Wednesday, December 08, 2004
Here's the article
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.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.
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.
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
Friday, December 03, 2004
Thursday, December 02, 2004
Monday, November 29, 2004
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
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".
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.
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
Monday, November 22, 2004
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
Saturday, November 20, 2004
Friday, November 19, 2004
Thursday, November 18, 2004
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.
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.
Wednesday, November 17, 2004
Tuesday, November 16, 2004
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:
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
``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: http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/national/AP-SKorea-California.html
Friday, November 12, 2004
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?
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
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.
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
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
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.
Monday, November 08, 2004
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.
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
Saturday, November 06, 2004
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.
- 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.
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
Thursday, November 04, 2004
You can find the article here: http://www.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/asiapcf/11/02/korea.jenkins/index.html
"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
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
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.
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
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?
Saw this article on CNN.com 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
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
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."
Thursday, October 28, 2004
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.
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
Tuesday, October 26, 2004
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!
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
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
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
Friday, October 22, 2004
"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
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...
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
Monday, October 18, 2004
Sunday, October 17, 2004
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.
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.
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
http://www.korea-dpr.com/ 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
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.
You can find the article here:
Thursday, October 14, 2004
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?
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.
Wednesday, October 13, 2004
Sunday, October 10, 2004
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.
What does everyone think about that? Is it that severe?
Friday, October 08, 2004
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 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
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?
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.
Wednesday, October 06, 2004
And also from that website, this site gives a general overview of the ROK's government.
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
For the statistics, click here and scroll to the lower portion of the site to view the statistics on North Korea.
Monday, October 04, 2004
Take a look and let me know what you think.
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.)
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
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.
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, 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
Friday, October 01, 2004
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 http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A64434-2004Oct1.html for the rest of the article.
Thursday, September 30, 2004
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.