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Kim Jong-il’s Message Conveyed to President Lee
A high-level North Korean delegation conveyed a message from their leader Kim Jong-il to the South Korean president during a rare meeting Sunday at the presidential Blue House, the AP reported.
President Lee Myung-bak and the North Korean officials discussed inter-Korean cooperation during the half hour meeting, the agency quoted presidential spokesman Lee Dong-kwan as saying. He said he could not provide details about the contents of Kim's message.
[SK NK relations] [Overtures]
Korea Bids Solemn Farewell to Kim Dae-jung
Champion of Democracy Eulogized at State Funeral
By Do Je-hae
Tens of thousands of mourners gathered Sunday for the funeral of the late former President Kim Dae-jung (1924-2009) to pay a final tribute to the iconic statesman and inter-Korean peacemaker.
After a six-day mourning period, the first-ever state funeral for a former head of state began at 2 p.m. at the National Assembly's main grounds as national flags flew at half-mast nationwide.
High-Profile Int’l Dignitaries Arrive for Funeral
A string of high-profile foreign delegations arrived in Seoul on Saturday to attend the state funeral of the late former South Korean President Kim Dae-jung.
Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright was heading a 10-member delegation, while China sent an 11-member group, headed by former state councilor and foreign minister Tang Jiaxuan, with Japan’s delegation led by former House of Representatives Speaker Yohei Kono.
North Korea Should Take Prudent Action for Rapprochement
The United States has reaffirmed its firm position that bilateral negotiations with North Korea are possible only through the six-party denuclearization talks. State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said Thursday that the six-party process remains the best mechanism to resolve pending issues between the two countries. His remarks are aimed at foiling any attempt by Pyongyang to scuttle the multilateral talks by holding direct negotiations with Washington.
Against this backdrop, the Kim Jong-il regime is sending out conciliatory gestures toward the United States and South Korea.
[US NK negotiations] [Bilateral] [Overtures]
On Day of Mourning, 2 Koreas Meet in the South
By Choe Sang-hun
Published: August 23, 2009
SEOUL — South Korea held a state funeral on Sunday for former President Kim Dae-jung, a persecuted crusader for democracy in South Korea and a frustrated champion for reconciliation with North Korea, whose death brought the two Koreas together in the first major political meeting in nearly two years.
South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, right, met Sunday with North Korea envoys in Seoul, the first such meeting in nearly two years.
On the same day as the funeral for Mr. Kim, President Lee Myung-bak of South Korea met with a high-level delegation from North Korea who flew to Seoul to pay respects to Mr. Kim. Through his delegates, the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-il, sent a message of improving ties with South Korea, officials said.
In a nationally televised scene, some 30,000 politicians, foreign dignitaries and citizens attended the state funeral held at a National Assembly lawn under a blazing sun.
[Kim Dae-jung] [SK NK relations]
N. Korean Delegation Meets With President Lee Myung-bak in Seoul
First High Level Meeting in Two Years Signals Improving Relations Between the Two Koreas
By Blaine Harden
Washington Post Foreign Service
Sunday, August 23, 2009; 4:56 AM
TOKYO, Aug. 23 -- In another signal that relations between the two Koreas are on the mend, a North Korean delegation met Sunday in Seoul with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak and delivered a personal call for improved ties from leader Kim Jong Il.
]Kim Dae-jung] [SK NK Relations]
Red Cross Seeks Talks on Inter-Korean Family Reunions
The South Korean Red Cross proposed talks to North Korea's Red Cross on Thursday about resuming the reunions of families separated by the Korean War. North Korea has offered to resume the reunions on Chuseok or Korean Thanksgiving on Oct. 3.
Kim Dae-jung’s last diary issues public warning regarding Lee administration
Kim praises the beauty of life and commits himself to “resolving the three major crises of the present: the crisis of democracy, the economic crisis of the working class, and the crisis in inter-Korean relations”
A section of late President Kim Dae-jung's diary kept over the last year of his life until just before his June 4 hospitalization was shared with the public on Friday. It appears to represent a kind of final statement to the public, and was handwritten by the late president during a time when his health had deteriorated.
In the journal, Kim Dae-jung passionately expressed his rage against the unilateral behavior of the Lee Myung-bak administration, and shared his concern and dismay over the state of democracy in South Korea and the extent to which inter-Korean relations is in crisis.
[SK NK policy] [Kim Dae-jung]
[Editorial] A Giant of Our Age Leaves Behind a Great Mark
Former President Kim Dae-jung is no longer with us. Ever since he began his difficult battle with illness, he steeled himself for this day to come eventually, but that day came too soon. Now even the earnest prayer that he might dust himself off, get out of his sickbed and remain with us as a light in a bewildering age has come to nothing. The country and the Korea people still need him desperately, but he has left forever on a road from which he cannot return. With two former presidents gone in the space of just a few months, there are no words to describe the grief suffered by those left behind.
Kim Jong Il Sends Wreath to Bier of Kim Dae Jung
Pyongyang, August 21 (KCNA) -- A wreath sent by Kim Jong Il, chairman of the DPRK National Defence Commission, to the bier of ex-President Kim Dae Jung was courteously placed on Friday by the special envoy group led by Kim Ki Nam, secretary of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea, on a visit to Seoul.
The group courteously conveyed the message of condolences and words of profound consolation sent by Kim Jong Il to the bereaved family of the deceased.
Present there were officials concerned of the funeral committee for ex-President Kim Dae Jung from the south side.
The group arrived in Seoul on Friday by special plane.
[Kim Dae-jung] [Overtures]
Special Envoy Group Leaves for Seoul
Pyongyang, August 21 (KCNA) -- Upon authorization of Kim Jong Il, chairman of the National Defence Commission of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, a special envoy group led by Kim Ki Nam, secretary of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea, left here Friday by special plane to mourn the death of ex-President Kim Dae Jung.
[Kim Dae-jung] [Overtures]
De-Branding Revolution for Korea
Korea Times Columnist
``Branding Korea'' is the new catchphrase for bureaucratic busybodies, PR-hustlers and advertisers. The idea is to sell Korea as a brand, like Coca Cola. Every Korean city or province is trying to come up with a catchphrase or logo that sets it above others so that it can be remembered. Some are ridiculous, many dubious, and most ineffective. Still, compelled by competition and compulsion, the push to ``brand Korea'' goes on. Hey, why can't the city of Jinju be another Paris or Gyeonggi Province another South of France? The dream goes on too.
It is my very unpleasant duty as a sociologist to point out that countries are not commercial products and cannot be ``branded'' overnight like commercial products.
Unfortunately, Korea's image is not a positive one as there are too many time-created and world-wide negatives strongly embedded in the thoughts and ideas about it. Korea needs to ``de-brand'' all such negatives, large and small, easy and difficult, critical and light, before Korea can seriously think about branding itself as a viable international product.
[Brand] [Country image]
Lee Administration‘s North Korea stance keeps S.Korea on sidelines
» North Korea‘s Korean Central News Agency released this photograph of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il with with Hyundai Group Chairwoman Hyun Jung Eun in Pyongyang on Sunday after Hyun extended her stay in Pyongyang.
Following former U.S. President Bill Clinton’s visit to North Korea earlier this month, nations concerned with the Korean Peninsula have been moving quickly. It seems as though attempts to form a new framework for negotiation are beginning in earnest. Despite these efforts, the South Korean government is bringing isolation onto itself by sticking to a hardline North Korea policy that is already clearly known to be unrealistic.
It has been said that Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei, chief negotiator for the six-party talks with North Korea, will be arriving in North Korea today. It appears that China, as the host-nation of the six-party talks, is stepping up efforts to create an atmosphere to restart the talks. Moreover, two days ago, the U.S. State Department stated that in terms of conditions for a dialogue with North Korea, all that would be needed would be a political promise by North Korea to respect its duty to denuclearize and participate in the dialogue. This statement takes one step back from the existing U.S. position of demanding concrete denuclearization measures from the North Korean government. Every other six-party talks nation is busy coordinating views on methods to restart the six-party talks and a North Korea-U.S. dialogue.
[SK NK policy]
Joint Press Release by KAPPC and Hyundai Group
Pyongyang, August 17 (KCNA) -- A joint press release between the Korea Asia-Pacific Peace Committee and the Hyundai Group of south Korea was made public on Monday.
The release says:
Kim Jong Il, chairman of the DPRK National Defence Commission, on August 16 granted a long audience to and had a cordial talk with Hyon Jong Un, chairperson of the Hyundai Group, and her party on a visit to Pyongyang, and complied with all her requests.[Inter-Korean Business]
Kim Jong Il Sends Message of Condolences
Pyongyang, August 19 (KCNA) -- General Secretary Kim Jong Il today sent a message of condolences to the bereaved family of Kim Dae Jung, ex-president of south Korea.
The message says:
Upon hearing the sad news that ex-President Kim Dae Jung passed away, I express my deep condolences to Mrs. Ri Hui Ho and other bereaved family members.
Though he passed away to our regret, the feats he performed to achieve national reconciliation and realize the desire for reunification will remain long with the nation.
DPRK Mourning Delegation to Visit Seoul
Pyongyang, August 19 (KCNA) -- Upon authorization of Kim Jong Il, chairman of the DPRK National Defence Commission, a special envoy group led by Kim Ki Nam, secretary of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea, will visit Seoul from August 21 to 22 to mourn over the death of ex-President Kim Dae Jung.
Kim Dae Jung Dies
Pyongyang, August 19 (KCNA) -- Kim Dae Jung, ex-president of south Korea, regretfully passed away on Tuesday while getting treatment in Severance Hospital of Yonsei University of south Korea.
Pyongyang has decided to send a high-powered delegation to the state funeral of former South Korean President Kim Dae-jung, setting the stage for a possible thawing of inter-Korean relations. It looks as if Kim, lying in state, was promoting reconciliation between the rival Koreas, as he did when he was alive.
Nation mourns death of great leader
Citizens watch TV news about the death of former President Kim Dae-jung at Seoul Station yesterday. [Park Hyun-koo/The Korea Herald]
Koreans mourned the death of Kim Dae-jung, the man credited with laying the foundations of democracy, freedom and peace on the peninsula. National leaders spoke out to honor the former president and Nobel laureate and expressed condolences for his family.
N.Korean Funeral Delegation to Meet Unification Minister
Senior government officials are expected to meet with a North Korean delegation attending the funeral of former President Kim Dae-jung during its stay in Seoul from Friday to Saturday. The delegation is headed by Kim Ki-nam, a secretary of the Workers' Party Central Committee and close confidant of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il. It includes Kim Yang-gon, the director of North Korea's United Front Department, which is in charge of South Korea policy. They are expected to meet Unification Minister Hyun In-taek.
[Kim Dae-jung] [SK NK relations]
Workers in Seoul Toil 2nd Longest Hours in the World
People in Seoul work longer hours than residents of any other major city in the world except Cairo.
According to a report by the Swiss financial group UBS, people in Seoul worked an average 2,312 hours a year, ranking second among residents of 73 major cities around the world. Cairenes were first with 2,373 hours a year on average.
The people of Lyon, France worked the least at 1,582 hours. The average was 1,902 hours a year.
By region, Asians worked the longest hours with 2,119 followed by Africans with 2,087. People in the Middle East worked 2,063 hours. North Americans worked less than South Americans, with 1,890 hours to 1,950. Western Europeans worked 1,745 hours, the shortest among the regions surveyed.
N. Korea lifts cross-border traffic ban on S. Korea
Conciliatory gestures from Pyongyang signals change in foreign policy strategy towards improving relations with South Korea and U.S.
» The encoffinment ceremony was held for late President Kim Dae-jung at Yonsei‘s Severance Hospital in Seoul’s Sinchon neighborhood, Aug 20. On his chest rests a blanket that had remained with him during his last moments, and a handkerchief from his wife, Lee Hee-ho.
North Korea has informed South Korea that it will completely lift restrictions on cross-border traffic and stay in North Korean territory on Friday. The bans have been in place since Dec 1.
In particular, North Korea announced that it will normalize operations of the Office for the Economic Cooperation of South-North Korea, which it had closed down on Dec 1, and will restart rail service between the two Koreas.
Mourning delegation head had long history with late President Kim DJ
Delegation‘s composition indicates North Korea’s preparation for potential government-to-government exchange
» 1. Kim Ki-nam, a secretary with the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) Central Committee 2. Kim Yang-kon, the director of the United Front Department of the Workers’ Party 3. Won Dong-yon, the director of the Asia-Pacific Peace Committee
The Kim Dae-jung Peace Center announced the composition of the North Korean mourning delegation on Thursday. They disclosed that a delegation of high-ranking influential figures will be visiting and will be led by Kim Ki-nam, a secretary with the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) Central Committee who had history with late President Kim.
Kim Dae-jung’s last gift, NK’s mourning delegation
North Korea’s highest level mourning delegation expected to be headed by Worker Party’s Secretary Kim Ki-nam
» A citizen offering flowers and condolences over late former President Kim Dae-jung’s death breaks down in tears in the ceremonial funeral hall Yonsei’s Severance Hospital, Aug 19.
Observers are suggesting late President Kim Dae-jung’s “final gift” to South Korea is coming in the form of North Korea’s mourning delegation. Many are hoping the delegation’s visit to honor the passing of Kim, who dedicated his entire life to overcoming national division and working to establish peace and unification, may serve as stone in the foundation for improving chilly inter-Korean relations. Some are saying North Korea’s intention to send a delegation pays great respect to Kim Dae-jung, who together with Kim Jong-il was responsible for bringing about the June 15 Joint Declaration that is regarded by North Korea as both a monument and charter for national reunification.
[Analysis] What is North Korea’s strategic goal
Reducing the burden on chilly inter-Korean relations to form an atmosphere for negotiations with the U.S.
» North Korea‘s Korean Central News Agency released this photograph of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il with with Hyundai Group Chairwoman Hyun Jung Eun in Pyongyang on Sunday after Hyun extended her stay in Pyongyang.
The content of the “joint report” issued Monday by North Korea’s Asia-Pacific Peace Committee and the Hyundai Group is somewhat more unconventional than what was originally expected. Analysts suggest it could be interpreted as indicating the North’s intention to bring the tone of inter-Korean relations into at least “management mode.”
The report makes it appear certain that North Korea’s primary goal is at the very least to normalize its cooperative projects at the private level. Among the five items listed in the report, all but the reunion of separated families are either projects pursued by the Hyundai Group or items in the existing agreement, including the resumption of the Mt. Kumkang tourism project, the undoing of limitations on passage, the resumption of Kaesong tourism and the commencement of a Mt. Paektu tourism endeavor. Tourism projects are well suited to shaping the overall atmosphere of inter-Korean relations.
[NK SK policy]
NK Delegation Pays Respects to Late Kim
Aided by South Korean officials, Kim Ki-nam, left, North Korea’s chief delegate among the party sent to pay respects to the late former President Kim Dae-jung, offers a wreath of flowers sent by North Korean leader Kim Jong-il in front of an altar at the National Assembly, Friday. / Korea Times
By Kim Sue-young
A North Korean delegation paid their respects to the late former President Kim Dae-jung during a visit to an altar at the National Assembly on Friday, an act expected to offer the opportunity of a thaw in inter-Korean relations.
The six delegates, led by Kim Ki-nam, secretary of the Workers Party Central Committee, offered a wreath of flowers and a letter of condolence on behalf of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il.
In the guest book, the secretary wrote, ``We pay deepest respect to the late President Kim Dae-jung who made an indelible mark before the nation with justice and conscience.''
Kim Dae-jung to Be Given State Funeral on Sunday
The state funeral for former President Kim Dae-jung will be held Sunday following six days of mourning, when he will be laid to rest at the National Cemetery in Dongjak-dong in southern Seoul.
Only one state funeral has been held since the founding of the Republic of Korea, that of Park Chung-hee in October 1979. But Park was assassinated while he was president, whereas this will be the first state funeral for a former president.
N.Korean Visit Marks a New Stage in Relations
North Korea's decision to send a delegation to the funeral of former President Kim Dae-jung carries considerable symbolic weight in inter-Korean relations, which have been going through a new ice age. Moreover, coming at the time of joint South Korea-U.S. military exercise, which the North considers as "an invasion exercise," the gesture must be considered a maximum courtesy.
The upcoming North Korean delegation of special envoys to pay tribute to the late President Kim Dae-jung will be the first visit to the South by North Korean officials during the Lee Myung-bak administration.
[SK NK relations] [Kim Dae-jung] [Joint US military]
Former President Kim Dae-jung Dies at 85
Former President Kim Dae-jung died at 1:43 p.m. Tuesday at the age of 85, officials of Yonsei Severance Hospital in Seoul said.
The former president had been hospitalized due to complications from pneumonia since last month.
During his presidency from 1998 to 2003 Kim Dae-jung carried out the so-called "Sunshine Policy" of engagement with the North that culminated in the first inter-Korean summit in 2000. Such efforts also led Kim to win the Nobel Peace Prize in the same year.
Hyundai-N.Korea Agreement Should Serve to Thaw Icy Inter-Korean Relations
Hyundai Group chairwoman Hyun Jeong-eun returned to South Korea after meeting North Korean leader Kim Jong-il and signing a five-point accord. On the outside, the accord seems to be an unofficial one made in the private sector between Hyundai and North Korea's Asia Pacific Peace Committee, which is responsible for inter-Korean business projects. But considering its contents promising the resumption of tours to Mt. Kumgang and Kaesong, the launch of tour programs to Mt. Baekdu, the normalization of the joint Kaesong Industrial Complex, and the resumption of reunions of separated families during Chuseok or Korean Thanksgiving, which falls on Oct. 3, it could lead to a breakthrough in inter-Korean relations, which have been deadlocked since July of last year when a North Korean soldier shot and killed a South Korean tourist at Mt. Kumgang. To realize the Hyundai-North Korea accord, as the Unification Ministry said, an agreement must be reached between the South and the North, and this calls for immediate talks between the two sides.
[SK NK relations]
N.Korea to Resume Reunions, Package Tours
Hyundai Asan will resume package tours to Mt. Kumgang and Kaesong and start tour programs to Mt. Baekdu. The joint Korean Kaesong Industrial Complex will be put back on track, and North Korea will resume reunions of separated families on Chuseok or Korean Thanksgiving in October.
Those were the results of a meeting between North Korean leader Kim Jong-il and Hyundai Group chairwoman Hyun Jeong-eun, announced in a press release by Hyun and North Korea's Asia Pacific Peace Committee on Monday.
[SK NK relations] [Overtures]
Hyundai chief meets with Kim Jong-il
Hyundai Group chairwoman Hyun Jeong-eun yesterday met North Korean leader Kim Jong-il on the seventh day of her extended trip, according to the North's state-run broadcaster.
Hyun met Kim after extending her visit five times since crossing the border on Aug. 10.
The Hyundai chief originally planned a three-day trip. During her visit, the North released Yoo Seong-jin, a Hyundai Asan worker, after detaining him for over 130 days.
Hyun reportedly presented Kim with a gift, to which Kim responded with "warm comments," the North Korean media said.
Kim also spoke of Hyun's predecessors who helped launch the first inter-Korean projects.
Kim Jong Il Receives Head of S. Korean Hyundai Group
Pyongyang, August 16 (KCNA) --General Secretary Kim Jong Il Sunday received Hyon Jong Un, chairperson of the Hyundai Group of south Korea, and her party on a visit to Pyongyang at the invitation of the Korea Asia-Pacific Peace Committee.
On the occasion Hyon Jong Un presented a gift to Kim Jong Il.
Kim Jong Il expressed thanks for this and had a cordial talk with her in an atmosphere of compatriotic feelings, remembering the predecessors of the Hyundai Group with deep emotion.
Then he gave a luncheon for the chairperson and her party.
Present there was Kim Yang Gon, chairman of the Korea Asia-Pacific Peace Committee.
[Exclusive] S. Korea Deploying 1,000-Kilometer Cruise Missiles
By Jung Sung-ki
South Korea began deploying 1,000-kilometer-range surface-to-surface cruise missiles in the field earlier this year, according to missile developers and military sources Monday.
The missile, a modified variant of the Hyunmoo missile, is capable of reaching as far as Beijing and Tokyo, as well as hitting key targets in the entire North Korean territory, they said.
It is the first time that the development and deployment of the long-range cruise missile, dubbed Hyunmoo-III, have been confirmed. Previously, the government neither confirmed nor denied the cruise missile development in an apparent move not to provoke tensions with China and Japan, as well as North Korea.
Seoul's development of a long-range cruise missile doesn't violate guidelines restricting the country's missile technology.
South Korea restricted its missile range to 300 kilometers in a 2001 agreement with the United States, which declared at the same time it would support South Korea's membership in the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR).
The MTCR is an informal and voluntary regime of more than 30 countries that seeks to limit missile proliferation by restricting exports of missiles that have a range of 300 kilometers or more, and capable of delivering a 500-kilogram payload.
The regime, however, only applies to high-velocity, free flight ballistic missiles, excluding the slower, surface-skimming cruise weapons.
[Military balance] [Double standards] [Missiles]
Matching N.Korean Women with S.Korean Men
The number of North Korean women in South Korea has grown to such proportions that matchmaking firms now specialize in marriages between them and South Korean men. According to the Unification Ministry, in 2001 a total of 480 North Korean women came to the South, and the number rose to 960 in 2005 and 2,197 in 2008.
Adding the 1,282 women who came to the South until July this year, the total number is now 11,232, about double the number of North Korean men, which stands at 5,514. Based on their age at the time of entry to the South, six out of 10 North Korean female defectors or 6,756 were in their 20s or 30s, and 3,784 of them were single.
Currently there are eight companies in Seoul alone that provide services matching North Korean women with South Korean men.
Traffickers Prey on N.Korean Women Fleeing to China
For thousands of North Korean women, the decision to flee their impoverished, repressive homeland often puts them at the mercy of human traffickers. In China, many are forced into prostitution or marriage with Chinese men.
Bang Mi Sun left North Korea and crossed illegally into China in 2002. Countless other North Korean women have done the same since the mid 1990s. Hunger and severe shortages of necessities such as medicine and heating fuel have driven them from home.
Lee Myung-bak turns to the New Right
DP releases report prior to Independence Day exposing 20 GNP and Lee’s government members for leading New Right groups
» This illustration by Lee Woo-man shows President Lee Myung-bak leading various New Right groups.
It has been confirmed that many figures representing and leaning towards the New Right, who have advocated that South Korea had been modernized during Japan's colonial rule, hold a significant role in the Lee Myung-bak government.
[Japanese colonialism] [Development strategy]
Lee’s Peace Initiative Unlikely Accepted by NK
President Lee Myung-bak's proposal of a comprehensive package of incentives for North Korea on the condition that it abandons its nuclear ambitions in his nationally-televised Liberation Day address is not likely to be accepted by North Korea, Yonhap News Agency said Saturday.
[SK NK policy] [Sequencing]
S.Korean Freed After 136 Days in N.Korean Detention
Hyundai Asan staffer Yu Seong-jin, who was detained in North Korea for 136 days, returns to the South via the Dorasan immigration office on Thursday. Hyundai Asan staffer Yu Seong-jin, who was detained in North Korea for 136 days, returns to the South via the Dorasan immigration office on Thursday.
Yu Seong-jin, a staffer of Hyundai Asan who had been held incommunicado in North Korea since March 30, was freed and returned to South Korea on Thursday afternoon. North Korea officially deported Yu on the 136th day of his detention for sedition.
Did Hyundai Chairwoman Meet Kim Jong-il?
Hyundai Group chairwoman Hyun Jung-eun, who has been in North Korea apparently waiting to meet leader Kim Jong-il, has been out of touch since around 9 a.m. Thursday. She then told associates she was returning to the South on Friday after extending her stay for one more day.
"If she had no particular schedule, Hyun would have told us that as she did on Wednesday," a source speculated. "So it's likely that she met Kim somewhere other than Pyongyang."
North Korea extradites (sic) Hyundai Asan employee
As the country welcomes Yu back, the Association of Tenant Companies in Kaesong looks for signs of improvement in inter-Korean economic cooperation
Chun Hae-sung, the spokesperson of South Korea’s Unification Ministry, said, “North Korean officials extradited Yu after releasing the results of their investigations.” Chun added, “Afterwards Cho Gun-sik, the president of Hyundai-Asan, took custody of him at 5:10 p.m. at the Kaesong Industrial Complex.” Chun added, “The South Korea government does not express an apology or regret regarding Yu’s release, nor have we given money to North Korea.” He also said, “I have heard that Hyundai-Asan has expressed regret and has made a pledge to prevent anything similar from happening in the future.”
[SK NK relations]
Chun Doo-hwan Comforts DJ at Bedside
By Do Je-hae
Ailing former president Kim Dae-jung's life-long philosophies of ``no political retaliation'' and forgiveness gained new historical significance when Chun Doo-hwan visited Seoul's Severance Hospital to meet the Nobel Peace Prize winner at his bedside Friday.
It was the 78-year-old Chun who ordered a death sentence on Kim to justify his military coup, known as the ``Incident of December 12," in 1979 immediately following the assassination of President Park Chung-hee.
When Kim was arrested, the citizens of Gwangju revolted, which led to a bloody confrontation between civilians and the military, killing more than 200 and injuring several hundred in 1980.
Under the Kim Young-sam administration, Chun was sentenced to death in 1996 for authorizing the Gwangju massacre and for charges of corruption. He was later pardoned through the efforts of then-President-elect Kim Dae-jung, who Chun himself had sentenced to death some two decades earlier.
Hyundai Chief Extends NK Visit a Third Time
A top South Korean industrialist Friday extended her stay in North Korea after securing the release of a detained employee, fuelling speculation she will meet leader Kim Jong-Il, the AFP reported.
Seoul Denies $40 Billion N.Korea Deal 'for Now'
South Korea has denied a report in the Financial Times that it has set up a US$40 billion aid fund to entice North Korea back to denuclearization talks. Officials here said the report resulted from a misunderstanding that a campaign pledge by President Lee Myung-bak had been turned into policy.
Spotlight turns to Hyundai Group Chairwoman’s visit to North Korea
While some analysts are watching to see if Hyun can secure a release for Yu, others say President Lee’s 8.15 address determines if cooperation remains at the private level
Hyun Jung-eun, chairwoman of Hyundai Group, arrived in Pyongyang on Monday, after traveling over land on the Gyeongui highway. Analysts are noting that her visit marks a strong possibility for the beginning of a solution to the detention of a Hyundai Asan employee, identified by the surname Yu, who has been held in North Korea since March 30.
On Lee‘s responsibility to reinforce Clinton’s visit
Kim Ji-seok, Chief Editorial Writer
Former U.S. President Bill Clinton is currently visiting North Korea. The purpose is ostensibly to resolve the issue regarding the release of two U.S. women journalists who have been in detention for the past four and a half months, but the visit recalls the trip of another former U.S. president, Jimmy Carter, who played a central role in teasing out the 1994 Geneva Agreement between North Korea and the U.S. It looks like the two countries, which have been in a standoff since the Barack Obama administration took office, are finally planning to engage in real dialogue.
North Korea warms up to U.S. and South Korea
While talk of possible family reunions for Chuseok signal a possible way to thaw inter-Korean relations, analysts say these changes are prompted to ensure the path for improved N. Korea-U.S. relations
» The elder brother who lives in North Korea cries during his reunion at Mt. Kumkang with his younger sister who lives in South Korea, Oct 17, 2007.
Analysts look for changes in Lee Myung-bak’s hardline stance as talk from North Korea of possible family reunions for Chuseok signals a possible way to thaw inter-Korean relations.
While the climate for North Korea-U.S. dialogue is warming up following former President Bill Clinton’s visit to Pyongyang, North Korea has been sending what could be interpreted as conciliatory signals. Some analysts are suggesting that although North Korea may be attempting to “pull together” North Korea-U.S. relations and inter-Korean relations, they are saying there is little chance of thawing inter-Korean relations as long as the Lee Myung-bak government maintains its hard line against North Korea.
[SK NK relations] [Clinton0908]
Forensic Finds Add Substance to Claims of War Atrocities
In February 1951, South Korean villagers fleeing advancing troops sought refuge on Bulgap Mountain. When soldiers and police stormed the ridge and found only civilians, survivors claim, they dug a long trench, forced the civilians to kneel inside, and then shot them or thrust sharpened bamboo sticks down their throats. Women and children were among the victims. When South Korea's Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRCK) began to investigate the Bulgap massacre last year, some commissioners doubted the recollections of elderly survivors who had lived there when the atrocity occurred but had not witnessed it. But the survivors have been vindicated by new forensic finds. Last week, TRCK revealed evidence from an ongoing excavation confirming Bulgap as one of the Korean War's darker chapters. The team has found adult skeletons bent at the knees with finger bones clasped behind their skulls and artifacts that rebel soldiers would have had no use for, such as a woman's hairpin and toys. Investigators here have unearthed bones of several children, the first such verified remains from a Korean War-era massacre site.
[Korean War events][War crimes]
Does S. Korea want renewed military tension with North Korea?
Selig S. Harrison, director of the Asia Program at the Center for International Policy
To the White House officials who prepared the first draft of the June 16 Washington communique issued by Presidents Obama and Lee, the words seemed like routine rhetoric. “The alliance,” said the communique, “aims to establish a durable peace on the Korean peninsula leading to peaceful reunification on the principles of free democracy and a market economy.”
However, this was not routine rhetoric. The phrase “free democracy and a market economy” was a direct and potentially disastrous assault on the fundamental principle of the coexistence of differing systems, leading to reunification through confederation that was enshrined in the June 2000 and October 2007 North-South Presidential summit declarations.
To North Korea, this reversal meant that the goal of Washington and Seoul is once again the absorption of North Korea by South Korea.
[US NK policy] [Takeover] [Intelligent design] [SK NK policy]
Uncovering the Hidden Histories of the Korean War
An Interview with the Standing Commissioner
of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission
of South Korea, Dr. Dong-Choon Kim
Suzy Kim | July 25, 2009
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Korea (hereafter TRC) was founded in 2005 by the South Korean National Assembly in response to petitions by bereaved families
It was established as an independent body to investigate past wrongs including cases of unarmed civilians and political prisoners massacred before and during the Korean War. An estimated 100,000 South Koreans were massacred as the Korean War broke out on June 25, 1950.
[Dong-Choon Kim]: The main narrative of the Korean War describes the hostile North Koreans invading the peaceful South in an attempt at a communist take-over with the support of the Soviet Union, thereby prompting a potential Third World War, until the United States came to rescue Korea's freedom. However, what you see through the detailed and rich cases investigated by the TRC is that practices deployed during the Korean War originated in the [Japanese] colonial period, and were reinstituted by the American occupation in the ensuing Cold War. Summary executions, preventative detentions, peremptory inspections, and martial law were mechanisms used during the colonial period. Although such practices were abolished by law upon liberation, this was only on paper and the practices continued to be used by the military and police under the US occupation. The massacres were not the result of antagonisms between the left and right, but were the result of fostering pawns and agents [among the Korean population], which began under colonial rule. Those who worked with the Japanese colonial police and military became the South Korean police and military, and some of them acted as perpetrators of massacres, in addition to those who fled the North. Anti-communism brought these disparate elements together in common cause as many of those who fled the North became chiefs of police and military personnel in the South hunting down alleged communists.
[Korean War events] [War crimes]
N.Korea Expected to Propose Cross-Border Family Reunions
North Korea is soon expected to call for a reunion event for families separated for more than 50 years due to the Korean War. This is according to a report in the latest edition of progressive magazine Minjok 21. The report is written by Chung Chang-hyun, a senior editor who had access to a source who recently visited the Stalinist state.
Quoting the source, Chung said there is a high possibility of a proposal by the North for a resumption of family reunions in time for Chuseok, one of Korea's biggest traditional holidays, which falls on Oct. 3 this year.
Korean, U.S. Firms to Jointly Develop Aegis Ships
A Korean company and an American company are planning to build Aegis naval vessels together to sell to other countries.
Shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industry and jet fighter manufacturer Lockheed Martin Corporation announced Tuesday that they will combine their expertise to develop new 4000 to 6000 ton naval ships. A Lockheed Martin official said that the two companies are working on marketing their products to India and other countries.
The Aegis will be equipped with an advanced SPY-1F radar system. Hyundai Heavy and Lockheed Martin have worked together for about four years on various military projects.
[Arms sales] [Proliferation] [Military balance]
Seoul plans $40bn aid fund for N Korea
By Christian Oliver in Seoul
Published: July 20 2009 10:43 | Last updated: July 20 2009 18:19
South Korea has drawn up an enhanced package of incentives for the international community to entice North Korea back to talks on denuclearisation, putting hard figures on previously vague promises of aid.
The carrots would include a $40bn (£24bn, €28bn) aid fund with input from the Asian Development Bank, World Bank and governments, South Korean officials told Goldman Sachs. There would be five free trade zones and 100 exporting companies generating $3m each. The international community would help build railways, motorways and telecom networks and train a modern industrial workforce of 300,000. Forests would be replanted.
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