Wednesday, December 08, 2004

"Panel Urges The U.S. To Make A Better Plan For North Korean Nukes"

The 26 members for the panel that plan for aid in the north if the North disarms. Well the panel called on washington to create a "sweeter" plan. "North Korea is not likely to move toward complete denuclearization ... unless the United States is prepared to match North Korean concessions with reciprocal steps toward the normalization of political and economic relations," said the international policy group for Aisa. It is clear that the panel believes if the U.S. offers a better aid then North Korea will look at it and maybe will accpet it.

Golf in North Korea?

Interesting tidbit I found today. The DPRK is planning to build a lavish golf course at the Mt. Kumgang resort to try to attract more South Korean tourists. This is still so ironic, how people are starving yet the government wants to bring in foreign dollars to fill its own pockets.

Here's the article

More Rights for North Korean citizens?

Hello again,

This is an article about the North Korean government's revision to the "criminal and civil rights laws" in the DPRK. Here are some changes as quoted from the article:

Under the new guidelines, an individual found guilty of illegally seizing another's possession will be sentenced to more than 10 years of hard labor from the current less than 10-year period.

Also, as indication of expectations within the country for more foreign investment, the revised framework includes a clause speaking against tax evasion. With respect to civil rights law, authorities have slashed the term for hard labor for defectors from the present less than three-year requirement to less than 2 years.
I wonder whether there is hope to believe that the North Korean government is ready to implement some changes, or whether this is another one of Kim's schemes to perhaps receive aid from the international community. Hm, this possibility is one to consider.

"North Has Up to Six Nukes"

Hello all,

This article discusses North Koreas possession of nuclear weapons. According to the IAEA, "since Pyongyang refused access to International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors almost two years ago, the Stalinist enclave has had time to secure enough plutonium for four to six nuclear weapons."

However, this is not based on any factual information, but only on "assessment," which brings us back to the question about whether North Korea actually has nuclear weapons. Although many believe that North Korea possesses nuclear weapons, the question is one that we should think about further, as discussed at length during one of the professors lectures and class discussions.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

North Korean Food Harvest

North Korea's food harvest is up 2.4% from last year. Despite this, Korea will still suffer a large food shortage, even after foreign aid is considered. Many poorer families will still be lacking in basic nutritional foods due to declining purchasing power--prices in private markets are up. See full story at:

Friday, December 03, 2004

The "red line"

According to a New York Times article today North Korea says that the United States' red line policy towards them will cause war. This red line is the United States' way of calling for the end of North Korea's nuclear proliferation. North Korea feels like the United States is falsely charging it with sponsoring terrorism. According to the article "The United States has pressured the North with `distorted rumors' about the nuclear issue, `threatening a military punishment,' the newspaper said." This article is yet another example of the uncertainty over North Korea. You can find the article here:

Thursday, December 02, 2004

To Follow Up

Charles Jenkins, the American deserter to North Korea was released from jail sometime last week. He served less than a month in a military jail. The case of Charles Jenkins is the longest case of desertion before turning oneself in. He deserted in 1965. Most of this article is information we have already discussed, here is the article:

Monday, November 29, 2004

CIA link

I'm not sure if this has come up before. Here is a link to the CIA's website on the DPRK. It's very interesting and provides a ton of statistical material.


According to this very short article, the IAEA "cited" South Korea as making small amounts of weapons grade plutonium.. Why doesnt the north jump all over that? I think that both sides need to see each other as equals before anything can happen, and the DPRK may be thinking the south is getting away with their programs, why should we stop..

Also, this article brings up the extension of the freeze of the light water reactors for the north. It was originally intended to expire 12.1.04 and has been extended a full year. They say construction is 1/3 complete, and they're doing maintenance work on the site, i guess to keep it ready for a miraculous return to construction. if we ever finished the reactors, the north would not really have much weight behind the argument that we never tried to help them, and that we were causing the energy crisis. We stopped the shipment of fuel oil after the 2002 discovery of the HEU program.

if KEDO finished the reactors, do you think the north would feel pressure to stop its nuclear program or just continue on like nothing has developed in its relations with the international community?

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Korea Watch

Stumbled across this site......It gives two different explanations for the removal of Kim Jong Il's photos...

The experts: This consequentially leads to my assumption that, by reducing his own role for the ideological stability of the system, Kim Jong-il might be resolving one of the most pressing issues in North Korean domestic politics: his succession.

The bloggers: I'm still not convinced. I think there has been a coup or some sort of physical ailment or death to the leader. In my previous entry I reported that media had also stopped referring to him as "Beloved Leader".

Psychological Warfare

Apparantly NK has accused the US of using psychological warefare against them in effort to cease peace talks. NK accuses the US also of using mass propaganda against them. The good news out of this is that six party talks are supposed to take place in mid-Dec which is a very positive.

NK Moving Closer to a Market Economy?

Hello again,

This is another article from the same newspaper that describes changes in the North Korean economy, as the government has established "markets in every corner of the financially-strapped state and extend business hours late into the evening."

It is an intersting read because North Korea is described differently from the reading, North Korea Through the Looking Glass; indeed, a lot has changed.

Mongolia Will Aid North Korean Refugees

Hello all,

According to this article from Chosunilbo, the Mongolian government has decided to help North Korean refugees transfer to a third country of their choice:
The Mongolian government opposes establishing a refugee camp for North Korean defectors, but will assist in their transferal to a third country of their choice, said Mongolian Ambassador to South Korea Perenlei Urjinlkhundev.
There is also a collage of photographs that shows starving North Korean children.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

more than just nukes...

this article says that north korea also has chemical weapons at its disposal. it says that north korea tested different gases on humans as part of its weapons of mass destruction program. im not sure how reliable the source is because the sources are scientists from north korea who defected, so they may have ulterior motives. nevertheless, the prospect of chemical weapons is just as frightening, in my opinion, as nukes because chemical weapons can be delivered much easier and would be easier to sell to terrorists. anyway, i dont know if this story is true but if it is it is just one more reason why we can't leave the DPRK on the "back burner"

More on NK social defianace of Kim

More leaflets, posters, and even banners advocating Kim's overthrow have been reportedly appearing in northwestern North Korea, presumably from student protestors. Experts are convinced, however, that this activity is not a sign of significant trouble for the "dear leader." Full story: (sorry again for lack of linkage)

Monday, November 22, 2004

Strange Goings-on in N. Korea

I saw this article both on the New York Times website and then on Prof. Larsen's blog. With Kim Jong Il's pictures disappearing, speculations abound. This particular article deals with Japanese perceptions of this. Acting secretary general of the Japanese Liberal Democratic Party Shinzo Abe senses that a regime change in North Korea is imminent.

One high-ranking North Korean defector mentioned, however, that Kim himself gave an order to remove pictures of him from one building years ago, but no one had the nerve to do it.

One Korean News Service official denies anything unusual about the removal of the portraits, writing it off as solely routine updating and cleaning. This makes sense to me, that they would want an updated picture of Dear Leader. It would seem strange to me if they now said it was just for cleaning and some kind of military coup develops. It would make them seem like liars to the people. (Not like they're not already lying.) Only time will tell, but I don't anticipate any significant power shift soon.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Bush at it again

Bush is again telling North Korea and Iran to get rid of the weapons. Apparently though, he is being more flexible with North Korea this time, giving them some incentives. Iran is apparently more of a problem now.

North Korean embassy in Mongolia

People's rights groups in the United States are calling for Mongolia to be neutral state for North Korean defectors.

Six-party talks again?

This is th NY Times version of the talks in Chile.

Saturday, November 20, 2004


This is an article about the meeting in Chile where North Korea is on the agenda

Friday, November 19, 2004

It was all an imperialist plot...

...if you listen to the DPRK, which firmly denies any missing portraits of Kim Jong Il and vehemently asserts that the whole matter is a plot by the U.S. to overthrow the regime and destroy the socialist paradise. Maybe they think it's the doing of John Bolton, since they have such a high opinion of him, as Reese indicated. In any event, after the discussion yesterday about "Kremlinology," I think this story may fall into the category of reading into something a bit too much.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

John Bolton and the DPRK

For those of you who don't know of him, John Bolton is undersecretary of State for arms control and international security and is considered the highest ranking "Neocon" in the State Department. His name has been mentioned in the past few days as a possibility for Undersecretary of State so I thought I'd share these few articles I found. Reading them gave me a laugh.

The first article:

The Bush administration declined Monday to respond to North Korea's description of the State Department's top arms control official as "human scum." "We're not going to dignify North Korean comments about our undersecretary of state," spokesman Philip Reeker said. North Korea's official news agency vilified Undersecretary of State John Bolton after he characterized North Korean Chairman Kim Jong Il as a "tyrannical dictator" in a speech last week to a gathering in South Korea.

I searched on KCNA and found the article. I don't know if this link will work but it was on August 4, 2003. Here is the text:

Spokesman for DPRK Foreign Ministry Slams U.S. Mandarin's Invective Pyongyang, August 2 (KCNA) -- A spokesman for the Foreign Ministry of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea today gave the following answer to a question put by KCNA as regards a string of vituperation let loose by Bolton, U.S. under-secretary of state, against the DPRK. According to a press report, during his recent visit to south Korea and Japan Bolton hurled malignant abuses at the top leader of the DPRK. Bolton asserted that "while he lives like royalty in Pyongyang, he keeps hundreds of thousands of his people locked in prison camps with millions more mired in abject poverty" and "for many in north Korea, life is a hellish nightmare." Bolton's remarks make one doubt whether he is a man with an elementary faculty of thinking and stature as a man or not, to say nothing of whether he is a politician belonging to a hawkish faction or to a dovish one. We know that there are several hawks within the present U.S. administration but have not yet found out such rude human scum as Bolton. What he uttered is no more than rubbish which can be let loose only by a beastly man bereft of reason. Bolton was so completely seized with the inveterate habit of rejecting others out of reason that he made a malignant personal attack even on the top leader of other country. If he is allowed any longer to speak for the u.s. policy on the nuclear issue, this would adversely affect not only the fate of the policy but that of the administration itself. Bolton's reckless remarks cast a doubt as to whether the U.S. truly wants to negotiate with the DPRK or not. There is no change in our stand on holding the six-party talks including the bilateral talks between the DPRK and the U.S. for the peaceful settlement of the nuclear issue on the Korean peninsula. A caravan is bound to go ahead though dogs bark. Such human scum and bloodsucker is not entitled to take part in the talks in view of either the importance of the talks aimed to decide on peace and stability in Northeast Asia or human dignity. On the basis of a serious analysis of Bolton's outcries in the light of his political vulgarity and psychopathological condition as they are quite different from the recent remarks of the U.S. president, we have decided not to consider him as an official of the u.s. administration any longer nor to deal with him. We may exercise self-restraint as regards other matters but will never allow anyone to slander the top leader of the DPRK whoever he is and wherever he is on earth.

Bolton took another stab at the DPRK recently.

English Camps in South Korea

I found this article in the Washington Post today. It talks a lot about the development of South Korea since World War II and is interesting to compare to the DPRK.

English Camps Reflect S. Korean Ambitions
By Anthony Faiola

Thursday, November 18, 2004; Page A25
ANSAN, South Korea -- "Next!" barked Joanne Richardson, a bureaucratic-looking Canadian sitting behind a desk in a bustling hall marked "Immigrations." She beckoned to a timid looking 15-year old girl wearing a Mickey Mouse shirt.
"Good morning, what is your name?" Richardson, 27, asked using clear, enunciated English.

The South Korean girl beamed, suddenly excited at the sound of a language she has come to love through Britney Spears songs and Disney movies. "Hello, my name is Hu Jung Hee," she blurted out in brave but labored diction, "and I want to be a movie star! I know first I have to learn good English."
"Then you came to the right place," said Richardson, one of 40 native English teachers from six countries at this novel, government-funded language complex on a small island 40 miles southwest of Seoul. "Welcome to English Village. Enjoy your stay."

....I only posted the first few paragraphs of the article.

Kim's Calculated Move

CNN had an article about Kim's apparent removal of portraits and the use of "Dear Leader" being exempt from North Korean broadcasts. The article gives reasons why Kim Jong Il is being calculated in an attempt to halt the criticism coming from more and more North Koreans about his regime and the impoverished country he is ruling. Chances are its not a loss of power or a coup attempt, but this is an interesting strategy from Kim. I know I never thought he'd give up his cult of personality.

Downsizing the cult of Kim Jong Il

This directly relates to what we were discussing in class last week. Apparently, some portraits of the "dear leader" are being removed from various public places. Also, some news stations have stopped the honorific "dear leader" when referring to Kim. Perhaps this is Kim's own doing? See the full story here: (sorry again for the lack of linkage)

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Kim Jong Il conducts military visit

This article says that shortly after the portraits were reported as being removed, Kim visited a military unit near the DMZ. It's impossible to know what the motives behind it were and the article doesn't really try to guess. But the trip does provide some interesting scenarios. Did Kim visit the unit because he was worried about their loyalty or at least wanted to reaffirm it? Was the move part of a larger motive to regain some respect and good will from the military? Probably not, the visit was most likely routine. As Bob said, the removal of the pictures themselves probably aren't significant either. After all, why would anyone wanting to start a coup begin by removing the leader's portraits from a couple public buildings? However, since we know that support for the Dear Leader is limited at best, I suppose a coup or at least the threat of one isn't out of the possibilty.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Some diplomats report removal of Kim Jong Il portraits in DPRK

Here's an article that makes little sense:

Though it has yet to be confirmed, some foreign diplomats in North Korea have reported seeing wall displays that include Kim Il Sung's portrait, but lack that of his son, Kim Jong Il. Here's the article from Yahoo. So, does this really mean anything? Well, the article says that
It was unclear what might motivate their removal, but the South Korean official said his country's analysts did not have indications that Kim was facing significant internal political challenges.
If you read later on in the article, another diplomat reports nothing strange going on and he'd recently seen "many Kim portraits during a visit to a hospital on Tuesday."

It truly looks like the media is reading into this way to much here. The perceived absence of Kim Jong Il portraits really might not be that significant (maybe they were removed for cleaning!)

Monday, November 15, 2004

Bush and Rice

Long, but funny!

Bush and Rice:
George B.: Condi! Nice to see you. What's happening?
Condoleeza R.: Sir, I have the report here about the new leader ofChina.
George B.: Great. Lay it on me.
Condoleeza R.: Hu is the new leader of China.
George B.: That's what I want to know.
Condoleeza R.: That's what I'm telling you.
George B.: That's what I'm asking you. Who is the new leader of China?
Condoleeza R.: Yes.
George B.: I mean the fellow's name.
Condoleeza R.: Hu.
George B.: The guy in China.
Condoleeza R.: Hu.
George B.: The new leader of China.
Condoleeza R.: Hu.
George B.: The Chinaman!Condoleeza
R.: Hu is leading China.
George B.: Now whaddya' asking me for?
Condoleeza R.: I'm telling you Hu is leading China.
George B.: Well, I'm asking you. Who is leading China?
Condoleeza R.: That's the man's name.
George B.: That's who's name?
Condoleeza R.: Yes.
George B.: Will you or will you not tell me the name of the new leader of China?
Condoleeza R.: Yes, sir.
George B.: Yassir? Yassir Arafat is in China? I thought he was dead!
Condoleeza R.: That's correct.
George B.: Then who is in China?
Condoleeza R.: Yes, sir.
George B.: Yassir is in China?
Condoleeza R.: No, sir.
George B.: Then who is?
Condoleeza R.: Yes, sir.
George B.: Yassir?
Condoleeza R.: No, sir.
George B.: Look, Condi. I need to know the name of the new leader ofChina.Get me the Secretary General of the U.N. on the phone.
Condoleeza R.:Kofi?
George B.: No, thanks.
Condoleeza R.: You want Kofi?
George B.: No.
Condoleeza R.: You don't want Kofi.
George B.: No. But now that you mention it, I could use a glass ofmilk. And then get me the U.N.
Condoleeza R.: Yes, sir
.George B.: Not Yassir! The guy at the U.N.
Condoleeza R.: Kofi?
George B.: Milk! Will you please make the call?
Condoleeza R.: And call who?
George B.: Who is the guy at the U.N?
Condoleeza R.: Hu is the guy in China.
George B.: Will you stay out of China?!
Condoleeza R.: Yes, sir.
George B.: And stay out of the Middle East! Just get me the guy at theU.N.
Condoleeza R.: Kofi.
George B.: All right! With cream and two sugars. Now get on the phone.(Condi picks up the phone.)
Condoleeza R.: Rice, here.
George B.: Rice? Good idea. And a couple of egg rolls, too. Maybe weshould send some to the guy in China. And the Middle East.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

South Korean Nuclear Weapons

Here is a follow up to earlier stories about South Korea's nuclear program. This article explains how the IAEA found that South Korea produced small and insignifcant amounts of nuclear material. The IEAE does, however, express frustration with S. Korea's failure to report the program in a timely matter.

Stay the course with North Korea

I found this article from the American Enterprise Institute, which is one of Washington's most prominent conservative thinktanks. It is by James Lilley, who was once US ambassador to South Korea. I guess now that Bush won, Lilley will be happy!

Whoever has won the U.S. presidential contest should support continuing the multilateral approach to convince North Korea to give up its nuclear program. John Kerry, the Democratic candidate, has strongly backed holding direct talks with Pyongyang as the best way to get the communist state to disarm. But should he have won, he must quickly realize that President George W. Bush's preference of the "six-party talks" is the best approach.

The talks, hosted by China, provide the most effective means of resolving Pyongyang's nuclear threat and of putting it on the path of economic reform. China, the United States, South Korea, Russia and Japan--the five parties facing North Korea--have already agreed on four basic principles: 1) No weapons of mass destruction should be allowed on the Korean peninsula; 2) North Korea is in desperate economic condition and needs both economic reform and humanitarian aid; 3) There will be no preemptive military attack, and 4) the negotiations must be multilateral.

Roh Opposes Sanctions Against North Korea

Hello again,

I have come across another article, this one from The Korea Times, that describes Roh's opposition to the use of military force or imposition of sanctions against North Korea. According to the article, Roh stressed the following:
The current standoff over the North's nuclear weapons program should be resolved peacefully through the six-party dialogue. [...] The use of force lacks effectiveness as a negotiation tactic. I believe the United States, which has greatly contributed to the national economic development, will well understand this. [Also, any economic embargo] will only prolong the sense of instability and threat indefinitely.
You can access the article here.

President Roh's Comments Spark Controversy

Hello everyone,

According to this article, South Korean President Roh's remark at a recent meeting in LA "spurred instant controversy as it indicates a strong divergence in opinion regarding the North Korean nuclear issue from the U.S., South Korea's longstanding ally."

While many critics believed that Roh "should have expressed his gratitude for U.S. efforts to resolve the North Korean nuclear issue," Roh instead remarked that "there was no evidence to support [US] claims that North Korea was linked to terrorist organizations, adding that the reclusive enclave had already embarked on the path of reform in opening itself up to the international diplomatic and economic arena."

The article goes on to indicates the fact that Roh may be placing too much trust into the North Korean government "to act rationally." What does everyone think about this? Is North Korea to be trusted, or is it absolutely essential to intervene through six-party talks?

Saturday, November 13, 2004

North Korea and Turkey

This article from the Daily Star says that North Korea and Turkey have signed a commercial and economic deal aimed at boosting bilateral trade. Apparently, there had been limited trade between the two countries before but it is hoped that the deal will increase the economic cooperation between the two. This is definitely a step in the right direction for North Korea. Foreign trade should improve its economic situation and may possibly, as Quinones said, allow some foreign information to seep into the country. While its good in purely humanitarian terms that North Korea is stabilizing I am worried that this will mean that Kim will remain in power longer. Which do you guys think is a more preferable alternative: North Korea to collapse economically which would lead to a massive humanitarian crisis but would probably spell the end of the Kim Jong Il regime or for North Korea to rebound, as it is doing now, which will end or at least reduce the starvation problem but will probably mean that Kim stays in power until he dies?

"N. Korea Refuses U.N. Aid"

Hello all,

This is an article about North Korea's refusal to participate in the UN-run CAP (Consolidated Appeals Process) aid program. Apparently, the North Korean government "continued to require humanitarian assistance, but it preferred aid through development bodies and NGOs rather than through CAP."

It is amazing how the North Korean government regards itself as an important figure in the international system, and believes it can pick and choose the type of aid it wants, despite the country's economic cirumstances.

A Hard-Line Approach

I came across this article at It says that South Korea wants to take a hard-line approach to North Korea's proliferation of nuclear weapons.
``Our commitment to a denuclearized Korean peninsula is ... clear. As to our position that North Korean nuclear capability can by no means be tolerated -- this issue must be resolved peacefully through the six-party talks,'' said Roh, referring to negotiations that involve both Koreas, China, Japan, Russia and the United States.

This article also talks about how President Roh avoided questions regarding the IAEA report on South Korea's nuclear proliferation. The tensions between North and South Korea seem to be heightening to an even greater level.
Here's the link:

Friday, November 12, 2004

IAEA: "Seoul's Lab Tests Not Linked to Nukes"

Hello again,

I just came across another article on the South Korean nukes. The following is a response from the deputy head of the National Security Council, who is currently visiting the United States: "Our government has dealt with the issue transparently in active cooperation with the IAEA, and it is not a matter to attract suspicions."

However, Lee added that US officials, including John Bolton, the chief US arms control official, shared this view, but Bolton "expressed the view that South Korea should face U.N. scrutiny over its recently revealed nuclear experiments."

Reports of the nuclear experiments include only "objective" facts concerning South Korea's nuke tests:
According to the 8-page report, the average enrichment level of the 0.2-gram uranium produced in the 2000 experiment was 10.2 percent, but a very small amount was close to 77 percent. As far as the quality is concerned, uranium enriched to 90 percent is generally considered weapons grade.
So the question remains: Should they refer the report to the UN Security Council for greater scrutiny, or just resolve it at a board metting on November 25? What does everyone think?

South Korea's Nuke Tests Deemed "A Mistake"

Hey all,

I noticed that the South Korean nuke tests was the topic of discussion so here is another article on the whole ordeal. It is quite evident that the IAEA is not too happy about it either:
The report clearly states, however, that the "failing to report to the IAEA was an objective mistake," and it appeared there was still the possibility South Korea's past nuclear experiment would be referred to the U.N. Security Council during the IAEA Board of Governor's meeting on Nov. 25.
Hmm, what was South Korea's response to all of this?

Thursday, November 11, 2004

South Korean nuke tests

In regards to the claim that South Korea has conducted enrichment experiments in order to produce weapons-grade materials, the International Atomic Energy Agency has stated that this indeed did occur but not a large quantity of material was made. The agency also stated that this program has not continued in South Korea. Here is an excerpt from the IAEA's report: "Although the quantities of nuclear material involved have not been significant, the nature of the activities -- uranium enrichment and plutonium separation -- and the failures of the ROK to report these activities in a timely manner ... is a matter of serious concern," You can find the rest of the article at

DPRK holds off on nuclear talks

This from BBC:

North Korea has indicated it is not ready to resume stalled multinational talks
on its nuclear weapons ambitions.
Analysts believe Pyonygyang had been
holding off in the hope that a new US president would be elected.
But in
their first comments since George W Bush's re-election, officials from the North
reportedly said an early resumption of talks was not possible.

This really isn't anything unexpected, considering North Korea has to reevaluate how it's going to gain anything from nuclear talks. Obviously it didn't get the outcome it wanted in the U.S. election (though it's debatable whether or not Kerry would have conceded more), so it's only recourse is to wait and see how Bush changes his NK policy (if at all).

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Korean War bombing

Professor Larsen had a quote in his powerpoint last week about the bombing campaign in North Korea, it was something to the effect of "Everything has been destroyed, there is nothing there left worth bombing." Does anyone know the exact quote or who said it? If you can help me out e-mail me at Thanks

Nuke Korea

More information on the declassified documents that stated the U.S. had plans to nuke North Korea if the country attack South Korea. What's really interesting is the U.S. had kept nuclear weapons in South Korea until 1998 despite saying they had taken them out in 1991. Take a look.

Japanese NK Human Rights Bill

The Japanese are pushing for a North Korean human rights bill to be instituted, perhaps similar to the US North Korean Human Rights Act. This would place more international pressure on North Korea in relation to human rights issues. Doesn't seem like a bad idea at all. See the full story here: (Sorry the link thing doesn't work on my computer)

More sea border conflict

just got an email update from cnn about this story.. it is another incident near the place that the ones occured last week... the North wants to push the line farther south, and in 1999 declared it invalid.. it seems to me like they are pushing the south more and more in the recent weeks, and then blame the south saying that they are trying to start a clash. The north claims it was keeping Chinese boats under a watchful eye.

I feel like since I signed up for these email alerts, there have been quite a few in the past few weeks, between the skirmishes on water, the refugees escaping, and the hole in the fence on the DMZ.. maybe it is just because i havent really kept track of these issues before this, but i dont recall this many problems in as short a time..

suggestions as to if these may be intentional or truly what the North claims?

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Team America: World Police

Hello all,

Today in class, someone mentioned the movie, Team America: World Police and asked if anyone had watched it. I actually saw the movie in theaters this past weekend, and I must say, it was very funny. In the film, Kim Jong Il wanted to destroy other countries in an attempt to have North Korea as the new superpower of the international system. Of course, he fails, but he is not completely destroyed (I do not wish to ruin it for those who have yet to watch it) which adds a comical twist to the ending.

Here is the link to the official website of Team America: World Police.


Nukes talks

Here is a bit of news: Russia today renewed its call for North Korean nukes talks. I wonder if North Korea will feel compelled to act now that the presidential election in the US is over.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Pyongyang Diaries

Finishing up the library assignment today, I took the opportunity to watch (half of) the documentary "Pyongyang Diaries." It was filmed by an Australian team shortly after Kim Il Sung's death. It reminded me in many ways of that documentary we started watching in class on Thursday. It captured anti-American sentiment in the North and demonstrated the DPRK government's control over its people's interpretation of history. It truly is amazing to me how effective the DPRK's government is insofar as being totalitarian. In the film, one North Korean woman expressed her desire and vision for a united Korea all paying tribute to Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il... I sincerely doubt that will ever happen.

On a secondary note, I enjoyed the beginning of the *new* North Korean documentary we watched in class and look forward to finishing it. It isn't very often Americans (or any other foreigners in that regard) can take a glimpse inside of the DPRK.

While we were finding WMDs in Iraq....

North Korea was busy shipping off nuclear materials to Iran.
According to the Shimbun, North Korea air transported several kilograms of
fluorine gas, a requisite material for producing the "fluorinated uranium
(UF6)," a material needed for making enriched uranium, to Iran on May 20.

Now, I don't know if this source is credible, but if it is, this topic should be cause for much concern. Also, an anti-war blog discusses Why North Korea Needs Nukes.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

change in bush policy?

This is an interesting article written by an asian news agency about how the Iraq war could influence Bush's policy in Iraq. It says that the primary lesson learned by the Bush administration during the Iraq war is that he cannot "go in alone" which he basically did in Iraq, with the exception of Poland. This will have two effects on his policy towards Iraq, the article says. One, it will further cement Bush's opinion that bilateral talks will not work. And second, in the event that military action is taken against the DPRK, Bush will first seek widespread international support and build a true coalition before going in. The article also says that even if North Korea did dismantle its weapons programs, Kim would never let weapons inspectors search the entire country. Finally, the article says that human rights should be as important an issue as nuclear proliferation if Bush wants to maintain a consistent foreign policy. He can't go into Iraq and then, when no weapons are found, claim that it was to remove a horrible dictator, and then let Kim reside in Pyongyang for ten more years. Do you guys think it would be hypocritical for Bush to invade Iraq and then let the North Korea situation simmer?

Bush Wants Multilateral Talks, but are they the right choice

Unfortunatly, now that President Bush has been re-elected, there will be multilateral talks with North Korea on there nuclear policies. Bush has promised to make talks with N.K. one of his top priorities in his next term. There is one problem, should there be multilateral talks, or nilateral talks. It is undersstood that over the past term of George W. Bush the six-party talks have been stalled many times. And, if Bush thinks that the six-party talks will ever continue he is out of his mind. How stupid can you be to continue something that has never worked in the past. He must be to lazy think of something new.

Nuclear Simulation

I found a very interesting article about the US simulating a nuclear invasion on NK if by any chance NK invades SK. Aircrafts would drop mock 30 warheads on numerous sites. This article also gives concrete info on the existence of the weapons sites in NK.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

resumption of talks?

According to this article, Bush and South Korea's President have agreed to resume six-party talks with North Korea. Japan also agreed to resume talks. I think that no matter what deal the U.S. and other countries present to North Korea, weapons inspectors are an essential condition. Obviously, having Kim Jong Il simply say that the weapons are gone isn't enough. I think if you remove the chance that North Korea has WMDs, then Kim loses a lot of bargaining room. I don't really think that we will have any chance at removing Kim; I think we have just have to wait until he dies. But, if we know that he doesn't have Weapons of Mass Destruction, it will make waiting easier.

North Korea's Response to Election

I found two articles from this website.....I'm not sure how accurate one of them is, seeing that it comes from the "Tehran Times" but I figured I would post it anyway.

SEOUL (Reuters) -- The deputy chief of North Korea's mission at the United Nations doubts newly reelected President George W. Bush will change U.S. policy toward Pyongyang, a South Korean newspaper reported on Friday.
Han Song-ryol told Hankyoreh, a left-wing daily, it was impossible to resume six-party talks on North Korea's nuclear programs at the moment although the multilateral talks format was nonetheless a good one

The second article talks about policy now, after the election.

BEIJING. Nov 6 (Interfax-China) - Pyongyang believes bilateral talks between North Korea and the United States would be the best way to seek a solution to international problems caused by North Korean nuclear programs, a North Korean diplomatic source said on Saturday.
The source told Interfax that North Korea and the United States would then be able to come to terms on 90% of their points of dispute.

More on Charles Jenkins

This is another article about Charles Jenkins. It is not necessarily a direct interview, but there are many direct quotes from Jenkins that is included throughout the article. For those who have not read about Jenkins yet, here is a brief overview of what happened:
  • Jenkins vanished from South Korea in 1965
  • For years he lived in a bare one-room hut with three other Americans
  • He and his wife were happily united in their hatred of the regime, he says
  • Jenkins, seeking leniency from the U.S. Army, is offering details on North Korean espionage

Despite defecting to the North, Jenkins is willing to accept what the Americans give him:

What he wants now is an end to a nearly four-decade odyssey as he prepares to turn himself over to the Americans. He has no interest in getting a civilian attorney. "The American army has supplied, assigned a very capable man to me, to help me, bring me to military justice. I don't think I need no civilians. All I want to do is clear myself with the American army.

North Korea's Nuclear Crisis

Now that the President has been reelected, North Koreans are demanding a shift in US policy toward North Korea. According to this article, North Korea will not engage in talks unless there are changes to US policies. A left-leaning writer for The New York Times said the following:
I’ve seen how the Bush administration manages its policy towards North Korea for four years, and I doubt that they will make any shift in policy in the future. [...] We will never give up our deterrence as long as the Bush administration keeps its hostile policy toward North Korea.
It would be interesting to see US-North Korean relations unfold throughout the course of the next few months.

Friday, November 05, 2004

More on Jenkins......

I found this article today containing Jenkin's description of his life in North Korea. It seems he and other American defectors were virtually prisoners, as they were confined to certain areas, often beaten, and forced to study and memorize the works of the Great Leader for up to sixteen hours per day. Jenkins tells of how he and his fellow prisoners once tried to escape at the Soviet embassy, but were turned away as soon as officials realized they weren't Russian. Interesting to read.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Charles Jenkins

I've been keeping track of the Charles Jenkins case and he was sentenced I believe yesterday. He defected to North Korea in 1965 and stayed there until early this year. While he was in North Korea he taught students English and took part in propaganda announcements. He pleaded guilty to defecting in his trial. What suprised me about this case is that Jenkins was only sentenced to thirty days in prison. Apparantly plea bargained with U.S. Military Officers. I was expecting a sentence that was much more harsh. According to "I walked away from my squad ... for the purpose of going to North Korea," Jenkins told the court in a soft voice, adding that he had planned to desert for 10 days and had tied a white T-shirt to his rifle to signal his surrender, The Associated Press reported.

You can find the article here:

What a second term means for North Korea

All partisan affiliation put aside, I believe that the re-election of George W. Bush may benefit negotiations with North Korea more than Democrats are willing to admit. Though I believe John Kerry's bilateral approach to North Korea would be more effective than the current multilateral talks, Bush's relection forces North Korea to begin negotiating sooner than later. Suppose Kerry won the election, it still would have been about 3 months before he assumed office. All the meanwhile Kim Jung-il would be free to continue his nuclear proliferation and excuse his absence from negotiations by pointing the finger at the transition of administrations in the US. And then even after Kerry would take office (January 20) it would be difficult to expect him to drastically improve relations with North Korea as quickly as we'd like. Now Kim has no such excuse. For all of shrub's shortcomings, I hope he lives up to his tough talk in the weeks to come. Neither Bush nor Kim any longer have excuses to ignore one another.

North Korean Defector's Testimony

I don't remember if anyone's posted this site up or anything like it before, but there you go. The site offers an inside look at North Korea as experienced by a North Korean defector. I don't know how accurate it is, though. Still, it is very interesting and touches on many areas. The following is an excerpt from the site.

"North Korea sees political chaos in South Korea as the best window of opportunity, though US and Chinese reactions to the attack remain important variables. The North will attempt to instigate turmoil in the south through its underground espionage network, and strike when turmoil combines with an international incident that necessitates large-scale dispatch of US troops elsewhere. "

Again, I'm not entirely sure if all he says could possibly be true or not, but it's interesting to read anyway.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

4 More Years...

So Kerry finally concedes. I watched the returns nonstop last night from 7:00pm-3:00am, predicting, correctly, that Bush would win. And indeed it did all come down to Ohio. As I have said before, I voted for Kerry, but I still truly did not mind a Bush victory. I have said many times there were both advantages and disadvantages to both of them.

I am glad Bush won for his North Korea policy of bilateral talks. Kim Jong Il had been known to be watching the American election closely before negotiating to see if there would be a shift in power. No dice. Maybe now he will submit and realize that multi-lateral talks are the only way he can communicate with us.

Anyway, I wouldn't have been completely happy with either Kerry or Bush becoming president, as each of them is significantly flawed. However, with Bush's victory, it is time to unite the country. I know we have been very polarized as a nation for the past year and more, but we have to accept the voters' decision. In this race, Bush won in both the popular vote and the electoral college, so I don't see this become another 2000 election debacle. It is my hope that such antics do not occur in 2004.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004


Check out the recently updated "Naenara" site. Definitely worth a browse.


According (at one remove) to South Korea's Yonhap News
North Korea on Tuesday urged its people to be armed against foreign liberal culture, saying the "bourgeois wave" is a psychological tactic by the United States aimed at destroying the Pyongyang regime. The U.S. "is trying to send in obscene publications and discrepant rogue recordings using travellers, and worse, mini-radios and televisions using balloons," Minju Chosun, the North Korean Cabinet's journal, said in its latest publication,
This caught my eye in light of Ken Quinones's statements about changing North Korea one mind at a time with DVD's, magazines and the like. It is apparent that some in P'yongyang are aware of the subversive potential of Western media.

DPRK claims southern provocation in naval incident

Of course, probably nothing new here. This BBC article, quoting the KCNA, conveys a North Korean assertion that its ships were on a "routine patrol" and that only the actions of its commanders prevented a bloody encounter.
To follow up Lauren's post, it seems that this kind of incident is nothing new, as similar encounters in years past have actually resulted in shots fired and people killed. I think North Korea is testing the limits of "how far it can go," like it does around the negotiating table.

Monday, November 01, 2004


Hey everyone, this isn't exactly on topic but it relates. Tonight PBS's Frontline will be about the choice between Bush and Kerry. I watched it in 2000 and it was very well done. It's on at 9:00 here, channel 26 for me.

Pressure on North Korea and Iran

here is an article talking about the nuclear situation in both the DPRK and Iran. Notice that he is frustrated by the lack of 6 party talks. He said he was "a bit frustrated" at the inefficiency of the talks and not drawing the North Koreans to negotiate.

He also said, "I'm telling the North Koreans again that the international community is ready to look into your security concerns, ready to look into your economic and humanitarian needs, but a prerequisite is for them to commit themselves to full, verifiable, dismantlement of their weapons program - as they say they have a weapons program,"

Now, if history serves as an indicator, which it has proved not to, ie. Red Sox, Kerry will be the president according to the outcome of yesterday's Redskins game (maybe its something to do with the Red theme...) He'll be for bilateral talks in North Korea, for United Nations involvement, and against the ideas of the UN's IAEA chief?

China's Harsh Words

On the eve of the election, China castigated George Bush for his pre-emptive strike policy and called the war in Iraq disasterous. China's former foreign minister Qian Quichen issued these words today and said that these actions would ultimately be the United States demise. He goes on to say that September 11th created an "Axis of Evil." Is this just another rant or does it hold some truth to it? Take a look and tell me what you all think. HERE

Something Bigger Going On?

Hey All-
Saw this article on this morning. It says that 3 North Korean navy vessels crossed the maritime border in 2 separate locations, causing South Korean patrol boats to fire upon the ships and force them back over the border. My question is, could something on a larger scale being going on here? I think that when you combine this information with the information about the 3 holes in the DMZ fence, chances are pretty high that the two are somehow related and that something is in the works. What does everyone think?

Sunday, October 31, 2004

NK Defector Walks into U.S. Consulate in Moscow

Hello everyone,

This article states that a NK defector walked into a U.S. Consulate in Moscow to seek refuge:

It has been confirmed that the man went to an influential local newspaper to ask for help, saying that he did not want to go back to North Korea, a week before he entered the U.S. Consulate. But the paper refused his request, after which he entered the Consulate. This is the first time that a North Korean has entered a foreign legation in Russia.
Some 12,000 NK workers in forestry, agriculture and construction across Russia are also seeking refuge, but are having a difficult time to do so:

[...] [I]t is not easy for them to seek refuge because they live in a systematically monitored group, are very loyal to their communist country and most of them have families in North Korea.
As evident, this leaves many NK refugees in a predicament, and at the same time, it is difficult to decide what it is that can be done to provide a solution to this issue.

Friday, October 29, 2004

End to North Korea Crisis

I found an article from The New York Times that according to a prominant former South Korean general, the North Korea crisis will not end with KIm Jung Il in power. Overall, this article is not too shocking and just restates everything we already know regarding the multi-party talks. It never continues to amaze me how little information the media actually publishes. It frustrates me that there is not more information published in these prominant news sources. The article also calls the Korean peninsula a "powder keg" which is very true and is very scary. I don't want the fuse to be lit in my lifetime, but like Dr. Quinones said, it's our generation's problem. Here is the address to the article:

South Korea's View on NK

During class on Thursday, we were discussing the South Korean government's view on the North Korean government, and how the movie JSA depicts the idea of neutrality when considering which side is to blame for Korea's division. As Professor Larsen indicated, this idea from the South Korean government and its people is revolutionary.

This is an article that conveys this idea. I have highlighted segments of the article and posted them below:

"Korea’s 2004 defense white paper will be published and distributed in mid-January next year, three months later than originally scheduled."

"The white paper is a low-level document on national security strategies, strongly hinting at the possibility of replacing the main enemy description."

"Presidential security adviser Kwon Jin-ho said at a parliamentary inspection on Oct. 22 that a definition of our main enemy narrowly means the North Korean leadership and its military
followers and that he wanted to define the North as a main threat, instead of as the main enemy."

Not North Korea related, but.....

Since we do talk about politics in class, you all should enjoy this site!

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Exhaustive Confusion

So I've been reading North Korea Through the Looking Glass this evening, and it occured to me that the DPRK presented by Hassig/Oh is much different than the DPRK the news writes about. Apparently North Korea is a nation whose populous is constantly on the brink of starvation and malnurishment, a nation devoid of industry or services, a nation with a defunct administration that begs its enemies for foreign aid in order to maintain the status quo. How does this stack up against "nukular" North Korea? Not very well. Or at least I'm still having trouble digesting it all.

President Clinton has noted in both his novel and in recent speechs that North Korea became a cause for concern during the latter months of his second term. But North Korea was hardly on the map for our generation at the time of the 2000 Presidential debates. Today, though most people cannot locate North Korea on a map, many understand that this impoverished 4th world nation is one of the greatest threats to US interests today. How did this come to be? Why does it appear that neither Presidential candidates have addressed this problem?

President Bush tried to take a hard line against Kim Jong-il by working hard to maintain 20 months of no negotiations (hard work indeed). This policy failed by allowing North Korea to be all but a step away from becoming a full-fledged nuclear power. So Bush foreign policy: No weapons (as in Iraq), invade; we think they have weapons (as in Korea), give them more time to develop them so that we can be sure?? What kind of foreign policy is this?

Senator Kerry provides few details on how exactly his foreign policy would differ besides his approach to negotiations. And to be quite honest, I have grown tired of trying to pin down his approach to any aspect of Asian foreign policy (not unusual, but certainly a pesterance).

So what is North Korea and if it is what we really say it is, why is nothing being done, and why is what is being done not enough? And finally, why haven't our leaders stepped forward to confront this problem? Some have suggested that our current policy is working. This is true to an extend, but a very limited extent. The current policy is not without its risks, and if these risks are as grave as the ever ghoulish Dick Cheney has proclaimed, then obviously our current policy is a long way from being satisfactory.

Okay, I've digressed. I'm still baffled by how this 4th world nation, and I use the term fourth world because I cannot think of any 3rd world nations with many similarities, can pose such a great risk and remain unconfronted by the world's leading superpower, especially considering the current administrations neoconservative/"pre-emptive" approach to foreign policy. Slowly I've come to reconcile this image of Korea. although it has not been easy. So where does this leave us? How will Senator Kerry tackle the challenges presented by a "nukular" North Korea as President? I can feel a headache coming on... I'll continue to clarify my rant tomorrow.

North Korean Refugees Arrested in China

Reports say Chinese police have raided two safe houses in Beijing, arresting 60 North Korean refugees preparing to seek asylum.
The raid came as Beijing condemned an upsurge in large-scale asylum bids by North Koreans fleeing food shortages and repression in their homeland. China's has vowed a zero tolerance approach to North Korean asylum seekers. These raids could be the first indication of what that might mean. A local newspaper said around 60 illegal immigrants were arrested east of Beijing, as well as two South Koreans. The South Korean news agency Yonhap said the group was believed to be planning to enter a foreign mission, or school, in Beijing.

In the latest of such attempts, 14 North Koreans on Monday tried to scale the walls of the South Korean consulate in Beijing, but 11 were stopped by Chinese guards, one of whom was filmed hitting them with an electric cattle prod. In the past two months, more than 100 North Koreans have sought asylum in foreign missions and schools in Beijing. They are now waiting to be given safe passage to South Korea. Beijing has called such attempts "serious violations of Chinese law". It has urged foreign embassies to stop providing refuge to North Koreans, whom it sees as illegal immigrants.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

naval drill near korea

Apparently a couple of days ago, the Japanese, with U.S. supervision, staged a practice interception of a boat relatively close to North Korea. As the article describes, the Japanese and Americans were practicing intercepting boats carrying weapons of mass destruction. The Japanese are apparently worried that boats may be used to transport nuclear weapons or materials either in or out of North Korea and also possibly that a North Korean boat loaded with a WMD could be driven into a Japanese bay and detonated, as Professor Larsen mentioned in class. It probably was also meant as a message to the DPRK that the Japanese are prepared for an attack and are militarily capable, though the Japanese deny this (that it was a message). What I think is interesting is, since the U.S. was involved in the exercise, that the exercise really encapsulates the Bush administration's approach to the DPRK, which is the opposite of the relatively non-confrontational stance taken by earlier administrations. Bush has rejected appeasement and instead is trying to send a clear message to North Korea not to mess around. This strategy sounds nice, but it doesn't appear to be working any better than the aid-for-talks strategy. I think if we try to flex our muscles, Kim will simply escalate the situation and it will get to the point that Kim will only back down if we take a step we might not be prepared to take (like airstrikes). For example, shortly after this naval exercise, increased activity around missile sites was reported and there were rumors that the DPRK was preparing to test a rocket. What do you all think?

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Simpson '04

Well, the mood's been quite tense over the past few days with talk of nuclear proliferation, holes in fences, possible infiltrators, and diplomatic stalemate, so I thought I'd lighten the blog a little bit....

According to a poll of U.K. television viewers, Homer J. Simpson should succeed George W. Bush as President of the United States. Read the article here. Worth a chuckle or two. Can you picture it? "Mmmmmmm.........pork barrel legislation." "No WMD'S? Doh!" If Dubya gave us some interesting sound bites, imagine Homer talking to reporters about the nukular situation in North Korea.

Anyway good thing our candidates atleast are of flesh and blood, even if they lack brains or personalities. Happy one-week-before-the-election day!

More on The Hole

Hello everyone,

Contrary to Chris and Lauren's articles, this article from a Korean newspaper is stating that it is highly likely that it was a South Korean civilian defecting North!

This is what the Joint Chiefs of Staff Head of Operations Brig. General HWANG Jung Seon of the DPRK said in a press conference:

Considering how the holes in the fence were square-shaped and were opened South to North and footprints and handprints at the scene were imprinted from the South to the North, there were no particular signs related to an infiltration attempt, and it is judged that an unknown individual went to the North.
Interesting contradiction from both sides. I am excited to see how this will play out.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Hole in the Fence

Here's another article about the new hole in the fence on the South Korean side of the DMZ. I'm curious as to why so little attention has been paid to the possibility that the hole was cut by civilian defectors as opposed to North Korean troops. Additionally, what do people think about the fact that this occurred during Colin Powell's southeast-Asian journey? Just a question to think about...

South Korean Border Breach?

According to this article, the South Korean border may have been breached by North Korean guerillas. All they've found is a hole in the fence for now, but the Korean news should be quite interesting for the next couple of days.

Korean War

I was just watching a program on the history channel. (narrated by chuck heston interestingly) It said that initially Chinese troops that came into Korea did so disguised as North Koreans. I had never heard of anything like this. The program also talked about how Russians were involved in the air war.

Dr. C. Kenneth Quinones

I thought it was quite amazing that such a person like Dr. Quinones was able to speak to our class. It was great to speak with someone who has been to North Korea and who still presently goes. It was also interesting that he spoke with the very famous leaders of North Korea and was able to share some of his stories with our class. He was a very entertain individual and I was very interested in all of his stories. I probably could have spoken with him on North Korea for hours.

North Korea Apple Tree Project

Rememer the story that Dr. Quinones told us about bringing the apple trees to North Korea? Here is an article that talks about it.

It is actions like those that will bring the world closer to peace. I loved when Dr. Quinones talked about the little things that helped bridge our two peoples--Like getting to know the waitress who hated him at first, or showing the Ambassador's family around Washington DC. Perhaps we could take a lesson or two in how to deal with Iraq and the Middle East from this.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

More on Powell's Visit to the DPRK

Hello everyone,

You can find a little more information about Powell's visit here. The general focus seems to be on the fact that Powell will not accept North Korean conditions for resuming six-party talks.

North Korea may be waiting for the result of the upcoming presidential election in the U.S., but he does not think that the North would see changes in the framework of the six-way talks regardless of the outcome of the election.
It is interesting how accurate Dr. Quinones was on his speculation about multilateral talks with NK.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Here is some more about Powell and North Korea. Evidently North Korea's newest threat is to double the size of its "nuclear deterent." I think it's interesting and even sometimes amusing to observe North Korea's threats. They seem to come up with more and more unique threats everyday.

Friday, October 22, 2004


I just saw on MSNBC that Colin Powell is in the region around North Korea. He evidently said that the United States does not know the extent of North Korea's weapons program. He is going in the area to discuss the possibility of 6 party talks about nuclear weapons in North Korea.

The Election and the news

I have noticed lately that it is really hard to find any news articles regarding North Korea or any other country for that matter on mainstream news websites because of the constant stream of articles relating to the presidential election. Everything is a Kerry said/Bush said type article. One I found today on was particularly amusing to me. This article is basically about how Condoleeza Rice has been making speeches in swing states. The only mention of any issues that voters should be focused on in the race was found in one quote in the last paragraph of the article.

"For all its fear mongering on the war on terror, this White House has a greater commitment to its political security than to our national security," Edwards said in Canton, Ohio. "The fact is that the violence in Iraq is spiraling out of control, Osama bin Laden remains at large and North Korea and Iran have increased their nuclear capabilities. With all this going on, Condi Rice shouldn't take the time to go on a campaign trip for George Bush."

The rest of the article can be found at this website (again I apologize that I can't hyperlink):

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Today's Class

I enjoyed Dr. Quinones' visit to the class, thought it was quite interesting. Good to see a liberal that is willing to listen to somebody else's point of view (his coauthor). Brought up interesting points, saying that 6 party talks are not the way to go, none of the other 4 countries want in, also said bilateral wouldnt be very effective either though (it's slipped my mind as to what he supported...)

I was also interested to hear about KJL's health.. especially with this incident with Fidel Castro today.. funny that they say he can come back from this without a problem, even at 78?? Well, I suppose we'll just have to wait to see what comes of both of their health issues...

Plans scratched for new ROK capital

From BBC - "South Korea's constitutional court has blocked a government plan to move the capital from Seoul to a new site."

There goes the speculation on that subject, which apparently was a huge part of Roh Moo-hyun's presidential campaign. The article cites poor planning and high cost as reasons for blocking the plan, as well as the need for a consitutional amendment or national referendum. Beyond that, I also think that if the issue of concern is Seoul's proximity to the DMZ, then moving the capital south might protect the structure of government in case of attack, but it would do nothing for the twenty million people living in or around the current capital. Any thoughts?

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

china take over collapsed DPRK?

This is from a South Korean website and says that, in the event of a North Korean collapse, it is entirely possible that China, rather than South Korea, would absorb North Korea. The article cites a Chinese professor who is also a foreign policy advisor for the Chinese government who says that, "China intends to incorporate North Korea into its military federation and eventually make it a subordinate state." The South Korean article goes on to say that Koreans have little confidence that the U.S. would intervene in a Chinese take over of North Korea and also that South Korea couldn't do much to prevent a Chinese takeover. I have no idea if this is a credible source or not, but its an interesting article.

Monday, October 18, 2004


According to this article, China wants to persuade NK into talking with the US. NK is very reluctant to do so but the supplies coming from China might dwindle if Jung does not comply. This relationship between North Korea and China is very delicate and NK is putting China in an awkward position.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Working Together?

According to this article, Japan claims for the first time that North Korea holds plutonium-baed nuclear weapons. This comes as no suprise to many. The problem here is that the article also states that Pakistan is now involved in aiding NK with the production of these weapons. NK is getting tips from scientists in Pakistan which may lead to Libya/Iran involvement in production. Pakistan might be a threat on the same level as NK soon.

US/China/Korea Talks

It appears that talks over the nuclear problem in North Korea could be started up again soon. This article says that both the US and China are confident N. Korea will return. Of course, this could all be jargon.

"Asylum Seekers"

Here is another article on the border crossers from North Korea. I was suprised to see the estimate of rufugees camped out and hiding outside of North Korea. (Over 100,000)

Japanese are convinced that DPRK has nukes

While it may be more of the same, this article says that Japanese officials believe that the DPRK has developed a plutionium bomb, similar to what was used in WWII. Apparently, the North Koreans were helped to develop the nuclear weapon by the Pakistan government and Japan found out about the connection after a Pakistani scientist confessed. This same scientist admitted to leaking nuclear secrets to Libya and Iran as well. If he is telling the truth, its pretty scary because if the DPRK has nuclear weapons, it is very possible a terrorist organization could get their hands on it.

North Korean Defectors in South Korea

This is a sad article about North Korean defectors that have fled to South Korea. Due to their lack of understanding of the capitalistic economic system, the North Koreans are having financial difficulties.

According to a report filed by the Unification Ministry, approximately 70 percent of North Korean defectors were living on government allowances, while only 1.45% of the defectors were actually employed.

To combat these issues, the South Korean government has made it mandatory that North Korean defectors attend the Unification Ministry institution called Hanawon, which according to defectors "focus more on South Korean culture and capitalist systems rather than teaching practical skills such as how they can make a living in South Korea."

And indeed, the program has been ineffective. "Each North Korean family receives a small-sized apartment upon graduation of Hanawon and a 600,000 won per month subsidy from the government." However, many, if not all North Koreans still live in miserable conditions and in fact, are even viewed in a condescending manner by the South Koreans.

Nam Sung-wook, a political science professor at Korea University, agreed that "More and more defectors may move [to South Korea], but things show our society is still not prepared to accept them. If we don’t take proper steps, defectors will become a huge burden for South Korea in the future."

A government report from South Korea estimated that there are currently 3,559 defectors in South Korea. This number is projected to "surpass the 10,000 mark [in South Korea] as early as next year with more than 300,000 defectors estimated to be living in China." Despite the small number of defectors currently in South Korea, the South Koreans are having a difficult time assisting the defectors' transition into their new lifestyles. These defectors are still living in miserable conditions, though I am not denying that they are living better lives in South Korea.

In any event, the larger concern is the possible reunification of the North and South. Should this occur, the economy in the Korean peninsula will suffer tremendously. Despite South Korean efforts, I wonder whether a solution to this problem even exists.

North Korean Envoy Arrives in China

According to this article, Kim Yong Nam, North Korea's #2 leader, will arrive in China on Monday to celebrate the 55th anniversary of China's cooperation with North Korea.

What I do not quite understand is why China has cooperated with North Korea since the outbreak of the Korean War. What is it that China gains from their close relationship with North Korea?

Saturday, October 16, 2004

The "Official" Homepage of the DPRK

I don't know if this has been posted, but even if it has I think it should be looked at again. I just found the website it calls itself the Official Homepage of the DPRK. It is really a sight for the Korean Friendship Association which is an organization that deals with cultural issues in Korea and relations culturally to other countries. I found a nice mp3 on there and a couple other interesting things. I personally think this site is sketchy but fun to explore. Enjoy.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Thoughts on Joint Security Area

Hello everyone!

JSA was a great movie and I agree with both Bob and Lauren about the subtle humor throughout it, and I must say that there was indeed some funny scenes. Surprisingly, however, the whole "good guy (South)" versus "bad guy (North)" scenerio did not exist. Rather, the movie illustrated a sense of resentment toward the US about the division in the Korean peninsula.

In my opinion, the most significant aspect of the movie thus far was the brotherly bond between the four main characters in JSA amidst the battles between the North and South, which effectively depicted the situation in the Korean peninsula as a disappointing and rather depressing issue.

In any event, I hope to watch the rest of the movie because I enjoyed it just as much as everyone else did.


Hey everyone- I just thought that I would respond to Professor Larsen's email about our thoughts on the movie here. I really liked the cinematography and the characters...I thought all 4 of the main ones were very interesting. I also thought it was a pretty funny movie...really clever subtle humor :). But I have to say it was pretty gross. The dead bodies with the rigor mortis and the bullet holes on top of the violent death scenes...bad news. On the whole though I enjoyed it and would really like to finish it in class on Tuesday.

Asylum Seekers

I found a Reuters article about 14 people who have gone through great lengths to seek asylum in China from North Korea. According to, this group went as far as getting through a barbed wire fence and scaling a wall in trying to seek asylum. In the last month, 44 people have tried to seek asylum. These refugees go to various foriegn embassies in Beijing, last month these refugees literally lept into the Canadian embassy after scaling a fence.
You can find the article here:

Image of North Korea from Space

This website has a satellite image of East Asia at night. It is pretty wild to see how South Korea and Japan and even China have so much more power/energy/light than North Korea does......The rest of the site has some pretty cool maps too, if anyone is interested.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Joint Security Area

I know we had to cut our viewing of Joint Security Area short just as things were heating up, but I wanted to find out everyone's initial reactions anyway. Definitely a good movie; hopefully we'll get to finish it.

One of the most striking themes so far to me is the common ground that the opposing soldiers find. For instance, I enjoyed the humor in the scene when the two are spitting at each other accross the line and cracking up the whole time. Overall, however, the film still seems to promote a realistic, if somewhat pessimistic view toward reunification prospects. The whole "moon pie" scene where Lee proposes the northern soldiers visit the southern side demonstrates ingrained ideological differences.

What does everyone else think?

"Team America"

As I'm sure any serious cinema enthusiast is aware, the upcoming political satire entitled, "Team America: World Police" includes as its main villian Kim Jong Il, pitting him against weapons inspectors and U.S. special forces. Kim's puppet version has a comical sinister voice and is portrayed in the style of "Dr. Evil" from the Austin Powers flicks. More info can be found here.

While I'll probably see this film because of its satirical content, I worry that it may result in a generalized, oversimplified interpretation of North Korea and Kim Jong Il in the minds of some common American's who's only sources of information are South Park and the Daily Show (not that these are necessarily bad shows). Especially after what we've discussed in class about the true likelihood of the DPRK having nuclear weapons, we'll have to see the movie and compare notes to see if it is a misrepresentation or not.

You Forgot Poland!

Not related to North Korea...........Although North Korea is mentioned so it sort of counts, but I think everybody will enjoy this!

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

More Cartoons

I saw Sonia's post and I kinda felt like finding some more funny cartoons. I especially like the one where Kim Jong Il is flashing Saddam and the U.S. officer.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Korean Cartoons

I came across a funny cartoon about Kerry's stance on the North Korean crisis. It addresses the concerns about the possiblity of a preemptive strike on North Korea.

In the cartoon, Kerry's words in the bubble say the following: If talks do not work, we can attack first..."

Here is the link to the cartoon. There is an English caption describing the cartoon so it should not be a problem.

"Korean Relations Undermined by NK Nuclear Program"

According to this article, the growing relationship between the two Koreas has been "undermined after the North started its nuclear weapons program." Without further efforts to facilitate cooperation between the two, "the whole world could face catastrophic disaster."

What does everyone think about that? Is it that severe?

Nukes most serious threat to U.S.

I found this article on It does a bit of a recap from the first debate and discusses the views Kerry and Bush have regarding nuclear proliferation and North Korea.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Differing Views

Senator Kerry and President Bush are each known to have different opinions on how the issue of North Korean nuclear armament should be approached, even if those opinions are not immediately clear. Kerry articulated his solution with great clarity last week, tonight the issue may be touched upon again. The format of the debate is that of a town-hall. In all likelihood one of the participants will ask a question regarding the nuclear threat posed by North Korea. Bush, having been able to recoupe from his mind-numbing performance last week, has an opportunity to explain why his solution may be more productive than bilateral talks. But are their views really so different as they are percieved to be?

The US Ambassador to South Korea has announced that regardless of who is elected President in November, US policy towards a nuclear North Korea will not be affected. His statements reaffirm my belief that there is little disparity in the foreign policy views of both candidates.

North Korea Will Resume Talks If...

I found this article on, it states that North Korea will re-join the six party talks if the United States ends its hostility towards the country. Here's an excerpt

North Korea wants bilateral nuclear talks with the United States but would rejoin stalled six-party meetings at once if Washington dropped its ``hostile policy'' toward Pyongyang, the communist state said on Friday.

The article also goes on to give a quote from the official KCNA news agency:

``The DPRK does not care who becomes president in the U.S. and its only concern is what kind of Korea policy the future administration would shape,''

To me, these talks and this article just continue the game of cat and mouse between the United States and North Korea.

Thursday, October 07, 2004


I was watching CNN today and screamin' Howard Dean was a guest. He seemed to indicate that Bush's focus on Iraq allowed North Korea and Iran to build nuclear weapons. While I think the war in Iraq has been a huge mistake, I don't think it is the cause of North Korea and Iran getting nuclear weapons (if they even have them). What do you all think?

Jenkins trial date set

I just saw on Yahoo News that the court martial for Charles Jenkins, the U.S. soldier who deserted in 1965 and spent time in North Korea encouraging other soldiers to defect and playing roles in anti-American propaganda films.

What do you all think? The article says it seems likely that he'll plea-bargain for a lighter sentence. He's 64 and reported as "frail," so seriously, what can they do to him?

Plan to withdraw from ROK slowed

Jason Kramer posted on this a few days ago, and I though I'd post an update and my thoughts.

BBC is reporting that as opposed to the U.S.'s original plan to pull some troops out of the R.O.K. by 2005, that it will instead phase in a slower plan to remove some 15,000 soldiers by 2008. As Jason said, the U.S. and R.O.K. also plan to restation some troops furthur south out of artillery range.

I don't want to simply repeat what Jason said, but I also found it interesting that the U.S. is slowing the plan because the R.O.K. believes a "sudden departure would leave it vulnerable to the North." To me, even though U.S. military leadership asserts that longer-range weaponry will make up for fewer troops, it still seems that the R.O.K. would be an important place for a strong U.S. military presence, especially with the current uncertainty surrounding D.P.R.K. weapons programs. Though history suggests that Kim Jong Il wouldn't go to war under rational circumstances, as we discussed in class, accidents and misunderstandings can occur. It would seem illogical to remove troops right now.

In God We Trust

In reference to our class discussion, "In God we Trust" was first emblazened on currency during the Civil War.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

ROK's New Capital

A few people in class asked about moving South Korea's capital. I found this site, which talks about the project to move the capital......It has a lot of links to other articles; I thought this one was rather interesting.

And also from that website, this site gives a general overview of the ROK's government.


IAEA Chief urges action

This article goes along with what we were talking about in class. The Director-general of IAEA has urged the UN to take action against North Korea for "violation of international agreements". The Director says that failure to take any action action against North Korea sends a "signal to rogue nations that they are free to acquire nuclear capability without worrying about the consequences." He isn't clear about what action he expects the international community to take, other than he wants North Korea to return to the Non-proliferation agreement. I think the U.S. has to do something, but our "war on terror" in Iraq really handcuffs what we can do with North Korea. Talks haven't worked and North Korea seems pretty hellbent on developing nuclear weapons and, while they may have no intention of using them, as the Director-general said, it does set a dangerous precent to "rogue nations" interested in developing nuclear weapons. Like Professor Larsen said in class, I think the U.S. has to weigh their options, none of which are good. Neither eliminating North Korea's weapons program nor allowing them to further develop it are desirable and both have to the potential to cause a loss of life. But if it was so necessary to remove a dictator like Sadam Hussein, why isn't it as important to remove Kim Song Il who has seen millions of people die under his rule in the last decade. Do any of you think that talks will reach a long term solution?

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Statistics on North Korea

I was referred to a website,, that provides a wide-range of statistics on every country. According to this website, North Korea is first for military expenditures in dollar figures. Although it is not surprising that North Korea emphasizes military power, I was unaware that North Korea came in first in this category.

For the statistics, click here and scroll to the lower portion of the site to view the statistics on North Korea.


A U.S. Naval Ship in the Sea of Japan

The pentagon recently released a statement saying that the U.S. navy ship USS Curtis Wilbur was deployed to the Sea of Japan, which is the coastal side of North Korea. The ship was deployed in order to protect U.S. troops in the area and the U.S. allies. It was also deployed to begin the missile defense system. The ship includes missiles that would be able to shoot down and destroy other long range missiles that would possibly come from North Korea. It also will eventually be able to conduct long range monitering and tracking of enemy missiles. This new missle defense system could posssibly cost 50 billion dollars over the next 5 years. Any Comments

A U.S. Naval Ship in the Sea of Japan

The pentagon recently released a statement saying that the U.S. navy ship USS Curtis Wilbur was deployed to the Sea of Japan, which is the coastal side of North Korea. The ship was deployed in order to protect U.S. troops in the area and the U.S. allies. It was also deployed to begin the missile defense system. The ship includes missiles that would be able to shoot down and destroy other long range missiles that would possibly come from North Korea. It also will eventually be able to conduct long range monitering and tracking of enemy missiles. This new missle defense system could posssibly cost 50 billion dollars over the next 5 years. Any Comments

to go along with class...

Found this article, another point of view on the bi/multilateral talks...

Monday, October 04, 2004

The Internet In North Korea

I recently read an article that talked about the internet in North Korea. Before I read the article, I never knew that North Koreans had e-mail, internet shopping, internet cafes, and other internet related things. It's quite surprising, and therefore makes me wonder how accurate this information really is. Click here to read the article and decide for yourself.

North Korea Hackers

This article is how North Korea has trained several hundred computer hackers to infiltrate U.S. and South Korean websites. Their main objective is to gain information, possibly senstive, from the United States, Japan, or South Korea.
Take a look and let me know what you think.

A Note of Dissent

I was surprised by how many people on this blog think that bilateral talks are the answer to everything. Personally, I can't comprehend how acquiescing to Kim Jong Il's demands will accomplish anything other than giving Kim the impression that he has the upper-hand. And the assertion that bilateral talks would aid multi-party talks seems (to me at least) utterly ridiculous. Once you engage on Kim one-on-one, he will not hear of multilateral discussions. He will have us right where he wants us. There is no reason why Kim shouldn't submit to our reasonable offer (along with China, Japan, Russia, etc.) of multi-party talks.

On this issue I definitely agree with Mr. Bush's position. That is not to say that I agree with Bush or Sen. Kerry all of the time. (I don't particularly like either of them.)


The US has reached a compromise with the ROK government on troop withdrawal (see here) This compromise appears reasonable, as necessary artillery units will remain along the DMZ, and Infantry units will be deployed more effectively, south of Seoul. The US will also continue to aid the ROK in military modernization.

It seems that the withdrawal of some US troops, and the movement of other south of Seoul, will increase our military effectiveness, as these troops would not have to fall back and regroup in the event of an attack.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Library of Congress website

This is a great website provided by the library of congress about North Korea. There is a ton of information here. The site is well organized and the information is in an easy to access outline form.


Isn't talking better than war? It seems to me that if Bilateral talks is all we can get we should go with it. It's a heck of a lot better than war on the Korean Peninsula- Then there really would be a draft. Here is a CNN article about what kerry and bush think about the talks.

US Ridicules KIM Jong Il in Film

Has anyone heard of the US comedy film on KIM Jong Il? This brief article asserts that this film, Team America: World Police is ridiculing more than KIM Jong Il and has extended its effect to "satirizing U.S. President George W. Bush and his war on terrorism."

Aside from issues underlying the film, there is an accurate (and funny) puppet version of KIM Jong Il that appears in the new comedy film, which you will find a picture of within the article.

North Korean Human Rights Act

According to this article, the US is ready to amend the North Korean Human Rights Act but is facing fierce opposition from North Korea:

Putting pressure on countries it does not like by making an issue of human rights and then launching an attack is the favored invasion ploy of the United States,'' the North's Central Broadcasting Station claimed Saturday.

Some provisions of the bill are described below:

The bill provides financial support for private human rights groups assisting North Korean defectors hiding out in China and allows an increase in U.S. broadcasts into the North. The amended version also appoints a special envoy to oversee the human rights issue.

What bothers me is whether the increase in US broadcasts is for the sake of North Korea's well-being or for US interests.

North Korea's nuclear weapons

According to this article, it seems that North Korea has a very interesting explanation for their nuclear weapons program.

North Korea, even while suggesting that it possessed nuclear weapons, claimed through the Rodong Shinmun on Saturday that its uranium enrichment plans were a groundless fabrication made up by the United States.

Seems a little contradictory to me.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Bush & Kerry's opinion's

Here are more direct quotes from both Bush and Kerry on the issue of North Korea. I don't understand how Bush thinks having bilateral talks with NK is playing into Kim II Jung's advantage. Kerry directly wants Pyongang-Washington talks on every single issue with North Korea.

Japan is worried about North Korea

Japan is clearly worried about a North Korean missile attack. This article describes a significant policy shift on the part of Japan for dealing with North Korea. The Japanese Defense Ministry is apparently trying to change Japan's "defense only" policy. They are trying to make it so that Japan can launch a pre-emptive missile attack on North Korea. This, along with the previously mentionned story about the U.S. destroyer, shows that Japan is clearly worried and maybe they know something we don't. It's easy for us to say, "North Korea won't attack Japan" but for the Japanese it seems a very real threat and they, not us, are in danger. Do you think that Japan is being overly cautious or does it have a legitimate reason for doing so.

Friday, October 01, 2004

U.S. Navy Patrols the Sea of Japan

I just came across this article on I don't think anyone has posted on it. Supposedly a U.S. Navy ship is patrolling the Sea of Japan starting with today. This begins an effort to sheild the United States from North Korea, according to the article. Here's a couple of key excerpts:

TOKYO - Amid heightened concerns of a North Korean missile test, a U.S. destroyer has started patrolling the Sea of Japan in what officials say is a first step toward creating a shield to protect the United States and its allies from a foreign missile attack.

North Korea's state-run media was quick to denounce the deployment.

"The U.S. should clearly understand that a preemptive attack is not its monopoly," North Korea's Rodong Sinmun said in a commentary Friday, adding that the deployment of the destroyer "proves that the U.S. attempt to invade the DPRK has reached a serious phase of implementation."

You can go to for the rest of the article.
I've always thought that the U.S would be stricter on North Korean defectors, but according to this article, I guess my assumption has been incorrect.

Korean Film Festival

I was reading a random paper called State of the Arts and I came upon an ad for a korean film festival in D.C.. I don't know if this interests anyone but it seems like a good way to learn a little bit more about korean culture. Anyway, since my computer refuses to do hyperlinks, you guys are going to have to cut and paste again, here's the link:

Thursday, September 30, 2004


I'm watching the debate right now and they've moved into the North Korea area...and it got me so angry that I had to post right now. Bush is claiming that "opening up a dialoge with Kim Jong Il" will not solve the North Korea problem because "that is what Kim Jong Il wants," (for us to open up a dialogue with him.) That seems to be entirely incorrect to me, seeing as how Kim Jong Il has been digging in his heels to these bilateral talks with China, Russia, etc., and has pulled out of the next one. Moreover, even if it is what Jong Il wants, wouldn't that be the first step in structuring some sort of civility and moving towards a more stable relationship and thus more stable world??? Am I the only one who sees the stupidity and fundamental IDIOCY in this?!?!

Kim Jong Il's Wife Dead?

I was browsing the web for articles on North Korea and found this. It is about a month old but pretty detailed.......And speaking of Kim Jong Il, his son was supposedly spotted in Beijing last week.

Here is an excerpt from that first article:
TOKYO -- South Korean officials said Thursday they were investigating reports that the woman considered to be North Korean leader Kim Jong Il's most influential wife has died after a long battle with breast cancer.