ROK and Inter-Korean relations
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A Preposterous Message from Kim Dae-jung
Former president Kim Dae-jung on Thursday told Democratic Labor Party leader Kang Ki-kap at his home in Donggyo-dong, Seoul that the Lee Myung-bak administration is intentionally harming inter-Korean relations. The Lee administration's denuclearization-opening-3,000 plan -- offering help to the North in achieving a per-capita income of US.$3,000 in a decade premised on the first two conditions -- “cannot succeed since it follows similar policies as U.S. President George W. Bush, which failed," Kim added.
Kim said the North's “biggest desire is to improve its relations with the U.S., which the incoming Barack Obama administration will accommodate. In that case, the Lee administration's North Korea policy will fail."
[SK NK Policy]
Kim Dae-jung Blasts Lee's N.Korea Policy
Former president Kim Dae-jung on Thursday said the Lee Myung-bak administration is intentionally trying to harm inter-Korean relations. Meeting with leaders of the Democratic Labour Party including chairman Kang Ki-kap at his house in Donggyo-dong, Seoul, Kim said President Lee’s denuclearization-opening-3,000 plan -- offering help to the North in achieving a per-capita income of US$3,000 in a decade premised on the first two conditions -- “cannot succeed since it follows similar policies as U.S. President George W. Bush, which failed," according to DLP spokesperson Park Seung-hup. This is the first time Kim, the architect of the so-called Sunshine Policy, openly attacked Lee’s North Korea policy.
“The right way for us is to approach the North. North Korea is like a rich vein of ore in terms of natural resources, tourism and human resources,” Kim said. “People say we are pouring our own resources into North Korea, but in fact it’s the other way around. We will benefit from the abundant resources in the North.”
[SK NK Policy]
History lectures draw negative reactions from students
» Members of the Korean Teachers and Education Workers Union block Lee Dong-bok, the head of the North Korea Democratization Forum, from entering Sungduk Girls’ Commercial High School in Gangdong-gu, Seoul, on November 27, to give a lecture on modern Korean history. Lee’s lecture is the first in a series of lectures organized by the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education.
“By your words, it seems you are valuing only results and ignoring the wrongs committed by the Park Chung-hee administration in the process of economic growth. Are there not also many people neglected in ideologically growth-centered economic policy?”
This question was asked yesterday by Kim Ye-rin, a senior at Hyomun High School in Seoul’s Dobong-gu, to former JoongAng Ilbo editorial advisor Gang Wi-seok, who was speaking as a lecturer on the first day of the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education’s “Special Course in Modern History.” This course, aimed at high school seniors, is generating controversy for its “rightward tendencies,” with a large number of prominent figures with conservative tendencies appearing as lecturers.
Kim Dae-jung has harsh words for Lee Myung-bak
Former president speaks about set backs to Korea’s democratization process and encourages opposition parties to form alliance
Former President Kim Dae-jung strongly criticized “the administration of President Lee Myung-bak for intentionally breaking off inter-Korean relations,” saying, however, that “it won’t be successful.”
At a meeting on November 27 with Democratic Labor Party Chairman Kang Ki-kab and other DLP officials who were visiting Kim’s home to discuss their recent trip to North Korea, the former president said, “We are now in the process of going back 10 years.”
[SK NK Policy]
N. Korea Details Border Restrictions
By Kim Sue-young
North Korea has detailed its passage restriction, starting Dec. 1, only allowing South Koreans to enter its territory once a week via its eastern border and three times a day via the western border, the Ministry of Unification said Thursday.
The restriction, however, will not negatively affect the operation of a joint industrial complex in the North Korean border city of Gaeseong, a symbol of inter-Korean economic cooperation, ministry spokesman Kim Ho-nyoun said.
A Sordid Footnote to the Bombing of KAL 858
Kim Hyun-hee, the surviving bomber of Korean Air flight 858, has claimed that the National Intelligence Service under the Roh Moo-hyun administration plotted to spread a suspicion that the bombing was fabricated by mobilizing the three terrestrial TV networks. Kim made the claim last week in a 73-page letter to Lee Dong-bok, the head of the North Korean Democratization Forum. She claims she was thrown out of her house after refusing NIS requests to give interviews to the networks and has been living "a refugee's life" for five years.
Beginning with MBC's notorious "PD Diary" current affairs program in November 2003, SBS in the same year and KBS the following year aired programs suggesting that Kim was a foil for South Korean secret services. Civic groups like the Catholic Priests Association for Justice held press conferences raising the same suspicion.
[KAL858] [Terrorism] [Evidence]
Actress Could Face 18 Months in Jail for Adultery
Prosecutors are seeking an 18-month jail sentence for actress Ok So-ri, who admits adultery, and six months in jail and two years’ probation for her paramour, a singer identified as Jung. Korea is one of a handful of countries where adultery remains a crime after the Constitutional Court, ruling on a petition from Ok, rallied an insufficient majority to throw out the elderly law.
Former unification ministers offer remedies for inter-Korean relations
Implementation of inter-Korean declarations and shift in Lee administration’s N. Korea policy should be the cornerstones of change
North and South Korea are attempting to lock the door they opened. They are traveling down a road that nobody wants, but all they do is lay the responsibility on each other, and they make no efforts to find the key. The two Koreas have broken off relations, and South Korea can be seen dividing internally over this. The Lee Myung-bak administration just goes on about how this is “the fault of past governments” or “the fault of North Korea.” Does the Lee administration bear no responsibility? The Hankyoreh met with and called former unification ministers and asked them for their advice.
[SK NK Policy]
The five factors have brought inter-Korean relations to the brink
[Analysis] Lee’s dismissal of these factors could also damage relations with the U.S. amidst the changing situation on the Korean Peninsula
Nine months after the launch of the Lee Myung-bak administration, the North-South cooperation and trust, cultivated with difficulty since the first inter-Korean summit in June 2000, are crashing down. In response, President Lee and his core advisers are writing this off as an “inevitable period of adjustment in the process of normalizing the misguided inter-Korean relations of South Korea being dragged around by North Korea for the 10 years of the Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun administrations.” A representative example is Lee’s “policy” that “waiting is also sometimes a strategy.” But many experts are commenting that the fundamental cause of the vicious cycle of distrust and conflict between North and South Korea is the fact that the current administration has lapsed into dogma and ignored its promises with its counterpart, existing principles and changes in the political situation.
Ignoring Agreements: The starting point and core cause of the deterioration in North-South relations has been the Lee administration’s ignorance of the June 15 Joint Statement and October 4 Summit Declaration.
[SK NK policy]
What’s behind the GNP’s hard line turn on N. Korea policy?
The ruling Grand National Party’s stance on North Korea policy is even harder than that of the government these days. Looking at what GNP lawmakers have said about North Korea over the past several days, it is thought that the ruling party might be giving up on efforts to restore relations with the North. Even if differences in policy direction and ideology were admitted, we would have no choice but to question the GNP about whether it is appropriate for the ruling party in charge of the national administration to have made comments indicating that it doesn’t care about inter-Korean relations.
GNP Chairman Park Hee-tae said, “The June 15 Joint Statement (which Park may have mistakenly referred to instead of the October 4 Declaration) by former President Roh Moo-hyun is full of unreliable and exaggerated pledges.” The comment virtually denied the meaning of the October 4 Declaration reached at the inter-Korean summit of 2007 and takes a firmer stance than that of the government. After the U.S. Democratic Party won the presidential election, most GNP officials said that even though the administration had changed, there would be no change in its foreign policy. In spite of rhetoric indicating that they think other nations should be consistent with their foreign policy, why is the GNP neglecting the summit accord reached under the previous administration? And still they outwardly claim to be attempting reconciliation and restoring trust in inter-Korean relations. If the GNP were honest enough to confess that its policy toward North Korea is one of confrontation, the ruling party would at least not be criticized for being two-faced.
[SK NK policy]
9 are acquitted of pro-North activity
November 26, 2008
A Korean court yesterday reversed a 1983 guilty verdict against nine school teachers who were imprisoned for reading what the military regime of the time called rogue publications.
Police had said the teachers organized “a pro-enemy organization” after discovering that they were reading books that had been banned under the military regime. The case was one of numerous police crackdowns on innocent people who were charged with forming anti-government groups or following North Korean ideology during the military regimes that controlled Korea from the 1960s to the ’80s.
Gwangju High Court ruled yesterday that nine male school teachers, including Lee Gwang-woong, who died in 1992, were innocent. It apologized for “the sufferings of the innocent defendants and for not having met their expectations in the judicial system.”
In 1982, the nine Gunsan Jeil High School teachers organized an event to commemorate the student uprising of April 19, 1960, in which young Korean students staged a nationwide protest against then President Syngman Lee. The teachers discussed current affairs and recited poems by Kim Ji-ha, whose works had been banned for their anti-authoritarian themes.
The teachers were later indicted for violations of the national security law. They confessed under torture, and the court slapped prison terms of up to seven years on each of them
The DP Has No Leg to Stand on Over N.Korea
Democratic Party Chairman Chung Se-kyun met with Democratic Labor Party leader Kang Ki-kap at the National Assembly on Tuesday and said the reasonable thing for the government to do would be to shift its policy toward North Korea and adhere to the principles of the June 15 and October 4 declarations. When North Korea informed South Korea it was going to halt tours to Kaesong and other inter-Korean projects on Dec. 1, a spokesperson for the DP on Monday said the government and ruling party should completely overhaul their North Korea policy so the Kaesong Industrial Complex does not collapse. This is like telling the South Korean government to kneel in front of North Korea.
N.Korea Keeping Its Eye Firmly on the Money
North Korea is playing a double game in inter-Korean and international relations, taking care of lucrative deals while appearing more hardline in its policy.
On Monday, North Korea announced it is stopping package tours to Kaesong and cutting inter-Korean railway service, but permitted continued operation of the Kaesong Industrial Complex. Pundits say this is because the North cannot afford to lose the money it makes from the industrial park. The complex employs 33,688 North Korean workers earning US$70 a month. That alone means W43 billion (US$1=W1,502) a year. With other added value included, the annual economic effects the North gains from the industrial park are estimated at between W250 billion and W300 billion.
Kaesong package tours made the North W16 billion last year, but if the urgent aim is to pressure the South and bolster the regime, Pyongyang seems to have decided that stopping the tours is the lesser of two evils.
[NK SK policy]
Fabrication of "Special Committee on Human Rights Issue in North" under Fire
Pyongyang, November 25 (KCNA) -- Shortly ago, the Lee Myung Bak group cooked up a "special committee on human rights issue in the north" inside the "human rights committee" in a bid to build public opinion at home and abroad on the non-existent "human rights issue" in the DPRK. This comes under fire by a signed commentary of Rodong Sinmun Tuesday.
This is obviously a revelation of the criminal attempt of the group to escalate the north-south confrontation and realize their ambition to stifle the DPRK in league with outside forces, the commentary notes, and goes on:
NGOs to Send Anti-NK Fliers Again
By Kim Sue-young
Two South Korean civic groups said Tuesday that they will continue to send anti-North Korea leaflets over the inter-Korean border by balloon, despite a government warning.
The announcement comes a day after the North announced plans to halt border-crossing railway services and tour programs.
The Fighters for Free North Korea (FFNK) and the Abductees' Family Union (AFU) originally announced a suspension of the activity for three months last week but have now reversed the decision.
South Korea to pull officials from North on Friday
Wednesday, November 26, 2008; 1:38 AM
SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korean officials will clear out of an industrial enclave in North Korea on Friday, a few days before the communist state said it would clamp down on border crossings between the rivals, an official said on Wednesday.
Censoring History: Interview with Bruce Cumings
November 26, 2008
On Oct. 30, 2008, the South Korean Ministry of Education, Science and Technology demanded that the authors of six textbooks currently used in South Korean high schools delete or revise 55 sections in their texts that the Ministry claimed, "undermine the legitimacy of the South Korean government." South Korea formerly used a single government-issued textbook to teach its high school students a modern history of Korea, but in 2003 the government approved six privately published history textbooks for high school use. These textbooks have drawn heavy criticism from South Korean conservatives, and with last year's presidential election of conservative Lee Myung Bak they are now seeking to influence the content of the textbooks.
[Cumings] In my judgment, relations are worsening with the North because of actions taken by the Lee administration. They have made mistake after mistake, and have gotten nothing for it. They cozied up to the Bush administration, the most unpopular in American history (and perhaps in the world), just at the point where Bush was a lame duck. They purposely alienated the North, just as Bush was turning toward engagement with Pyongyang—and the result was, no one in Washington or in the 6-Party Talks pays much attention to Seoul's viewpoint. They are now trying to bury all the new history we have learned about the colonial and postwar periods, and this only makes young people want to know more—they want to know exactly what the administration is trying to cover up. All the new history has been squeezed out of the toothpaste tube by a lot of courageous historians, and there is no way to get it back into the tube. It's as simple as that: it can never work.
[Propaganda] [SK NK policy]
N.Korea Halts Kaesong Tours, Cross-Border Railways
North Korea on Monday told South Korea it would completely suspend package tours to the North Korean border city of Kaesong, halt regular cross-border railway services, and cut the number of the permanent South Korean personnel at the Kaesong Industrial Complex by half as of Dec. 1. That ends all inter-Korean exchange and cooperation except the industrial park.
N.Korea Is Shooting Itself in the Foot
Pyongyang said Monday it will suspend tours to Kaesong and halt cross-border rail services effective Dec. 1 and demanded the closure of the South Korean government’s liaison office in the Kaesong Industrial Complex, the evacuation of officials and a 50 percent reduction in the number of South Korean staff members at factories based there. It said it will close off land routes across the border to all South Korean civilian groups and business officials. But considering the financial difficulties faced by small- and mid-sized South Korean businesses, North Korea said it will guarantee the business operations of the companies based in the complex. That effectively ends all cross-border cooperation.
N. Korea to stop Gaeseong tours, rail service
Additional interruption of all projects in the Gaeseong Industrial Complex could occur
Inter-Korean relations are racing toward a worst-case scenario. Pyongyang is effectively barring all overland North-South exchanges such as tourism at Gaeseong (Kaesong), with the exception of private business activities in the Gaeseong Industrial Complex.
In a message November 24, Kim Yong-chol, Korean People’s Army lieutenant general (equivalent to major general in the South Korean army) and leader of the North Korean delegation at the general-level inter-Korean military talks, announced, “Overland passage of all South Korean private groups and businesspeople traveling to North Korea over land for purposes such as cooperation, exchange and economic transactions is to be barred beginning December 1, and passage across the Military Demarcation Line by those involved in economic cooperation and exchange cooperation projects will be strictly limited and blocked.” As a result, nine months after the launch of the Lee Myung-bak administration, inter-Korean relations have been set back 10 years, which have now literally become a “lost decade.”
N. Korea’s actions read like an ultimatum for the South
Pressure on the South may be intended to resolve the North-South relationship in anticipation of the incoming Obama administration
North Korea has taken a series of unexpected, intense steps on November 24 with regard to
the Gaeseong (Kaesong) inter-Korean cooperation project.
North Korea has virtually incapacitated the Gaeseong Industrial Complex, a core inter-Korean cooperation project, by demanding South Korea withdraw government employees and businesspeople based at the complex by December 1, excluding essential personnel needed to manage the industrial park. The move was seen as the greatest amount of pressure that could be placed on South Korea without closing the complex completely, which would deal a severe political and diplomatic blow to both North and South.
North Korea’s action is very strong. If the current situation becomes protracted, the Gaeseong Industrial Complex will be in danger of losing its viability. It is likely that the North, having done all it can without closing the complex, will now wait for a reaction from the South.
Gaeseong’s guardians and what they must do to move forward
Yesterday North Korea informed the South that it is going to end tourist visits to the North Korean city of Gaeseong (Kaesong) and halt train passage between North and South starting December 1. It also demanded the closure of the “economic cooperation office” in the Gaeseong Industrial Complex and the reduction of Southern corporate employees living there by half. The North’s intentions look clear. Aside from keeping the Gaeseong Industrial Complex phenomenon around at a minimum, it wants to put a complete stop to the rest of the inter-Korean exchange projects. It is also a hint that, depending on the circumstances, it could close the door on the industrial complex as well.
Whatever its reasons, the North’s move is most regrettable, mostly because it would very probably make relations that were already turning bad, worse
UN resolution on N. Korean human rights stirs up inter-Korean relations
N. Korea ‘strongly disapproves’ of the resolution as a ‘political plot to forcibly change the system and ideology’ of N. Korea
Unfavorable factors continue to assail the hardened relationship between North and South Korea. After the United Nations adopted its resolution on North Korean human rights, co-sponsored by South Korea, the North Korean representative rejected and criticized this resolution, while Pyongyang’s organization for South Korea policy, the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland, savagely criticized President Lee Myung-bak.
N. Korea Suspends Gaeseong Tours, Train Link
North Korea Monday said it will suspend tours to Gaesong and cross-border rail services starting Dec. 1 in protest against Seoul's tough policy toward Pyongyang.
The North will also eject more South Korean personnel and vehicles from the joint Mount Geumgang resort and the industrial complex in Gaesong, Yonhap News reported quoting a statement by the North's military carried by the country's official Korean Central News Agency.
However, North Korea decided to ensure the operation of South Korean firms in the Gaeseong complex since they should not be a "scapegoat" of Seoul's "reckless confrontational policy" toward the North, according to a separate letter sent to the firms and unveiled by Seoul officials.
Foreign scholars deplore efforts to rewrite Korean history books
November 22, 2008
The Korean government’s effort to revise modern history textbooks has engendered international debate, with over 100 foreign scholars signing a “Statement by Historians in South Korea and Abroad” earlier this month calling on the government to stop its attempt to modify the texts.
Two of the overseas scholars - Bruce Cumings, a professor at the University of Chicago, and Vladimir Tikhonov (Pak Noja), a professor at Oslo University - were interviewed via e-mail. The debate is between the government and some authors of the textbooks and historians who belong to associations, including the Association of Korean History Teachers, the History Association of Education and the Institute for Research in Collaborationist Activities. [Propaganda]
Calls for N. Korea policy shift intensify
Conservatives and progressives alike urge Lee administration to take flexible, cooperative approach to N. Korea policy
» Ven. Yongdam, the chair of the Buddhist Broadcasting System, second from right, reads a resolution by 39 individuals urging the government to normalize inter-Korean relations at a press conference at the Seoul Press Center on November 21.
Movements urging the Lee Myung-bak administration to shift its policy toward North Korea to a more cooperation-oriented policy for the normalization of inter-Korean relations have been springing up in succession, transcending the boundaries of conservative and progressive.
Prominent figures from various fields, including Paik Nak-chung, chair of the All-Korean Committee for Implementation of the June 15 Joint Declaration, and Ven. Young-dam, chief director of the Buddhist Broadcasting System, held a press conference November 21 at the Seoul Press Center and declared, “The crisis in North-South relations must not be left alone any longer.” They urged the government to “break away from its myopic policy of ignoring North Korea and pursue a shift toward ‘inter-Korean relations of peace and co-prosperity’ that make active use of changes in the international situation.”
[SK NK policy]
Leave the leaflets in the South
Government-related organizations including the Ministry of Unification, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Ministry of National Defense, National Police Agency and National Intelligence Service held a formal policy meeting the day before yesterday to come up with a plan for preventing the distribution of leaflets calling for the overthrow of the North Korean system. The following day, the private groups responsible for the distribution openly sent off another large batch of leaflets to North Korea. This is the fourth such case in a little over a month.
Gov't Yields to N.Korean Pressure Over Leaflets
The government has decided to stop activists sending propaganda leaflets to North Korea "within the framework of the law," it announced on Wednesday. The crackdown will be jointly enforced by the Unification Ministry, National Intelligence Service, National Police Agency and Foreign Affairs and Trade Ministry.
The decision was reached at a meeting Wednesday chaired by Vice Unification Minister Hong Yang-ho and attended by bureau-directors of security agencies, Unification Ministry spokesman Kim Ho-nyoun said.
Textbook battle erupts in Busan
Busan Office of Education encouraged principals to ‘reselect’ their modern and contemporary Korean history textbooks
» The Busan Office of Education, which recently became embroiled in the controversy over high school history textbooks when it told principals at area schools to review the choice of a textbook that has been heavily criticized by the Education Ministry.
Teachers are angry over what they say is open interference in school affairs after the Busan Office of Education summoned school principals to tell them to change their choice of modern and contemporary Korean history textbook. The Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education is already facing criticism for similar actions
Economic Downturn Dampens Tank Acquisition
By Jung Sung-ki
The Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) plans to reduce the production of the country's indigenous main battle tanks due to budgetary constraints brought on by the global financial crisis, officials said Wednesday.
At a National Assembly session earlier this week, the agency made public a plan to downscale the budget by 1.8 trillion won to 3.9 trillion won for the production of 400 K2 Black Panther amphibious tanks, built by the state-run Agency for Defense Development and Hyundai Rotem, between 2009 to 2017.
[military balance] [arms sales]
Latest Threats May Mean North Korea Wants to Talk
By CHOE SANG-HUN
Published: November 19, 2008
SEOUL, South Korea — For 10 years, South Korea has pursued a “sunshine policy” as its master plan for transforming North Korea. Under that banner, South Korea funneled billions of dollars to the North for new factories, hotels and food, and millions of South Korean tourists poured across the border.
But eight months after President Lee Myung-bak came to office here promising a harder approach, the once vaunted policy has unraveled. North Korea has cut off high-level dialogue with the South. It has severed Red Cross-managed telephone “hot lines” crossing the demilitarized zone. In July, a North Korean soldier shot and killed a South Korean tourist visiting its Diamond Mountain resort, leading to its closing.
The North is now threatening to shut down an industrial complex in the North Korean town of Kaesong, the best South Korea had to show for its 10 years of sunshine policy. During an inspection tour earlier this month, a high-ranking North Korean general turned to the South Korean factory owners and asked, “How soon do you think you can pack your gear and go home?”
Last week, North Korea further confounded the rest of the world. It said it had never agreed to let American experts take samples from its main nuclear complex, contrary to Washington’s announcement that it had.
Lee’s business-like approach to N. Korea is out of touch
Members of Lee’s own Grand National Party hope that Lee will change his style and get inter-Korean relations back on track
“I wish there would be some sort of rhetoric.”
That was the response of one ruling Grand National Party member on November 18, in response to President Lee Myung-bak’s comments the previous day in Washington, D.C., when he said, “if North Korea gives up its nuclear program and comes out into the international community, the Republic of Korea is going to work together with the international community to develop the North’s economy.” The GNP National Assemblyman was expressing his frustration with the way President Lee’s approach to North Korea is out of step with the “engagement approach” of the incoming U.S. administration of Barack Obama.
This can be taken apart and looked at as a problem with President Lee’s “CEO-style approach” to North Korea as evidenced when he says there is no inter-Korean problem because U.S.-South Korean relations are going well and the domestic political situation.
[SK NK policy]
Seoul Seeking to Halt Propaganda Leaflets to N.Korea
The government is looking for legal grounds to stop activists sending propaganda leaflets to North Korea since they have so incensed the North as to threaten a new ice age in relations. Unification Ministry spokesman Kim Ho-nyoun on Monday told reporters the government has in the meantime asked civic groups to refrain from continuing the activity.
The limits of the Lee administration’s N. Korea policy
Today marks the 10th anniversary of the start of South Korean tours to North Korea’s Mount Geumgang (Kumgang). Some 1.7 million tourists, overwhelmingly South Korean, have visited the area by ship, bus and automobile since the Hyundai ship Kumgang first left port from the East Coast of South Korea in 1998. The Mount Geumgang enterprise became the stepping stone for the Gaeseong (Kaesong) Industrial Complex, and it was because of the trust forged with this enterprise that North and South were able to hold a summit the year after the battle on the West Sea in 1999. Mount Geumgang Tourism is a symbol of inter-Korean economic cooperation and pillar of peace.
Textbooks on Past Offend South Korea’s Conservatives
By CHOE SANG-HUN
Published: November 17, 2008
SEOUL, South Korea — To conservative critics, a widely used textbook’s version of how American and Soviet forces took control of Korea from Japanese colonialists in 1945 shows all that is wrong with the way South Korean history is taught to young people today.
Army soldiers tried to subdue protesters on May 20, 1980, in Gwangju, South Korea. The pro-democracy protests were a formative experience for many who later became teachers.
The fact no one disputes is that, at the end of World War II, the Soviet military swept into northern Korea and installed a friendly Communist government while an American military administration assumed control in the south.
But then the high school textbook takes a direction that has angered conservatives. It contends that the Japanese occupation was followed not by a free, self-determining Korea, but by a divided peninsula dominated once again by foreign powers.
“It was not our national flag that was hoisted to replace the Japanese flag. The flag that flew in its place was the American Stars and Stripes,” reads the textbook, published by Kumsung Publishing.
Statement from Historians in South Korea and Abroad
We [the undersigned] demand that the Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology stop the revision of [high school] history textbooks, undermining the principle of political neutrality in education.
On October 8th, twenty one academic associations related to the field of history held a press conference, criticizing the government’s plan to revise modern Korean history textbooks [used in high schools].
Digital Populism in South Korea?
Internet Culture and the Trouble with Direct Participation
by Youngmi Kim
Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellow at the School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom.
Internet culture is placing an increasingly important role in shaping Korean public and political life, from the campaign that led to the election of president Roh in 2002 to the candlelight vigils in the Spring of 2008. Dr. Youngmi Kim's paper focuses on the mechanisms through which large demonstrations, strikes, and clashes with the police have emerged and spread across the country, and also addresses online networks and how they can mobilize a large segment of the population. In doing so, she posits that what appears as a form of direct participation may have serious consequences for Korea's democratic institutions.
Korean Committee for Solidarity with the World People on inter-Korean relations
Greetings from Korean Committee for Solidarity with the World People (KCSWP)!
We would like to send this letter to you in order to accuse the crime of present south Korea “Government” that pursues the anti-DPRK policy swimming against the trend of the times and aspiration of whole Korean nation.
As you know now inter Korea relation which favorably developed since the adoption of June 15 Joint Declaration is faced a catastrophic crisis all of a sudden owing to the confrontational policy of south Korea “Government”.
The president’s irresponsible, hard-line stance on N. Korea
“If the current situation continues for the next five years, nothing will be done... Both sides should accept and embrace one another as they are. Companies that are participating in, or preparing for, (inter-Korean) economic cooperation projects are suffering huge losses as relations (between South and North Korea) continue to worsen.”
The remark was made on October 30 by Kim Jeong-tae, chairman of the South’s Andong Hemp Textiles, which launched the first inter-Korean joint business venture in Pyongyang under the name Pyongyang Hemp Textiles. Currently, most of the modern factories in Pyongyang are owned by Chinese corporations.
In spite of this difficult situation, the South Korean government is still sticking to its hostile policy against the North.
North-South Joint Seminar Held
Pyongyang, November 13 (KCNA) -- A north-south joint seminar denouncing Japan's moves to distort history and seize Tok Islet was held in Pyongyang on Thursday.
Attending it were historians and personages concerned from the north and the south of Korea and delegates of several movement organizations in south Korea.
Opposition Lawmakers Visit Pyongyang Amid Tension
Lawmakers of South Korea's Democratic Labor Party (DLP) arrived in Pyongyang Saturday to mend fences between the two Koreas, Yonhap reported Saturday.
A group of 20 legislators, including party officials of DLP, arrived in Pyongyang on a five-day mission.
"We will actively discuss implementation of the two stalled inter-Korean deals," signed under Seoul's former administrations that promoted the engagement with North Korea, DLP Chairman Kang Ki-kab told reporters before his departure for Pyongyang.
A return to Kim Young-sam’s hard-line on North Korea?
Seong Han-yong, Senior staff writer
It was hard to believe.
A friend of President Lee Myung-bak called him “purely myopic.”
“A pragmatist? Don’t be fooled,” he said.
I heard the friend say this a year ago. It was hard to imagine. Lee Hoi-chang or Park Geun-hye might have “conservative myopia,” but it was hard to understand how that could be the case with Lee Myung-bak. Whatever else he did, we thought he had espoused pragmatism enough to carry on the sunshine policy of presidents Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun.
It didn’t take long to figure it out.
[SK NK policy]
Deterioration of Inter-Korean Relationship
By Tong Kim
Policy Forum Online 08-084A: November 4th, 2008
Tong Kim, Research Professor with the Ilmin Institute of International Relations at Korea University and an adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins University SAIS, writes, "Since President Lee took office, Pyongyang has been getting mixed signals from Seoul between engagement and confrontation, as it did from the Bush administration during its first six years - between negotiation and regime change... Nobody can predict the timing or the likelihood of a demise of North Korea. That's why it is important to resume dialogue and avoid a costly consequence - political, economic and military - from confrontation."
Lee’s North Korea policy appears to turn on terror list removal
Removing N. Korea from the list of state sponsors of terrorism is ‘the wrong response to the North’s threats,’ Lee says
President Lee Myung-bak was believed to recently have reprimanded senior officials in charge of diplomacy and national security, asking, in effect, why they were standing idle while North Korea continued to release harsh rhetoric about him.
[SK NK policy]
South Koreans Lose Faith in President’s Business Skills
By MARTIN FACKLER
Published: October 30, 2008
SEOUL, South Korea — Many South Koreans have taken to blaming LeeMan Brothers for their nation’s economic woes.
No, they do not mean the failed American investment bank Lehman Brothers. Rather, they are making a play on the names of South Korea’s president, Lee Myung-bak, and his finance minister, Kang Man-soo, whom many here criticize as handling the recent market turmoil
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