Thursday, June 30, 2005

Fine Dining in Pyongyang

In the vein of travel-related posts, I saw this article a while ago, and it really surprised me. For a society with such food problems, I don't think gourmet is really where the DPRK needs to go.

North Korea Wages War on Long Hair

The government of North Korea has launched a series of television public service announcements called "Let Us Trim Our Hair In Accordance With Socialist Lifestyle!"

More Sabre Rattling?

Wide awake at this wee hour in the morning and saw this article just pop on the screen while browsing Supposedly satellite imagery has revelead that the DPRK is resuming contruction on two reactors in Yongbyon andThaechon. This is an interesting move given all the talk about a possible North Korean return to the Six-Party Discussion table.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

US Commander in SK says US can repel any NK attack

Here's a Reuters report about an interview that the commander of US forces in South Korea gave yesterday. He reiterates that US and SK forces can repel any potential attack NK may launch, regardless whether Pyongyang has nukes. He says he believes NK has at least 2 nukes.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

"Tourism with a Korean Twist"

Tourism is the biggest industry in the world today. Can the North Koreans make it work for them?

A brief history

North Korean Animation

"North Korea has been winning the heart of animators across the world with its competitive quality and low production costs."

Is it possible that North Korea can develop a globally competitive industry after all?
This Washington Post Article discusses a possible new Presidential Executive Order that could assist in halting the spread of WMD materials and technology. Hoping to be signed by President Bush before his upcoming G-8 Summit in Scotland, the new Order seeks to freeze the assets of proliferators and prohibiting Americans from engaging in transactions with them. These proliferators are eight companies, three of which are located in North Korea. The rest are Iranian, and Syrian. This resembles the measures taken after the 9-11 of attacks by freezing certain assets of individuals. This Order would go even further and affect even foreign banks that do buisness with those eight companies targeted. Seems like the President needs to sign this in order to bring it up at the G-8 Summit. North Korea WMD proliferation should definately be included for an issue of discussion.

Regional News: Sino-Japanese Dispute Heats Up Again

This isn't a North Korea-specific item but it is a regional issue worth highlighting.

If you'll recall earlier this spring, there were massive demonstrations between China and Japan over the depiction of Japanese history toward China in Japanese textbooks. Although, it should be remembered, this was actually just a Chinese proxy war over Japan's pursuit of a seat on the proposed enlargement of the UNSC. After a few months of relative quiet on this issue it has arisen again.

What are the implications for NK? It seems highly unlikely the Sino-Japanese dispute will escalate far beyond what it is now so it would appear the direct effect on Pyongyang would be negligible, if anything at all. Of course, any instability in Northeast Asia is never good for anyone, including NK.

Anyone have any thoughts?

"Grand Bargain"

Today Prof Larsen suggested three possibile ways Bush could deal w/ the DPRK during his second administration. One of the ways he suggested was the grand bargain but said that it was unlikely because the US is too worried that N. Korea might say no. It seems to me that, IF Kim Jong-Il could keep his word, this would be the best way to deal with North Korea. Instead of officially suggesting it, we could test the waters through unofficial channels (have low level state deptartment bureaucrats meet with their equivalents in North Korea. Then, the North Koreans could take it back to Kim Jong Il and have him suggest it. Once he does, Bush could agree to it. That way we save face if he says no, AND it greatly helps Kim's propaganda efforts (esp if the US appologizes for all the pain and strife it caused since the 19th century...though I think we'd have to do what we did when the Chinese shot down our spy plane back in 2001; appologize without actually appologizing) because he is able to show his people that he once again defeated America and through the socialist paradise the Americans have come to see the light blah blah blah. Any thoughts?

The film "stealth"

An upcoming Hollywood blockbuster features a scene in which a stealth fighter attacks North Korea, Yonhap News Agency quoted Japanese daily Sports Hochi as reporting.

In the film ``Stealth,’’ which premieres on July 29 in the United States, North Korea is identified by its real name while the fighter flies over the peninsula and attacks the nation, the daily reported.

The movie, starring Jamie Fox, Josh Lucas and Jessica Biel, also contains a scene in which Biel’s character hits the silk from a fighter in the skies of the communist country.

``Stealth,’’ directed by Rob Cohen, portrays the story of three pilots who try to stop an unexpected incident triggered by newly developed Stealth fighters equipped with artificial intelligence.

There are rising concerns whether scenes from the new movie will create any diplomatic problems between North Korea and the U.S.

Monday, June 27, 2005


In class today we discussed that if South Korean companies were to invest in North Korea, it would be for the long run, as in post-reunification. It seems the Chinese media has become aware of such South Korean companies moving to the China-North Korea border to set up shop. Already over $150 million in South Korean funds have been invested in Yanji the central city for North Korean refugees (located in China's Yanbian region).

Bridging the gap through sports

Here is an article about a sports promoter, Park Sang-kwon, who hopes to bring North and South Korea closer through boxing matches. Tomorrow, female boxers from North and South Korea will fight each other in Pyongyang for the first time ever.

Sports exchanges are an example of how North and South Koreans can express their solidarity and also help to bridge the gap between the two countries and promote cultural exchange. The 2000 and 2004 Olympics, soccer, basketball, and table tennis competitions are other examples. I believe these increased sports exchanges are healthy for the relationship between North and South Korea and are evidence of the fact that the younger generation from both nations are willing to put their differences aside.

Changing Curriculum

I found this article from October 2003 that discusses the Chosen Soren (the North Korean population living in Japan). Apparently, the schools are beginning to adopt reforms to cut back on the curriculum that excessivly praises the Dear and Great Leaders. The schools are apparently funded in part by the DPRK government. Aside form the changing the curriculum I tried to find recent reports of any Japanese discrimination/repression of the Chosen Soren, but did not have any luck.
This article (,2106,3327300a12,00.html) *sorry, won't let me hyperlink*
talks about how at the g8 summit of the worlds top developed industrialized nations, Japan will bring up the threat/situation with North Korea and their nuclear ambitions. The Japanese government thinks the situation is very troubling (as do most nations, except for fringe groups in Zimbabwe, etc...) and I assume they will discuss with the other world powers on how to negotiate to a void conflict

Sunshine Policy Discussion

Hi Classmates, I want to discuss about the "Sunshine Policy." We know it failed. No personal, just related to the class discussion.

I support the "Sunshine Policy". First of all, look at the result. On the unification day, the whole world saw that Kim Jong-il shaking hands with Kim Dao Jung and showing his kindness instead he hid himself at home. He is a jerk, we know that. But we don't have to point fingers to his face to criticize him. Second, South Korea brothers/sisters really know how to deal with their enemies after years they have competed. Because of different culture, Americans know them but they are "too harder" and "harsh". Our Professor mentioned the unification does not help solve the nuclear problem. How do we know they that make friends with N.K. could not? Maybe they can "sneak" and figure out one way to deal with Kim.

How about America, Japan, or Taiwan invited Kim out of his door? The situation in Asia may change.

South Korea really doesnt seem to want North Korea to fall apart

This is a lot of They sure seem to be worried about the DPRK collapsing or getting into worse economic shape than it is right now. While humanitarian concerns obviously have a great deal of bearing, this is just a lot of fertilizer.

By Jon Herskovitz and Kim Yoo-chul Mon Jun 27, 3:21 AM ET
SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea will send more fertilizer to North Korea to help the impoverished communist state battle chronic food shortages caused by its weak farm sector, a South Korean government official said on Monday.

South Korean officials have said they hope bilateral humanitarian assistance will help to coax the North back to stalled talks on its nuclear weapons programs.

Seoul will send an additional 150,000 tonnes of fertilizer to the North starting Monday. The aid is on top of 200,000 tonnes the South completed shipping earlier this month, a spokesman for the South's Unification Ministry said by telephone.

Last week, the South Korean Red Cross said it received the request from the North for the additional fertilizer and asked Seoul to grant the request on humanitarian grounds.

At bilateral ministerial-level meetings last week in Seoul, North Korea requested 500,000 tonnes of separate food aid, which the South agreed in principle to deliver. But the South left the actual amount open for future discussions.

National Security Archives

The National Security Archives is located at the 7th floor of Gelman Library. It is constantly acquiring newly declassified government documents, and includes much of the early intelligence on North Korea's nuclear development program. I've found that using the Archives made my most recent essay much more interesting and fun to research.
Check it out...

Friday, June 24, 2005

I was really interested in this weekend's assighned reading in the "Idiots Gude." On pages 242-243 they mention a U.S. soldier who defected to North Korea in 1965 to avoid serving in Vietnam. He now teaches english in Pyongyang Universities and plays the typical "American Imperialist" soldier in the adored North Korean motion pictures. Found this article in the Seoul Times, discussing his guilty plea in a Japanese court. Really interesting article, and gives a good summary of Private Jenkins' life.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Seoul-Pyongyang Meeting

This article discusses the Thursday summit between high level officials from the North and South Koreas. While no clear nuclear agrrement was achieved, the South did pledge to offer food to the North as the United States pledged 50,000 tons on Wednesday. Also, an upcoming meeting between Beijing and Pyongyang is scheduled in the following weeks. Things are looking a bit positive for a possible return to the Six Party Talks in July.

Bush's meeting with defector criticized

I was waiting to see what North Korea's response to Bush's meeting with defector Kang Chol Hwan would be. Of course, the Korean Central News Agency labled him "human trash." It also stated that the meeting "cannot be construed otherwise than an act of throwing a wet blanket on the efforts to resume the nuclear talks." They see Bush's meeting with the defector (which exploits the human rights issue) as sign that the U.S. does not respect North Korea as a dialogue partner. North Korea has agreed to a peaceful end to the nuclear issue (albeit we don't know when that will be), but I think that to an exent, North Korea is keeping the U.S. waiting because it wants the Bush admin. to "give it the respect that it deserves" (quotes mine). Meetings with defectors only angers North Korea more. Article

Companion site to the PBS documentary

Here's a link to the companion site for the documentary we watched in class on tues.
in keeping with the theme of inside the DPRK under the "Who are the North Koreans" section there are interviews with defectors and a slide show from inside the DPRK from 1996.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

American will Provide Food to N. K.

Bush administration will provide 500,000 metric tons of food to North Korea, here is the article. The year before, U.S. donated 100,000 tons of food. The administration emphasizes this food aid program is not related to the nuke negotiation, but to the starving people.

Also, South Korea has begun to send 200,000 tons of fertilizers. U.S. and South Korea are concerned about North Korea people, not the fat man, Kim Jong-il.

Kang Chol Hwan, a North Korean defector, the author of "The Aquariums of Pyongyang: Ten Years in the North Korean Gulag." This book is on the list of Bush's reading in summer. Bush and Dick Cheney had talked with Mr. Kang. It seems there is a chance of democracy developting in North Korea.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

More Pictures from North Korea

I found more pictures from North Korea. After watching the movie, "Joint Secuity Area", We must be familiar one of these pictures, click it.

The subway is too dark to see. The author explains that the subway is too deep. I think it needs more electronic lights.

there are happy children. It looks like North Korea does not need any aid because these kids are feed well. That is not true. Hungry kids' pictures are allow to take.

Fortunately, this website is not official. You will find out more.

The Sensitivity of Images of Kim

As we were just talking about in class on Monday, the North Koreans are uber-sensitive about any image of either of the Kims. This article explains how a NK delegation in Seoul today became upset when SK protestors greeted them with posters of Kim wrapped in ropes.


Yesterday our professor mentioned about respect. King Jong Il had different actions when Bush called him "x Pig" and "Mr. Kim" in public. If you criticize somebody, and want to approach him to make a deal, then your first effort of step fails. I found another article to prove Kim Jong Il how he emphasizes his imagine in public. South Koreans understand this point.

The article names "South Korea upset about US criticism of North Korea".
An American official defined North Korea as a tyranny like Burma, Zimbwe and Cuba at a seminar hosted by the Hudson Institute on Monday. The person must regret. The news of South Korea expressed that this comment did not help the current international situation.

Documentary About NK Abduction

A new documentary is coming out about a Japanese schoolgirl who was abuducted by North Korea. The film is supposed to be completed this year, but a short preview and fundraising for it is being held here in D.C. on June 29.

North Korea show on History Channel

Just thought I would let everyone know The history channel is airing a show entitled "Inside North Korea" today from 2:30-4 pm. I'm not sure when the next airing is after that though. I saw a little bit this morning - there are several interviews with defectors.

Kim not so cartoonish?

In my quest to find some political cartoons that don't deny North Korea all credibility, I found only two that could fit that category. The first is basically just a caricature of Kim Jung Il with a nuclear weapon, but it doesn't distort his physical appearance much, no more than those done for tourist caricatures you see at the beach. It doesn't depict him as crazy or attention-starved or any of the other common motifs in North Korea political cartoons, instead, he's almost statuesque. The second (you have to scroll down, it's the last one) doesn't distort Kim's image at all. It shows him, (presumably him anyway, it's hard to tell without him being depicted as radically short with funny hair and big glasses) riding a bike with a nuke into forbidden territory. This cartoon is Dutch though, so maybe a less polarized cartoon is more understandable from the Dutch.

Monday, June 20, 2005

CIA World Factbook: North Korea

It is interesting to see how the CIA breaks North Korea down into small blurbs and many many numbers, through their intelligence and rhudimentary knowledge of the country. It seems to me that we have learned a lot more substantive information in our short class on North Korea, than the CIA seems to provide on their own website (much more about the culture and the people than the CIA cares to break down).

Statistic of interest: Notice the 99% overall percentage of Literate citizens. I thought this number would be lower, but it helps to have a very literate population when distributing propaganda I suppose.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Kim Jong-il Says NK Willing to Rejoin 6-Party Talks in July

North Korean leader Kim Jong-il said on Friday his country is willing to rejoin the six-party talks in July, if the U.S. ``recognizes and respects’’ his regime, a South Korean envoy said after talks with Kim in Pyongyang. Unification Minister Chung Dong-young, who returned home after a four-day trip to the North, also quoted Kim as saying the 1991 South-North Joint Declaration on the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula remains valid and his country has never given up on the nuclear talks. ``Kim said the six-party nuclear talks could be held as early as July if the United States recognizes and respects North Korea. Kim, however, said that further consultations would first be needed with the U.S.,’’ Chung told reporters at a press conference in Seoul. The top North Korean leader also gave a positive response to calls for inter-Korean relations, such as cross-border talks between general-level officers and temporary reunions of family members separated as a result of the 1950-53 Korean War, Chung said.

8 Soldiers Killed in Rampage

A South Korean soldier threw a grenade and went on a shooting rampage earlier yesterday at an Army camp near the heavily-fortified border with North Korea, killing eight of his colleagues and injuring two others. The shooting rampage took place at an Army guard post near the demilitarized zone (DMZ) that divides the two Koreas in Yonchon, 70 kilometers north of Seoul.

U.S. Enactment of "North Korean Human Rights Act" Assailed

In a clip of the North Korean news found here,

U.S. Enactment of "North Korean Human Rights Act" Assailed

Pyongyang, June 17 (KCNA) -- The Council of Christian Churches of south Korea issued a statement on June 14 in which it denounced the United States for enacting the "North Korean Human Rights Act", according to the south Korean CBS. The statement criticized the enactment of the act as interference in the internal affairs of the north aimed at the change of its system. The U.S. uses non-human right value for its political hegemony, it said. Saying that the enactment of the act might spell a serous crisis to inter-Korean reconciliation and cooperation, the statement urged the U.S. to regard peace on the Korean Peninsula as the foremost value.

North Korea has been criticized for a long time for maintaining what the U.S. calls "inhumane prison systems" for political prisoners. More information can be found at

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Pop culture's view on North Korea

With recent class discussions on how Kim Jong Il is depricted in political cartoons, I tried to look for how Kim Jong Il and North Korea is normally presented in pop culture. In recent movies, like "Team America", "Die Another Day" and "The Pacifier", North Korean and Kim Jong Il is commonly depricted as the villian. North Korea is even the target in video games like George Lucas's video game where players can blast gray buildings marked as "Yongbyon Nuclear Material Reprocessing".
North Korea is quickly joining the ranks of Hollywood's favorite villians; Nazis, Columbian Drug Dealers, and Islamic terrorists. North Korea will continue to be negatively portrayed in pop culture as the Bush administration continues to put criticize North Korea. North Korea has alternated with Iran as the largest treat to the United States and Kim Jong Il has become a common household name. This negative representation of North Korea to the publc is important to note because it might influence policy decisions in the future. 62% of Americans still oppose any military action against North Korea, but that can change as North Korea is continued to be depicted negatively in pop culture.


Bush disses Kim

Bush Meets Dissidents In Campaign For Rights

By Peter Baker and Glenn Kessler
Washington Post Staff Writers_Wednesday, June 15, 2005; Page A01

At the end of a private Oval Office meeting this week, President Bush asked a North Korean defector to autograph his book recounting a decade in a North Korean prison camp.
"If Kim Jong Il knew I met you," Bush then asked, referring to the North Korean leader, "don't you think he'd hate this?"

"The people in the concentration camps will applaud," the defector, Kang Chol Hwan, responded, according to two people in the room.
Bush lately has begun meeting personally with prominent dissidents to highlight human rights abuses in select countries, a powerfully symbolic yet potentially risky approach modeled on Ronald Reagan's sessions with Soviet dissidents during the Cold War. Besides Kang, Bush played host to a top government foe from Venezuela at the White House and met Russian human rights activists during a trip to Moscow last month. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice met opposition leaders from the former Soviet republic of Belarus.
The sessions -- which come at a time when the Bush administration has itself come under international criticism for abuses at the prison facilities in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and elsewhere -- represent a personal follow-through on Bush's inaugural address in January, when he vowed to activists around the world that "we will stand with you" in battles against repression.

Overestimating China's Help With North Korea

A fox news article posted here, talks about the real need for China to step up demands on North Korea in order to diplomatically work out solutions to the ongoing conflicts NK faces. The article is an editorial, and it is written by Fox News, so of course it's leaning to the right, with the author seriously doubting that "red China" will ever successfully step up and pressure NK

Friday, June 17, 2005

Mr. Kim and His Excellency

Here is an AFP story regarding the meeting between Kim and the South Korean Unification Minister that took place today in Pyongyang. It focuses on the much more complimentary rhetoric coming from both Kim and Bush, with Bush calling the NK leader "Mr. Kim" and Kim calling Bush "His Excellency."

Let's see how long this lasts ...

NK Return to talks

Articles actually gives a timeframe as to when the DPRK might return to the Six-Party Talks. As early as July, however the United States must recognize NK as "a partner"

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Upcoming film on North Korea

I saw a piece on CNN a month or so ago regarding this film to be released in August. A pair of British film makers were given access to film inside NK in 2003. They follow around 2 young girls training as gymnasts to perform in the Mass Games - "the biggest and most elaborate human performance on Earth" for the "Dear Leader."

Check out the film's site. This documentary looks amazing!

DPRK Propoganda in British Museum

This article involves a new exhibit at the British Museum titled "Contemporary Korean Art". The Korea Foundation is exrpessing their concern as it contains rather hostile North Korean propoganda. The article shows posters with captions that read: "Bear this in mind world those who mess without great undertaking will become our target!"

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Kim Il-Sung's triumphanty return

I dont think anyone has covered this topic, so I thought I'd check it out:

They certainly know how to make a guy sound good over there in Pyongyang.

I thought it would be interesting to check out Kim's official story about his triumphant return to Pyongyang in 1945, so here it is in part:

On the day when I first revealed my real name to the public at a meeting, instead of my assumed name, Kim Yong Hwan, someone proposed to hold a national mass rally to welcome my triumphal return. The whole meeting hailed the proposal. Preparations for the welcoming ceremony had been under way behind the scenes, under the sponsorship of the South Phyongan Provincial Party Committee and People's Political Committee. On the eve of the ceremony, a pine arch and makeshift stage were erected in the public playground at the foot of Moran Hill.

I had told Kim Yong Bom not to arrange a grand ceremony. But the people of the South Pyongan Provincial Party Committee were so stubborn, that they put up posters in every street and lane announcing that we had entered Pyongyang and I would meet the people in the public stadium on October 14.

About noon on October 14, 1945 I went by car to the Pyongyang public playground, the venue of the ceremony. I was amazed at the sight of the surging crowds filling the squares and streets. The playground, too, was already full of people. There were even people in the trees around the playground, and the Choesung Pavilion and the Ulmil Pavilion were covered with people. Going through the waves of welcome I raised my hand in acknowledgement of the cheering crowds.

General Chistyakov, commander of the Soviet 25th Army, and Major General Rebezev were present at the mass rally. Many people made speeches that day. Jo Man Sik took the floor. I still remember a passage of his speech which triggered laughter among the audience. He said in a merry voice that at the news of liberation he pinched himself to see if he was not dreaming and he felt pain. He even showed how he had pinched his arm.

When I mounted the platform the shout "Long live the independence of Korea!" and the cheers of the crowd reached a climax. As I listened to their cheers, I felt the fatigue that had accumulated for 20 years melting away. The cheers of the people became a hot wind and warmed my body and mind. Standing on the platform amidst the enthusiastic cheers of more than 100,000 people, I felt happiness that defied description by any flowery language. If anyone asked me about the happiest moment in my life, I would reply that it was that moment. It was happiness emanating from the pride that I had fought for the people as a son of the people, from the feeling that the people loved and trusted me and from the fact that I was in the embrace of the people.

It may be said that the cheers of the people resounding in the Pyongyang public playground on October 14, 1945 were the acknowledgement of and reward for the arduous struggle we had waged for the first half of our lifetimes for our country and fellow countrymen. I accepted this reward as the people's love for and trust in me. As I always say, no pleasure can be greater than that of enjoying the love and support of the people.

I have regarded the love and support of the people as the absolute standard that measures the value of existence of a revolutionary and the happiness he can enjoy. Apart from the love and support of the people, a revolutionary has nothing.

How much better is the US opinion of N. Korean leaders than their opinions of ours?

He is a passage from an online site about Kim Il-Sung, among others:

killer file:
Kim Il Sung
AKA 'Great Leader', AKA 'Eternal Leader', AKA 'Suryong' (Supreme Leader).
Country: North Korea.

Kill tally: About three million killed in the Korean War. Between 600,000 and one million North Koreans needlessly starved to death due to the economic legacy of Kim's regime. (Some reports claim that as many as three million starve.)


Obviously this is very different from the anti-American propaganda spurted forth from Pyongyang, but clearly many American people regard that government in roughly the same light.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

The return of a U.S. Army sergeant who defected to N. Korea

Here is a story about a U.S. Army sergeant who defected to North Korea over 40 years ago. While leading a patrol along the DMZ, Charles Jenkins fled to North Korea because he said he was scared he would be sent to Vietnam. He recently returned to the U.S. for the first time since his defection to visit family and friends. Some welcomed him back, others called him a traitor who betrayed our country. Someone even stated that he deserves to be shot for leaving his post. I don't know what happend to those under his command but it would interesting to see how they view him now. I wouldn't go so far as saying he should be shot, but I definatley don't think too highly of him. Read the article for more details on what happend to him in North Korea.

President Bush's meeting with author of Aquariums in Pyongyang

President Bush met with Chol-hwan Kang, author of "The Aquariums of Pyongyang: Ten Years in the North Korean Gulag," on Monday. By inviting Kang to the White House, President Bush is showing that the human rights issue in North Korea is a deep concern. The timing of this meeting is critical - just as North Korea is considering returning to the six-party talks, the President is meeting with a defector. The article was short and did not provide too many details on what exactly was discussed between Kang and the President, I would have liked to know more about the details of the meeting. However, it did state that the President was inspired by Kang's memoir, so I am definately looking forward to hearing the presentation from whoever is doing the book review. Here is the article

"US Imperialist Aggressor"!

A great view of what the "other side" is saying in the DPRK regarding the United States and its involvement in Korean relations. Found this on the Korean News Service site in Tokyo, a nice (and sometimes funny) change to see what NK has to say about things sometimes..

Summit on Korean Unification: 5 Years Later

Today marks five years since the presidents of both Koreas held a summit on unification talks. This article looks at the progress - or lack thereof - made in these five years on the issue. It provides a good synoposis of recent events.

Kim Jong-Il Insane?

Good article dealing with the Secretary Rice's comments about how she does not know if Mr. Kim is sane as she has never met the man. It also disscusses the recent news of a possible North Korean re-entry to the Six Party Talks. The end of the article explains how President Bush read a new book titled, "The Aquariums of Pyongang: Ten Years in The North Korean Gulag" by Kang Chol-Hwan. I have started reading it and it is very interesting and offers insight into the NK repressive regime. Definately recommend.

Monday, June 13, 2005

"Beloved Leader"?

A comment to one of Lan Su's post by someone called "Beloved Leader" seemed a bit odd and sparked my curiosity. I went to "Beloved Leader"'s website/blog; it's totally wacky, you should check it out. Kim's head is superimposed on a James Bond character (Doctor No?). A lot of women and movie references, supposedly things Kim loves. I don't know if it's actually done by someone from North Korea, but if not it's still an interesting characterization.

Another Famine?

According to an article from the BBC, there is a possibility of famine conditions resuming in North Korea. The article mentions the grams of food average urban North Koreans eat compared to what is recommended. It's really shocking, especially considering most Americans probably eat well over the recommedations. North Korea's talk of possibly returning to 6-party talks may be because they hope food aid they previously got from the US, Japan, and South Korea will resume.

Funny Cartoons

You will laugh at these cartoons when you read these two articles. The first one is
"Why North Korea isn's talking" This snake has poison, and Mr. Kim is riding with the snake. He looks like an alien but with a fat body.

Another cartoon is funny too names "When Kim Comes out" Naked Kim is sitting on top of the nuclear and is ready to be displayed in public.

"North Korea Offers Help to Iran on Nuclear Plan, Paper Says"

When these two evils meet together, what will happen to the world, please read this article. Kim Jong Il starts to export his "great trick" to Iran. This is another reason the international community has to remove the North Korea regime. I am suppressed but not much. I understand how communists act. I quote part of this article below:

"Iran is secretly negotiating with North Korea to build a network of underground bunkers to conceal its alleged clandestine nuclear weapons project, The Sunday Telegraph has learnt.

A team of construction experts has arrived in Tehran to conduct a survey of Iranian requirements for a large new network of tunnels at a secret location in central Iran.

The team included a North Korean specialist in underground construction who helped to design the bunkers that contain Pyongyang illegal weapons program.

It is understood current talks centre on whether the North Koreans will undertake the work or act as advisers for Iranian construction companies."

No agreement on Japan-Korea History

This Article highlights a lot of what we have discussed in class about the different views of history held by Koreans and Japanese. To this day, neither side can agree on such issues as the amount of influence Japan had on Korea in ancient times. This article has a really good overview of key areas where the two countries differ in views, from colonial times to war efforts, and even includes information about women forced into prostitution for the Japanese army. When it comes to the dispute between these two nations, some things neverr change.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Softer Approach to the North Korea Problem

This article discusses some of the outcomes from the discussion between President Bush and South Korean President Roh that just occured. Bush and Roh agreed to use a diplomatic approach towards North Korea and Bush downplayed any future military action. This decision towards diplomacy will more than likely lead to the six party talks that North Korea just announced it would be willing to enter into.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Mt. Kumgang

Here is an article on Mt. Kumgang (Diamond Mountain) in North Korea that was mentioned in class a few weeks back. This is the mountain where South Koreans can come and hike. Wednesday marked the 1 millionth South Korean visitor to the mountain. It looks like Mt. Kumgang is set to become a huge resort town now, where tourists will be allowed to camp out and cook food. This is an example of North Koreans and South Koreans working together to promote cultural awareness. It's always good to remember some of the inter-Korean efforts that are going on admist the distrust and uncertainty the nuclear issue brings.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Two Koreas agree to reduce tensions along border.

This Article caught my eye, especially in regards to the film we just finished viewing in class. Apparently, while the border of the 38th parallel is widely "accepted" as the front line of the active war between the two Koreas, the maritime border is not as accepted, and ambiguity on the seas has led to many skirmishes, the most recent of which occurred in 2002, leaving 6 South Korean sailors dead.

This article is about increased efforts to reduce these clashes, by sharing information that might prevent one side opening fire on the other, or on innocent fishermen who often fish very close to the border.


ABC News Crew to be sent to North Korea

I think this is really interesting...

It looks like ABC, after much negotiation, has been allowed to broadcast from North Korea. I believe this is a step in the right direction (away from isolation) for North Korea. Now we (americans) can get a decent look inside the secrecy that most Americans associate with North Korea.

NK Phone Use

This is an interesting article about Kim Jong-Il's regime cutting back the amount of cell phone and public telecommunications use for fear that the American "imperialists" could tap into it. This is all part of the suppossed perptual mobilization for war that North Korea imposes on its people. Also, the sight is pretty intersting and worth checking out.

American Soldier is back to Visit His Mom

This article is here. Charles Robert Jenkins, an American soldier who deserted his Amy forty years ago and fled to North Korea, is planning to visit his 91-year-old mom soon after he got his passpot last month. He will not attemp to live in the U.S permanantly. He clams that he deserted his unit because he did not want to serve in Vietnam. It is hard to judge if he is patriot and nationalis.

travel plans this summer? I have an idea!

Anyone with a non-US or non-Japanese passport can make their dream vacation come true.....
This is a lonely planet link to travel in North Korea. Check out the Getting Around page, they sure do make it hard to get anywhere once you're there. Perhaps they don't want foreigners wandering where they're not wanted? Seems like a bizzare destination but I suppose there is an interest if there is a travel guide for it. Anyone interested?

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

NK New Commitment to Weapons Talks

This article deals with the possibility of North Korea returning to the "6-party nuclear talks." Who knows how true this turn out to be given then harsh rhetoric we have heard recently.

China's unwillingness to help with the nuclear build up

This is a good article about how the US is not putting enough pressure on China to pressure Korea to not test their weapons. I agree that the US is being too wishy washy, at least publicly, about putting serious pressure on China, as it appears to be the key to this puzzle.

"More of the Same... And Then Some"

Ralph A Cossa, the author of "More of the Same...And Then Some" comments that during the second term of Bush administration North Korea will continue boycott the Six-Party Talks with pre-condition, China will continue its similar policy with Taiwan: one step forward and two stepts back.

On the other hand,from this article, we know North Korea came back to the table and met the U.S. in New York on Tuesday. Everyone hopes this meeting is optimism that proves Ralph Cossa is wrong about North Korea. Wait to see what will be happening.

Monday, June 06, 2005


We've mentioned this in class, but the KCNA has a brief article about the famed Battle of Pochonbo which gives a good taste of the North Korean view of the anti-Japanese struggle and Kim Il Sung's role in it:
Pyongyang, June 4 (KCNA) -- An endless stream of people have been visiting Pochonbo revolutionary battle site in Ryanggang Province, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, these days. On June 4, Juche 26 (1937) President Kim Il Sung, the legendary hero of the anti-Japanese war, commanded an attack on Pochonbo.

The Pochonbo battle marked a decisive turning point in the liberation of the ruined Korea and dealt a telling blow at the Japanese Empire which boasted of being one of the five powers in the world.
Read the whole thing here.

"Behind that Curtain"

Michael Horowwitz, the author of "Who's Behind That Curtain? Unveiling Potential Leverage over Pyongyang," reports that there are three reasons Kim Jong Il comes back and forth on the negotiation table: culture-politics, military and economy. South Korea has more influence of culture-politics on North Korea than China does because they are brothers and belong to one nation. And military could function in the negative and positive ways. Unfortunately, military should strength the security of North Korea, but the North Korea regime turns it to threaten to the neighboring countries. Kim Jong Il claims that the U.S. military threaten them first. Last, the economic pressure is the main reason overwhelming Kim's power. He has increased in many activities internationally to increase his money resources: drug traffic, counterfeit, and transfer weapons. The author warns that if the U.S government and its allies can not story these illegal harmful activities, Kim Jong Il will continue his unending processes.

US, NK Hold Talks in New York

This story is just developing, so details of the meeting are not plentiful in the article, but at least officials from the two states have met face-to-face for the first time in more than a month.

It seems highly unlikely anything will come from this but it is reassuring to know the two sides seem willing to meet at least every once in a while. I would guess this meeting was facilitated in part due to the previous blog entries detailing how NK has praised President Bush last week for referring to Kim jong-Il as Mr. Kim, not simply as the "tyrannical dictator" of NK.

Back to the table?

According to this article, North Korea may be willing to return to talks with other nations about its nuclear capability. This may be a ploy, because the DPRK could easily about-face and has before. This new developement appears to make more pronounced the different policies of those in Washington. North Korea's change may have something to do with the upcoming visit from the president of South Korea to Washington this June 10.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Possible U.N. Sanctions an act of war?

In light of the U.S. consideration to push the U.N. security council to take action against NK for refusing to return to international talks, NK responded by saying any U.N. penalties would be considered an "act of war". Although I feel these threats are foundationless...and just KJI's way of keeping up with his persona, what could increased economic sanctions against the nation do to its population? Although S. Korea pushed for the chance to engage the North in more talks, as it will always do, and I cant blame them, the question still stands as to what, if any actions the security council could take and the impact they will have on the Norths struggling infrastructure.

The Case of Kim Jong Il's Missing Portaits

This article shows the importance of perception in North Korea. Kim Jong Il is using something as minor as paintings of himself in order to directly affect foreign perception, as most of the removed portraits came from places frequented by foreign visitors. However, this move, coupled with the downplaying of the "dear leader" title, may show a softening Kim Jong Il. However, the actions taken by the dear leader, both in domestically and internationally, have not helped to support this softer view. Perception can't fix everthing.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Decrease in North Korea's Foreign Food Aid

North Korea, struggling with food shortages, send millions of city dwellers into the countryside to help work on farms during the weekends. Officials say that its a annual thing, but this year everyone in the city is involved. This increase in number may have been due to the decreasing foreign aid to North Korea as it continues to become a nuclear weapons power. The United States started to crack down on its import of hard currency to North Korea, stating that the funds are just going to nuclear research. The 6.5 million people recieving foreign food aid will decrease to a projected 1.5 million without a new supply of food (based on the article below). With its peope starving, North Korea continues to defy the rest of the world and do its own thing.

Article: http://

Phone Call May Lead to Increased Nuclear Talks?

I am suprised by the infrequency with which U.S. and North Korean officials are speaking, especially when North Korea maintains such a high position on the U.S. "Watch List".

This Article makes mention that this recent phone call is the first U.S. - North Korean contact since meetings in NY on May 13th.


Friday, June 03, 2005

Susan Rice's Post op/ed

Susan Rice, a Brookings Scholar and former deputy Secretary of State in the Clinton Administration, published this op/ed in Friday's Post.

Rice, a frequent critic of President Bush's foreign policy, especially toward North Korea, summed up her position and offered this advice:

"The president should recognize that rolling back North Korea's nuclear program is more important to U.S. national security than any principled objection to direct negotiations or tacit ambitions to change that odious regime. He should immediately propose high-level, bilateral talks and personally confirm that the United States has "no hostile intent" toward North Korea. In exchange for the "complete, verifiable and irreversible" dismantling of North Korea's nuclear programs, the United States should offer security guarantees, economic ties, fuel supplies and diplomatic relations."

UN and North Korea

This article I found from the Wall Street Journal. I agree with Brent Scrowcroft, the author of “Confront of North Korea,” that “we” should not wait for Pyongyang to decide weather and when it is ready to negotiate.

It seems North Korea is taunting the United States and the world again. Another example, the international inspectors of UN were kicked out of North Korea. In contrast, UN is powerless and can not do anything with Kim Jong Il.

Also the author suggest the international community should force Kim Jong Il choose between the nuclear weapons and the regime survival. Therefore, Kim Jong Il can not threat the world anymore even through he thinks the nuclear weapon is invaluable. Otherwise, other neighboring countries, such as Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea, could have rights to own nuclear weapon. Furthermore, if “we” continue to let the North Korea play game, the succor of Kim Jong Il will use other weapon mass destruction to threat the world.

Are the "little things in life" improving for N. Koreans?

Recently, a Chinese journalist (who wishes to remain anonymous) returned from a trip to North Korea and reported his/her observations in a Christian Science Monitor Article. Despite the fact that millions are starving due to a food crisis, the reporter stated that the economic reforms and increased trade, over the past couple of years, have definately changed North Korean society and that the "little things in life" seemed better. Examples cited were increased vendors on the streets, more stylish clothes imported from China, new colorful double-decker buses, more consumerism, more privatley owned cars. The little things may be improving, but the food crisis and other human rights violations seem to overshadow this type of progress. Are people's lives really improving and are things becoming more tolerable? As the article states, it is hard to tell since North Korea is so isolated. However, it seems to me that if there are massive amounts of people being sent to the countryside to combat a serious food shortage, life for a lot of North Koreans is still pretty bad.

International Children's Day Marked

Interesting article I found in the Korean Central News Agency of the DPRK

A good example of Kim Jong Il reaching out to the youth in order for them to grow up totally loyal to the "Dear Leader".

"International Children's Day Marked Pyongyang, June 2 (KCNA)

-- Korean children marked the International@Children's Day with various sports and amusement games Wednesday. Every nursery and kindergarten were beautifully decorated with stringed@miniature flags, balloons and flowers. They were animated with children, nurses, kindergarteners and mothers in holiday best. Pyongyangites were delighted to see children's colorful sports and amusement games held in parks, recreation grounds including the Mangyongdae Fun Fair, Mt. Taesong, Rungna Islet and Moran Hill and nurseries and kindergartens in Pyongyang. Children presented rhythmic gymnastics and dances with flowers, ribbons and balloons to the tune of songs "We Offer Greetings to Marshal Kim Jong Il" and "Today Is June 1." Through this they represented their happiness of growing with nothing to desire more under the benevolent care of their father Kim Jong Il, holding President Kim Il Sung in high esteem as the eternal sun. The programs at the Kim Jong Suk Creche and other nurseries included three or four years old children's games of winning toys, running out of a ring and crossing a stone bridge, tricycle race and obstacle race. Songs and happy laughter of the children enjoying their holiday could be heard from every nook and corner of the country from the Mubong village at the foot of Mt. Paektu to the villages near the Military Demarcation Line and remote islet villages in the East and West Seas. " <>

Review North Korean

Here is the article in May 2005. This article includes the outlook of North Korea 2005-2006 and other background of North Korea.
I list some interesting things found.The inter–talk is between South Korea and North Korea; North is slow to accept help from South because of bird flue; the North almost double its request for fertiliser from South and the South stop calling the North its “main enemy.” This article is pretty long, but we can scan the heading line.

That's Mr. Kim Jong Il

Hey everyone, I found this on this afternoon; I thought it interesting considering our discussion in class yesterday about DPRK's anti-Bush propaganda efforts.

Bush Praised for Addressing Kim Jong Il as 'Mr.'
Friday, June 03, 2005

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea gave rare praise to President Bush (search) on Friday, welcoming his use of the honorific "Mr." when referring to leader Kim Jong Il (search) and saying the softened tone could lead to its return to nuclear arms talks.
The United States wants the North to end its nuclear weapons development, and is working with China, Japan, Russia and South Korea to persuade Pyongyang (search) to return to disarmament talks last held in June 2004. The North has stayed away from the table citing a "hostile" U.S. policy and claimed in February that it had nuclear weapons (search).
"If Bush's remarks put an end to the scramble between the hawkish group and the moderate group in the U.S., which has thrown the Korean policy into a state of confusion, it would help create an atmosphere of the six-party talks," an unnamed North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman said in a statement, according to the official Korean Central News Agency.
At a Tuesday news conference, Bush defended his focus on using diplomacy to try to resolve the standoff.
"It's a matter of continuing to send a message to Mr. Kim Jong Il that if you want to be accepted by the neighborhood and be a part of ... those who are viewed with respect in the world, work with us to get rid of your nuclear weapons program," Bush said.
The North said Friday that it had noted Bush was reported as "politely addressing our headquarters of revolution," a reference to Kim.
"We will closely follow if his remarks would not change day and night as this happened in the past," the spokesman said.
The softer tone Friday from the North came a day after Pyongyang called Vice President Dick Cheney (search) a "bloodthirsty beast" and said his recent comment that Kim was an "irresponsible" leader was another reason for it to stay away from the nuclear talks.
This week, the North also took a personal swipe at Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, using language laced with insults to imply she was controlling the White House. In the past, Pyongyang has also called Bush a "political imbecile" and "half-baked man."
The North has demanded an apology for Rice labeling the country one of the world's "outposts of tyranny" earlier this year.
Also Friday, the North again asked for the U.S. to make a "bold decision to withdraw the remark ... to remove the biggest hurdle lying in the way of resuming the six-party talks."
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said Friday that Washington would continue to try to solve the dispute through six-nation talks.
"Our policy is what it is, and it's well-known," Rumsfeld said at a meeting with Asian defense officials in Singapore.
Meanwhile, the U.S. ambassador to Japan said in Tokyo that a nuclear-armed North Korea would pressure Japan and South Korea to consider building their own atomic arsenals.
Ambassador Thomas Schieffer also cautioned that the North's return to the six-nation talks would be just the beginning of a long process to persuade it to abandon its weapons.
"We have to be very careful that getting North Korea back to the table does not become an end in itself," he said. "The six-party talks were meant to resolve a thorny issue — they weren't meant to be just an opportunity to talk about it endlessly and achieve nothing."

“Washington Whispers”

North Korea is called as a hostage-free zoon. If Americans are sent to North Korea to look for the remains of American soldiers killed during the Korean War, Kim Jong Il will take this opportunity to test his nuclear bond. This article is short and has some points.

Response to "Hungry North Koreans"

“Sending millions of people out of work from cities on farm…”

Can we imagine what these people do on farm? They are looking for frogs, snakes, even mice, and grass. They are hungry! America and other countries put economic sanction on North Korea and stop sending food aid to them. They do not punish Kim Jong Il, but these innocent people. Why do we care about this bad guy and ignore those hungry people?

Thursday, June 02, 2005

UN Says food shortage in North Korea growing "acute"

An article I came across in this morning's express (taken from AP) says that North Korea is sending millions of people from cities out to work on farms each weekend...

I remember in the beginning of the idiots guide, the authors sort of downplayed the amount of food shortage/scarcity going on in North Korea saying somethign along the lines of it's a problem, but not as big a problem as the US claims it to be.

However, in this case it seems the World Food Program (the only aide group with a presence outside Pyongyang) says that there have been massive movements of people to the countryside...

Follow up to Troop Remains

NK Hits Back Over Troop Remains
Today North Korea went ahead and finished the job that the Bush Administration started. It seems to me a shame that both the United States government, as well as the North Korean government can't look beyond the standard and bitter rhetoric between them for the common good. The recovery of soldiers remains is something that is so clearly a positive thing for both sides. On the one hand the U.S. pays hard currency for the privledge and on the other it brings closers to American families missing it for 50 years now. By North Korea coming out and saying that the United States is no longer invited, the only avenue for communication between the two countries has been closed off. I fail to see how this is a good thing.

Amnesty's 2005 NK Report

We've all heard much in the past week about Amnesty calling Guantanemo the "Gulag of our time." Not much has been made, though, of their other country reports, including their 2005 North Korea report. Follow this link to read the brief, executive summary of the findings.

One interesting note in addition to the expected findings regarding malnutrition, torture, and complete repression, is this:

"In June, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) expressed concern at the limitations on civil and political rights of North Koreans, including children. It also expressed concern that the minimum age for voluntary enlistment in the armed forces was 16 and that school children were taught to assemble and dismantle weapons. The CRC raised concerns about the independence and impartiality of the authorities taking sentencing decisions in the juvenile justice system."

Learning how to assemble guns seems to be more evidence of the excellent education system in NK, such as how Quinones (or was it Larsen?) said he observed NK kids watching an NBA game to learn English.

N. Korea calls Cheney a 'bloodthirsty beast'

example of harsh and hateful diplomacy. Should we make anything of these increasingly hostile remarks on both sides? Are these signs of a possible future conflict?

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Heredity in North Korea and Kim Jong-Il's biography

In the official Workers Party written biography of Kim Jong-Il, it never says that he was Kim Il-Sung's son, just a loyal comrade of the socialist movement. So, like Professor Larsen mentioned, they are trying to downplay the heredity of the succession of rulers in North Korea. Just read the first couple of paragraphs.

Kim Jong Il and N. Koreans as Hollywood villains

This article discusses how Kim Jong Il and North Koreans have been demonized in American pop culture. Increasingly, we see Kim Jong Il and North Koreans portrayed as the villains in films, cartoons, comics, and video games. It seems that Kim Jong Il has now replaced Saddam Hussein as the "bad guy." Bush's comments such as labeling Kim Jong Il a tyrant and evil, have undoubtedly contributed to this phenomenon in American culture. Reading this article made me realize how frequently North Korea is really used in our popular culture.

North Korea Denies Nuclear Testing Reports

This is a NY Times article explaining how denied any American "fabrications" of upcoming nuclear testing. The most interesting part was a brief statement displaying how it is not totally unusual for North Korea to act with suck high tensions as it could lead to more aid and concessions in future negotiations.