ROK and Inter-Korean relations
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Kim Jong-un Unleashes Reign of Terror
North Korean leader Kim Jong-il's son Jong-un has unleashed a reign of terror and kickstarted his own personality cult to make up for his lack of experience and competence over the past year. The tubby 20-something was anointed as his father's successor at a party congress last year.
[Editorial] Defense Ministry’s distorted hunt for ‘servants of N.Korea’
The Ministry of National Defense is currently implementing special education courses for military personnel designed to help them recognize people who are “serving North Korea.” The argument is that a need for special current affairs education was perceived in the wake of the recent “Mount Wangjae” case, but both the content and the aims of the courses are highly questionable.
The ministry’s psychological combat power division produced Power Point materials titled “A Fifth Column Subverting Liberal Democracy: Who Is Repudiating the Republic of Korea?” and sent them to the different armed forces. The materials cite the April 3 uprising on Jeju Island and the People’s Revolution Party incident as examples of activity by “servants of North Korea who have changed their faces over the years.”
‘Seoul to develop Patriot missile to intercept NK missiles’
Korea is pushing for the development of its own version of advanced Patriot missiles to counter North Korean ballistic missiles, military sources said Friday.
Multiple sources said the state-run Defense Agency for Technology and Quality (DATQ) will complete by the end of this year its preliminary research on long-range surface-to-air missiles (L-SAMs), which could intercept North Korean ballistic missiles or fighter jets at high altitudes.
According to the sources, the military will finalize the basic outline for further development around January or February next year, and the exploratory development will get underway in 2013.
They said the development cost for about 10 such missiles could reach 970 billion won ($813 million).
N.Korean Press Notes Ahn Cheol-soo's Political Clout
North Korea's official Rodong Sinmun daily on Wednesday reported on the rising popularity of software tycoon Ahn Cheol-soo, saying that South Korean politics is being shaken up by his sudden rise.
Under the headline "Fierce Election for Seoul Mayor," the daily wrote, "The Oct. 26 Seoul mayoral by-election has become a crucial vote that will determine the results of next year's general and presidential elections. A fierce battle has begun between political forces in the South ahead of the elections."
The paper described Ahn as an "independent candidate with anti-government tendencies" and went on to say that he is a strong candidate for president. It reported that polls show Ahn ahead of former ruling Grand National Party leader Park Geun-hye, another presidential contender.
"The GNP has been hit hardest by the emergence of Ahn Cheol-soo," it reported. "Seeking to stay in power by leaning on the popularity of Park Geun-hye, the party is already gripped with fear over the prospect of losing to Ahn."
[NK SK policy]
Could Ahn Cheol-soo Become Korea's Next President?
Software tycoon Ahn Cheol-soo gave up his bid for Seoul mayor, but instead he is emerging as a strong contender for president in next year's election. There are rumors that Ahn decided to back lawyer-turned-activist Park Won-soon for Seoul mayor because he intends to run for the presidency and will need Park's help at that time.
The World Must Speak Out About the N.Korean Gulag
Ha Tae-keung Germany's first forum on North Korea's political prison camps was held at the end of June in Berlin's former Stasi headquarters. Now a museum, the Stasi prison has retained its original appearance. The venue seemed to be a perfect choice of place to talk about North Korea's gulag.
Lee Calls on N.Korea to Embrace 'Mutual Benefit'
South Korea is willing to help North Korea alongside the international community if the Stalinist country pursues the path to "mutual benefit and common prosperity," President Lee Myung-bak told the UN General Assembly in New York on Wednesday.
In a keynote speech, Lee urged the North to join the trend of the times.
[Lee Myung-bak] [Spin]
First E-737 takes flight
The E-737 airborne early warning and control aircraft “Peace-Eye,” introduced by South Korean Air Force for the first time, flies during its test flight and final review in South Korean skies.
The Air Force held a hand-over ceremony of the aircraft on Wednesday at the Gimhae airbase where more than 300 people, including top military officials, politicians and other guests attended.
It is one of the four “Peace Eyes” purchased from Boeing. The remaining three aircrafts are in the middle of being manufactured and will be handed over in phases through the end of 2012.
An Air Force commander said the “Peace Eye” has an upgraded capability of independent intelligence gathering, reconnaissance, and aerial surveillance with electronic radar system and will enable South Korea to rely less heavily on U.S. reconnaissance aircraft.
(Courtesy of Air Force, Story by Lee Soon-hyuk)
Kim Jong-il Can't Clamp Down on Fun Forever
Kim Tae-hoon The first thing the Taliban began to do after the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan in 1988-89 was to clamp down on freedom of thought. Afghan-born U.S. writer Khaled Hosseini's 2007 novel "A Thousand Splendid Suns" describes the absurd scenes that occurred on the streets of Kabul. Touting the teachings of Islamic fundamentalism, the Taliban attempted to eradicate any remnants of western culture. It was illegal to show or watch American movies.
[Double standards] [Culture war]
Lee calls for NK's denuclearization as precondition for unification
NEW YORK (Yonhap) -- South Korean President Lee Myung-bak urged North Korea on Tuesday to give up its nuclear programs, saying denuclearization is a key first step toward eventual unification of the two divided states.
Lee made the appeal during a speech after receiving a global leadership award upon arriving in New York for a three-day visit. Lee is scheduled to address the U.N. General Assembly on Wednesday and a special high-level meeting on nuclear safety on Thursday.
[Unification] [Lee Myung-bak] [Takeover]
Religious leaders head to Pyongyang
A group of South Korean religious leaders left for North Korea on Wednesday for a rare visit they said could contribute to peace and reconciliation on the divided peninsula.
The seven leaders representing Catholics, Protestants, Buddhists and various ethnic religions plan to hold joint prayer meetings and events with their North Korean counterparts in the North's capital of Pyongyang and other parts of the country. The Seoul government approved their four-day trip last week, a rare move that comes amid signs of a thaw in inter-Korean relations.
South Korean religious leaders visit North Korea amid signs of easing tensions
By Associated Press, Updated: Wednesday, September 21, 11:21 AM
SEOUL, South Korea — South Korean Catholic, Buddhist, Protestant and other religious leaders are in North Korea amid signs of easing tension between the countries.
The official Korean Central News Agency says the delegation arrived in Pyongyang on Wednesday.
They’re scheduled to meet with North Korean religious leaders and visit a famous mountain during their four-day trip.
South Korea has toughened restrictions on civilian travel to the North after a warship sinking that was blamed on a North Korean torpedo attack last year.
But Seoul recently allowed Buddhist monks and a prominent orchestra maestro to visit North Korea amid international efforts to resume negotiations on the North’s nuclear ambitions. Nuclear envoys of the Koreas met Wednesday in Beijing.
S.Korean Navy Fails to Spot N.Korean Subs
South Korean patrol boats and corvettes are able to detect a mere 30 percent of submarines at a time when North Korea is increasing the frequency of submarine infiltration drills.
According to data the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Defense Intelligence Agency submitted to Democratic Party lawmaker Shin Hak-yong of the National Assembly's Defense Committee, North Korean submarine infiltration drills in the West Sea increased to 28 between January and August 2010, from a mere two in the same period in 2008 and only five in 2009.
In the same period this year, North Korea raised the number of infiltration drills to 50
N. Korean military may raid S. Korean islands in West Sea
The North Korean military has been making preparations to raid South Korean islands near the western sea border, a retired Navy general said Tuesday.
Kim Sung-man, former commander of the operations of the ROK Navy, urged the Navy to hastily review its defense capability to counter the North’s possible raids on five islands in the West Sea, including Yeonpyeong and Baengnyeong.
In a contribution to konasnet, Kim said the North conducted large-scale exercises to raid the West Sea islands in waters near Nampo in the North in late August during its leader Kim Jong-il’s visit to Russia.
In the joint exercises involving the Army, Navy and Air Force, North Korean troops raided an island north of a rock near Nampo, he said.
[Buildup] [ROK military] [Media] [Bizarre]
Families of NK abductees call for help
Hwang In-chul, whose father was abducted by a North Korean agent in a 1969 hijacking of a South Korean airliner, speaks to a forum in Seoul organized by the Citizens’ Alliance for North Korean Human Rights, Monday. / Korea Times
By Kim Young-jin
For most, the 1969 hijacking of a South Korean airliner by an armed North Korean agent has faded into history. But for Hwang In-chul, whose father was a passenger, the incident still takes a heavy toll.
Thirty-nine of the passengers on the KAL YS-11 were eventually repatriated through Red Cross channels, with Pyongyang claiming the pilots themselves had redirected the flight. But seven others along with four crew members were abducted and never returned.
South Korean nuclear envoy arrives in Beijing for talks with northern counterpart
By Associated Press, Published: September 19 | Updated: Tuesday, September 20, 7:24 AM
BEIJING — South Korea’s nuclear envoy arrived in Beijing on Tuesday for talks with his counterpart from North Korea on Pyongyang’s nuclear arms plans.
Wi Sung-lac told reporters at the Beijing airport that he planned to discuss steps toward denuclearization in his meeting with North Korea’s Ri Yong Ho.
The two will sit down Wednesday. They are trying to hash out issues between the Koreas in an attempt to restart long-stalled six-nation talks on nuclear disarmament in North Korea.
“We plan to talk about the achievement of denuclearization, and discuss the issues that were brought up from the first round of talks,” Wi said.
The envoys met two months ago in Indonesia for the first time in more than two years, raising hopes that the six-party talks — which include China, the United States, Japan and Russia — will resume soon.
North Korea abruptly walked out of the nuclear negotiations in 2009 but in recent months the impoverished country has repeatedly expressed its willingness to rejoin the talks aimed at dismantling its nuclear weapons program in return for international aid and other concessions.
A major sticking point has been South Korea’s desire for North Korea to demonstrate it was sincere about disarmament and take responsibility for two deadly attacks last year.
Last year, North Korea shelled a South Korean front-line island, killing four, and allegedly torpedoed a South Korean warship, killing 46.
“And if there are other issues to be discussed, we will also talk about them,” Wi said.
During a visit to Russia last month, North Korean leader Kim Jong Il reportedly suggested the North could be open to halting nuclear production and testing if the six-party talks resume.
U.S. officials have been wary of the North’s overtures, saying it must first abide by commitments it made in earlier rounds of the talks.
[SK NK negotiations]
Korea's Costly Blunder in Iraq
The failure of the Korea National Oil Corporation's drilling project in the Kurdish autonomous region of northern Iraq is about to cost the state-run company US$400 million. After drilling at four out of five potential sites, KNOC discovered that they have either no oil or extremely small deposits. The remaining site is also believed to hold only a small amount of oil, making it too costly to develop.
Since the Lee Myung-bak administration was inaugurated in 2008, it has touted the Kurdish oil field development project as a shining symbol of its so-called "resource diplomacy."
Korea Falls Behind in Report on Jurisdiction in East China Sea
China and Japan submitted hundreds of pages of reports over conflicts in jurisdiction over the continental shelf in the East China Sea to the UN in 2009, but the Korean government has failed to complete a full report for the last three years, it emerged Sunday.
[Territorial disputes] [SK Japan] [Lee Myung-bak] [Energy]
Seoul Developing Anti-Artillery Missile
South Korea is developing a ballistic missile with a range of 100 km to take out North Korean artillery positions. The project was launched by presidential order following the North's shelling of Yeonpyeong Island last November.
Democratic Party lawmaker Ahn Gyu-baek on Sunday said the Defense Ministry and the Agency for Defense Development have been clandestinely developing the missile and guidance system since the beginning of the year. Ahn added the project deadline is June next year and the president will attend a demonstration.
Once the missile is ready, the military will be capable of knocking out not only North Korean artillery positions that are exposed, but ones that are hidden in caves as well.
However, the Board of Audit and Inspection in a review of the project in May and June questioned whether the June 2012 deadline can be met, according to Ahn.
firstname.lastname@example.org / Sep. 19, 2011 09:23 KST
[Military balance] [Buildup]
Patriot Missiles Useless as Radar Out of Order
Three of the eight radars at eight Patriot missile batteries have been suspended for a few months due to malfunction, it emerged on Sunday. Once they break down, radars become incapable of guiding Patriot missiles toward targets. Simply put, malfunctioning radars render the Patriot missile system useless.
The Patriot missiles, a surface-to-air missile capable of intercepting enemy aircraft or missiles in midair, were deployed under the Air Force's "SAM-X" next-generation air-defense missile project and are the South Korean military's key air-defense weapons.
Kim So-ri Keeps Troops in Fighting Form
Life is tough for young conscripts in Korea's armed forces, but having groups of beautiful young women perform K-pop songs for them helps take the edge off and heightens morale as they guard the nation's defenses.
Kim So-ri Although girl groups such as the Brown Eyed Girls, T-ara and Girls' Generation receive the highest fees when performing for soldiers -- they earn an average of W5.5 million per appearance -- a former musical actress has emerged as the most popular chanteuse.
Online newspaper notes more change in NK
Shin Ju-hyun, right, chief editor of the Daily NK, and reporter Chris Green talk to The Korea Times about the online publication at their office in downtown Seoul.
/ Korea Times
By Kim Young-jin
The decades-old debate over whether the North Korean regime can survive has been rekindled in the run-up to 2012, the year the impoverished country has declared it will become a “strong and prosperous nation.”
The Daily NK, an online newspaper that daringly delivers information out of the Stalinist state, is on the vanguard of those who believe instability could erupt at any time.
Shin Ju-hyun, chief editor of the site, says growing discontent over policy and an increasing flow of outside information through its borders make the North a tinderbox. And the Kim Jong-il regime’s impending deadline to become powerful isn’t helping.
'NK submarine drills rise 25 times'
Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin, left, and Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Gen. Han Min-koo take an oath before the start of a parliamentary inspection session at the Ministry of National Defense, Seoul, Monday.
/ Korea Times photo by Oh Dae-geun
By Lee Tae-hoon
The number of North Korea’s submarine drills in the West Sea in the January-August period has increased 25 times compared to that of 2008, a lawmaker of the main opposition Democratic Party (DP) said Monday.
In a parliamentary inspection of the Ministry of National Defense, DP lawmaker Shin Hak-yong revealed that the North conducted 50 submarine drills off the west coast through the end of August this year, up from two over the first eight months of 2008.
“Am I correct that the North carried out only two submarine drills during the same period in 2008, but it soared to five in 2009, 28 in 2010 and 50 this year?” Shin asked Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin.
N. Korea adds more tanks, artillery guns to arsenal
North Korea has increased its number of tanks and gunners over the past 10 years, while South Korea has cut down on vessels and fighter jets, South Korean military data showed Sunday.
According to the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), North Korea added about 300 tanks and 1,200 artillery guns over the past decade. The report comparing the armed forces of the two Koreas was submitted to the National Assembly ahead of the annual parliamentary inspection.
The report claimed that over the same period, the number of North Korean troops went up from 1.17 million to 1.19 million. The JCS noted that financial difficulties haven't prevented the North from bolstering its military
[Military balance] [MISCOM]
[ed] Image of Korea
Foreign textbooks contain untrue information
An analysis of foreign textbooks shows that the world knows shockingly little about Korea. A foreign textbook shows Korea's mother tongue is Chinese. The nation is wrongfully portrayed as an origin of malaria, with a teenager working for more than 11 hours at a textile company.
It is also an inconvenient truth that many foreigners have difficulty in telling capitalist South Korea from communist North Korea.[Image]
How Should Korea React to Regional Arms Race?
Chinese media report that Japan plans to build a 19,500-ton helicopter carrier next year. Japan already has two helicopter carriers, but the 22DDH has a deck that is 30 percent bigger than the existing vessels, which enables it to carry 14 helicopters compared to 11 on the existing ones.
[Military balance] [Arms race] [Dilemma][Sidelined]
Maestro Concludes Goodwill Visit to Pyongyang
Chung, who serves as a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations children's agency UNICEF, said he hoped to ease relations between the two Koreas through inter-Korean art projects such as concerts and music programs for children.
The visit comes as Seoul moves cautiously to improve ties with Pyongyang. Earlier this month, Seoul named a new unification minister and allowed a religious delegation to visit Pyongyang for a joint Buddhist service.
S.Korean Forces Re-Enact 1950 Incheon Landing
South Korean forces staged a dramatic re-enactment of the 1950 Incheon landing Thursday to mark the anniversary of what many consider the turning point in the Korean War.
Warships, amphibious vessels and aircraft took part in the operation, in which troops fired smoke shells and paratroopers jumped from helicopters. Officials from the Incheon city government joined navy and marine corps officers to pay tribute to those who lost their lives in the original assault.
Inter-Korean artistic exchange agreement reached
Director Chung Myung-whun continues his push to strengthen inter-Korean relations through music
By Park Bo-mi
Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra music director and UNICEF goodwill ambassador Chung Myung-whun, 58, announced Friday that he had reached an agreement with North Korea during his Sept. 12-15 Pyongyang visit to hold recitals in Seoul and Pyongyang by a symphony orchestra made up of North Korean and South Korean musicians.
Speaking at a press conference Friday morning in the Seoul Philharmonic rehearsal hall on Seoul’s Sejong Road, Chung said a letter of intent had been signed with officials in North Korea's council on artistic exchange for the holding of regular recitals by a joint orchestra composed of equal numbers of North Korean and South Korean musicians, as well as the discovery and training of promising young North Korean musicians.
Regarding the possibilities of the performances actually taking place, Chung said, “I saw during my visit that we each want musical and musician exchanges.”
“I am certain we will be seeing a meaningful outcome,” Chung added.
Second round of inter-Korean talks forthcoming
The talks are part of U.S. demands to continue toward resuming six-party talks
By Son Won-je, Staff Writer
A second round of inter-Korean denuclearization talks is scheduled to take place in Beijing around Sept. 21 between North Korean and South Korea’s senior representatives to the six-party talks on the North Korean nuclear issue. This months talks come two months after the first set in Bali, Indonesia, on July 22.
A key government official said Friday that an agreement had been reached through recent discussions between North Korea and South Korea to hold the second inter-Korean denuclearization talks in the middle of next week.
“Discussions are taking place right now over particulars such as the location and specific schedule, and there is a chance it will be taking place on Sept. 21,” the official added.
Analysts are interpreting the second round of talks as a signal from North Korea that it has prepared its response to South Korean and U.S. demands for “preliminary denuclearization measures” as voiced at initial summit meetings between each country and North Korea, and that it is prepared to enter a second round of dialogue with Washington following inter-Korean denuclearization talks.
NK defector caught attempting to kill activist
By Park Si-soo
A self-professed North Korean defector has been arrested on suspicion of plotting to kill a leading anti-Pyongyang activist in Seoul, prosecutors confirmed Friday.
The prosecution and the National Intelligence Service said the man, surnamed Ahn, targeted Park Sang-hak, a North Korean defector who has led a high-profile campaign to send propaganda leaflets into the North for years.
Lee Myung Bak’s Nordpolitik: A U-turn in the Pipeline? (Part II)
By Aidan Foster-Carter
So in case you wondered what T.S. Eliot was doing upfront in Part I of this article, the squalid take on all this continues below.
It’s a gas, man
But it was Russia and gas that clinched it. Take a look at KCNA—except readers in South Korea, because Lee’s benighted government doesn’t trust you to guffaw like the rest of us.
[Russia1108] [Pipeline] [SK NK policy]
Reenactment of Incheon Landing
Plumes of smoke hang over the water as amphibious vehicles reenact the Sept. 15 1950 Incheon Landing, a pivotal moment during the 1950-53 Korean War, in waters off Wolmi Island near Incheon, Thursday, on the 61st anniversary of the operation. Two weeks after the landing, Seoul was liberated from North Korean occupation.
New Unification Minister 'Open' to Inter-Korean Summit
Unification Minister nominee Yu Woo-ik told a National Assembly confirmation hearing on Wednesday that he is open to the idea of pursuing an inter-Korean summit. He said a summit between President Lee Myung-bak and North Korean leader Kim Jong-il could be "a useful means" to resolve inter-Korean tensions and added there is "no reason" not to pursue a meeting if the conditions are met.
But Yu added North Korea must first apologize for or "take responsible steps" over the sinking of the Navy corvette Cheonan and shelling of Yeonpyeong Island last year.
[Precondition] [SK NK policy] [Media]
Rights agency draws fire on NK rights abuse cases
By Na Jeong-ju
The state human rights agency is coming under fire for “begging” for reports from North Korean defectors on human rights abuses by the Kim Jong-il regime.
The National Human Rights Commission set up a center specializing in human rights violations taking place in the North in March as part of the government’s efforts to raise public awareness of the issue and share related information with the rest of the world.
The center’s key mission is to investigate abuse cases based on reports from defectors and record them. However, the center allegedly solicited reports from concerned groups and made their claims public without proper investigations, critics say.
“Given the nature of claims on human rights abuses in North Korea, it is impossible to look into because we can’t visit there or meet North Korean officials,” a committee spokesman said. “So we just record them based on claims by defectors and consider them when drawing up related policies.”
[Human rights] [Manipulation] [Evidence]
S.Korea's Mobile Psy-Ops Equipment Revealed
The South Korean military has mobile leaflet production equipment and a mobile broadcast production and relay vehicle for psychological warfare against North Korea, it emerged Tuesday.
According to data submitted to Future Hope Alliance lawmaker Song Young-sun of the National Assembly Defense Committee by a psy-ops corps, the military has five-ton vehicles capable of producing and disseminating leaflets on the battlefield.
The military can produce up to 80,000 leaflets a day or 60 per minute with the vehicles, which have a satellite receiver and sender. It also has hot-air balloons that can carry leaflets into North Korean skies.
A mobile broadcast vehicle for psychological warfare against North Korea /Courtesy of the Defense Ministry The military also has a mobile broadcast vehicle capable of producing and transmitting broadcast programs to the North.
[Buildup] [Takeover] [Psychwar]
Seoul Philharmonic Director in N.Korea
The Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra's musical director Chung Myung-whun arrived in Pyongyang on Monday.
Chung Myung-whun, the musical director of the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra (center), smiles on arrival in Pyongyang on Monday in this photo released by the [North] Korean Central News Agency. /KCNA He is visiting the North as a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF to discuss ways to give music education to children there and to foster cultural exchanges between musicians in the two Koreas.
Hope for inter-Korean exchange through music
The Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra music director travels to N.Korea to propose inter-Korean exchange recitals
By Park Min-hee, Beijing Correspondent
“As a human being and musician, I would like to see North Korea and South Korea moving closer to one another in a more natural way.”
These were the sentiments voiced to journalists Monday by Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra music director and UNICEF goodwill ambassador Chung Myung-whun at Beijing’s Shoudu Airport, where he was preparing to board an airplane bound for Pyongyang in his first visit to North Korea.
Beyond good and evil of Sunshine Policy
Ra Jong-il, former vice chief of the National Intelligence Service
By Sunny Lee
BEIJING — What kind of policy should South Korea’s next administration adopt toward North Korea? The South already experimented with the “generous yet undisciplined” Sunshine Policy, followed by the Lee Myung-bak administration’s “principled yet inflexible” hardball approach. Today, it looks like the scores are roughly even.
To start with the Sunshine Policy, it’s true that it had a good number of critics. Lee as a presidential candidate pledged to reverse it and won the presidency. Yet as Lee’s term approaches its end, people including some in his own Grand National Party are discovering that the hard-line policy didn’t necessarily teach Pyongyang the intended lesson of the Confucian golden rule: reciprocity.
North Korea sabotaged Lee’s new inter-Korean initiative of “Denuclearization, Opening and Vision 3000” by sinking the navy frigate Cheonan and shelling Yeonpyeong Island.
[SK NK policy] [Sunshine]
What Kind of Threat Do N.Korea's Special Forces Pose?
Pundits were intrigued Tuesday by claims from the commander of the U.S. Forces Korea that North Korean special forces troops consist of 60,000 specialized troops and 140,000 light infantry soldiers. The South Korean government's 2010 Defense White Paper mentions that North Korea beefed up its special forces from 180,000 to 200,000 but does not elaborate on their makeup.
[Military balance] [Buildup] [Special forces]
Seoul Municipal Symphony Orchestra Music Director and His Party Here
Pyongyang, September 12 (KCNA) -- Jong Myong Hun, music director of the Seoul Municipal Symphony Orchestra, and his party arrived here Monday.
Dokdo warship found to be defective in its near defense arms
An opposition lawmaker has claimed that the Dokdo warship, the largest landing platform helicopter-6111, has critical defects in its near defense arms system. It was put into operation in 2007.
"When the close in weapons system (CIWS) equipped on the stern of the warship is fired, it could shoot helicopters on the deck depending upon firing angles," said
Ahn Kyu-baik, a member of the national defense committee of the National Assembly, Friday. CIWS aims at countering the attack of jets or missiles by enemies.
Dokdo is the sole aircraft carrier-class warship in Korea which will play a commanding role in landing operation in emergencies.
Seoul urges Pyongyang to facilitate family reunions
South Korea said on Monday that it is making efforts to resolve the issue of reunions for family members separated six decades ago by the Korean War, urging North Korea to help facilitate them as well.
Unification ministry to begin Internet TV, radio broadcasting
The Unification Ministry said Sunday it will begin producing Korean-language Internet television and radio broadcasts later this month in a bid to raise public awareness and interest in unifying the two divided Koreas.
An Internet broadcasting channel will begin operation around Sept. 26 on which video content about the unification issue will be aired, the Unification Ministry said.
The ministry plans to produce video content, weekly news reports and sitcom episodes on the latest developments in unification and they will be aired on http://unitv.unikorea.go.kr, it added.
An Internet radio channel will also begin broadcasting news on unification and interviews with North Korean defectors from Sept. 26 at http://uniradio.inlive.co.kr, the ministry said.
S. Korean maestro leaves for N. Korea on music projects
A renowned South Korean orchestra conductor headed to North Korea on Monday to discuss cultural exchanges between the two Koreas in what could be another sign of a thaw in inter-Korean relations.
Chung Myung-whun, who leads the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra and doubles as a UNICEF goodwill ambassador, got on a Pyongyang-bound flight at Seowudu Airport in Beijing at 1:20 p.m. (local time) along with two senior Seoul orchestra officials.
"I am very pleased to visit North Korea and hope to meet North Korean musicians," Chung told reporters before leaving the airport. "As an individual and a musician, I hope two Koreas could get closer to each other more naturally." (Yonhap)
Lee Myung Bak’s Nordpolitik: A U-turn in the Pipeline?
(PART I)By Aidan Foster-Carter
The last temptation is the greatest treason:
To do the right deed for the wrong reason
~ T.S. Eliot, Murder in the Cathedral (1935)
The poet’s words are haunting. But are they true? Lee Myung Bak may be about to find out.
Margaret Thatcher used to boast: The lady’s not for turning. (Literary aside: This was a nod—not that Lady T knew: someone wrote the speech for her—to another play in verse, a hit in its day but barely remembered now: The Lady’s Not for Burning (1948) by Christopher Fry.)
Lee Myung Bak is cut from the same cloth—or was. The man nicknamed bulldozer had until now seemed steadfast in his policy on North Korea. This might be likened to a pair of hands.
Korea to test fly indigenous spy aircraft
Medium-altitude unmanned aerial vehicle (MAUV)
By Lee Tae-hoon
A prototype of South Korea’s indigenous medium-altitude unmanned aerial vehicle (MUAV) will make its maiden flight in November, marking dramatic progress in cutting-edge military technology, a senior official of the country’s arms procurement agency said Friday.
The South Korean military has been largely dependent on U.S. intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities of North Korea.
[Military balance] [US military dominance] [Intelligence]
South Korea says it will allow prominent maestro to visit North Korea next week
By Associated Press, Published: September 9
SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea says it will allow a prominent South Korean orchestra conductor to visit North Korea next week. The trip is another sign of easing tensions between the rivals.
Seoul’s Unification Ministry says Chung Myung-whun will visit from Monday to Thursday. Chung leads the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra and doubles as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.
Ministry spokesman Chun Hae-sung said Friday that the 59-year-old Chung wants to discuss musical programs for children in the North.
The visit comes as Seoul moves to improve ties with Pyongyang. Last week, Seoul allowed a religious delegation to visit Pyongyang for a joint Buddhist service.
The United Nations is planning to send its humanitarian chief to the North next month.
[SK NK policy]
N.Korea Developing High-Powered GPS Jammer
North Korea is reportedly developing a GPS jamming device capable of disrupting signals more than 100 km away. The North has several times disrupted signals in South Korea from Kaesong and Mt. Kumgang.
S.Korea to Launch Entertainment Satellite TV to the North
Bong Doo-wan A private South Korean group says it intends, as soon as next year, to beam satellite entertainment television programs into the isolated North.
North Koreans are allowed to watch only the government's television channels, which mainly broadcast news, movies and documentaries predictability exhorting the successes of the country's communist leadership.
Skeptical analysts note it would be nearly impossible for impoverished and repressed North Koreans to acquire and install the roof-top satellite dishes and receivers needed to view the TV signal from space.
Defendant hails Kim Jong-il at his second trial
When judge asks him if he’ll do it again, he says: ‘I dearly wish to’
A man on trial for praising North Korean leader Kim Jong-il did it again in court on Monday in Suwon, Gyeonggi.
The 43-year-old man, who is surnamed Hwang, was given a chance to make a final statement on Monday morning during his trial in Suwon District Court for violating the National Security Law.
Hwang pulled out a piece of paper and read: “Gen. Kim Jong-il and leader Kim Il Sung are the fathers of our people and the heroes of our race. They are the everlasting core of our world, and no matter how high the imperialists try to jump, they will never be higher than them. Praise the great Gen. Kim Jong-il!”
South Korea agrees to buy advanced Israeli rockets to deter North Korean aggression
By Associated Press, Published: September 6
SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea has struck a $43 million deal with an Israeli company to buy advanced rockets to protect a front-line area attacked by North Korea last year, officials said Tuesday.
South Korea will deploy 67 Spike NLOS rockets on Baengnyeong and Yeonpyeong islands in the Yellow Sea as early as late this year, a South Korean government arms procurement official said. Four South Koreans were killed on Yeonpyeong when the North shelled it last November.
The official, who declined to be identified, citing policy, said the deal was made in July after the Israeli weapon received the best performance review from South Korean military officials. Another South Korean arms procurement official confirmed the information.
Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems says the rockets can fly up to 15 miles (25 kilometers) and hit hidden targets. South Korea has been struggling to find ways to take out North Korea’s hidden coastal artillery should it attack again.
South Korea’s efforts to boost weapons systems on the front-line islands follow intense criticism that defense officials failed to respond strongly and quickly enough after the North’s attack last year.
South Korea currently has self-propelled guns, vulcan cannons, multi-rocket launchers, radars and other advanced weapons deployed on the islands, as well as thousands of marines. In June, Seoul set up a separate defense command in charge of troops on the islands.
Violence often flares in the Yellow Sea, and three deadly naval clashes since 1999 have taken a few dozen lives. The maritime line separating North and South Korea was drawn by the U.S.-led U.N. Command without North Korea’s consent at the close of the 1950-53 Korean War. That fighting ended with a truce, not a peace treaty, leaving the peninsula still technically in a state of war. North Korea routinely argues that the line should run farther south.
South Korea’s moves to bolster its defenses come as it seeks to revive dialogue with North Korea. Since July, diplomats from the two Koreas and the United States have met to explore ways to restart long-stalled nuclear disarmament talks. Progress, however, has been elusive.
In another sign of easing tensions, a religious delegation from South Korea is in North Korea this week to attend a Buddhist service honoring a historic relic considered sacred by both countries.
On Saturday, a U.S. shipment of humanitarian aid arrived in North Korea to help the country recover from floods and heavy rain. The State Department has dismissed any link between the aid and diplomatic efforts to restart the six-nation nuclear talks.
The talks involve the two Koreas, the United States, Japan, China and Russia. During his trip to Russia and China last month, North Korean leader Kim Jong Il reportedly suggested the North might consider a moratorium on nuclear testing and production if the talks resume.
North Korea is pushing for the negotiations to restart. The United States and South Korea have so far reacted coolly, saying the North must first show sincerity by abiding by past nuclear commitments before the aid-for-disarmament talks can resume.
Israel is one of the world’s largest defense exporters, having sold arms to Turkey, Britain, the United States and other Western nations. But it is looking for new defense partners to replace the likely short-term loss of Turkey.
Tensions between Turkey and Israel grew as Turkey’s Islamic-oriented government sought a rapprochement with Israel’s traditional foes in the Middle East. Ties deteriorated sharply after Israel’s three-week military offensive in Gaza in 2009. Last year’s Israeli raid on a Gaza-bound protest flotilla that killed nine pro-Palestinian activists sent relations to a new low.
[Buildup] [Arms sales] [Israel] [Inversion]
Changing N.Korea Policy Now Could Backfire
Unification Minister Hyun In-taek has been replaced by Yu Woo-ik, formerly President Lee Myung-bak's chief of staff and ambassador to China. Hyun has maintained the principle that the North must take responsibility for the sinking of the Navy corvette Cheonan and the shelling of Yeonpyeong Island last year before there can be any inter-Korean talks about other matters.
[SK NK policy]
Park seeks to upgrade inter-Korean policy
By Lee Tae-hoon
South Korea should upgrade its policy toward North Korea in a way that effectively mixes "carrots and sticks," a potential leading presidential contender of the ruling party said Thursday.
In an apparent move to prepare for the 2012 presidential election, Rep. Park Geun-hye of the governing Grand National Party (GNP) told reporters that Seoul needs to adopt a balanced approach toward Pyongyang by using both tough and soft measures.
“We have to be tougher when we need to
[SK NK policy] [Park Geun-hye]
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