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Park faces double whammy
Abe, Kim Jong-un posing major headaches for Park
By Kim Tae-gyu
As she heads into the second year of her five-year term, President Park Geun-hye is faced with a dual dilemma ? how to deal with the troublesome leaders of North Korea and Japan.
The two loose cannons are North Korean ruler Kim Jong-un, who recently executed his once-powerful uncle Jang Song-thaek, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who visited a controversial temple last week to strain the already frayed relationship with Seoul.
“As far as the diplomatic scene in Northeast Asia is concerned, Park will experience very volatile conditions next year,” said Professor Son Tae-gyu at Dankook University.
“During such an uncertain period, acumen and intuition are crucial. Park needs to take her time and make the right decisions at the right time, for the maximum benefit of the country.”
[Park Geun-hye] [SK NK policy]
Parties fail to agree on NIS reform
Kim Han-gil, chairman of the main opposition Democratic Party, speaks during a press conference at the National Assembly on Sunday. He demanded the ruling Saenuri Party agree to measures to prevent
National Intelligence Service agents, known as IOs (intelligence officers), from making routine visits to government agencies, the National Assembly, political parties and news organizations to monitor their day-to-day activities. / Yonhap
DP calls for ban on intelligence officers’ access to agencies
By Kim Tae-gyu
Just a day before the final plenary session of the National Assembly, the rival parties struggled to reach an agreement on how to reform the National Intelligence Service (NIS) and next year’s budget Sunday.
Floor leaders and other senior members of the ruling Saenuri Party and the main opposition Democratic Party (DP) convened Sunday afternoon but remained divided over details of the proposed measures to reform the spy agency.
The major bone of contention is on how to reform the country’s spy agency, which allegedly meddled in last year’s presidential election by uploading online messages critical of opposition candidates.
The two parties agreed to strengthen control of the NIS. Yet, they could not reach an agreement on how to limit potentially controversial activities by the NIS.
NK counters rights abuse accusation
By Chung Min-uck
North Korea is trying to make the most of its newly established human rights body to counter South Korea’s accusations about the reclusive regime’s abuse of its people.
The North Korean body ? the Council for South Korean Human Rights ? on Saturday criticized the South’s government for its “fascism-like oppression” of striking railway workers.
It called the latest police crackdown on the workers’ union a “challenge to human rights, natural rights and public sentiments” of the people here.
[Human rights] [Labour]
Thousands of labor unionists, supporters stage massive rally in Seoul
Thousands of rail workers and supporters staged street protests in downtown Seoul on Saturday in protest of what they called a government move to privatize state rail operations that would lead to massive layoffs.More than 50,000 unionized workers of the state-run Korea Railroad Corp. (KORAIL) have walked off the job since Dec. 9 against the government's decision to set up a separate entity to run a new bullet train line. Workers suspect it as a first step toward privatization.
Kim Jong-un Warns of Sudden War
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on Wednesday warned that war could break out "without any prior notice," the official KCNA news agency reported.
Kim was speaking during an inspection of a command post on the 22nd anniversary of his father Kim Jong-il's ascent to supreme commander.
After looking around the unit's facilities, Kim told soldiers to improve combat readiness and never forget that war could break out without warning.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un smiles during an inspection of a command post in this picture released by the official Rodong Sinmun daily on Wednesday. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un smiles during an inspection of a command post in this picture released by the official Rodong Sinmun daily on Wednesday.
On Dec. 16, military Politburo chief Choe Ryong-hae made the same comments at a loyalty rally marking the second anniversary of Kim senior's death.
The unit Kim visited on Wednesday is headquartered in Nampo, South Pyongan Province and its main duty is to defend the outskirts of Pyongyang.
Kim was accompanied by a new troika who appear to be propping up his throne after the execution of his uncle Jang Song-taek -- Choe, chief of the Army's General Staff Ri Yong-gil, and Minister of the People's Armed Forces Jang Jong-nam.
It was Kim's first visit to a military unit since Nov. 30.
NK leader orders military to keep combat readiness
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, center, tours the Command of Large Combined Unit 526 near the western port city of Nampo, Tuesday. During the inspection, Kim said that a war could break out without any prior notice on the Korean Peninsula, calling on the military to bolster its combat readiness. / Yonhap
By Kang Seung-woo
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un ordered the military to maintain high combat readiness, warning that a war could break out without notice, according to its official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) Wednesday.
Kim made the remarks during his visit to the Command of Large Combined Unit 526 near the western port city of Nampo on Christmas Eve, the day when his late father Kim Jong-il was named supreme commander of the Korean People's Army.
“He instructed the unit to put utmost spurs on rounding off its combat readiness with the firm resolution, always bearing in mind that a war breaks out without any prior notice," the KCNA said.
Senior officials and military leaders, including Choe Ryong-hae, the chief of the military Politburo, and Ri Yong-gil, the North's military chief, accompanied the young leader.
Korean Conspiracy Trial
by GREGORY ELICH
It made worldwide news when Lee Seok-ki, representative in the South Korean National Assembly, was arrested on charges of treason. South Korea’s National Intelligence Service (NIS) fed media outlets with a transcript of a meeting that Lee attended, which appeared to reveal plans by the Unified Progressive Party to take up arms against the South Korean government in the event of war with the north.
The release of the transcript came at the height of national protests against interference by the NIS in the national election of December 2012. The Unified Progressive Party (UPP) was at the forefront of the anti-NIS demonstrations, and the furor that resulted over the accusations against Lee and the UPP succeeded in stifling mass protests.
[Repression] [NIS] [Park Geun-hye]
S.Koreans Earn 18 Times More Than N.Koreans
South Korea's gross national income amounted to W1,279.5 trillion last year, 38.2 times more than North Korea's paltry W33.48 trillion, Statistics Korea said Monday (US$1=W1,061).
Per-capita GNI in South Korea was 18.7 times more than in the North, with W25.59 million to just W1.37 million.
The combined population of the two Koreas stands at 74.43 million -- 50 million in the South and 24.43 million in the North.
South Korea produced 46.86 million tons of cement compared to 6.45 million tons in the North, but the communist state extracted 25.8 million tons of coal compared to the South's 2.09 million tons.
South Korea's trade volume of US$1.07 trillion was 157 times bigger than North Korea's $6.8 billion.
To cling to power, Park administration resorts to force
Posted on : Dec.23,2013 12:03 KST
Umbrella trade union KCTU sets Dec. 28 for a general strike
By Jeon Jong-hwi, Im In-tack and Lee Jung-gook, staff reporters
The Park Geun-hye administration, which has maintained an “uncommunicative and proud of it” approach on contentious social issues, is ramping up its use of force and rejecting dialogue.
In the latest development, police stormed the offices of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) on Dec. 22, the fourteenth day of an ongoing strike against railway privatization. It was the first time authorities had been sent into the KCTU since it was legalized in 1999.
The police were there to execute arrest warrants for nine members of the leadership for the Korean Railway Workers’ Union (KRWU), but the individuals in question weren’t there. Instead, the 136 KCTU officials and members who fought back against the police were rounded up and arrested.
After convening an emergency meeting of its central committee, the KCTU declared a “genuine campaign to bring down the Park administration,” with a general strike to start on Dec. 28.
[Repression] [Park Geun-hye] [Privatisation]
Don’t privatize the railroads
Posted on : Dec.19,2013 15:04 KST
Members of a committee opposing the privatization of South Korea’s railroads hold a protest in Seoul’s Gwanghwamun Square where they performed 114 bows, symbolizing Korea’s 114 years of railroad history, Dec. 18. Along with opposing privatization, the committee is seeking dialogue between Korail workers and the government and an end to the suppression of workers. (by Kim Tae-hyeong, staff photographer)
[Analysis] The point of conflict in the debate over railway privatization
Posted on : Dec.23,2013 12:06 KST
Police spray water mixed with tear gas as they attempt to forcibly enter the offices of the Korea Confederation of Trade Unions in the Kyunghyang newspaper building in central Seoul, Dec. 22. The police were seeking the Korean Railway Workers’ Union leadership, including union head Kim Myung-hwan, who had already fled. (by Park Jong-shik, staff photographer)
Government and workers have different positions on possibility that separation of one line would lead to privatization
By Noh Hyun-woong, staff reporter
As part of the government’s response to the controversy over the privatization of the railroad, various officials - including the Minister of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport; the Minister of Strategy and Finance; and the Prime Minister - have stepped forward to reiterate that the separation of the Suseo KTX Line does not represent privatization. But the Korean Railway Workers’ Union and civic groups refuse to believe the government’s claims, insisting that this is the first step toward privatization.
The government’s position is that privatization can be prevented by mobilizing the available methods, which include placing limitations on the transfer of company shares to private investors and revoking the operating license. According to the government’s proposal, Korail will have a 41% share in the new operator of the Suseo KTX line, which will begin operations in early 2016. Private investors are not able to purchase the remaining 59% of the company’s stocks either; stock participation is limited to public corporations such as the National Pension Fund.
Special prosecutor motion proposed
Nam Jae-joon, front, director of the National Intelligence Service, walks along an aisle at the National Assembly to attend a meeting of the parliamentary intelligence committee in Seoul, Monday. Nam denied allegations that Jang Song-thaek’s aides are seeking asylum in the South after the North Korean No. 2 man was recently executed. / Yonhap
Chances seen low for approval at Assembly
By Jun Ji-hye
An opposition alliance jointly proposed a motion Monday to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate allegations that the spy agency interfered in last year’s presidential election.
However, the chances of the motion gaining approval by the National Assembly remain slim because the governing Saenuri Party, which holds the majority of seats, is strongly opposed to the appointment.
Rep. Jun Byung-hun, floor leader of the main opposition Democratic Party (DP); Rep. Sim Sang-jeung, floor leader of the minor opposition Justice Party; and Rep. Song Ho-chang, a close confidant of independent lawmaker Ahn Cheol-soo, submitted the motion to the Assembly.
South and North Korea exchange harsh words
Posted on : Dec.21,2013 14:38 KST
North Korea cites offenses to the dignity of Kim Jong-un, who is now being called “Dear Leader”
By Choi Hyun-june and Ha Eo-young, staff reporters
North and South Korea exchanged messages over the telephone in which they openly threatened to “attack” and “punish” each other on Dec. 19. In addition, various reports and analyses are emerging from inside North Korea that shed some light on the status of Vice Marshal Choi Ryong-hae following the execution of former Party administrative department head Jang Song-thaek.
North Korea’s National Defense Commission sent a message through the Panmunjeom telephone line to South Korea at 11 am warning that “a ruthless and merciless act of vengeance would take place in the middle of downtown Seoul without notice if [South Korea] repeated its enormous provocations against our ultimate dignity.” This last phrase refers to the three generations of the Kim Dynasty: Kim Il-sung, Kim Jong-il, and Kim Jong-un.
North Korea had taken issue with conservative organizations in South Korea that burned the three North Korean leaders in effigy in downtown Seoul on Dec. 17, the second anniversary of the death of Kim Jong-il.
In response, the South Korean government held an emergency meeting of the Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Unification, and other associated government bodies. Immediately after that, Seoul sent a message through the Panmunjeom line in response, which promised firm retaliation in the event of a North Korean provocation.
Pres. Park’s approval rating slides again
Posted on : Dec.21,2013 14:40 KST Modified on : Dec.21,2013 14:56 KST
Recent controversy over rail privatization and Park’s uncommunicative ruling style appear to be behind the dip
By Kim Nam-il, staff reporter
One year after her election victory, President Park Geun-hye experienced another slide in her approval ratings, which dipped to 48%, six percent lower than the previous week.
It was the first time since her Blue House nominations debacle in April that Park’s approval ratings fell below 50%. She was elected on Dec. 19, 2012 with 51.6% of the popular vote.
Negative ratings of Park’s performance were at 41%, their highest level since she took office in February. A recent controversy over railway privatization and perceptions of Park as “self-righteous” contributed to the high scores.
Results from Gallup Korea’s regular opinion poll for the third week of December, released on Dec. 20, showed 48% of respondents saying Park’s performance has been “good.” The number was down six percentage points from the 54% recorded last week. It was the second biggest one-week drop since September, when there was a seven-point slide amid accusations that Park was backtracking on her basic old age pension election pledge and a breakdown of talks with the leaders of the two chief political parties.
[Park Geun-hye] [Public opinion]
Park reshuffles security officials to respond to changing N. Korean threat
Posted on : Dec.21,2013 14:43 KSTModified on : Dec.21,2013 14:46 KST
National Security Chief Kim Jang-soo will serve as chair of standing committee for the National Security Council
By Seok Jin-hwan, Blue House correspondent
In order to respond to the rapidly changing international climate around the Korean peninsula, President Park Geun-hye approved the establishment of a standing committee for the National Security Council (NSC) on Dec. 20 to oversee the government’s diplomatic and security policy as well as a secretariat to carry out the day-to-day work.
Chief of the Blue House National Security Office (equivalent in rank to a minister) will serve as the chair of the standing committee. Since the NSC standing committee will involve the participation of all the government agencies related to foreign affairs and security - including the National Intelligence Service, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Unification Ministry, the Defense Ministry, and the Ministry of Security and Public Administration - this organizational reshuffle could essentially concentrate the main authority for diplomacy and security in the Blue House national security office.
National Security Chief Kim Jang-soo, who hitherto had been the same rank as other government ministers, has effectively become the person in charge of diplomacy and security.
[Park Geun-hye] [SK NK policy]
Investigation says military overstepped its bounds, but didn’t interfere in politics
Posted on : Dec.20,2013 12:50 KST
Baek Nak-jong, director of the Ministry of National Defense’s investigative office, responds to a reporter’s question after releasing interim findings from the investigation into the Cyber Command’s alleged election interference, at the Ministry’s offices in Seoul‘s Yongsan district, Dec. 19. (by Park Jong-shik, staff reporter)
Interim findings reach a suspicious conclusion, while larger-scale analysis is ongoing
By Ha Eo-young, staff reporter
The Ministry of National Defense released interim findings on Dec. 19 from an investigation into alleged political interference by the military’s Cyber Command.
In its report, the ministry’s investigative office concluded that agents in the unit’s psychological operations division did violate the requirement for the military to maintain political neutrality, but that they did not interfere with the 2012 presidential election.
It also reported that the violations were the result of independent actions by 10 staff members and the division’s chief - a Level 3 government official - who were not acting on orders from above. It went on to say no evidence had been found of involvement by any current or former Cyber Command directors, the immediate supervisors of the division, or by the Minister of National Defense.
Critics are already blasting the investigative office for scapegoating.
[Election] [CyberCommand] [Coverup]
Round-table Talks Held with Inhabitants upon Their Return Home from S. Korea
Pyongyang, December 20 (KCNA) -- Round-table talks with the inhabitants who returned the DPRK from south Korea took place at the Koryo Hall of Compatriots on Friday. They had been taken to south Korea, after being allured and abducted by agents of the south Korean puppet Intelligence Service (IS).
They are Choe Kye Sun, 64, residing in Saegori-dong No.1 of Sapho District in Hamhung City of South Hamgyong Province, and Pak Jong Suk, 67, living in Munsu-dong No.1 of the Taedonggang District here.
They first told, to begin with, how they had been taken to south Korea after being fallen into a trap laid by south Korean puppet agents.
Choe said: I illegally crossed the border to go over to China, blinded by money-making, and wandered about its different places. I fell a prey to a trick of flesh traffickers bribed by agents of the IS before being taken to south Korea in December, 2011. I came into the care of the DPRK some time ago.
Recalling that it is one and half years since she returned home after spiting at the cursed south Korean society, Pak said she is leading a happy life together with her son and daughter-in-law at her home in Munsu-dong No.1 under the loving care of the party.
NIS scandal consumed Park's 1st year
By Jun Ji-hye
Looking back at the past year, since the Dec. 19, 2012 presidential election, political analysts collectively summed up President Park Geun-hye’s tenure in one word ? “closed.”
They said the administration wasted the first year of its five-year term stuck on old issues such as the National Intelligence Service’s (NIS) alleged election meddling and the missing transcript from the 2007 Inter-Korean Summit.
Choi Chang-ryul, a political scientist at Yong In University, said Park’s lack of communication with the public and the opposition contributed to the government’s political strife, and thus dealt a blow to the president’s effectiveness. The result, he said, was a “fruitless year.”
[Interview] One year into the Park Geun-hye administration
Posted on : Dec.18,2013 15:30 KST
Chung-Ang University emeritus professor Lee Sang-don during his interview at the Hankyoreh offices in Seoul’s Gongdeok neighborhood, Dec. 16. (by Ryu Woo-jong, staff photographer)
Professor Lee Sang-don says Park needs to go back to the promises that got her elected president
By Kim Jong-cheol, political correspondent
Chung-Ang University emeritus professor Lee Sang-don was one of the leading figures who helped create President Park Geun-hye.
Prof. Lee served on the emergency committee under chairwoman Park Geun-hye. She was given full power by a full assembly of the ruling Grand National Party in Dec. 2011 after the party experienced a crisis because of the mismanagement of former president Lee Myung-bak.
When the party changed its name to the Saenuri Party (NFP) before the general elections and the presidential election in 2012, Lee symbolized a change in the conservative party along with Kim Jong-in, former Minister of Health and Welfare and An Dae-hui, former Supreme Court justice. By keeping these figures close to her side, Park was able to win the presidential election, having built trust among political moderates.
Before the first anniversary of Park’s election, the Hankyoreh met with Lee to hear about his experiences along with his assessment of Park Geun-hye and her administration’s performance throughout its first year in office.
“At this rate, the Park Geun-hye government is bound to fail,” Lee said.
'NK may act out in next 3 months'
By Chung Min-uck
Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin said Tuesday that growing instability in North Korea following last week’s execution of the once-powerful Jang Song-thaek, the uncle of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, could push the communist country to act out and stage military provocations.
“There is a high probability of the North launching various kinds of provocations between late January and early March,” ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok quoted him as saying during a video conference with military commanders. “We have to prepare for both provocations and an all-out battle to strike back against the commanding forces of the North.”
The minister further stated that the “terror politics” of Jang’s execution can only temporarily unite the internal forces in the North and that the instability to come could push military hardliners to seek outside provocations to maintain their power.
[Takeover] [Wishful thinking]
How Dennis Rodman can help the North Korean people
By Shin Dong-hyuk, Wednesday, December 18, 1:45 PM
Shin Dong-hyuk is a human rights activist and the only person born in a North Korean labor camp known to have escaped to the West.
Dear Mr. Rodman:
I have never met you, and until you visited North Korea in February I had never heard of you. Now, I know very well that you are a famous, retired American basketball player with many tattoos. I also understand that you are returning this week to North Korea to coach basketball and perhaps visit for the third time with the country’s dictator, Kim Jong Un, who has become your friend.
I want to tell you about myself. I was born in 1982 in Camp 14, a political prison in the mountains of North Korea. For more than 50 years, Kim Jong Un, his father and his grandfather have used prisons like Camp 14 to punish, starve and work to death people the regime decides are a threat. Prisoners are sent to places like Camp 14 without trial and in secret. A prisoner’s “crime” can be his relation by blood to someone the regime believes is a wrongdoer or wrong-thinker. My crime was to be born as the son of a man whose brother fled to South Korea in the 1950s.
N.Korea Threatens S.Korean Marines with 'Annihilation'
In this video grab from MBC, North Korean propaganda leaflets are found on Baeknyeong Island in the West Sea on Monday.
North Korea on Monday floated hundreds of propaganda leaflets into South Korea threatening the "annihilation" of the 6th Marine Brigade on Baeknyeong Island, the Joint Chiefs of Staff said.
The burst of belligerence comes less than a week after the execution of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s uncle Jang Song-taek, who was seen as a moderate.
The previous day, the North Korean propaganda website, Uriminzokkiri also threatened to "mercilessly throw a battering ram" at the South Korean government, calling its response to the execution of Jang a "political provocation."
[Column] McCarthyism in Korea?
Posted on : Dec.16,2013 10:45 KST
By John Feffer, co-director of Foreign Policy In Focus
I’ve had arguments with some Korean friends about the National Security Law (NSL). They tell me that the law may not be perfect, but I should remember that North Korea still harbors a desire to reunify the peninsula by force. It continues to send its agents to the South, sometimes in the guise of defectors. It still commands the support of some South Koreans, albeit a small group, who would support the North Korean army if it attacked across the 38th parallel.
And the threat is not just hypothetical, they remind me. North Korea has attacked South Korean territory as recently as the 2010 Yeonpyeong Island shelling. It routinely threatens to turn Seoul into a “sea of fire.”
The NSL, in other words, is necessary to guard against North Korea’s subversion of South Korea. Even though South Korea has changed tremendously since the law was enacted in 1948, the NSL is the price that free people have to pay in order to safeguard their freedom.
I am not convinced. I’ve heard the same arguments here in the United States, first during the Cold War and now during the war on terrorism. I’ve similarly been told that Communists - and now terrorists - have long wanted to subvert the U.S. constitution, overthrow our democracy, and install their own illiberal system. To guard against that, Americans must accept a certain infringement of their civil liberties.
Every religion making the same demands
Posted on : Dec.17,2013 15:30 KST
Above, priests from the National Clergy Conference for Justice and Peace hold a fasting and prayer service calling for President Park Geun-hye to step down, at the Korean Christian Building in Seoul’s Jongno district, Dec. 16. (by Kim Bong-gyu, staff photographer)
Below, outside Seoul Finance Center in central Seoul, members of the Anglican Church of Korea hold a service condemning the National Intelligence Service’s illegal interference in last year’s presidential election and calling for President Park Geun-hye to apologize. (by Lee Jeong-ah, staff photographer)
[Park Geun-hye] [NIS] [Religion]
Park warns of NK moves
By Kim Tae-gyu
President Park Geun-hye said Monday the government should be ready for any possibilities in the wake of last week’s execution of North Korea’s No. 2 man, Jang Song-thaek, the uncle of leader Kim Jong-un, including provocative actions along land and sea borders.
Toward that end, Park raised the necessity of reviving the secretariat for the National Security Council (NSC), which could act as a control tower for the country’s security policies.
Park made the remarks while chairing a meeting with security- and foreign affairs-related ministers to discuss the volatile situation in the North, the fourth of its kind since her inauguration in February.
“Regarding conditions on the Korean Peninsula and our security status, things are very serious, and Park instructed the government to be ready for anything so people could focus on their jobs,” said Park’s senior press secretary Lee Jung-hyun.
“She said that the military and police should reinforce vigilance while seeking closer ties with the United States and our other allies through sharing intelligence and beefing up cooperation.”
[Park Geun-hye] [Provocation]
Korea’s Domestic Cold War
South Korea's conservative government is rolling back free speech protections and going after progressive activists and political parties.
By John Feffer, December 4, 2013.
The conservative South Korean government of Park Geun-hye is attempting to ban the United Progressive Party–the country’s third largest party. (Photo: marcella bona / Flickr)
They’re the last three hunger strikers standing. Actually, they’re sitting—just outside the National Assembly in Seoul, South Korea. The weather is turning cold, and they’re bundled up against the wind.
The three men are legislators. Two of their number have already collapsed and ended up in hospital. In November, the government attempted to ban their political party—the United Progressive Party, the third largest in the country—for essentially being a proxy for North Korea. The party leader, meanwhile, is on trial for treason under South Korea’s National Security Law.
This is not the only political spectacle in town. At the same time, the government’s National Intelligence Service (NIS) stands accused of intervening in last year’s presidential election on the side of the ruling party’s candidate, Park Geun Hye, the daughter of one-time South Korean dictator Park Chung Hee. She won the election with a little over 51 percent of the vote, giving the conservatives another five years of presidential power. Initially, President Park dismissed reports of the NIS sending out a couple dozen insinuating tweets about her rival candidate by suggesting that such a minor infraction could not possibly have influenced the election one way of another. But late last month it was revealed that this initial tweet estimate was a major underestimate. The NIS apparently sent out 1.2 million tweets, and the Cyber Command responsible for dealing with North Korea added another 23 million.
[Park Geun-hye] [NIS] [Election] [UPP]
Amid N. Korean turmoil, inter-Korean projects going ahead
Posted on : Dec.14,2013 16:10 KSTModified on : Dec.14,2013 16:36 KST
Construction is ongoing at the Rason Special Economic Zone in North Korea. (AP/Newsis)
Meetings suggest that Pyongyang is handling external economic projects separately from internal matters
By Choi Hyun-june, staff reporter
The same day that North Korea executed former Workers’ Party of Korea administrative department chief Jang Song-thaek, it issued a proposal to South Korea for a meeting of the joint committee on the Kaesong Industrial Complex.
It also accepted Seoul’s request for a visit to the complex by delegations from the G-20 and the international financial institutions (IFIs) on the same day, Dec. 12. The South Korean government expressed its agreement the following day.
“On the afternoon of the 12th, the North proposed holding a fourth meeting of the Kaesong Industrial Complex’s inter-Korean joint committee at the complex on Dec. 19,” reported Ministry of Unification spokesperson Kim Ui-do on Dec. 13.
“We expressed our agreement this morning,” he added.
The fact that the proposal came the same day as Jang’s execution suggests that Pyongyang wants to make it clear that external economic cooperation issues are being dealt with separately from internal power battles.
[Jang Song Thaek] [Kaesong] [NK SK policy] [Rason]
Korea to Sell 24 Light Combat Aircraft to Iraq
Korea will sell 24 FA-50 light combat aircraft to Iraq in a record deal valued at US$1.1 billion including pilot training.
With a follow-up support contract for operation and maintenance of the aircraft over the next 25 years, the total value of the deal is expected to reach more than $2.1 billion.
Korea's biggest arms export deal so far was $1.08 billion for three submarines to Indonesia in 2011.
Korea Aerospace Industries president Ha Sung-yong and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki agreed the deal in Baghdad on Thursday. Senior officials from both sides signed a contract in Seoul at the same time.
KAI will deliver all 24 aircraft by October 2016.
The FA-50 was developed based on the homegrown T-50 supersonic advanced trainer. It can fly at a maximum speed of Mach 1.5, carrying 4.5 tons of arms, including air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles.
KAI is also seeking to sell the T-50 series to the Botswana, Peru, the Philippines, Peru and the U.S.
CPRK Secretariat Denounces S. Korean Authorities' Moves to Introduce Latest War Hardware
Pyongyang, December 12 (KCNA) -- The Secretariat of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea (CPRK) released information bulletin No. 1056 on Thursday rapping the ever-more desperate moves of the south Korean puppet authorities to introduce latest war hardware.
The information bulletin said:
The south Korean authorities are mulling spending a stupendous amount of fund to introduce latest U.S.-made war hardware including F-35A, Global Hawk, CH-47D and various type missiles.
Meanwhile, they are contemplating massively introducing latest war hardware such as long-range air-to-ground guided missiles and reconnaissance planes from Germany, France and other countries in the wake of deployment of hundreds of precision guided missile Spike from Israel.
The above-said actions are sparking off deep concern and denunciation at home and abroad as they are reckless moves to escalate military confrontation and arms race on the Korean Peninsula and in the rest of Northeast Asia and aggravate the regional situation.
Those moves of the south Korean regime are pursuant to the scenario of the U.S. to put it under its tighter military control and use it as a shock brigade for carrying out its Asian strategy and, at the same time, amount to yielding to the U.S. pressure for buying more war hardware.
After 40 years, accused spy tells his tragic story
Posted on : Dec.12,2013 15:31 KST
New memoir tells one of many tales of Korean-Japanese caught in the currents of history and unfairly persecuted as spies
By Han Seung-dong, senior staff writer
“My country caused me pain, but I can neither abandon nor resent it. [. . .] At first, I wasn’t planning to write a book, but my daughter, who grew up as a third-generation Japanese-Korean, my wife, and my friends all urged me to write it, so I did. They said that the only way for people to know that I had finally cleared my name after 40 years of being unfairly regarded as a spy was to publish a book. [. . .] I hope that the book will be a reference for resolving conflict between Korea and Japan, to serve as a guideline for allowing families divided by the Korean War to meet each other freely and for unifying North and South Korea. I also hope that it will be used to teach future generations why an innocent man became a scapegoat of history and had to suffer such a tragedy.”
Japanese-Korean Gu Mal-mo, 78, was the sixth of eight children born to a couple from Yeosu, South Jeolla Province, who were forcibly drafted to work in mines during the Japanese occupation of Korea. Gu grew up in Moriyama in Saga Prefecture, near Kyoto, and completed a master’s degree at Waseda University. After working at the South Korean Embassy in Japan, he came to Korea for a doctorate. This is when he was framed as a spy.
International Meeting for Peace and Stability on Korean Peninsula Held in Potsdam
Pyongyang, November 21 (KCNA) -- The international meeting for peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula was held in Potsdam, Germany from Nov. 11 to 14.
Present there were Koreans in the north and the south and abroad and academic and press men of foreign countries.
Present there on invitation was the DPRK ambassador to Germany.
An opening address was made to be followed by congratulatory speeches.
Koreans from the north and the south and abroad made speeches on the themes of the historical study of Korea's division and armistice and the principle and prospect for their solution.
News analysis] ‘Election results’ claims used to muzzle opposition
Posted on : Dec.11,2013 15:08 KST
President Park Geun-hye and Deputy Prime Minister Hyun Oh-seok enter a meeting of cabinet secretaries at the Blue House, Dec. 10. At the meeting Park made criticisms against the domestic opposition for denying the results of last year’s election, and said North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is on a ‘reign of terror’. (Blue House photo pool)
To avoid owning up to scandal and reforming the NIS, ruling party makes accusations of denying last year’s election
By Seong Han-yong, political correspondent
During past dictatorial regimes in South Korea, the only weapon at the disposal of the opposition political party was to protest that it was being oppressed. Whatever anyone did to cross the opposition party, they said they were being oppressed. Even when the prosecutors investigated a member of the opposition party on charges of corruption, the opposition complained that it was oppression. This narrative of oppression was effective for a long time.
Today, President Park Geun-hye is repressing the opposition party and the Korean people using the narrative of refusing to accept the results of last year’s presidential election. However Park may be attacked, she makes a fuss about people rejecting the results of the election. While the people attacking the president scramble to deny charges that they are rejecting the election, the criticism of Park fizzles out. The amazing thing is that there seems to be no end of this pattern where the ruling party makes a threat and the opposition party backs down.
Ever since April, when the prosecutors’ investigation of the National Intelligence Service (NIS) really began, the opposition party has called for a thorough excavation of the facts in the NIS online comment case. But the Blue House and the ruling party have continued to get in the way of the investigation using the narrative of rejecting the election results.
Opposition politician says Pres. Park could be assassinated
Posted on : Dec.10,2013 16:36 KST
Saenuri Party lawmakers, led by party leader Hwang Woo-yea and floor leader Choi Kyung-hwan, hold a protest on the steps in front of the central hall of the National Assembly building calling for the resignation of Democratic Party lawmaker Jang Ha-na due to her comments on President Park Geun-hye, Dec. 9. (by Kim Kyung-ho, staff photographer)
Bitter war of words breaking out between parties over last December’s disputed presidential election
By Seok Jin-hwan, Blue House correspondent and Kim Su-heon, staff reporter
Following Democratic Party lawmaker Jang Ha-na’s statement that she did not accept the results of last December’s presidential election, DP lawmaker and supreme council member Yang Seung-jo attacked President Park Geun-hye on Dec. 9, mentioning the assassination of her father and former president Park Chung-hee. In response, the Blue House and the Saenuri Party (NFP) launched a full-scale counterattack on the opposition party. The agreement reached at the four-party talks (among the leaders of the ruling and main opposition parties) to return to parliament, had seemed to be leading to smoother relations, but now the political situation is rapidly moving toward deadlock once again.
“Former president Park Chung-hee maintained public security and governed the Yushin regime using the weapon known as the Korean Central Intelligence Agency. He probably did not predict his tragic end: that he would be assassinated by the weapon he had made,” said DP council member Yang Seung-jo during the party’s supreme council meeting on Dec. 9.
“Park should take careful heed of this warning. If she maintains new public security and governs under a new Yushin regime using the weapon known as the National Intelligence Service, she could end up walking in the footsteps of [her father] Park Chung-hee,” Yang said.
[Election] [NIS] [Park Geun-hye] [Park Chung-hee] [Assassination]
Politics of terror in North and South
Posted on : Dec.11,2013 15:03 KSTModified on : Dec.11,2013 15:26 KST
This cartoon contrasts North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and South Korean President Park Geun-hye, both of whom have recently tightened their grips on power. Kim has ousted his uncle Jang Song-thaek while Park has gone after Democratic Party lawmaker Jang Ha-na for calling for Park’s resignation. Both leaders come from dictatorial bloodlines, with Kim the descendant of North Korea’s two previous leaders and Park the daughter of former President Park Chung-hee. (by Jang Bong-koon)
[Kim Jong Un] [Park Geun-hye]
President chides 2 lawmakers
By Jun Ji-hye
President Park Geun-hye scolded two defiant opposition lawmakers at a Cabinet meeting Tuesday.
“Such extreme remarks crossed the line, and cause political strife and national conflict. That is not for the people and this country,” Park said.
Rep. Chang Ha-na of the main opposition Democratic Party (DP) said she could not accept the result of last year’s presidential election, while Rep. Yang Seung-jo, also of the DP, said Park would face a similar fate as her father, the late President Park Chung-hee who was assassinated by his then chief of the intelligence agency.
The governing Saenuri Party submitted a motion to the National Assembly Ethics Committee to deprive the two lawmakers of their seats. Rep. Kim Do-eup submitted it on the behalf of all 115 of the party’s lawmakers.
[Election] [NIS] [Park Chung-hee]
DP lawmaker says Pres. Park should step down after ‘cyber coup’
Posted on : Dec.9,2013 16:33 KST
Jang Ha-na, Democratic Party lawmaker
Opposition party distancing itself from lawmaker’s remarks, which they say are her personal position
By Song Ho-jin, staff reporter
Jang Ha-na, a young first-term proportional representative Democratic Party lawmaker, caused a stir on Dec. 8 when she declared that last December’s presidential election was rigged as a result of the interference of the National Intelligence Service (NIS) and the Cyber Warfare Command and called on President Park Geun-hye to step down and make way for a special presidential election during the regional elections in June of next year.
“It has been confirmed that the National Intelligence Service systematically posted 22 million messages using 2,270 Twitter accounts to help Park Geun-hye be elected president,” Jang said in a personal statement. “The only option remaining for Park, who came to office through a completely rigged and unfair election, is to apologize to the Korean people and resign immediately.”
“Park Geun-hye’s father became president through a coup that relied on guns and tanks. The only thing different in this election is that it was a cyber coup carried out by the National Intelligence Service and the army’s Cyber Warfare Command,” Jang said.
[NIS] [Park Geun-hye] [Election]
'When Park spoke, everybody cried'
Ex-miner recalls late leader's 1964 speech in Germany
This is the third in a series of articles highlighting Korean miners and nurses who went to Germany in the 1960s and 70s. — ED.
By Kang Hyun-kyung
The late President Park Chung-hee’s emotional speech in the German city of Duisburg on Dec. 10, 1964, pulled at the heart strings of a group of Korean miners who were there, far from home.
Kwon Yi-chong, one of some 400 miners present at the speech, recalled during a recent interview that almost all of those who gathered there wept during Park’s speech.
“In fact, we, miners, became emotional from when President Park entered the hall to deliver his speech. When he approached the podium, I began sobbing as I couldn’t control my emotions,” Kwon said.
[Park Chung-hee] [Labour]
Did prosecutors use photoshop to make spying charges stick?
Posted on : Dec.7,2013 14:22 KST
N. Korean defector’s lawyer says prosecutors doctored evidence to paint Yoo Woo-sung as a spy
By Heo Jae-hyun, staff reporter
The attorney for North Korean defector and alleged spy Yoo Woo-sung is accusing prosecutors of altering photographs of Chinese border records with Photoshop to manufacture court “evidence” of his frequent trips to China and North Korea for espionage. Yoo was found innocent in August, but a hearing on a prosecutors appeal is ongoing.
The prosecutors submitted as evidence border records notarized with a stamp at the bottom to certify that they were official documents.
But the ongoing trial has raised fundamental questions, including why authentication would have been necessary for a document issued by Chinese authorities - and why the method does not accord with the procedures in Chinese notary law.
Prosecutors have yet to give a clear account of how they obtained the records in question. According to a treaty on assistance in criminal matters signed by the two governments in 1998, the South Korean Foreign Minister must send a cooperation request to China whenever investigators are working in the country to collect evidence in a criminal case.
[Defector] [Espionage] [Evidence]
NIS could have posted 22 million political messages online
Posted on : Dec.6,2013 16:35 KST Modified on : Dec.6,2013 18:47 KST
Details of intelligence agency’s political interfere continue to surface through prosecutors’ investigation
By Lee Kyung-mi, staff reporter
The National Intelligence Service (NIS) could have posted as many as 22 million politically motivated Twitter messages to interfere in election outcomes, prosecutors hinted this week.
Prosecutors confirmed that 22 million messages had been posted or retweeted from 2,653 Twitter accounts belonging to members of the NIS’s psychological operations division. But prosecutors included only 1.21 million of them in their indictment, citing personnel constraints and trial schedule issues. This means the other 20.8 million have yet to be analyzed.
Observers are already predicting that if the additional tweets are analyzed or a special prosecutor’s investigation takes place, the number of NIS tweets aimed at influencing politics and the election could turn out to be much larger.
Catholic priests organization gives national recognition to calls for Pres. to resign
Posted on : Dec.6,2013 16:16 KST
Father Park Chang-shin of the Jeonju diocese of the Catholic Priests’ Association for Justice gives a sermon at a special mass with around 400 participants where the diocese condemned state institutions’ interference in last December’s presidential election and called for President Park Geun-hye to step down, Nov. 22. (by Kim Bong-gyu, staff photographer)
Religious figures digging in for long battle to expose the truth of the president’s unfair election
By Cho Hyun-yeon, religion correspondent
On Dec. 4, the Catholic Priests’ Association for Justice (CPAJ) called on Korean President Park Geun-hye to resign. The priests stated that they were prepared to resist with the spirit of martyrs in order to achieve this end.
The CPAJ expressed its position 12 days after the Jeonju diocese of the association held a special mass on Nov. 22 in which they demanded Park’s resignation. The Nov. 22 mass was held just by CPAJ’s Jeonju diocese, but yesterday’s statements is a national level statement against the state institutions’ political interference and the news media’s faulty coverage.
“Protestants, Buddhists, and Won Buddhists are joining Catholics to urge the president to confess the government’s attempts to rig the election and to take responsibility for these attempts,” the CPAJ said in a statement expressing its position. “Despite this, the government adheres to its politics of terror, which is characterized by a failure to communicate, self-righteousness, and repression of opposing forces. Such a government cannot endure for long.”
[NIS] [Elections] [Religion]
Survey shows 98 percent of Koreans giving up hope
Posted on : Aug.22,2012 11:59 KST
Respondents show pessimism over class mobility, economic future
By Choi Hyun-june, staff reporter
Ninety-eight of every 100 South Koreans believe class mobility will be tougher in the future, a survey shows.
Pessimism was evident among young people. 96.3% of respondents in their twenties, who are at the age when they are beginning their careers, took a dim view of the prospects for moving up. Experts said this reflects an environment of increasingly entrenched polarization, where the ladder has been pulled away, creating a closed society and sacrificing dynamism.
The survey, conducted by the Hyundai Research Institute (HRI), polled 1,011 adults on Aug. 19. 98.1% of respondents agreed that, “advancing to the middle or high-income class is going to be more difficult in this country in the future.”
S. Korea Degenerating into Hodgepodge of Foreign Languages
Pyongyang, December 6 (KCNA) -- Minjok Thongsin, an internet paper of Koreans in the U.S., on Nov. 28 carried an article contributed by a Korean in the U.S. deploring south Korea flooded with Yankee culture.
It said: Koreans are a homogeneous nation which has lived with the same language and culture on the same land from the olden times. But south Korea has been contaminated with such foreign medley culture for nearly 70 years since the U.S. forces' presence in south Korea that it is hard to find its original appearance.
What broadcasting services are airing is not the Korean language. The same can be said of newspapers and other publications. Newspaper articles are full of English expressions. The number of foreign words used by daily newspapers in Seoul on a daily average is more than 800 and more than 50 percent of the titles of broadcasting programs are given in foreign words.
The results of survey and analysis of more than 1 600 daily vocabularies used in the south showed that 95 percent of them are medley foreign words. Signboards in Seoul are no exception.
Medley words mixed with foreign phraseologies are mainly used in politics. Such phenomena are attributable to the lack of the awareness of the national identity.
Looking back on the "president's" demeanors during her foreign trips, they just make people "feel disillusioned" and "hurt their self-esteem".
In order to put an end to American-style culture it is necessary to reunify the country.
Concerns Mount on Regression of Democracy in South Korea
We Denounce Election Fraud and
Regression of Democracy in South Korea!
We, concerned Koreans and Korean Americans in the Washington DC area, are outraged at recent political developments in our homeland, South Korea. Ever since the election of Park Geun-hye as the president, we have seen a regression of hard-earned democracy in South Korea.
[Park Geun-hye] [NIS] [Diaspora]
[Editorial] No more political maneuvering by the NIS
Posted on : Dec.5,2013 14:22 KST
On Dec. 3, the National Intelligence Service (NIS) abruptly claimed that Jang Song-thaek, head of the Central Administrative Department of the North Korean Workers’ Party (KWP), had been purged. More than a month had passed since Jang had last appeared in the North Korean media, despite the fact that he is the uncle of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and considered the number-two man in the regime. And yet, this was the first time that the NIS claimed he had been purged.
[Jang Song Thaek] [NIS]
NIS - master of 'coincidences'
By Jun Ji-hye
NIS director general
The National Intelligence Service (NIS) once again showcased its knack for releasing ultra-sensitive, explosive information at times that might just happen to benefit it.
Questions have arisen about the timing of its disclosure of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s removal of his regent Jang Song-thaek, the North’s No. 2 man.
The NIS abruptly made public Tuesday evening that two of Jang’s top lieutenants were publicly executed late last month. Jang is an uncle of the young North Korean leader.
The spy agency dropped the bombshell at a time when the ruling Saenuri Party and the main opposition Democratic Party (DP) were discussing how to reform the NIS at the National Assembly.
Several hours after the NIS’s announcement of the purge, the rival parties agreed to launch a special committee to reform the agency; but they fell short of agreeing to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate allegations that the intelligence agency meddled in the presidential election last year.
[NIS] [Jang Song Thaek]
Military leaders vow readiness amid NK power struggle
By Kang Seung-woo
The nation’s military chiefs ordered high vigilance against any possible North Korean provocations amid a power struggle in Pyongyang, Wednesday.
“Two years after Kim Jong-un took power, work is currently underway to reorganize the power structure within the inner circle in North Korea. Under these circumstances, the North is stepping up military capabilities across the country,” Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin said in a meeting of 140 military commanders at the Ministry of National Defense including Adm. Choi Yoon-hee, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS).
“The North Korean regime has created an atmosphere of fear in the process of cementing power, which could in turn lead to unprovoked attacks. In light of the current changes, we should prepare for both provocations and a full-scale war.”
[ROK military] [Takeover] [Jang Song Thaek]
Distorting Democracy: Politics by Public Security in Contemporary South Korea1
Jamie Doucette and Se-Woong Koo
Although a full year has not elapsed since the election of South Korea's President Park Geun-hye, there are already troubling signs that her term as President is going to be a difficult period for both the health of Korean democracy and for liberal and progressive political forces. In the months since she was elected, significant evidence of political and electoral interference by the National Intelligence Service (NIS) and other state agencies has come to light, leading to an expanding series of political scandals, most notably the indictment of former NIS director Won Sei-hoon.
A sitting lawmaker, Lee Seok-ki, has been arrested on suspicion of sedition and plotting a rebellion, as well as charges of violating Korea's National Security Law (NSL). Citing this arrest, the Ministry of Justice has recently moved to disband the United Progressive Party (UPP), of which Lee is a member, charging that the party’s 'progressive democracy' platform is based on "the so-called founding ideology of North Korea".
Lee Seok-ki shouts as security agents detain him
This sequence of events has been accompanied by a broader shift in political discourse. For the purpose of discrediting its opponents, the broader South Korean right has returned to its cavalier use of the chimerical label chongbuk chwap’a: a term commonly translated as ‘pro-North leftists,’ encompassing not only suspected proxies of North Korea but anyone seen as deferential to the wishes of the North. The term ‘chong’ means to obey or follow, with connotations of being slavish, while ‘buk’ means North. Chwap’a stands for ‘left faction,’ or leftist. The way in which chongbuk has been coupled with chwap’a as a compound term in contemporary conservative discourse attempts to erase the distinction between what were originally two very different concepts, such that in the current political climate the left become synonymous with chongbuk, and vice versa. This terminology has been used to discredit groups from across the liberal-left opposition, including not only the UPP, but also Democratic Party politicians associated with the liberal administrations of Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun. These politicians have faced vilification by the right as chongbuk for assuming a conciliatory stance towards North Korea, and for seeking to reform the state apparatus designed by former military governments to contain dissent.
In this essay, we argue that this rhetorical shift has been accompanied by an expansion of what South Korean intellectuals term ‘politics by public security,’ a phrase used to describe the use of public security as a ground for stifling dissent and criticism. What is unique about the present moment is not simply the evocation of a threat to national security but the extent to which state agencies have been actively involved in this process, whether it be in the form of direct electoral interference, the leaking of confidential state documents, or the initiation of probes into prominent critics of the government from across the liberal-progressive opposition. In what follows, we examine the recent sequence of events from NIS electoral interference to the more recent move to disband the United Progressive Party in order to better understand distorting effects to Korean democracy brought about by this recent rhetorical shift and its intricate relation to ‘politics by public security.’
[Park Geun-hye] [NIS] [UPP] [North wind]
Soju: the most popular booze in the world
The South Korean spirit is the globe's best-selling alcohol. But they're not just drinking it in Korea these days – you can try chilled shots or soju cocktails in New York and London
Attention pub quizzers and booze geeks. There's a brand of one particular spirit that sells more than twice as much as any other in the world. Any guesses? If you said vodka, back of the class. The answer is soju, national hooch of South Korea. Jinro Soju – available at Waitrose and Amazon – has topped Drinks International's annual list of best-selling global spirits for years, notching up sales of 65m nine-litre cases in the 2013 list. That would be three times more than Smirnoff.
Korea to Build 3 More Aegis Destroyers
The military is finalizing a plan to build three more 7,600-ton Aegis ships from 2022, bringing the total number of these destroyers to six.
The move comes amid an intensifying arms race in the region and deepening squabbles over maritime territory.
A military source said on Sunday the Joint Chiefs of Staff will make a decision on the plan at a meeting late this month.
The ships will cost a total of W3 trillion (US$1=W1,058).
"We need a mobile fleet at Jeju naval base in preparation for the maritime expansion of neighboring nations," a military spokesman said.
[Military balance] [China confrontation]
Rep. Moon calls Park 'scary President'
Seen is a cover of Rep. Moon Jae-in’s book “1219, the end is the beginning” in
which the main opposition Democratic Party lawmaker recollected the Dec. 19 presidential poll where he competed with President Park Geun-hye.
By Jun Ji-hye
Rep. Moon Jae-in of the main opposition Democratic Party (DP) stepped up his attack on President Park Geun-hye, claiming she has become a “scary President” who rules in a suppressive and authoritarian manner, Sunday.
Moon said that the Park government’s attempts to cover up the truth behind the National Intelligence Service’s (NIS) alleged election interference has added fuel to
criticism about the legitimacy of the administration.
[Moon Jae-in] [Park Geun-hye] [NIS]
Religious organizations turn up pressure seeking Pres. Park’s resignation
Posted on : Nov.28,2013 18:11 KST
The Christian Joint Measures Committee for the National Intelligence Service’s Election Interference holds a press conference in front of the Korea Christian Building in Seoul’s Jongno district, calling last December’s presidential election unfair because of the interference of state institutions and calling on President Park to step down, Nov. 27.
Groups say they have little faith that the government will responsibly deal with illegal election interference
By Cho Yeon-hyun, religion correspondent
As some Protestant organizations join calls for the President Park Geun-hye to step down, it appears that religious organizations are shifting from efforts to investigate the unfair presidential election toward putting pressure on the president to step down. This reflects a sense of hopelessness about reasonable calls for an investigation to be carried out into state institutions’ interference in the election and for those responsible to be punished being repeatedly blocked by the state powers.
That is to say, the underlying motivation for the change in direction is the sense that, if democracy is being impeded by the power of the state, the religious organizations that led the fight for democratization in the past have no choice but to take action. Another factor behind religious organizations intensifying their struggle against the government could be the ruling party and Park administration’s decision to use recent remarks by Catholic priest Park Chang-shin from the Jeonju diocese as an excuse to portray the Catholic Priests’ Association for Justice (CPAJ) as pro-North Korea.
[Religion] [Park Geun-hye] [NIS]
Opposition politician calls out “Park Geun-hye followers”
Posted on : Nov.28,2013 18:15 KST
Jeon Byung-hun, Democratic Party floor leader
In a play on words, criticism made against those who accuse other of being pro-North while blindly following the president
By Song Ho-jin, staff reporter
“Being pro-North Korea is anachronistic, but being a Park Geun-hye follower is anachronistic, too,” an opposition lawmaker said.
For several days in a row, Democratic Party floor leader Jeon Byung-hun has used the term “Park Geun-hye follower” in an attempt to stand up to the ruling party’s witch hunt against those accused of being pro-North Korea. By “Park Geun-hye follower,” Jeon is referring to uncritical followers of the president.
The term applies to pro-Park representatives in the Saenuri Party (NFP) such as floor leader Choi Kyung-hwan, who is leading the attack on accused pro-North Korea elements. It draws attention to the fact that the ruling party follows the wishes of the president without any political autonomy of its own.
In Korean, the word for “Park Geun-hye follower” [jongbak] sounds similar to the word that means “pro-North Korea” [jongbuk], a disparaging term used for people who follow the course set by North Korea regardless of what it may be.
Partisan wrangling eclipses brewing challenge outside
By Chung Min-uck
No shots have been fired but tension in the region surrounding the Korean peninsula is palpable as the United States and China continue their battle of wills.
China has rejected a request by South Korea to pull back its air defense identification zone (ADIZ) from Ieodo, a submerged rock that belongs to it. The United States has deputized Japan to contain Beijing. Where does all this leave Korea? Diplomatically stranded and militarily weakened.
In a situation that can develop into a more serious crisis at any time, only partisan fighting can be seen where there should be political leadership.
Nobody is blame-free. The ruling Saenuri Party has shown no initiative to offer a compromise to the opposition, while the main rival, the Democratic Party (DP), appears not to be ready to take one, if offered.
President Park Geun-hye, also deeply involved in the partisan fight herself, has not lived up to any expectation she would become someone the nation could rally around.
[Allegiance] [Sidelined] [Park Geun-hye]
Opposition alliance to propose bill for special probe
By Kang Seung-woo
Opposition parties and independent lawmaker Ahn Cheol-soo agreed to jointly propose a bill for a special probe into allegations that state agencies interfered in last year’s presidential election.
“We will propose the bill as early as next week,” Rep. Park Beom-kye of the DP said.
Earlier this month, the Democratic Party, Justice Party and Ahn agreed to set up a task force to handle the issue.
However, the motion will not include information currently being used in a trial from the special probe.
A special prosecutor is selected by the President after a committee of the ruling and opposition parties recommends two candidates.
A special probe usually lasts 60 days, but can be extended twice for 30 days and 15 days, respectively.
However, it remains to be seen whether the joint bill will lead to the appointment of a special investigator because of the Saenuri Party’s strong opposition to it.
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