ROK and Inter-Korean relations
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Cheong Wa Dae Warns of Firm Action Against N.Korea
June 17, 2020 08:34
Cheong Wa Dae has vowed firm action against any move by North Korea that could worsen tensions after the regime blew up the cross-border liaison office in Kaesong.
After an emergency meeting of top security officials, the presidential office said that the move has betrayed expectations of improving inter-Korean relations and fostering peace on the Korean Peninsula.
South Korean soldiers patrol the beach on Yeonpyeong Island on Tuesday. /Yonhap
The Unification Ministry here echoed the remarks, adding that that the demolition was "senseless" and should not have happened. The ministry also called it a violation of a 2018 summit agreement.
The provocation comes just a day after President Moon Jae-in reached out to Pyongyang, urging the North to keep its door open to dialogue.
[Panmunjom Declaration] [Violation] [Inversion]
N.Korea Redeploys Troops to Border
By Cho Yi-jun, Yu Yong-weon, Kim Myong-song
June 19, 2020 11:05
North Korea has redeployed troops to border guard posts and the Kaesong Industrial Complex after tearing up a 2018 military de-escalation pact between the two Koreas. North Korea announced the looming redeployment on Wednesday.
South Korea has around 60 guard posts and North Korea around 150. Many North Korean ones that were deserted after the cross-border military pact are now being occupied again. Some soldiers were spotted carrying shovels, suggesting that they are repairing posts that had been demolished under the pact.
[SK NK relations]
The Inter-Korean Liaison Office at Kaesong: Still Standing, Although Clearly Damaged
Martyn Williams and Peter Makowsky
JUNE 19, 2020
Commercial satellite imagery of the Kaesong Industrial Zone shows the inter-Korean liaison office remains standing after a massive explosion tore through it at 2:50 p.m. (KST) on June 16. Imagery from June 19 shows significant damage to one section of the roof and a debris field around 100 meters to the north and south of the building.
N.Korea Threatens to Cut All Communication with South
By Lee Yong-soo
June 09, 2020 14:09
North Korea has threatened to sever all communication with the South although in reality none has been taking place for months.
The official [North] Korean Central News Agency said Pyongyang "will completely cut off and shut down all communications lines with the South at noon on Tuesday."
The grandstanding came after a shrilly worded demand by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's sister Yo-jong last week to stop activists from sending propaganda leaflets attached to helium balloons across the border.
North Korea "reached a conclusion that there is no need to sit face to face with the South Korean authorities and there is no issue to discuss with them, as they have only aroused our dismay," Tuesday's statement added.
KCNA said cutting all hotlines will be "the first step of the determination to completely shut down all contact means with South Korea."
Last week Kim Yo-jong already threatened to shut the inter-Korean liaison office in Kaesong, which has in fact been sitting idle since 2018.
[SK NK relations] [Panmunjom Declaration] [Violation] [Destabilisation] [Response]
Dismissed Samsung worker ends 355-day protest on top of CCTV tower
Posted on : Jun.1,2020 17:
Kim Yong-hee, was unjustly dismissed from Samsung Aerospace in 1995, stands at the grave of late labor activist Jeon Tae-il on May 30, Kim’s just one day after ending his 355-day aerial protest on a tower in front of Samsung’s Seoul headquarters. (Kang Jae-gu)
No longer was he wearing the band on his forehead that read “Do or die.” Instead, he was gently placing a bouquet of chrysanthemums in front of a gravestone.
On May 30, Kim Yong-hee visited the grave of Jeon Tae-il at Moran Cemetery in Namyangju, Gyeonggi Province. It was the day after the 62-year-old Kim first set foot on the ground after a 355-day aerial protest, having ascended a tower in front of Samsung’s Seoul headquarters near Gangnam Station to protest his unjust dismissal from the company. His reasons for making Jeon’s grave his first stop after coming down from his protest were simple.
Jeon Tae-il was a factory worker who burned himself to death in 1970 in protest of poor working conditions in South Korea’s industrial facilities.
Kim described his aerial protest as “a fight with myself against death,” suggesting how challenging and lonely that fight was. “Feelings of panic were especially hard to endure. I found myself thinking that, if I jumped down, the pain might go away,” he said.
But whenever Kim found himself pondering that extreme option, there was something that held him back — the biography of Jeon Tae-il. “At my lowest moments, I read the book about Jeon and found myself in its pages. I found great strength in the scenes of Jeon suffering from workplace abuse. That’s why I thought this should be the first place I visit once I came down from the tower.”
[Labour] [Samsung] [Moon Jae-in] [Tragedy]
KBS shows rare footage of comfort women survivors being rescued by Allies
Posted on : May.29,2020 18:06 KST Modified on : May.29,2020 18:06 KST
Video shows US and Chinese forces rescuing late Park Yeong-sim, who is pregnant in video
The late Park Yeong-sim and other comfort women survivors are rescued by Allied forces during the Pacific War. (provided by KBS)
On May 28, the Korea Broadcasting System (KBS) aired rare footage showing US and Chinese forces rescuing Korean survivors of sexual slavery under the Japanese military, known as “comfort women,” at Mount Song in China’s Yunnan Province during the Pacific War in September 1944. Also seen in the video was the late Park Yeong-sim, who had drawn attention among the comfort women survivors for being in the late stages of pregnancy at the time. While some documents and photographs related to Korean comfort women had been available before, observers are calling the footage a rare and valuable historical record.
Park and another comfort woman survivor at the time of her rescue by US and Chinese troops. (provided by KBS)
The video discovered and shown by KBS lasts 54 seconds and shows a group including Park being rescued by US and Chinese Allies. KBS said the video “appears to have been filmed on Sept. 7, 1944,” noting that this was “the day US and Chinese forces brought down a Japanese stronghold at Mount Song after 100 days of fighting.” According to the explanation, the Korean comfort women survivors were found by the Allies after they fled a comfort station, where the remaining Japanese soldiers at the stronghold had committed suicide.
Park Yeong-sim, who can be seen in the video, was previously known for a photograph showing her late in pregnancy. In 2000, Park confirmed that she was the one seen in the photograph. Living in North Korea, she played a leading role in denouncing atrocities committed by the Japanese forces before she passed away in Pyongyang in 2006. She is believed to have been 22 at the time the footage was filmed, and her belly clearly shows the later stages of pregnancy. After she sees the rejoicing Allies crying “hurrah,” her dazed expression disappears and she cries “hurrah” back. The video shows other comfort women survivors besides Park. One survivor of indeterminate nationality has a heavily swollen eye, suggesting a possible injury.
KBS explained, “This footage was discovered at the US National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) by the production team for our network’s ‘Docu Insight,’ which we happened upon while looking for records related to Korean history for the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of the Korean War.”
“[The footage] was examined by authoritative experts, who confirmed that the individuals in the video were Park Yeong-sim and other comfort women survivors,” it added.
By Moon Hyun-sook, media correspondent
Seoul Area Goes Back into Lockdown
May 29, 2020 11:20
Coronavirus infections are spreading among workers at a warehouse run by online commerce company Coupang in Bucheon west of Seoul, surging to 90 just five days after the first confirmed case was detected on May 23.
The virus was detected on hats and shoes worn by some of the workers, suggesting that it may have spread without direct contact.
Another infection was detected at a different Coupang warehouse in Goyang just north of Seoul, bringing the total infections to 39 in Incheon, 32 in Gyeonggi Province and 19 in the capital itself.
The developments prompted government officials to reinstate some lockdown measures in the Seoul metropolitan area from Thursday until June 14.
According to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly half the 224 infections over the past 10 days were detected in Seoul, Incheon and Gyeonggi Province.
The government on Thursday closed private crammers, karaoke parlors and bars again temporarily, as well as museums, parks and other public facilities. Outdoor activities and gatherings were permitted again just a month ago as long as people wore masks and maintained a safe distance from each other.
Health and Welfare Minister Park Neung-hoo told reporters on Thursday that officials "are trying their best to track down potentially infected people, but community transmissions have probably occurred already or may be quietly occurring now. If we fail to quickly stem the spread of infections in the Seoul metropolitan region, they will affect schools and students will not be able to return to classes."
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