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N.Korea's New Hovercraft Base Near Completion
North Korea has nearly completed a hovercraft base in Koampo, Hwanghae Province, only some 50 km from South Korea's northwesternmost islands. The North is expected to put it into full operation next month.
A South Korean government source said Sunday the large base in Koampo is "near completion." "We found out that the North built about 60 hangar-like berths where hovercraft and stealth air-cushion warships can be kept safely," he added.
South Korean and U.S. intelligence agencies believe the North will begin deploying the ships at the base next month. The berths are reportedly sturdy reinforced concrete structures that look like fighter plane hangars so they can protect the boats from South Korean and U.S. bombardment.
The North has about 130 hovercraft, and the new base can accommodate about half. So far the North's main hovercraft base on the west coast is more than 300 km from South Korea's northwesternmost islands.
It would therefore take North Korean commandos four hours to launch an attack on the islands
S.Korean Soldiers Joined Pro-N.Korean Website
Around 70 South Korean Army, Navy and Air Force officers are active on a pro-North Korean website that hails and praises the repressive regime and its dynastic succession. Two officers and five or six enlisted soldiers have even posted messages of allegiance to Kim Jong-il and his son Jong-un.
The Defense Security Command has notified Cheong Wa Dae, and an internal investigation of the soldiers has begun.
Investigators say a 46-year-old colonel who was a member of the website told them he signed up to figure out how to deal with left-wing officials while he was based with the Joint Chiefs of Staff. An Air Force commander said his ID was used by someone else.
The website was created by a 43-year-old South Korean identified only by his surname Hwang, who is in jail, and in its heyday boasted a membership of around 7,000 people.
email@example.com / May 30, 2011 12:44 KST
South Korea: An economy divided
By Christian Oliver and Song Jung-a
Published: May 29 2011 19:37 | Last updated: May 29 2011 19:37
Mean streets: South Korean households are feeling the pain as they struggle to service debt. With less money to spend, consumers are cutting back
South Korean police identified the 35-year-old only as Mr Bang. He killed himself in the southern province of Jeolla on March 10 by locking himself in his car and lighting a brazier of charcoal briquettes. The note he left was stark: “I am tormented by my debts.” His final words, an expression of personal suffering, reflect the troubles of the nation.
Mr Bang’s case is not unusual. South Korea has one of the world’s highest suicide rates, worsening rapidly as the gulf widens between rich and poor in a faltering and uneven domestic economy. Suicide has doubled in the past decade to account for 31 in every 100,000 deaths.
Such tales jar with the widespread view of South Korea as an economic success story. Internationally, it is praised in the same breath as Germany for the speed with which massive export-based conglomerates – called chaebol – have powered recovery from the crisis of 2008. Companies such as Samsung Electronics and Hyundai Motor posted record profits last year. Exports rose 29 per cent to $467bn, contributing to a 6.2 per cent rise in gross domestic product.
S. Korean Forces' War Exercises Flayed--Rodong Sinmun
Pyongyang, May 29 (KCNA) -- The puppet warmongers of south Korea staged a large-scale joint air rehearsal in the sky above the west of the Korean Peninsula from May 23 to 27 together with the U.S. air forces in south Korea.
Involved in this anti-DPRK rehearsal were more than 50 aerial warplanes and nuclear preemptive attack means.
Commenting on this fact, a news analyst of Rodong Sinmun Sunday says:
The rehearsal was very provocative and dangerous in content and nature as it was conducted in way of setting up "enemy formations" and then "repelling" someone's "provocation for overall war" with big offensive formations and dropping strategic bombs on main ground targets.
NK defectors vow to fight Seoul’s control on remittances
By Kim Young-jin
North Korean defectors vowed Sunday to fight the government if its plan to regulate remittances to the North made it harder for them to help their loved ones back home.
Announced last week, the move aims at legalizing the sending of cash across the border by requiring defectors to receive government approval first.
“It is getting much, much harder for my parents back home to live,” said Kim, a defector who asked that his full name not be used. “I’m ready to fight this if it makes sending money more difficult.”
[Sanctions] [Remittances] [Refugee reception] [Incompetence]
Dozens of SKorean military officers investigated for holding pro-NKorea website memberships
By Associated Press, Updated: Monday, May 30, 4:00 PM
SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea’s military has investigated about 70 officers found to have had memberships at a now-closed pro-North Korea online community site.
The Defense Ministry said Monday that seven to eight of the officers committed “problematic” behavior by posting messages on the site and will face further investigation.
.It says the rest simply obtained membership out of curiosity.
Local media reports say South Korean authorities have blocked the site from being accessed because it contained articles praising North Korea’s political system and leader Kim Jong Il’s moves to transfer power to a son.
Kim Jong-il's train
Time for Koreas to swallow old grudges
It is not common for a head of state to visit another country three times a year. Yet that’s what North Korea’s Kim Jong-il is doing in China. So much so his tour is no longer attracting the attention of Western media. South Korean intelligence officers even thought it would be Kim’s son and heir-apparent, Jong-un, and had to correct their reports later.
The purpose of the latest visit as well as its outcome is still in shrouded in mystery. One can just presume from Kim’s itinerary that it has much to do with joint economic projects along the Sino-Korean borders. And this begs the question: Are Kim and the North Korean leadership finally ready for reform and openness?
Recommendations for Kim Jong-il to visit Seoul in Spring 2012
By Wooksik Cheong
May 24, 2011
Wooksik Cheong, a Representative of the Peace Network, writes, “the [Lee Myung-Bak] administration should not take the North’s sincerity of nuclear abandonment as a precondition of negotiation. Instead, it should respond in kind to the North’s determination to seek out larger compromise, such as denuclearization for a peace treaty.”
OECD Warns of Widening Gap Between 2 Koreas
The OECD has warned against the widening economic and social gap between the two Koreas, suggesting a possible jump in the cost of reunification sometime in the future.
In its latest report on the Korean Peninsula, the group of wealthy countries emphasizes that there is a need to expand bilateral trade in the private sector, citing the significant difference in the GDP of South and North Korea.
In 2008, South Korea's 48.6 million populace posted a GDP of US$929 billion, while North Korea with less than half the population at 23.3 million recorded a total GDP just short of $25 billion.
The communist country's trade volume was worth $3.8 billion in the same year, a mere 0.4 percent of South Korea's $857 billion. The reclusive state had low production rates in electricity and steel but it did fairly well in annual productions of cement, fertilizer and grain.
The OECD report also raises concerns about the high infant mortality rate and the low life expectancy among women in North Korea. It found more than 14 babies out of every 1,000 are believed to have died in 1993 but the rate surged to 19 in 2008.
Forecasting that such a big difference in the quality of life between South and North Korea will likely drive up the cost of economic and social integration, the OECD urged Seoul to be more selective in its economic cooperation with Pyongyang.
Ecumenical steps towards the peaceful reunification of the Korean peninsula
Dr Samuel Lee, Dr Mathews George Chunakara, Bishop Dr Martin Schindehütte, and Vakhtang V. KipshidzeRealizing a peaceful reunification of Korea would not only be a gift for the Korean people but also for the people of Asia and the world as a whole. For the church, both in and outside Korea, realizing a unified Korea will also mean the church being unified in their efforts.
With this background the National Council of Churches in Korea (NCCK) organized a workshop for the International Ecumenical Peace Convocation (IEPC) being held in Kingston, Jamaica 17-25 May. The workshop was held Thursday, 19 May.
[Editorial] Roh’s legacy
Two years have passed since the unexpected suicide of President Roh Moo-hyun, who left a message behind asking that “only a very small tombstone be left for me.” His absence feels especially affecting May, when the green of nature is at its brightest. Each passing day finds the country in a worse position than the day before, making Roh’s dream of “a world where people live” more and more distant. His void left behind by his death is all the more palpable.
But we cannot simply succumb to this kind of anger and despondency.
N.Korean Defectors Suffer for the Regime They Fled
North Korean defectors here say they suffer emotionally whenever tension arises between the two Koreas. "We're dispirited whenever incidents like the sinking of the Navy corvette Cheonan and the shelling of Yeongpyeong Island take place, wondering what South Koreans must think about us. We feel as if we'd committed a crime," said one.
Lee may reshape N. Korea policy
By Na Jeong-ju
North Korean leader Kim Jong-il’s to China could raise pressure on the Lee Myung-bak administration to reshape its North Korea policy and activate dialogue with the neighboring communist nations, analysts said Friday.
Lee is facing mounting calls to reopen dialogue channels first with Pyongyang to make a breakthrough in the stalled inter-Korean relations and pave the way for the resumption of the six-party talks on the North’s nuclear program.
Seoul officials hoped that Kim’s China visit will bring positive changes to both Koreas, but ruled out the possibility that Lee’s hard-line stance on the North’s nuclear brinkmanship and military provocations would change.
[SK NK policy]
Textbook Entries about N.Korea to Be Cut
Entries about North Korea, which account for 10 percent of South Korean high school history textbooks, will be drastically cut to one-sixth of the present coverage by 2013.
Lee Tae-jin of the National Institute of Korean History told the Chosun Ilbo on Thursday, "There is too much information about North Korea in high school history textbooks, and we decided to first reduce it to one-third in the portion describing the country's history after independence from Japanese occupation in 1945."
Military Conducts Major Landing Drill
All five branches of the South Korean military have been taking part in a joint landing drill off the southeastern port city of Pohang this week.
The exercise began Monday and involves some 2,000 Marines and an unidentified number of troops from the Army, Navy and Air Force, 15 naval ships led by the amphibious landing ship Dokdo, 21 armored landing vehicles as well as some 50 F-15 and KF-16 fighter jets.
The five-day long drill includes simulations of beach assaults in wartime, operations of landing vehicles from ships and training to detect and eliminate sea mines.
Lee Bets on Inter-Korean Issues
Cheong Wa Dae on Wednesday revealed that it met with North Korean official behind closed doors to explain President Lee Myung-bak's conditional offer to invite North Korean leader Kim Jong-il to the international Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul next year. During a visit to Berlin last week, Lee told reporters that he will invite Kim if the North shows it is willing to give up its nuclear weapons program.
Lee Calls for Social Cohesion on Anniversary of Uprising
President Lee Myung-bak on Wednesday called for efforts toward greater social integration in the spirit of the 1980 Gwangju Democratic Uprising.
N.Korean Diplomats in India Investigated for Car Smuggling
North Korean Embassy officials in India are being investigated for involvement in a luxury car smuggling case worth W100 billion (US$1=W1,091).
Senior officials of the North Korean and Vietnamese embassies are suspected of smuggling luxury sedans and motorcycles, evading customs duties estimated at 5 billion rupees (approximately W120 billion) over the past years, the Indian Express reported Monday.
N.Korean Diplomats Face Trial for Cigarette Smuggling
Two North Korean diplomats arrested for cigarette smuggling in Sweden are to go on trial, Voice of America reported Tuesday.
Swedish prosecutors said Kang Son-hiui and Pak Ung-sik will be arraigned on Wednesday, a Swedish customs spokesperson told VOA.
The two, who have diplomatic status in Russia, were arrested by Swedish customs officers while trying to smuggle 230,000 Russian cigarettes into the Nordic country after they left Helsinki, Finland on Nov. 18.
firstname.lastname@example.org / Dec. 16, 2009 11:08 KST
Across the country, celebrations for May 18
Religious groups and civic organizations to launch series of events to mark 31st anniversary
By Ahn Kwan-ok, Senior Staff Writer
Events have begun across the country to commemorate the spirit and meaning of the May 18 Gwangju Uprising, which marks its 31st anniversary this year.
The Catholic Archdiocese of Gwangju held a memorial mass at Gwangju’s Nam-dong Catholic Church at 2 p.m. Monday, led by Archbishop Hyginus Kim Hee-joong and attended by about 500 believers.
Closely following efforts to turn Rhee Syngman into the “father of the country,” we are now seeing overt attempts to make a hero of Park Chung-hee. One was chased out by the people of South Korea, and the other saw to the violent shooting deaths of his coup d’etat comrades. It is frightening indeed to consider the reason for the attempt to make heroes of the two of them. Perhaps reactionaries and media clans are laying the groundwork for a continuation of the conservative regime ahead of next year’s general and presidential elections.
Naro rocket program ? major headache
Troubled space agency threatens to derail Korean rocket project
By Kim Tong-hyung
Nearly a year has passed since Korea Space Launch Vehicle-1 (KSLV-1) exploded moments after take-off and the country’s attempts to join the space-launch industry continues to spin further out of orbit.
Korean officials and their Russian technology providers are stuck in a cyclical blame game over the failure of last June’s failed launch, which represented Korea’s second major space setback in the span of less than a year
N.Korean Defectors Fail to Adapt to Life Away from Home
An increasing number of North Korean defectors who are unable to settle down in the South move to third countries. According to a U.S. government report in June last year, the number of North Korean defectors who entered the United States increased from 27 in 2006 to 48 in 2007. Between 2006 and 2009, 665 defectors from the North entered the U.K. to ask for asylum, and 217 sought residence in Canada between 2000 and 2009.
Most N.Korean Defectors Come from N.Hamgyong Province
Seven out of 10 North Koreans who defected to South Korea are from North Hamgyong Province on the border with China, or 13,583 of over 20,000 people. Yet only 2.9 percent come from North Pyongan Province, which also borders China
Revised Romanization Gains Global Support
The UN Group of Experts on Geographical Names will adopt the Korean standard for Romanizing place names here, so that for example the country's second-largest city will be spelled "Busan," not "Pusan."
Third Installment of Statement of NDC Inspection Group
Pyongyang, May 15 (KCNA) -- The inspection group of the National Defence Commission (NDC) of the DPRK on May 14 issued the third installment of the statement disclosing the ulterior attempt of the south Korean group of traitors faking up the third and fourth "Cheonan" warship cases", obsessed by the anachronistic ambition.
The statement cited material evidence proving that the "story about north's involvement" touted by the group of traitors is false.
[Cheonan] [Coverup] [OPCON] [Bluster]
'Park Chung-hee nostalgia' revisited on 50th anniversary of May 16 coup
By Kang Hyun-kyung
Park Chung-hee, the late President who rose to power through a military coup on May 16 in 1961, was assassinated by the head of the Korean Central Intelligence Agency in 1979, to end his eventful political career.
But his legacy still lives on.
S.Koreans shifting toward ‘moderate’ and ‘progressive’ political identities
The study shows a departure from conservatism for a number of regional, socioeconomic and age groups
By Lee Ji-eun, Staff Writer
The last nine years have seen major changes in the distribution of political sentiments among South Koreans. The percentage identifying as conservative has declined continuously, while the percentage identifying as progressive rebounded from a low in 2006 to outnumber conservatives. The period also witnessed a rapid overall increase in self-identified moderates.
N.Korea's Rights Abuses Must Be Fully Recorded
Hyun Byung-chul, the head of the National Human Rights Commission of Korea, on Wednesday apologized to North Korean defectors for his agency's failure to address their grievances and record human rights abuses in the North. "I sincerely regret that there was no communication channel for you to voice the pain and injustices you suffered in North Korea," he said in a letter to North Korean defectors in Korea. "It may be painful to recall the human rights situation in North Korea, but please have the courage to report the abuses you suffered. If this courage builds, we will see miraculous changes happening in North Korea."
Why Would N.Korea Accept Lee's Invitation?
Kim Jin-myung The press room at the Foreign Ministry was abuzz at around 4 p.m. on Monday with the word "Berlin" heard on all sides. It all began when Cheong Wa Dae officials accompanying President Lee Myung-bak on his trip to Europe told reporters ahead of Lee's meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in the evening that Lee plans to make "an important announcement" about the North Korean nuclear issue.
For Lee, a former business executive, they may have sounded reasonable.
The question is whether the Lee administration is simply naive or whether it has other intentions.
[Lee Myung-bak] [Spin] [Conditionality]
Park Geun-hye to traverse father’s legacy
A presidential contender, balancing her father’s strong and controversial dictatorship will be a delicate task
By Seong Yeon-cheol
She is a prominent figure whose father’s legacy has simultaneously bequeathed both an inheritance and debt. He bequeathed upon her the political capital to allow her to enjoy the highest support rating in the land, but also left her the soil in which rivals and critics would call her “daughter of a dictator” and “the Yusin Princess.” Presidential candidate Park Geun-hye’s fate will be decided by how she handles both her father’s inheritance and his debts.
Human Rights Commissioner Apologizes to N.Korean Defectors
Hyun Byung-chul The head of the National Human Rights Commission of Korea, Hyun Byung-chul on Wednesday apologized to North Korean defectors for his agency's failure to address their grievances and record human rights abuses in the North. "I sincerely regret that there was no communication channel for you to voice the pain and injustices you suffered in North Korea," he said in a letter to around 15,000 of the 21,000 North Korean defectors in Korea whose home addresses were available.
Military to Tighten Conscription Rules
The Military Manpower Administration is planning to toughen regulations for conscription. So far men who had not at least completed middle school are exempt from the draft, but the new plan will include them in the pool of conscripts.
Exceptional talents in sports and the arts who are exempt from military service when they win a single medal in a prestigious competition will now instead need to accumulate points on a prescribed scale.
[ROK military] [Buildup]
N.Korea Turns Down Offer to Attend Seoul Nuclear Summit
North Korea on Wednesday indirectly declined an offer by President Lee Myung-bak to invite the renegade country to next year's Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul if it proves it wants to scrap its nuclear program.
The Choson Sinbo, a North Korean regime mouthpiece in Japan, accused the South of foul play in trying to link the denuclearization issue to the Nuclear Security Summit. The daily called Lee's invitation an "impure attempt" to put two separate issues on the table.
CPRK Denounces Lee Myung Bak's Provocative Remarks against DPRK
Pyongyang, May 11 (KCNA) -- A spokesman for the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea gave an answer to a question put by KCNA Wednesday as regards the provocative remarks made by traitor Lee Myung Bak against the DPRK during his recent visit to Germany.
On May 8 Lee at the round-table talks with compatriots and a press conference held during his junket to Germany, the first leg of his European tour, blustered that the north's nukes are obstructive to unification, urging it to "dismantle" them, and asserted that it should "apologize" for the warship sinking case and the Yonphyong Island shelling case. He went the lengths of crying out for "the punishment of what he called "provocation" as regards even the anti-DPRK conspiratorial case orchestrated by him in the past.
He groundlessly pointed an accusing finger at the DPRK, finding fault with its system. He also let loose a string of foolish invectives inciting despicable confrontation of systems, talking about the pull-down of the Berlin Wall.
[Lee Myung-bak] [Collapse]
North Korea rebuffs South Korea’s offer to host leader Kim Jong Il at int’l nuclear summit
By Associated Press, Updated: Thursday, May 12, 6:36 PM
SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea has rejected South Korea’s offer to host leader Kim Jong Il at an international nuclear summit in Seoul next year.
South Korean President Lee Myung-bak made the proposal Monday in Berlin. He conditioned the offer on North Korea stopping its nuclear weapons program.
.Pyongyang’s Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea said Wednesday the proposal is a “ridiculous” attempt to disarm the North by raising disarmament as a condition for dialogue.
Minjok 21 marks 10 years of publication on inter-Korean issues
The magazine’s goal is to increase inter-Korean press exchanges
By Kim Bo-geun, Senior Staff Writer
“I am pleased that Minjok 21 is being praised for its last 10 years at a time when inter-Korean relations have grown difficult.”
Minjok 21 President Chung Chang-hyun, 48, who will receive the 16th Neutbom, Late spring, Unification Award on Saturday, said the award would be an opportunity for him to take stock of the last 10 years of his publication, a journal on national unification put together by the North Korean, South Korean and overseas Koreans, and look towards the next 10 years.
The Neutbom Unification Award is given every year by the group Greeting Unification to honor the unification spirit of the late Rev. Moon Ik-hwan.
DELIVERING SOCIAL JUSTICE FOR NORTH KOREAN REFUGEES IN SOUTH KOREA: THE ROLE OF CIVIL SOCIETY AND OPPORTUNITIES FOR U.S.-SOUTH KOREA COOPERATION
Gil-Sung Park and Chun Sang Moon
May 2011 - Vol. 3, No. 5
Although North Korean refugees in South Korea are legally considered ”Korean” citizens, to their frustration, they are sometimes classified among the several emerging minority groups in South Korea who are changing the demographic landscape of an otherwise homogeneous nation. From the South Korean government’s point of view, the rapid rate at which North Korean refugees now arrive in the South has transformed the administration’s support policy from what used to be a simple guarantee of livelihood in South Korea into a major welfare program for an increasingly significant and rapidly growing segment of the population.
Lee Dangles Invite to Nuclear Summit Before Kim Jong-il
President Lee Myung-bak says he will invite Kim Jong-il to an international nuclear summit in South Korea next year if the North Korean leader makes a firm commitment to scrapping his nuclear weapons program.
In Berlin on Monday on the first leg of his three-nation tour of Europe, Lee said, "If North Korea agrees with the international community to commit firmly to denuclearization, I will offer North Korean leader Kim Jong-il to attend the nuclear security summit" in Seoul next March.
[SK NK policy] [Conditionality] [Spin] [Media]
S. Korea fortifies shelters near North
Source: Global Times [02:21 May 10 2011] Comments South Korea is spending millions of dollars to fortify shelters on five frontline islands near its tense sea border with North Korea in case of any future attacks, an official said on Monday.
The move follows an artillery and rocket barrage by the North last November against Yeongpyeong island, which killed two marines and two civilians. The South has sent more troops and weaponry to the islands since the attack.
"We are strengthening military shelters in the northwestern border islands to guard against coastal artillery attacks from the North," a defense ministry spokesman told AFP.
Yonhap news agency said the military had started rebuilding about 100 shelters on the five islands.
The new corrugated steel structures would produce fewer fragments when hit than existing concrete shelters, it quoted a defense ministry official as saying.
Also on Monday, South Korean President Lee Myung-bak called on North Korea to renounce nuclear weapons, saying Pyongyang would be invited to next year's nuclear security summit if it agreed to do so.
"This is an official proposal to North Korea," Lee said.
[Buildup] [Media] [NLL]
Lee to invite Kim Jong-il for nuclear summit in Seoul
South Korean President Lee Myung-bak said Monday he will invite North Korean leader Kim Jong-il to the second nuclear summit in Seoul next year if North Korea firmly agrees with the international community to give up its nuclear weapons program.
“If that happens, it will be an opportunity for North Korea’s bright future,” President Lee said in a joint news conference after a summit with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin. “The precondition is not to present a specific action plan because it will have to be materialized through six-party talks and other discussions.”
New offer to N. Korea
Can Kim accept invitation to nuclear summit?
It would be more than welcome for North Korean leader Kim Jong-il to attend an international nuclear summit and pledge to abandon his country’s atomic weapons programs. But Kim stands little chance of doing so no matter what incentives the communist state can get in return for denuclearization.
Against all odds, President Lee Myung-bak has made a proposal to invite Kim to the Nuclear Security Summit to be held in Seoul on March 26 and 27 next year. He revealed the offer at a joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin on Monday during his visit to Europe. Of course, the invitation is not without conditions.
For now, it is almost impossible for Seoul to put forward such an invitation without any “ifs.” Lee said he is willing to invite Kim to the summit “if North Korea agrees with the international community that it will be firm and sincere about giving up nuclear programs.” He also made clear that the North should first apologize for sinking the South’s warship Cheonan in March last year and shelling Yeonpyeong Island in November.
[SK NK policy] [Conditionality] [Spin]
Lee says North's nuclear weapons an obstacle to unification
BERLIN (Yonhap) -- President Lee Myung-bak said Sunday that South Korea should seek unification with North Korea at any cost, stressing the need to end Pyongyang's nuclear programs that he said are an obstacle to unification.
Lee made the remark in Berlin, the symbolic city of German unification, on the first leg of a three-nation European tour, saying that unification with the North could come at any time and that he actually believes it "is not far away."
If realized "at any sacrifices, unification will bring about results that boost Korean people," Lee told a meeting with hundreds of South Korean residents here. "This is not something we should do calculations about. It will bring much greater prosperity for us."
Door to inter-Korean talks still wide open
‘NK losing $300 million every year for bad behavior’
By Kang Hyun-kyung
A high-ranking government official said North Korea is paying the price for the bellicose acts it committed last year. He warned that the reclusive nation will eventually find it difficult to survive as long as it refuses to change its course of action.
“Approximately $300 million in hard cash has dried up annually in North Korea after South Korea severed trade with the North on May 24 last year,” he told reporters on condition of anonymity. “In other words, we can say that the same amount of tax is levied on the North.”
South Korea cut off trade with the North months after the North sank the 1,200-ton frigate Cheonan in the West Sea on March 26. The maritime disaster took the lives of 46 sailors. North Korea denied its involvement in the tragedy.
In a seminar with reporters last Friday, the official noted that Seoul’s sanction-oriented North Korea policy is showing signs of bearing fruit.
From early this year, North Korea has “pleaded” with the South to have dialogue through a variety of channels and this indicates that the sanction-oriented North Korea policy is working, he added.
“Time is not on North Korea’s side. The North keeps trying to buy time on denuclearization, but this only deteriorates the situation facing the nation,” the government official stressed.
If North Korea admits its culpability regarding the Cheonan and Yeonpyeong attacks and offers apologies for these incidents, he said, the door to dialogue will be open wide.
[Sanctions] [SK NK policy] [Spin] [Inversion][Conditionality]
KBS accused of politicizing Rhee Syngman series
The KBS union says the series’ intent is to aid the New Right in their attempts to bolster the former president
By Choi Sung-jin
Controversy is growing over a five-part series on South Korea’s first president Rhee Syngman scheduled to air on KBS on Aug. 15.
KBS’s new union is criticizing the series as purposed with lending strength to the New Right’s attempts to boost up Rhee, saying the program could unilaterally beautify the first president, whose merits and demerits were clear. KBS, meanwhile, says the series deals with Rhee’s achievements as they were, and since they plan on spotlighting other figures in modern history later, there should be no problem.
[Propaganda] [Syngman Rhee]
S. Korea's Theory of "Unification through Absorption" Blasted
Pyongyang, May 6 (KCNA) -- A spokesman for the Disarmament and Peace Institute of the DPRK Foreign Ministry Friday issued the following statement:
The south Korean authorities have recently taken an ill-boding move to peddle the theory of "unification through absorption" in the international arena.
"Unifying the systems" in the reality of the Korean Peninsula precisely means "unification through absorption".
Are six-party nuclear talks a trap?
By Sunny Lee
BEIJING ? There are two photo rules you ? a foreigner ? should abide by in North Korea. First, you shouldn’t take a picture of a soldier. Second, you shouldn’t aim your camera at a scene that projects North Korea as a poor country.
[The link and headline obviously refer to another article]
Yeonpyeong Island still silent after N. Korean attack
A building on Yeonpyeong Island remains unoccupied because of damage caused by the shelling by North Korea. / Photo Matthew Crawford
By Matthew C. Crawford
YEONPYEONG ISLAND ? The town on Yeonpyeong Island seemed almost deserted when I arrived on a Saturday afternoon in early April. Though all the doors were unlocked, it took three tries to find a restaurant that was staffed. There were more people in the side lanes, where slow moving oldsters stayed out of the way of kids zooming past on their bikes. Young and old alike seemed not to notice the charred wreckage of houses that had been destroyed by artillery or burned down in the ensuing fires.
North Korea attacked on Nov. 23, 2010 and the citizens were evacuated to Incheon for three months. While almost everyone has returned now, life is still unstable. In the week before I arrived a live firing drill was held on the island, the second of these since the incident. No one knew how North Korea would react, so the residents were urged to evacuate again, temporarily.
Ra-ok has being living in one of the 30 or so pre-fabricated houses provided for families who lost their homes. These “containers,” as she calls them, have been set up on the field of the elementary school. When asked why the ruined houses haven’t been demolished yet, she explained that the owners have to sign a release form for their house to be rebuilt. Many are holding out to be compensated for the contents of their homes as well as the structural damage. There are a few moments of silence in the empty bar as Ra-ok shakes her head. Then she sums up: “We’re worth no more than flies.”
Buddhists visit N.Korean temple on Mt. Kumgang
Ten member delegation of Jogye Order, South Korea’s largest Buddhist sect, crossed the heavily fortified border into North Korea to hold a joint service at Singye Temple on Mount Kumgang with its North Korean counterpart on Wednesday prior of Buddha's Birthday, next Tuesday.
The one-day trip by Buddhists marked the first time since South Korea suspended Mt. Kumgang resort tour program in 2008 when a female South Korean tourist was fatally shot. The South Korean government, however, did not approve a joint service by the several hundred member delegation's visit to Singye Temple on Buddha's Birthday, which the Jogye Order has carried out since restoration of the temple in 2004.
The Buddhist delegation also delivered humanitarian aid including 100,000 tablets of vermifuge to North Korea.
South Korea investigating if computer firm worker handed over military secrets to North Korea
By Associated Press, Published: May 2
SEOUL, South Korea — South Korean prosecutors say they’re investigating whether a former software company worker stole military secrets and handed them over to North Korea.
Prosecution spokesman Park Gyung-ho said Monday that the man allegedly stole the information from 2005 to 2010 while working for a company tasked with developing military and government computer programs.
.Park declined to provide further details because the man is still under investigation.
South Korean media say the leaked material included a software program aimed at providing military officers with real-time information on battlefield situations.
Media reports say the man was convicted in 2002 for posting pro-North Korea materials on websites.
Workers Meeting for Reunification Held in DPRK
Pyongyang, May 1 (KCNA) -- A workers meeting for reunification was held at the Rungrado Recreation Ground Sunday on the occasion of the international holiday of the workers the world over. It was to mark the 121st May Day for implementing the June 15 joint declaration and achieving peace on the Korean Peninsula according to the agreement between workers organizations of the north and the south.
Vertical launching system for attack subs developed
By Jung Sung-ki
Korea has developed a vertical launching system (VLS) to be installed on 3,000-ton heavy attack submarines to be deployed after 2018, according to a shipbuilding industry source, Monday.
Hyundai Heavy Industries and Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering are subcontractors for the heavy attack submarines.
It is the first time that the development of a submarine VLS in Korea has been confirmed. The Agency for Defense Development (ADD) has already developed one used aboard the 7,600-ton KDX-III Aegis destroyer.
Local CEOs view NK as biggest potential risk: poll
Three out of four top corporate managers in South Korea expect North Korea to pose the biggest risk to the South over the next decade, a poll showed Sunday.
In a survey by the Samsung Economic Research Institute (SERI) on 373 CEOs at local enterprises, 73.2 percent said changes in North Korea will be the biggest unpredictable risk facing South Korea in the next 10 years.
One Island Village's Struggle for Land, Life,
Anders Riel Müller* | April 19, 2011
In early April I had the chance to visit one of the most beautiful areas in South Korea. Gangjeong Village on the island of Jeju is a small farming and fishing community on the island's southern coast. Entering the village you see citrus groves and greenhouses on all sides. On the main street, women were sitting on the sidewalk cleaning fish and selling them to the locals. The cherry trees lining the main street were just beginning to bloom. It was a welcome break from congested and crowded Seoul where I live. In many ways it reminds me of the island in Denmark where I grew up. Nothing special seems to be going on, and that's the beauty of it. But this community of approximately 1,500 farmers and fishermen is in the midst of a struggle against the South Korean government's attempt to build a major naval base right in the middle of their village. The Navy and the Korean government claim that the base will have minimum impact on the environment and that it will create jobs and attract new tourists to the area. The villagers will have none of it. They see that the base will destroy their way of life, their village and the peace that Jeju islanders strive for. But the navy continues to raze farms and fishing grounds despite their protests.
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