ROK and Inter-Korean relations
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S. Korea, DPRK fail to narrow differences at Red Cross talks
Source: Xinhua [09:33 October 28 2010] Comments South Korea and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) failed to reach a consensus on issues regarding reunions of families torn asunder by their civil war decades ago and decided to meet again next month, local media reported.
The two Koreas will meet again on Nov. 25 for another round of talks aimed at addressing outstanding issues ranging from regularizing family reunions and resuming stalled cross-border talks, according to Yonhap News Agency.
On the second day of the two-day Red Cross talks in the border city of Kaesong, held prior to the family reunions slated for Oct. 30-Nov. 5., the DPRK delegates reportedly asked for 500,000 tons of rice and 300,000 tons of fertilizer in return for budging on issues South Korea is pressing, according to Yonhap.
Ban on 'seditious' books in barracks constitutional
By Park Si-soo
The Ministry of national Defense ban on dozens of books written with allegedly pro-North Korea language within military barracks does not infringe on the basic rights of service members and thus remains constitutional, the Constitutional Court said Thursday.
The ruling came following a two-year-old dispute over the censorship, which liberals claim was a legacy of the military’s outdated code of conduct.
'S. Korea’s image undermined by confusion with North'
chair of the Presidential Council on Nation Branding (PCNB)
By Kim Young-jin
Recent scrutiny on North Korea by the international media has worsened problems associated with South Korea’s image, but the upcoming G20 summit in Seoul is a chance to set the record straight, the nation’s new branding chief said Wednesday.
“The frequent confusion between South and North Korea and global coverage on the North often undermine efforts to enhance our brand awareness,” Lee Bae-yong, chair of the Presidential Council on Nation Branding (PCNB), told an international forum in Seoul.
3.6% of South-North cooperation fund spent in 2010
Posted Date : 2010-10-25 (NK Brief No. 10-10-25-1)
There has been a sharp drop in inter-Korean exchanges resulting from the chill in relations on the peninsula. This has led to a mere 3.6 percent of the inter-Korean cooperation fund being tapped as of the end of September. In 2009, 8.6 percent of the allocated funds were spent, but this year, even at the end of the third quarter, not even half that much has been allocated.
S.Korean Officials in Talks with the North 'Lack Expertise'
South Korean delegates to inter-Korean talks have little negotiating skills and expertise because they are replaced more frequently than their North Korean counterparts, a lawmaker claims.
Koreans Lose Hope of a Better Future
The so-called "lost decade" of economic stagnation in Japan has been blamed on widespread lack of motivation throughout Japanese society. The trend sees a growing number of young people left behind in a highly-competitive society, giving up on plans for successful careers and choosing to juggle part-time jobs for low wages. This slacker mentality is being cited as triggering the vicious cycle of prolonged economic stagnation.
Now the phenomenon seems to be spreading to Korea as more young people here become convinced that it is impossible to improve their social and income levels through hard work.
Cold Snap Warning Issued
A cold snap set to hit most of the country Tuesday is bringing subzero morning temperatures to Seoul for the first time this fall. With strong winds, the mercury plunged over 10 degrees Celsius.
At 6 p.m. Monday, the Korea Meteorological Administration issued a cold wave alert across the country, the first in six years. It is the first time in eight years that the temperature in Seoul has fallen below zero in October.
An Unlikely Pairing Bears Fruit in North Korea
By MARK McDONALD
Published: October 25, 2010
SEOUL, South Korea — Of all the fantastic tales to come out of North Korea — the country’s leader is injected with the blood of virgin girls, he made 11 holes-in-one during his very first round of golf, each grain of rice he eats is inspected by hand for imperfections, his youngest son and would-be successor has had cosmetic surgery to make him resemble his grandfather — not one of these seems as improbable as the event that took place on Monday, when a science university founded by American evangelical scholars began its first day of classes in Pyongyang, the capital of the secretive Communist state.
24 Pct. of NK Defectors Wish to Leave S. Korea: Poll
OCTOBER 22, 2010 11:48
Thirty percent of North Korean defectors living in South Korea are considering immigrating to another country chiefly because of discrimination, a survey released Thursday said.
Ruling Grand National Party lawmaker Kim Young-woo commissioned a poll of 210 North Korean defectors Oct. 6-19. Fifty respondents (24 percent) said they wish to go to another country, with four even saying they want to return to North Korea.
Among those seeking to move abroad, 21 (42 percent) cited discrimination against defectors in South Korea as the reason, followed by their children’s education (11 people or 22 percent) and the difficulty in getting a job (nine people or 18 percent).
A 40-something female defector who participated in the survey asked for help with her child’s education, saying, “Since my child is very different (from South Korean children) in language, personality and knowledge, he cannot do what he wants.”
On Korean reunification, 80 percent (168 respondents) said, “Korea must be reunified absolutely.” On shouldering reunification costs, 50.8 percent (101) said they are willing to help cover the cost and 17.1 percent (34) said they would help if it is a small amount.
On the method of reunification, 52.2 percent (105) preferred absorption as result of the collapse of the North’s communist regime and 23.9 percent (48) wanted a model guaranteeing sovereignty.
Rep. Kim acknowledged problems in Seoul’s policy for supporting defectors given the number of defectors wishing to move to another country or even back to North Korea.
[Refugee reception] [Takeover]
The Cheonan Albatross
Paul Liem | October 14, 2010
Originally published in the Fall 2010 Issue of the Korean Quarterly
Riding out the wake of the sinking of the South Korean naval vessel Cheonan, it is a relief that so far there have been no further military incidents and tragic loss of life. Small steps are being made by North and South Korea to mend their frayed relations. Most recently the Red Cross offices of North and South Korea agreed to restart family reunions at the jointly operated Mt. Kumgang resort in the north. Yet the Cheonan incident continues to hang like an albatross upon efforts to improve inter-Korea relations. In the first meeting between North and South Korean military officials in two years, 9/30/2010, the South demanded an apology for the Cheonan sinking. The North replied by demanding to conduct its own inspection of the evidence. The meeting ended without results and without agreement to meet again.
[Cheonan] [Coverup] [Six Party Talks] [Naiveté]
Military believed N.Korean submarine was at shipyard during Cheonan incident
Anti-submarine readiness was not raised as the submarine was believed to be undergoing trials inside the harbor
By Kwon Hyuk-chul, Staff Writer
It has been revealed that the Joint Chiefs of Staff judged it a low possibility that a North Korean Yono-class submarine, which the Military-Civilian Joint Investigation Group (MCJIG) into the sinking of the Cheonan named as the vessel that sunk the South Korean warship, would infiltrate the West Sea as it was still undergoing trials prior to operational deployment.
DPRK Proposes Non-governmental Contact over Implementing Summit Agreements
2010-10-21 15:30:59 Xinhua Web Editor: Han
The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) has made a renewed call for non-governmental contacts with South Korea to honor agreements made at a historic 2000 summit, local media reported Thursday quoting an unidentified government official.
The DPRK's Committee for the Implementation of the June 15 Declaration suggested such talks to its South Korean counterpart in a fax message on Wednesday, Seoul's Yonhap News Agency said citing a unification ministry official. The DPRK committee has made similar proposals in the past.
Samsung's Brand Misrecognized in Americas, Europe
Almost half of people in North and South America think Samsung Electronics is a Japanese company, a survey reveals.
The survey, released Monday by Grand National Party lawmaker Lee Sang-kwon of the National Assembly's Knowledge Economy Committee during a parliamentary audit of the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency, shows 42 percent of respondents in the Americas and 27.2 percent in Europe mistakenly answered that Samsung is a Japanese firm.
Some 17 percent in the Americas said Samsung is a Chinese company, and 5.2 percent did not even know the company at all. Only 35.9 percent gave the correct answer.
Lawmaker Complains About Images of Korea on U.S. Soaps
Images of Korea in popular American TV dramas such as "Lost," "24" or "CSI" tend to be full of inaccuracies, with Buddhist temples and traditional Korean-style houses looking distinctly Chinese or Southeast Asian. Now Grand National Party lawmaker Hong Jung-wook, a member of the National Assembly's Foreign Affairs, Trade and Unification Committee, has had enough.
Speaking during a parliamentary audit on Thursday, Hong said, "It is difficult to overlook the image of Korea being depicted on American TV dramas. It's a problem for Korea's image to be distorted this way in American dramas with more than 10 million viewers and being exported around the world.
Inter-Korean airport hotline re-opens
The Unification Ministry reported that airport officials of South Korea and North Korea re-opened their hotline on Monday following a proposal from North Korea.
“The control centers in Pyongyang and Incheon completed a test call at 9:30 a.m.,” Unification Ministry spokesman Chun Hae-sung said in a briefing. South Korea imposed a ban on the hotline‘s operation on May 24 as part of its military response to the sinking of the Cheonan.
South Korean tenant companies part of the Kaesong Industrial Complex reported $26.9 million in products production in August, a 1.9 percent increase from the previous month, according to Unification Ministry.
Meanwhile, North Korean ships and boats have reportedly attempted to enter South Korean waters on 53 occasions since May, when the South Korean government banned North Korea from entering its territorial waters, Lawmaker Kim Ock-lee of the ruling Grand National Party said in a statement, citing data from the Navy.
[SK NK policy] [Overtures]
`System to Punish NK Leaders Needed After Reunification`
OCTOBER 05, 2010 13:28
A South Korean expert on North Korea urged Monday the creation of laws and systems to punish North Korean leaders for their crimes ahead of Korean reunification.
Lee Hyo-won, a law professor at Seoul National University, made the proposal at the annual academic conference “Twenty Years of German Unification and Unification of the Korean Peninsula” at the university’s Hoam Professors Hall.
Quoting his paper “Elimination of Illegal Systems in the Process of German Unification and Its Implications,” Lee said, “Germany liquidated the illegal systems of East Germany through legislation, hugely contributing to the socio-economic integration of the country after reunification. The illegality in North Korea is more severe and so the liquidation process is more important for South Korea.”
Lee classified the North’s illegal systems into four types: illegal acts to maintain the system such as torture, murder and detention; terrorism such as the 1987 bombing of a Korean Airlines flight; attempts to communize South Korea as exemplified by the Korean War; and illegal asset accumulation by high-ranking officials.
He defined the term “illegal system” as activities not illegal within the North`s communist system but judged illegal after its collapse.
“Over the longer term, the basic law on liquidation of illegal systems should be established, as well as special organizations such as committees on illegal system liquidation and investigation and those for rescuing victims and handling forfeited land in the North.”
At the conference, other experts said introduction of a unification tax as proposed by President Lee Myung-bak would be premature.
Bernhard Seliger, the South Korea representative of the Hanns Seidel Foundation, said such a tax would have little significance now since it is uncertain when reunification will come and how.
New security aide may want to engage North
October 19, 2010
Chun Yung-woo, South Korea’s former chief nuclear envoy, was named top presidential security secretary yesterday, raising the prospect that Seoul is moving toward re-engagement with the North and that the stalled six-party denuclearization talks can be resumed.
The Blue House said it appointed Chun, second vice foreign minister, as the senior secretary for foreign affairs and national security. The post has been vacant after its former occupant, Kim Sung-hwan, became foreign minister this month. Chun will officially take his position today.
Chun, 58, a career diplomat since 1977, was the top negotiator in the six-party talks for nuclear disarmament of North Korea between 2006 and 2008. He also served as deputy envoy to the United Nations between 2003 and 2005. He has been a vice foreign minister since last year.
[SK NK policy]
N.Korean Hackers 'Snooping Around G20 Summit Venue'
Evidence points to North Korean hackers attempting to gather information about water supply and drainage systems, pathways of toxic materials, and traffic control near the venue of the G20 Summit in Seoul, according to the Cyber Terror Response Center of the National Police Agency.
"We detected suspicious moves surrounding the G20 Summit recently and tracked down the hackers to a server in North Korea," a government official said Tuesday.
The government is trying to find out whether this was part of an attempt to obstruct the hosting of the G20 Summit in Seoul.
S.Koreans Solidly Blame N.Korea for Cheonan Sinking
Seven out of 10 South Koreans are now persuaded that the Navy corvette Cheonan was torpedoed by North Korea, a new survey suggests. Published Tuesday by the Asan Institute for Policy Studies, the survey shows 68.7 percent of respondents believe that the Cheonan was sunk by the North. Only 8.5 percent said otherwise and 22.8 percent had no opinion.
That showed significantly more trust in the findings of an international investigation than similar surveys a few months ago.
According to the poll by Media Research for the institute based on face-to-face interviews with 2,000 adults nationwide from Aug. 26 to Oct. 5, the most confident group were high school graduates, with 71.5 percent, but among those with advanced university degrees the percentage was only 61.5.
In a Gallup poll in September, 35.7 percent of respondents said they did not trust the result of the international investigation and a mere 32.5 percent believed it.
Experts speculate that the difference was due in part to the way the survey questions were framed. In the earlier survey, Gallup asked, "Do you trust the result of the probe into the Cheonan sinking?" Whereas the new survey asked, "Who do you think sank the Cheonan?"
This suggests that while many people believe the North was behind the attack, they have doubts about some parts of the investigation.
[Cheonan] [Coverup] [Public opinion] [Media]
Most S.Koreans Skeptical About Cheonan Findings, Survey Shows
Only three out of 10 South Koreans trust the findings of an international inquiry into the sinking of the Navy corvette Cheonan that blamed a North Korean torpedo attack.
According to a survey conducted by Seoul National University's Institute for Peace and Unification Studies, 32.5 percent of respondents were more or less convinced, saying they "completely trust" (6.4 percent) or "tend to trust" (26.1 percent) the findings of the inquiry.
But 35.7 percent of respondents were not convinced, with 10.7 percent saying they "completely distrust" and 25 percent they "tend to distrust" the findings. The remainder said they did not know.
IPUS interviewed 1,200 adults in 16 cities and provinces in July. The poll has a margin of error of 2.8 points and a 95 percent confidence level.
Lee Sang-shin, a senior researcher at IPUS, said, "It appears that there is an even distribution of people who trust, distrust or are unsure about the probe results, but those who were unsure should probably be regarded as harboring suspicions about the investigation results."
The findings differ markedly from a poll in June by the Ministry of Public Administration and Security of 1,000 adults and teenagers each, which showed that 75.4 percent of adults and 75.1 percent of teenagers believed North Korea attacked the Cheonan.
"Regression analysis shows that the public view of President Lee Myung-bak's performance in government had a three to four times greater impact on perceptions of the probe results than other factors such as age and political affiliations," the IPUS researcher said. In other words, public lack of confidence in the government reflected on the findings.
The younger the respondents, the more progressive their political leanings and the higher the income level, the less inclined people were to trust the findings.
"Also hindering public trust in the findings were inconsistent statements from the government in the early stages after the attack, continued suspicions raised by opposition lawmakers and some civilian experts, the belated discovery of footage of the incident and Russian and Chinese reluctance to point the finger of blame at North Korea," Lee said.
firstname.lastname@example.org / Sep. 08, 2010 11:59 KST
[Cheonan] [Coverup] [Public opinion]
How Sick Is Kim Jong-il?
Images of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il attending a military parade for the 65th anniversary of the Workers Party on Oct. 10 showed the aftereffects of a massive stroke he suffered two years ago. He appeared weak throughout the ceremony and his face was expressionless, leading to suspicions that he may be suffering from depression, which is one of the side effects of brain damage.
Seoul Arrests Alleged N. Korean Spy
By MARK McDONALD and LEE SU-HYUN
Published: October 20, 2010
SEOUL, South Korea — South Korean authorities said on Wednesday they have arrested a North Korean spy who posed as a political defector with the intention of assassinating a former member of the ruling North Korean regime.
A spokesman for the National Intelligence Service said the alleged spy was arrested by the Seoul city prosecutor late on Tuesday for conspiring to kill Hwang Jang-yop, a leading Communist ideologue who had once been a mentor to the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-il.
Gov’t drafting plan for unification tax by mid-2011: Hyun
October 18, 2010
Hyun In-taek, Unification Minister
South Korean Unification Minister Hyun In-taek, 56, said the government will come up with a tangible plan during the first half of next year to raise money for the unification of North and South Korea.
In an exclusive interview with the Korea JoongAng Daily to commemorate its 10th anniversary, Hyun, 56, who has been in office for more than a year and a half, gave details on the timeline for a unification tax, which has been the subject of widespread debate since President Lee Myung-bak mentioned it in his Independence Day address in August.
Cheonan impasse shows signs of progress
A “Cheonan exit strategy” remains an obstacle to overcoming tensions on the Korean peninsula
» Participants, including U.S Special Envoy for the Six-Party Talks Sung Kim, left, listen to the opening remarks during the Northeast Asia Cooperation Dialogue held at the Institute of Foreign Affairs and National Security in Seoul’s Seocho neighborhood on Monday. (Yonhap News Agency)
By Yi Yong-in, Staff Writer
Signs have begun to emerge of a move toward overcoming the troubled political situation on the Korean Peninsula in the wake of the Cheonan‘s sinking. However, the prevailing view among observers is that speedy progress is unlikely with inter-Korean relations and the six-party talks, as both are linked directly and indirectly with a solution to the “Cheonan exit strategy” issue.
Meeting with journalists during a visit to China on Oct. 15, North Korean First Deputy Foreign Minister Kim Kye-kwan indicated his country’s intent to negotiate, saying, “We are prepared to execute the terms of the September 19 Joint Statement.”
[overtures] [SK NK policy]
Korea seeks to become major arms exporter
By Na Jeong-ju
A presidential panel unveiled a plan Tuesday to increase the country’s arms exports to $4 billion by 2020, from $250 million in 2008, to make it one of the world’s top seven exporters of arms and defense technologies.
The country also aims to double the number of workers in the defense industry to 50,000 by that year and nurture it into a new economic growth engine and a major source of jobs, according to the Presidential Council for Future and Vision.
To attain the goal, the government plans to accelerate technology transfer between state-run and private arms developers, and encourage mergers and acquisitions in the private sector.
It also seeks to develop markets in Asia and Africa based on growing economic ties with the regions, the council said.
[Arms sales] [Double standards]
Defense chief warns NK over provocation
By Jung Sung-ki
North Korea’s attack on a South Korean warship in March posed a grave challenge and threat to the international order, the South’s defense chief said Tuesday.
The frigate Cheonan was sunk in waters off the disputed sea border with the North, and a Seoul-led multinational investigation team concluded that the vessel was torpedoed by a North Korean submarine.
“A military provocation like the Cheonan sinking not only threatens the security of South Korea but also the peace and security of the entire Asia-Pacific region,” Defense Minister Kim Tae-young said in his keynote speech at the Chiefs of Defense (CHOD) conference. “This is a very serious problem.”
Korea Peace Forum leader calls for new direction in N.Korea policy
Lim says N.Korea is changing its policy focus from the West to the North, strengthening relations with China and Russia
By Lee Je-hun, Staff Writer
“If we continue on this path, we will lose North Korea, and that could lead to a situation in which we cannot speak about inter-Korean relations.”
Korea Peace Forum Director General Lim Dong-won said, “We cannot continue the mistake of pushing North Korea toward China through a hardline policy, and if North Korea falls under the influence of China, peace and reunification grows that much further.” Lim went on to say, “We must treat North Korea with a more long-term vision, and I call on the Lee Myung-bak administration to stop suffering big losses for small gains and work to improve and develop inter-Korean relations.”
[SK NK policy] [China NK]
Academics call for Cheonan reinvestigation
They contend the reported damage in the JIG report does not match the Cheonan’s hull
By Kwon Tae-ho, Washington correspondent
Three academics who have been consistently questioning the findings of the Joint Investigation Group (JIG) that investigated the Cheonan’s sinking met with foreign correspondents in Washington, D.C. on Sunday (local time). There, they raised the possibility that the sinking resulted from a mine explosion rather than a North Korean torpedo.
Based on this, the academics raised the possibility that a mine on the sea floor was dragged up by a net tangled in the propeller screw and exploded from a physical collision.
“In the case of a long-distance explosion resulting from a mine, the wave’s height would be just 10 meters or so, and there would be no chemical smell,” Suh said. “It explains all of the phenomena that the torpedo explanation cannot.”
S.Koreans Must Join the Struggle for Democracy in the North
The North Korean defector Hwang Jang-yop, who died Sunday aged 87, was laid to rest on Thursday at the Daejeon National Cemetery. Former National Assembly speaker Park Kwan-yong said in his eulogy, "His coming to South Korea itself was the severest blow to North Korea. I will pay my respects to his portrait once again when the ideals of democracy, which he espoused, are firmly anchored in North Korea."
[Editorial] A politicized burial
A number of questionable developments have begun to take place in connection with the funeral of Hwang Jang-yop, the former secretary of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK). First, the government hurriedly awarded the deceased a Mugunghwa Medal of the Order of Civil Merit and made plans to inter his remains in a national cemetery, though the basis for this decision is not clear. In addition, some conservative newspapers have attacked the opposition on ideological grounds, dividing them into those factions that have paid their respects to Hwang and those that have not. This is something untenable if one subjects Hwang’s actions and achievements to objective assessment.
Hwang Jang-yop was a leading theorist for the North Korean regime who crafted the juche ideology. As such, it cannot be said that he bears no connection with the crisis currently facing North Korea or with the failures of its system. Even after he came to South Korea, he never openly acknowledged or apologized for his responsibility in this.
In the words of New Right National Union member Lee Ju-cheon, he “did not emphasize that juche ideology was misguided, but rather tried to develop juche ideology, to improve on it and propagate it in South Korea.”
For this reason, even some conservatives have objected to his burial in a national cemetery. Amid all of this, it is completely inappropriate for the government to hurriedly award him a medal without first carrying out sufficient discussions.
Minister of Public Administration and Security Maeng Hyung-kyu said that Hwang “dedicated himself to democratization and development, reforms and openness in North Korea.”
As the highest-ranking defector from North Korea, he certainly must have contributed in providing intelligence on internal trends within the North Korean government. In this regard, it was an obvious quid pro quo arrangement for intelligence organizations in South Korea to look after his safety and show him considerable concern.
Parties eye left turn prior to 2012 elections
The GNP has attempted to shed its pro-wealthy reputation while the DP has looked to solidify its progressive base
By Lee Jung-ae
Is the conservative wave of the 2007 presidential and 2008 general elections ebbing away? The major ruling and opposition parties, including the Grand National Party (GNP) and Democratic Party (DP), have put on their blinkers to make a left turn. The GNP, advocating “pro-working class policies,” “centrist pragmatism” and a “fair society,” has recently begun switching the publicized identity of their party from conservative to centrist. In its Oct. 3 convention, the Democratic Party removed “centrist reform” from its platform, where it had been for 15 years, and instead actively pushed a “progressive” line.
Defense Ministry drafts plan for N. Korean collapse
South Korea’s military has a plan to deal with a massive influx of North Koreans in the event of emergency in North Korea, a report said Tuesday.
“For a scenario in which a large number of North Korean refugees flood toward South Korea, the military is preparing a plan to set up temporary camps to accommodate, protect and safely hand them over to government organizations,” said the report submitted to the ruling Grand National Party (GNP) Lawmaker Kim Ock-lee by the Ministry of Defense.
About 215 thousand North Koreans would flee to South Korea by sea or land borders if there were an unstable situation in North Korea, Lawmaker Kim said, citing estimates by certain experts.
[Collapse] [Pretext] [Takeover]
Hwang’s burial site ignites debate
By Park Si-soo
In death, as in life, Hwang Jang-yop, the highest-ranking North Korean defector and the architect of its state philosophy, is setting off a hostile debate, pitting conservative activists against liberalists here.
This time, the debate centers on his burial site
A win by decision for Prof. Ferguson?
Krugman, nemesis toe to toe in verbal pugilism of Keynesian scale
By Cho Jin-seo
A war of words between pro-Keynesian and anti-Keynesian camps continued in a more dramatic form in Seoul on Wednesday, as Paul Krugman and Niall Ferguson met face-to-face in a conference to continue their thorny and well-publicized exchange of economics ideas and personal affronts.
The aggressive debate of the two famous scholars in the field of economics, which began in April 2009 and continued primarily on writings, often bordered on personal insults on Wednesday as they did not hesitate attacking each other on the global economy and the U.S. government's monetary policy.
At the World Knowledge Forum held at Sheraton Walkerhill in Seoul, Krugman, a Nobel prize winner in economics, said he wants the U.S. government to implement expansionary monetary policies in order to prevent the “third great depression” from taking place.
On the contrary, Ferguson, a Harvard historian and a TV commentator, was suspicious whether printing more money at the cost of inflation is really necessary for the world right now.
Lee regrets speculations over ship sinking
By Na Jeong-ju
President Lee Myung-bak expressed regret over the allegations that the sinking of the South Korean Navy vessel Cheonan in March was not the result of a North Korean attack, saying it is not understandable that some fellow South Koreans don’t trust their government.
“Some people still believe North Korea was not involved in the sinking, although they are living in South Korea. It is not understandable,” Lee said during a meeting with members of the Korean Veterans Association.
“It is true that many Koreans were shocked by the incident. The military also suffered huge damage, too.”
Lee said he was worried about some young Koreans who are not afraid of North Korea.
“But I still believe there are many more Koreans who are concerned about their country,” he said.
The conservative leader called for national unity to cope with the ship sinking, saying the tragedy had provided a crucial opportunity to ensure national security and enhance the military’s risk management.
An international team led by South Korea concluded that a North Korean submarine torpedoed the Cheonan, killing 46 crewmembers, following a month-long investigation.
North Korea has denied its involvement.
[Cheonan] [Coverup][Public opinion]
Prospects for Inter-Korean Relations after the Cheonan
By Scott Snyder
Perhaps the most serious fallout from the sinking of the Cheonan has involved the destabilization of the inter-Korean relationship. The resulting tensions reached a level of vituperation not seen since the mid-1990s, when the North Koreans threatened to end contacts with the Kim Young Sam administration as a result of negative comments he made following Kim Il Sung’s death. Following the release of the Joint Investigation Report on May 20, 2010, South Korean President Lee Myung Bak announced a series of countermeasures against the North, including a demand that North Korea apologize for the sinking of the ship and punish the perpetrators. In response, Pyongyang issued a statement, similar to one made following Kim Il Sung’s death in 1994, that it would not engage in dialogue with the South until after its president has left office.
Top N.Korean Defector Dies in Seoul
Hwang Jang-yop South Korean police say the highest-ranking North Korean official ever to defect to the South was found dead at his home in Seoul Sunday.
Initial reports say 87-year-old Hwang Jang-yop was found dead in his bathroom Sunday, and probably died of a heart attack.
No Room for Empty Threats in Dealing with N.Korea
Defense Minister Kim Tae-young told a National Assembly audit on Tuesday that the South Korean military plans to step up psychological operations against North Korea. It wants to change the format of propaganda broadcasts from FM to AM, which can be heard in wider areas of North Korea, and float balloons carrying transistor radios to the North
Winston Churchill said World War II could have easily been avoided if proper steps were taken at the right time. South Korea's words and actions must always be consistent. That is the only way to prevent North Korea from misjudging the situation.
[Buildup] [ROK military]
Former KPNA commissioner rejected sound cannon amid safety concerns
The former commissioner’s statements add to growing controversy over the KPNA’s recent reversal on its ban of the device
By Lim Ji-sun
A Democratic Party lawmaker has stated that former Korean National Police Agency (KNPA) Commissioner Kang Hee-rak refused to introduce a long-range acoustic device (LRAD) when then-Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency chief Cho Hyun-oh first proposed it. Kang cited the fact that it was “lethal to the human body” as his reason for refusing it. Led by current Commissioner Cho, the KPNA is now pursuing plans to introduce the LRAD, also called a “sound cannon,” to disperse protests and demonstrations.
South Korea warns of problems when NK power shifts
By ANNE GEARAN and MATTHEW LEE
The Associated Press
Friday, October 8, 2010; 6:59 PM
WASHINGTON -- The United States and South Korea should be prepared for a crisis in North Korea when dictator Kim Jong Il leaves power, South Korea's defense chief said Friday.
The expected transfer of power to Kim's youngest son could have unpredictable consequences in the isolated nation, South Korean Defense Minister Kim Tae-young said during a visit to the Pentagon.
Kim Jong-il Succession Could Mean Crisis or Opportunity
Yoo Ho-yeol The elevation of Kim Jong-il's son Jong-un to his father's heir at an extraordinary party congress is typical of North Korea, but the speed with which he was catapulted through the party ranks shows how urgent and complicated the situation there is. As it will take considerable time for the succession structure to establish itself, the South needs to be prepared for emergencies.
The abrupt emergence of Kim Jong-un is directly linked to Kim Jong-il's health, and chances are that a situation that the 27-year-old successor cannot cope with will soon develop. The abrupt retreat of Kim Jong-il could lead to major disruptions, giving rise to conflicts between old and new forces and policy struggles between the party and military as well as between the conservatives and reformers.
[Succession] [Collapse] [Takeover]
Traditions of Great National Unity in Korea
Today a vigorous struggle is being conducted in Korea in order to achieve the independent and peaceful reunification of the country through the great national unity under the idea of “by our nation itself.” It is the steadfast faith and will of the Korean people that they can surely accomplish their long-cherished desire of national reunification when all the compatriots in the north, south and overseas are united irrespective of ideas and ideals, systems and party affiliation, religious beliefs and political groupings.
The great national unity in Korea is based on a deep foundation.
Nodutdol and Allies Raise Concerns About Upcoming G-20 Summit
Friday, October 1, 2010
To the Honorable Ambassador of the Republic of Korea,
As people living in the United States and as members of the undersigned organizations, we are deeply concerned by the actions of President Lee Myeong-bak’s administration in preparation for the 5th G20 Summit to be held in Seoul, South Korea, from November 11 to 12. We find that the current administration is using the G20 Summit as an excuse to implement measures that criminalize the freedom of expression and the right to assemble and to collective bargaining, all basic pillars of a democracy that are now under attack. Under the guise of maintaining security, the state has also mobilized police and immigration officials to target migrants, street vendors, and other vulnerable sectors of the population in public spaces, creating an atmosphere of fear and repression that is in violation of the human rights provisions that the government must uphold.
Post-Cheonan Inter-Korean and Sino-DPRK Relations
On July 15, 2010, 38 North held a workshop
in Seoul, South Korea, which gathered
together experts from the U.S., South
Korea, Europe, China and Japan, to discuss
the latest developments regarding
North Korea, both internal and external,
with the goal of identifying future research
38 North is pleased to provide excerpts of
this dialogue to our readers. This is the
first of three installments on external developments
involving North Korea.
[Cheonan] [SK NK policy] [NK SK policy] [China NK]
Seoul Has to Watch Out During N.Korea's Power Transition
North Korea's official press on Thursday published the first photo of Kim Jong-un, the son and heir of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il. Taken just after the extraordinary congress of the Workers Party, the photo shows Kim Jong-un seated to the left of his father after Ri Yong-ho, chief of the Army's general staff, who is seated immediately to the left of Kim Jong-il. Both Kim Jong-un and Ri were appointed as vice chairmen of the party's powerful Central Military Commission.
Seated next to Kim Jong-un is Kim Yong-chun, the defense minister who also serves in the party's Politburo. Seated to the right of Kim senior are Kim Yong-nam, chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly, and Premier Choe Yong-rim.
The photo must have made North Koreans acutely aware of the power that has been handed over to the 27-year-old Kim Jong-un.
On Wednesday, when North Korea announced the hereditary succession, it also reconfirmed it will bolster its nuclear weapons program. North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Pak Kil-yon told the UN General Assembly, "As long as the U.S. nuclear aircraft carriers sail around the seas of our country, our nuclear deterrent can never be abandoned, but should be strengthened further."
[Media] [Conditionality] [NK SK policy] [Inversion]
N.Koreans React as Kim Jong-un Steps into the Limelight
North Koreans at home and abroad were largely dismayed when leader Kim Jong-il's son and heir Jong-un made his first public appearance on Thursday after being appointed vice chairman of the Workers Party's Central Military Commission.
"Of course, the regime had been expected to push for a third-generation power succession. But I'd never thought that it would let Kim Jong-un make a public appearance so soon," a former senior North Korean government official who defected to the South said. "It seems the regime has more or less established him as the successor to the leadership."
[Defector report] [Spin][Media]
G20 Seoul Summit 'May Test Relations with New N.Korean Leadership'
The upcoming G20 Seoul Summit may offer a "litmus test" of the newly installed North Korean leadership, South Korean officials told London's Financial Times. As the November gathering will be one of Seoul's biggest "showcase event" in history, North Korea may resort to its tradition of making provocative gestures in response to shows of force in the South.
Officials told the FT the G20 meeting could reveal the predilections of the new Kim Jong-un power block.
Meanwhile the BBC reported that this week's appointment of the heir apparent may be a move to consolidate the Workers Party's control over the traditionally more dominant military. The British publication further noted that China may be the "silent hand" pushing the party to take greater hold.
NK Defectors Complain of `Cold Lifestyle` in S. Korea
OCTOBER 01, 2010 12:13
More than half of North Korean defectors living in South Korea say they earn under 500,000 won (440 U.S. dollars) per month and suffer hiring discrimination, the results of a survey released Thursday said.
A combined 222 defectors nationwide were surveyed Sept. 15-30 and the study’s results were given to ruling Grand National Party lawmaker Kim Young-woo.
Of the respondents, 76 percent were women in their 20s to 40s. The gender and age ratios were similar to those of the estimated 20,000 defectors in the country, including those expected to enter South Korea by year’s end.
Prosecutors reject petition to investigate scholar who questioned Cheonan report
The decision stands in contrast to the Lee administration and KPNA’s recent crackdown on “spreading false information” about the cause of the Cheonan’s sinking
By Kim Tae-kyu
The prosecutors of South Korea turned down a conservative organization’s petition to investigate former Korea University Professor Kim Yong-ok, 62, who raised questions about the Cheonan investigation findings. The organization accused Kim of violating the National Security Law.
Prosecutors dismiss a petition to investigate when they determine the accusation to be free of reasonable suspicions without a thorough examination.
Shin Yoo-chul, chief prosecutor of the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office’s First Criminal Department said, “We could not find an action that would constitute a violation of the National Security Law.”
Kim had previously expressed strong distrust for the Joint Civilian-military Investigation Group’s (JIG) investigation results by saying, “I cannot understand even the 0.001 percent of the report. Does North Korea possess that technology?” Kim then said in regards to the time of the incident, “There were two U.S. Aegis destroyers and the Yellow Sea Fleet. The Aegis destroyer is the pinnacle of U.S. Navy military power. Suggesting that a North Korean submersible penetrated these defenses is a joke.” Kim issued these statements during a ceremony hosted by Bongeun Temple.
Meanwhile, the First Public Security Department of Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office has continued its investigation into civic organization People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy (PSPD), which submitted a letter to the U.N. Security Council highlighting problems with the JIG‘s report.
An official of the prosecutors said, “We need to examine legal principles that are associated with this case, so it will take more time for us to reach a decision.”
[Cheonan] [Coverup] [Human rights]
Democratic Confederal Republic of Koryo
As you know well, 65 years have passed after the division of Korea by the foreign forces.
All the countries and nations have reunified again which were divided by the cold war after the 2nd world war but the division of Korea still exists till to today.
The division of Korea is not only suffering the Korean people of misfortunes and pains but also becomes the main cause of the aggravation of tension in the Korean peninsula.
By more than 60 years division of Korea, two social systems and two governments with different ideas and ideal exist in the north and the south of Korea.
If one side considers its ideas and social system absolute and tries to force them on the other side, it will inevitably lead to confrontation and collision. The peace and safety of not only the Korean peninsula but also Asia and the rest of the world will be seriously disturbed.
The reunification of Korea should in any case be achieved on the basis of reciprocally recognizing and toleration the ideas and social systems of the north and the south. Of course, this means the advent of a federal state on the Korean peninsula.
From the objective demand of the situation, President Kim Il Sung advance the proposal for founding the Democratic Confederal Republic of Koryo in October 1980, 30 years ago.
Laws to Avoid Conflict After Reunification Is an Important Step
The Justice Ministry is drafting a law to deal with potential legal disputes between North and South Koreans following reunification. The draft of the law contains clauses protecting marriages of separated family members that occurred after the two Koreas were separated, granting more inheritance rights to family members in the South who have been caring for the parent and imposes limits on North Koreans in disposing or transferring inherited wealth outside South Korea in the event of reunification.
After North and South Korea signed the Basic Agreement in 1991 to address the plight of separated families, the Justice Ministry created a separate department to handle issues related to reunification and has been researching relevant laws, while the Supreme Court's research committee has also been studying the issue. The significance of the latest regulation lies in the fact that it marks the first step toward finding legal solutions to problems that could arise in the event of sudden reunification.
North and South Koreans, who have lived under different systems since the end of the Korean War in 1953, would face legal conflicts. Residential registration following the authorization of civilian travel across the border and the reunion of separated families and recognition of real estate confiscated by the communists are some of the unavoidable issues. The government must also be prepared for measures to compensate victims of political oppression in North Korea and other sensitive issues. After German reunification, similar problems surfaced, and measures were taken to return land taken away by East Germany according to modern rates.
The government must also make preparations in constitutional, criminal, commercial and labor law. That is the only way to minimize the political and social costs and ensure a smooth reunification.
Gov't Considers Damage from Potential Mt. Baekdu Eruption
The Ministry of Strategy and Finance on Wednesday warned of damage a volcanic eruption of Mt. Baekdu on the Chinese-North Korean border could mean to South Korea's economy.
In a report, the ministry included the possibility of Mt. Baekdu erupting among mid- to long-term risks facing the South Korean economy. "If a volcanic eruption occurs on Mt. Baekdu in the winter, northerly or northwesterly winds could carry volcanic ashes to the country," the ministry said and called for "adequate measures."
Korean Military Talks End With No Progress
By MARK McDONALD
Published: September 30, 2010
SEOUL, South Korea — The first military talks in two years between North and South Korea ended Thursday with no apparent progress and no new talks scheduled, according to an official with South Korea’s Defense Ministry.
Koreas Plan to Hold Talks on Military, South Says (September 30, 2010) The talks came as North Korea released the first official photograph of Kim Jong-un, the country’s likely next leader.
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