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: