Sunday, August 31, 2008
The Defense Security Service said it is investigating some 100 spy cases involving leaks of classified military information for the North Korean government.
The suspects are known to have entered South Korea disguised as defectors. Military authorities say certain personnel such as commissioned or non-commissioned officers have been implicated in espionage.
Saturday, August 30, 2008
“I was shocked to hear them use invectives about the president,” said one interviewee. “In the North, that lands you straight in jail.”
Street demonstrations are part of a major culture shock for young North Korean refugees struggling to adapt to a new life in South Korea, a recent survey shows.
Speeding traffic and skyscrapers are also alien to young people arriving in the democratic capitalist South from their impoverished hardline communist state, according to the findings published by Yonhap news agency.
Young refugees often feel like second-class citizens because they are unfamiliar with South Korean customs.
Friday, August 29, 2008
Many North Korean refugees are concerned. South Korean distrust of North Korean refugees living here is likely to grow. Currently, some 14,000 refugees live in the South.
Lee Hae-Young, secretary general of the Association of the North Korean Defectors, said, "The most difficult problem facing North Korean refugees in South Korea is how to find jobs. In the wake of the spy case, we're worried that South Koreans will lose all trust in the refugees.” He added most refugees are “victims of the Kim Jong-il regime's tyranny. It's wrong to blame the entire community of North Korean refugees just because of some North Korean agents.”
Cha Sung-joo, secretary general of the Committee for Democratization of North Korea, said, "North Korea's Ministry of Public Security and the State Security Department control North Korean society by instigating a sense of fear. It turns one of every three North Korean residents into a spy and makes people afraid to speak even with their friends.”
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Chosun Ilbo reports that a North Korean woman is being held for posing as a defector to the South in order to spy for
The Times writes that she arrived as a refugee, and for seven years, toured South Korean military bases to lecture on the evils of the homeland that she had escaped.
Authorities say the woman traded sexual favors for military secrets from South Korean officers and passed the information to the North. Investigators say she was also instructed by
Won Jeong-hwa (34) was arrested, as was an Army captain identified as Hwang (27) who allegedly passed sensitive information including a list of North Korean defectors to her, as well as a senior North Korean identified as Kim (63) who gave instructions to Won and passed the stolen information to the North. Dong-a Ilbo identifies Hwang, as her boyfriend, a South Korean Army captain, was also indicted for failing to report her despite knowing she was working for the North.
Won allegedly attempted to discover the whereabouts of the high profile figures by making contacts with military officers or senior members of North Korean defectors' associations.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Some 14,180 North Koreans have escaped their hardline communist state and resettled in South Korea since the end of the 1950-53 war. Seoul has a constitutional obligation to accept them.
Of these, some 2,700 are believed to have left for other countries, Chun Ki-Won, a Christian pastor, has said.
South Korean spokesman Kim Ho-Nyoun said some North Korean refugees who resettled in South Korea had been trying to seek asylum in 'a European state' by concealing the fact that they have settled [in South Korea]. Fradulent asylum-seekers would get their state subsidies cut or receive criminal punishment, the unification ministry warned.
Seoul's foreign ministry last month said it was helping authorities in London identify more than 400 people who were seeking asylum in Britain by claiming to be 'genuine' North Korean defectors. London was sending their fingerprints and asking Seoul to check whether any of them had already been granted permission to live in South Korea. [AFP]
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
The North Korean Foreign Ministry said that the
The communist nation said it halted the dismantling of the plutonium-producing plants on August 14, the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported. The North "will consider soon a step to restore the nuclear facilities in (Yongbyon) to their original state," the North Korean Foreign Ministry said in a statement that KCNA carried.
Monday, August 25, 2008
The Chosun Sinbo, the mouthpiece of North Korea’s Japanese front organization Chongryon, and often for the North Korean regime itself, has announced its preference for Obama over McCain, whom it calls “a variant of Bush” and “nothing better than a scarecrow of neoconservatives.”
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Friday, August 22, 2008
|The World Food Program has formally asked the South Korean government for US$60 million to procure grain and daily necessities for North Koreans hit by a severe food shortage, the Unification Ministry said Thursday.|
Ministry spokesman Kim Ho-nyoun said "The government will decide whether to accept the appeal or not based on public opinion.” Kim added, “If necessary, we can conduct an opinion poll."
Thursday, August 21, 2008
The famine in the mid-1990s in North Korea may have killed as many as 3 million people.
Jasper Becker writes in his book Rouge Regime, "a death toll of 3 million would mean more victims than in Pol Pot's
"If 15 percent of [
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
'Purely civilian aid to
The aid from local non-governmental groups included 4,000 tonnes of grain for the communist North, which is again facing acute food shortages.
Monday, August 18, 2008
Shin was born in 1982 in a North Korean prison camp. Growing up in this misery, he knew almost nothing of the outside world. He barely met his father and his brother. Though he lived with his mother for 12 years in the camp, she was worked from 5:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. every day, so Shin hardly had any significant relationship with her.
At the age of 12, Shin was separated from his mother and put to work in the concentration camp. This was not your typical summer job at the local shopping mall. It was the type of work where it wasn't uncommon for Shin to see four to five children killed in a day.
Shin later discovered during a torture session to which he was subjected that the reason he and his family were in the concentration camp was that some of his ancestors had helped the South Korean government in the Korean War. It didn't matter that the war occurred decades before Shin was even born. He had to be punished for the sins of his family.
Shin was tied up and chained to the ceiling with a flame lit beneath him. In other words, he was being roasted alive. Later, after Shin slowly recovered, he was taken to watch his brother and mother be publicly executed.
After learning about the outside world from a new inmate to the camp, Shin, while sent to collect fire wood on a mountain, escaped. Ultimately, he made it to
Sunday, August 17, 2008
The book says conservative hardliners bent on ending an ‘agreed framework’ nuclear deal with
But Chinoy, who interviewed most members of Kelly’s delegation, said he could not find any evidence that the North Koreans explicitly admitted having such a programme. “It’s interesting that the transcript remains classified. It appears that a North Korean official … also tabled an offer to negotiate - which Kelly rejected,” he told reporters.
Friday, August 15, 2008
The three North Korean men and two women arrived in
The Prague Daily Monitor quoted Interior Ministry spokeswoman Jana Malikova as saying that the North Koreans’ need for temporary asylum was grave.
"These people could not be granted any form of international protection. On the contrary, they were threatened with immediate expulsion to
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Meanwhile the Daily Yomiuri reports that this latest accord between
It should be noted, however, that the reclusive state has repeatedly been dishonest in responding to proposals and demands from
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Highlights of an interview with South Korean Buddhist monk Venerable Pomnyun
Aren’t the negotiations among North and South Korea, Japan, Russia, China and the United States, the so-called six-party talks, going to help the situation?
The six-party talks are only focused on the issue of
I decided to fast for the following reasons. First, while fasting, I am willing to feel the same pain as North Koreans suffer. Secondly, by fasting, I will not forget about their suffering and will keep seeking ways to help them out. Lastly, I have to pour all of my energy and heart to impress heaven so that under these adverse circumstances a miracle can happen to stop their starvation.
What is the current state of North Koreans’ famine?
Ten million people -- that amounts to the half of
What would you tell those who do not want to help
It is North Korean leaders that have developed nuclear weapons programs and missiles. But it is innocent North Korean residents who suffer from starvation.
[National Catholic Reporter]
Monday, August 11, 2008
In the 1990s
Like the globe as a whole,
Desperate to grow more food, the North Korean government instructed farmers to cut down trees, stripping hillsides to bring more land into cultivation. Big mistake. When heavy rains hit in 1995, this dragooning of marginal lands into agricultural production only amplified the national disaster. The resulting flooding damaged more than 40% of the country's rice paddy fields.
The rigid economic structures in
Sunday, August 10, 2008
When Bush stopped off in
And in July, with uncharacteristic bluntness, Christopher Hill [labeled]
While in Beijing, Bush is likely to press for China's cooperation in demanding full verification of whatever North Korea says it is doing to comply with agreements reached in six-party talks on its nuclear weapons.
However, the allusion to the North's human rights record reinforces what appears to have been a conscious US decision to raise the stakes in the great bargaining game over North Korea.
[Excerpt of an article by Donald Kirk,
Saturday, August 09, 2008
Cho Jin-hae’s sit-in of the past few days comes as U.S. President George W. Bush attends the opening ceremony of the Olympics in
“I personally talked to President Bush on the North Korean defectors issue, but I thought the president, who is attending the opening ceremony of the Olympics, will be able to better remember and focus on the North Korean defectors issue if I stage a hunger strike,” Cho, a 21-year-old woman, said.
Cho, who was admitted to the
Cho said Chinese authorities are holding hundreds of North Korean defectors at a detention center in Domun, a city along the border with
Friday, August 08, 2008
"We firmly oppose any statements or deeds which use human rights, religion and other issues to interfere with the internal affairs of other countries," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang, responding to Bush, who cited "deep concerns" with China's record on human rights.
Qin Gang said
"Chinese citizens enjoy freedom of religion in accordance with the law. These facts are well known. Regarding the Sino-U.S. differences on issues including human rights and religion, we have always insisted on dialogue and communication based on mutual equality and mutual respect, in order to enhance understanding, reduce differences and to expand consensus," he said.
Thursday, August 07, 2008
"We speak out for a free press, freedom of assembly, and labor rights, not to antagonize
"I have spoken clearly, candidly and consistently with
The remarks were delivered in the Thai capital,
Wednesday, August 06, 2008
The National Human Rights Commission has advised the South Korean government to make greater diplomatic efforts to protect the human rights of North Korean refugees in
It was the first time the commission has given advice to a specific government agency to improve North Korean refugees' human rights conditions.
"Many agencies at home and abroad, including the UN special rapporteur on human rights in
Monday, August 04, 2008
"Millions of vulnerable North Koreans are at risk of slipping towards precarious hunger levels," said Jean-Pierre de Margerie, United Nations World Food Programme Country Director for DPRK.
Experts visited hundreds of households, child institutions and hospitals across the country and key findings indicate:
-- Food availability, accessibility and utilization have deteriorated sharply since 2007.
-- Close to three quarters of the households have reduced their food intake.
-- More malnourished and ill children are being admitted to hospitals and institutions.
-- Diarrhea caused by increased consumption of wild foods was one of the leading causes of malnutrition amongst children under five.
Sunday, August 03, 2008
Radio Free Asia reported that five North Korean refugees who came to the
They had been under protection of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in
RFA said that it was the first time for the Czech government to grant North Korean refugees in China temporary stay before they seek asylum in a third country. The station predicted that more North Korean refugees will likely seek asylum in the
On July 22, the
[The Chosun Ilbo]
Saturday, August 02, 2008
North Korea is heading towards its worst food crisis since the 1990s because of flooding, successive crop failures and worldwide inflation for staples such as rice and corn, the UN World Food Program warns.
The agency shied away from predicting another famine like the one that killed up to 2 million people in the 1990s, but said its field staff were observing some of the same warning signs.
People are again foraging for wild plants, grass and seaweed to supplement meagre diets. Hospitals are reporting an increase in chronic diarrhoea and illness often linked to malnutrition.
"We did go into the kitchens of some of these families and believe, me, there was nothing," said Jean-Pierre de Margerie, the World Food Program's director for North Korea, who supervised a study of 250 households.
Under North Korea's communist system, people in the cities rely on a public distribution system for their staples, but rations have been cut to one-third of their original levels. At the same time, their purchasing power has been eroded by inflation.
"We've noticed that market prices for staple foods in Pyongyang — rice, maize, potatoes, eggs — were all going through the roof, sometimes quadrupling what they were before," said Mr de Margerie.The agency is now bringing food in for an estimated 1.2 million North Koreans and hopes to reach up to 6 million, roughly a quarter of the estimated population.