambling to ape fashion magazines
By Kim Tong-hyung
Something about Park Geun-hye, the daughter of slain dictator Park Chung-hee who became the country’s first female head of state, inspires desperation in journalists to be dramatic and imaginative with their writing.
Still, it’s regrettable they haven’t found a more interesting subject to run to the ground than Park’s wardrobe selections, which, honestly, might bore the fictional eye-roller Miranda Priestly to death.
Whenever Park leaves the boundaries of Cheong Wa Dae for important occasions such as overseas presidential visits, media outlets take that as a cue to collectively ape Cosmopolitan. The public is left to debate whether the country has a glut of generous fashion journalists or a shortage of real journalists.
[Park Geun-hye] [Media]
Taurus bunker-buster missiles shown to public
By Kang Seung-woo
The Taurus bunker-busting long-range missile is being shown to the Korean public.
The air-to-ground missile with a 500-kilometer range made by German-Swedish joint venture Taurus Systems was unveiled at the Seoul International Aerospace and Defense Exhibition (ADEX), Wednesday.
In June, the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) announced that Korea will purchase the missile for its F-15K fleet to counter any North Korean provocations. An F-15K can carry two of the missiles.
The acquisition of the strategic strike weapon is one of the times that Korea has purchased from a non-U.S. supplier. Currently, the only long-range missiles in the Air Force's inventory are 40 SLAM-ER missiles with a range of 278 kilometers.
Lawmakers Inspect Kaesong Industrial Complex
Twenty-one ruling and opposition lawmakers of the National Assembly's Foreign Affairs and Unification Committee on Wednesday visited the Kaesong Industrial Complex in North Korea as part of the parliamentary audit.
It was the first time lawmakers have ever been able to inspect the joint-Korean industrial park in person.
The lawmakers were briefed by the industrial park management committee and visited four South Korean factories. They also met with South Korean manufacturers for lunch.
Members of the National Assembly’s Foreign Affairs and Unification Committee tour a shoe factory in Kaesong, North Korea on Wednesday. Members of the National Assembly’s Foreign Affairs and Unification Committee tour a shoe factory in Kaesong, North Korea on Wednesday.
Ahn Hong-joon, chairman of the Foreign Affairs and Unification Committee, vowed to make bipartisan endeavors to develop Kaesong into a global industrial zone unaffected by moodswings in inter-Korean relations.
Saenuri Party lawmaker Kim Young-woo called for both Koreas to make "substantial efforts" to attract international investment to the industrial park.
And Woo Sang-ho of the main opposition Democratic Party urged a lifting of sanctions Seoul imposed on North Korea after the sinking of the Navy corvette Cheonan in March 2010 "to give the complex more space to develop."
Meanwhile, Saenuri lawmaker Cho Myong-chol, a North Korean defector, was denied entry.
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