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May 20th, 2010, 02:25 PM
Timing is everything. What is to stop North Korea from provoking an all out war with the south? Who would stop them if they did?

May 20th, 2010, 07:05 PM
1: The fact that they would be completely annihilated.
2: South Korea and the USA.

May 21st, 2010, 11:47 AM
I wouldn't want to be living in Seoul right now. The north could reduce it to rubble in short order.

May 21st, 2010, 01:18 PM
That's teh key. How much damage could tehy do before a world-scale retalliation.

The US is not the only friend of SK. I have a feeling there would be a lot more support for defending an attacked ally than invading a suspected enemy.

May 24th, 2010, 01:35 PM
@ Alonzo: It is not as simple as that. North Korea is strongly allied to China with whom the US is both economicaly dependant upon, and militarily fearful of. It is these very types of confrontations (regional dispures couple with entagled military alliances) that lead to world wars.

Niether the US nor the UN will engage the North Koreans militarily. More likely you will see economic sanctions applied, and even at that, only after some sort of covert or overt diplomatic arrangement with China is arrived at. The stakes are just too high for anything more than that.

Binky Bainbridge
May 25th, 2010, 12:56 PM
It's about time we brought North Korea and its despotic ruler to heel - bomb them now I say, a bit of "shock & awe" would do the trick, they've been sabre-rattling for far too long.

May 25th, 2010, 02:21 PM
North Korea Severs All Ties With South Korea (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/05/25/south-korea-resumes-psych_n_588446.html)

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea declared Tuesday that it would sever all communication and relations with Seoul as punishment for blaming the North for the sinking of a South Korean warship two months ago.

North Korea also announced it would expel all South Korean government officials working at a joint industrial park in the northern border town of Kaesong, the official Korean Central News Agency said in a dispatch monitored in Seoul late Tuesday.
Tensions were rising on the divided Korean peninsula in the wake of an investigation report blaming North Korea for a torpedo attack that sank the Cheonan warship on March 26, killing 46 South Korean sailors.

South Korea's military restarted psychological warfare operations – including blaring radio broadcasts into the North and placing loudspeakers at the border to blast out propaganda – to punish the North for the provocation. The South is also slashing trade and denying permission to North Korean cargo ships to pass through South Korean waters.

North Korea struck back by declaring it would cut all ties with the South until President Lee Myung-bak leaves office in early 2013. South Korean ships and airliners will be banned from passing through its territory and the North will start "all-out counterattacks" against the South's psychological warfare, the North's Committee for the Peaceful Reunification said in a statement carried by KCNA.

The North's committee called the moves "the first phase" of punitive measures against South Korea, suggesting more action could follow.
South Korea's Unification Ministry said it had no immediate comment on the North Korean statement. However, spokeswoman Lee Jong-joo noted the statement referred only to eight South Korean officials staying at the Kaesong complex, not some 800 South Korean company managers and workers.
Yonhap news agency said that suggested the North had no intention of completely shutting down the Kaesong park, as South Korea also decided to keep the complex intact.

Earlier, one Seoul-based monitoring agency reported that North Korea's leader ordered its 1.2 million-member military to get ready for combat. South Korean officials could not immediately confirm the report.
Story continues below

The North flatly denies involvement in the sinking of the Cheonan, one of the South's worst military disasters since the 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice, and has warned that retaliation would mean war. It has threatened to destroy any propaganda facilities installed at the heavily militarized border.
A team of international investigators, however, concluded last week that a torpedo from a North Korean submarine tore apart the Cheonan.
North Korea is already subject to various U.N.-backed sanctions following earlier nuclear and missile tests, and the steps announced by Seoul were seen as among the strongest it could take short of military action.

The U.S. has thrown its full support behind South Korea's moves and they are planning two major military exercises off the Korean peninsula in a display of force intended to deter future aggression by North Korea, the White House said. The U.S. has 28,500 troops in South Korea.
South Korea also wants to bring North Korea before the U.N. Security Council over the sinking. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Monday he expects the council to take action against North Korea, but China – North Korea's main ally and a veto-wielding council member – has so far done little but urge calm on all sides.
In Beijing, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said she had "very productive and very detailed" discussions with Chinese officials but could not say if any progress had been made in convincing the Chinese to back U.N. action.

"No one is more concerned about peace and stability in this region as the Chinese," she told reporters. "We know this is a shared responsibility, and in the days ahead we will work with the international community and our Chinese colleagues to fashion an effective, appropriate response."
Chinese State Counselor Dai Bingguo, speaking at a news conference with Clinton, called for "relevant parties" to "calmly and properly handle the issue and avoid escalation of tension."

As part of its propaganda offensive, South Korea's military resumed radio broadcasts airing Western music, news and comparisons between the South and North Korean political and economic situation late Monday, according to the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The military also planned to launch propaganda leaflets by balloon and other methods on Tuesday night to inform North Koreans about the ship sinking.
In coming weeks, South Korea also will install dozens of loudspeakers and towering electronic billboards along the heavily armed land border to send messages urging communist soldiers to defect to the South.

On Tuesday, North Korean state media cited the powerful National Defense Commission as saying the North's soldiers and reservists were bracing to launch a "sacred war" against South Korea.
The North's military also claimed Tuesday that dozens of South Korean navy ships violated the countries' disputed western sea border earlier this month and threatened to take "practical" military measures in response.
North Korea often issues fiery rhetoric and regularly vows to wage war against South Korea and the U.S. It put its army on high alert following a November sea battle with South Korea near where the Cheonan went down in March. The Koreas also fought bloody maritime skirmishes in the disputed area in 1999 and 2002.
Seoul-based North Korea Intellectuals Solidarity said Tuesday that North Korean leader Kim Jong Il last week ordered his military to get ready for combat.
The group, citing unidentified sources in North Korea, said the order was read by Gen. O Kuk Ryol, a Kim confidant, and broadcast on speakers installed in each house and at major public sites throughout the country last Thursday, hours after the multinational report blaming North Korea for the sinking was issued in Seoul.
The South Korean military said it had no indication of unusual activity by North Korea's military.
Associated Press writers Sangwon Yoon in Seoul and Matthew Lee in Beijing, and AP photographer Jin-man Lee in Seoul contributed to this report.
(This version CORRECTS in graf 2 that North Korean statement referred to South Korean officials, not all South Koreans, at joint industrial park)
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May 25th, 2010, 02:27 PM
Kid stuff.

Binky Bainbridge
May 25th, 2010, 04:58 PM
There's only one answer, nuke 'em.

May 25th, 2010, 05:36 PM
Take your meds.

May 25th, 2010, 05:38 PM
Smart choice: The fallout would hit both South Korea and Japan. F** them, too, eh?

Binky Bainbridge
May 26th, 2010, 06:11 AM
Smart choice: The fallout would hit both South Korea and Japan. F** them, too, eh?
Not with the US's precision missiles loaded with enough nuclear material to do the job. Anyway isn't it better to get them before they get us? They have no fear in sinking a South Korean ship so why shouldn't we think that this paranoid state controlled by a clique of madmen wouldn't attack its neighbours? It's only a question of time ......

May 26th, 2010, 07:48 AM
You mean you were serious? Forget the meds; won't do any good.

Don't mind killing North Korean civilians though, do you? I didn't know we had the technology to contain fallout.

May 26th, 2010, 11:16 AM
The lack of understanding is AMAZING.

May 26th, 2010, 12:47 PM
Don't worry guys, I'm sure next, he says we can send this. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iron_Man) ;)

May 26th, 2010, 04:31 PM
Bink, you were being reactionary, just admit it and move on.

There is no such thing as a precision shotgun, at least, not with buckshot. You can hit a target within a dozen feet from thousands of miles away, but that Nuke will kill tens to hundreds of thousands immediately, throw up nuclear debris that will blow SOMEWHERE, and leave a nch of really happy people ready to come to an agreement with everyone :rolleyes:

You are flame baiting and you know it.

Binky Bainbridge
May 27th, 2010, 01:30 PM
I'm serious Ninja, North Korea has got to be dealt with rather than pussy-footing around pretending there's no problem. They've threatened South Korea, Japan, and God knows who else and one day these loonies will unleash their nuclear weaponry upon unsuspecting countries killing millions, so we wait til then? The answer is yes if you're some wishy-washy liberal who, to quote Norman Bates, "wouldn't hurt a fly". I say let's confront reality and deal with the problem before it deals with us. I know it's difficult for some liberals to accept this fact but sometimes you just have to make some harsh decisions that will result in the deaths of the few to protect the lives of the many and remove an implacable ruthless foe.

May 27th, 2010, 03:17 PM
"Deaths of a few" ???

If you are going to "confront reality" then that includes the acknowledgement that the use of nuclear weapons involves calculating the risk due to the fallout cloud of radiation. Those calculations, from what is posted above, seem to be inadequate or faulty or both. A nuke strike on NK would result in a cloud of killing radiation that would move east, over both South Korea and Japan. Tens of thousands of citizens in those two countries, if not more, would likely be poisoned or die. Not to mention the hundreds of thousands in the NK who would be vaporized. And once the NK guys see our weapons flying through the air aimed at them, then what reason would they have not to lob any and all of their weapons towards China, SK, Japan, Russia? Any person, liberal or conservative or whatever, should be able to understand that.

Maybe: Playing too many video games?

May 27th, 2010, 04:01 PM
This is the first time in a while that I've been somewhat concerned about Korea.

I've been of the opinion that the Iran stuff was sabre-rattling on both sides. The Iranian government is rational, and their country is somewhat open. North Korea, on the other hand, seems to be the opposite of rational and is completely closed off.

Hopefully it'll cool down.

May 27th, 2010, 04:51 PM
at binky, I am not even sure this is worth commenting on (so of course I will) The potential harm from radioactive fall-out is only the begining of the problem. What happens if China decides they are not able to sit idly by and watch North Korea be blown to oblivion. They have lots of interesing options including flooding the market with our debt, driving up our deficit finance costs and sending us into an ecomomic tailspin (although given the state of the euro, the chinese may decide they lack alternative monetary control options) Worst case, they execute a counter strike against the south and drag us into a third world war.

Entangled military alliances coupled with significant military capability constituted the indirect cause of WW1. It is not unreasonable to think the same scenerio will lead to WW3.

May 27th, 2010, 05:09 PM
Along with the China plan for economic retaliation I understand that factories over there are going to make a killing off of BB's idea:


Binky Bainbridge
May 27th, 2010, 05:12 PM
So Ninja, lofter1, & eddhead, if we can't use the nukes to destroy our enemies, why has the US spent $Billions building & maintaining an arsenal of nuclear weapons? What's the point?

May 27th, 2010, 05:37 PM
Duck Soup.

May 27th, 2010, 06:55 PM
The point is that they scare the sh!t out of the other side.

Mutually Assured Destruction (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mutual_assured_destruction)

May 27th, 2010, 08:23 PM
Things are heating up ...

South Korea Begins Large-Scale Military Exercises

THE HUFFINGTON POST (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/05/27/south-korea-begins-larges_n_591974.html)
May 27, 2010 - 4:04 PM

SEOUL, South Korea — Military tension on the Korean peninsula rose Thursday after North Korea threatened to attack any South Korean ships entering its waters and Seoul held anti-submarine drills in response to the March sinking of a navy vessel blamed on Pyongyang.

Separately, the chief U.S. military commander in South Korea criticized the North over the sinking of the South Korean warship Cheonan in which 46 sailors died, telling the communist country to stop its aggressive actions.

North Korean reaction was swift. The military declared it would scrap accords with the South designed to prevent armed clashes at their maritime border, including the cutting of a military hot line, and warned of "prompt physical strikes" if any South Korean ships enter what the North says are its waters in a disputed area off the west coast of the peninsula.

A multinational team of investigators said May 20 that a North Korean torpedo sank the 1,200-ton ship. Seoul announced punitive measures, including slashing trade and resuming anti-Pyongyang propaganda over radio and loudspeakers aimed at the North. North Korea has denied attacking the ship, which sank near disputed western waters where the Koreas have fought three bloody sea battles since 1999.

"The facts and evidence laid out by the joint international investigation team are very compelling. That is why I have asked the Security Council to fulfill their responsibility to keep peace and stability ... to take the necessary measures, keeping in mind the gravity of this situation," U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said as he opened a conference in Brazil meant to help find solutions to global conflicts.

Inter-Korean political and economic ties have been steadily deteriorating since the February 2008 inauguration of South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, who vowed a tougher line on the North and its nuclear program. The sinking of the Cheonan has returned military tensions – and the prospect of armed conflict – to the forefront.

Off the west coast, 10 South Korean warships, including a 3,500-ton destroyer, fired artillery and other guns and dropped anti-submarine bombs during a one-day exercise to boost readiness, the navy said.

South Korea also is planning two major military drills with the U.S. by July in a display of force intended to deter aggression by North Korea, according to South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Gen. Walter Sharp, chief of the 28,500 U.S. troops in South Korea, said the United States, South Korea and other members of the U.N. Command "call on North Korea to cease all acts of provocation and to live up with the terms of past agreements, including the armistice agreement."

The U.S. fought on the South Korean side during the 1950-53 Korean War, which ended in an armistice, not a peace treaty. North Korea has long demanded a permanent peace agreement.

The prospect of another eruption of serious fighting has been constant on the Korean peninsula since the war ended. But it had been largely out of focus in the past decade as North and South Korea took steps to end enmity and distrust, such as launching joint economic projects and holding two summits.

The sinking of the warship, however, clearly caught South Korea – which has a far more modern and advanced military than its impoverished rival – off guard.

"I think one of the big conclusions that we can draw from this is that, in fact, military readiness in the West Sea had become very lax," said Carl Baker, an expert on Korean military relations at the Pacific Forum CSIS think tank in Honolulu, calling it nothing short of an "indictment" of Seoul's preparedness.

South Korean and U.S. militaries are taking pains to warn the North that such an embarrassment will not happen again.

South Korean media reported Thursday that the U.S.-South Korean combined forces command led by Sharp raised its surveillance level, called Watch Condition, by a step from level 3 to level 2. Level 1 is the highest.

The increased alert level means U.S. spy satellites and U-2 spy planes will intensify their reconnaissance of North Korea, the JoongAng Ilbo newspaper said, citing an unidentified South Korean official.

The South Korean and U.S. militaries would not confirm any changes to the alert level. It would be the first change since North Korea carried out a nuclear test in May 2009, a South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff officer said on condition of anonymity, citing department policy.

A South Korean Defense Ministry official said Seoul will "resolutely" deal with the North's measures announced Thursday, but did not elaborate. He spoke on condition of anonymity, citing department policy. South Korea's military said there were no signs of unusual activity by North Korean troops.

Despite the tensions, most analysts feel the prospect of war remains remote because North Korea knows what's at stake.

"I don't think they're really interested in going to war," said Daniel Pinkston, a Seoul-based analyst for the International Crisis Group think tank. "Because if it's all-out war, then I'm convinced it would mean the absolute destruction" of North Korea. "And their country would cease to exist."

Thousands of South Korean veterans of the Korean and Vietnam wars rallied Thursday in Seoul, beating a life-sized rubber likeness of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il with wooden sticks and stabbing it with knives. "Dialogue won't work with these North Korean devils," said Mo Hyo-sang, an 81-year-old Korean War veteran.

In Moscow, the Kremlin said President Dmitry Medvedev sent a group of experts to Seoul to study the findings of the investigation into the ship disaster.

"Medvedev considers it a matter of principle to establish the reason for the sinking of the ship," it said.


Associated Press writers Hyung-jin Kim and Sangwon Yoon in Seoul, David Nowak in Moscow and Marco Sibaja in Rio de Janeiro contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2010 HuffingtonPost.com, Inc.

Binky Bainbridge
May 28th, 2010, 06:48 AM
The point is that they scare the sh!t out of the other side.
They don't appear to worry Kim Jong-il.

May 28th, 2010, 07:29 AM
In spite of all the fools and idiots that occupy government positions throughout the world, it's comforting that some of us don't have any say in the release of nuclear weapons.

May 29th, 2010, 07:51 PM
Nuclear weapons should never be used. Even in the event that a rogue nation hits one of us with a nuke it is still not justified to retaliate with one. In this case however I do believe that military action should be taken against N. Korea to completely incapacitate them. This is not a little thing that can be diplomatically brushed under the rug. If a US ship was sunk do you think there would be any diplomacy? No.

May 29th, 2010, 08:20 PM
Maybe, maybe not. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Pueblo_%28AGER-2%29)

May 30th, 2010, 09:04 AM
The fact that China is finally behaving ambivalently toward the DPRK has to be a good sign. No one (except maybe Binky :-)) wants a war with North Korea, but that is not really the problem here: the regime has been teetering near collapse since the mid-90s and, in its desperation to keep rising discontent (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/03/23/AR2010032304035.html) among its populace in check, it has taken to increasingly dangerous and aggressive military policies and tactics. First the nukes, then the withdrawl from the armistice in May, 2009, and most recently in the sinking of the South Korean ship.

Seems bizarre, but Chinese diplomacy probably offers the best chance for a peaceful resolution.

China faces pressure to act over North Korea at summit (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/world/asia_pacific/10190450.stm)

July 30th, 2010, 01:55 AM
World Cup 2010 - North Korean flops shamed in public (http://uk.eurosport.yahoo.com/29072010/58/world-cup-2010-north-korean-flops-shamed-public.html)

Eurosport - Thu, 29 Jul 13:41:00 2010

North Korea's football squad have been subjected to a public humiliation in the wake of their World Cup failure.

The team lost all three games in South Africa, where they were making their first World Cup finals appearance since 1966.
They took the stage at the People's Palace of Culture in the capital Pyongyang while 400 students subjected them to a six-hour reprimand.

Reports claim coach Kim Jong-Hun was made to work on a building site and expelled from the Workers' Party of Korea.
He was blamed for "betraying the trust of Kim Jong-Un", one of dictator Kim Jong-Il's sons, after the country went into the tournament with high hopes of qualifying from the so-called 'Group of Death'.

The criticism was led by Ri Dong-Kyu, a commentator for state TV, which made the 7-0 drubbing at the hands of Portugal its first ever live sports broadcast.
The decision to show the game live came in the wake of an encouraging 2-1 defeat to Brazil. North Korea lost their final game 3-0 to Ivory Coast.

Radio Free Asia claimed the dressing-down took place on July 2, but news only leaked out of the famously secretive country this week.

Japanese-born pair Jong Tae-Se and An Yong-Hak escaped censure, flying straight to Japan from South Korea.
A source from South Korea’s intelligence community told the Chosun Ilbo newspaper: "In the past, North Korean athletes and coaches who performed badly were sent to prison camps.

“Considering the high hopes North Koreans had for the World Cup, the regime could have done worse things to the team than just reprimand them for their ideological shortcomings."


July 30th, 2010, 03:53 PM
Could be true. Could be total BS. We'll never know. I'm just not so sure how reliable a radio station funded by the US is about the situation in the DPRK.

I heard from someone in the country during the first match they celebrated it like it was a victory (and yes, they did get to see the Brazilian goals, not just their own). But unfortunately he returned to Beijing just before the second match, so I don't know how the response to the other games was.

July 31st, 2010, 05:30 AM
I know what you mean about the US-funded source for this report. Unfortunately, however, the DPRK so a fine job of generating credible and outrageous news, so I find this one quite believable. But you're right -- we'll probably know for sure.

November 23rd, 2010, 10:39 AM
Which better? Overall include tank, guns, planes, discipline, important foods etc.

Which better? Who wins?

Much big fight started - all over CNN NOW! WATCH!

South much ready for big fight too! Look!~


Early Warning system through media



November 23rd, 2010, 11:23 AM
no point to my response anymore, someone killed the original thread

November 23rd, 2010, 12:01 PM
Analysis: For North Korea, Timing Is Everything

by Bradley K. Martin

November 23, 2010

There is never anything random about North Korean provocations.

In recent days, North Korea fired shells at a South Korea island near the countries' disputed maritime border and revealed its long-hinted-at uranium-based nuclear technology.

Why now?

A large part of the answer has to be that the regime sees an urgent need to build a foundation of putative achievements for "Comrade Youth Captain" Kim Jong Un — recently promoted to full general — to justify plans for the youngster to succeed his ailing father, Kim Jong Il, as supreme leader.

Kim Jong Un is way too young and inexperienced to have chalked up earth-shaking achievements, whether as statesman or as general. His official age is listed as 28, though evidence suggests he could younger, only 26 or 27.

Despite his youth, the regime has been building a personality cult in which he appears as a great man whose sweeping futuristic vision is transforming the country's production processes with "CNC" — computer numerical control.

That sets him up to take credit for what Western visitors to the Yongbyon nuclear site the other day found to be a surprisingly advanced facility for producing nuclear energy with thousands of computer-controlled centrifuges, using uranium-enrichment technology.

North Korea's nuclear program certainly began years before the younger Kim came of age. But the regime clearly hopes its subjects won't do the math. The succession process is troubled, and the boy general badly needs something that will help him earn the respect of the military, whose interests are given official priority behind only those of the leader himself.

The Seoul-based, defector-staffed news organization Daily NK last week quoted recent orders that reportedly came straight from Kim Jong Il and direct that "People's Army soldiers must become a military of steel of which the whole world is scared." In the process, military trainers must teach soldiers to "devote our youth according to the high will of the Comrade Youth Captain."

Daily NK quoted its unnamed North Korean source for this information as saying that "in each meeting there was a lecture about how 'Comrade Youth Captain watches us always.'" Soldiers, however, "just complain," the source said. They "worry about how they will spend the winter, what they will eat." North Korea is expecting a shortfall of 500,000 tons of food in the coming 12 months, the Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Food Program jointly reported last week.

Assuming North Korea is playing its cards as usual, unveiling the uranium-enrichment program was intended to set up a win-win situation for the younger Kim in the context of the six-party talks in which the United States, South Korea, China, Japan and Russia have negotiated with North Korea on and (currently) off for a reversal of its nuclear program.

If there is no renewal of those talks followed by concessions big enough for Kim Jong Un to boast of, the country's propaganda apparatus can still argue that under his leadership North Korea has achieved an additional deterrent against attack by the United States and South Korea.

To intensify pressure for concessions and at the same time highlight its deterrence advances, North Korea may well escalate its recent string of provocations, which also included torpedoing and sinking a South Korea warship on March 26. An international investigative panel said North Korea was responsible, which Pyongyang has denied.

The Japanese newspaper Sankei last week predicted a third North Korean nuclear test, citing satellite photos that it said showed tunneling in the area where the 2006 and 2009 tests were held.

Martin wrote this analysis from Bangkok, Thailand. He is the author of "Under the Loving Care of the Fatherly Leader: North Korea and the Kim Dynasty."

This picture taken Tuesday by a South Korean tourist shows huge plumes of smoke rising from Yeonpyeong island in the disputed waters of the Yellow Sea after an exchange of fire between North and South Korea.

Copyright 2010 NPR

November 23rd, 2010, 12:44 PM
Um... What happened to the other thread's replies?

November 23rd, 2010, 01:40 PM
Posts #34 and #35 were the other thread. They were merged into this thread.

November 23rd, 2010, 02:13 PM
North and South Korea exchanged artillery fire Tuesday after the North shelled an island near their disputed sea border, killing at least two South Korean marines, setting dozens of buildings ablaze and sending civilians fleeing for shelter.
The clash, which put South Korea's military on high alert, was one of the rivals' most dramatic confrontations since the Korean War ended, and one of the few to put civilians at risk, cheap dreamweaver (http://www.ellamour.com) though no nonmilitary deaths were immediately reported. Fifteen South Korean soldiers and three civilians were injured and the extent of casualties on the northern side was unknown.
The skirmish began when Pyongyang warned the South to halt military drills in the area, according to South Korean officials. When Seoul refused and began firing artillery into disputed waters, albeit away from the North Korean shore, the North retaliated by bombarding the small island of Yeonpyeong, which houses South Korean military installations and a small civilian population.
"I thought I would die," said Lee Chun-ok, 54, an islander who said she was watching TV in her home when the shelling began. Suddenly, a wall and door collapsed.
"I was really, really terrified," she told The Associated Press after being evacuated to the port city of Incheon, west of Seoul, "and I'm still terrified."
South Korea responded by firing K-9 155mm self-propelled howitzers and dispatching fighter jets. Officials in Seoul said there could be considerable North Korean casualties. The entire skirmish lasted about an hour.
Each side has threatened the other against another attack.
The escalating tensions focused global attention on the tiny island and sent stock prices down sharply worldwide. The dollar, U.S. Treasury prices and gold all rose as investors sought safe places to park money. Hong Kong's main stock index sank 2.7 percent, while European and U.S. stock indexes fell between 1 and 2 percent. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 165 points in afternoon trading, or 1.5 percent.
South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, who convened an emergency security meeting shortly after the initial bombardment, said that an "indiscriminate attack on civilians can never be tolerated."
"Enormous retaliation should be made to the extent that (North Korea) cannot make provocations again," he said.
The United States, which has more than 28,000 troops stationed in South Korea, condemned the attack. In Washington, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs called on North Korea to "halt its belligerent action," and said the U.S. is committed to South Korea's defense.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned North Korea's artillery attack, calling it "one of the gravest incidents since the end of the Korean War," his spokesman Martin Nesirky said. Ban called for "immediate restraint" and insisted "any differences should be resolved by peaceful means and dialogue," the spokesman said.
The supreme military command in Pyongyang threatened more strikes if the South crossed their maritime border by "even 0.001 millimeter," according to the North's official Korean Central News Agency.
South Korea holds military exercises like Tuesday's off the west coast about every three months.
A statement from the North said it was merely "reacting to the military provocation of the puppet group with a prompt powerful physical strike," and accused Seoul of starting the skirmish with its "reckless military provocation as firing dozens of shells inside the territorial waters of the" North.
Government officials in Seoul called North Korea's bombardments "inhumane atrocities" that violated the 1953 armistice halting the Korean War. The two sides technically remain at war because a peace treaty was never signed, and nearly 2 million troops — including tens of thousands from the U.S. — are positioned on both sides of the world's most heavily militarized border.
The exchange represents a sharp escalation of the skirmishes that flare up along the disputed border from time to time. It also comes amid high tensions over the North's apparent progress in its quest for nuclear weapons — Pyongyang claims it has a new uranium enrichment facility — and six weeks after North Korean leader Kim Jong Il anointed his youngest son, Kim Jong Un, as the heir apparent.
"It brings us one step closer to the brink of war," said Peter Beck, a research fellow with the Council on Foreign Relations, "because I don't think the North would seek war by intention, but war by accident, something spiraling out of control has always been my fear."
Columns of thick black smoke rose from homes on the island, video from YTN cable TV showed. Screams and shouts filled the air as shells rained down on the island just south of the disputed sea border.
Yeonpyeong lies a mere seven miles (11 kilometers) from — and within sight of — the North Korean mainland.
China, the North's economic and political benefactor, which also maintains close commercial ties to the South, appealed to both sides to remain calm and "to do more to contribute to peace and stability on the peninsula," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said.
Stephen Bosworth, the Obama administration's special envoy to North Korea, said he discussed the clash with the Chinese foreign minister and that they agreed both sides should show restraint. He reiterated that the U.S. stands firmly with its ally, South Korea.
Gen. Walter Sharp, commander of U.S. forces in South Korea and the U.S.-led U.N. Command, said in a Facebook posting that the U.S. military is "closely monitoring the situation and exchanging information with our (South Korean) allies as we always do."
Yeonpyeong, famous for its crabbing industry and home to about 1,700 civilians as well as South Korean military installations. There are about 30 other small islands nearby.
North Korea fired dozens of rounds of artillery in three separate barrages that began in midafternoon, while South Korea returned fire with about 80 rounds, South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said. Naval operations had been reinforced in the area, the JCS said early Wednesday, declining to elaborate.
Two South Korean marines were killed and 15 injured, it said. Island residents fled to some 20 shelters on the island and sporadic shelling ended after about an hour, according to the military.
The Koreas' 1950s war ended in a truce, but North Korea does not recognize the western maritime border drawn unilaterally by the United Nations at the close of the conflict, and the Koreas have fought three bloody skirmishes there in recent years.
South Korea holds military exercises like Tuesday's off the west coast about every three months.
In March, a South Korean warship went down in the waters while on a routine patrolling mission. Forty-six sailors were killed in what South Korea calls the worst military attack on the country since the war.
Seoul blamed a North Korean torpedo, but Pyongyang denied responsibility.

November 26th, 2010, 01:25 AM
Thanks to all those who have contributed to this thread. Let's just hope that history lets it fade away....

November 27th, 2010, 09:38 AM
North Korea’s New Hard Line

The deadly attack on the South signals an extended period of aggression,
due to a leadership shift in Pyongyang.

by Jerry GuoNovember 27, 2010

North Korea’s surprise attack last week on the South Korean outpost Yeonpyeong is sharply worrying not just because it marks the first time civilians have been targeted and killed since the end of the war more than a half century ago. Taken in context with its recent deadly brinksmanship—the sinking of the Cheonan, increasing border scuffles, the revelation of a secret nuclear-production plant—and it’s clear this is no longer mere theatrics on the part of the Hermit Kingdom.

Western officials and Korean hands, however, continue to see—or hope—that this latest escalation is North Korea’s jostling for a better hand at the negotiating table; in particular, the country continues to suffer severe food shortages. The uncomfortable truth? What we are seeing is more likely the start of a hardline policy shift, the likes of which the world has not seen since the Stalinist regime’s last power succession, when the Dear Leader, Kim Jong-il, took the reins from his father, Kim Il-sung. Why this scenario is so terrifying is that outside powers—even China, the closest thing North Korea has to a major ally—have little leverage in changing the North’s schizophrenic behavior.

According to two top administration officials, who were not authorized to speak because they are involved in the ongoing deliberations, the White House is adopting a wait-and-see attitude, if nothing else because options to deal with an emboldened North Korean regime are so limited. Granted, the carrier USS Washington has been sent on a four-day joint drill with the South Korean Navy, but the move is largely symbolic. Washington is in a particularly tight spot because any concessions—namely returning to the Six-Party Talks—could be seen as encouraging this sort of bullying, say the two sources.

Indeed, last week’s shelling took place in the same waters as the sinking this March of the South Korean military vessel the Cheonan, which killed 46 sailors. News also emerged in late November, from two returning American delegations, that the nuclear-armed regime has secretly built a second nuclear-production plant, with many analysts expecting the North Korean military to proceed with its third nuclear test shortly.

Growing evidence of North Korean drone flybys and threats in the months leading up to the raid hint at a premeditated attack. But the move looks to be directed inward, suggesting that the Dear Leader’s third son, Kim Jong-un, has already begun the process of cementing his power base in the military-first society. The baby-faced heir apparent was thought to have played a critical role in the Cheonan sinking. These incidents are similar to the deadly antics of Kim Jong-il in his early years as dictator-in-waiting. In 1983 he orchestrated an assassination attempt on the South Korean president, who was traveling in Burma. The failed plot killed 21 people, including several members of the South Korean cabinet. Four years later he allegedly masterminded the bombing of a South Korean airliner bound for Seoul, according to North Korean agent Kim Hyon-hui. The attack killed all 115 on board.

This return to Cold War tactics marks the rise of the generals, who are cementing their control over the younger Kim. Since last year, when succession rumors began trickling out, the public voice of Pyongyang has emerged in increasingly bellicose tones from military agencies, such as the National Defense Commission and the Korean People’s Army, rather than from the relatively moderate Foreign Ministry.

The power dynamic is changing fast: Kim Jong-il looks to be bending to his hawkish generals—rather than the other way around—in order to solidify the rickety succession to his son. Though he has no prior military experience, the younger Kim was given a four-star-general rank this September during a rare party conference.

It’s this infighting, rather than an urge to return to the six-party negotiating table, that likely drove the recent aggressions. Historically, the North Koreans have never cut a deal with weak foreign leaders, and both Washington, with its midterm election rout of the Democrats, and Tokyo, with Naoto Kan’s record-low approval ratings, have embattled leaders. More strategically, the Pyongyang regime may sense that it’s not going to get a favorable—or long-lasting—deal until after 2012, when the U.S., South Korea, and Russia have their presidential elections and Hu Jintao steps down in China.

The internal jockeying has the grave potential to tip the Korean Peninsula into more serious or sustained fighting. Although the South Koreans returned artillery fire, their response has been measured, if not considered weak. But Seoul’s stance is hardening, with the conservative president, Lee Myung-bak—who broke away from the country’s longstanding “Sunshine Policy” toward the North—ordering island defenses to be fortified and more aggressive rules of engagement. After a visit by the American commanding officer in South Korea to Yeonpyeong on Friday, the North responded by launching an alarming artillery drill, and its official news agency warned in a statement that “the situation on the Korean Peninsula is inching closer to the brink of war.” South Korea’s defense minister was also replaced last week in the face of criticism over the country’s meek military response. Not that there is much more room to work with: not long after the Cheonan sinking, Lee dropped demands for an official apology as a precondition for talks and has abandoned the idea of using loudspeakers to blast North Korean guards at the demilitarized zone with anticommunist propaganda.

The wild card is China, which according to analysts is growing increasingly exasperated with Pyongyang. While there is no public split over North Korea policy, the last thing Beijing wants is an emboldened Pyongyang setting off a confrontation that embroils China against the U.S. at a time when China’s next leader, the untested Xi Jinping, is preparing to take over. President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are calling their Chinese counterparts this week to plead for a tougher stand, possibly by urging Beijing’s support for U.N. diplomatic action. Beijing has been loath to pressure its unstable neighbor; the question is whether Beijing sees these latest attacks as a real threat to regional peace, and thus a greater threat than instability within North Korea.

For now, no one can afford a war, and unless North Korea strikes the South Korean mainland, it seems as though the region could be in for a long slog of hand-wringing provocations. It looks like Kim and his goons have once again managed to come out on top, happy that they are at least back on the world’s center stage.

With John Barry in Washington, Takashi Yokota in Tokyo, and Melinda Liu in Beijing

Kims on the Wall (http://www.newsweek.com/photo/2010/05/27/north-korea-propaganda-art.html)


© 2010 Harman Newsweek LLC

November 27th, 2010, 03:39 PM
don't we have drones that can splatter red paint on those murals remotely? the military should earmark a few billion to develop mustache writing aircraft for a more surgical approach

November 27th, 2010, 07:10 PM
^ I hope you are being ironic. What would be the point of that? To confirm the validity of paranoid propaganda?

EDIT: Oopsie, I didn't see the mustachio comment. Okay then. Tee-hee.

December 1st, 2010, 10:46 PM
I am sure the U.S. has technology that can lob a cruise missile into the Dear Leader's toilet, timed to the exact second the exalted throne is occupied. Whether we use it is another story.

December 1st, 2010, 11:35 PM
I doubt that would do any good; might even be dangerous.

There's no reform movement in North Korea with any realistic chance of filling a power vacuum caused by assassinating the head of state.

NK society is structured around Songun (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Songun=). It has the highest percentage of the population in the military of any country. The armed forces are the privileged class of NK society; their families probably live very well by NK standards.

They'd be reluctant to give that up for social reform. You'd get his successor-son, Kim Jong-un, or if he didn't survive, someone suitable from the military.

Same-old, same-old.

July 27th, 2012, 12:46 PM
Artist JR (http://www.jr-art.net/) posts some pictures from his travels:

JR IN NORTH KOREA (http://www.jr-art.net/news/jr-in-north-korea?utm_source=JR+Newsletter&utm_campaign=fa2547c4e8-newsletter270612-++all+sauf+pompidou&utm_medium=email)


July 27th, 2012, 01:27 PM

I got the shivers from this one..... That one guy in the white shirt... 1984?

July 28th, 2012, 01:07 PM
Wow, the picture with the statue is about the worst offense you could think of. It might even have gotten his guides in serious trouble if the wrong person had noticed him taking such a picture, as they are being held responsible for everything you as a tourist do. Of course about every tourist is taking tons of pictures of things they officially aren't allowed to take pictures of, but some things you just really shouldn't do. When the leaders are concerned, there's simply no room at all for disrespect of any kind.

Nevertheless some amazing shots.

July 28th, 2012, 01:52 PM
Wow, the picture with the statue is about the worst offense you could think of. It might even have gotten his guides in serious trouble if the wrong person had noticed him taking such a picture, as they are being held responsible for everything you as a tourist do.I believe that.

I think it was a National Geographic documentary; a team traveled to North Korea with an eye surgeon from Nepal or India. It seems cataracts are a major problem in North Korea. The group was allowed - with guides - to visit various sites and take photographs. To get the large statue within the frame, a photographer laid on the ground. The guide got upset and began to scold him, at one point telling him he would have to leave the country.

July 28th, 2012, 03:47 PM
I think I've seen that documentary a few years ago, weren't most people cured by The Great Leader rather than a surgeon?

But indeed, although they usually gladly let you take pictures of those statues, it's always very serious business. Apart from taking funny pictures, you're not allowed to leave parts of the statue out of the picture, so forget about making a close-up of just the face. But it also depends on the guides, mostly on how much they trust the group. During my first two visits, it was no problem at all to take a picture from the distance, with some other monuments covering up part of the statue. And it was also OK to take a picture from behind the statue, as long as you managed to cram the whole thing in the picture. The last time I went, last April a few days after they unveiled the statue of Kim Jong-Il and the renewed statue of Kim Il-Sung, the rules where much more strict. And if they only had the slightest clue that you broke the rules, they demanded to see the pictures and would delete any "disrespectful" picture.

Like I said, you don't really have to follow the rules all the time, as long as you act respectful, there's some flexibility. But when they explicitly tell you not to do some thing, you simply have to play it by the rules. They might indeed throw you out of the country. But if you went that far, assume the worst for the guides. They will at least lose their jobs (and as a result their access to hard currency), maybe even the privilege to live in Pyongyang. But far worse things might happen to them. That's what you always have to keep in mind when visiting the country.

July 29th, 2012, 12:21 AM
Nevertheless some amazing shots.

Yours are better. better= more humane, committed, mundane... It's too easy, almost irresistible, to portray the crudeness of the DPRK. At this point, I prefer seeing actual, usual, conditions inasmuch as photographs and first-person accounts can convey this.

Why work at humiliating North Koreans? The authorities in Pyongyang have that covered.

July 31st, 2012, 06:51 PM
Luxury lifestyle for North Korean winners, losers may fear fate

By Peter Rutherford

LONDON, July 31 - It's still only Day Four at the London Olympics but one early surprise is that North Korea are fifth in the medals table, a performance that will bring good news to the pariah state - and not a little relief for the athletes themselves.

The country's three gold and one bronze medals will spread a bit of joy to a people who have seen little of that lately - the North is currently battling floods that have killed scores of people and turned tens of thousands out of their homes.

The reality is that life is tough in North Korea in the best of times, however.

International sanctions over its nuclear weapons program, a decaying economy and a defective food distribution system have left almost a third of its 24 million people poor and hungry and it has few friends besides its neighbor China.

The gold medalists are hoping their feats will cover the country in glory and please its people and one man in particular - new leader Kim Jong-un, who only recently took over as head of the family dynasty on the death of his father Kim Jong-il.

"As an athlete I believe by winning the gold medal I was able to glorify my nation and give support to the people of my nation, so I am really happy," judoka An Kum-ae told reporters in London after winning gold.

"I believe I gave some happiness and joy to our leader, Kim Jong-un," she said fervently.

The North's official KCNA news agency reported that her family "burst into cheers and tears" watching her on television.

"She owes her success to the great leaders, the benevolent social system and the Workers' Party of Korea," said her father An Jong-ryon. "All my neighbors are calling at my house to offer congratulations to my family."

Kim Un-kuk, who set a weightlifting world record on the way to winning gold on Monday, said he was anxious for news of his triumph to reach Pyongyang.

For good reason: a life of luxury awaits the Olympians as reward for glorifying the Stalinist state. Elite athletes receive cash, cars, houses and the coveted membership of the Workers Party of Korea.


The consequences of sporting failure are far less palatable.

The coach of the national soccer team, who lost all three of their 2010 World Cup games, was reportedly expelled from the Worker's Party and forced to become a builder for his "betrayal".

A South Korean newspaper quoted an intelligence source as saying those who performed badly were even sent to prison camps, though that has been disputed by North Korean athletes.

North Korean defector Lee Chang-soo told Reuters in March that the difference between winning and losing an international competition could even be a matter of life and death.

A bronze medal winner at the 1989 World Judo Championships, Lee's life was turned upside down when he lost to a South Korean in the final of the 1990 Beijing Asian Games.

South and North Korea fought a fratricidal war in 1950-53 and the two countries remain technically at war since the conflict ended in a truce, not a peace treaty.

Defeated North Koreans -- especially those who lose to South Koreans -- were forced to work in "gulags" where rights group Amnesty International says 200,000 citizens are forced to work with little food under threat of execution, he said.

Lee was sent to a coal mine for his failure.

Information is hard to come by in the almost hermetically sealed and suspicious state, but North Korea watchers point to signs that Kim Jong-un could be cut from a different cloth than his father and grandfather before him, founder Kim Il-sung.

He has shown a more human side, appearing with his wife on television and presenting a significantly less dour image. A source with ties to North Korea and China told Reuters he is gearing up to experiment with economic reforms.

Whether the changes will make a difference for North Korea's returning athletes is anybody's guess, however.

(Additional reporting by Park Ju-min in Seoul; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)

© Thomson Reuters 2011.

July 31st, 2012, 06:59 PM
Soccer: U.S. women forget politics, beat North Korea

By Estelle Sharon | Reuters

MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) - The U.S. women's soccer team beat North Korea on Tuesday against a backdrop of hostility between the global superpower and the isolated Asian dictatorship but U.S. fans and players said the Olympic spirit transcended politics.

One American player said the teams played ping-pong together at their hotel ahead of the match, conjuring scenes from the 1970s when so-called "ping-pong diplomacy" marked a thaw in U.S.-Chinese relations.

"We were in the same hotel as them and the girls were great... We played ping-pong and stuff like that," Shannon Boxx told Reuters after the match, which the Americans won 1-0 thanks to a 25th minute goal from striker Abby Wambach.

The United States and North Korea have had fraught relations since the 1950-1953 Korean War, when the Americans fought alongside the capitalist South against the Communist North, which was backed by the Soviet Union and China.

The hostility is a live issue in world diplomacy.

North Korea was branded part of a so-called "axis of evil" by former U.S. President George W. Bush, and Washington is intent on frustrating the North's nuclear armaments plans while Pyongyang is seemingly impervious to external pressure.

But the American soccer players said they had put politics out of their minds.

"The beautiful part about what we're doing and it being the Olympics is we don't have to worry about that," Wambach told Reuters after coming off the pitch.

"This is where we can put our differences aside, go out on the pitch and play for glory and that's what we're here for."

The North Koreans' feelings were harder to gauge.

The players left the stadium without talking to journalists and coach Sin Ui Gun responded cautiously to questions, speaking through an interpreter.


"We are all thinking that against USA we shouldn't lose, we should win," said Sin. Pressed by a reporter on whether it was more disappointing to lose against the United States than against other teams, the coach nodded gravely but said nothing.

Sin wore a red badge on his lapel emblazoned with portraits of Kim Il-sung, the founder of North Korea who is still revered as its eternal president, and his son Kim Jong-il, who succeeded Kim and cultivated a cult of his own personality.

The match took place at Old Trafford, home of Premier League club Manchester United, where thousands of curious Britons and enthusiastic Americans piled into the stands.

A Reuters reporter was unable to ascertain whether there were any North Korean spectators present at all. If there were, it could only have been a tiny number who could not be heard.

Three women wearing matching dark blue tracksuits sat together in the stands and one of them was holding a North Korean flag. Asked whether they spoke English, the women shook their heads and a security guard immediately appeared and asked the reporter to leave. It remained unclear who the women were.

In contrast to last week, when the same North Korea team walked off the pitch before a match because giant screens accidentally displayed the flag of their South Korean foes, Tuesday's match got off to a smooth start.

The American players smiled at supporters as they walked out onto the pitch, while the North Korean players looked straight ahead and did not smile. When the players shook hands just before kickoff, some of the Americans attempted smiles and eye-contact with their opponents, who remained stony-faced.

At the end of the match, the American players lingered on the pitch and linked hands to do a collective "worm dance" for the fans. After perfunctory handshakes, the North Koreans jogged off the pitch in a straight line.

The north of England was the scene of North Korea's greatest sporting triumph abroad, during the 1966 World Cup, when the men's soccer team knocked out favorites Italy in one of the greatest upsets ever. But history was not repeated on Tuesday as the Americans, the defending Olympic champions, dominated.


It would be difficult to imagine a sporting contest between two more different nations.

On the one hand, a global economic powerhouse whose cultural influence can be felt across the globe, a society hooked on 24-hour media and the Internet, a land of plenty where the number one threat to public health is the high obesity rate.

On the other, an impenetrable fortress run by a dynasty of dictators, cut off from the rest of the planet by barbed wire and strict controls over any form of communication, an economic disaster zone where millions go short of food.

During the match, mass chants of "USA! USA!" repeatedly boomed around the stadium. At one point, a group of British fans apparently in the mood to annoy the Americans shouted "Korea! Korea!" but there was no other audible cheering for the Asians.

Some of the Americans in the stands were keen to show respect to their opponents.

"The Olympics is about sportsmanship and athletics, it's not about politics," said Oliver Spandow, from Florida, who was cheering for the Americans with his wife and three children. The whole family had the Stars and Stripes painted on their faces.

"It's important to show good sportsmanship, that's what we've told the kids. The North Korean players have worked hard to be here just like our team and they deserve to be here," said Kristin Spandow, Oliver's wife.

Some U.S. fans, however, said the match did have political overtones because of who their team were playing.

"It definitely adds a little bit of extra drama to this match, like in the Cold War when the Americans would play the Russians," said Californian Christina Gustafson, sporting a shirt and strings of beads in patriotic red, white and blue.

North Korea is an impressive fifth in the Olympics medals table so far, drawing enthusiastic coverage from the official news agency, KCNA.

"DPRK People Seized with Joy over Successes in Olympiad," said one headline on Tuesday. The DPRK is the acronym of the North's full name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

"As the DPRK flag was hoisting higher than others, I got so excited that I could hardly repress my tears rolling down my cheek," said Jong In-ho, a teacher at Kim Il Sung University in Pyongyang, according to KCNA.

(Additional reporting by Ju-min Park in Seoul; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall and Ken Ferris)

August 3rd, 2012, 02:32 AM
North Korea's Kim tells China, economy a priority

Thu, Aug 2 2012
BEIJING (Reuters) - North Korea's new young leader, Kim Jong-un, told a Chinese official that his government is focused on "developing the economy and improving people's livelihoods," China's official news agency reported late on Thursday.

Kim's comments to the visiting Chinese official, Wang Jiarui, were the latest sign that the new young leader aims to tackle North Korea's decaying economy, which has been poorly managed under the military-first government system.

This is in contrast to Kim's late father who was focused on military tensions and allowed the military to play a key role in running North Korea, which is now struggling with chronic poverty, isolation and damaging floods that could deepen hunger.

"Developing the economy and improving livelihoods, so that the Korean people lead happy and civilized lives, is the goal the Korean Workers' Party is struggling towards," Kim told Wang, the head of the Chinese Communist Party's International Department, Beijing's key interlocutor with the North.

Kim's comments in a meeting in Pyongyang broke no new policy ground, but analysts and diplomatic sources in China and South Korea expect Kim to probably embark on an economic reform package soon.

China's long-standing view of North Korea as a traditional ally and important bulwark against undue U.S. influence has been a little clouded recently by uncertainties about the young Kim's intentions, as well as a brief quarrel over North Korea's detention of Chinese fishermen.

But Kim appeared keen to allay those concerns, and he cited the wishes of his late father, Kim Jong-il, whom he succeeded as dynastic leader of the one-party state last December.

"It is the unswerving will of the North Korean (ruling) party and government to continue Comrade Kim Jong-il's teachings of constantly deepening the traditional friendship between North Korea and China across the generations," Kim told Wang, according to the Xinhua news agency.

Kim has yet to visit Beijing. His late father was a frequent visitor to China in his later years.

Kim, in his late twenties, has sought to impose his own stamp on the top leadership of North Korea, and recently ousted Vice Marshal Ri Yong-ho, the country's leading military figure, who was seen as close to Kim Jong-il.

Kim Jong-un was also named marshal of the army in a move that cemented his power. He already heads the Workers' Party of Korea and is First Chairman of the National Defence Commission.

He is gearing up to experiment with agricultural and economic reforms after purging Ri Yong-ho for opposing change, a source with ties to both Pyongyang and Beijing told Reuters.

Experts in Beijing say their government fears that economic malaise in North Korea could give way to damaging instability and torrents of refugees across the border in China, and for decades Chinese leaders have nudged Pyongyang to draw lessons from their route to market economic reform.

But so far, Pyongyang has resisted any dramatic changes in its traditional top-down management of the economy.

China has also hosted now moribund six-way talks seeking to coax North Korea into abandoning its nuclear weapons program. Xinhua reported that Kim said he was committed to "peace and stability" on the Korean peninsula, but did not mention those talks.

(Reporting by Chris Buckley; Editing by Michael Perry (http://blogs.reuters.com/search/journalist.php?edition=us&n=michael.perry&))

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October 19th, 2012, 02:32 AM
Kim Jong Il's grandson has given an interview. Must see for N. Korea followers. This is Part 1 of 2:

(sorry I am an ignoramus with youtube links)


October 19th, 2012, 09:39 AM
Thanks for that, hbcat.

October 19th, 2012, 11:21 AM
Thanks for fixing the link. I also revised the post.

Han Sol(o) seems like a nice kid. Through no fault of his own, he's been born into the weirdest royal family on the planet. Also not his fault, and one hopes that his education and intelligence will help with this, is the utter impossibility of the super elite to experience mundane life like the rest of us. He has taken deliberate steps to look for heterodoxical points of view, and he still seems incredibly cloistered and cut off. Like I say, not his fault.

He has the best name in the family. That's something.

October 19th, 2012, 12:13 PM
Kim Jong Il's grandson has given an interview. Must see for N. Korea followers. This is Part 1 of 2:
He's so not Gangnam Style

February 28th, 2013, 01:32 PM
http://ww3.hdnux.com/photos/20/16/57/4254702/3/628x471.jpg http://wa2.cdn.3news.co.nz/3news/AM/2012/12/10/279895/kim-jong-un1.jpg?width=460


February 28th, 2013, 07:10 PM
Ambassador at Large

March 1st, 2013, 01:11 PM
Leaving North Korea, Rodman Calls Kims ‘Great Leaders’


“He’s proud, his country likes him — not like him, love him, love him,” Rodman said of Kim Jong-un. “Guess what, I love him. The guy’s really awesome.”


isn't that technically some sort of treason? ;)

March 1st, 2013, 01:39 PM
Maybe not.

https://si0.twimg.com/profile_images/1496730583/dennisrodman_bigger.jpg Dennis Rodman @dennisrodman

Maybe I'll run into the Gangnam Style dude while I'm here @psy_oppa #WORMinNorthKorea
2:06 PM - 26 Feb 13

https://si0.twimg.com/profile_images/3004211529/c7b88f80fb76e56a9c1d2f04bb8f0fee_bigger.png PSY @psy_oppa

@dennisrodman I'm from #SOUTH man!!! kk
3:23 AM - 27 Feb 13

March 5th, 2013, 01:24 PM
Maybe he is just an Idiot.....

A lonely Idiot.

March 5th, 2013, 04:49 PM
Sounds right to me.

March 7th, 2013, 11:24 AM
So Worm, how do you like him now?

March 7, 2013

New Sanctions Imposed on North Korea as it Warns of Pre-emptive Nuclear Attack


The United Nations Security Council approved a new regimen of sanctions on Thursday against North Korea for its underground nuclear test last month, imposing penalties on North Korean banking, travel and trade in a unanimous vote that reflected the country’s increased international isolation.

The resolution, which was drafted by the United States and China, was passed in a speedy vote hours after North Korea threatened for the first time to launch a pre-emptive nuclear strike against the United States and South Korea.

“The strength, breadth and severity of these sanctions will raise the cost to North Korea of its illicit nuclear program,” the United States ambassador to the United Nations, Susan E. Rice, told reporters after the vote. “Taken together, these sanctions will bite and bite hard.”

Li Baodong, the ambassador from China, which lent its support to the new sanctions to the anger of the North Korean government, told reporters the resolution was aimed at the long-term goal of denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula.

“This resolution is a very important step,” he told reporters.

Calling such sanctions “an act of war,” the North has sharply escalated its threats against the United States and its allies in the last few days, declaring the 1953 armistice that stopped the Korean War null and void and threatening to turn Washington and Seoul into “a sea in flames” with “lighter and smaller nukes.”

The combative country had often warned that it had the right to launch pre-emptive military strikes against the United States, which it claimed was preparing to start a war on the Korean Peninsula. On Thursday, it ratcheted up its hostile language by talking about pre-emptive nuclear strikes for the first time, citing the continuing joint American-South Korean military exercises as a proof that the United States and its allies were preparing for “a nuclear war aimed to mount a pre-emptive strike” on North Korea.

“Now that the U.S. is set to light a fuse for a nuclear war, the revolutionary armed forces of the DPRK will exercise the right to a pre-emptive nuclear attack to destroy the strongholds of the aggressors and to defend the supreme interests of the country,” a spokesman of the North Korean Foreign Ministry said in a Korean-language statement carried by the North’s official Korean Central News Agency. He used the acronym for his country’s official name, Democratic People’s republic of Korea.

The spokesman said that North Korea was no longer bound by the 1953 armistice ending the Korean War — and its military was free to “take military actions for self-defense against any target any moment” — starting from Monday, when it declared the cease-fire was terminated.

The resolution the United Nations adopted to impose more sanctions against the North “will compel the DPRK to take at an earlier date more powerful second and third countermeasures as it had declared,” the spokesman added, without elaborating.

In the past, whenever the United Nations considered more sanctions, North Korea’s typically strident rhetoric had grown harsher with threats of war. The threats were just that, and analysts said the message was meant as much for its home population, to whom they said the young leader Kim Jong-un sought to inspire a sense of crisis, as it was meant to unsettle the region to force Washington to engage it with concessions.

Photos filed by news agencies from the North Korean capital, Pyongyang, and carried in South Korean media on Thursday showed buses covered with military camouflage and university students rushing out of their classroom building in military uniforms in a military exercise.

Few analysts believed that North Korea would launch a military attack at the United States, a decision that would be suicidal for the regime. But officials in Seoul feared that North Korea might attempt an armed skirmish to test the military resolve of Park Geun-hye, South Korea’s first female president, who took office less than two weeks ago.

On Wednesday, in an uncharacteristically blunt response to North Korea’s threat, a South Korean Army general called a news conference and warned that if provoked, South Korea would strike back at the top North Korean military leadership. The two Koreas’ front-line units exchanged artillery fire after North Korea launched a barrage against a South Korean border island in 2010.

In the same year, 46 South Korean sailors were killed when their navy corvette sank in an explosion the South blamed on a North Korean torpedo attack.

With the United States standing behind it, South Korea has since vowed to strike back with a deadlier force if North Korea provokes again.

Despite such warnings, however, South Korean officials feared that Mr. Kim, an inexperienced leader eager to build his credentials and gravitas as leader of his “military-first” country might have been emboldened by his country’s recent successful tests of a long-range rocket and nuclear device to believe that he could try an armed provocation with impunity.

In North Korea, where pronouncements are carefully choreographed and timed, the threat on Tuesday to use “lighter and smaller nukes” was read on North Korean television by Gen. Kim Yong-chol. General Kim, the head of the North’s military intelligence, is one of the hard-liners that South Korean officials suspected was deeply involved in the 2010 attacks.

Rick Gladstone reported from New York, and Choe Sang-hun from Seoul, South Korea.

© 2013 The New York Times Company

Some advice from fellow NBA alumnus Shaqille O'Neal.


March 8th, 2013, 12:26 AM
Jesus. I mean, guess what. Jesus.


March 8th, 2013, 12:55 AM
Quite a contrast in those two vids.

March 8th, 2013, 01:08 AM
He's never looked so foolish -- quite an accomplishment, actually.

March 8th, 2013, 09:03 AM

BTW - I find it promising that whereas they have been an obstacle in the past, China drafted the latest sanctions resolution. I am no expert in resolutions, but based on comments from US foreign policy sources, it seems to have some teeth. If so, it clearly more credible coming from the Chinese, and if the Obama administration worked behind the scenes to push China a bit, it is a big win for them.

p.s. Welcome back! Long time no post!

March 8th, 2013, 10:11 AM
China may have become uneasy with the rhetoric coming out of North Korea.

The talk of tearing up the armistice and launching a nuclear strike against the US may seem like silly posturing from over here, but what about South Korea. A half-century long standoff can become a hot war overnight. If that happens, the US is in - hell, we're in already. And China is in. Japan? Russia?

It would be a global disaster.

March 8th, 2013, 10:23 AM
Wasn't it Geroge Washington that warned us about Foreign Entaglements? In today's vernacular the more appropriate concern might be Global Entanglements.

Given the US and China are allied with oppossing countries techmically still at war with each other, I can easily see WWIII starting on the Korean penninsula.

I absolutely believe China is not comfrotable with the rhetoric coming out of North Korea. Even a best case 'contained' war, potentially means tens or hundreds of thousands of refugees spilling over the Yalu river into eastern China. The Chinese do not want to deal with that.

March 8th, 2013, 12:37 PM
For china, "War" is fine so long as it is contained. They can support NK all they want and keep them out of their hair.

If they start lobbing nukes, that gets them in deeper, and possibly risks their own well being (fallout... literally).

I am just wondering how long you can starve your country, blame others, and forbid different hairstyles until you get a mass oposition to your policy. Maybe not an armed insurrection, but more of a "You want this? Do it yourself" situation.

March 8th, 2013, 01:03 PM
I don't think the Chinese want a war of any kind - contained or otherwise.

For one thing, as you sort of noted, it is not at all clear that a war on the Korean penninsula CAN be contained, especially if he North has a nuclear launch capability. That is a game-changer that has to scare even the Chinese.

For another as I mentioned above, if things go badly even in a contained situation, an unmanagable amount of NK refugees are going to end up in China creating a mess of mass proportions.

Historically, China has backed NK's game figuring they had a measure of influence that would allow them to rein them in at any point. I am not so sure they're as comfortable with that paradimn today as they were than. Kim is literally a child, and is probably not in complete control of what is happening in the North where a gang of militarlisic nationals are probably flexing their muscles. At the very least they are likely taking advantage of his youth to exert influence on him.

I wonder if they were surprised when China yanked hard on their leash.

March 8th, 2013, 01:23 PM
I am just wondering how long you can starve your country, blame others, and forbid different hairstyles until you get a mass oposition to your policy. Maybe not an armed insurrection, but more of a "You want this? Do it yourself" situation.
Probably indefinitely at this point. Stalin shipped everyone off to the Gulag and purged every corner of dissent then sent in the secret police and enlisted an army of civilians to report their own grandmothers. NK is the same thing, except that it is vastly smaller and thus is even easier to maintain an iron grip on. It's been 60 years of repression and nobody with any sort of means to act knows anything other than living under a boot with an eye trained behind your shoulder. The only thing that can change things outside of an invasion is either a personality transplant for Kim Jong Un or for the country to be staved of resources so badly that the inner circles revolt against the dictatorship and openly court the world. China is the main problem at this point, they are the enablers.

March 8th, 2013, 02:16 PM
Interesting fact. North Korea's average life expectancy is 68.00 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_life_expectancy)yrs. 8.5 years lower than their neighbors to the South and 4.9 years lower than the impoverished masses to the north.

I wonder do they include all the "death-by-thinking-differently" numbers in that average?

March 8th, 2013, 09:06 PM
^ I wonder if any such stats can be relied upon, Irish, since all info must be sourced from DPRK officials.

It feels as if the situation on the Korean Peninsula is heading toward a major crisis, but it *always* seems that way, which is in the interest of the regime, of course. There is little margin for error in this game. The more reasoned and measured the response from the South and its allies, the more outrageous Pyongyang feels it must be to maintain the tension and keep domestic eyes fixed on external threats.

I sometimes wonder when China is going to pull the plug on this operation. China, after South Korea and possibly Japan, has the most at stake in Korea. It is clear they are fed up with the North but if/when the regime collapses, it is going to create havoc in NE China, and depending upon how things unfold, may involve the Chinese military and effect the entire economy. The knock-on effects of a million or two N Korean refugees in Jilin Province would result in instability to the entire govt of China.

March 8th, 2013, 09:23 PM

March 11th, 2013, 08:55 AM
North Korea declares 1953 armistice invalid
By Madison Park , CNN
updated 6:39 AM EDT, Mon March 11, 2013

Hong Kong (CNN) -- The North Korean army has declared invalid the armistice agreement that ended the Korean War in 1953, the official newspaper of the country's ruling Workers' Party said Monday.
Since last week, North Korea had been threatening to scrap the armistice after the U.N. Security Council passed tougher sanctions against it in response to its February 12 nuclear test.
On Monday, the Rodong Sinmun newspaper reported that the Supreme Command of North Korea's army had done so.
"The U.S. has reduced the armistice agreement to a dead paper," the newspaper said.
Tensions high on Korean peninsula

North Korea also cut off direct phone links with South Korea at the inter-Korean border village of Panmunjom, according to South Korea's Yonhap news agency. The phone line was the emergency link for quick, two-way communication between the two sides.
The armistice agreement, signed in 1953, ended the three-year war between North and South Korea in a truce.
Since the two sides remain technically at war, it remains to be seen whether the invalidation means that either side can resume hostilities.
The Rodong Sinmun reported the Supreme Command saying that it can now make a "strike of justice at any target anytime, not bound to the armistice agreement and achieve the national reunification, the cherished desire of the Korean nation."
However, the North has nullified the agreement on several occasions in the past.

A look back at the history of the armistice.

What is the armistice agreement?

It is the agreement that ended the war between North and South Korea. It is a truce, rather than a peace treaty.

Has the North ended the armistice before?

Yes. In 2003, Pyonyang's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) announced that it may have "no option" but to stop honoring the armistice because of the United State's "persistent war moves."
In 2009, North Korea said its military would no longer be bound by the agreement because South Korea was joining a U.S.-led anti-proliferation plan.
Part of the reason for the latest move are the joint exercises between the United States and South Korea. A bigger reason is tougher sanctions passed in the U.N. Security Council (http://edition.cnn.com/2013/03/07/world/asia/un-north-korea-sanctions/index.html) against North Korea in response to its nuclear test on February 12.
Pyongyang carried out its third nuclear test, despite international condemnation.

What caused the division of Korea?

For most of the first half of the 20th century, Japan controlled the Korean peninsula as its colony. By the end of the World War II as Japan neared defeat, the allies agreed to an independent Korea. The United States and Soviet Union divided postwar occupation of Korea along the 38th parallel and the two sides were ideologically opposite.

Why did war break out?

On June 25, 1950, a surprise attack by North Korean soldiers who crossed the 38th parallel easily overwhelmed South Korean forces. The United States leapt to the defense of the South. As South Korean, U.S. and U.N. forces fought back and gained ground into North Korea, Chinese forces joined the war on the North's side later that year. To this day, China remains a crucial ally of North Korea and the U.S. of South Korea.

What toll did the war take?

The toll of the war included about 1.2 million deaths in South Korea, 1 million deaths in North Korea, 36,500 deaths for U.S. troops and 600,000 deaths for Chinese soldiers.

What are the lasting effects of the war?

The brutal war separated thousands of families, and created the world's most heavily fortified border. It also drew the alliances that exist today.

When was the armistice signed?

The armistice was signed in July 1953.

What were its terms?

The terms of the armistice included the creation of the Demilitarized Zone, a heavily fortified 155-mile long (250 kilometers) 2.5-mile wide line separating the two countries.

How have relations between the North and South been since then?

In the last 60 years, diplomacy between North and South has zigzagged from conciliatory to bellicose.
During more friendly times, the two countries arranged emotional family reunions (http://www.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/asiapcf/11/02/skorea.nkorea.reunions/index.html?iref=allsearch) for those separated by the war in 2000, their leaders shook hands in a 2007 Pyongyang summit and ran freight trains across the border.
But periods of rapprochement have been counterpointed by flareups.
More recently, the North shelled the South Korean island of Yeonpyeong (http://edition.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/asiapcf/11/24/nkorea.skorea.military.fire/index.html) leaving two marines and two civilians dead. Pyongyang claimed Seoul provoked the 2010 attack by holding a military drill off their shared coast in the Yellow Sea.
That same year, North Korea was also accused of sinking a South Korean warship (http://edition.cnn.com/2010/US/05/19/south.korea.ship/index.html), killing more than 40 sailors.

Without an armistice, what can happen?

The two sides can resume hostilities if they so choose.

What are the risks of a military clash?

A military clash could risk drawing in the United States, which has about 28,500 troops stationed in South Korea as part of the security alliance between the two countries.

March 11th, 2013, 09:33 AM
This is really quite alarming. That spoiled rich fat kid with the keys to the missile silos is bored and has nobody to keep him in check. He's going to do something stupid and it's going to cost a lot of people's lives & property and lead to a big economic hit on south korea

March 12th, 2013, 01:33 PM
GG, I think it is more than just that.

This spoiled isolated kid is being influenced by a bunch of old schemers in the background. I have a feeling that they are influencing him greatly, but not fully cognizant of what they are doing.

Or too old to care if they get involved in a situation that will end their life abruptly.

Most political and military posturing is not intended to be the death of the poser, but pushing an inexperienced isolated "leader" like this...... strait out of the storybooks.

March 12th, 2013, 01:56 PM
You are right about that. He's being pressured by the old guard and is trying to "earn his keep". The old guard will eventually die off, hopefully by then there's still a peninsula left to govern

March 12th, 2013, 02:40 PM
I think so too, hence my post #73.

March 12th, 2013, 02:50 PM
Unfortunately, even in the foreseeable long term, there's little encouragement that this death grip on the North Korean people will end.

Maybe it's the second reason the NK military is so large - they have a vested interest in keeping the status quo. Aside from the ruling plutocrats, their position (and that of their families) is among the highest in the country.

Or so I've heard.

March 12th, 2013, 07:57 PM
You may be right, but would be surprised if the regime collapsed overnight as in Eastern Europe? All it might take is one uncontained rebellion in the upper echelons or a massive revolt from below. Cooling support from China in recent years has got have many within the DPRK wondering where the leadership is taking them.

March 12th, 2013, 09:54 PM
Good TED talk from last year --


March 22nd, 2013, 02:05 AM
Hyeonseo Lee (http://www.ted.com/talks/hyeonseo_lee_my_escape_from_north_korea.html) is the first North Korean to speak at TED.


March 23rd, 2013, 11:18 AM
Can North Korea get any weirder? Sure, but this is right up there --

N.Korean Diplomats 'Sell Millions of Dollars Worth of Drugs' (http://english.chosun.com/site/data/html_dir/2013/03/20/2013032001084.html)North Korea sent a large amount of illegal drugs to its embassy in an East European country last December and ordered diplomats there to sell it for cash by early April, a diplomatic source here claims.

"South Korean intelligence obtained the information from a North Korean agent who defected recently," the source said. "Similar orders were delivered to other North Korean embassies."

North Korea has ordered each diplomat to raise US$300,000 to prove their loyalty and mark the birthday of nation founder Kim Il-sung on April 15.

Each North Korean diplomatic mission overseas is required to send back around $100,000 to the North each year, the agent-turned-defector allegedly said. They used to complain that new leader Kim Jong-un is too demanding.

Each North Korean diplomat is estimated to have been given up to 20 kg of drugs, so the North Korean embassy in the East European country may seek to sell around 200 kg.

Under the guidance of Room 39, a secretive agency that managed the private coffers of former North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, the North has been producing various types of illegal drugs and selling them abroad. South Korean authorities estimate North Korea's annual output of illicit drugs amount to 3,000 kg that translate into revenues of between $100 million and $200 million.

North Korea mass-produces the illegal drugs in factories in Chongjin and Heungnam under tightly regulated conditions, and as a result the quality is top-notch, said one intelligence official here. "North Korean drugs are highly sought-after overseas."

A large amount of illegal drugs in circulation here is North Korean in origin and smuggled through China.

"Drugs are sent from North Korea several times a year by ship or trucks," the diplomat quoted the defector as saying. "An embassy staffer meets up with smugglers at a secret location to get them."

March 23rd, 2013, 02:53 PM
Korean women are hot!

Hyeonseo Lee (http://www.ted.com/talks/hyeonseo_lee_my_escape_from_north_korea.html) is the first North Korean to speak at TED.


March 23rd, 2013, 06:31 PM
Dude, you never cease to amaze me.

March 27th, 2013, 11:53 PM
I'm not sure why this picture is funny, but it just is.


March 28th, 2013, 04:36 AM
Probably something along these lines --

Now, it’s possible that this computer – encased in a giant metal box, looking very retro – does something amazing. But note some of the environmental details: the dining room chair, the consumer desktop keyboard and Logitech mouse (https://twitter.com/pourmecoffee/status/316255995884101634). None of those really scream “advanced military computing technology” so much as they suggest “we should put an old Dell in this metal box to show to Dear Leader.”

March 28th, 2013, 04:40 AM

March 28th, 2013, 08:51 AM
It looks like piano lessons.

March 28th, 2013, 09:03 AM
Probably something along these lines --Ha. I missed the mouse.

Fearless Leader could be test-driving his latest Photoshop version (http://www.theatlantic.com/infocus/2013/03/is-this-north-korean-hovercraft-landing-photo-faked/100480/)

March 28th, 2013, 09:06 AM
"And right here is where you make Laura Croft open door to treasure room!"

March 28th, 2013, 09:10 AM
Or "Look. I can make Megan Fox be naked."

March 28th, 2013, 11:19 AM
I once trained a senior asian woman to use Microsoft with a similar expression on her face. As I was demonstrating a program, I instructed her to close that window. She asked if I was cold and proceeded to get up to go close the window

March 29th, 2013, 04:16 AM
It's hard not to become numb to NK's bellicose crazy talk (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-21972936), but it does seem the US & DPRK are heading toward some kind of crisis in the relatively near future. The US openly deployed B52s (http://www.upiasia.com/Top-News/2013/03/19/US-B-52s-a-message-to-North-Korea/UPI-36021363702630/) during military exercises with the South last week. Earlier the DPRK abandoned the 1953 Armistice and has since cut "hotline" phone ties with the South.

Everyone outside N. Korea (and likely many inside) agrees that a nuclear attack on Japan, S.Korea or the US would be nuts but while no disputes they *are* nuts, it is hard to know how long the shouting and posturing can go on. Scary stuff. An attack will remain "unlikely" until it actually occurs.

North Korean soldiers, students chant ‘Death to U.S. imperialists’ at mass rally in Pyongyang

By Associated Press, Updated: Friday, March 29, 1:48 PM

PYONGYANG, North Korea — Thousands of North Koreans have turned out for a mass rally at the main square in Pyongyang in support of their leader’s call to arms.
Chanting “Death to the U.S. imperialists” and “Sweep away the U.S. aggressors,” soldiers and students marched through Kim Il Sung Square in downtown Pyongyang on Friday during a 90-minute rally.

State media reported early Friday that leader Kim Jong Un called an emergency military meeting to order the army’s rocket unit to prepare to strike the U.S. and South Korea in case of a “reckless provocation” by Washington or Seoul.

A full-blown North Korean attack is unlikely, though there are fears of a more localized conflict. Pyongyang has railed against the U.S. decision to send B-2 bombers for military drills with South Korea.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

March 29th, 2013, 07:47 AM
A very good sign that North Korea is bluffing about war (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2013/03/29/a-very-good-sign-that-north-korea-is-bluffing-about-war/)

Posted by Max Fisher (http://www.washingtonpost.com/max-fisher/2012/10/10/9d0a891e-12e7-11e2-a16b-2c110031514a_page.html) on March 29, 2013 at 7:00 am

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/files/2013/03/136066786.jpg (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/files/2013/03/136066786.jpg)The inter-Korean industrial complex of Kaesong is seen from a South Korean observation tower in Paju. (JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)

We’ve been here before. North Korea is threatening war, readying its military, issuing a series of increasingly ominous and categorical declarations about its intentions. It’s even cut (http://nkleadershipwatch.wordpress.com/2013/03/27/cities-on-fire-phone-out-of-order/)a crucial inter-Korean phone line. It’s sending just about every possible signal that a country might send before it goes to war.

Except that North Korea has done most of these things before, including severing the phone line. So how are we supposed to tell the difference between the bluffs and a real, earnest ambition to start a full-scale war? There’s no way to know for certain short of reading Kim Jong Un’s mind, of course. But we do have one pretty good metric with which to judge the country’s intentions: the Kaesong Industrial Complex.

The Kaesong Industrial Complex, located just across the northern side of the border, is staffed by South and North Koreans. It can’t function without Pyongyang’s daily OK. If the North suddenly shuts down Kaesong at some point, watch out. But as long as it’s still running, as it has been throughout the provocations and tensions of the last few weeks, we can probably – probably – assume that North Korea is not actually planning to launch a war.

North and South Korea opened the joint-run Kaesong industrial facility in 2002. At the time, Seoul had a policy of “sunshine” with Pyongyang, trying to coexist peacefully with its neighbor. The plant was meant to give both countries an incentive to cooperate. South Korean businesses get a source of dirt-cheap North Korean labor – we’re talking salaries about a quarter (http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/north-korea-new-land-of-opportunity-01192012.html) of a Chinese manual laborer’s – while the North gets a source of the hard currency it so badly needs to survive.

Kaesong is still running smoothly,according to an AP story by Hyung-Jin Kim and Sam Kim (http://m.apnews.com/ap/db_306481/contentdetail.htm?contentguid=GyVQkqse), who say this demonstrates that Pyongyang is “choosing the factory’s infusion of hard currency over yet another provocation.” They also note that North Korea has so far not chosen to sever three other hotlines that are used to keep North and South Korean air-traffic controllers in touch.

For all North Korea’s bluster, it’s stopped short of what would seem to be an easy choice if it were about to start a war with South Korea. If you’re Pyongyang, you only keep the Kaesong plant open if you’re looking forward to next month’s payroll checks. And you know you can only count on that if you’re not also turning the country that writes those checks into a “sea of flames,” as it so often threatens.

If anything, North Korea appears to be going to lengths to keep the plant running. Here’s a snip from the AP story:

Without the [now-severed military] hotline, the governments, which lack diplomatic relations, used middlemen. North Korea verbally approved the crossing Thursday of hundreds of South Koreans by telling South Koreans at a management office at the Kaesong factory. Those South Koreans then called officials in South Korea.
Both governments prohibit direct contact with citizens on the other side, but Kaesong has separate telephone lines that allow South Korean managers there to communicate with people in South Korea.
Factory managers at Kaesong reached by The Associated Press by telephone at the factory said the overall mood there is normal.

A South Korean executive who employs 1,400 North Korean workers told the AP, a day after returning from the Kaesong plant for a visit, “Tension rises almost every year when it’s time for the U.S.-South Korean drills to take place, but as soon as those drills end, things quickly return to normal.” He added, “I think and hope that this time won’t be different.”

March 29th, 2013, 09:17 AM
What's sad is that despite foreign investment, North Korean workers are still exploited.

Ok says things are back to normal and that the hassles are outweighed by the low cost of labor. He estimates that his workers are about 60 percent as productive as South Koreans, but he pays them just $160 per month. That’s one-fifth the minimum wage in the South and a quarter the salaries in a factory he operated in Qingdao, China.

March 29th, 2013, 11:30 AM
I'm not sure why this picture is funny, but it just is.


For some reason, it reminds me of something out of Dr. Strangelove. I love the toggle switches on the console, and the big radar-like screen attached to the top.

And check out the expression on the dude hovering over fearless leader's left shoulder. That alone made me laugh out loud.

March 29th, 2013, 06:51 PM
Everyone outside N. Korea (and likely many inside) agrees that a nuclear attack on Japan, S.Korea or the US would be nuts but while no disputes they *are* nuts, it is hard to know how long the shouting and posturing can go on. Scary stuff. An attack will remain "unlikely" until it actually occursI wouldn't be focused on nuclear war. Nuclear weapons were only used at the end of one war; we've had many horrific wars since then.

Close proximity, heavy populations, big armies backed by big allies.

March 29th, 2013, 10:10 PM
North Korea plan to attack US mainland revealed in photographs

North Korea has revealed its plans to strike targets in Hawaii and the continental United States in photos taken in Kim Jong-un's military command centre.

By Julian Ryall 29 Mar 2013

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (sitting) convening an urgent operation meeting at 0:30 am
on 29 March 2013 at an undisclosed location Photo: EPA

The photos appeared in the state-run Rodong newspaper and were apparently taken at an "emergency meeting" early on Friday morning. They show Kim signing the order for North Korea's strategic rocket forces to be on standby to fire at US targets, the paper said, with large-scale maps and diagrams in the background.

The images show a chart marked "US mainland strike plan" and missile trajectories that the NK News web site (http://www.nknews.org/2013/03/breaking-north-korean-photo-reveals-u-s-mainland-strike-plan/) estimates terminate in Hawaii, Washington DC, Los Angeles and what they claim is Austin, Texas.

The text on the map, which shows the west coast of North America,
says “Plan to hit the U.S. mainland”

The meeting of Pyongyang's senior military leaders was called after two US B2 bombers, flying out of bases in Missouri, carried out simulated bombing raids on North Korean targets on an island off the coast of South Korea.

"He finally signed the plan on technical preparations of strategic rockets, ordering them to be on standby to fire so that they may strike any time the US mainland, its military bases in the operational theatres in the Pacific, including Hawaii and Guam, and those in South Korea," the state-run KCNA news agency reported.

A U.S. airforce B-2 Spirit stealth bomber flies over Pyeongtaek, south of Seoul, South Korea

It added that the B2 test flights demonstrated Washington's "hostile intent" and said the "reckless" act had gone "beyond the phase of threat and blackmail."

The North's military was placed on its highest alert level earlier this week and a hotline link with the South Korean military was severed.

North Korea has also cut the mobile Internet link for foreign visitors, only weeks after the 3G service was introduced.

Despite the increasingly belligerent rhetoric and new images emerging from the North Korean regime, analysts believe its missiles are not capable of striking targets as far away as the US mainland and are not, as yet, capable of delivering a nuclear payload.

The images of Kim surrounded by his officers and diagrams of targets in the US are designed for a domestic consumption and to demonstrate the young leader's mastery of military affairs, experts believe.


March 29th, 2013, 10:13 PM
It takes a special kind of imbecile to direct his puny country to target the United States

March 29th, 2013, 10:18 PM

March 30th, 2013, 02:16 AM
For some reason, it reminds me of something out of Dr. Strangelove.

I'm sure Dr Strangelove had more advanced equipment than that! I think even Thunderbirds did better ;).

What era is this country living in?

March 30th, 2013, 09:30 AM
There are no eras in Paradise.

March 30th, 2013, 12:43 PM
I think even Thunderbirds did better ;).

I think you may be right!


April 5th, 2013, 11:51 AM

April 5th, 2013, 12:01 PM
^ Maybe just me, but I can't see the picture above?

April 5th, 2013, 12:05 PM

April 5th, 2013, 01:25 PM
Ba-dum-bum... *KISHHHHH!*

April 5th, 2013, 07:43 PM

April 6th, 2013, 12:09 AM
Kaesong is a window into another world for North Korea (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/apr/05/kaesong-window-world-north-korea)

If Pyongyang does not relent in its sabre rattling it will destroy the one symbol of co-operation between the North and South

Sokeel Park
guardian.co.uk (http://www.guardian.co.uk/), Friday 5 April 2013 19.07 BST

The roadblocks are raised at the entrance to Kaesong, on the South Korean side.
Photograph: Ahn Young-joon/AP

North Korea (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/north-korea) has repeatedly barred South Korean managers from the Kaesong industrial complex, a joint industrial park just north of the demilitarised zone.
But this is not just the latest rhetorical threat in a tense game of high politics: if Pyongyang does not relent, it will jeopardise the livelihoods of 54,000 North Korean workers and a decade-old symbol of inter-Korean co-operation.

The effects of such developments at the ground level of North Korean society are not often considered by the outside world, but they could be more important in the long term than the current crisis in international politics.

Although the North Korean regime tries to limit the contaminative effects of special economic zones (for instance by placing them at the extremities of the country), such enclaves do serve as a conduit for external information and ideas into North Korean society. Through dozens of interviews with North Korean refugees, I have learned how a growing number of ordinary North Koreans are learning about the Kaesong Industrial Complex, and the effect this is having.

The easiest way for most North Koreans to find out what is happening in other parts of the country remains word of mouth. Joo, a recent defector from Chongjin, recalled that people in her home town would say: "Even though words have no feet, they travel a thousand miles." She now realises that South Koreans have the same saying, but also that "the gossip network is much less important and less active here, because everyone can get information from the television or internet. I was surprised that a lot of people don't know their next-door neighbour here.

She said: "In North Korea everybody does, and those human networks are important for getting useful information, because people have learned to not pay attention to the government's reports."

This gossip network carries news from Kaesong in the south-west all the way to the north-eastern regions where many North Korean refugees come from.

There, they hear stories from brothers and uncles who return from military service in frontline areas close to Kaesong. The workers in the complex also have relatives all over the country, and information spreads quickly through those family contacts. Then there are informal business networks. For instance, one woman told me that doctors from her hospital would go to Kaesong to buy South Korean medicine – known to be far superior to North Korean medicine – to sell at a premium to wealthy patients. Some refugees had even directly met people who worked at the complex. By no means have all North Koreans heard about the Kaesong Industrial Complex though; less than half of those interviewed over the past two years knew about it when they were still in the country.

However, more recent defectors are more likely to have heard about it, suggesting that awareness is spreading.

For those in the know, the Kaesong Industrial Complex can provide an important counterpoint to the regime's propaganda. For instance, refugees report knowing of Kaesong as a place where South Korean businesses have come in to employ North Korean workers, and manufacture goods of a higher quality than any North Korean factory could produce. The workers there are also known to be paid high wages, and even though 90% of their pay goes to the regime, their take-home pay still amounts to a lot of money.

One young refugee told me that as soon as she heard about the Kaesong, Industrial Complex she was intensely jealous of her compatriots who got to work for South Korean firms, "because South Koreans live so well, so it must be good for those North Korean workers, too".

The effects of 54,000 North Korean citizens being directly employed by South Korean companies is also raising the economy of the whole area of Kaesong. One of my interviewees related that a friend had moved from Kaesong to the north when she got married. After several years she visited her hometown and returned filled with regret that she had ever left.

The relative economic advancement of South Korea (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/south-korea) has been an open secret in North Korea for several years, such that refugees claim that "the only ones who don't know that South Korea is richer are newborn babies".

Joo herself had heard about the Kaesong Industrial Complex through South Korean and US radio broadcasts that her family would secretly listen to at night.

She recounts taking great comfort in the knowledge that underneath all the fighting and rhetoric between the governments, there was a place where Koreans from North and South were working together, in a "small-scale reunified community". She worries that if it closes now, it will be a big loss to both North and South Korea.

At this stage it is impossible to know whether Pyongyang will push on and force the closure of the complex or whether they will relent, satisfied that it has convinced Seoul to take its threats seriously.They may calculate that the South Korean firms that depend on Kaesong will lobby the government to improve relations, including making concessions.

Domestically, however, if the Kaesong Industrial Complex were to close, the regime's broken economic system would have no means to suddenly absorb and provide a living to 54,000 formerly privileged workers and their families, even without counting the loss of funds to the regime.

In broader society too, North Koreans are increasingly learning to look past propaganda and blame the regime for their hardship. Even though the repression is still too effective to allow public expression of anti-regime sentiment, the long-term consequences would probably be detrimentalfor the regime.

When it comes to North Korea, everything is viewed through the framework of high politics, which actually plays to Pyongyang's strengths. But just like any other country, if you ignore local politics, you only see half the picture.

• Sokeel Park is research director for Liberty in North Korea, an internationalorganisation that works for NorthKorean refugees. www.libertyinnorthkorea.org (http://www.libertyinnorthkorea.org)

April 15th, 2013, 11:18 AM
These Kim Jong-un & Co images have a unique style.


April 15th, 2013, 01:43 PM
"Um, sir?"

"WHAT IS IT!?!?!?!"

"Sir, the map is in front of you...."

April 15th, 2013, 03:08 PM
"Sir, the map is in front of you...."

It doesn't help.

Screen-shot from a North Korean video depicting a nuclear missile attack on the US.

Not shown - Honolulu and LA. The two tracks target Wash DC and Colorado Springs, near NORAD. They seem to think Colorado Springs is near the Mississippi.


April 15th, 2013, 09:13 PM
Well it WILL be after they are done with it!!!!!!!

April 16th, 2013, 09:48 AM
These Kim Jong-un & Co images have a unique style.


I guess there is a binocular shortage in North Korea.

April 16th, 2013, 10:34 AM
How could there not be. There's a shortage of life expectancy....binoculars are well down the list of priorities.

I caught a really interesting piece on HBO by the Vice news group. Escape from North Korea. (http://hbo.vice.com/episode-two) Harrowing what some people go through to get out of that place.

April 26th, 2013, 06:21 PM
These Kim Jong-un & Co images have a unique style.


Well, maybe not.

Like father, like son

From Tumblr:

Kim Jong-il Looking at Things (http://kimjongillookingatthings.tumblr.com/)

Kim Jong-un Looking at Things (http://kimjongunlookingatthings.tumblr.com/)

May 1st, 2013, 05:53 PM
I guess there is a binocular shortage in North Korea.
Well, at least I know what to bring as gifts for my next tour. No more cigarettes, no more Scotch, no more stroopwafels, but lots of binoculars...

May 19th, 2013, 09:36 PM
CBS News 60 Minutes video

Camp 14 (http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=50147159n)

May 20th, 2013, 10:18 AM
These death camps need to be given a lot more attention to. It's pretty criminal that they are allowed to continue to operate.

May 20th, 2013, 10:39 AM
The entire regime is more or less criminal.

I'm not sure what can be done; realistically, only China - who props them up economically - can have an impact.

May 20th, 2013, 01:21 PM
China might, if they threaten their industrial program.

But how the hell are we going to pressure China? Threaten to NOT manufacture all our cheap crap there?

May 20th, 2013, 03:18 PM
We may not have pressure China to have them pressure North Korea. Forget the industrial program, war on the Korean penninsula is NOT in China's best geopolitial interests,which is why they sponsored the recent UN resolutions calling for sanctions when the North started talking about nukes.

The symbolism behind that resoluton being sponsored by the Chinese should not be lost on anyone. They basically gave the fat kid the back of their hand. And the bet here is they'll do it again if they see things getting out of control.

July 16th, 2013, 02:35 PM
Kim not gonna be happy!

Panama Seizes North Korea-Flagged Ship for Weapons



The Panamanian authorities impounded a rusting North Korean freighter on a voyage from Cuba toward the Panama Canal and back to its home country, and said the ship was carrying missile system components cloaked in a cargo of sugar. The arms would appear to represent a significant violation of United Nations sanctions imposed on North Korea.

President Ricardo Martinelli of Panama, who announced the seizure late Monday in a radio interview, posted a photograph in a Twitter message of what he described as “sophisticated missile equipment” found in the cargo hold of the vessel, the 450-foot Chong Chon Gang, a 36-year-old freighter that has rarely plied the waters of the Western Hemisphere.

Mr. Martinelli and other Panamanian officials said the vessel’s 35 crew members were taken into custody after they resisted efforts to redirect the vessel to the Panamanian port of Manzanillo, at the Atlantic end of the canal, and that the captain tried to commit suicide after the ship was detained. The captain’s condition was unclear.


July 16th, 2013, 04:08 PM
Holy crap. That Pillsbury Dough Boy just keeps getting in deeper sh** doesn't he. And believe me, that captain will carry out his mission. In his mind, he's already dead.

July 16th, 2013, 09:19 PM
The captain tried to have his life end on his own terms - sadly, he and the crew is headed for the gulag to be starved and beaten to death.

July 16th, 2013, 09:20 PM
And also his family and cousins up to the third cousin.

July 16th, 2013, 10:17 PM
The families have likely already disappeared.

The dictatorship has something called a 3 generation policy. When anyone "sins" against their country or is perceived to, the individual is banished to a work camp along with the immediate 3 generations of family members to eliminate any trace of dissent and ensure no one tries to take revenge

Stone age mother f**kers

July 17th, 2013, 08:44 AM
Cuba has diligently released a statement saying that the weapons were still Cuban owned and being sent for repairs! Nurse!

You could not make this stuff up. It's a story line for a spoof James Bond flick. Someone give Mel Brooks a call!

July 17th, 2013, 11:07 AM
They could always ask the Panamanians for asylum.

The captain tried to have his life end on his own terms - sadly, he and the crew is headed for the gulag to be starved and beaten to death.

July 17th, 2013, 11:55 AM
Another time when somebody tried to hide out from the US Feds in Panama it didn't turn out so well for the locals (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_invasion_of_Panama).

Earlier, there was a famous fugitive financier (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Vesco) who turned to Panama as a handy hideout (http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1350&dat=19780504&id=rgtPAAAAIBAJ&sjid=aAIEAAAAIBAJ&pg=3399,4646050) but was rebuffed in his extended effort to avoid the consequences of his bad acts.

July 17th, 2013, 01:18 PM
They could always ask the Panamanians for asylum.

Might as well. In any case, Captain Sum Ting Wong's family won't get asylum.

Bad month for Korean captains, both North and South.

July 17th, 2013, 01:20 PM
Another time when somebody tried to hide out from the US Feds in Panama it didn't turn out so well for the locals (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_invasion_of_Panama).

A sickening example of US globalization at work.

July 19th, 2013, 11:46 AM
Cuba has diligently released a statement saying that the weapons were still Cuban owned and being sent for repairs! Nurse!

You could not make this stuff up. It's a story line for a spoof James Bond flick. Someone give Mel Brooks a call!

So much for the extended warrantee protecton plan.

July 19th, 2013, 01:27 PM
Those missiles look like they could be vintage '60s models.

Anyway, a warrantee from the USSR would be null & void, no?

August 29th, 2013, 04:23 PM
Ex-girlfriend of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un executed by firing squad: report

Hyon Song-wol, a well-known pop artist and longtime girlfriend of the dictator, was one of a dozen performers gunned after they were arrested for allegedly breaking pornography laws, according to a report. The victims were killed in front of loved ones — who were then hauled off to the country's notorious prison camps.

By Joe Kemp (http://wirednewyork.com/authors?author=Joe Kemp) / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Thursday, August 29, 2013, 8:29 AM


David Guttenfelder/AP

Kim Jong Un, the mysterious twentysomething leader of the country racked by starvation, reportedly dated the songstress for several years before his father, Kim Jong Il, ordered him to break it off.

Hell hath no fury like a dictator scorned!
A popular North Korean singer — and Kim Jong Un’s former flame — was among a dozen performers executed by a firing squad last week, reports said Wednesday.

RELATED: FORMER INMATES: EXECUTION, TORTURE COMMON IN NORTH KOREA'S PRISONS (http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/inmates-execution-torture-common-north-korea-prisons-article-1.1431588) Hyon Song-wol, a well-known pop artist and longtime girlfriend of the dictator, was gunned down with the group of songsters on Aug. 20 — three days after they were arrested for allegedly breaking pornography laws, South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com/site/data/html_dir/2013/08/29/2013082901412.html) reported.

Hyon Song-wol was among 12 performers executed on Aug. 20, three days after they were arrested for allegedly breaking pornography laws.

The victims, members of well-known bands in the country, were accused of videotaping themselves having sex and selling the tapes, the paper reported.

RELATED: NORTH KOREA HAS POP SENSATION GROUP MORANBONG MUSIC GROUP (http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/north-korea-pop-sensation-group-moranbong-music-group-article-1.1357928) One source told the newspaper that some of the victims were clutching Bibles as they were killed in front of their loved ones — who were then ordered to live in the country’s notorious prison camps after they were found guilty by association.

“They were executed with machine guns while the key members of the Unhasu Orchestra, Wangjaesan Light Band and Moranbong Band as well as the families of the victims looked on,” the source said.

Hyon Song-wol allegedly met Kim Jong Un when the two were teenagers. Kim was ordered by his father, Kim Jong Il, to end their relationship.

RELATED: NORTH KOREA INSTAGRAM VIDEOS OFFER GLIMPSE INSIDE THECOUNTRY (http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/north-korea-instagram-videos-offer-eerie-glimpses-secretive-country-article-1.1409063) Kim, the mysterious twentysomething leader of the totalitarian country racked with starvation, allegedly met Hyon when they were teenagers. But his father, Kim Jong Il, never approved of their relationship and ordered his son to break it off.
Hyon — whose songs included the titles “Footsteps of Soldiers” and “I Love Pyongyang” — reportedly married a soldier and had a child in 2006, but rumors suggested she carried on an affair with Kim.

RELATED: NORTH KOREA PROPOSES HIGH-LEVEL TALKS WITH U.S. (http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/north-korea-proposes-high-level-talks-u-s-ease-tensions-powerful-national-defense-commission-headed-north-korean-leader-kim-jong-issued-statement-peace-treaty-formally-korean-war-washington-national-security-council-spokeswoman-rogue-nation-comply-u-n-security-council-resolutions-article-1.1374086)http://assets.nydailynews.com/polopoly_fs/1.1440184.1377782702!/img/httpImage/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_635/korea-north-kim.jpgKCNA/Reuters

Kim Jon Un with his wife Ri Sol-ju, who reportedly had a baby with the dictator last year.

Kim later married Ri Sol Ju, a former member of the Unhasu Orchestra.
The Washington Free Beacon (http://freebeacon.com/hermit-kingdom-intrigue/) reported in March that the couple had a baby, but no announcement was ever made by the secretive regime.
One source told the Chosun Ilbo that the recent executions “show that he is fixated on consolidating his leadership.”
“Kim Jong Un has been viciously eliminating anyone who he deems a challenge to his authority,” the source said.

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/ex-girlfriend-north-korean-leader-kim-jong-executed-firing-squad-report-article-1.1440186#ixzz2dOKL79Nr

August 29th, 2013, 04:53 PM
holy shit lol

this regime seriously needs to be dealt with

August 29th, 2013, 05:47 PM
It is a blight.

August 29th, 2013, 06:29 PM
Although completely plausible, somehow the story doesn't have the ring of truth. Nothing substantiated, but the Daily News (only slightly below the Post in the hierarchy of rag newspapers) reports it as fact.

August 29th, 2013, 09:16 PM
With North Korea I have no doubts that it's true, and I'd be very surprised if it was false. I'd say the same thing if the story was out of NYT or NYP.

August 29th, 2013, 10:16 PM
Why You Shouldn't Necessarily Trust Those Reports Of Kim Jong-un Executing His Ex-Girlfriend

Adam Taylor Aug. 29, 2013, 2:14 PM

Kim Jong-un, the 29-year-old leader of North Korea, hit headlines around the world today after his ex-girlfriend was reportedly executed in public.

It's a pretty remarkable story — the ex-girlfriend, popular singer Hyon Song-wol, was one of several who were reportedly executed by firing squad after being accused of making and selling sex tapes.

For a story being reported around the world, however, it appears to be based on a rather flimsy premise. The Chosun Ilbo, one of the largest newspapers in South Korea, vaguely cited "sources in China" for the report. It has not been confirmed by any other publication.

Some of those who watch North Korean news see the report as suspect. "These rumors start with unnamed and unverified sources in the South Korean media and, for the most part, they're not true (and impossible to prove)," Chad O'Carroll of North Korean-watching website NK News (http://www.nknews.org/) told Business Insider. "They usually turn out to be wrong a few months later by which point no one has noticed and everyone has forgotten the story anyway."

"I don't trust these sources," says Steven Herman, formerly Voice of America's Korea correspondent (https://twitter.com/W7VOA). "Even mainstream media in South Korea has repeatedly been wrong on these sensationalistic stories originating from the North."

Barbara Denmick, Beijing correspondent for the Los Angeles Times and author of "Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea," says she has no idea if the report is true. "Chosun Ilbo isn't bad," she added, "but it is hard to trust this stuff. A lot of deliberate misinformation out there."

It's not the first time that a story that appears to show a theatrical brutality in Kim Jong-un's regime has made headlines worldwide. Last year there were also reports that Kim Jong-un personally ordered the execution of an army minister (http://www.businessinsider.com/kim-jong-un-orders-north-korean-army-minister-to-be-executed-with-mortar-round-2012-10) by "mortar round" — which seems to be an elaborate and ultimately pointless method for execution.

This story was sourced, again, back to the Chosun Ilbo, which said the information was from a "South Korean government source." That struck some as suspect. Mike Madden of North Korea Leadership Watch (http://nkleadershipwatch.wordpress.com/) blog wrote an essay for Foreign Policy magazine that concluded that the execution was .

"You've got to remember that a lot of the time the source is South Korean and it's in their interest to distort or perhaps weave the truth every now and then," O'Carroll says when talking about the mortar round story.

Part of the issue is simply a lack of information. North Korea is a fascinating place that people are very interested in, but it's also a very closed society. Few foreign journalists work inside North Korea. The Associated Press (]possible but ultimately impossible to verify[/url) is the only Western new organizations with a bureau there, Chinese and Russian news agencies are constrained by their own government's policies censorship, and North Korea's official news outlets rarely, if ever, feature anything but state-sanctioned propaganda.

One of the few places to fill this void in North Korean news is South Korea — a country that has been technically at war with the North since the 1950s. South Korean reporters aren't exactly welcome in the North, so many of these stories rely on ROK government officials, sources in China, and North Korean defectors.

NK News has pointed to [url=]a number of bizarre rumors about North Korea, many of which began life in the South Korean press. O'Carrell is able to point to two other important stories that appeared to come directly from ROK:

[There's] the alleged coup attempt the Choson Ilbo spoke about a few months ago. There was, according to yet another unnamed source, a firefight in central Pyongyang (no-one working there reported anything and central Pyongyang is not a big place!). There's also the Musudan missile "raising" nonsense that was going on towards the end of this years tensions. The source, every time, was the ROK MoD [Ministry of Defense]. When they said jump, Yonhap printed it and global media, well, jumped.

Rumors may also spread within North Korea before they make their way out of the borders. NK Leadership Watch's Madden says that there have been many cases when members of the Pyongyang elite were rumored to be executed or sent away and then they turned up later at public events:

These rumors can derive from the gossip mill around the outer elite in Pyongyang (clerks, secretaries, foreign traders who live abroad but commute to the country, DPRK diplomats). Kim Jong Il was fond of spreading disinformation or embellished stories into the rumor mill in order to frighten subordinates. The outer DPRK elites view the gossip and lives of the Kim Family and the core political elite in the same way people watch Jersey Shore or The Bachelor in the US.

Madden also added that we have no real confirmation that Hyon Song-wol was ever Kim's girlfriend.

The lack of information coming out of North Korea and the interest in negative stories about North Korea has created a situation where even the most absurd of stories — such as North Korea believing in an ancient unicorn lair — have been reported at face value when they almost certainly deserved more thought.

At this point, we'd be remiss not to mention that we at Business Insider are as guilty of reporting this stuff as much as anyone. Plus, the North Korean regime is frequently bizarre, and there are many credible reports of brutality — such as within the secret work camp system — that hold up to scrutiny. At least some — possibly even most — of the more shocking reports could be true; it's just that we have no way to confirm it.

VOA's Herman says that given how North Korea is, it is even possible that the reports of Hyon Song-wol's execution may be true. "However," he adds. "There will be no way to confirm these sort of stories until after the DPRK collapses, or we have first-hand testimony with credible evidence from reliable defectors."

Copyright © 2013 Business Insider, Inc.

September 10th, 2013, 09:47 AM
He's baaaaaaack


Hall of Fame basketball player Dennis Rodman called Kim Jong-un a 'friend for life'.


Rodman Held Kim's Baby Daughter in North Korea, Guardian Says

September 10th, 2013, 10:16 AM


September 10th, 2013, 10:21 AM
What an ignorant douche.

September 10th, 2013, 01:24 PM
I thought Douches were supposed to leave you feeling clean and fresh... :confused:

September 10th, 2013, 03:36 PM
he's the bag after the cleansing

September 10th, 2013, 04:17 PM
Which one are we talking about?

Or does it matter?

September 10th, 2013, 04:28 PM
Which one are we talking about?


September 10th, 2013, 04:30 PM
Ah, well that stinks.

November 13th, 2013, 12:23 AM
20 Things I Learned While I Was in North Korea

1) The leaders are a really big ****ing deal there.
2) Everyone lies about everything all the time.
3) Most visitors to the country are forced to stay in the same hotel when they're in Pyongyang.
4) Propaganda is absolutely everywhere.
5) The tour guides apparently don't find it awkward to constantly refer to Americans as "American Imperialists" even though I'm standing right there.
6) It's not cool to call North Korea "North Korea."
7) Kim Jong Un's exact year of birth is not a subject you should try to gather information on while in the country.
8) The same physical place can be fancy and shitty at the same time.
9) North Koreans still talk about the Korean War constantly.
10) All kids wear the same uniform all the time, even when they're not in school.
11) It's best to just not bring up the huge rocket hotel in the middle of Pyongyang.
12) North Koreans seem to be lacking a sense of humor about the mausoleum that holds the bodies of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il.
13) North Korea even manages to have dictator-esque traffic ladies.
14) The Mass Games are both breathtaking and disturbing.
15) No North Korean people have access to the Internet because the government is concerned that people would see things that would make them feel unfairly critical toward the West, and the government would like to protect the West's reputation by preventing the people from going on the Internet.
16) Kim Jong Il used a MacBook Pro.
17) Most of the time people walked together, I swear they were walking in step.
18) North Korea is the one place where the museum of ancient times sounds like the good old days.
19) Apparently the tears in this video are actually real.
20) It turns out that there's a place in the world that will make you enter China and think, "Thank god for this land of boundless freedom!"

November 14th, 2013, 03:06 PM
I don't whether to laugh or smh or both. I would vbe surprised at anyone who actually visits that country for anything other than a governmental capacity.

No North Korean people have access to the Internet because the government is concerned that people would see things that would make them feel unfairly critical toward the West, and the government would like to protect the West's reputation
Unless you refer to Americans as American Imperialists?

November 30th, 2013, 04:13 PM
North Korea releases 'apology' from detained U.S. tourist Merrill Newman, 85, for being alleged 'criminal mastermind'

The Korean War veteran has been held for more than a month and was accused by the communist nation of ‘hostile acts’ during a recent sightseeing trip. His so-called apology has not been independently confirmed.


Published: Friday, November 29, 2013, 11:35 PM
Updated: Saturday, November 30, 2013, 10:54 AM



U.S. citizen Merrill E. Newman reads from a piece of paper at an undisclosed location in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency in Pyongyang. He has been detained since he was taken off a plane Oct. 26 while preparing to leave the country.

North Korea accused a detained U.S. veteran on Saturday of killing civilians during the Korean War 60 years ago and showed a video of the 85-year-old making a full confession and apology as if the battles are still raging.
The North's KCNA news agency said Merrill E. Newman, a former special forces officer, was a mastermind of clandestine operations and had confessed to being "guilty of a long list of indelible crimes against DPRK government and Korean people."
In the patchy video, Newman appears composed and is shown reading aloud from a handwritten statement dated Nov 9, 2013 in a wood-paneled meeting room. At the end, he bows and places a finger print on the document.
PHOTOS: DAILY LIFE IN NORTH KOREA (http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/daily-life-north-korea-gallery-1.1225583)
"I realize that I cannot be forgiven for my offensives (offenses) but I beg for pardon on my knees by apologizing for my offensives (offenses) sincerely toward the DPRK government and the Korean people and I want not punish me (I wish not to be punished)," Newman, who has a heart rhythm disorder, was quoted as saying by KCNA.

Merrill E. Newman bows at an undisclosed location in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency in Pyongyang on Saturday. North Korea said on Saturday it had arrested Newman for 'hostile acts' against the state.

DPRK is short for the North's formal name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. One of the world's most isolated states, it nourishes memories of the 1950-53 war with South Korea and the United States to keep its impoverished people distracted and the family of founder Kim Il Sung in power. His grandson, Kim Jong Un, is North Korea's current ruler.
It remains technically in a state of war with the South and with the United States because the 1950-53 conflict ended with a truce, not a peace treaty.

Newman, a pensioner from Palo Alto, California, was pulled off an Air Koryo flight in North Korea minutes before it was due to depart for Beijing on October 26.
His wife, Lee Newman, told CNN earlier this week that her husband went to North Korea to "put some closure" on his time during the U.S. military. It was "an important part of his life," she said.

A four-page document entitled 'Apology' with the name of U.S. citizen Merrill E. Newman and date of Nov. 9, 2013 visible on the last page is seen in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang on Nov. 30.

Newman worked as an "adviser" to a partisan regiment during the Korean War as "part of the Intelligence Bureau of the Command of the U.S. Forces in the Far East," KCNA said in a separate report.
PHOTOS: FEMALE SOLDIERS OF NORTH KOREA (http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/female-soldiers-north-korea-gallery-1.1412477)

"He is a criminal as he masterminded espionage and subversive activities against the DPRK and in this course he was involved in killings of service personnel of the Korean People's Army and innocent civilians," KCNA said.
Newman, in his statement carried by KCNA, said he trained scores of men in guerrilla warfare against the North, including how to sabotage communications and transport lines and disrupt munitions supply.
"In the process of following tasks given by me, I believe they would kill more innocent people," Newman said in the statement.
http://assets.nydailynews.com/polopoly_fs/1.1533364.1385820721!/img/httpImage/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_635/article-korean4-1130.jpgStephen Lam/Reuters

An exterior view of Channing House, a retirement community where 85-year-old Merrill Newman, a U.S. citizen, was said to be living in prior to being reportedly detained by North Korean authorities after a recent trip in North Korea in Palo Alto, California Nov. 20, 2013.

RELATED: CALIF. WOMAN WANTS HUSBAND, 85, HELD IN NORTH KOREA HOME FOR HOLIDAYS (http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/calif-woman-husband-85-held-north-korea-home-holidays-article-1.1528931)
Public documents in South Korea and the United States show U.S. officers worked as "advisers" to groups of anti-communist partisans during the Korean War. The conflict pitted the Communist North, backed by China and the Soviet Union, against the republican South, backed by the United States.
These officers trained Korean anti-communist guerilla units to launch attacks behind enemy lines.
Newman belonged to the 8240th Unit, nicknamed the 'White Tigers', said guerrillas who were trained by him.
RELATED: MERRILL NEWMAN'S WIFE ASKS N. KOREA TO RETURN DETAINED VET (http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/merrill-newman-wife-asks-n-korea-return-detained-vet-article-1.1526088)
http://assets.nydailynews.com/polopoly_fs/1.1533365.1385820750!/img/httpImage/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_635/article-korean6-1130.jpgNicholas Wright/Palo Alto Weekly/AP

Newman, a retired finance executive and Red Cross volunteer, pictured in Palo Alto, Calif. in 2005.

"We co-operated and helped with each other and fought," Kim Hyeon who lives south of Seoul said in an interview with Reuters. Hyeon remained in touch with Newman after the war and visited him with his family in 2004.
"In the past we couldn't even speak up (about our activities,)" said Kim, who served as a staff officer of the Kuwol Regiment of partisans, referring to the clandestine operations it conducted under Newman's supervision.
KCNA gave no indication of what might happen to Newman.
RELATED: MERRILL NEWMAN REMAINS DETAINED AS U.S. OFFICIALS WORK TO FREE ELDERLY GRANDFATHER (http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/merrill-newman-remains-detained-u-s-officials-work-free-elderly-grandfather-article-1.1525505)
His family has appealed to the North Korean government for his release saying they believed "some dreadful misunderstanding" was behind the detention.
http://assets.nydailynews.com/polopoly_fs/1.993766.1324293604!/img/httpImage/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_635/kim-jong-un.jpgXinhua News Agency

The DPRK, one of the world's most isolated states, nourishes memories of the 1950-53 war with South Korea and the U.S. to keep its impoverished people distracted and the family of founder Kim Il Sung in power. His grandson, Kim Jong Un, pictured, is North Korea's current ruler.

"If Newman was with the partisans that may explain his detention," Bruce Cumings, an expert on the Korean War at the University of Chicago, told Reuters.
"The North Koreans would treat someone like that with much more disdain than a regular line soldier or officer in the American forces."
RELATED: 85-YEAR-OLD AMERICAN VETERAN DETAINED IN NORTH KOREA FOR THREE WEEKS: REPORT (http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/85-year-old-american-veteran-detained-north-korea-weeks-report-article-1.1524152)
A U.S. State Department spokesman said there was no immediate comment on the news. The State Department had previously refused to provide any details of the arrest other than confirming the detention of a U.S. citizen.
After serving in the war, Newman worked as a manufacturing and business executive before retiring in 1984, according to a biography of him in a February 2012 newsletter from Channing House, his retirement home.
North Korea is also holding another American, Christian missionary Kenneth Bae of Korean decent, arrested last year and sentenced in May to 15 years of hard labor on charges of committing hostile acts against the state.

Newman's family has not commented on the latest developments. Phone calls and email queries to his son, Jeff Newman, a real estate executive in the Los Angeles suburb of Pasadena, were not answered.
KCNA said Newman had asked his guide to help look for any surviving soldiers he would have fought against or their families.
"Shamelessly I had a plan to meet any surviving soldiers and pray for the souls of the dead soldiers in Kuwol Mt. during the Korean war," he said.

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/north-korea-releases-apology-detained-u-s-tourist-article-1.1533235#ixzz2mAJbUWv8

November 30th, 2013, 05:50 PM
This little dickhead needs to bask in the sun for a while, and get melanoma.

November 30th, 2013, 06:09 PM
pretty wussy move to kidnap an old man like that

That being said, Newmnn was foolish to go into North Korea in the first place, let alone speak of his service during the war

December 7th, 2013, 08:34 PM
I had a bad feeling about this one. I'm glad I was wrong.

American Veteran Seized by North Korea During a Tour Returns Home

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2013/12/08/world/1208CAPTIVEsub/1208CAPTIVEsub-articleLarge.jpgSusana Bates/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Merrill Newman with his wife, Lee, and son, Jeff, after arriving at the airport in San Francisco.

Merrill Newman's Homecoming (http://javascript<strong></strong>:void(0);)

By NORIMITSU ONISHI (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/o/norimitsu_onishi/index.html) and GERRY MULLANYPublished: December 7, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO — Ending more than a month of captivity in North Korea, an 85-year-old American veteran returned to the United States on Saturday, soon after the North let him go, citing his “sincere repentance” for his actions during the Korean War.

The sudden release ended a dramatic odyssey in which the veteran, Merrill Newman of Palo Alto, Calif., found himself whisked off a plane by North Korean security on the last day of a guided tour to the reclusive police state in October.
After his release, Mr. Newman first flew to Beijing, then to San Francisco, where he was greeted Saturday morning by his wife and son.

“It’s been a great homecoming,” Mr. Newman said, smiling. “I’m tired, but I’m with my family. Thank you all for the support we got.”
As his son, Jeff, and security officials led him away, he fielded questions from a couple of dozen reporters. Despite his captivity and the long flight, Mr. Newman displayed flashes of wit in his short answers.

Asked what he would do once he got home, he said, “I think I’ll be taking my shoes off.”
Asked to describe the food in North Korea, he said, “Healthy.”
Asked whether he would return there, he said, “Probably not.”
Mr. Newman did not answer any questions about the time he was held in the North, where he had gone to revisit his Korean War past.

Read the rest

December 8th, 2013, 01:30 AM
North Korea's Prison Camps Expanding (http://live.huffingtonpost.com/r/segment/north-koreas-prison-camps-expanding/529e1b72fe34442cbf0000a7)

Video: Amnesty International expose North Korean prison camps (http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/video-news/video-amnesty-international-expose-north-korean-prison-camps-29813246.html)

December 8th, 2013, 01:48 AM

December 8th, 2013, 02:02 AM
"There is dissent in North Korea..."


December 8th, 2013, 07:01 PM
^ At 5:09: Sure hope they're wearing sports bras!

So Kim Jong Un is not the president, he's the head of a "Necrocracy"! No wonder.

December 10th, 2013, 07:33 AM
And Kim Jong Un purges his own uncle... A power struggle may follow, meaning that the South, and Japan, need on alert for attacks, missile tests and other diversions.


n an image taken from North Korean television, Jang Song-thaek was taken from a meeting of the ruling party in Pyongyang by guards. Video of his arrest was shown to the public on Monday.

December 9, 2013
Public Ouster in North Korea Unsettles China

By JANE PERLEZ (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/p/jane_perlez/index.html) and CHOE SANG-HUN (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/c/choe_sanghun/index.html)

BEIJING — North Koreans had long known Jang Song-thaek as the No. 2 figure in their country, the revered uncle and mentor of Kim Jong-un, the paramount leader. Then on Monday state-run television showed two green-uniformed guards clutching a glum-looking Mr. Jang by the armpits and pulling him from a meeting of the ruling party after he was denounced for faction-building, womanizing, gambling and other acts as dozens of former comrades watched.The spectacle of Mr. Jang’s humiliating dismissal and arrest was a highly unusual glimpse of a power struggle unfolding inside the nuclear-armed country. But the major impact may be outside, and nowhere is the downfall more unnerving than in China.

North Korea’s longtime protector and economic lifeline, China has considered strategically close relations with North Korea a pillar of foreign policy and a bulwark against the United States military presence in South Korea. Despite Chinese irritation with North Korea’s nuclear tests and other bellicose behavior, China had built a good relationship with Mr. Jang as the trusted adult who would monitor Mr. Kim, who is less than half his age.

Any shift by China concerning North Korea has the potential to significantly alter the political equilibrium in Asia, where the divided Korean Peninsula has been a fact of life for more than 60 years. While there is no indication that the Chinese intend to change their view, it seemed clear that even Beijing’s top leaders were surprised by Mr. Jang’s abrupt downfall on Sunday, and even more on Monday by the North Korean state television broadcast.

“Jang was a very iconic figure in North Korea, particularly with economic reform and innovation,” said Zhu Feng, professor of international relations at Peking University, and a specialist in North Korea. “He is the man China counted on to move the economy in North Korea. This is a very ominous signal.”

Mr. Jang’s dismissal was a shock not only because he had long been considered a core member of the country’s ruling elite and a regent and confidant of Mr. Kim, who assumed power only two years ago upon the death of his father, Kim Jong-il. The way that Mr. Jang was dismissed also was considered extraordinary, as the North Korea government has almost always maintained secrecy over its inner workings, power struggles and skulduggery during the more than six decades of rule by the Kim family.

“Kim Jong-un was declaring at home and abroad that he is now the truly one and only leader in the North, that he will not tolerate a No. 2,” said Yang Moo-jin, an analyst at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul, South Korea.

Mr. Jang had visited China on a number of occasions and had been considered the most important advocate of the Chinese style of economic overhaul that the government in Beijing has been urging North Korea to embrace.

At 67, Mr. Jang is of the same generation as China’s leaders. Unlike the 30-year-old Mr. Kim — who has not been to China and who remains a mystery despite the lineage to his grandfather Kim Il-sung, North Korea’s revolutionary founder — Mr. Jang was seen by Beijing as a steady hand and a trusted conduit into North Korea’s top leadership.

He was one of China’s few high-level North Korean interlocutors.
That the video of Mr. Jang’s arrest on Sunday at a Politburo meeting by military officers was released to the North Korean public, replete with tearful underlings shown
denouncing him, was particularly unsettling for China.

Mr. Jang went to Beijing in August 2012 for a six-day visit and met with President Hu Jintao and Prime Minister Wen Jiabao. Special economic zones, where Chinese and other foreign investors would get preferential treatment in North Korea, were high on the agenda.

Just last month North Korea’s official media announced that 14 new special economic zones would be opened, and although they were relatively small, they were seen as a sign of fruition of some of the reforms China has advocated.

“Those zones were a consequence of Jang’s efforts,” Dr. Zhu said. “It’s possible Jang went too far on decentralizing and that threatened Kim Jong-un’s position.”
China’s official media gave prominent attention to the accusations against Mr. Jang, including some of the florid language used in North Korea’s own state-run news media
that recited the litany of his newly disclosed transgressions at party expense: womanizing, gambling, drug abuse, “wining and dining at back parlors of deluxe restaurants” and, perhaps most important, a politically motivated ambition to challenge Mr. Kim as the “unitary center.”

But also among the crimes that Mr. Jang was said to have committed was selling resources cheaply, an accusation that appears to have been aimed directly at China, the biggest buyer of North Korea’s iron ore and minerals.

Soon after assuming power, Mr. Kim complained that North Korea’s resources, one of its few sources of outside income, were being sold too cheaply. He demanded higher prices for minerals, rare earths and coal, exported by the growing number of joint ventures between China and North Korea.

Mr. Kim’s complaints were widely reported in China and angered bargain-conscious Chinese mine operators, several of whom abandoned their North Korean operations.

Now, the climate for Chinese investment in North Korea, which was not particularly good, would be likely to worsen, said Andrei Lankov, author of “The Real North Korea” and professor of history at Kookmin University in Seoul.

China’s Foreign Ministry offered restrained comments on Monday regarding Mr. Jang’s dismissal, calling it an internal affair of North Korea.

“We will stay committed to promoting the traditional friendly, cooperative relationship” between China and North Korea, said the Foreign Ministry spokesman, Hong Lei.

Mr. Jang’s demotion raised the possibility of further instability in North Korea at a time when China is already confronting increased tensions with two of its other North Asian neighbors, Japan and South Korea.

An overriding fear of China’s is the collapse of the government in North Korea, an ally dating to the Korean War, which could lead to the reunification of the Korean Peninsula under a government in South Korea allied with the United States.

“China worries about instability which might be provoked by such acts” as Mr. Jang’s dismissal, Mr. Lankov said.

Cheong Seong-chang, a senior analyst at Sejong Institute in South Korea, said the dismissal could signal more internal strife. “Given the extremely harsh stance against Jang and his followers,” he said, “a round of bloody purges will be inevitable as the regime roots out poisonous weeds from its leadership ranks.”

Another concern for China was the question of whether Mr. Kim would conduct a new nuclear test, said Roger Cavazos, an American expert on North Korea, who is currently visiting Shanghai.

In February, in an act of open defiance to the Chinese, Mr. Kim authorized the country’s third nuclear test. The Chinese had urged the new North Korean leader not to risk open confrontation with the United States by detonating the weapon. Shortly afterward, in a rare public criticism, China’s new president, Xi Jinping, accused North Korea of creating regional instability for “selfish gains.”

“Every Chinese I have spoken with were worried that Kim Jong-un would test soon,” said Mr. Cavazos, a former United States Army intelligence officer who is now at the Nautilus Institute, a group that studies international security.

Mr. Cavazos said Chinese academics were concerned that Mr. Kim was “more and more out of control.” He added, “Every nuclear test by North Korea puts China in a bad position.”

That is in large part because as North Korea gets closer to demonstrating that it can miniaturize a nuclear weapon to fit atop a missile, the more the United States will increase its missile defenses in Northeast Asia.

As Mr. Kim rearranged the top echelons of the government, it was possible that the military would emerge the winner, said Cai Jian, deputy director of the Center for Korean Studies at Fudan University in Shanghai. It was most likely that “the military forces will become stronger” and that the “hard-liners will become more hard-line.”

Mr. Cavazos agreed. “The military was demonstrating its loyalty to Kim Jong-un, and Kim Jong-un was demonstrating his loyalty to the military.”

Jane Perlez reported from Beijing, and Choe Sang-hun from Seoul, South Korea. Bree Feng contributed research from Beijing.

December 10th, 2013, 09:53 AM
So Kim Jong Un is not the president, he's the head of a "Necrocracy"! No wonder.The video is a few years old. Hitchens was referring to Kim Jong-il, who was still alive.

It gets sort of complicated now, with three of them running the country.

Kim Il-sung started the lunacy in 1948. He was Prime Minister until 1972, and which time he was made Eternal President by the constitution (yes, they have one). He is referred to as "Great Leader." His birthday is a national holiday in North Korea, when citizens get a day off from drudgery, for a day of extra-special drudgery.

His son, Kim Jong-il, was designated "Supreme Leader" by the constitution, succeeding his father. After his death he was designated Eternal General Secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea and Eternal Chairman of the National Defence Commission. His birthday is also a holiday.

Wiki has gone along with the joke, listing them as Incumbents in office.

Kim Jong-un succeeded his father as Supreme Leader. This seems to be the only political office that makes any sense, where you leave office upon death. He is referred to as the Great Successor. As a Rocky & Bullwinkle fan, I still prefer Fearless Leader. As far as I know, his birthday is not a holiday; you may have to be a dead eternal leader for that honor.

There's a rumor that he a daughter. Can a woman become a Supreme Leader? If not, I hope he dies before producing a son. They're running short of titles.

December 10th, 2013, 09:58 AM
And Kim Jong Un purges his own uncle... I have a feeling that the guy in the back, tilting his head to look down the aisle, may be in trouble.

December 10th, 2013, 10:13 AM
We know he was alive at the time this was aired because he wasn't airbrushed out.

December 10th, 2013, 11:15 AM
It always makes me wonder why certain media outlets refer to NK as 'nuclear-armed' when they're barely 'nuclear-capable'. Zero delivery systems is the same as having a car with no wheels.

I hated how they used the American Korean War vet as a propaganda tool, especially someone of that age.

December 10th, 2013, 11:46 AM
From a point of view of Japan, South Korean, and China, the media is probably correct. You don't need an ICBM to be nuclear armed.

December 10th, 2013, 11:50 AM

December 10th, 2013, 12:57 PM
Throwback to the good old days of Saddam Hussein. Only back then, it was multiple government officials chosen at random, and they were all sent before the firing squad.

From what I've read, the North Koreans are expanding the concentration camps. I really don't know what can be done about this regime, the fat grandkid is just following exactly in the footsteps of previous tyrants.

What's the end game? Every citizen spies on eachother, and any minor offense is punished by death and enslavement of all their 3 immediate family generations. It's brutal, no one dares try anything, how can the world possibly get rid of these cockroaches

December 10th, 2013, 02:10 PM
Kim Jong-un succeeded his father as Supreme Leader. This seems to be the only political office that makes any sense, where you leave office upon death. He is referred to as the Great SuccessorI prefer a hybrid title containing a decription you provided earlier.

I prefer a hybrid containing the title Zip annointed him previously:

He is the Supreme Little Dickhead, and Grand Successor to the Supreme Bristle-headed Dick Head with the Elvis glassess

December 10th, 2013, 10:00 PM
From a point of view of Japan, South Korean, and China, the media is probably correct. You don't need an ICBM to be nuclear armed.

Indeed, you don't need an ICBM as there are short and medium range missiles, and they don't even have that. But I agree with you in that to surrounding countries it probably doesn't make much a difference.

December 11th, 2013, 09:09 AM
I have a feeling that the guy in the back, tilting his head to look down the aisle, may be in trouble.

He is. So are they all, and they know it.

December 11th, 2013, 09:12 AM
From what I've read, the North Koreans are expanding the concentration camps.

GG, have a look at the Amnesty vid I posted above in #160.

December 11th, 2013, 09:38 AM
Dennis Rodman will be returning to the DPRK in a few weeks for another tête-à-tête with his "friend for life":


December 11th, 2013, 10:09 AM
Dennis Rodman = the Extra Tall Clueless Supreme Dick Head.

December 11th, 2013, 11:09 AM
From his sketchy biography (even his age is ambiguous), the Fearless Leader is shy, likes basketball and computer games, was not a good student.

He's the youngest world leader.

The situation in Korea reminds me of something: Korea is Peaksville Ohio, and little Anthony Freemont is doing good things. It's The Twilight Zone.

December 11th, 2013, 11:28 AM
"Somebody sneak up behind him and end this now!"


December 12th, 2013, 09:08 PM
I remember that. "You're a bad man! You're a very bad man!"

The Korean War vet and his family are thanking their lucky stars tonight.


December 12th, 2013, 10:59 PM
Kim Jong Un: Un-Happy + Un-Leashed

Even by North Korean standards, this announcement of Jang Song Thaek’s execution is intense

"... despicable human scum Jang, who was worse than a dog, perpetrated thrice-cursed acts of treachery ..."

The WASHINGTON POST (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2013/12/12/even-by-north-korean-standards-this-announcement-of-jang-song-thaeks-execution-is-intense/)
By Max Fisher
December 12, 2013

Footage shown by North Korea's KCTV and released by South Korea's Yonhap news agency shows Jang Song Thaek being removed from a Politburo meeting.
(Yonhap/AFP/Getty Images)

North Korean state media are known for hyperbole, but even so, the official announcement of the execution of Jang Song Thaek is a step beyond. The state-run Korean Central News Agency released a long article detailing the alleged crimes and transgressions of Jang, a longtime senior regime official who was also the uncle of leader Kim Jong Un.

It really must be read to be believed. A typical line asserts, for example, that Jang "behaved so arrogantly and insolently as unwillingly standing up from his seat and half-heartedly clapping, touching off towering resentment of our service personnel and people." Here is how the release starts:

PYONGYANG, December 13 06:23 KST (KCNA) — Upon hearing the report on the enlarged meeting of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea, the service personnel and people throughout the country broke into angry shouts that a stern judgment of the revolution should be meted out to the anti-party, counter-revolutionary factional elements. Against the backdrop of these shouts rocking the country, a special military tribunal of the DPRK Ministry of State Security was held on December 12 against traitor for all ages Jang Song Thaek.

The accused Jang brought together undesirable forces and formed a faction as the boss of a modern day factional group for a long time and thus committed such hideous crime as attempting to overthrow the state by all sorts of intrigues and despicable methods with a wild ambition to grab the supreme power of our party and state.

Though North Korea has had many political purges, the highly public nature of this one has been unprecedented since Pyongyang first revealed it on Dec. 8, when state TV showed uniformed troops escorting Jang out of a Politburo meeting. The over-the-top language of this release, although awfully easy for outsiders to laugh at, is an important component of the purge -- and a potentially significant hint of what's happening there and why. We'll have a fuller look at Jang's purge shortly, so do check back.

The full KCNA release is preserved here (state media has previously pulled pages related to Jang (http://www.northkoreatech.org/2013/12/11/kcna-deleted-then-restored-old-reports-on-jang/)). The rest of the release follows:

The tribunal examined Jang's crimes.

All the crimes committed by the accused were proved in the course of hearing and were admitted by him.

A decision of the special military tribunal of the Ministry of State Security of the DPRK was read out at the trial.

Every sentence of the decision served as sledge-hammer blow brought down by our angry service personnel and people on the head of Jang, an anti-party, counter-revolutionary factional element and despicable political careerist and trickster.

The accused is a traitor to the nation for all ages who perpetrated anti-party, counter-revolutionary factional acts in a bid to overthrow the leadership of our party and state and the socialist system.

Jang was appointed to responsible posts of the party and state thanks to the deep political trust of President Kim Il Sung and leader Kim Jong Il and received benevolence from them more than any others from long ago.

He held higher posts than before and received deeper trust from supreme leader Kim Jong Un, in particular.

The political trust and benevolence shown by the peerlessly great men of Mt. Paektu were something he hardly deserved.

It is an elementary obligation of a human being to repay trust with sense of obligation and benevolence with loyalty.

However, despicable human scum Jang, who was worse than a dog, perpetrated thrice-cursed acts of treachery in betrayal of such profound trust and warmest paternal love shown by the party and the leader for him.

From long ago, Jang had a dirty political ambition. He dared not raise his head when Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il were alive. But, reading their faces, Jang had an axe to grind and involved himself in double-dealing. He began revealing his true colors, thinking that it was just the time for him to realize his wild ambition in the period of historic turn when the generation of the revolution was replaced.

Jang committed such an unpardonable thrice-cursed treason as overtly and covertly standing in the way of settling the issue of succession to the leadership with an axe to grind when a very important issue was under discussion to hold respected Kim Jong Un in high esteem as the only successor to Kim Jong Il in reflection of the unanimous desire and will of the entire party and army and all people.

When his cunning move proved futile and the decision that Kim Jong Un was elected vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission of the Workers' Party of Korea at the Third Conference of the WPK in reflection of the unanimous will of all party members, service personnel and people was proclaimed, making all participants break into enthusiastic cheers that shook the conference hall, he behaved so arrogantly and insolently as unwillingly standing up from his seat and half-heartedly clapping, touching off towering resentment of our service personnel and people.

Jang confessed that he behaved so at that time as a knee-jerk reaction as he thought that if Kim Jong Un's base and system for leading the army were consolidated, this would lay a stumbling block in the way of grabbing the power of the party and state.

When Kim Jong Il passed away so suddenly and untimely to our sorrow, he began working in real earnest to realize its long-cherished greed for power.

Abusing the honor of often accompanying Kim Jong Un during his field guidance, Jang tried hard to create illusion about him by projecting himself internally and externally as a special being on a par with the headquarters of the revolution.

In a bid to rally a group of reactionaries to be used by him for toppling the leadership of the party and state, he let the undesirable and alien elements including those who had been dismissed and relieved of their posts after being severely punished for disobeying the instructions of Kim Jong Il and kowtowing to him work in a department of the Central Committee of the WPK and organs under it in a crafty manner.

Jang did serious harm to the youth movement in our country, being part of the group of renegades and traitors in the field of youth work bribed by enemies. Even after they were disclosed and purged by the resolute measure of the party, he patronized those cat's paws and let them hold important posts of the party and state.

December 12th, 2013, 11:11 PM
Kim Jong-un's uncle Jang Song-thaek executed, say North Korean state media

Announcement follows accusations of corruption, drug use, gambling, womanising and leading 'dissolute and depraved life'

THE GUARDIAN (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/dec/12/north-korea-jang-song-thaek-executed)
Tania Branigan in Beijing
December 12, 2013

Jang Song-thaek, his hands tied with a rope, is led into court by uniformed personnel.
Photograph: Yonhap/Reuters

North Korea (http://www.theguardian.com/world/north-korea) has executed Kim Jong-un's uncle as a "traitor for all ages" who sought to grab power, state media announced early this morning.

Jang Song-thaek, previously one of the country's most powerful men, was ousted last week in a spectacular purge. He was stripped of all posts and expelled from the Workers party for offences including factionalism, corruption and dissolute behaviour.

But many had thought his marriage to Kim's aunt – the sister of late leader Kim Jong-il – might save his life until this morning's announcement, which also holds him responsible for other failures in the North, including a disastrous attempt at currency reform in 2010.

State news agency KCNA said a special military tribunal had found him guilty of treason and the Rodong Sinmun newspaper carried a photograph of him handcuffed and held by uniformed guards in the courtroom ...

Adam Cathcart, an expert on North Korea, said accusations of factionalism and seeking power were "pro forma" in such cases, particularly when the penalty was so harsh.

But he noted how specific the charges were and added: "There certainly were discussions about the direction North Korea would take [when Kim Jong-il died]. It would be natural for Jang to want to be part of a collective leadership system.

"But North Korea is not moving towards a collective system: it's all about the one leader, whether he is 30 or 69 years old. If he was 18 he would still be a genius. It's the divine right of Kims."

Kim has made sweeping changes to the hierarchy in North Korea, changing key military personnel repeatedly as well as removing civilian members. But Jang's execution is unprecedented because family members are normally dealt with more leniently and quietly.

It is unclear whether the position of his wife Kim Kyong Hui – who was also seen as something of a mentor for Kim following her brother's death – has been affected.
Two of his aides are believed to have been executed already and many analysts believe that more will follow.

"The drama of this and the speed of this and the sense of a bit of improvisation going on – that's somewhat alarming," said Cathcart.

But he added: "Kim has been very lucky in the external environment and I think he will continue to be. For all the bile directed from South Korea, Japan and the US and even China, none of those countries are interested in grabbing this hornet's nest and shaking it right now." ...

December 12th, 2013, 11:26 PM
Not a good place

December 13th, 2013, 09:05 AM
Ironically, the uncle is the only one who came out ahead in this.

December 13th, 2013, 10:18 AM
I hate to say this, but somebody should put a bullet in this asshole's head.

December 13th, 2013, 10:22 AM
Watch out or you'll end up in Kim Jong-un's dog house!

December 13th, 2013, 11:06 AM
"behaved so arrogantly and insolently as unwillingly standing up from his seat and half-heartedly clapping, touching off towering resentment of our service personnel and people."

"You're a bad man! You're a very bad man!"

옥수수 밭

December 13th, 2013, 11:20 AM
Watch out or you'll end up in Kim Jong-un's dog house!

He's going to send the Rod Man to get him

December 13th, 2013, 01:06 PM
Wow, their press release slaves have been working extra hard to make sure their press releases are sufficiently hostile. Not enough hostility means death for the press release slave.

December 13th, 2013, 04:32 PM
"behaved so arrogantly and insolently as unwillingly standing up from his seat and half-heartedly clapping, touching off towering resentment of our service personnel and people."

"You're a bad man! You're a very bad man!"

옥수수 밭

Billy Mumy!!!

Like Kim, he was also lost in space ;)

December 14th, 2013, 12:04 AM


December 14th, 2013, 01:50 AM
Back in Peaksville, the Freemont children have grown restless...

North Korea leader's purge looks like China's Cultural Revolution

By Barbara Demick and Jung-yoon Choi

9:08 AM PST, December 13, 2013

BEIJING -- One might call it North Korea’s version of the youth revolution.

There is Kim Jong Un, who at 30 is believed to be the world’s youngest head of state. His brother, Kim Jong Chul, two years older, whose main claim to fame is as an avid Eric Clapton fan. And the youngest of the Swiss-educated trio, 26-year-old sister Kim Yo Jong, is seen frequently as an aide de camp to the new leader.

With Thursday’s execution of their uncle, Jang Song Taek, and the purge of his cronies, the kids look to be in effect kicking out the adults.

“He had to get rid of the grumpy old men,’’ suggests Andrei Lankov, a North Korea scholar based in Seoul. “He couldn’t be a boss with subordinates who are twice his age, who don’t understand him and don’t take him seriously.’’

PHOTOS: North Korean leader's uncle executed

Indeed, Kim’s tactics look much like China’s Cultural Revolution, launched by Mao Tse-tung in 1966 with youthful Red Guards terrorizing their teachers and authority figures.

The 67-year-old Jang, married to the youngest daughter of North Korea’s founder, Kim Il Sung, was for decades the trusted eminence grise, the interlocutor in an otherwise eccentric family.

He had been appointed the de facto regent before Kim Jong Il died in December 2011, a job that included reining in youthful impulses—something the younger Kim clearly resented.

In a 2,700-word screed released Friday, Jang was accused of doing “serious harm to the youth movement in our country, being part of the group of renegades and traitors in the field of youth work bribed by enemies.’’

Just two years in power, Kim Jong Un has made a cult of youth the theme of his reign— investing the country’s scarce resources in water slides, roller coasters, ski slopes and a “dolphinarium.”

As far as his outreach to the world, the most notable foreign dignitary to visit Pyongyang since he took over is the tattooed, body-pierced Dennis Rodman, the former basketball player. ("Jang Song Taek probably didn’t even know who Dennis Rodman is,’’ Lankov says.)

Along with the charges of plotting a coup, the report by the official Korean Central News Agency detailed remarkably petty grievances that Kim was clearly nursing for the past two years: When a monument was built to showcase a letter written by Kim to a unit of the Peoples’ Internal Security Forces, Jang directed that it be placed in a shady corner rather than in front of the building.

Jang was accused of behaving without enthusiasm when young Kim was promoted to vice chairman of the Central Military Commission. “He behaved so arrogantly and insolently as unwillingly standing up from his seat and half-heartedly clapping,” the report said.

Just two years since his father died, Kim has fired five of the seven elderly statesmen who walked behind the car carrying the coffin.

At least two other senior officials who reported to Jang have been executed -- Ri Yong Ha and Jang Soo Kil. A defector group in Seoul reported that brother Kim Jong Chul personally held the pistol when the two were arrested because nobody else was brave enough to do it.

"Kim Jong Un and Jong Chul often meet at the weekend to discuss matters. Jong Chul watches over his younger brother's security," defector Lee Yun-keol told the South Korean newspaper, Chosun Ilbo.

Although the story is likely apocryphal, the rumor itself is indicative of the myth Kim is trying to create — he and his two siblings as heroic, young warriors defending the pure Kim bloodline against the predations of an interloper.

More executions are expected to be announced as the purge continues. Unconfirmed reports from Seoul suggest that Kim might be going after another of his mentors — Ri Su Yong, who was appointed ambassador to Switzerland in 1988 and served as Kim’s guardian while the boy was attending school in Bern.

"If Kim Jong Un is capable of this, if there is no direct capacity for restraint, what are the implications?’’ asked Scott Snyder, a Korea expert with the U.S.-based Council on Foreign Relations. "Watching what happened with Jang makes you think of the nightmare scenarios.’’

The most frightening nightmare of all would be the young, impetuous leader misusing North Korea’s crude nuclear arsenal.

North Korea has already conducted three nuclear tests and has at least intermediate-range missile capability.

In March, for no discernible reason, Pyongyang declared itself to be in a “state of war” with South Korea and threatened the United States with “thermonuclear war.” The tantrums prompted a rare public chastisement from Chinese leader Xi Jinping.

"We are concerned. There are a lot of questions here, including the safety of North Korea’s nuclear weapons,"’ said Zhang Lianggui, a North Korea expert at the communist Central Party School in Beijing.

A more pedestrian worry is that Jang oversaw most of North Korea’s trading -- maintaining the balance between the various military-run companies that sell coal, iron ore and seafood in China and in turn import most of the country’s consumer goods.

“In running North Korea Inc., he was very effective at making money for the regime. The question now is who is going to replace him,’’ said John Park of Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

China stands to be most directly affected by the turmoil in North Korea. Among the many accusations leveled against Jang were selling North Korean natural resources like coal and iron ore at too-cheap prices to Chinese mining companies and improperly leasing a port to China in the Rason special economic zone on the Sea of Japan.

Moreover, Beijing is likely to be in a difficult position diplomatically if Jang’s underlings, many of whom work in China, attempt to defect to avoid being swept up in the purge.

"Seeing Jang’s execution, anybody connected to him has a sense of what will happen if they return, so it is very likely there will be people who seek asylum,’’ said Sohn Kwang-joo, editor of the Daily NK, a Seoul-based news service that focuses on the North.

Analysts believe, however, that most North Koreans who are not directly swept up in the purge will fall in line behind Kim Jong Un – despite his youth.

Kim Young-soon, a 77-year-old former dancer from Pyongyang, now living in Seoul, likens Kim to the young rulers of the ancient Korean dynasties.

“Kim Jong Un is young, but so were other heirs of the throne in the ancient kingdoms,’’ said Kim. “Even if an heir is only 10 years old, one still has to uphold the leader. That’s what the three generations of Kim dynastic rule are all about.”


North Korea says leader's uncle executed for trying to seize power

Twitter: @BarbaraDemick


Staff writer Demick reported from Beijing and special correspondent Choi from Seoul.

December 14th, 2013, 09:54 AM
The New Yorker


December 14th, 2013, 10:31 PM
If the State Department cannot stop Dennis Rodman from traveling to North Korea on the grounds of national security can they at least bar him on the basis of National "eww ..." or "ack ..."?


“Yes, I’m going to North Korea to train the basketball team,” he told The Associated Press by phone. “I’m going to bring American players over there. Yes I am. I’m going to be the most famous person in the world when you see American people holding hands and hoping the doors can be opened. If they can. If they can. If they can. I’m going. I’m going back for his birthday. Special.”


December 14th, 2013, 10:56 PM
What a clueless douche bag.

December 19th, 2013, 09:11 AM
Listen and watch Shih Dong-hyuk's Google Talk (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ms4NIB6xroc) from 2008 and a more recent interview (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PvfiHmOFY78) (4 minutes).

How Dennis Rodman can help the North Korean people

By Shin Dong-hyuk, Published: December 18 (Washington Post)

Shin Dong-hyuk is a human rights activist and the only person born in a North Korean labor camp known to have escaped to the West.

Dear Mr. Rodman:

I have never met you, and until you visited North Korea (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2013/02/28/dennis-rodman-and-kim-jong-eun-hung-out-laughed-together/) in February (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2013/02/26/dennis-rodmans-bizarre-trip-to-north-korea-is-it-also-unethical/) I had never heard of you. Now I know very well that you are a famous, retired American basketball player with many tattoos. I also understand that you are returning this week to North Korea to coach basketball and perhaps visit for the third time (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/early-lead/wp/2013/09/03/dennis-rodman-returns-to-north-korea-to-visit-kim-jong-un/) with the country’s dictator, Kim Jong Un, who has become your friend (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2013/09/03/dennis-rodman-returns-to-north-korea/).

I want to tell you about myself. I was born in 1982 in Camp 14 (http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Asia-Pacific/2013/0521/One-man-s-escape-from-Camp-14-and-North-Korea), a political prison in the mountains of North Korea. For more than 50 years, Kim Jong Un, his father and his grandfather have used prisons such as Camp 14 to punish, starve and work to death people who the regime decides are a threat. Prisoners are sent to places like Camp 14 (http://www.amnestyusa.org/news/press-releases/new-images-show-blurring-of-prison-camps-and-villages-in-north-korea)without trial and in secret. A prisoner’s “crime” can be his relation by blood to someone the regime believes is a wrongdoer or wrong-thinker. My crime was to be born as the son of a man whose brother fled to South Korea in the 1950s.

You can see satellite pictures (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E8xv_75FPWE) of Camp 14 and four other labor camps (http://a.tiles.mapbox.com/v3/amnesty.map-fn8f1ffg.html#7/40.405/128.375) on your smartphone. At this very moment, people are starving in these camps. Others are being beaten, and someone soon will be publicly executed as a lesson to other prisoners to work hard and obey the rules. I grew up watching these executions, including the hanging of my mother.

On orders of the guards in Camp 14, inmates are forced to marry and create children to be raised by guards to be disposable slaves. Until I escaped in 2005, I was one of those slaves. My body is covered with scars from torture I endured in the camp.

Mr. Rodman, if you want to know more about me, I will send you a book about my life, “Escape From Camp 14 (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0143122916/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0143122916&linkCode=as2&tag=washpost-opinions-20).” Along with the stories of many other camp survivors, my story helped persuade the United Nations to create a commission of inquiry (http://www.ohchr.org/en/hrbodies/hrc/coidprk/pages/commissioninquiryonhrindprk.aspx) that is now investigating human rights atrocities in my country. I was “witness number one.” In the coming year, the commission’s findings may force the U.N. Security Council to decide whether to approve a trial in the International Criminal Court (http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/apr/07/north-korea-case-to-the-hague) of the Kim family and other North Korean officials for crimes against humanity.

I happen to be about the same age as your friend Kim Jong Un. But if you ask him about me, he is likely to refer to me as “human scum.” That is how his state-controlled press refers to me and all other North Koreans who have risked death by fleeing the country. Your friend probably also will deny that Camp 14 exists, which is the official position of his government. If he does, you can show him pictures of it on your phone.

Mr. Rodman, I cannot presume to tell you to cancel your trip to North Korea. It is your right as an American to travel wherever you wish and to say whatever you want. It is your right to drink fancy wines and enjoy yourself in luxurious parties, as you reportedly did in your previous trips to Pyongyang. But as you have a fun time with the dictator, please try to think about what he and his family have done and continue to do. Just last week, Kim Jong Un ordered the execution of his uncle (http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/north-korea-announces-execution-of-kim-jong-uns-uncle-jang-song-thaek/2013/12/12/060b18ac-637d-11e3-91b3-f2bb96304e34_story.html). Recent satellite pictures show that some of the North’s labor camps, including Camp 14, may be expanding (http://www.amnestyusa.org/news/press-releases/new-images-show-blurring-of-prison-camps-and-villages-in-north-korea). The U.N. World Food Programme says four out of five North Koreans are hungry. Severe malnutrition has stunted and cognitively impaired hundreds of thousands of children. Young North Korean women fleeing the country in search of food are often sold into human-trafficking rings in China and beyond.

I am writing to you, Mr. Rodman, because, more than anything else, I want Kim Jong Un to hear the cries of his people. Maybe you could use your friendship and your time together to help him understand that he has the power to close the camps and rebuild the country’s economy so everyone can afford to eat.

No dictatorship lasts forever. Freedom will come to North Korea someday. When it does, my wish is that you will have, in some way, helped bring about change. I end this letter in the hope that you can use your friendship with the dictator to be a friend to the North Korean people.

December 19th, 2013, 09:26 AM
That about says it.

Still if I were Shin Don-hyuk, I wouldn't hold my breadth waiting for that scumbab Rodman to intervene.

December 19th, 2013, 04:22 PM
That is powerful and there is no soft-soap bs. Without trying, he makes Rodman look like a fool (not hard to do), while almost making him sound like an enabler. Sadly, the only statement that would anger Rodman in that whole letter is

and until you visited North Korea (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2013/02/28/dennis-rodman-and-kim-jong-eun-hung-out-laughed-together/)in February (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2013/02/26/dennis-rodmans-bizarre-trip-to-north-korea-is-it-also-unethical/) I had never heard of you.

There are endless ways to keep yourself relevant when you are a celebrity. I'm still trying to figure out why in the hell he picked this pasty little putz to help him do just that.

There was a brief video a couple months ago where someone had asked Rodman about this (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/06/world/asia/north-korea-says-kenneth-bae-isnt-a-bargaining-chip.html?_r=0) guy. Rodman said he wasn't there for that and didn't give a damn. That right there is the real Dennis Rodman.

December 19th, 2013, 11:21 PM
... I'm still trying to figure out why in the hell he picked this pasty little putz to help him ...


December 20th, 2013, 04:03 PM
He must have burned all of his American bridges if he has to crawl into bed with that devil.

December 20th, 2013, 07:58 PM
He really is despicable. Or stupid. Or both.

December 22nd, 2013, 06:11 AM
Dandong: North Korea's most surprising border (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-25452941)
22 December 2013 Last updated at 01:10 GMT

By Lucy Williamson
BBC News, Dandong


North Korea is one of the world's most hermit-like countries, so it's rare to get a chance to meet people who live there. But the Chinese border town of Dandong is different. There are North Korean businessmen, waitresses and drivers. Some even speak - and sing - in English.

There is a seaside feel to this Chinese border town - its glitter-hard edge softened by the passage of river boats and wedding couples posing for photographs.

The lights strung up along the waterfront remind me of Europe. And there is music floating in from somewhere, the notes blown about in the wind.

Looking over the balustrade, across the narrow stretch of the Yalu River, it is hard to believe that the other bank is North Korea.

It is easy when living in Seoul to think that the notorious Demilitarized Zone is the only kind of border North Korea has.

The first trip inside that 4km-wide (2.5 miles) stretch of no-man's land, with its bristling weapons and twitchy atmosphere, is a shock.

But when it comes to North Korean borders, this one here in China is the biggest surprise of all.

Because the atmosphere here is so, well, different. There is no visible security, no armed guards patrolling the riverbank, no razor wire along the promenade - at least not on the Chinese side.

The other side does not look very inviting - a vista of idle factories and sludge-coloured buildings lowering in the scrubland on the opposite bank which, one Dandong local told me, had barely changed in 40 years.

The only new buildings to appear, he said, were warehouses - built to store all the goods being brought over from China.
Dandong on the left, and on the right, North Korea

But Dandong is North Korea's gateway to the world - a place where the long alliance between the two countries takes physical form. It is also a place to make money.
And, as a result, Dandong is full of North Koreans - party officials, businessmen and government-contracted waitresses.
If I tell you that many of my hotel staff understood only Korean, not Chinese, you will get a sense of how many visitors this city has.
Continue reading the main story (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-25452941#story_continues_2)From Our Own Correspondent


Not everyone in the insular regime is banned from leaving.

I met my first members of Pyongyang's elite at breakfast.

Having studied the hotel room service menu the night before, which included an item described as "North Korea's Characteristic Grim", I was set on the breakfast buffet.

Next to me in the hotel cafe sat three middle-aged men. Their clothes were almost identical, but then so were their hairstyles, and their regulation lapel badges - bearing the portraits of North Korea's leaders. Brand new versions of them, they told me, issued just a few days before.

They told me they were investors, come to China on business. More than that, they would not say.

But this is a gold rush town for North Korean businessmen - and the evidence is lined up at the nearby cargo port.

The yard is full of trucks, dozens of them, covered in the dust of North Korea's roads and stacked with the goods that each side is hungry for - coal and other natural resources coming out of North Korea, construction materials and equipment going in.


On the wall is a timetable, notifying staff of the arrival times of the convoys from across the river."North Koreans function together, Chinese are individuals”
North Korean waitress

The Chinese truckers, immersed in a game of chess by the side of the yard, nodded towards the sign: "You had better get out of here before the North Korean drivers arrive, or there will be trouble," they said.

We found them anyway. Even here, North Korea's class privileges stick, and truckers eat in different places to party officials - a string of small canteen-kitchens along a stretch of highway on the outskirts of town.

There, a dozen North Korean drivers packed into the most popular joint. They had already begun drinking and were ordering lavishly - meat, vegetables and other dishes.

They were also surprisingly friendly, at least to begin with. "Yes, I am North Korean," one of them told me, "I am heading back there later today. Where you from?"

Another lorry makes the crossing

My reply - that I was from the UK - did not seem to faze him at all.

Tesco has been a presence in Dandong for several years - a remote outpost of brand-name products”

I tried again to strike up a longer conversation, but more colleagues had begun to arrive, and suddenly no-one at the table would even make eye contact with me.

I had learned one valuable lesson though - restaurants are a great place to meet North Koreans in Dandong. And so I headed for my third meal of the day - to a hotel chain run by North Korea's own government.

There, we had more luck. Our two waitresses, both in their early twenties, took turns to ask shy questions, and flirt with our local driver. Was I married, they asked? And where on earth had I learned my few words of Korean?

North Korean agents send waitresses over to Dandong for months or years at a time, monitoring their movements and collecting their pay-packets, most of which go to the government.

The lighting does not stretch all the way across

One of our waitresses told us she had only recently arrived and, as if she was still in a job interview, proudly listed the subjects she had learnt at school - mathematics, chemistry, biology, and "our leader's revolution".

Her English lessons also seemed to be a highlight - mainly, perhaps, because they seem to have consisted of singing English-language songs.

"I will show you," she said. And, standing stiffly behind my chair, proceeded to sing When A Child Is Born.

"A silent wish sails the seven seas, the winds of change whisper in the trees…" Strange lyrics for an insular dictatorship to teach its children.

When she had finished, I asked her whether there was any difference between North Korea and China. "The people's minds are different," she said. "North Koreans function together, Chinese are individuals."

There are some similarities though. No-one apparently can resist the allure of a modern British supermarket.

Chicken feet on "hot sale" in the Dandong branch of Tesco

Tesco has been a presence in Dandong for several years - a remote outpost of brand-name products, catering to affluent Chinese families and, yes, reportedly to visiting North Koreans as well.

The vats of cooking oil and barrels of cut-price chicken feet would not sit comfortably with the teabags and breakfast cereal familiar to Tesco's UK customers, but soap, shampoo and toilet paper were all said to be popular at one time among North Korea's visiting elite.

And with its large Korean-Chinese population, Dandong is a good place to stock up on Korean groceries. But what a change it must be from home.

Walking out on to Dandong's truncated Broken Bridge - a relic of the Korean War - I stand midway above the waters of the Yalu River.

From here, I can hear the music blaring from Dandong's bars and clubs, can see the neon pulsing through the falling dusk, like a mini-Las Vegas perched on the edge of the bank.

And you cannot help but wonder what they think, on the other side, watching it all from the silent, darkening shore.

December 22nd, 2013, 05:55 PM
The Other Korea


December 23rd, 2013, 01:46 AM
An inside look of North Korea's Railway Network..


December 23rd, 2013, 02:34 AM
^ Nice.

More --

North Korea photojournalist named 'Instagram photographer of the year': News agency photographer recognized for fascinating images

By DAILY MAIL REPORTER (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/search.html?s=&authornamef=Daily+Mail+Reporter)
PUBLISHED: 20:57 GMT, 22 December 2013 | UPDATED: 05:44 GMT, 23 December 2013

Time has named Associated Press chief Asia photojournalist David Guttenfelder it's Instagram photographer of the year, thanks in large part to his fascinating depictions of life inside North Korea.

Guttenfelder's unique post allows him the world's most intimate access to the rogue state, where despite being forever under the watchful eye of a government minder, he's managed to produce gorgeous, haunting visual documents.

'Not the kind of place where you can make what photojournalists call good pictures very easily,' Guttenfelder told Time (http://world.time.com/2013/12/18/david-guttenfelder-is-times-pick-for-instagram-photographer-of-the-year/photo/8d7d0fcc549e11e3a45a0ee748d2c13a_8/). '[But] when you add up all the pieces something interesting starts to emerge.'
Guttenfelder manages to illustrate the totalitarian regime's iron grip on its people in quiet ways: the eerily empty streets if Pyongyang, little school boys all honing their drawing skills with sketches of the country's leaders and a hospital nursery full of silent babies.

Instead of keeping these visual revelations on any one website or newspaper, Guttenfelder offers his gifts to the world via Instagram (http://instagram.com/dguttenfelder)

'Nobody knows anything about [North Korea] and what it looks like,' says Guttenfelder. 'I feel like there’s a big opportunity and a big responsibility.'

http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2013/12/22/article-0-1A42874200000578-506_634x633.jpgHaunting: Taken in March with his iPhone and posted to Instagram, from Pyongyang, a photo shows an apartment block looming above the unused playground equipment of a kindergarten. Though he's relegated to staying where the totalitarian government wants him, David Guttenfelder manages to portray a stark world inside North Korea

http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2013/12/22/article-0-1A42871600000578-911_634x633.jpgNot all drab: In this April 2013 photo, a North Korean woman wears silver glittery shoes and a colorful traditional dress in Pyongyang. Guttenfelder shows North Korea's living, breathing side and not simply its stark qualities

http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2013/12/22/article-0-1A42872A00000578-253_634x633.jpgEerie: A Pyongyang school boy draws a skull in art class. The skull sits among many models, including some that resemble members of the ruling Kim dynasty


'She's not sorry': Mariah Carey's manager unrepentant after it's revealed she gave $1million private concert for Angolan dictator with appalling human rights record (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2527419/Shes-not-sorry-Mariah-Careys-manager-unrepentant-revealed-gave-1million-private-concert-Angolan-dictator-appalling-human-rights-record.html)
Size DOES matter: 'Micro-apartments' linked to psychological problems, domestic violence and drug abuse (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2527776/Size-DOES-matter-micro-apartments-linked-psychological-problems-DOMESTIC-VIOLENCE-SUBSTANCE-ABUSE-experts-warn.html)

http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2013/12/22/article-0-1A42872600000578-945_634x633.jpgIdle time: Members of the traffic police in Pyongyang, where streets commonly lay empty, lace up for some off-duty ice skating. Guttenfelder took this photo with an iPod Touch

http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2013/12/22/article-0-1A42871E00000578-108_634x633.jpgA North Korean woman works behind a counter in the entrance to the Golden Lane bowling alley in Pyongyang. 'I tend to see things that are melancholy or a bit surreal,' Guttenfelder said

http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2013/12/22/article-0-1A42871200000578-116_634x633.jpg'Not the kind of place where you can make what photojournalists call good pictures very easily,' Guttenfelder says of the Hermit Kingdom. Nonetheless, his striking photography has won him many prizes and fans over the years

http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2013/12/22/article-0-1A42871A00000578-931_634x635.jpgHushed: North Korean nurses care for infants in cribs inside a maternity hospital, in Pyongyang, North Korea

http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2013/12/22/article-0-1A42873D00000578-243_634x633.jpgCreepy: Caricatures of American and Japanese solders are stored in a room at Kaeson Kindergarten in Pyongyang. Children throw things at the faces and pretend to shoot or bayonet them with toy guns during a schoolyard game

http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2013/12/22/article-0-1A42873600000578-540_634x633.jpgHistoric: A North Korean tour guide uses a pointer in front of a mosaic map at the start of a tour of a temple at the base of Mt. Myohyang, North Korea. The area is considered sacred to the Koreans as the birthplace of its people and has 20 such temples, one of which was built in 1042 AD

http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2013/12/22/article-0-1A42872E00000578-418_634x635.jpgLoosening its grip? North Korean school boys play with Guttenfelder's professional camera in front of statues of the late leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il, on Mansu Hill in Pyongyang, North Korea. In January 2013, foreigners were allowed for the first time to bring mobile phones into North Korea

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2528044/Dispatches-Hermit-Kingdom-Photojournalist-unparalleled-access-North-Korea-named-Instagram-photographer-year.html#ixzz2oHUj8RG8
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter (http://ec.tynt.com/b/rw?id=bBOTTqvd0r3Pooab7jrHcU&u=MailOnline) | DailyMail on Facebook (http://ec.tynt.com/b/rf?id=bBOTTqvd0r3Pooab7jrHcU&u=DailyMail)

January 3rd, 2014, 11:40 AM
BEIJING -- North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's powerful uncle was stripped naked, thrown into a cage, and eaten alive by a pack of ravenous dogs, according to a newspaper with close ties to China's ruling Communist Party.
The report could not be independently confirmed by NBC News on Friday.


January 3rd, 2014, 11:56 AM
that's nice


January 3rd, 2014, 02:58 PM
And, of course, any Chinese report on actions within Korea should be taken as gospel.

January 3rd, 2014, 06:04 PM
I imagine Kim Jong Un has a button under his desk that is similar to the one in Mr. Burns' office.


January 3rd, 2014, 06:45 PM
He still finds the time to Look at Things (http://kimjongunlookingatthings.com/)

Looking at Fish

You could put speech balloons over his official entourage. Like...

"What do you think, does he look happy?"

"I don't know. Just keep looking at the fish."

January 5th, 2014, 04:51 PM
About Dandong, since a few months it is actually possible to cross the border by train to just visit Sinuiju (http://www.koryogroup.com/travel_sinuiju.php), the border town on the other side, either for a day trip or an overnight trip. Unfortunately, that's only if yo don't have a US passport. For some reason Americans still can only travel in and out of the country by plane, not by train.

And about the story of the uncle being eaten by dogs, it's probably not true (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2014/01/03/no-kim-jong-un-probably-didnt-feed-his-uncle-to-120-hungry-dogs/).

January 6th, 2014, 12:30 PM
The truth to the Un-Uncle-Dogfood story seems to have been unraveled by a Chicago software engineer, Trevor Powell. It seems satirists (http://t.qq.com/p/t/312572016688539) in China are way ahead of the curve. In Powell's blog:

120 Dogs: Chinese Satirist's Tweet Takes All English News Media For A Ride

On 11 December 2013 at 02:38:07 UTC, the China-based online satirist personality known as Pyongyang Choi Seongho (or someone posing as him/her) posted a tweet to his/her Tencent Weibo account describing in detail how Kim Jongun had his uncle Jang Songtaek devoured by ravenous dogs.

The following day on December 12, the Wen Wei Po news source in Hong Kong published an article quoting the tweet word-for-word

The Wen Wei Po article must have sounded plausible enough for the Straits Times in Singapore to publish the first piece in English on it on December 24

It's amusing that given our faith in modern global news media to get to the bottom of a story, no one has actually gone back to the Wen Wei Po article and caught this. All analysis in the swaths of content that have been devoted to this report since it came out stops abruptly at a linguistic wall between the English language Straits Times story and the Chinese language Wen Wei Po article.

What do I take away from this? One, I'm reminded that language is always a barrier. Nowadays I think we imagine that global news organizations probably have multilingual experts from a wide variety of backgrounds covering all the bases. Maybe that's not the case. The ability of any one party to navigate fluidly across linguistic barriers will always be an advantage. Two, many Chinese news providers do sometimes play a little bit fast and loose with their sources when there is something that backs a viewpoint they support.

Blog source (http://trevorpowell.com/2014/01/04/120-dogs-chinese-satirists-tweet-takes-all-english-news-media-for-a-ride/)

Another reason a story like this is so readily accepted as fact is broader in scope.

We like to characterize these despots as psychopaths because it removes them from the ranks of "normal" humans. But often they turn out to be just rotten scumbags, and that's too close to the rest of us, what a lot of people are just under the skin.

It's described in what has become a famous catchphrase. "the banality of evil," from a report on the trial of Adolf Eichmann by Hannah Arendt (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hannah_Arendt).

January 6th, 2014, 03:06 PM
Reminds me of the criticism on Der Untergang (Downfall), in which Hitler was portrayed just like a human. We don't want to see him like that, he should only be portrayed like a true monster.

Somehow the media tends to all too easy publish articles like this, as if the reality isn't horrible enough already.

January 6th, 2014, 03:20 PM
The reality is that the uncle was killed by an anti-aircraft machine gun. Whatever was left of him probably looked like the remains of someone who was eaten by a pack of hungry hounds.

January 7th, 2014, 11:40 AM
Dennis Rodman & Co in a CNN interview. Much buffoonery on display.

Part 1 (http://www.cnn.com/video/data/2.0/video/world/2014/01/07/newday-cuomo-dennis-rodman-intvw.cnn.html)

Part 2 (http://www.cnn.com/video/data/2.0/video/world/2014/01/07/newday-cuomo-dennis-rodman-part-two.cnn.html)

The NBA has put distance between itself and Rodman

The NBA is not involved with Mr. Rodman's North Korea trip and would not participate or support such a venture without the approval of the U.S. State Department. Although sports in many instances can be helpful in bridging cultural divides, this is not one of them.

January 7th, 2014, 11:46 AM
Given that Rodman was in N Korea during the interview, how was he supposed to react when asked about Kenneth Bae? If he suggested that Bae was unfairly detained and should be released, Rodman feared that he would be fed to the dogs -- or maybe even to the sharks:


January 7th, 2014, 02:57 PM
I managed to watch the interview on CNN (subtitles would have been helpful...), but damn, even most politicians aren't this good at avoiding giving answers...

Of course, since they're in North Korea during this interview, you can wonder if they can't or don't want to speak freely. After all, it could put themselves in danger or otherwise impact their visit. The Koreans will also be watching, and the questions CNN is asking are unheard of in North Korea, it would probably mean certain death if asked there. But if that's the case, they should have discussed what kind of questions can and cannot be asked beforehand, it's not like an interview like this is organized overnight.

In all honesty, I do believe it is great that an American sports team visits North Korea, just as I believed it was great that the New York Philharmonic played in Pyongyang a few years ago. And obviously, when some hotshots or even Kim Jong-Un himself shows up, you have play along their game. If you like it or not, that's part of the deal of visiting North Korea. But there's a huge difference between playing along and considering someone like Kim Jong-Un your friend. They should have kept at least some distance, keeping up with their a-political intentions.

January 7th, 2014, 03:55 PM
He's either a mental patient or back on the drugs.

January 7th, 2014, 05:25 PM
why restrict our options to one or the other?

January 8th, 2014, 12:59 AM
A Look Ahead at 2014 in Education Reform

HUFFINGTON POST (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/steve-nelson/a-look-ahead_b_4527969.html)

The New Year is an opportunity to look toward the likely developments in education in 2014. My crystal ball suggests:


New York University opens a new branch in North Korea and President John Sexton appoints Dennis Rodman as Chancellor of NYU -- Pyongyang. Responding to faculty critics, Sexton denies that it is all about money and assures that human rights violations in North Korea are "greatly exaggerated."

January 8th, 2014, 02:35 PM
^ I hope that's satire.

January 9th, 2014, 01:48 PM
He's either a mental patient or back on the drugs.Probably just too much soju...
(nasty stuff, I don't think I've ever been as drunk as on that one night at Lake Sijung...)


January 9th, 2014, 02:46 PM
Soju isn't any harder than typical wine. You can actually get a bottle for $1 at any 7/11 in Seoul

January 9th, 2014, 03:18 PM
At Asian markets in Chicago too ;)

It is not srong, but it is rot gut.

January 9th, 2014, 05:21 PM
@Gordongecko, most soju is around 20% ABV, but it can be over 40%. The big danger however isn't the amount of alcohol. The Koreans (both North and South) almost drink it like beer, easily a few bottles during a meal. And they are pretty good at making you drink along with them...

The soju I drank there at Lake Sijung was 30%, and I had 3 bottles (0,5 liter each) just during dinner. So that's about the same amount of alcohol as four bottles of wine. We already had some beers before (beer is one of the few things North Korea beats South Korea on, easily!), and after dinner we went for karaoke, obviously with more soju, I lost count however. Well, actually I lost more than that, I just know that at some point I sat down, and the next thing I know was waking up in the morning in my hotel room, lying on my bed with all my clothes still on. I don't know how I got there, I can't remember being awake, and from karaoke to the room was quite a walk, mostly in total darkness, with a few stairs, and everybody else must have been at least as drunk. Total blackout...

The worst part: obviously a terrible hangover, all four of our group. And then breakfast, while not hungry at all. But still they put way more food on the table than we could ever eat, even without hangover. In a country where people are still starving to death. If I ever felt really ashamed of myself, that was the moment...

By the way, if you wanna know why we drank so much during dinner, this is what we had: Clam BBQ North Korean style. That's gasoline the guy is pouring on the flames. And sometimes some of that gets into the shells and doesn't burn all the way. Therefore you really do need something to drink that taste away ;)


But that's enough of my alcohol abuse in the DPRK, back to Dennis Rodman: they say people are more honest when they're drunk. Considering that, I might find that interview even more disturbing...

January 9th, 2014, 10:45 PM
OB Beer, cheers!

January 10th, 2014, 12:56 PM
I have many Korea friends and do drink Soju from time-to time, although, I don't think I have anything approaching 80 proof.

The quality varies quite a bit running roughly from poor to rot. I haven't found one I like yet, but I am certain I am drinking authentic shit because many of my friends grew up in Seoul, having migrated in here as young adults,and they seem to favor the stuff. But I think you are right about stronger soju coming from Korea. One of my friends told me his family's home brew (pretty common from what I understand) can take paint off the walls.

Personally I can't stand the stuff - and I have tried many times. The best I had was at a clam bake last year when a guest brought what was supposd to be a high quality blend in from Korea. It was better than most, but really not for me.

Some of my friends get absolutely trashed on it though.

OB Beer is another thing altogether :)

January 10th, 2014, 06:53 PM
I actually have a bottle of Andong Soju (http://www.andongsoju.com/) here of 45% ABV...

About beer, while South Korean beers aren't bad at all, i'd prefer a Taedonggang all day long. Or even better: the beers from the microbreweries at the Janggakdo Hotel and Koryo Hotel in Pyongyang. Really good stuff. The beer Air Koryo serves you on the flight to Pyongyang however must one of the most disgusting beers in the world...

And unfortunately, even in North Korea you can get Heineken, or even worse, Bavaria:


January 11th, 2014, 11:06 PM
I know Heinken gets a bad rap, bit I kind of dig it.

February 25th, 2014, 05:36 PM
NASA Shows How Dark North Korea Really Is

By Andy Cush (http://animalnewyork.com/author/andy/) | February 25, 2014 - 01:30PM

That vast swath of darkness at the center of the above image, looking like a speckled, oddly shaped body of water — that’s the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, photographed from the International Space Station (http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=83182) on January 30th. NASA has some relevant landmarks labeled for context.
It’s a striking reminder of how literally and figuratively dark the country is: Pyongyang, North Korea, a city of 3.26 million, looks about the same size as Gunsan, South Korea, population 280,000. The rest of the DPRK might as well be an extension of the Yellow Sea.


February 25th, 2014, 05:46 PM
Great photograph. If you want to find a high ranking official residential area to bomb outside of Pyongyang, just look for a dot on that map

March 10th, 2014, 08:41 PM
No kidding.

Kim Jong Un wins 100% support in North Korea's parliamentary election

'This is an expression of all the service personnel and people's absolute support and profound trust in supreme leader Kim Jong Un as they single-mindedly remain loyal to him,' the state-run Korean Central News Agency said.

Monday, March 10, 2014, 9:54 AM


North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (center) won in his district — located on the symbolic Mount Paekdu — without a single dissenting ballot.

With no one else on the ballot, state media reported Monday that supreme leader Kim Jong Un was not only elected to the highest legislative body in North Korea, he won with the unanimous approval of his district, which had 100 percent turnout.

North Koreans went to the polls on Sunday to approve the new roster of deputies for the Supreme People's Assembly, the country's legislature. The vote, more a political ritual than an election by Western standards, is generally held once every five years.

Though results for the other seats in the assembly had not yet been announced, North Korea's media quickly reported Kim had won in his district - located on the symbolic Mount Paekdu - without a single dissenting ballot.
In the previous elections, 687 deputies were chosen. This is first time the election had been held since Kim inherited power after the death of his father, Kim Jong Il, in 2011.

By the numbers, Kim Jong-un is expected to come out of North Korean election looking like by far the most popular leader in the world. Of course, those numbers include 100% voter turnout and one Kim-approved.


Kim Jong Un with his wife Ri Sol-ju. The couple has one daughter, Ju-ae. Some media reports suggest the wife of the North Korean leader may currently be pregnant.

"This is an expression of all the service personnel and people's absolute support and profound trust in supreme leader Kim Jong Un as they single-mindedly remain loyal to him," the state-run Korean Central News Agency said.

Voters in the election have no choice who to vote for - there is only one candidate's name on the ballot for each district. Instead, they have the choice of voting yes or no, and according to official accounts virtually all choose yes. North Korea also typically puts turnout nationwide at over 99 percent.

Analysts will be closely watching to see if the deputies this time around reflect a generational change as Kim looks to solidify his power and replace older cadres with younger, more loyal ones.
The Supreme People's Assembly usually meets only rarely, often only once a year. In practice it has little power and when it is not in session, its work is done by a smaller and more powerful body called the Presidium.
The new parliament was expected to meet next month. No date has been officially announced.

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/kim-jong-wins-100-support-parliamentary-election-article-1.1716496#ixzz2vbt2qhQI

March 11th, 2014, 12:17 AM
Oh damn is she pregnant again? It better be a son this time or she'll be fed to the dogs for sure. I'm sure she's praying it's Kim Jong Deux who's on the way.

March 11th, 2014, 12:45 PM
Where is Jason Bourne when you need him? Can't believe that fat little turd is allowed to live.

March 11th, 2014, 01:54 PM
http://static2.stuff.co.nz/1342481724/412/7292412.jpg http://www.politics.bm/images/Dark-Helmet.jpg

March 12th, 2014, 12:10 AM
Yogurt!!!! I hate yogurt!!!!!!

March 21st, 2014, 03:00 PM
They look more like the Mushroom Men.


March 26th, 2014, 01:47 PM
The first source I came across on this story read like something from The Onion. It seems ridiculous, but then again, North Korea is so absurd that you can't just dismiss it.

Several outlets have carried it; I'll post the one with the most skepticism.

Are the men of North Korea really being forced to get Kim Jong Un haircuts?

By Adam Taylor March 26 at 1:25 pm


A number of news outlets have picked up on unusual news out of North Korea today: Male citizens of the Hermit Kingdom are being forced to get "Kim Jong Un-style" haircuts.

The story goes that male citizens in North Korean capital Pyongyong have had new guidelines to replicate Kim's distinctive haircut for the past couple of weeks, and the plan is to go national with the guidelines. As you can probably understand, not everyone is happy with the news. "It doesn’t always go with everyone since everyone has different face and head shapes,” one source was reported as saying (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2014/03/485_154092.html).

It's a crazy story, but where did it come from? And should we believe it?

Well, let's first consider the source. For example, the BBC picked up the story on its News from Elsewhere blog (http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-news-from-elsewhere-26747649), sourcing much of the story to the Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2014/03/485_154092.html), an English-language paper published by the Hankook Ilbo group. The Korea Times, meanwhile, appears to have gotten the story from Radio Free Asia, a non-profit funded in part by the United States government. Radio Free Asia's story only appears on the Korean-language version of its Web site (http://www.rfa.org/korean/in_focus/hair-03252014095717.html), though a representative says that it will be translated soon.

Regarding the second question, most North Korean experts I reached out to seemed inclined to believe that the story couldn't be true.

"This sounds like BS to me," said Aidan Foster Carter, an Honorary Senior Research Fellow in Sociology & Modern Korea at Leeds University in Britain. "For a start, no one else in North Korea seems to sport a Kim Jong-un hairdo!"

"I think we can add this to the long list of ridiculous news stories on North Korea," said Andray Abrahamian, Executive Director of Choson Exchange, a Singaporean non-profit providing training in business, economic policy and law to young North Koreans. "Everybody had typical haircuts there last week when we were there for a Women in Business program."

Chad O'Carroll, editor of the North Korean-watching website NKNews (http://www.nknews.org/) was also skeptical, forwarding a message from a reader of his Web site who had recently been in Pyongyang and had not seen Kim's haircut replicated anywhere. NK News has now written an article that argues the hairstyle order is (http://www.nknews.org/2014/03/why-kim-jong-un-hairstyle-order-is-unlikely-true/) "unlikely true," citing numerous sources.

Even if there has been no haircut decree, Kim's style is probably more important than you might think. "Kim Jong Un's haircut is a very particular one, shaved up the sides to make him look like Kim Il Sung did when he was in his 30s (i.e., in the late 1940s)," Bruce Cumings, an expert in Korean history from the (http://www.amazon.com/Bruce-Cumings/e/B000APKD7K) University of Chicago, wrote in an e-mail. "This occurred right after Kim Jong Il died, Kim Jong Un was sporting this cut in January 2012 and it was clearly meant to identify him with his grandfather, not his father."

While there have been many reports that hairstyles are strictly restricted in North Korea (http://www.wantchinatimes.com/news-subclass-cnt.aspx?cid=1103&MainCatID=11&id=20130223000071) and Cumings concedes that long hair and other more extreme styles are probably prohibited, the diversity of hairstyles tolerated in North Korea is probably greater than we might expect, especially for women. For men, the relative uniformity of hairstyles appears to be something else: A trend.

"If many young men are shaving their sideburns to look like Kim Jong Un, it is probably an attempt to show how loyal they are to the leadership," Cumings reasons. "This is a longstanding, critical aspect of North Korean politics, that people strain in every way to show their loyalty, often taking things to absurd lengths (like dropping their voices when they mention the great leader). Common sense will tell anyone that trying to out-loyal the next guy leads to absurdity, but that hasn't dawned on many Koreans in the North."

Adam Cathcart, a Lecturer in Chinese History at University of Leeds who is also editor of the SinoNK website (http://sinonk.com/staff/), agrees with this theory. "Haircuts are somewhat generational. To my knowledge, there was no 'decree' about getting hair cut significantly shorter just above the ears than had previously been the norms, but more and more young non-military men seemed to do it, and after [Kim's uncle Jang Sung-taek]'s execution there has appeared to be more such haircuts of such styled people shown on state media, at any rate," Cathcart said. "But no one has 'the' haircut except for Kim Jong-un, since it's getting higher and higher and is practically a mohawk [now]."

"Don't mistake a decree for a trend!" Cathcart added.

Does this mean that Radio Free Asia's story is wrong? Not necessarily – there are not many reporters in North Korea and RFA may simply have better sources than others right now. It is, however, a reminder to treat stories of extreme crazy behavior from North Korea with skepticism. Over the past yea,r we had unbelievable stories about Kim Jong Un executing his ex-girlfriend for making sex tapes (http://www.businessinsider.com/did-kim-jong-un-execute-his-ex-girlfriend-2013-8), and having his uncle eaten by dogs (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2014/01/03/no-kim-jong-un-probably-didnt-feed-his-uncle-to-120-hungry-dogs/). These stories are hard to confirm or deny, but there's a lot of reason to believe they are not true – the latter story appears to have been based on satire (http://www.businessinsider.com/jang-song-taeks-execution-rumors-2014-1), for example.

Kim's haircut may seem a mundane story in comparison, but its effect as a viral story is the same: To dismiss Kim's leadership as silly or insane. Given the number of credible reports (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2014/02/17/the-un-report-on-north-korea-four-things-to-know/) that detail the horrors of the North Korean life, the trivialization of the country's regime is unhelpful at best, and dangerous at worst.

© 1996-2014 The Washington Post

March 26th, 2014, 02:55 PM
This isn't that unusual. Recall that both Henry VIII of England and Peter I of Russia promulgated a beard tax.

March 26th, 2014, 04:57 PM
Kim Jung Un is a Jersey Shore wanna-be (but needs more Spiker Gel and Got 2B Hairspray) ...



March 26th, 2014, 05:26 PM
Sorry, Jong-il style is out.


March 29th, 2014, 01:43 AM
Remember, you cant be TRUE Jersey Shore unless you are from Staten Island.... :P

April 5th, 2014, 08:06 AM
North Korea's new space agency dubbed "NADA"

By Michael RoppoloCBS NewsApril 3, 2014


North Korea's fledging space program now has an impressive-sounding name -- with an unintentionally humorous acronym. It has also adopted a logo that looks suspiciously familiar.

According to the Korean Central News Agency, the state news service, North Korean officials marked the one-year anniversary of the space agency's founding by unveiling the official name and emblem for the organization: the National Aerospace Development Administration, or NADA.

"NADA," of course, translates to "nothing" in Spanish -- perhaps not what the space agency had in mind when choosing its name.

The press release goes on to explain the meaning of the dark blue globe-shaped emblem crossed with two light blue rings -- without noting that it bore a striking similarity to NASA's famous logo.

"DPRK NADA" and its Korean language equivalent are emblazoned on the globe, with a cluster of seven stars forming the Big Dipper, or Ursa Major, above it.

"The Great Bear reflects the will of the space scientists of the DPRK to glorify Kim Il Sung's and Kim Jong Il's Korea as a space power," the release states, referring to the Communist nation's first two leaders. "The globe represents the DPRK's idea for peaceful development of the space and the rings show the DPRK's will to launch satellite into all orbits."

More than a year after the country's 2012 long-range rocket launches, which the U.S. condemned as "a highly provocative act" -- a threat to regional security and a violation of U.N. resolutions -- the North Korean law that founded the space agency called for international cooperation on space projects.
North Korea claims it rejects the so-called "double-standards in space activities and the weaponization of outer space."

© 2014 CBS Interactive Inc.

April 10th, 2014, 08:32 PM
The irony being that "Nada" may be the only administration willing to spend enough money on space exploration, even at the cost of its people, to actually EXPLORE anything.

Who cares if your people are starving if you have just colonized Mars (for a fraction of what we spend on Health Insurance).

April 11th, 2014, 03:52 PM
Speaking of large exploration projects, if the US is going to pull out of ITER, the thermonuclear fusion project, perhaps North Korea could help.

April 12th, 2014, 10:11 PM
A very pregnant Huckabee declared today that North Korea is more free than the USA.


April 15th, 2014, 01:13 PM
It has been reported that the NK embassy in London failed to have this poster removed.


Source: http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-london-27038723

The entire embassy staff will soon be fed to the dogs.

May 17th, 2014, 09:15 PM
Kim Jong-Un’s ‘executed’ ex seen alive on TV

http://thenypost.files.wordpress.com/2014/05/newinset.jpg?w=720&h=480&crop=1 http://thenypost.files.wordpress.com/2014/05/exgf.jpg?w=300

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un’s ex-lover who he ordered to be executed is said to be alive and well. The Korean singer, Hyon Song-Wol, said to be leader Kim Jong-Un’s ex-girlfriend and rumored to have been executed last year has appeared on state television. Pyongyang’s state TV showed Hyon Song-Wol, the head of a band known as Moranbong, delivering a speech at a national art workers rally in Pyongyang. She expressed gratitude for Kim’s leadership and pledged to work harder to “stoke up the flame for art and creative work”.


May 17th, 2014, 09:40 PM
The Un-Dead.

May 19th, 2014, 01:30 AM
This is from the DPRK Music Channel on Youtube, which sounds about as official as it gets --