ROK and Inter-Korean relations
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A stateless North Korean teenager who just wants to study
Posted on : Sep.25,2015 13:43 KST
Without her parents or birth documentation, S. Korean government refusing teenager citizenship she needs to make a life
Fifteen-year-old “Eun-ju” was sitting in a rented apartment in Seoul’s Nowon District on Sept. 24 when she explained her dream to go to school. It embarrasses her to be the only one among youths her age who doesn’t put on a school uniform, she explained. Her grandmother, 70-year-old “Park Hyeon-sun,” winced in sympathy as she looked on.
Eun-ju is at an age when she should be deep in her studies. Instead, she can‘t attend school at all. She can’t set up a bank account or book tickets online for pop concerts either. If she gets sick, she has to bear with it - a trip to the hospital is out of the question. Eun-ju is stateless, living in South Korea as an illegal alien.
South-North Korea need to empower their Foreign Ministry
Posted on : Sep.23,2015 17:18 KST
Tony Namgung, former Director of UC Berkeley’s Institute of East Asian Studies
It is difficult to know whether to celebrate or bemoan the Koreas' plans to hold another round of family reunions next month. Of course, we are happy for the families themselves. However, these reunions -- always one-off and a cruel reminder of how so many more will never have a chance to participate -- have left behind nothing more than even more tears in their wake.
The problem is that they, along with other "confidence-building measures" such as tourism and industrial parks, far from paving the road to unification, have actually set back hopes for a permanent and lasting solution to the conflict on the peninsula.
That solution lies in both sides recognizing that there are, after nearly a century of estrangement if one goes back to the March 1st Independence Uprising whose failure led to the emergence of two divergent ideologies, two separate states on the Korean peninsula.
Nearly a quarter-century ago, both Koreas acknowledged this reality when they joined the United Nations as separate entities. That reality was reinforced when the two governments signed the comprehensive but I'll-fated South-North Basic Accords and the Denuclearization Agreement. But the immediate post-Cold War starry-eyed obsession with toppling the government in the north and stopping its nuclear program, an effort out of proportion to its actual fledgling nature, doomed the prospects for building on the two-states formula.
Today, a generation later, North Korea has not only not collapsed, it possesses the nuclear weapons which protects it from every possible outside foe. The new confidence this has engendered has created, along with the coming to power of a new leader, a new confidence with respect to its relations with the South and a greater willingness to acknowledge the reality of separate states
[False balance] [SK NK Negotiations]
[Exclusive] Seoul tried to invite N. Korea to August railway ceremony
Posted on : Sep.21,2015 11:07 KST
North Korea's likely rejection, and internal government discord in Seoul, meant invitation was not made public
The South Korean government pursued the idea of inviting North Korean officials to the ground breaking for restoring the southern section of the Gyeongwon railroad line, which was held on Aug. 5, and even tried to send a written invitation, the Hankyoreh only now confirmed. Since restoring the Gyeongwon line would lead the North Korean military to move to the rear area and since this is also linked to resuming tours to Mt. Keumkang, it appears that this could be discussed further during future government talks.
We tried to deliver a letter on July 22 to the liaison officer at Panmunjeom inviting North Korean officials to the ground breaking for the Gyeongwon Line, but the North refused to accept the letter, a South Korean government source told the Hankyoreh on Sep. 20.
[Column]North Korea’s Sorry Politics
Posted on : Sep.7,2015 14:16 KST
In the famous tearjerker Love Story, a young woman dying of cancer tells her boyfriend that “love means never having to say you’re sorry.”
North Korea has generally adopted the same attitude toward South Korea, with a small twist: juche means never having to say you‘re sorry.
Indeed, Pyongyang has never been very good about apologizing for its conduct. Recently, it expressed “regret” over a landmine explosion that injured two South Korean soldiers. In exchange for that expression of regret, South Korea agreed to stop blasting K-Pop and news bulletins across the DMZ, an audio barrage it had restarted after 11 years of silence.
Yongusil 75: Sino-NK and a New Academy of Korean Studies Grant
By Robert Winstanley-Chesters | September 10, 2015
It is something of an understatement to declare that North Korea produces an awful lot of news. Recent events (or non-events) have thrust Pyongyang once again in the world’s eye: Garish, outlandish, gory, and fantastical as always. Sorting out the wheat from the chaff, the flak from the shrapnel, the truth from the fiction of the regular product and process of North Korea’s news churn seemingly provides a full-time job for an entire ecosystem of scholars, journalists, and interested amateurs.
For the most part, the analysis you find here on Sino-NK is buttressed and underpinned by the tried and tested authority of the peer review and the rigor of functional and reliable academic methodology. What goes necessarily unseen is the peer-review process itself. Indeed, the research projects which generate the material which finds its way onto Sino-NK are themselves the result of applications to much more august accumulations of academic and empirical authority. The Academy of Korean Studies (AKS) is for the field of Korean Studies one such locus of enterprise, legitimacy and funding. Founded back in 1978 during the reign of Park Chung-hee, AKS from its verdant, beautiful home in Seongnam (southeast of Seoul) has sought to support and foster the development of contemporary academic analysis of the Korean Peninsula.
It is with great pleasure, therefore, that the Yongusil can announce the successful application of a team from Sino-NK to the Academy of Korean Studies 2015-2016 Korean Studies Grant Programme. Editor-in-Chief Dr. Adam Cathcart, Co-Editor Christopher Green, and Managing Editor Steven Denney have been awarded a competitive research grant to engage in a project entitled “Reproducing Contested Identities and Social Structures on the Korean Peninsula.”
[Korean Studies] [Softwar] [ROK]
Viewers slam SBS for showing Roh photo
Fake poster of movie "Assassination" posted on popular ultra-conservative online community Ilbe Storehouse, which shows the late former President Roh Moo-hyu in red circle instead of the actor in white circle.
TV network SBS has prompted an outcry from viewers after its entertainment news program showed a photo of late former president Roh Moo-hyun instead of an actor.
Popular showbiz program "One Night of TV Entertainment" on Wednesday reported about the producers of hit Korean film,"Assassination", released in July, being sued by a novelist for plagiarism. Author Choi Jong-lim filed a case on Aug. 10 citing the movie's director Choi Dong-hoon as well as its production company and the distributor for plagiarizing his novel "Korean Memories" published earlier in August. Choi is demanding compensation of 10 billion won ($8.5 million).
In the report, the program showed a photo of the movie's poster which was fake. It included the face of former President Roh instead of one of the six main characters.
The poster was originally posted on the website of popular ultra-conservative online community Ilbe Storehouse. The online community members often mock the president using photo-shopped images of him.
This is the seventh time that the network has used an inappropriate photo sourced from the community's online content. "SBS 8 News" mistakenly showed such content three times in the past, about which the Korea Communications Standards Commission warned the network. The network's other programs, including entertainment shows "Running Man," "Action Freeze" and a sport news program, all made similar errors.
Members of Ilbe Storehouse previously caused public outrage by provoking relatives of people that died on the Sewol ferry who were on hunger strike to gain support for a proper investigation into the sinking of the vessel. Ilbe Storehouse members ate food in front of the grieving relatives.
[Japanese collaboration] [Roh Moo-hyun] [Assassination] [Hardliner]
[Analysis] Why is Pres. Park discussing reunifying “as soon as possible”?
Posted on : Sep.7,2015 15:16 KST
Experts say rushed approach bandied by Park leaves Pyongyang out of equation, and neglects necessary steps
President Park Geun-hye’s “unification diplomacy” remarks are raising questions about the current priorities of South Korean foreign affairs.
Park has recently been drawing praise for showing new possibilities for balanced diplomacy with the US and China following her recent attendance at a military parade in Beijing. But strange signs began to emerge almost immediately in that sense of diplomatic equilibrium with remarks about reunification with North Korea being the direct aim of Seoul’s diplomatic efforts. Many are now asking if the administration’s high hopes for an “upheaval” in Pyongyang have left it unable to perceive the situation clearly - raising the changes of Seoul being left adrift diplomatically and inter-Korean relations being destabilized.
Speaking with reporters on her return flight home from China on Sept. 4, Park said that peaceful reunification was the “fastest, ultimate and definite way of resolving” the North Korean nuclear issue. She also said she and Chinese President Xi Jinping had “agreed to cooperate on the peaceful reunification of the Korean Peninsula.”
Park went on to say that “various diplomatic discussions” would begin on “how to achieve peaceful reunification of the Korean Peninsula in the near future.”
Her remarks show two things: a belief that the complex issues affecting the Korean Peninsula can be solved in one fell swoop through reunification, and a vision for discussing reunification as soon as possible with China and other countries. Experts are now calling the approach unrealistic, hollow, and even dangerous.
Amid opposition, Blue House pushing ahead with state history textbook
Posted on : Sep.14,2015 15:28 KST
Educators crying out against single textbook, which the government argues will calm “social conflict”
Seven of the eight history textbooks that passed the Ministry of Education guidelines. In the front is the book by Kyohak Publishing. (by Jung Yong-il, Hankyoreh 21 photographer)
Even with popular opposition gradually increasing to a single state Korean history textbook, the Blue House seems poised to push ahead with its plans to implement government textbooks even if it hurts the president’s approval rating. While the Blue House is officially disavowing responsibility by claiming that this was the decision of the Education Ministry, inside the government, the Education Ministry appears to be under pressure from President Park, who is staunchly in favor of the proposal.
According to several officials in the Blue House and the government who spoke with the Hankyoreh on Sep. 13, The Blue House has made clear its intention to introduce a single government textbook regardless of the recent negative trend in public opinion.
“We have this problem where every textbook says different things and they are all interpreted in different ways according to who is teaching. This kind of confusion is resulting in social conflict,” one official at the Blue House said.
The Blue House’s argument is that, since there are eight different history textbooks, confusion about historical facts and interpretations occurs in schools, which leads people to have conflicting values when they become adults. This source also said that, in the special situation of a divided country, left-leaning textbooks are the main culprits behind ideological conflict.
Seoul 'Preparing for N.Korean Nuclear Threat'
Defense Minister Han Min-koo on Thursday said the South Korean military is preparing for the "high likelihood" that North Korea will deploy nuclear weapons warfare-ready.
Han was speaking at the Defense Ministry during a parliamentary audit.
Asked how far the North has come on the road to miniaturizing nuclear warheads so they fit on a missile, he said, "Considering the North's own statement that it'll keep trying to diversify, miniaturize, and refine nuclear weapons, we believe such things to be highly likely, and are keeping close watch on the North's movements."
He added the government presumes that the North has about seven nuclear weapons based on the amount of plutonium it would have been able to produce.
US- S. Korea Exploiting DMZ Mine Incident to Divert Attention from Anti-N Korea Provocations
August 18, 2015
By Stephen Gowans
I have no idea how it transpired that mines linked to the DPRK (north Korea) that severed the legs of two south Korean soldiers in the demilitarized zone earlier this month came to be where they were, anymore than Washington, Seoul or The New York Times does. But I do know that the set of possible explanations contains more than the single explanation favored by the south Korean and US governments and the Western media, that the mines were deliberately planted by north Korean soldiers as part of an “ongoing pattern of provocation.” I also know that neither Seoul nor Washington are likely to let any opportunity pass to resolve ambiguity into the certainty that the north Koreans, repeatedly denounced in Western propaganda as “belligerent”, have deliberately provoked tensions. The Western propaganda system has a confirmatory bias. All acts of north Koreans must be construed as belligerent, with every act so construed reinforcing the theory.
But there are alternative, and more likely, explanations.
N.Korea Quibbles with Wording of Cross-Border Accord
North Korea said Wednesday that the "regret" it expressed about the maiming of two South Korean soldiers by box mines in the demilitarized zone must not be construed as an apology.
"They are so ignorant of the Korean language they don't even know the meanings and definitions of Korean words," the North's National Defense Commission said in a statement carried by the official [North] Korean Central News Agency.
"'Regret' is nothing more than expressing sympathy."
The two Koreas, in marathon talks late last month, wrangled hard over an apology for the provocation if Seoul was to switch off propaganda loudspeakers along the border.
A South Korean government official said Seoul does not intend to respond to the latest comments. "The regime probably has no choice but to say that," the official added.
Unification Ministry spokesman Jeong Joon-hee said Pyongyang's latest comments are insignificant.
[Analysis] Returning from China, Pres. Park says unification is still the “ultimate goal”
Posted on : Sep.5,2015 15:28 KST
Recent trip to China and agreement with Pyongyang have emboldened Park to craft a more assertive foreign policy
President Park Geun-hye called peaceful reunification the “ultimate and fastest approach to resolving” the North Korean nuclear issue on Sept. 4 on the way back from her recent China visit.
Park also said she and Chinese President Xi Jinping had agreed to “cooperate on the peaceful reunification of the Korean Peninsula.”
The remarks came during a talk with Blue House reporters on board Park’s presidential aircraft while returning to Seoul from Shanghai. Park went on to say that “various discussions” with China would begin on “how to achieve peaceful reunification of the Korean Peninsula in the near future.”
Park described the plans as showing “the administration’s commitment to cooperating [with Beijing] on checking various forms of provocations, including North Korea’s nuclear tests.”
Park also commented on an upcoming trilateral summit with China and Japan.
[Unification] [Park Geun-hye] [Spin]
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