ROK and Inter-Korean relations
Return to Asian Geopolitics indexpage
Return to ROK and Inter-Korean relations page
Rapper Zico impressed by North Korean audience
Posted : 2018-09-21 11:24
Updated : 2018-09-21 17:00
(From left) Hip-hop artist Zico, vocalist Ali, magician Choi Hyun-woo and vocalist Ailee, who are members of the South Korean cultural delegation to the third inter-Korean summit between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, chat while visiting Okryu Children's Hospital in Pyongyang, Sept. 18. Joint Press Corps
Arriving from North Korea where he performed on the sidelines of the historic three-day inter-Korean summit, rapper Zico has said he was impressed by North Korean audiences who musically responded to his hip hop performance.
Zico was part of the cultural delegation accompanying President Moon Jae-in in his visit for talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un Tuesday through Thursday.
Zico performed his 2017 hit song "Artist," a funky hip hop song filled with witty rap lines, during the dinner party thrown by Kim on the first day, along with his K-pop mates, Ailee and Ali.
Zico quoted First Lady Kim Jung-sook as calling him "the hottest person of the South Korean delegation" as she introduced him to Kim's wife, Ri Sol-ju, at the beginning of the three-day trip.
"I was concerned whether the unfamiliar genre of hip hop would fit the atmosphere," Zico recalled in a phone interview with Yonhap News Agency after his return on Thursday.
"But (the North Korean side) showed a sufficient response to brush off the concerns."
Scene from Zico's "Artist" music video
"Usually, I ad lib 'put your hands up' (in English) in the middle of performance, but I replaced it with 'raise your hands' (in Korean) and the North Korean participants did put their hands above their heads," Zico said.
Since Kim was seated far from the stage at that time, Zico did not recognize how the North Korean leader took his hip hop performance, but he said "Overall, the environment was very friendly."
What especially impressed Zico during the North Korean trip was Mount Paekdu, the mountain on the Chinese border, where the South Korean delegation and Kim Jong-un and his wife climbed together on the last day of the summit.
"I still cannot believe that I have been to the volcanic lake (atop) Mount Paekdu," he said.
"On the way to the mountain, the car I was riding had some problems and we arrived at the mountain later than others. When I arrived, I was mesmerized because it was so beautiful.
"It was an incredible spectacle. It is so large that you have to turn 360 degrees to see the scene completely," he said.
The famous North Korean mass games and the Pyongyang's specialty of cold noodle were also among things that captivated him.
"It was dumbfounded as I watched the performance, which was on a scale that I have not experienced before. When seen in person, it was bigger than what it seems (in pictures)," he said. The event brought together 150,000 North Koreans at the May Day Stadium in the capital.
"The Pyongyang naengmyeon we had (at Okryugwan restaurant) was the best I have had. It was up to my high expectations," he said of the North Korean noodle dish. (Yonhap)
[Kim_Moon1809] [Culture] [EWA]
Korean leaders watch mass games on sidelines of historic summit
Posted : 2018-09-20 10:50
Updated : 2018-09-20 10:50
South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un watched the North's Mass Games on Wednesday (September 19) at the end of the second day of their summit.
Thousands of North Korean spectators applauded when the two leaders and their wives arrived at the May Day Stadium in the capital Pyongyang where a spectacular fireworks display lit up the sky and hundreds danced in colourful costumes.
Earlier in the day, the two leaders agreed to turn the Korean peninsula into a "land of peace without nuclear weapons and nuclear threats", as North Korea's Kim pledged to permanently abolish its key missile facilities in the presence of foreign experts.
On Thursday (September 20), the last day of his three-day visit, Moon plans to visit Mount Paektu in North Korea with Kim before returning home. (Reuters)
[Kim_Moon1809] [Mass Games]
2 Korean Leaders in Show of Solidarity on Symbolic Mountain
By Ahn Jun-yong
September 21, 2018 09:49
President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un climbed Mt. Baekdu on Thursday morning on the last day of Moon's three-day trip to the North.
Moon and his wife Kim Jung-sook left their quarters in Pyongyang at 6:40 a.m. and boarded a plane at Sunan International Airport, arriving at Samjiyon Airport near Mt. Baekdu some 40 minutes later.
The two Korean leaders and their wives pose at the crater lake on Mt. Baekdu on Thursday.
Here they were joined by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and his wife Ri Sol-ju. They then took a bus to the peak of Mt. Baekdu where they posed for photos under the bright autumn sky. Then they took a cable car to climb down to the crater lake on top of Mt. Baekdu which Koreans traditionally consider their spiritual home.
Moon thanked Kim for the chance to climb the symbolic mountain. "When South Koreans traveled to Mt. Baekdu through China, I pledged to climb the mountain directly and my wish has come true," he said. "We have now taken our first step. I sincerely believe that the day will come when ordinary people from the South will be able to travel to Mt. Baedu."
The leaders of the two Koreas and their wives sit in a cable car on Mt. Baekdu on Thursday. /Yonhap
Moon dipped his hand into the crater lake atop the mountain, while the first lady took out a PET bottle with water from Mt. Halla on Jeju Island. "I will pour half of it into the lake and refill the bottle with water from Mt. Baekdu" to bring back to South Korea, she said.
The two leaders and their wives then had lunch together at a guesthouse in Samjiyon often frequented by Kim's father Kim Jong-il.
Moon and Kim then took a private stroll outside the guesthouse just as they did during their first summit at the border truce village of Panmunjom in April.
Kim Jong-un Gives Moon a Gift of Seasonal Mushrooms
By Yoon Hyung-jun
September 21, 2018 11:36
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un gave President Moon Jae-in 2 tons of pine mushrooms as a gift during his visit to Pyongyang, according to Cheong Wa Dae on Thursday.
The seasonal mushrooms will be given to members of families separated by the Korean War who have not yet taken part in reunions. Presidential spokesman Yoon Young-chan told reporters, "The presents arrived in the South while the president and first lady were still in the North."
He said Cheong Wa Dae "chose some 4,000 people with priority on age, and each will be sent 500 g before Chuseok," which falls on Sept. 24 this year.
The mushrooms "hold scent of the rivers and mountains of the North," reads the message from the president and first lady in the gift box. "I hope this will offer some consolation to you, who have longed for your families and relatives in the North every day."
After the first inter-Korean summit in 2000, then North Korean leader Kim Jong-il also sent 3 tons of pine mushroom to Cheong Wa Dae. And right after the 2007 summit, Kim sent 4 tons of pine mushrooms to then President Roh Moo-hyun.
The National Identity of North Korean Defectors in South Korea: Insights and Implications from a New Survey
Date & Time:
Mon, 10/01/2018 - 12:00pm - 1:30pm
KEI Conference Facility
1800 K St NW, Suite 300
Washington, DC 20006
The National Identity of North Korean Defectors in South Korea:
Insights and Implications from a New Survey
PhD candidate, Department of Political Science
University of Toronto
PhD candidate, Area Studies: Korea
Director of Academic Affairs and Research
Korea Economic Institute of America
Monday, October 1, 2018
12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
KEI Conference Facility
1800 K St NW, Suite 300
How North Korean defectors integrate into South Korean life can provide insights into the future unification of the Korean Peninsula. The discussion of defector integration often centers on their struggles and South Korean government services. Equally important, though less understood, is their sense of identity and national belonging in South Korea. What do they think about their national identities as newly resettled members of South Korea? How do these attitudes compare with native-born South Koreans? Do demographics or pre- and post-migration effects matter? And what are the implications?
Please join KEI for a presentation by rising Korea scholars Steven Denney and Christopher Green on their original survey data that attempts to answer these questions and the implications of their findings.
For This Year’s International Day of Peace, Korea Takes the Lead
This rare, historic outbreak of peace should be celebrated and supported by all the peoples of the world, including and especially Americans and our government
With this week’s summit between Kim and the brilliant peace-seeking South Korean President Moon Jae-in, it’s clear the peace train continues to roll on the Korean Peninsula. (Photo: Reuters)
With this week’s summit between Kim and the brilliant peace-seeking South Korean President Moon Jae-in, it’s clear the peace train continues to roll on the Korean Peninsula. (Photo: Reuters)
Today is the International Day of Peace, an unfortunately lightly observed day, especially in the perpetually-at-war United States. However, Campaign Nonviolence, spurred by the group Pace e Bene, is helping coordinate various peace actions in the U.S. and worldwide.
There is precious little peace, or near-term hope for it, in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Palestine/Israel, Yemen, Libya, Somalia and countless other countries within our military tentacles’ reach.As one surveys the state of peace and war in the world, especially those wars in which the U.S. or its allies are engaged, the situation looks bleak. There is precious little peace, or near-term hope for it, in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Palestine/Israel, Yemen, Libya, Somalia and countless other countries within our military tentacles’ reach. And the Trump Administration seems keen to threaten Iran with military action, despite its verified adherence to the multilateral anti-nuclear deal the United States, not Iran, withdrew from.
Moon Under Pressure to Find Breakthrough in Denuclearization Talks
By Jeong Woo-sang
September 18, 2018 12:37
President Moon Jae-in is under tremendous international pressure to find a breakthrough in denuclearization talks between the U.S. and North Korea as he visits Pyongyang for three days.
It will be his third summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un already this year. They are also expected to discuss improving cross-border relations, economic cooperation, and ways to prevent military clashes, but denuclearization is by far the hottest topic.
[Kim_Moon1809] [Denuclearisation] [Agency] [Intermediary] [Conservatives]
Moon Arrives in Pyongyang
By Lee Min-seok, Yoon Hyung-jun
September 18, 2018 10:14
President Moon Jae-in arrived at Sunan International Airport in Pyongyang on Tuesday morning where he was welcomed by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and his wife Ri Sol-ju.
Hundreds of North Koreans had been mobilized to greet Moon and his entourage by waving flags on their arrival.
President Moon Jae-in (right) and his wife Kim Jung-sook wave as they leave for Pyongyang at an airport in Seongnam, Gyeonggi Province on Tuesday. /Yonhap
While the two leaders sit down in solemn conclave, first lady Kim Jung-sook is to visit a children's hospital and a university of music, presumably accompanied by Ri.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (right) and his wife Ri Sol-ju welcome South Korean President Moon Jae-in at Sunan International Airport in Pyongyang in this video grab on Tuesday. /Yonhap
Meanwhile the leaders of Korea's top businesses including Samsung chief Lee Jae-yong will sit down for talks with North Korean officials about any future cooperative projects they may or may not be interested in.
The tycoons were shoehorned into the trip although North Korea has currently little to offer them as an investment destination because of stringent international sanctions and a near-total absence of infrastructure.
Why Moon is traveling a risky road with North Korea
Successful engagement with Pyongyang is critical for South Korea’s long-term, geo-economic ambitions, but it can have its pitfalls
By Robert E. McCoy September 17, 2018
The devil may be in the detail. South Korean president Moon Jae-in (r) and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Panmunjom on April 27, 2018. Photo: AFP/Inter-Korean Summit Pool/Anadolu Agency
There is concern both in the United States and in some quarters of South Korea about the direction and pace of President Moon Jae-in’s engagement with Pyongyang.
But beyond his leftward political inclination, Moon has reasons for engaging with the North. It is helpful to understand why he is willing to travel a road that is well known, historically, to be risky and unlikely to be unproductive.
Begin with the fact that South Korea is a true democracy and an Asian tiger. This leads to the recognition that it is a burgeoning middle power. Moon, who was elected last spring, prefers that Korea be the master of its destiny – no longer content to automatically assume the role of an American junior partner.
[Agency] [Moon Jae-in]
Moon Will Have Busy Schedule in N.Korea
By Lee Yong-soo
September 17, 2018 11:35
An advance team of South Korean officials arrived in Pyongyang on Sunday afternoon to prepare for the inter-Korean summit that starts Tuesday.
Officials from the two met in the border truce village of Panmunjom on Friday and agreed to provide live media coverage of some events.
Moon arrives in Pyongyang on Tuesday morning on his official plane and is expected to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un several times over the next two days.
He carries a heavy freight of expectations that he can break the deadlock in denuclearization talks between the U.S. and the North.
Government insiders say there may be a surprise outing for the two leaders, such as a trip to Mt. Baekdu or Kaema Plateau for Moon, who is an avid mountain climber.
The North could also take Moon to the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, where the bodies of Kim's father and grandfather lie embalmed, or treat him with a performance of its notorious mass games.
Given that a top business entourage is traveling along, there is also a chance that Moon could visit a special economic zone in the North, particularly the Wonsan special tourism zone, which is a pet project of Kim's.
Defense chief nominee vows firm military readiness to counter all types of threats
Posted : 2018-09-17 17:12
Updated : 2018-09-17 17:12
Defense Minister nominee Jeong Kyeong-doo vowed to secure capabilities to counter a "full spectrum of security threats" in a "transitional period" marked by uncertainties during his parliamentary confirmation hearing Monday.
The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff also said that if appointed, he would strive to develop a "future-oriented, mutually complementary" alliance with the United States as Seoul seeks to retake wartime operational control (OPCON) from Washington.
"Despite aspirations for the settlement of the North Korean nuclear issue and the establishment of a peace regime, the Korean Peninsula now faces a transitional period where the security situation is uncertain," the Air Force general said.
"(Our military) will work to secure our own capabilities to respond to a full spectrum of security threats so as to safeguard the safety and lives of our citizens from existing threats, potential threats and various other threats, such as transnational and nonmilitary ones," he added.
Rapper Zico, R&B singer Ailee to visit Pyongyang
Posted : 2018-09-17 17:05
Updated : 2018-09-17 17:09
Woo Ji-ho, better known by his stage name Zico, is a rapper and singer-songwriter leading the boy band Block B. He has been included in President Moon Jae-in's official entourage to the inter-Korean summit in Pyongyang. Moon's office announced on Sunday the 52-member delegation for the summit on Tuesday to Thursday that includes government officials, politicians, business leaders and representatives from various social segments. / Yonhap
By Kang Aa-young
The South Korean artists' delegation to Pyongyang in April included veteran Korean singers such as Cho Yong-pil and Lee Sun-hee as well as surprise K-pop stars such as Red Velvet and Girls' Generation's Seohyun.
But hip-hop and R&B? How North Korean audiences will respond to these genres was the question that popped into the public mind when the government on Sunday announced the presidential entourage for the third inter-Korean summit included rapper Zico and R&B singer Ailee.
Experts are divided over their joining the cultural delegation.
"I can see the government is trying to add some cultural diversity," culture critic Jung Duk-hyun said Monday. "The lineup of the artists is unexpected just like Red Velvet's performance in Pyongyang."
"I assume they are putting extra effort to show the culture exactly as it is now."
Jung voiced concern though, noting North Koreans' perceptions toward them could be different from those of South Koreans.
Gov't to Compensate Firms Hurt by N.Korea Sanctions
By Lee Yong-soo, Kim Myong-song
September 14, 2018 13:50
The Unification Ministry said Thursday it will provide W122.8 billion in aid to 95 South Korean companies that suffered financial losses when relations with North Korea deteriorated (US$1=W1,123).
The government has previously provided these companies with some support along with low-interest loans to help them stay in business, but this is the first state-funded compensation for their losses.
The Lee Myung-bak administration halted tours to Mt. Kumgang after a South Korean tourist was shot to death by a North Korean soldier in July 2008. South Korea then halted trade with North Korea except the inter-Korean Kaesong Industrial Complex in May of 2010 following the North's sinking of the Navy corvette Cheonan.
The ministry said the support measures are part of efforts to fulfill the state's "responsibility to compensate the companies for difficulties following sudden policy changes."
However, when a South Korean company filed a lawsuit against the government in 2011 for financial losses caused by the government-led inter-Korean projects, a court ruled that the state cannot be held responsible. This has prompted critics to accuse the Unification Ministry of flouting the law.
[Sanctions] [Inter-Korean business]
Moon to take direct air route over Yellow Sea to Pyongyang
Posted on : Sep.15,2018 15:15 KST Modified on : Sep.15,2018 15:15 KST
Main events of inter-Korean summit to be broadcast live to the world
South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un jointly announce the Panmunjom Declaration on Apr. 27 after their first inter-Korean summit. (Kim Gyoung-ho, staff reporter)
South Korean President Moon Jae-in will be flying his presidential jet on the direct route over the Yellow Sea to Pyongyang for the inter-Korean summit that will be held there from Sept. 18 to 20. Moon’s first meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Pyongyang and the main events of the summit will be broadcast live to the world.
These were some of the points related to the principles of protocol, security, press coverage and communication to which South and North Korea agreed during high-level technical talks held at Panmunjom on Sept. 14 in preparation for the summit, explained Kwon Hyuk-ki, director of the Blue House press center (Spring and Autumn Pavilion). No explanation was given for why Moon will be flying directly above the Yellow Sea as former president Kim Dae-jung did in 2000 rather than taking the overland route as former president Roh Moo-hyun did in 2007, but this presumably has something to do with the poor condition of the roads to Pyongyang.
Inter-Korean joint liaison office opens to put South and North in 24-hr contact
Posted on : Sep.15,2018 15:17 KST Modified on : Sep.15,2018 15:17 KST
Opening ceremony for liaison office brings questions of when industrial complex will reopen
The opening ceremony for the inter-Korean joint liaison office inside the Kaesong Industrial Complex on Sept. 14. (photo pool)
When South Korean reporters visited the Kaesong Industrial Complex yesterday for the first time in two years and seven months, the complex looked as if operations had just ended for the weekend, with the machines shut down temporarily. The hotels, gas stations, hospitals, convenience stores, and the buildings of the Korea Land and Housing Corporation (LH) and the Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) looked the same as always. There was one new addition, however – on the side of the road, a sign that said, “Joint Liaison Office.”
The opening ceremony for the Inter-Korean Joint Liaison Office, which puts the two sides in contact 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, was held on the morning of Sept. 14 inside the Kaesong Complex.
South Korea launches its first domestically designed 3,000t submarine
Posted on : Sep.15,2018 15:09 KST Modified on : Sep.15,2018 15:09 KST
Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME) launched the Republic of Korea (ROK) Navy's first 3,000t submarine on Sept. 14 in Geoje, South Gyeongsang Province. The KSS-III was designed and built entirely within Korea, making it the first of its kind. President Moon Jae-in attended the launch ceremony, and called the submarine “a leap forward” in the South Korea’s defense industry. Some observers, however, question the necessity of such a launch ceremony when inter-Korean tensions are a matter of delicate importance. (Blue House photo pool)
[Submarine] [Military balance]
Owners of companies at Kaesong Industrial Complex attend opening ceremony for liaison office
Posted on : Sep.14,2018 17:16 KST Modified on : Sep.14,2018 17:16 KST
Government announces financial aid package to companies involved in inter-Korean cooperation
The inter-Korean joint liaison office in Kaesong. (provided by the Ministry of Unification)
On Sept. 14, the owners of tenant companies at the Kaesong Industrial Complex attended the opening ceremony of the inter-Korean liaison office, which was held inside the complex. This was the owners’ first visit to the complex in two years and seven months, since the government of former president Park Geun-hye fully shut it down in Feb. 2016.
In addition, the South Korean government announced that it would be providing 122.8 billion won (about US$110 million) in financial aid to 95 companies involved in inter-Korean economic cooperation and trade that suffered losses because of the halting of tourism to Mt. Kumgang in July 2008 and sanctions against North Korea imposed on May 24, 2010, or the May 24 Measures.[Kaesong]
Opposition party blocks ratification of Panmunjom Declaration based on costs
Posted on : Sep.13,2018 16:51 KST Modified on : Sep.13,2018 16:51 KST
LKP’s position similar to that of Grand National Party during Roh Moo-hyun admin
Kim Byeong-jun, chair of the Liberty Korea Party’s emergency committee. (Kang Chang-kwang, staff photographer)
“The government is giving the National Assembly a vague bill for 470 billion won [US$419.8 million], the amount it says implementing the Panmunjom Declaration will cost, and is asking us to approve and ratify that declaration. If the Moon Jae-in administration wants the National Assembly to ratify the declaration, it needs the courage to provide accurate details about how taxpayers’ money is going to be used.” —a statement by Lee Yang-su, spokesperson of the Liberty Korea Party, issued on Sept. 12, 2018
“The 2008 budget says that about 290 billion won [US$259.02 million] will be required, but in a certain sense, you could say this is just a formality, and we don’t know, and haven’t even been given an estimate, of how many trillions of won this will cost. Because of the huge fiscal outlay this would entail, it absolutely requires a national consensus.” —comments by Lee Hae-bong, lawmaker from the Grand National Party, in the minutes of a plenary session of the National Assembly’s Foreign Affairs and Unification Committee on Feb. 13, 2008
The South Korean government submitted a bill to the National Assembly on Sept. 11 asking it to approve and ratify the Panmunjom Declaration for Peace, Prosperity and Unification of the Korean Peninsula, but for two days now the Liberty Korea Party (LKP) has been expressing its opposition to ratifying the declaration because of the costs.
[Panmunjom Declaration] [Conservatives] [Pushback]
NK elevates festive mood for Pyongyang summit
Posted : 2018-09-16 17:00
Updated : 2018-09-16 17:18
Seen above is a screen capture of the official website for the upcoming Pyongyang summit between President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
By Lee Min-hyung
North Korea has expressed a welcoming gesture for the upcoming Pyongyang summit, saying the world is paying "unprecedented attention" to next week's historic meeting between President Moon Jae-in and the regime's young leader Kim Jong-un.
The planned inter-Korean summit comes as part of the April 27 Panmunjeom Declaration in which the two leaders agreed to hold a meeting sometime this fall in the North's capital city.
"We are going to build a unified and strong country on the Korean Peninsula by marching toward unification," Rodong Sinmun, the North's mouthpiece, said Sunday. "The South is also paying increasing attention to the scheduled summit in Pyongyang."
The Moon-Kim summit will take place for three days from Tuesday in Pyongyang. On Sunday morning, a South Korean pre-summit delegation ? led by Suh Ho, presidential secretary for unification policy ? departed for Pyongyang.
Gov't Downplays Cost of Inter-Korean Projects
By Yoon Hyung-jun
September 12, 2018 13:54
The Cabinet on Tuesday approved a motion for parliamentary ratification of the Panmunjom Declaration, which was signed at the inter-Korean summit on April 27.
The government estimates the cost of implementing the declaration at W471.2 billion for 2019, up from W172.6 billion for this year (US$1=W1,128). The money is to be spent to reconnect railways between the two Koreas and implement a joint forestry project.
Moon urged the opposition to cooperate in ratifying the declaration, saying, "I ask the parliament to stop pursuing partisan interests for the greater cause for the entire nation.
[Panmunjom Declaration] [Cost]
South Korea abolishes garrison decree after 68 years
Posted on : Sep.12,2018 17:43 KST Modified on : Sep.12,2018 17:43 KST
Decree could mobilize troops without National Assembly consent
South Korean President Moon Jae-in presides over a cabinet meeting at the Blue House on Sept. 11 (Blue House photo pool)
The garrison decree has been abolished after 68 years.
Blue House spokesperson Kim Eui-kyum announced on Sept. 11 that the decree “has been officially abolished by a cabinet vote today after 68 years.”
“As soon as it was abolished, President Moon [Jae-in] simply said, ‘The garrison decree has been abolished. This is a truly emotional moment,’” he reported.
“As I understand it, President Moon would have been looking closely at the newspapers in 1971 as a student in Seoul preparing to retake his university entrance exam, and he would have been paying special attention to the political situation at the time,” Kim added.
“In 1979, he had passed the first judicial examination and been expelled from his school,” he explained.
“I suspect it was due to the combination of his own uncertain situation and the uneasiness of the political situation that he felt that kind of regret,” he said.
The garrison decree was first enacted on Mar. 27, 1950, to preserve army order and discipline and protect military facilities. Though similar to the martial law decree mobilizing troops to maintain public order, it differed in not requiring National Assembly consent. As a presidential decree, it was invoked three times: during protests against the Treaty on Basic Relations with Japan in 1965, during demonstrations against high school drills in 1971, and during the Busan-Masan Protests in 1979.
[Repression] [Martial law]
South and North Korea to hold opening ceremony for joint liaison office on Sept. 14
Posted on : Sep.11,2018 17:44 KST Modified on : Sep.11,2018 17:44 KST
South Korea to be represented by office director, secretary general and 3 department heads
A South Korean delegation discusses the establishment of a joint liaison office with North Korean counterparts at the Kaesong Industrial Complex’s inter-Korean exchange and cooperation discussion office on June 8. (provided by the Ministry of Unification)
South and North Korea plan to hold an opening ceremony on Sept. 14 for a joint liaison office with resident officials stationed from both sides as stated in their Apr. 27 Panmunjom Declaration, sources reported.
The ceremony is to be attended by South and North Korean officials including South Korean Minister of Unification Cho Myung-gyon and Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland (CPRF) Chairman Ri Son-gwon. The South Korean government reportedly plans to pass an amendment of ordinance of a Ministry of Unification organization reflecting the joint office’s establishment as early as a Sept. 11 Cabinet meeting presided over by President Moon Jae-in.
Multiple sources close to the joint liaison office discussions said on Sept. 10 that the two sides had reached a provisional agreement to hold the opening ceremony on Sept. 14 following previous working-level discussions in Kaesong. Cho and Ri are to attend the ceremony as senior representatives to the high-level inter-Korean talks, with both to participate in a signing event for an “agreement on the composition and operation of the Kaesong inter-Korean joint liaison office” during the ceremony.
Inter-Korean military talks due ahead of summit
Posted : 2018-09-11 17:52
Updated : 2018-09-11 20:43
Possible agendas include removal of guard posts, joint repatriation of war remains
By Lee Min-hyung
The two Koreas will hold working-level military talks on Thursday to pre-arrange agendas scheduled to be discussed during the upcoming inter-Korean summit next week, South Korea's defense ministry said Tuesday.
Seoul and Pyongyang agreed to hold the dialogue at Tongilgak, a building on the northern side of the inter-Korean border village of Panmunjeom, according to the South's Ministry of National Defense.
"Last week, the North offered to have the inter-Korean working-level talks and we reached an agreement to have the dialogue on Thursday," a ministry official said.
The South will send a three-member military delegation ? led by Army Colonel Cho Yong-geun ? for the upcoming dialogue, according to the defense ministry. The North has yet to notify who its participants will be.
[Detente] [Military talks]
North Korea propaganda outlet slams ex-leader Park for 'dashing hope of youth'
Posted : 2018-09-11 16:51
Updated : 2018-09-12 01:26
By Jung Da-min
North Korea's propaganda website DPRK Today has slammed former President Park Geun-hye, saying her administration created the so-called "N-Po (or N-Give up) generation," because of policy failures.
Those in this South Korean generation have given up on things including dating, marriage and having babies due to economic hardship.
"The fact that young people have fallen to 'N-Po generation' beyond '5-Po generation' and '7-Po generation' reveals the sins of traitor Park Geun-hye, who has driven 'the age of national unhappiness,' 'the age of national despair'," DPRK Today's Saturday editorial said.
[Photo] Mere 196km away from Seoul to Pyongyang
Posted on : Sep.10,2018 16:54 KST Modified on : Sep.10,2018 16:54 KST
The lyrics of “From Seoul to Pyongyang,” a popular folk song during the 1990s, lamented that a cab ride from Seoul to Pyongyang is cheaper than the fare to Gwangju, yet South Koreans can’t go. The Seoul Metropolitan Government has put up a directional signs that indicates the distance from Seoul to 15 other cities around the world. What’s noticeable, however, is the city of Pyongyang, North Korea’s capital, a mere 196km away from Seoul. The signs were set up in August and can be found in 20 tourist spots around the city, including Gwanghwamun Plaza.
Moon invites party leaders to Pyongyang summit
Posted : 2018-09-10 14:54
Updated : 2018-09-10 16:19
The presidential office Cheong Wa Dae on Monday asked the parliamentary speaker and heads of all five political parties in South Korea to accompany President Moon Jae-in on his upcoming trip to the North.
The invitation came from Moon's chief of staff Im Jong-seok, who currently heads a summit preparation committee.
The Moon-Kim summit is set to be held in Pyongyang from Sept. 18-20.
"The preparation committee for the 2018 Pyongyang summit seeks to invite National Assembly Speaker Moon Hee-sang and vice speakers ... as special parliamentary delegates," Im told a press briefing.
The heads of all five major political parties, including Lee Hae-chan of the ruling Democratic Party and Kim Byong-jun of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party, have also been invited.
Those invited also include Rep. Kang Seok-ho of the main opposition party, who currently serves as the chairman of the parliamentary committee on foreign affairs and unification.
"Up until now, the government has been at the center of South-North exchanges, but many have long suggested that inter-Korean exchanges would become much more stabilized when the parliament becomes a part of such efforts," Im said of the reason for inviting the parliamentary leaders to the inter-Korean summit.
The invitation came hours after the rival parties failed to reach an agreement on the government-requested ratification of an inter-Korean agreement reached at the first Moon-Kim summit in the border village of Panmunjom on April 27.
Instead, the ruling and opposition parties agreed to review the request after the third Moon-Kim summit. The leaders last met in Panmunjom on May 26.
Meanwhile, Im said the government will soon finalize its list of delegates to the Pyongyang summit, adding the two Koreas have agreed to keep the South Korean delegation at about 200 people. (Yonhap)
World renown South Korean academic diverts patent funds to his own company
Posted on : Sep.9,2018 16:12 KST Modified on : Sep.9,2018 16:12 KST
Seoul National University took no action for almost a year after suspecting falsified reports
Professor Kim Jin-soo, Director of the Center for Genome Engineering at the Institute for Basic Science (IBS) at Seoul National University (SNU). (Hankyoreh archives)
A former Seoul National University (SNU) professor seen as a world-class figure in his scientific field diverted hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of global patents to a company where he was majority shareholder during his tenure.
Meanwhile, the SNU was found to have taken no action for nearly a year after drafting an internal document about a possible breach of trust accusation, announcing its plans for an audit only after the incident began receiving press coverage.
An investigation by Hankyoreh 21 on Sept. 7 and documents received from SNU by the office of Democratic Party lawmaker Park Yong-jin revealed that professor Kim Jin-soo, director of the Center for Genome Engineering at the Institute for Basic Science (IBS), submitted a falsified employee’s invention report to SNU in connection with source technology for the CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing tool developed with his colleagues during his tenure at the university in 2012–2013, while diverting related patents to his own company ToolGen.
Blue House moves to ratify Panmunjom Declaration in National Assembly
Posted on : Sep.8,2018 15:03 KST Modified on : Sep.8,2018 15:03 KST
The Blue House announced on Sept. 7 its plans to submit a proposal to the National Assembly to ratify the Panmunjom Declaration signed by South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader on Apr. 27 during their inter-Korean summit. The proposal is expected to be submitted on Sept. 11. However, as the ruling Democratic Party doesn’t occupy the majority of seats in the National Assembly to pass the proposal, the road to official ratification of the Panmunjom Declaration is still expected to be a long and rocky one. The Liberty Korea Party, in particular, is expected to pose a major obstacle in the process. (Hankyoreh archives)
South and North Korea agree on adopting concrete measures to reduce military tensions
Posted on : Sep.7,2018 15:58 KST Modified on : Sep.7,2018 15:58 KST
Details of agreement to be decided at upcoming third inter-Korean summit
The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) TV network reported on Sept. 6 that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un met with South Korea’s special delegation to North Korea the day prior. Behind Kim is Kim Yong-chol, Vice Chairman of the Central Committee of the Workers‘ Party of Korea. (Yonhap News)
The South and North Korean leaders plan to reach an agreement on concrete measures to reduce military tensions, Blue House National Security Office Director Chung Eui-yong announced on Sept. 6. Many are now watching to see what kind of agreement is reached at the upcoming inter-Korean summit a little over ten days away.
“We reached a decision to continue making progress with reducing the current military tensions between South and North and reach an agreement on concrete measures to build mutual trust and prevent armed clashes at the inter-Korean summit [scheduled for Sept. 18–20,” Chung explained that day while sharing the results of activities by a special envoy delegation that recently visited North Korea.
[SK NK Negotiations] [Detente]
Kim Jong-un reiterates his commitment to denuclearization and Korean peace regime
Posted on : Sep.6,2018 16:55 KST Modified on : Sep.6,2018 16:55 KST
KCNA emphasizes North Korean leader’s message day after meeting
The South Korean special delegation to Pyongyang, led by Blue House National Security Office Director Chung Eui-yong, and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on Sept. 5. (provided by the Blue House)
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un sent a message to a visiting South Korean special envoy delegation expressing his “will to completely remove the danger of armed conflict and horror of war from the Korean peninsula and turn it into the cradle of peace without nuclear weapons and free from nuclear threat,” the North Korean press reported.
On Sept. 6, the (North) Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) published a report on the meeting between Kim and the delegation at the headquarters of the Workers’ Party of Korea Central Committee that took place on the previous day. According to the report, Kim told the delegation during their meeting that it was “our [North Korea’s] fixed stand and his will to completely remove the danger of armed conflict and horror of war from the Korean peninsula and turn it into the cradle of peace without nuclear weapons and free from nuclear threat.”
Kim went on to express his commitment to denuclearization, adding that “the north and the south should further their efforts to realize the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula,” the report said. The delegation and Kim were further reported as having exchanged their views and come to a “satisfactory agreement” on the schedule and agenda for an upcoming inter-Korean summit in Pyongyang during September.
[Kim Jong Un] [Denuclearisation] [Aspiration]
3rd inter-Korean summit to be held in Pyongyang on Sept. 18-20
Posted on : Sep.6,2018 17:02 KST Modified on : Sep.6,2018 17:02 KST
Special envoy announces details after returning from North Korea
Blue House National Security Office Director Chung Eui-yong delivers a letter from South Korean President Moon Jae-in to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Pyongyang on Sept. 5. (provided by the Blue House)
A third summit between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is to be held in Pyongyang on Sept. 18–20.
The announcement was made at a Sept. 6 press conference by a special envoy delegation returning from a visit to North Korea on behalf of President Moon Jae-in, with Blue House National Security Office Director Chung Eui-yong as senior representative.
“High-level practical discussions on protocol, security, communications, and press coverage to prepare for the summit are to be held in Panmunjom early next week,” the envoy explained, adding that an agreement had also been reached to open an inter-Korean joint liaison office in Kaesong – in accordance with an agreement at the first inter-Korean summit in Panmunjom on Apr. 27 – before the third summit takes place in Pyongyang.
Moon Jae-in’s 2018 Liberation Day Speech and South Korea’s Foreign Policy
Blog Post by Scott A. Snyder
August 15, 2018
South Korean President Moon Jae-in delivers a speech during a ceremony marking the anniversary of liberation from Japan's colonial rule following the end of World War II on August 15, 2018. Kim Hong-ji/Reuters
The commemoration marking the anniversary of the end of World War II is always a bittersweet moment in South Korea. It marks a day of euphoria on the Korean peninsula that carries with it both the legacy of the past and the burdens of the future. As Korean War historian Sheila Miyoshi Jager observes, “Korea was not liberated by Koreans, and so Korea was subjugated to the will and wishes of its liberators.” Moon Jae-in’s speech marking the seventy-third anniversary of the end of World War II is particularly fascinating in its bold effort to challenge that assertion. This can be seen both through Moon’s efforts to redefine South Korea’s fraught diplomatic relationship with Japan and for the insight the speech provides into Moon’s audacious and potentially risky effort to redefine inter-Korean relations and reshape the geopolitical landscape in Northeast Asia.
[Moon Jae-in] [Foreign Policy]
Briefing by Director of National Security Chung Eui-yong on the Outcome of the Visit to Pyeongyang
September 06, 2018
Following is the full text of a briefing made today by Director of National Security Chung Eui-yong on his visit to Pyeongyang yesterday.
Fellow Koreans, my delegation came back late last night.
In Pyeongyang, we had extensive discussions with the North Korean side on issues ranging from the development of inter-Korean relations to denuclearization and the settlement of peace on the Korean Peninsula.
After arriving in Pyeongyang in the morning, we had a meeting with Chairman Kim Jong Un of the State Affairs Commission and delivered President Moon Jae-in's letter. Afterward, we had in-depth and wide-ranging discussions concerning various pending issues on inter-Korean relations, including the holding of an inter-Korean summit.
We also sat together with Vice Chairman of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea Kim Yong Chol and other high-ranking officials and discussed concrete measures to put into action the will of the leaders of both Koreas.
First, the South and North agreed to hold an inter-Korean summit September 18-20, three days and two nights, in Pyeongyang and to hold a high-ranking working-level meeting at Panmunjeom early next week to discuss protocol, security, communications and media coverage as a part of preparations for the summit.
We also came to an agreement to examine, during the upcoming inter-Korean summit, the outcome of the implementation of the Panmunjeom Declaration and confirm how to push for the Declaration going forward. The discussions at the summit will also be centered around issues on the permanent settlement of peace and common prosperity on the Korean Peninsula as well as, particularly, practical measures to realize denuclearization on the Peninsula.
Second, Chairman Kim Jong Un reconfirmed his determination to completely denuclearize the Korean Peninsula and expressed his willingness for close cooperation not only with the South but also with the United States in that regard.
Third, the two sides also agreed to continue to make progress in the ongoing inter-Korean talks to ease military tensions and decided to reach an agreement at the inter-Korean summit on concrete plans to establish mutual trust and prevent military clashes.
Fourth, it was also agreed that South and North Korea would open a joint liaison office with resident representatives of both sides before the summit and continue necessary cooperation.
We will brief the countries concerned, including the United States, with the results of the visit by the special envoys to the North and closely work together with them.
South and North Korea will make additional substantive progress in further developing inter-Korean relations, denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula and settling peace by making consistent endeavors with patience going forward.
I am grateful to the public who have watched the envoys’ visit to the North and sent their support.
[SK NK Negotiations] [Kim_Moon1809] [Intermediary]
Hopes inter-Korean talks will kick-start denuclearization process
Joint liaison office to be set up in Kaesong before the two leaders meet in Pyongyang on Sept 18-20
By Andrew Salmon September 6, 2018
Against the background of fading hopes on denuclearization, South Korea’s presidential office, the Blue House, announced today that President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will hold a summit on 18-20 September in Pyongyang, the North’s capital.
Moreover, the two states, which are technically still at war, agreed to open a joint liaison office before the summit. With Pyongyang and Seoul not recognizing each other diplomatically, no such office exists, or has existed.
[SK NK Negotiations] [Intermediary]
S. Korean envoys meet Kim to advance nuclear diplomacy
By kim tong-hyung, associated press
SEOUL, South Korea — Sep 5, 2018, 11:49 AM ET
A South Korean delegation met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Wednesday during a visit to arrange an inter-Korean summit planned for this month and help rescue faltering nuclear diplomacy between Washington and Pyongyang.
The office of South Korean President Moon Jae-in said the envoys led by his national security adviser delivered his personal letter to Kim and "exchanged opinions" on unspecified issues.
It wasn't immediately clear whether the Korean officials fixed a date for a third summit this year between Moon and Kim or made any progress in breaking an impasse in talks between North Korea and the United States over dismantling Kim's nuclear weapons program. When asked whether the meeting with Kim went well, Moon spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom said he didn't know.
[SK NK Negotiations] [Kim_Moon1809]
South and North Red Cross discuss having 500 South Koreans visit NK to hold their ancestral rites
Posted on : Sep.2,2018 12:48 KST Modified on : Sep.2,2018 12:48 KST
Visit in November would allow Koreans to hold their ancestral rites at Mt. Kumgang
North Koreans bid their final farewell to their South Korean families on Aug. 26, the last day of the second round of the 21st reunion for families divided by the Korean War. (photo pool)
On Aug. 31, Park Kyung-seo, head of the South Korean Red Cross, said that officials from the South and North Korean Red Cross had discussed having 500 South Korean members of families divided by the Korean War visit Mt. Kumgang this coming November to hold their ancestral rites. “If this event goes well, we’re planning to look into holding the ceremony in Pyongyang next year,” Park added.
“We had a discussion with the North Koreans about putting together a group of around 500 South Korean divided family members to visit their hometowns for three days in November,” Park said in an earlier interview with the Voice of America (VOA).
Moon’s approval ratings fall below mid-50 percentage
Posted on : Sep.2,2018 12:50 KST Modified on : Sep.2,2018 12:50 KST
Support for Democratic Party stands at 40 percent
South Korean President Moon Jae-in poses with attendees of a workshop for innovating the public sector at the National Health Insurance Office in Wonju, Gangwon Province, on Aug. 29. (Blue House photo pool)
President Moon Jae-in’s governance approval rating has fallen below the mid-50 percent range, a recent survey shows.
A survey of 1,000 adult South Koreans nationwide by the specialist polling organization Gallup Korea on Aug. 28–30 (margin of error ±3.1 percentage points, 95 percent confidence level) showed 53 percent of respondents rating President Moon’s governance performance positively during the fifth week of August.
The number was down three percentage points from 56 percent the week before. The downward trend continued for a second consecutive week after briefly stabilizing for the third week of August. Meanwhile, the percentage of negative ratings of his job performance stood at 38 percent, up five percentage points from the previous week.
[Moon Jae-in] [public opinion]
North Korean movies to screen at Ulju Mountain Film Festival
Posted : 2018-09-03 15:25
Updated : 2018-09-03 16:20
Tweet Follow @koreatimescokr
"The Other Side of the Mountain." Courtesy of UMFF
By Jung Da-min
Five North Korean movies about the country's nature and people will be screened at the Ulju Mountain Film Festival (UMFF) on Friday to Tuesday.
A romance movie titled "The Other Side of Mountain (2012)," which deals with inter-Korean separated families, will screened on Saturday at 4 p.m. and next Monday at 10 a.m.
The other four films are short North Korean animations with themes about nature ? "Ant rolled Korean Melon (1983)", "A Peasant and a Brindled Dog (1999)", "Potato arrived in Hyanggi-Gol (2000)" and "A Present from Old Tree (2007)".
They will be presented as a combined film next Tuesday from 1 p.m.
Korean-American Joon Bai, writer of "The Other Side of Mountain," will visit the film festival to meet audience. Bai was born in the north-eastern border area of the North, but moved to the South during the Korean War.
He went to the U.S. in 1959 and has since lived there as a businessman.
The U.S-North Korean collaboration movie deals with South Korean soldier Ri Il-gyu's story of falling in love with North Korean nurse Song Son-ah during the Korean War. North Korean Jang In-hak directed the film.
"The Other Side of the Mountain." Courtesy of UMFF
Filmed in the North featuring North Korean actors and actresses, the movie presents a natural view of the North Korean mountains.
"People often have prejudice that North Korean movies include propaganda messages, but the North Korean movies selected for showing at the festival are about nature, which fits the theme of Ulju Mountain Film Festival," said UMFF programmer Jinna Lee.
"The romance movie is set in the mountains in the North and conveys ideas such as 'knowledge is power' or 'love nature.'"
Moviegoers can pre-register on the UMFF website (http://umff.kr/eng/). On-site registration will be open from Friday.
[Photo] Peace run through North Korea
Posted on : Sep.3,2018 16:50 KST Modified on : Sep.3,2018 16:50 KST
Civic groups gathered in Seoul on Sept. 2 calling for inter-Korean cooperation that would allow world marathoner Kang Myeong-gu, who is currently running the length of Eurasia on a course that stretches over 15,000km, to run through North Korea. Kang started his run in Sept. 2017 in The Hague, Netherlands, and has since made his way through Uzbekistan and China. Should inter-cooperation efforts go through, he is expected to arrive back in South Korea via North Korea in October. (Kim Myoung-jin, staff photographer)
Return to ROK and Inter-Korean relations page