ROK and Inter-Korean relations
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More 'Arirang' Lunacy From the Government
Presidential chief secretary for national security Baek Jong-chun said Thursday that President Roh Moo-hyun and his entourage will watch North Korea's controversial "Arirang" mass calisthenics while visiting Pyongyang on Oct. 2-4 for the inter-Korean summit. Although the announcement was made on the day, we can assume that President Roh had already decided to watch the performance no matter what, regardless of the opposition he faced at home, immediately after North Korea made the request
Seoul to propose restarting inter-Korean defense meetings
Talks on defense have been stunted since 2000, but Seoul hopes to continue military dialogue
South Korea will reportedly propose holding regular inter-Korean defense meetings during the upcoming summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-il in Pyongyang from October 2 to 4. In an effort to promote military reconciliation and cooperation with the North, the South has sought to continue military dialogue since the first summit in 2000. Inter-Korean military talks have been ruptured since the two sides held their first meeting in Jeju from September 25-26, 2000, as Pyongyang has rejected them.
Pardon Recommended for Activist Jo
By Bae Ji-sook
A state-run fact-finding panel Thursday recommended the government to make an official apology, and pardon and honor the late Jo Bong-am (1898-1956), an independence activist who was wrongfully executed in 1959. It also called for compensation to be awarded to his surviving family members.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission said the fact that Jo won more than two million votes in the presidential election of 1956 made him a threat to the Syngman Rhee regime and the then president may have used his influence to get his rival sentenced to death. ``It was a human rights infringement and political coercion,'' the commission stated.
Jo was arrested in 1958 on alleged espionage charges, which accused him of receiving money from the North Korean government. Military investigators at the time announced they had secured enough evidence to prove his guilt and Jo was sentenced to death. He was executed on July 31, 1959, the day after the Supreme Court rejected his appeal.
[Human rights] [Cho Bong-am]
Chosun-Period Pornographic Play Discovered
"With an arrow put to the string, I have no choice but to shoot it." "How shameless you are! We're almost there. How can I stop it even if you ask me to? Damn this skirt of mine! Why is it here now?"
These are lines of dialogue from an explicit play dating back to the late Chosun Dynasty. Titled "Buksanggi", it was discovered by Ahn Dae-hoe, a professor of Korean literature in classical Chinese at Sungkyunkwan University. On Saturday, Ahn will publish a paper on the play at a seminar sponsored by the Korean Classical Literature Association at Hanyang University.
The play is presumed to have been written either in 1780, the fourth year of the reign of King Jeongjo, or in 1840, the sixth year of the reign of King Heonjong.
In the process, various kinds of sexual positions are explored, carrying such evocative names as "rocking a swing", "toying with a duck's legs", "hyeopbiseon" (flying fairy), and "hujeonghwa" (flower in the back garden), and there is also mention of an aphrodisiac.
Erotic Art Reflects Conservative Korea's Passionate Side
On the 15th day of the first lunar month, a small fishing town in Gangwon Province will celebrate the phallus as it has done for centuries. On that day, a penis measuring a respectable 20-25 cm and carved from the wood of an aromatic tree will be offered to the gods, its bright red color said to ward off misfortune. The ceremony serves to propitiate the spirits of young women who died unmarried and pray for prosperity and big catches. As late as the 1960s, such ceremonies were common in many fishing villages in the province.
Korean society is outwardly conservative about sex, mainly due to the Confucianism that has been the nation's governing philosophy for a long time. Yet underneath the stolid formality, there survives a more powerful desire for untrammeled sexual expression that has always found some form of expression in art. What Koreans really thought and felt of human beings, nature and life can be seen in the erotic art that has had a special place in society since ancient times. Remains from the ancient Shilla Kingdom, for instance, suggest that people at the time recognized sexual desire as a natural part of life, just like the ancient Greeks.
DMZ, NLL Could Be Turned Into 'Peace Zones'
The government may propose to North Korea at the inter-Korean summit next week designating some part of the Northern Limit Line and the Demilitarized Zone as a "peace zone." A government official on Thursday said it would be "possible to review a measure" to turn "military confrontation areas between the two Koreas, the last vestiges of the Cold War", into a peace zone. The NLL is the de-facto sea border between the two Koreas, where a military clash claimed the lives of several South Korean sailors in 2002 and skirmishes remain a constant danger.
Seoul upbeat about six-party talks
Despite lingering concerns about N. Korea-Syria nuclear cooperation, new round denuclearization talks begins
During this week's six-party talks on North Korea's nuclear program, negotiators must lay out a roadmap to disable the North's atomic facilities and make a complete declaration under an agreement reached on February 13. Though South Korean officials have been concerned that allegations of North Korea-Syria nuclear cooperation may cast a shadow over the talks, a South Korean government official said on September 27, the first day of talks, "The mood in Seoul seems to be better than we originally anticipated." Meanwhile, North Korea has not overreacted about the suspicions and has shown its willingness to stick to the agreement, the official hinted.
President May Cross Border on Foot
By Jung Sung-ki
President Roh Moo-hyun may cross the Military Demarcation Line (MDL) dividing the two Koreas into North Korea on foot next week for the second inter-Korean summit in Pyongyang, a report said Thursday
Opposition GNP Cynical Over Summit
By Kang Hyun-kyung
Leaders of the main opposition Grand National Party (GNP) Thursday expressed skepticism about the inter-Korean summit slated for Oct. 2-4, urging the government to stay focused on disabling North Korean nuclear programs.
Kim Dae-jung forecasts positive outcome for second summit
Former president predicts talks on peace, nukes and inter-Korean economic cooperation
Former South Korean President Kim Dae-jung said that during the first inter-Korean summit in 2000, North Korean leader Kim Jong-il had agreed with his view that the U.S. Forces Korea should remain on the Korean peninsula even after unification. The remarks were made during a speech given by the former president at the Korea Society in New York on September 25. He also predicted that President Roh Moo-hyun and the North Korean leader would agree to the creation of industrial complexes, similar to the one located in the border city of Gaeseong, in talks held during the second summit, which will take place in Pyongyang from October 2-4.
The North Korean leader had referred to the invasion of the Joseon Kingdom by China, Japan and Russia in the late 19th century as an example of the importance of foreign help in protecting the country, said Kim. "Upon hearing such remarks, I was very astonished on the one hand, and very much relieved on the other hand," he said. "The North Korean leader, above all, fervently aspires to normalize relations with the United States. If the North's safety and survival are guaranteed, he will positively cooperate in resolving the problem of weapons of mass destruction as well as abandoning its nuclear programs," Kim continued. [KR_Summit07]
Roh wants DMZ guard posts withdrawn
September 27, 2007 During the Oct. 2 to 4 inter-Korean summit, President Roh Moo-hyun will propose the complete withdrawal of armed forces from inside the demilitarized zone that has separated the two Koreas for more than a half century, a high-ranking administration official told the JoongAng Ilbo yesterday. [KR_Summit07]
2nd Advance Team Leaves for NK for Summit
A South Korean delegation left Thursday for Pyongyang to put the final touches on arrangements for next week's inter-Korean summit, which is expected to focus on establishing a peace mechanism on the Korean Peninsula and expanding economic cooperation between the two countries. [KR_Summit07]
2 Korean Leaders Have Internal Issues to Discuss
By Tong Kim
The second summit between the two Koreas is less than a week away, as it is scheduled for Oct. 2-4 in Pyongyang. Preparations for the summit have been underway for weeks now and some of the details have been released _ including a huge delegation of leaders from all walks of life who will go the North Korean capital with President Roh Moo-hyun.
Unfortunately, it lacks bipartisan support. The Grand National Party (GNP), whose presidential candidate seems to have clinched this election, as he leads his challengers by three times in polls for the December presidential election, refused to endorse the inter-Korean summit. No GNP representative will join Roh's delegation to Pyongyang. [KR_Summit07]
Results of Field Survey of Mass Killings of Civilians Made Public in S. Korea
Pyongyang, September 25 (KCNA) -- The Committee for Settling the Past History for Truth and Reconciliation in south Korea reportedly opened to the public on Sept. 20 the results of the field survey of the mass killings of civilians committed by the south Korean troops and police in the last Korean war.
The committee probed the truth about the case in which between July and September 1950 the south Korean troops and police cold-bloodedly killed at least 3,500 persons including inmates of Taegu prison, those related to the "case of the Association of the Protected" and innocent civilians before leaving them buried in a dead pit of a mine in Kyongsan City of North Kyongsang Province and its vicinity
[Korean War events] [War crimes]
Kim Jong-il's Calculation
By Scott Snyder
September 25th, 2007
Scott Snyder, senior associate with the Asia Foundation and Pacific Forum CSIS, writes, "Despite Kim's strategic calculus, a second inter-Korean summit draws him further into the public light and diminishes the opacity surrounding the North Korean regime. Kim's economic needs reveal his dependency on external aid, which should only be given transparently with the full approval of the Korean taxpayer."
Many doubts have been expressed in Washington about the wisdom of holding an inter-Korean summit in the waning months of a presidential term, but there is little reason to be surprised.
There is inherent unpredictability in a meeting between a high-stakes gambler (Roh Moo-hyun) and a shrewdly poker-faced survivor (Kim Jong-il). Both leaders have their own motives for making high-risk wagers against long odds. In the end the summit is a gamble worth taking, but neither leader is ultimately likely to win.
S. Korean leader looks for payoff in summit with North
By Tim Johnson | McClatchy Newspapers
* Posted on Monday, September 24, 2007
SEOUL, South Korea - When North and South Korean leaders met seven years ago for a historic summit, they exchanged gifts to warm the atmosphere, among them pairs of rare hunting dogs, a huge flat-screen television, silver boxes and rare mushrooms.
In private, a more stunning gift changed hands: South Korea turned over some $500 million to Kim Jong Il's North Korean regime, a payment that greased the way for the summit.
So many are wondering what sort of gift exchange will occur Oct. 2-4 when South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun and North Korea's Kim meet for only the second summit in the divided Korean Peninsula's history. Analysts already identify the gift that Roh hopes will come his way: a "peace dividend" that may save his beleaguered party from defeat in presidential elections Dec. 19.
Summit Spirit on the Korean Peninsula
By Eric J. Ballbach
September 20th, 2007
Eric J. Ballbach, research associate of the Korea Communication and Research Center in Berlin, writes, “If we now compare the circumstances and political conditions of the first and the second summit, there appears to be a major similarity, namely the basic fact that both summits occur in a time when North Korea began to emerge from a phase of diplomatic isolation. Differently put:
North Korea’s ‘Yes’ to the summit is inseparable connected with external developments in the Northeast Asian region – despite the internal dynamic of inter-Korean relations.”
Details of summit schedule being set
Roh to visit Gaesong post-summit, but will not be joined by Kim Jong-il
As the inter-Korean summit is now less than 10 days away, President Roh's staff is busy setting the final details of the schedule. Included in the schedule will be a post-summit visit to the Gaesong industrial complex and possible attendance at the propaganda-laden Arirang gymnastics performance with North Korean leader Kim Jong-il.
Paradigm Shift Underway in Presidential Campaign
By Kang Hyun-kyung
Korea is seeing a big paradigm shift in the 2007 presidential campaign.
At the heart of the changing undercurrents is frontrunner candidate Lee Myung-bak of the Grand National Party (GNP) and his continued lead in the polls since January.
The latest poll found that Lee's support is six times higher than that of Chung Dong-young of the United New Democratic Party (UNDP) whose support stood at 8.5 percent.
Polls in the 2002 presidential election showed the frontrunner being replaced by the second-placed candidate three times between January and November.
Political strategists said Lee's unrivaled popularity is partly because the liberal party has yet to pick its nominee and therefore predicted that the competition will be a close race once the UNDP picks its nominee on Oct. 15.
Unlike five years ago, no anti-Americanism and Internet-based campaigns are shaping the race. Korea has also seen a big demographic change in line with the aging of society. Here are the major trends that have emerged in the presidential race so far this year.
Anti-American sentiment had been abused as a major campaign issue in 2002 and it helped then ruling party candidate Roh Moo-hyun win the election.
But five years later, will anti-Americanism and nationalism raise their ugly heads in the 2007 presidential election?
Will They Cheer N.Korea's Rights Abuses?
It appears that President Roh Moo-hyun will end up watching the controversial North Korean Arirang mass calisthenics during the Oct. 2-4 inter-Korean summit in Pyongyang. Composed of literally a cast of thousands flashing colored cards at the same time, as well as large numbers of performers taking part in a highly regimented performance that emphasizes group dynamics, Arirang praises late North Korean leader Kim Il-sung and his son, incumbent leader Kim Jong-il. In an Arirang performance in 2005, there was a scene where a North Korean soldier felled a South Korean soldier using a bayonet, while in April, the performance praised the communist country's successful nuclear test. There is no way of telling what will be in the upcoming performance.
Unification Min. Urges Understanding on Arirang
Unification Minister Lee Jae-joung speaks at a news briefing about the upcoming inter-Korean summit at the Unification Ministry in Seoul on Thursday./REUTERS
Unification Minister Lee Jae-joung said on Thursday that human rights in North Korea should be understood in the context of that country's different regime and culture.
Korea 'Should Consider One-Nation-Two-Systems Plan'
The most important North Korea policy facing the next administration will be to prepare for an unexpected collapse of the North Korean regime, a seminar heard Thursday. Prof. Lee Dong-bok of Myongji University, at the seminar hosted jointly by the Korea Security Forum, the Council On Korea-U.S. Security Studies and the New Right Union, said Seoul should consider a one-country-two-systems formula as a transitional policy to cope with a sudden change. [Collapse]
Arms reduction must be part of inter-Korean summit
By Lee Kang-seok, Professor emeritus of Korea National Defense University
If we view the first stage of the February 13 agreement as the closure of North Korea's Yongbyon nuclear facility, the second stage as a full report by Pyongyang of its nuclear facilities and the disablement of those facilities, and the third stage as the adoption of a peace treaty and the normalization of U.S.-North Korea relations, then it looks like the second stage of the agreement is proceeding relatively well. One expects to see, by the end of the year and in response to the North's declaration and disablement of its facilities, the United States remove the North from its list of terror-sponsoring states and stop imposing sanctions under the Trading with the Enemy Act.
Two Koreas said to finalize Roh's summit itinerary in North Korea
With the Second South-North Korea Summit a dozen days away, the two Koreas have reached a tentative agreement on South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun's itinerary in North Korea, officials at the presidential office and the Unification Ministry said Friday.
Roh may watch controversial Arirang festival, visit Kaesong industrial park
With the inter-Korean summit less than two weeks away, President Roh Moo-hyun's itinerary in Pyongyang is gradually taking shape.
Unification Minister Lee Jae-joung told reporters Tuesday that the government will push for Roh and his entourage to watch North Korea's pro-communist propaganda festival, Arirang, on the sidelines of the inter-Korean summit slated for Oct. 2-4.
The Arirang festival, which features a pro-unification mass gymnastics performance, has been popular among both Western and South Korean visitors. Sections of the gymnastics performance are said to contain contents idolizing the North's deceased founder Kim Il-sung and his son and North Korean leader Kim Jong-il.
"The Arirang festival is a pride of North Korea. We have to respect such aspects. The (South Korean) government will consider Roh's observation of the performance, if such a request is made by the North," Minister Lee said. [KR_summit07]
``Illusion of Peace Poses Threat to GNP Nominee"
By Kang Hyun-kyung
The illusion that South Koreans can buy durable peace on the Korean Peninsula for approximately 6 trillion won per year for 10 consecutive years poses a threat to presidential nominee Lee Myung-bak of the conservative Grand National Party (GNP), a North Korea expert said.
Prof. Nam Sung-wook of Korea University in Seoul said that contenders of the United New Democratic Party (UDP) are highly likely to spread propaganda in the presidential campaigning claiming the price tag of peace stands at a mere 60 trillion won in the presidential campaign.
The figure is based on a Korea Development Bank (KDB) report in 2005 on the estimated costs to pursue inter-Korean economic projects.
Roh to Stay at State Guest House in Pyongyang
The Paekhwawon State Guest House in Pyongyang has been chosen as the official accommodation for South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun during his visit to the North Korean capital Oct. 2-4 for the Second South-North Korea Summit, government officials said Thursday.
Paekhwawon, the North's best-rated state guest house reserved for visiting heads of state, was also used by Roh's predecessor, Kim Dae-jung, during the first inter-Korean summit in June 2000.
"Through consultations with North Korea, Paekhwawon has been finally selected as Roh's accommodation. Unification Minister Lee Jae-joung and other official attendants will also stay at the guest house," said a government official, asking to remain anonymous.
He said 48 special attendants, mostly representatives of the South's business community, will stay at the Potong River Hotel, with some of them likely to be assigned to another guest house called Juam because of space problems. [KR_summit07]
Korea Has Fewest Foreign Students in OECD
The percentage of foreign students studying in Korean universities is the lowest among member states of the OECD. According to the "OECD Education at a Glance 2007" survey, Korea ranked bottom with Poland at 0.5 poercent in 2005, or 15,497 foreign students out of a total 3.2 million of the country's undergraduates and graduates. New Zealand had the highest percentage with 28.9 percent, followed by Australia with 20.6 percent, Switzerland with 18.4 percent and the UK with 17.3 percent. The OECD average was 7.6 percent.
Roh Delegation 'Could Watch N.Korean Mass Performance'
Delegates of the first preparatory team for the inter-Korean summit led by Vice Unification Minister Lee Kwan-se (front) pass through the CIQ facility near Dorasan station Tuesday.
Unification Minister Lee Jae-joung says if North Korea asks the South Korean delegation to attend one of the country's notorious mass calisthenics performances while they are in Pyongyang for the inter-Korean summit on Oct. 2-4, the South will review the proposal. The minister was speaking to reporters after the first preparatory team for the summit left for Pyongyang on Tuesday. He said the government "will review any request, which hasn't been officially made, in respect of the important performance event."
President May View Arirang Festival in NK
By Yoon Won-sup
President Roh Moo-hyun may view one of the most famous North Korean performances ``Arirang,'' which touches on the Stalinist country's propaganda, during his visit to Pyongyang on Oct. 2-4.
``We will consider Pyongyang's request if the North asks us to watch the Arirang performance,'' Unification Minister Lee Jae-joung told reporters on Tuesday after seeing off a South Korean delegation, which headed to Pyongyang to work out the details of the second inter-Korean summit.
He said that the North is very proud of the performance and the South will make a decision with due respect and consideration.
Denuclearization High Priority in Summit
By Jung Sung-ki
President Roh Moo-hyun should raise the issue of full dismantlement of North Korea's nuclear programs when he sits down with North Korean leader Kim Jong-il early next month to further develop inter-Korean relations, former Unification Minister Park Jae-kyu said. [KR_summit07]
S. Korea aims to boost weapons technology, sales
Defense industry blueprint calls for entrance into top 10 weapons exporters
South Korea's Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) on September 17 announced its so-called "10-10-10" plan, which aims to extend 10 core technologies into weapons production, localize the manufacture of 10 weapons systems used domestically, and make South Korea into one of the world's top 10 arms exporters by 2022.
Since October last year, the DAPA was engaged in joint research and verification with the state-run Agency for Defense Development (ADD) to map out the plan.
[Arms sales] [Military balance] [Double standards]
S. Korean delegation to visit N. Korea for summit preparations
A South Korean delegation is to leave for Pyongyang on Tuesday to work out details for the upcoming inter-Korean summit, officials said Monday.
The delegation, to be led by Vice Unification Minister Lee Kwan-se, will consist of 35 officials, five more than originally planned. Last month, the North accepted the South's proposal to expand the working-level delegation.
They Just Can't Leave the NLL Alone
Presidential Chief of Staff Moon Jae-in, who is also the head of a committee organizing the inter-Korean summit, appeared before the National Assembly's Unification, Foreign Affairs and Trade Committee and said there is a chance that the Northern Limit Line, the maritime border separating the two Koreas, could be discussed during the summit "whether we like it or not." Regarding the inclusion of Defense Minister Kim Jang-soo in the presidential entourage to the North, Moon said, was to prepare for the eventuality.
If North Korea takes issue with the NLL, Moon said, the South Korean government would look at preconceived plans for a peaceful fishing and maritime zone or the formation of a maritime park in the West Sea. This is equivalent to moving our border further south.
North and South Korea agreed in 1992 in the Inter-Korean Joint Declaration that the boundary separating the two sides will be the area both sides have held jurisdiction over until now. In other words, political and legal discussions over the NLL are over.
Families of victims of Korea's past set up memorial foundation
Funds will come from compensation money paid after wrongful executions under dictatorship
Families of victims of a tragic incident from Korea's dictatorial past have decided to set up a memorial foundation to honor their loved ones' memories and struggle for democracy. The families were recently awarded total compensation of 63.7 billion won (US$68 million) from the government after the state executed eight pro-democracy activists three decades ago on fabricated treason charges.
[Editorial] The North-South sea dispute and the Inter-Korean summit
The Presidential Office has rejected the possibility of bringing up the Northern Limit Line (NLL) during the second inter-Korea summit.
The imaginary line demarcates the division between the two Koreas in the Yellow Sea; its location is disputed by Pyongyang, and several naval clashes between North and South have occurred in recent years in waters surrounding the division.
According to Moon Jae-in, the presidential chief of staff, on September 12, the South would not be the first of the two parties to raise the problem, but if Pyongyang brings it up, Seoul can discuss the matter and will handle the problem of creating a joint fishing zone within the contested waters.
Sea Border 'Probably' on Inter-Korean Summit Agenda
Presidential chief of staff Moon Jae-in on Thursday said Seoul is willing to discuss the controversial matter of the western sea border between the two Koreas if Pyongyang raises it at the inter-Korean summit in early October. Moon, who heads the South Korean preparation team for the summit, told the National Assembly's Unification, Foreign Affairs and Trade Committee one way to resolve the issue was by establishing a joint fishing zone.
Independent lawmaker Chung Mong-joon asked Unification Minister Lee Jae-joung, "Some people say it would be inappropriate for the defense minister to accompany the president to the inter-Korean summit..." Here Moon butted in, "Can I answer your question on his behalf?" And he continued, "We can't rule out that the Northern Limit Line in the West Sea will be discussed, whether we want it or not" at the summit. Here Chung cut him off and moved on to another question.
[Editorial] A presidential candidate that disrespects women
There are reports that at a little dinner get-together on August 28 between Grand National Party (GNP) presidential candidate Lee Myung-bak and roughly ten editors of major dailies, Lee gave a "lecture" of sorts about the proper way to choose one of the "massage girls" who work in a certain service industry. "I got a massage back when I worked for Hyundai in Thailand," he told them. "Employees who had been in country for the long-term always avoided choosing massage girls with the prettiest faces. After wondering why, I realized that the pretty ones would have taken a lot of customers, but the ones that aren't pretty give you really good service out of gratitude. Their way of choosing massage girls was based on wisdom," he is quoted as saying.
His comments make you doubt his basic dignity and qualities as a presidential candidate. The way he expressed himself was vulgar enough, but the more fundamental problem is a way of thinking that accepts the commercialization and prostitution of women as just a matter of course. The foreign massage establishment he was talking about is widely known for regularly selling sex. The people present at the time differ on whether Lee was talking about his own experience or was simply quoting his company superiors. But it is clear he called the skill of choosing the "right woman" for paid sex "wisdom for life."
These comments are so vulgar that it is hard to believe they are coming from a leading candidate for president.
South may propose joint fishing zone: Moon
September 14, 2007 Moon Jae-in, the president's chief of staff, said yesterday that South Korea will propose a joint fishing zone if North Korea demands that the Northern Limit Line (NLL), a de facto maritime border in the Yellow Sea, be included in the agenda of the inter-Korean summit meeting scheduled Oct. 2 to 4 in Pyongyang.
S. Korea denies report on likely re-negotiation of inter-Korean sea border
SEOUL, Sept. 13 (Yonhap) -- A controversy erupted again on Thursday over whether South Korea plans to address the disputed sea border with North Korea at their summit next month, as a major daily here reported that the Defense Ministry has asked for the opinion of the United Nations Command (UNC) on the matter.
The Chosun Ilbo said the ministry recently inquired about the UNC's position on the possible replacement of the Northern Limit Line (NLL), which has served as a provisional yet de-facto inter-Korean sea border for decades.
The NLL was drawn up by the UNC at the end of the 1950-53 Korean War after it failed to reach an agreement with North Korea on a sea border between the two Koreas.
In a 1999 press release, the UNC said that, "The NLL has served as an effective means of preventing military tension between North and South Korean military forces for 46 years. It serves as a practical demarcation line, which has contributed to the separation of forces."
The UNC has yet to clarify whether its position has changed. "We are still reviewing the media report," Kim Yong-kyu, a UNC spokesman said.
The Defense Ministry largely denied the report, but in a rather ambiguous manner.
"We did not seek the UNC's opinion on the NLL," ministry spokesman Kim Hyung-gi said. "We only inquired as to whether its 1999 position that a new sea border needs to be discussed bilaterally between the two Koreas still holds." The inquiry was aimed at preparing for a parliamentary inspection session, not the summit, he added.
[KR_summitt07] [NLL] [Sovereignty]
S.Korea 'Taps UN Command on Sea Border'
The Ministry of Defense and the armed forces have tapped the opinion of United Nations Command on whether the upcoming inter-Korean summit should discussing a change in the de-facto maritime border between the two Koreas, sources say. The UNC, the largely nominal body whose role is to oversee the armistice and which is headed by the U.S. Forces Korea Commander, was quoted as pointing out that the Northern Limit Line is not a matter the two Koreas can decide by themselves but needs consent from the UNC under the conditions of the truce. The UNC is likely to protest if the two Koreas, as the North is demanding, begin discussion on redrawing the NLL.
[NLL] [Sovereignty] [KR_summit07]
Composer's Widow Returns to S.Korea After 40 Years
It had been 40 years since the widow of the controversial Korean-born composer Yun I-sang set foot in Korea. But to mark the 12th anniversary of his death, Lee Su-ja (80) on Tuesday held a press conference at Kyungnam University's Institute for Far Eastern Studies in Samcheong-dong, Seoul. Lee arrived via Incheon International Airport on Monday. "I went through a lot of hardship because of the homeland all my life. I am very grateful to the current government for having restored Yun I-sang's honor, having invited me, and having apologized for past wrongdoings," she said. Lee said she was invited by the Unification Ministry but did not specify what the apology was about.
In the beginning, she also thanked North Korean leader Kim Jong-il. "I heard that the supreme leader (Kim Jong-il) said, 'Take enough time and fulfill your desire by visiting your homeland,'" she said. Lee has been living mainly in a villa near Pyongyang given to her husband by former North Korean leader Kim Il-sung and at her house in Berlin.
S.Korea should consider disarmament: GNP candidate Lee
Presidential hopeful weighs in on possible reshaping of military
South Korea needs to sincerely consider disarmament, according to leading Grand National Party (GNP) presidential candidate Lee Myung-bak. On September 12 in an interview with Yonhap News, Lee responded with the above assertion following a question regarding the possibility of easing military tensions on the Korean peninsula.
In connection with disarmament, Lee said, ``South Korea should control its arms through disarmament talks with the North." But, he added, as presented at the National Defense Reform 2020, "it will be possible to reduce South Korea's military forces to about 500,000 by 2020.''
[Military balance] [media] [Spin]
Isang Yun's Widow Visits Homeland After 40 Years
I Soo-ja, 80, wife of the late maestro composer Isang Yun (1917-1995), has returned home Tuesday for the first time in 40 years since being kidnapped here together with her husband from Germany by the South Korean secret police. The highly scandalous East Berlin spy incident had scarred the Korean-German couple for life, but the upcoming Isang Yun Festival signals the recovery of her husband's honor here, I told reporters at a press conference in Seoul.
``Please help the cultural heritage Prof. Isang Yun has left behind to blossom and bear fruit,'' she urged. She broke into tears several times during the press meeting, having to pause but she maintained her composure throughout.
Isang Yun Festival
[News Analysis] Roh sees inter-Korean summit as turning point for peace
President's optimism seems based on talks with Bush, Hu at APEC summit
South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun considers the second inter-Korea summit a turning point toward establishing a so-called peace regime on the Korean peninsula, despite the North's attempts in recent years to build up its nuclear weapon programs. Roh is aiming for a bigger draw of multilateral security cooperation in Northeast Asia, which would replace the "Cold War regime" remaining on the peninsula. Even if the president was tooting his own horn somewhat during a press conference on September 11, his remarks reflected a sense of confidence that peace and co-prosperity -- goals for which President Roh's participatory government have consistently pushed -- are in fact finally bearing fruit.
Such a sense of confidence from the president was clearly shown in his replies to questions as to what he will discuss at the summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-il regarding a proposed peace treaty to end the Korean War. President Roh said at the press conference, "The problem of signing a peace treaty is a core issue of the upcoming summit, not merely a suggestion.'' The president has already indicated the possibility that he and Kim Jong-il will share their feelings about the issue and/or reach an agreement upon it.
North Korea Needs to Grasp Seriousness of Summit
[Analysis] As term in office nears end for Roh, he may take tougher stance
Lee Byong-chul (merrycow)
Published 2007-09-11 15:37 (KST)
In early 2002, the Bush administration planned to make a bold approach toward North Korea by testing the Communist country's strategic choice of whether to denuclearize and join the global community. Yet the approach did not come true because of a short firefight that took place between the two Koreas in the West Sea and the U.S. CIA's clear-cut assessment that the North's nuclear-related material and equipment had come from Pakistani nuclear scientist A. Q. Khan -- both in June that same year. [In denial]
N.Korea Rights Get Thumbs Down in Rights Commission
The National Human Rights Commission has decided not to recommend that the government includes North Korea's human rights violations in the agenda for the inter-Korean summit in early October.
The commission discussed the matter in a closed meeting on Monday afternoon, but the recommendation failed to win majority support and was dropped. NHRC spokesman Lee Myung-jae said members concluded it would be inappropriate to recommend the inclusion of human rights violations as an issue for the summit, but added there was no change in the commission's principle to show interest in the issue. Lee said the decision "is in line with the commissions' general policy" announced late last year.
Lee Myung-bak unveils new plan for N. Korea
Inter-Korean economic cooperation based on investment is part of Lee's new plan for the North
Leading presidential candidate Lee Myung-bak of the conservative Grand National Party said yesterday that North Korea will receive economic aid if it faithfully fulfills its commitment to disable its nuclear programs. Lee proposed the signing of the Korean Economic Community Cooperation Arrangement, or KECCA, as a way to activate inter-Korea economic cooperation.
Lee is currently leading the polls with an approval rating of around 50 percent, after winning the GNP nomination on Aug. 20. Though no liberal party candidate has yet been chosen, the liberal camp began its month-long primary election yesterday and will choose a single candidate, after eliminating four others, on Oct. 15.
[Inter Korea business] [In denial]
Roh says peace treaty the top agenda of inter-Korean summit
South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun said Tuesday that a Korean Peninsula peace treaty to formally end the 1950-53 Korean War will be the most important agenda at his summit talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong-il slated for Oct.
2-4 in Pyongyang.
In an unscheduled meeting with local media reporters, Roh said he won't raise the issue of North Korean denuclearization seriously at the upcoming inter-Korean summit, noting the nuclear issue has already been in the process of rapid settlement at the six-party talks which also involve the U.S., China, Japan and Russia.
Roh said he will additionally discuss with Kim how to accelerate practical economic cooperation between two Koreas.
[Inter Korean business]
GNP's Lee Proffers Olive Branch to N. Korea
By Kang Hyun-kyung
Presidential nominee Lee Myung-bak of the Grand National Party (GNP) Monday proposed a tripartite cooperation project among the two Koreas and Russia to exploit Siberian energy for maximizing mutual benefits.
The proposal is part of Lee's new vision for North Korea, which is designed to help its economy grow.
Under the proposed plan, South Korea will provide funding and technology, whereas North Korea will offer its labor force for the use of gas in Siberia, Russia.
Korean Soaps in Crisis
Korean Soaps in Crisis
Seven Cliches for Aspiring Soap Writers
Korean Vs. U.S. Soaps
Korean soaps, once at the crest of the Korean Wave all across East Asia, are facing a crisis.
The pay scale of stars is going through the roof, with production firms complaining they are on the verge of going bust. More seriously still, there are signs that overseas demand is dropping while domestic viewers are turning their backs.
Cancer-Causing Material Found in Cooking Oil
By Bae Ji-sook
Sesame oil, cooking oil and red pepper oil were found to contain carcinogens exceeding the government-set standard.
Some of these oils, the most frequently used food oils in Korea, were made by the nation's major food makers such as Daesang, Singsong Food, CJ and Samsung Tesco's Homeplus' original manufactured brands
Sohn Hak-kyu Narrowly Wins Ruling-Camp Preliminary
Former Gyeonggi Province governor Sohn Hak-kyu took first place in a preliminary primary of the United New Democratic Party, followed by former unification minister Chung Dong-young, former prime minister Lee Hae-chan, former health minister Rhyu Si-min and former premier Han Myeong-sook.
Defense, Foreign Ministers to Accompany Roh to North
Foreign Minister Song Min-soon and Defense Minister Kim Jang-soo will be in the entourage of President Roh Moo-hyun for the second inter-Korean summit, which is scheduled for early October in Pyongyang. Neither the foreign nor defense minister accompanied president Kim Dae-jung when he met North Korean leader Kim Jong-il for the historic first in 2000. The inclusion of the two ministers had generated speculation that both the North Korean nuclear problem and the controversial question of the Northern Limit Line, the de-facto maritime border between the two Koreas, are on the agenda.
[Column] Changed approach on NLL and the inter-Korean economic community
By Kim Keun-sik, Professor of political science and diplomacy, Kyungnam University
During his Aug. 15 Liberation Day address this year, President Roh Moo-hyun said that forming an economic community would be the one of the key issues on the South's agenda at the upcoming inter-Korean summit. The development of economic cooperation and the promotion of peace are connected because mutual economic dependence between North and South Korea will become the foundation for preventing war and reducing conflict. The functionalist approach of ultimately deterring war and guaranteeing peace by sharing mutual economic interests and joining together is very appropriate food for thought for states in conflict.
However, enacting and progressing the president's economic community initiative necessitates advancing relations in the areas of politics and military affairs. Taking economic cooperation and social and cultural exchange to the next level and moving towards economic integration firm enough to be a community will be entirely impossible with the current "military guarantees," because qualitative development in economic cooperation will be impossible without progress and confidence building in military matters. If proposals pertaining to an inter-Korean economic community put forth at the upcoming summit are to be made effective there will, in the end, have to be a certain degree of confidence established between the militaries of both sides, and key to that will be the Northern Limit Line.
There absolutely must be a changed approach to discussions on the NLL, in order to take issues the North has with the South head on, to advance the economic community initiative wanted by the South, and to pull relations out of the current state of stagnation and renew the push to develop them to the next level.
The Second South-North Summit: Prospects for Intensifying Inter-Korean Cooperation
Lim Eul-chul, Research Professor at Kyungnam University, writes "no one should be blindly optimistic about the upcoming summit, but if any agreements develop as a result of the meeting, it would mean qualitative development of inter-Korean relations. It would also mean the prospect of huge opportunities in the future for entrepreneurs trying to find a way into North Korean markets, as business with North Korea is already progressing by leaps and bounds."
[Inter-Korean business] [KR_summit07]
Oppression of overseas workers by overseas Korean corporations
wo Philippine citizens who had been working for Korean companies in the Philippines recently came to Korea to ask the Korean government to prevent Korean businessmen from carrying out illegal labor practices. One of them was wrongfully terminated when he joined in an effort to form a union, while the other lost his job when the company fought an attempt to establish a union by shutting down operations. Two women who had been part of a sit-in protest at their company were reportedly thrown from a vehicle on a highway.
It is shameful that we are seeing a recurrence overseas of the oppression Korean workers faced decades ago. [Human rights]
New Trends in Korean Nationalism
South Koreans' attitude toward the U.S., as seen in the latest hostage crisis in Afghanistan, was markedly different from the anti-American sentiment vented during the kidnapping and beheading of Kim Sun-il in Iraq in June 2004. Despite some minor protests, the ratification of the Korea-U.S. free trade agreement is proceeding apace, with anti-American, pro-North Korean voices much quieter than they have been.
Several academics say the 20-year-long marriage between the Left and nationalists born in the democratic struggle against authoritarian governments in the 1970s and 1980s is coming to an end. That means farewell to the defensive, registance nationalism produced by Korea's history in the 20th century. Foreign experts, by contrast, worry that Korean nationalism is becoming more aggressive.
Liberals Play North Korea Card
By Kang Hyun-kyung
Two leading liberal contenders __ former Unification Minister Chung Dong-young and former Prime Minister Lee Hae-chan __ played the North Korea card to make a case for their bids for the liberal party nomination.
Chung said he had played a critical role in helping the Gaesong Industrial Complex move forward during his tenure as minister.
Seoul Seeks New Laws on Inter-Korean Contacts
The government is pushing for the revision of inter-Korean exchange and cooperation laws to exempt South Koreans from the obligation to report contact with North Korean residents under an executive decree.
An executive decree takes effect by Cabinet endorsement but does not require parliamentary deliberations. The government passed the revision bill in a Cabinet meeting on Aug. 14 and submitted it to the National Assembly on Tuesday.
[National Security Law] [Human rights]
Koreas' Summit to Bring Dual Impact
By Kang Hyun-kyung
The upcoming inter-Korean summit to be held between Oct. 2 and 4 is likely to have a dual impact on both liberals and conservatives, an expert said.
Prof. Nam Sung-wook of Korea University told The Korea Times that the summit factor will give an edge to the candidate enjoying solid support from Cheong Wa Dae in the primaries of the liberal United New Democratic Party (UNDP). [KR_summit07]
Grassroots Efforts, Not Inter-Korean Dialog, Will Unite Korea: Activists
Many observers say upcoming summit simply political maneuvering
Melissa Wabnitz (melissaw)
Published 2007-08-30 13:58 (KST)
Korean-English translations by Bak Yeono
Championed as only the second meeting of its kind between North and South Korea since the country's division in the 40s, the upcoming Inter-Korean summit is not likely to usher in the dismantling of the North's nuclear programs nor draw the two countries significantly closer, says President Roh Moo-hyun and the majority of South Koreans. [KR_summit07]
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