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[Memoir] The turbulent makings of an “essential” newspaper
Posted on : Jun.28,2014 07:15 KST
Sung Yu-bo (third from the right), former Hankyoreh editor-in-chief, rejoices with the other senior editorial members over the publication of the first issue, on the night of May 14, 1988.
The Hankyoreh rose from Korea’s history of dictatorship and persists as a vibrant voice for democracy
By Sung Yu-bo, former Hankyoreh editor-in-chief
The Hankyoreh was launched on May 15, 1988. It was a new beacon of hope, a symbol of a more democratic future for many South Korean citizens who were panicking at the results of the December 1987 presidential election, with its victory for Roh Tae-woo - a friend of military regime leader Chun Doo-hwan and a key figure in the 1980 coup that put Chun into power - and defeat for the forces of democracy.
In his inaugural statement, the newspaper’s first president, the late Song Kun-ho, declared that the Hankyoreh would “work invariably to achieve democracy in this nation.”
“The democratization of this country is a necessary condition to improve relations between South and North, and in particular to end the military confrontation between the Korean People and achieve reunification,” he declared.
Kaesong Meeting Ends Without Agreement
North and South Korea resumed quarterly meetings about the joint Kaesong Industrial Park on Thursday following a six-month suspension, but they made little progress.
Officials from the two Koreas shake hands before a meeting at the joint Kaesong Industrial Complex on Thursday. /News 1 Officials from the two Koreas shake hands before a meeting at the joint Kaesong Industrial Complex on Thursday. /News 1
Both sides presented different agendas during the meeting which aimed to discuss ways of improving the operation of the complex.
The last meeting took place on Dec. 19 of last year.
Approved meetings indicate broadening of inter-Korean exchange
Posted on : Jun.26,2014 18:13 KST
Over the next week, several public and private sector meetings are scheduled to go ahead
By Choi Hyun-june, staff reporter
A series of upcoming inter-Korean meetings - both on an official and on a private level - suggest that there could be a thaw in the icy relations between North and South.
“We have given four representatives from Green One Korea, an organization working for inter-Korean cooperation over forestry, permission to visit North Korea,” said Unification Ministry spokesperson Park Soo-jin on June 25. “The representatives will head to Kaesong on June 26, where they will meet with the North Korean Council for Reconciliation and hold working-level talks about initiating a reforestation project.” From 2007 to 2009, Green One Korea set up tree nurseries in six parts of North Korea and did reforestation work around Pyongyang and Kaesong.
On June 23, the Unification Ministry approved a request by members of the Joint Board of South and North Korea for the Compilation of Gyeoremal-Keunsajeon (a Korean language dictionary) permission to visit the North on June 25.
Command of Southwestern Front of KPA Releases Crucial Report
Pyongyang, June 26 (KCNA) -- The Command of the Southwestern Front of the Korean People's Army (KPA) releases the following crucial report on Thursday:
On Thursday the warmongers of the south Korean puppet military committed such a grave military provocation as firing shells at the waters of the DPRK side from the waters around Yonphyong Island without any prior notice.
This reckless military provocation is an undisguised revelation of their sinister design to ignite a war against the DPRK by deliberately making a clumsy fire on its inviolable territorial waters. This is fully evidenced by the recent situation prevailing in the hot spot of the West Sea of Korea.
The intrusion into the territorial waters of the DPRK side being perpetrated by warships of the puppet army under the pretext of intercepting fishing boats is escalating day by day and there continues day and night the mad-cap firing and shelling on Paekryong, Yonphyong, Taechong and other islands.
Cross-Border Committee to Resume Kaesong Talks
A joint North and South Korean committee in charge of the Kaesong Industrial Complex is to meet again on Thursday, for the fifth time since it was created when the complex reopened last year.
A Unification Ministry here on Tuesday said North Korea proposed the meeting on Monday.
The quarterly meetings have been suspended since December 2013, due to heightened tensions between the two sides.
South Korea wants to discuss a range of issues, including mobile phone coverage, internet connections and setting up an arbitration committee.
North Korea is believed to be much more interested in taxing the businesses in the complex.
N.Korean Fisherman Defects to South
A North Korean fisherman who was rescued adrift in the East Sea last week says he wants to defect to South Korea.
A government official here said Monday the man, who is in his 20s, was found adrift in a small broken boat and rescued in waters near Dokdo in the East Sea on June 16. "Under questioning he expressed hope to remain here," the official added.
[News analysis] Pres. Park’s indecisiveness compounds her personnel problems
Posted on : Jun.24,2014 15:02 KST
PM nominee Moon Chang-geuk steps down in the latest disastrous attempt at filling a key post
By Seok Jin-hwan, Blue House correspondent
Upon her return from a tour of Central Asia, President Park Geun-hye said she would look into the behavior of Moon Chang-keuk, at the time a nominee for Prime Minister. But as of June 23, three days after her return, she had still failed to make up her mind.
On the same day, Moon said once again he would do his work as he waited for the president’s decision, pressuring the Blue House to approve his nomination. For her part, Park was silent and did not respond. She even canceled the cabinet meeting she was supposed to chair on June 24.
On the morning of June 24, Moon held a press conference at the Central Government Complex in Seoul where he announced his withdrawal as nominee for prime minister. Park’s nomination of Moon, a former editor in chief of the conservative Joongang Ilbo newspaper, had created controversy due to comments he’d made during several special lectures, including about how the Japanese colonial occupation of Korea and the subsequent division of North and South was “God’s will”.
Park and the Blue House have often kept mum in the face of embarrassing problems, but this silence entails a rather more severe problem than in the past. This silence is not intended to ram through Park’s agenda without paying heed to public opinion, as she did following accusations that the National Intelligence Service (NIS) interfered in the 2012 presidential election. Rather, this silence explicitly reveals the incompetence of the current administration.
[Park Geun-hye] [Moon Chang-keuk]
Korea land of opportunity for winemakers
Australian Ambassador to Korea Bill Paterson, center, poses with officials during the Australian wine-tasting event at the Shilla Hotel in Seoul last Monday. From left are Jamie Sach, Penfolds Global ambassador; Andrew O'Brien, general manager of SEA, Japan, Korea, and India Treasury Wine Estates; Ambassador Paterson; Scott Walker, country manager of Tourism Australia Korea; and Brendan Berne, deputy head of mission of Australian Embassy in Seoul. / Courtesy of the Australian Embassy
By Kang Hyun-kyung
A flurry of wine-tasting events has taken place in Seoul in the first half of this year as Korea is rising as a hot wine market with great potential for consumption growth.
Competition to grab market share heated up as wine producers from countries like Australia, which recently concluded a free trade agreement (FTA) with Korea, launched aggressive marketing with tariffs to be reduced by 15 percent.
Jamie Sach, who represented premium Australian wine brand Penfolds, called Korea "a growing, large and exciting market" for Australian wine producers.
"Asia, in general, is a very important market for Penfolds. The thing we love about Korea is that consumers are more interested in drinking quality wines rather than drinking cheaper wines," he told The Korea Times during a recent Australian wine-tasting event at the Shilla Hotel.
"We only make quality wines so consumers in this market will be interested in tasting our wines. So Korea is a really exciting market."
#Shigak no. 07: Another Fine Cabinet Mess
By Sino-NK | June 19, 2014 | No Comments
>The title to this Joongang Ilbo article from Monday (6/16) reads, “I am father to three daughters… I feel (more) resentment than anyone over the comfort women issue.” Having been accused of multiple transgressions, including massive insensitivity regarding wartime sexual slavery, Moon Chang-geuk apologized to those he offended. He is seen bowing in the article photo. | Image: Steven Denney/Sino-NK
“Shigak” (??), or “perspective,” is a multilingual data collection effort that uses Twitter to curate sources dealing in key political, social, and economic issues on South Korea. Each bimonthly issue takes only the most important tweets posted by Sino-NK analysts under the hashtag #?? and augments them with essential annotations and a small dose of concentrated analysis.
Peaceful protests put down by Pres. Park’s ‘battering ram’
Posted on : Jun.19,2014 11:44 KST
Disproportionate number of police being dispatched to put down all kinds of citizen gatherings that criticize the government
By Lee Moon-young, Hankyoreh 21 staff reporter
? 6,400 vs. 100 On June 10, a gathering of roughly 100 people around the Blue House demanding an inquiry into the Sewol ferry sinking was put down by 64 times as many police officers, with 69 arrests. Three to four people were “pinned down” by a group of about 200 police, and roads and alleys around the Blue House were sealed off tightly. Police also stopped taxis and boarded buses to inspect passengers. The day before, advance notices for 61 pre-registered demonstrations around the Blue House were rejected.
The images are symbolic of a larger trend. That same day, the first trial with the captain and crew of the Sewol was held at Gwangju District Court. It was the latest geographic shift in ground zero for the popular response to the sinking, which has moved from Jindo Gymnasium and Paengmok Port in South Jeolla Province to Ansan, Gyeonggi Province, then on to the offices of the KBS network, the Blue House, and the National Assembly before reaching the small Gwangju courtroom. A month before (on May 9), family members of Sewol victims paid a protest visit to the Blue House. This time, access there was strictly forbidden.
Specter of Piketty is haunting Korea
Posted on : Jun.18,2014 17:37 KST
Modified on : Jun.18,2014 17:37 KST
Members of the Samsung service workers chapter of the Korean Metal Workers’ Union and other labor activists sleep outside Samsung Electronics headquarters in Seoul’s Seocho district as part of an outdoor struggle, May 22. The general strike started on May 19, two days after one member committed suicide on May 17. The suicide was in protest of suppression of the labor union by Samsung, calling for workers to be paid a living wage. (by Lee Jeong-yong, staff photographer)
Piketty‘s examination of income distribution in South Korea obstructed by weak national tax data
By Ryu Yi-geun, staff reporter
Although French economist Thomas Piketty’s book, “Capital in the Twenty-First Century” has not been translated into Korean yet, several have heard a translation is underway and is anticipated for released by Book Pot Publishers Sep. 2014. There are also quite a few people who have read the English version by purchasing it from Amazon, the U.S. online retailer, and then there are those who might have read pirated versions of the book available online. No wonder it‘s being called the “Piketty sensation.” You could even say that the specter of Piketty is haunting Korea, to borrow the first line of the Marx and Engles’ “Communist Manifesto,” itself quoted in Piketty‘s book.
Within Korea, even conservative media outlets that do not support Piketty’s proposal to raise taxes on the wealthy have been quick to relay the facts that the author sets out. After all, Piketty‘s thesis that wealth and income are concentrated in the top 1 percent is just as true in South Korea as anywhere else, which primarily explains Piketty’s popularity.
President faces Moon dilemma
The face of troubled Prime Minister nominee Moon Chang-keuk is seen between closing elevator doors on his way to his office at an annex of the Central Government Complex in downtown Seoul, Tuesday. / Yonhap
Confirmation put on hold
By Kang Seung-woo
President Park Geun-hye is in a quandary over her "surprise" nomination for prime minister, Moon Chang-keuk, because of his record of making controversial statements in churches and public lectures that critics say belittle national pride and glorify Japan's colonial rule.
Amid snowballing criticism of the nominee, Park's approval rating has dipped below 50 percent for the first time in five months.
Cheong Wa Dae originally planned to submit a confirmation hearing request to the National Assembly regarding the appointment of Moon, Tuesday, but the President's hectic schedule during her state visit to Uzbekistan led the presidential office to place it on hold, according to an official.
Lawmakers including those from the ruling Saenuri Party have demanded Moon withdraw voluntarily because of the controversial comments he made in the past, which they think call his judgment of historical issues into question.
[Column] Would Moon recount Kim Gu’s acts for independence and unification as against God’s will?
Posted on : Jun.17,2014 06:41 KST
Prime Minister Nominee Moon Chang-geuk delivering a controversial church lecture in 2011 regarding both Japanese colonial rule and the division of the peninsula as the will of God replayed on the 9 o‘clock news. (Captured from KBS News)
Moon fails to know Korea history
By Kang Man-gil, professor emeritus at Korea University and author of The Pain of Division and History of Prospects for Unification
Now that I am well past one decade out of my work on the front lines of research and education regarding Korea’s modern and contemporary history, I have resolved to avoid throwing my two cents in on every issue that surfaces. However, the country has been abuzz recently with stories about how the person who is slated to become the second most powerful in the country after the President allegedly talked about Korea’s occupation by Japan and division into North and South as being “God’s will.” I have not had the opportunity to verify these statements with the man himself, but if his ideas and words are what the news says they are, then I feel that I must say something as someone who has studied and taught Korean contemporary history.
As a specialist in history, I am going strive to ground my statements about Korea’s history in concrete facts. Let’s begin with the issue of the Japanese occupation being God’s will. In point of fact, Korean Empire’s soldiers, who were forcibly dissolved by Japanese imperialists in 1907, numbered at around 8,000. The Japanese Imperial Army’s own statistics places the figure of Korean volunteer patriot fighters who risked their lives to stop Japan’s occupation of Korean territory at 140,000, of whom 20,000 to 30,000 lost their lives in battles that year. In terms of historical perspective, there is a question not about the “will of God,” but whether the Japanese imperialists’ control of Korean territory is to be seen as the either result of the 1910 Japan-Korea Annexation Treaty or the failure of the volunteer army campaign.
[Japanese colonialism] [Moon Chang-geuk]
Baeknyeong Island Naval Base to Be Ready This Year
A naval base on Baeknyeong Island will be completed by the end of this year to accommodate new guided-missile patrol vessels of more than 500 tons, military sources said Friday.
The island, which sits perilously close to the North Korean coast, is so far incapable of harboring even smaller 150-ton patrol boats. The new base, 10 km off the Northern Limit Line, the de-facto maritime border, will allow the Navy to respond more effectively to North Korean provocations there.
The base will be built at Yonggipo on the southern tip of the island with a budget of W42.5 billion (US$1=W1,018). It will also function as a civilian harbor. An auxiliary facility will be able to house about 100 troops.
A military source said deploying a missile patrol killer at the Baeknyeong base would allow the South to respond swiftly to the regular violations of the NLL by North Korean patrol boats.
The missile patrol killer will be armed with home-grown anti-ship missiles with a range of 150 km and 76 mm and 40 mm guns.
[Editorial] Moon-Chang-keuk’s nomination as PM negates Park’s unification pledges
Posted on : Jun.16,2014 13:35 KST
Minus any improvement in inter-Korean relations, the 14th anniversary of the 2000 North-South Joint Declaration passed on June 15 without a joint celebration. Indeed, the situation has been made even more awkward this year with President Park Geun-hye’s nominee for Prime Minister espousing ideas typical of someone whose notion of North Korea policy is to wait for the regime in Pyongyang to collapse. That nominee, Moon Chang-keuk, has been in hot water recently primarily for a special lecture delivered at a church in 2011, but he also went on church television in 2012 saying there is no point in having dialogue or negotiations between North Korea and South Korea because the North Korean regime is going to collapse. Specifically, Moon predicted that North Korea would “fall by the providence of God when nobody is expecting it,” offering perhaps one of the more extreme versions of collapse theory. Having someone who believes such things as our Prime Minister would itself be one more stumbling block to reunification. His remarks conflict with the Park administration’s own statements about the goals of its North Korea and reunification policy. As recently as June 11, Park offered “to do my best to steer North Korea onto the path of dialogue and cooperation.”
[Park Geun-hye] [Unification]
Park’s time to change course with Pyongyang and regional political affairs runs out this summer
Posted on : Jun.16,2014 13:31 KST
Modified on : Jun.16,2014 13:32 KST
Pope’s visit and Incheon Asian Games to positively impact inter-Korean relations
By Yi Yong-in, staff reporter
With little time left to have an impact this year, the next two months will be crucial for the Park Geun-hye administration’s inter-Korean relations. Experts are unanimous in their forecast of good and bad news in terms of cultivating relations with Pyongyang.
The upcoming schedule includes occasions for both potential celebration and tension: the blue crab season in the West (Yellow) Sea near the Northern Limit Line (NLL) that runs until late June; the anniversary of the July 4 Joint Declaration [of 1972]; the Independence Day holiday celebrated on Aug. 15; a visit by Pope Francis from 14 to 18 Aug. on the occasion of the Sixth Asian Youth Day; U.S.-South Korea Ulchi Freedom Guardian military exercises to begin around Aug. 19; and the 17th Asian Games in Incheon from Sept. 19 to Oct. 4.
If inter-Korean relations remain at their current tense levels, the biggest concern for experts is the late August military exercise to which they anticipate Pyongyang will respond very sensitively
[Park Geun-hye] [SK NK policy]
S.Korea to Develop High-Altitude Interceptor Missile
A U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile is launched during a test at a missile range off the island of Kauai in Hawaii on March 17, 2009. /Bloomberg A U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile is launched during a test at a missile range off the island of Kauai in Hawaii on March 17, 2009. /Bloomberg
South Korea will develop a high-altitude missile to intercept North Korean ballistic missiles with a budget of W1 trillion (US$1=W1,017).
The country also hopes to operate five surveillance satellites by 2025 to monitor the whole of North Korea at two-hour intervals. Currently reconnaissance satellites only fly over the North every eight to 12 hours.
The Defense Acquisition Program Administration made the announcement Wednesday after a session of the Defense Project Promotion Committee chaired by Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin.
The new missile will intercept missiles at an altitude of over 40 to 60 km, even higher than the U.S.' PAC-3, which intercepts them at 15-20 km.
Military authorities made the decision to escape pressure to join the U.S.-led missile defense system, which chiefly aims to check China's growing military presence.
[Military balance] [Surveillance] [Satellite]
Conservatives and progressives divided on unification jackpot
Posted on : Jun.14,2014 12:23 KST
Divergent views on benefits and steps towards reunification at forum held on June 15th Inter-Korean Summit Talks anniversary
By Kim Oi-hyun
Five months after South Korean President Park Geun-hye coined the phrase “Korean unification as jackpot” during her first press conference of 2014, the views of progressives and conservatives on the slogan remain as divided as ever. The conservatives see unification as an opportunity, while the progressives see it as a process.
[Editorial] Moon is neither qualified to be Prime Minister nor a Korean national
Posted on : Jun.13,2014 16:01 KST
Organization members affiliated with the Association of Anti-Japanese Movement and Solidarity for Historical Justice demonstrate against Moon Chang-geuk as nominee for Prime Minister in front of the Government Complex in Seoul, June 12. Banner reads: “We do not need a pro-Japanese Prime Minister. Moon Chang-geuk must leave.” (By Ryu Woo-jong, staff photographer)
The statements made by Moon Chang-geuk, nominee for Prime Minister, delivered in a number of lectures given at churches, organizations, and schools leave us gaping in disbelief. The content is not merely pro-Japanese or pro-American. Again and again, his statements fail to resemble anything another Korean living in this land would dream of saying. It seems pointless to even ask whether Moon is qualified to be prime minister. We have arrived at the point where we should be wondering whether he is even qualified to be Korean.
Moon‘s values, and philosophical and historical understanding can be clearly deduced from his speeches. “Japan’s colonization of Korea was unavoidable,” Moon said, “because Koreans are lazy and lack a sense of independence.” Moon also contends that if Korea had gained independence on its own, it would have surely gone Communist, the Jeju Uprising was a Communist revolt, and Korea does not need an apology from Japan forcible mobilization of Korean women into sexual slavery. Thorough denigration of the Korean ethnic identity and a pro-Japanese view of history defending Japan‘s occupation of the peninsula coincide with the belief in the inevitability of the division of North and South Korea, informed by a radical anti-Communism. Add some wonky religious beliefs, and we have the recipe for the worst ideology imaginable.
‘Shock and awe’ nominations of right-wing diehards for key posts
Posted on : Jun.11,2014 11:54 KST
Questions now being raised over whether nominees for PM and NIS director will initiate change, or simply follow Pres. Park’s orders
By Seok Jin-hwan, Blue House correspondent
President Park Geun-hye named former Joong-Ang Ilbo editor-in-chief Moon Chang-geuk as a nominee for Prime Minister on June 10.
Ambassador to Japan Lee Byung-kee, 67, was nominated for the post of National Intelligence Service director.
The choices are being read as a strong statement from Park that the “personnel reforms” she announced after the inconclusive June 4 municipal elections will be more of the same, rather than a change based on reflection over previous problems. Moon is considered one of the most die-hard conservative figures in the media community, while Lee is a longtime close associate of Park’s.
The choice of a divisive figure like Moon as Prime Minister in particular has many questioning whether Park misread the verdict passed by voters the week before.
[Park Geun-hye] [Hardliners]
Lawmakers indicted for leaking inter-Korean summit transcript
Posted on : Jun.10,2014 16:45 KST
Modified on : Jun.10,2014 17:27 KST
Prosecution not made, potentially setting dangerous precedent about politicized use of secret info
By Kim Won-chul, staff reporter
During the 2012 presidential campaign, Saenuri Party (NFP) lawmaker Jeong Mun-heon, 48, handed over the transcript of the 2007 inter-Korean summit to Saenuri lawmaker Kim Moo-sung, 63, who was head of the party’s office for election measures, and Kwon Young-se, 55, current ambassador to China, who was head of the party’s situation room, investigating prosecutors have concluded.
Despite this, while the prosecutors summarily indicted Jeong, they decided not to prosecute him for putting the transcript to political use during the election campaign, even though the transcript was not supposed to be made public.
On June 9, the first security division of the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office (directed by Lee Hyun-cheol) summarily indicted Jeong for leaking the content of the transcript, which he had accessed during his time as secretary of unification for the Blue House, and for quoting it outside of the National Assembly during press conferences and media interviews. The prosecutors asked the court to fine Jeong 5 million won (US$4,920) for these actions, which constitute a violation of the Public Records Management Act.
[Election] [NLL] [KR_summit07]
'ROK surveillance caught NK drones'
By Jun Ji-hye
The Air Force's high-altitude surveillance aircraft, nicknamed the "Peace Eye," first detected North Korea's spy drones that crossed the border in March and April, according to sources.
"Peace Eye airborne early warning and control aircraft, which was conducting a patrol and surveillance mission in the West Sea, first spotted the unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) sent by Pyongyang," said a source asking not to be named.
[Surveillance] [Military balance]
10 million people nationwide earning only around $1,500 per month
Posted on : Jun.10,2014 11:45 KST
Modified on : Jun.10,2014 11:56 KST
Recently acquired data shows drastic polarization with gains from growth being concentrated among high earners
By Ryu Yi-geun, staff reporter
South Korea has close to 10 million people earning less than 1.55 million won (US$1,530) a month, National Tax Service figures show.
The numbers point to intensifying income polarization over the past several years as high earners account for an ever larger share of total income.
According to 2012 National Tax Service income percentile data acquired on June 9 from the office of New Politics Alliance for Democracy (NPAD) lawmaker Hong Jong-haak, the median annual income when all 19.26 million taxpayers were ranked from highest to lowest earnings stood at just 18.52 million won (US$18,230). This means that 9.63 million South Koreans are earning less than 1.55 million won a month, chiefly from labor or their own small businesses.
New N.Korean Anti-Ship Missiles Threaten Older Patrol Boats
North Korea has a new anti-ship missile with a range of 130 km that poses a big threat to South Korea's elderly patrol corvettes.
A recent propaganda film shown on North Korean state TV shows the missile is similar to the U.S.' Harpoon missile, a military source here said Sunday. "It's probably either the Russian-developed Kh-35 Uran or a copy."
The missile was shown among the country's closely guarded submarines, which were also featured for the first time.
The Kh-35 was developed in Russia in the mid-90s and has been exported to Burma, India and Vietnam. It is hard to intercept as it flies 4 to 15 m above the waters.
South Korea's Aegis and other newer destroyers are equipped with rapid-fire machine guns and electronic warfare systems that can intercept or disturb such a missile. But older patrol corvettes or escort ships, whose duties lie mainly near the Northern Limit Line, the de facto maritime border, have no such weapons so the missiles could pose a significant threat to them.
Until recently, the North Korean Navy had only the Styx missile, which was developed in the 50s with a range of 46 km, rising to 80 km in the improved version, and that is vulnerable to electronic jamming.
Military authorities here are reportedly trying to find out where the North bought the Kh-35 missiles, on the assumption that it was clandestinely imported from a third country like Burma.
[Military balance][Cruise missile]
[Analysis] Why can’t political progressives capitalize?
Posted on : Jun.6,2014 13:56 KST
Modified on : Jun.6,2014 13:56 KST
With long faces, the leadership of the New Politics Alliance for Democracy enters a meeting room at the National Assembly on June 5. From left to right, co-leaders Kim Han-gil and Ahn Cheol-soo, floor leader Park Young-sun. (by Lee Jeong-woo, staff photographer)
Despite public anger over Sewol sinking, results of municipal elections show only modest outcome for opposition
By Lee Se-young, staff reporter
The New Politics Alliance for Democracy (NPAD) won nine large municipal government head positions in Seoul, Gangwon Province, and the Chungcheong and Jeolla regions. It was more than the seven seats its predecessor, the Democratic Party, won in 2012, when it picked up Incheon, Gangwon, North and South Chungcheong, Gwangju, and North and South Jeolla, which has led some to praise its “strong showing.”
But in the greater Seoul area, where it was expected to sweep, the NPAD succeeded in winning only the Seoul mayoral race. Dongyang University professor Jin Joong-kwon summed up the performance on Twitter on June 5, remarking, “It wasn’t the worst case scenario they feared, it wasn’t the ideal outcome they were hoping for.”
Among opposition supporters, opinions on the results are split. Some are blasting the NPAD for failing to meet its base’s expectations, while others share the position of Seoul National University professor Cho Kuk, who said the election “shows how strong the administration and ruling party’s political defenses are despite their fumbling on the Sewol ferry tragedy.” It comes down to the question of whether the poor harvest was the fault of barren soil or a lazy farmer.
CPRK Secretariat Blasts Designation of Kim Kwan Jin as Chief of Security Office of Chongwadae
Pyongyang, June 6 (KCNA) -- The Secretariat of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea (CPRK) issued information bulletin No.1065 Friday in connection with the fact that Park Geun Hye designated puppet Minister of Defense Kim Kwan Jin to succeed Kim Jang Su, chief of the security office of Chongwadae, who was dismissed in face of the public censure and denunciation.
This is little short of an open declaration that south Korea would stand in confrontation with the DPRK to the last and will not rule out a war against it.
Seoul vows relentless retaliation against NK if provoked
Seoul's new national security adviser Kim Kwan-jin conducts a site inspection at a far-western military outpost, Saturday. / AP-Yonhap
South Korea's new national security adviser vowed a relentless retaliation against North Korea if provoked again, an official said Saturday, the latest in a series of harsh rhetoric against each other.
Kim Kwan-jin, who currently doubles as the defense minister, also called on them to "have a strong fighting capability to relentlessly retaliate against the enemy and completely make it surrender in case of the enemy's provocation."
He gave the instructions during his trip to a military unit near the heavily fortified border with North Korea earlier in the day, according to the official.
[Analysis] ‘Park Geun-hye marketing’ saves ruling party from total defeat
Posted on : Jun.5,2014 16:31 KST
Photos posted to social media such as Facebook and Twitter by citizens confirming their having voted in the June 4 municipal elections. (Newsis)
Opposition wins some criticial races, but ruling party’s marketing defends strongholds in close contests
By Seong Han-yong, political correspondent
A South Korean public angered by April’s Sewol ferry tragedy sent a strong warning to the Park Geun-hye administration in the June 4 municipal elections.
Results showed the ruling Saenuri Party (NFP) suffering an unexpected rout in the Chungcheong provinces, which provided crucial support for Park in the 2012 presidential election. Opposition candidates also put in strong showings in Busan and ruling party stronghold Daegu, but were unable to beat back the combination of regionalism and marketing of Park.
The biggest single influence on the outcome was the sinking of the Sewol ferry on Apr. 16. Before the disaster, Saenuri candidates, including Seoul mayoral candidate Chung Mong-joon, had been expected to pick up local government head positions in the Seoul area and central part of the country
Pyongyang demands interview with NK fishermen left in South
By Yi Whan-woo
Pyongyang has demanded a face-to-face interview with two North Korean fishermen who want to remain in South Korea, the Ministry of Unification said Tuesday.
The North also warned it would take measures against the South if the latter fails to accept this demand, according to the ministry.
"The North Korean Red Cross said in a written statement to bring the fishermen to Panmunjeom," the government said in a press release. Panmunjeom is a neutral village on the inter-Korean border.
"It said it needs to verify in person whether they had the will to defect to the South.
"It also said it would regard our move as abduction and take resolute action in response if we rejected its request," the ministry added.
SK senior official: NK must create conditions for resuming dialogue
Posted on : Jun.4,2014 13:33 KST
Modified on : Jun.4,2014 14:24 KST
US and South Korean representatives to the six-party talks Glyn Davies and Hwang Jun-guk chat after a meeting at the US State Department in Washington D.C., May 2. (Yonhap News)
Seoul planning follow-up deliberations with China before long
By Park Hyun, Washington correspondent
On June 2, a senior South Korean government official said that, if North Korea created the conditions for resuming dialogue by showing some degree of sincerity about denuclearization, Seoul would be willing to take action to reopen the six-party talks.
This official spoke to Washington correspondents from the South Korean media after meeting with officials from the US State Department. “We are interested in meaningful dialogue about denuclearization,” the official said on condition of anonymity. “Therefore, for negotiations to take place, there needs to be some degree of sincerity from North Korea to show it is really trying to join in talks about denuclearization.”
Today's polls to serve as confidence vote on Park
By Kang Seung-woo
President Park Geun-hye and the tragic April 16 Sewol disaster will mostly likely affect the result of the June 4 local elections.
In the wake of the ferry sinking that left more than 300 people dead or missing, the elections are regarded as a mid-term test for the sitting government amid a lingering public outcry against its botched response to the accident.
North Korean media react to UN human rights office in Seoul
Rodong Sinmun claims South Korea is "living hell under the misrule of the traitors"
June 4th, 2014
North Korean state media has reacted angrily to the establishment of a UN human rights field office in Seoul on Wednesday calling it “an unpardonable hostile act and intolerable political provocation against the DPRK.”
The reaction was published in the form of an editorial in the North Korea daily national newspaper the Rodong Sinmun under
[Kirby] [SK NK policy]
Iran Refused to Let Park's Plane Fly Over
President Park Geun-hye's official plane was forced to make a 40-minute detour en route to the United Arab Emirates on May 19 because Tehran refused it entry into Iranian airspace.
"The Iranian Air Force couldn't understand that the presidential airplane was seeking to cross Iranian airspace," a senior Cheong Wa Dae official told the Chosun Ilbo on Monday. "We informed them that it was 'Air Force One,' but it appears that ground staff misunderstood that as an 'Air Force plane.'"
He added the government already had the necessary authorization from Tehran, but there was a glitch in communication between staff.
As a result, Park arrived late in the UAE, where she was to open a Korean-built nuclear reactor.
S.Korean Missionary Sentenced to Hard Labor in N.Korea
A South Korean Baptist missionary was sentenced to life with hard labor in North Korea on Friday.
Kim Jung-wook is accused of being "a spy for the South Korean puppet government who was caught while trying to sneak into Pyongyang to commit illegal anti-North Korean activities," the official [North] Korean Central News Agency reported Saturday.
Kim was arrested in October last year after sneaking into North Korea from Dandong, China to carry out missionary activities.
Controversial Ex-Army Chief Named as Defense Minister
President Park Geun-hye on Sunday named Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin the new presidential national security advisor to succeed Kim Jang-soo, who resigned last month in the wake of the April 16 ferry disaster.
Park nominated Han Min-koo, a former Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, as the new defense minister.
Han was formerly an Army chief of staff and held the post of JCS chairman when North Korea shelled Yeonpyeong Island on Nov. 23, 2010. As the highest-ranking officer at the time, he was criticized for botching the response.
This is likely to generate fierce scrutiny during Han’s confirmation hearing in the National Assembly.
Foreign policy - Pres. Park’s product is different from the label
Posted on : Jun.2,2014 11:52 KST
From left to right, former Secretary of Foreign Affairs Chun Yung-woo, former Foreign Ministers Song Min-sun, Yu Myung-hwan and Kim Sung-hwan participate in a luncheon for former Foreign Ministers during an off-the-record luncheon meeting at the Jeju Forum for Peace and Prosperity, May 29. (provided by the Jeju Peace Institute)
Former ministers identify inconsistencies in the policies Park talks about and what is actually implemented
By Kang Tae-ho, senior staff writer
At a recent luncheon, three former South Korean foreign ministers and one former Blue House senior secretary for foreign affairs and national security were in agreement that “what Park’s government is selling is not the same as what is on the label.”
These former leaders of South Korea’s foreign ministry - including Song Min-sun from the Roh Moo-hyun administration and Yu Myung-hwan and Kim Sung-hwan from the Lee Myung-bak administration - by and large agreed that “the problem inherent in the Park administration’s foreign policy is that it’s hard to tell what is being sold just by looking at the label, and that what is actually being sold is different from what the label says.”
Though couched in figurative language, these former ministers suggested that the plans put forward by President Park - including the Trust-building Process for the Korean Peninsula, the Northeast Asian Peace and Cooperation Initiative, the Eurasian Initiative, and the Dresden Declaration - do not match the measures that Park is actually implementing.
[Park Geun-hye] [SK NK policy]
UN to open human rights field office in Seoul
Following COI recommendation, regional field office for monitoring North Korean human rights to be set up in Seoul
May 30th, 2014
The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has confirmed on Thursday that a UN office will be set up in South Korea, dedicated to monitoring the human rights situation in North Korea.
The South Korean foreign ministry also confirmed to local media on Thursday that they had accepted the OHCHR request for the field based structure to be located in South Korea.
The office will function as a long term field-based structure that will continue the work of the UN Commission of Inquiry in investigating and collecting evidence of the human rights abuses in North Korea.
“I think its very encouraging that they have set up the office so quickly, it is very important to have a follow up to the report and to have an office that will be able to continue along the same lines and to continue to provide insight into North Korea,” Sonja Biserko, one of the commissioners of the COI, told NK News.
[Kirby] [SK NK policy]
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