Sunday, December 30, 2012

Kim Jong Il is about to go on display as promised, making him the latest authoritarian leader to achieve a certain kind of posthumous immortality.
Kim’s embalmed body will be shown alongside that of his father, North Korea founder Kim Il Sung, at the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun in Pyongyang.
Soon after the middle man in North Korea’s three-generation leadership succession died last December, North Korea officials announced that his body would eventually join his father’s on public display.
Korean media outlets reported that a dream team of Moscow-based embalmers who usually tend to the body of Russian Marxist revolutionary Vladimir Lenin on view in Moscow’s Red Square were dispatched to North Korea to prepare Kim’s body.
North Korea’s new leader, Kim Jong Un, is “vulnerable,” given his youth and inexperience, so keeping the bodies of his father and grandfather around will help stabilize the system and justify the succession of power to a third generation.
Kim Jong Il becomes the latest of at least a half-dozen world leaders whose bodies have been kept around for political and/or tourism-related reasons.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Abe’s Hawkish cabinet

Mr Abe has appointed several hawkish allies to key cabinet posts, including Yoshihide Suga as chief cabinet secretary and the former prime minister Taro Aso as minister for finance. The new education minister, Hakubun Shimomura, is known to share Mr Abe's controversial revisionist views on Japan's war history. No Japan military involvement in running wartime brothels: official. On Radio Nippon in March 25, 2007, Shimomura denied that the Japanese military directly recruited women to work in brothels providing sex for Japanese soldiers before and during World War II. He claimed that there were military nurses and embedded journalists but no 'embedded comfort women.' Although he admits that there were comfort women, he believes that parents sold their daughters. And that the Japanese army was involved. This caused outrage in Korea and China. Japan must not forget that in order for diplomatic relations between its neighboring countries to improve, they must apologize for their past crimes.

North Korea creates Kim Jong-il award

North Korea has revealed that it would set up an international award to honor its late leader Kim Jong-il. The award will be given to politicians, scholars and public leaders who have made a significant contribution in their country's struggle for independence. The awards ceremony will be held on February 16th, marking the Kim Jong-il's birthday. The date is a public holiday in North Korea, known as the Day of the Shining Star. Kim Jong-il led the communist nation since the death of his father in 1994, and inherited the leadership of the country from him. Shortly after he came to power, a severe famine caused by faulty economic reforms and poor harvests left an estimated two million people dead. His regime was harshly criticized for violations of human rights and was internationally isolated because if its pursuit of nuclear weapons. I'm guessing that this is all because they are looking for a breakthrough for the international sanctions caused by their violations by launching missile tests.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

What is the first thing that comes up in your mind when think of Korea?

Korea's Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism held a survey about the '2nd Korean wave and image of Korea' in October and November for 3600 people in 9 countries (China, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, US, Brazil, France, UK, and Russia). The first thing that comes up in the mind of foreigners is Korean cuisine. The second is Korean dramas, third is K-pop and electronics. Of course, there are differences between regions. In Asia, Drama and K-pop was popular. In the Americas, Korean cuisine and electronic products was well-known. In Europe, the Korean War and electronic products was what foreigners thought of. Korean food and cultural assets of Korea will act as the cornerstone for promoting Korea, a small, yet a strong country.

US, stronger sanctions against North Korea

In the wake of North Korea's rocket launch, U.S. Congress has passed a defense law modified for next year calling for tougher measures such as the possible construction of a new missile defense base and defense capability assessments. The U.S. House of Representatives has introduced a bill condemning North Korea for its recent rocket launch. The National Defense Authorization Act contains a raft of policy and funding packages including budgets for military activities, related construction and research and development programs. The measure defines Pyongyang's rocket launch as a clear violation of UN resolutions. It also calls on China to actively pressure North Korea and to get behind sanctions against the regime. The bill also states North Korea and Iran cooperated extensively since the 1980s to develop long-range missiles.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Putting sanctions on the rogue state of North Korea

The United Nations Security Council unanimously condemned the North Korean rocket launch, calling it a “clear violation” of UN prohibitions.
U.S. Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice said the 15-member Council -- which has the power to authorize sanctions -- will discuss a set of measures to punish North Korea for violating Council resolutions barring it from pursuing nuclear and ballistic-missile testing.
North Korea fired a rocket that placed a satellite into orbit, defying existing international sanctions and showcasing the progress of the nuclear-armed totalitarian regime in ballistic-missile technology.
The U.S., Japan, South Korea and China criticized the North Korean action, while the Pyongyang government asserted what it said in a statement was a “legitimate” right to launch satellites. China has veto power and may oppose further steps in the Security Council.
The North American Aerospace Defense Command said in a statement that it detected the launch at 9:49 a.m. Korea time, after which the first stage fell into the Yellow Sea and the second dropped into the Philippine Sea. The U.S. agency said the missile deployed an object that appeared to achieve orbit, after North Korea’s official news agency said the Unha-3 rocket had successfully sent a satellite into space.
Even China, North Korea’s biggest ally, said it regrets the launch. Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said in Beijing that China wanted the UN Security Council to react prudently and avoid escalating the situation.
U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration denounced the rocket test, with National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor calling it “a highly provocative act” that jeopardizes regional security.
Kim, who succeeded his father Kim Jong Il a year ago, oversees a military-first state with 1.7 million of his 24 million people in the armed services. North Korea has twice detonated an atomic bomb, and the new leader has shown no readiness to respond to calls from the U.S., China, South Korea, Japan and Russia to return to six-party talks aimed at getting the regime to abandon its nuclear program.

Monday, December 17, 2012

World's Worst Kim Jong-il

There is a leader who was always described as the worst. He died some time around December last year. He is Kim Jong-il. Kim Jong-il came to power in 1974. He was the dictator for 37 years, making North Korea the worst country. On Dec 17, 2011, Kim Jong-il died. His major crime is murdering many people. He let 3 million people starve to death and locked a million in prisons. He killed 4 million people. Unfortunately, human rights violation still continues in North Korea. It has been a year since Kim Jong-il died. I hope the world notices that nothing has changed in North Korea even when Kim Jong-il is dead.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Korean's popular boy group Big Bang's leader G-Dragon is a sensation in the States! U.S. based hip-hop magazine XXL just published an interview article this past 11th, with the title "Korean Rapper G-Dragon Talks K-POP Hype, New EP and Past Scandals". XXL calls G-Dragon one of the most influential Korean hip-hop artists, sort of like the Kanye West of Korea. They regard him very highly, and thinks of him as a successor to Psy's Gangnam Style fame. The KPOP fever really seems to be hitting off all over the world.

Japan's elections on the 16th will most likely result in the conservative party's undisputed victory, led by the head of the party Shinzo Abe. Shinzo Abe is the poster boy for Japanese extremism, and consequently is an unwelcomed maverick in the eyes of the international community. His grandfather, ex-prime minister Nobusuke, was a grade-A war criminal during WWII. Abe became the youngest prime minister in 2006, but had to relieve his seat due to his extremist views and proclamations. He was keeping low profile until now, sweeping the conservative party by storm, taking its leader seat. His views on Japan's defense policy, Dokdo, Diaoyu Dao, Kuril Islands territorial dispute are all extreme and aggressive, sparking conflict with nearby countries like China and Korea. This will likely yield in future dispute and disrupt any sorts of relational advancement between these countries.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Magpies 'mourn' Kim Jong-il in North Korea

North Korea is idolizing the world's worst dictator, Kim Jong-il. It's a week before the one year anniversary of Kim Jong-il's death, and North Korea is still sorrowing over losing the "Dear Leader." And this is not confined to humans, as a group of birds were gathered to "mourn" Kim Jong-il in a propaganda poster.
North Koreans are forced to believe that Kim Jong-il was a born great man, so nature as well as all the people around the world cannot forget him. The North Korean regime can't be serious...

Hyun Bin discharged from military

Hyun Bin has returned after finishing his military service. Hyun Bin was officially discharged on December 6th, and held a simple, brief event to address the thousands of fans who had gathered to witness his return back to society. The actor, who had been serving in the Marine Corps, greeted his fans with a booming voice and discussed some of his thoughts on returning to his life and career.
Tears then began to form in the actor’s eyes as he thought about returning to acting once more. Hyun Bin enlisted back on March 7th of 2011, and after 21 months of serving in the Marines rather than in the promotional division of the army like most celebrities, the actor has made his return and will be spending his time with his family for the time being. Welcome back Hyun Bin!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

North Korea's Missile launch violates international law

North Korea has launched a long-range rocket despite international calls to abandon the effort. In defiance of UN sanctions threats over what Pyongyang's critics have condemned as a disguised ballistic missile test, the secretive regime had been saying it would launch the rocket.

North Korea is in clear violation of UN Security Council Resolutions 1718 and 1874, which explicitly demanded North Korea not to use or conduct any launch using ballistic missile technology and the suspension of its ballistic missile program. Just after the North's previous rocket launch attempt in April the UN Security Council added a so-called "trigger" clause to a presidential statement, reflecting the Security Council's determination to take action in the event of a further missile launch or nuclear test by North Korea. Therefore, additional sanctions on North Korea will be implemented according to the "trigger" clause.
North Korea has insisted the launch is simply part of an effort to develop a peaceful space program and place a satellite into orbit. But the U.S. and other key allies, including even China and Russia, believe it is a thinly disguised attempt to test an intercontinental ballistic missile. With further development, such technology could be used to develop a missile that could one day reach the United States.
The rocket launch is timely as many notable events overlap this month. December 17th marks the one year anniversary of Kim Jong-il's death. And it's believed that Kim Jong-un is under pressure to show the world his intent on continuing the Military First policy and demonstrate a show of strength.
However, at what cost? North Korea had spent a total of US$1.34 billion on rocket launches since the Kim Jong-un regime took power this in April of this year. This is enough money to buy a year's worth of food for North Korea. The North Korean food demand for one year is equivalent to 5.3 million tons of corn, which is valued at US$1.5 billion according to international market rates. By this standard, the total of US$1.34 billion would be nearly equal to the annual cost of food and enough to cover the shortfall for four to five years. I hope North Korea will put their toward solving its peoples’ food shortage.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Kim Yu-na Wins Comeback Event in Germany

The nation's figure skating queen is back! And she picked up where she left off. by blowing away the competition. Kim Yu-na completed her return to competitive skating on Sunday by winning the NRW Trophy in Dortmund, Germany with the season's best total score. The 2010 Olympic champion scored 201.six-one points despite falling once to finish 42 points ahead of Russia's Xenia Makarova, who finished second. Kim was competing in the event to secure a place in next year's world championships. She easily earned the 48-point technical element score or TES she needed to qualify for the worlds, notching a TES mark of 60.eight-two in her free skate to Les Miserables.

North Korea, calls the Commander responsible Cheonan incident a hero

Kim Jong Un has apparently made another major change to the military leadership, this time replacing Kim Jong Gak as the Minister of the People’s Armed Forces with Kim Kyok Sik after only seven months in office. The move is nearly as surprising as former Chief of the KPA General Staff Ri Yong Ho’s sudden dismissal in July. Kim Jong Gak, like Ri, was a Vice Marshal and assumed to be a major part of the succession process on the military side. He was also a member of the Politburo, National Defense Commission and Central Military Commission, one of only eight men in North Korea to hold that distinction, and was informally ranked seventh allegiance nothing more than a “stick” in a recent address to security officials. In addition, he was the 6th most frequent accompanier with Kim Jong Un thus far and one of the “Gang of Eight” that accompanied Kim Jong Il’s casket during his funeral procession. Kim Kyok Sik, for his part, had previously served as a Chief of the KPA General Staff before being removed in February 2009 and demoted to Commander of the Western Region. During his tenure as Commander of the Western Region he is believed to have been responsible for sinking of the South Korean Cheonan and is alleged to have been behind the decision to shell Yeonpyeong Island. More recently he was promoted to Vice Minister of the People’s Armed Forces, and was called a hero.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

UNESCO Puts 'Arirang' on Intangible Heritage List

The Korean signature folk song "Arirang" has finally been listed on the UNESCO Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The UN body's Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage made the decision at a meeting in Paris on Thursday. Last year, China listed a version of "Arirang" sung by ethnic Koreans in Jilin Province's Yanbian Autonomous Prefecture as its own intangible cultural heritage, prompting some jitters among Koreans who felt Beijing was trying to appropriate Korean culture.
UNESCO praised the Korean government's efforts to protect intangible cultural assets, and solicit participation of researchers and scholars across disciplines in the application process.
The lyrical folk song has inspired many literary and art works. Both the first full-scale Korean film and the first opera made by Koreans had the title "Arirang." The song has long served the role of rallying unity among Koreans both on the Korean Peninsula and in other parts of the world.
We hope the registration of Korea's most popular folk song as UNESCO cultural heritage will help increase the world's awareness of Korea and the South Korean people's perception of the importance of their own intangible cultural heritage.

North Korea’s rocket costs as much as a year’s worth of food

The Ministry of Unification estimated the cost of North Korea's two rocket launches this year to be nearly equivalent to a year's worth of food for the country. An official with the ministry told reporters on Dec. 6 that North Korea had spent a total of US$1.34 billion on rocket launches since the Kim Jong-un regime took power this in April of this year.
This is enough money to buy a year's worth of food for North Korea (5.3 million tons of corn). The North Korean food demand for one year is equivalent to 5.3 million tons of corn, which is valued at US$1.5 billion according to international market rates. The country's annual food shortfall is estimated at one million tons, or about US$300 million.
By this standard, the total of US$1.34 billion would be nearly equal to the annual cost of food and enough to cover the shortfall for four to five years. Analysts said the ministry's aim in comparing the rocket development costs with the North Korean food situation was to highlight the immorality of the regime in Pyongyang. I hope North Korea will put their toward solving its peoples’ food shortage.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

10 North Koreans elites defect

10 children of North Korean elite groups are believed to have defected from North Korea.
If this rumor is true, this would severly damage North Korea's internal affairs. This proves that Kim Jong-un's regime is very unstable.
According to well-informed sources, elite youths groups have collectively defected, causing the North Korean authorities keep their eyes and ears alert for potential defections, and a special unit consisted of around 40 members, Teuksujo, was dispatched for the arrest of the defectors
This special unit were dispatched abroad to arrest the defectors. And as a result, 2 defectors were arrested in China.
The two of the ten were repatriated to North Korea. Four secretly found refuge in a US embassy in Vietnam. The whereabouts of the rest are unknown.
The North Korean authorities are remaining silent regarding this issue, but it's been told that of the defectors, the son of Kim Jong-gak is included. kim Jong-gak is currently member of the Poliburo of the Worker's Party of Korea and the vice-director of the General Political Bureau of the Korea People's Army.

Japanese politics shifting right

The collapse of Japanese corporations like Sony, prolonged economic recession, and damages from earthquake is causing the Japanese politics to shift to the far-right. The Japanese extreme rightists are using the unstable psychology of its people to gain popularity.
As the Japanese Diet's lower house election is approaching, political parties have plunged into a fanatical campaign with unrealistic notions, especially in the country's foreign policy.
The biggest blot of the Noda administration is the "nationalization" of the Diaoyu Islands, an inherent territory of China, by turning a deaf ear to China's strong opposition and abandoning the understanding and consensus reached by the older generation of leaders of the two countries.
They are also creating conflicts between Korea by claiming that Dokdo is their territory.
Last week, the U.S. Senate approved an amendment, attached to the national defense authorization bill for 2013, to acknowledge application of a U.S.-Japan security treaty to the Diaoyu Islands.
Propped up by the U.S. move, a number of top candidates for the post of Japan's next prime minister sent out hard-line speeches, including constitution revision and the Self-Defense Forces' upgrade to national defense forces.
A collective right deviation in Japanese politics will undoubtedly do harm to its diplomacy and future.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

10 North Koreans elites defect

10 children of North Korean elite groups are believed to have defected from North Korea. 
If this rumor is true, this would severly damage North Korea's internal affairs. This proves that Kim Jong-un's regime is very unstable.
According to well-informed sources, elite youths groups have collectively defected, causing the North Korean authorities keep their eyes and ears alert for potential defections, and a special unit consisted of around 40 members, Teuksujo, was dispatched for the arrest of the defectors
This special unit were dispatched abroad to arrest the defectors. And as a result, 2 defectors were arrested in China.
The two of the ten were repatriated to North Korea. Four secretly found refuge in a US embassy in Vietnam. The whereabouts of the rest are unknown. 
The North Korean authorities are remaining silent regarding this issue, but it's been told that of the defectors, the son of Kim Jong-gak is included. kim Jong-gak is currently member of the Poliburo of the Worker's Party of Korea and the vice-director of the General Political Bureau of the Korea People's Army.

2012 Japan and the K-Pop Phenomenon

The streets of Harajuku in are filled with K-Pop merchandise. One clothing store was playing 2NE1's "I Love You" and in the middle of Shibuya, was a trailer that announced 2AM's new upcoming album. At Tower Records in Shibuya, the 'K-POP LOVERS' campaign was still going on. Tower Records released a total of 31 charts for the year of 2012, including genres such as K-Pop, J-pop, and Classical music. Tower Records commented, that in 2012, K-pop advanced not only in Japan and other parts of Asia, but all across the globe. Concerts were held all over America and Europe, and the popularity of the artists’ has increased. There were even records by many Korean newbies who are not yet famous in Korea. It is clear that Japan's passion towards K-pop had not died down just yet.

North Korea, missile launch is worth 2 years of food

North Korea is believed to have finished assembling a rocket on the launch pad on Wednesday, making a launch early next week the likeliest scenario. The North announced it will launch the rocket between Dec. 10 and 22 to put a satellite into orbit. The assembly of the first, second and third-stage boosters at the launch pad in Tongchang-ri, North Pyongan Province was completed. It has now spent an estimated US$2.8-3.2 billion making weapons of mass destruction -- $1.1-1.5 billion on nuclear weapons development and $1.74 billion on missile development. With that amount of money, the regime could have bought 9.33-10.66 million tons of corn at recent trading prices, feeding 24 million North Koreans for 31 to 36 months. A study of the physical condition of North Korean defectors aged 19 to 29 shows that they are on average 8.8 cm shorter than their South Korean peers and 14.3 kg lighter. North Korea requires 210,000 tons of food aid next year. The food situation has not worsened drastically from last year's 410,000 ton shortfall, but many deaths from starvation are reported, and even soldiers are suffering from malnutrition. This is because the regime has diverted food to Pyongyang and the ruling elite, who are considered to be to prop up young North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s still-shaky regime.
Yet amid this abject misery, North Korea spent US$850 million just to fire a long-range missile in April of this year, enough money to buy 2.5 million tons of corn from China which could have fed 19 million North Koreans for a year. It recently spent another $330 million to build giant statues of nation founder Kim Il-sung and his son, former leader Kim Jong-il, as well as an amusement park modeled after a Swiss theme park.
These tales of starvation in North Korea proves that famine often occurs not from a lack of food but from abusive mechanisms of state control in distributing food.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

VANK, Korea's cyber diplomatic mission

VANK, an acronym for Voluntary Agency Network of Korea, is a non-governmental South Korean organization made up of 60,000 Korean volunteers and 15,000 international members. VANK members are Cyber Diplomats to introduce Korea to the world and World Changers to solve global issues wisely to change the world. VANK is organized for the purpose of uniting cyber diplomats who want build up friendship with foreign friends by exchanging sincere letters and sharing dream and visions before promoting Korea. In addition, one of their goals is to introduce the achievements and milestones of Korea and Korean history and culture.
Recently, VANK invited Korean-Uzbekistan to Dokdo to promote that Dokdo is Korean territory. VANK aims to change information that are wrong about Korea's geographic names or about Korean history.

Korea's counteractions against North Korea's missile launch

South Korea's military launched an emergency task force team charged with analyzing the latest developments in North Korea's preparations to fire off a long-range rocket later this month. The defense ministry and the Joint Chiefs of Staff began operation of the task force team, which is composed of 10 military officials specialized in operations and intelligence analysis, to get ready for the rocket launch. They will analyze the latest developments in North Korea and distribute the information to military and related organizations. While the military currently maintains the surveillance "Watchcon" 3 status, a normal defense condition, it plans to upgrade the level when the countdown nears. The Navy will send two Aegis warships equipped with SPY-1 radar to the western sea to track the rocket route, officials said. Seoul is also considering deploying the PAC-2 anti-missile system in case the North's rocket veers off the projected path.
Following North Korea's announcement of its launch plan, the United States and Japan have deployed the latest radar system and reconnaissance vehicles near the projected route, and plan to jointly operate the missile defense system in the region. While the two allies operated the missile defense system for an April launch that failed shortly after liftoff, they will have the opportunity to test the missile interception system under development. Japan has reportedly sent ships carrying Patriot anti-missile defense systems to guard against the planned launch, though the rocket isn't expected to fly over its territory.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Korea and India increase cooperation in the field of defense

Korea's Defence Minister Kim Kwan Jin had arrived from Seoul on November 28 to look at ways to strengthen military ties between India and Korea. Kim also held a meeting later today with his Indian counterpart AK Antony to discuss ways to increase cooperation in the field of defense.
Earlier this month, the Indian embassy in Seoul had opened a defence wing and Colonel Ajay Chandpuria, a senior officer of the Indian Army, had taken charge as the first resident Defence Attache of India.

Inter-Korean Dispute regarding the NLL

The Northern Limit Line (NLL) is a disputed inter-Korean maritime demarcation line in the West Sea. The 1953 Armistice Agreement which was signed by both North Korea and the United Nations Command ended the Korean War and specified that five islands including Yeonpyeong island, Baengnyeong island would remain under UNC and South Korean control.
However, North Korea has never recognized the NLL, which was drawn unilaterally by the U.S.-led United Nations Command when the 1950-53 Korean War ended, and demands that the line be drawn farther south.
Areas near the border have been the scene of a number of bloody inter-Korean clashes. The two sides fought naval gun battles in the area in 1999, 2002 and 2009. In 2010, the North torpedoed a South Korean warship in the area and shelled a South Korean border island.
North Korea could launch provocations at any time and the South should be ready for such possibilities. Pyongyang is the most belligerent nation that can break whatever promises it has made depending on its strategies.
Korea cannot safeguard peace only by words alone. Having a firm mindset about what Korea would do in case of provocations is the way to deter provocations.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Violinist Sarah Chang to celebrate 20th anniversary of debut album

Sarah Chang, one of the busiest violinists in the world with over 100 concerts a year, will hold a recital to coincide with the release of a compilation album marking the 20th anniversary of her debut. In 1991 Chang, who has been playing the violin since the age of four, recorded an several virtuoso crowd-pleasers by Fritz Kreisler and Pablo de Sarasate. Her first album was released by EMI the following year, signaling the birth of a new prodigy as the album jumped straight to the upper ranks of Billboard's classical music chart. She was the youngest violinist to ink a recording contract with the label and was honored with the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant in 1992. She stressed that it's not enough for aspiring violinists to just love playing the instrument. They need to be able to fully enjoy performing even in front of thousands of people. In celebration of her two decades in the limelight, her new box set comes with a complete recording of her performances on 19 CDs in addition to a special DVD. She also plans to hold recitals in eight cities in Korea from Dec. 1 to 16. Her schedule is fully packed for the next three years, so she has no time to be idle. I hope that she plays better today than yesterday, and that she will play better tomorrow than today.

N. Korea's defence chief replaced

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un has replaced his defence chief with a hawkish general in a shakeup apparently aimed at tightening his grip over the military, a report said Thursday. Vice Marshal Kim Jong-Gak was sacked as defence minister after just seven months in office.
He was replaced by Kim Kyok-Sik, a hawkish general believed to have orchestrated the North's sinking of a South Korean warship and an artillery attack on a border island in 2010. The re-shuffle, if confirmed, was the latest in a series of top-level personnel changes ordered by Kim Jong-Un since taking over after the death of his father, Kim Jong-Il, a year ago.
Kim has tightened his grip over the military by replacing top military generals with those loyal to him.
In July, Hyon Yong-Chol, a little-known general, became chief of the general staff, a powerful post that controls the North's 1.2-million-strong military.
He replaced Ri Yong-Ho, who had been regarded as one of Kim's inner circle but was relieved of all his posts -- officially because of "illness".
Ri was a highly visible figure who helped support Kim following the death of his father, and his sudden departure sparked speculation that he might have been purged.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

2012 MAMA to be aired in 85 countries for 2.3 billion viewers

Watch out, because this year's Mnet Asian Music Awards (MAMA) may be coming to your TV set. The 2012 MAMA, which is set to take place on November 30, will be aired in 85 countries across the world including Korea and Hong Kong, targeting more than 2.3 billion viewers. This will be made possible with the help of Hong Kongs TVB, Chinas biggest channel Hunan TV and the international channel FIC (FOX International Channels) as media partners. The channels will relay the event live to a total of 16 countries including America, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore and Australia, and air a recorded version sometime later in 69 countries including France, Finland, Greece, the Netherlands, the Arab Emirates and Bangladesh. Outside of these channels, 20 online platforms such as Global will make 2012 MAMA available everywhere else.
The coverage marks the biggest amount for a Korean program. This year's MAMA will be aired live in main channels across Asia. This years amount of coverage has expanded compared to last year's, as it started to reach out to Europe, South America and even the Middle East. As if to prove MAMA's increased influence and the growth of K-Pop, many overseas channels showed interest in the event .This doesn't only mean that MAMA will be aired in more countries, but also that MAMA has opened up a new way to share Korea and Asia's songs and their cultures to the world.

Wording set for 'comfort women' memorial

A county plan to erect a memorial for women forced into sexual slavery in Japanese-occupied territories around World War II is moving forward. Bergen County is expected today to sign the final proof for the Comfort Women Memorial, which is to be placed near the Bergen County Courthouse in Hackensack. It would sit aside memorials to the Holocaust, the Irish Potato Famine and the Armenian genocide. The memorial, according to information provided by the county, will contain the following words:
In memory of hundreds of thousands of women and girls from Korea, China, Taiwan, the Philippines, the Netherlands, Indonesia and other Japanese-occupied territories who were forced into sexual slavery by the Imperial Armed Forces of Japan before and during World War II.
It would be the second such memorial in Bergen County for the women referred to as "comfort women" after the military comfort stations that were reportedly set up for Japanese soldiers at the time. Palisades Park dedicated a similar stone and plaque in 2010. That stone has generated international attention in the past year. Several officials and a few lawmakers from South Korea have visited Palisades Park, some laying flowers near the stone. In the spring, Mayor James Rotundo and other town officials said members of Japan's Liberal Democratic Party met with them and asked that the stone and plaque be removed, arguing that they contained historical inaccuracies. Town officials said they had researched the issue of the comfort women prior to erecting the stone and refuse to remove it. Late last month, a 4-foot-tall stake bearing a Japanese political message was found dug into the flower beds near the stone. The stake read, "Takeshima is Japanese territory," referring to an ongoing dispute between Korea and Japan over a group of islands claimed by both countries. A police investigation into the incident is ongoing, Rotundo said.
The county memorial is expected to be dedicated before the end of the year. It is being donated by the Bergen County Comfort Women Memorial Committee, he said. The final proof is to be signed at 4 p.m. today in the fifth-floor conference room, at One Bergen County Plaza.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

As military service is regarded as an opportunity to be recognized for their masculinity, stars gladly take their duties and freshly start their careers.
Hyun Bin, the antagonist of the 2011 small-screen smash hit “Secret Garden,” is ready to re-embark on the entertainment scene. Slated to be discharged on Dec. 6 after 21 months of service at the Marine Corps., he has already moved to establish an agency for himself. Local news outlets reported that the actor will start his own management firm with actress Shin Min-a.
Hyun Bin managed to gain ample publicity after working as the face of numerous Marine events such as promotional marathons, a photo album and film release as well as concerts. Hyun is already receiving endorsements and film offers but is in no rush. He has managed to keep himself in the limelight even in the barrack, and he will pick the ones that suit him perfectly.
For a long time, celebrities daunted the military draft fearing that being two years away from the media limelight would make their career grind to a halt. There have been slews of draft-dodging scandals involving such anxious entertainers. But there was a change in attitudes after top-class celebrities made a soft landing to their old jobs after the discharge and even obtained a positive image of “responsible” and “manly.” Stars such as former H.O.T. singer Tony Ahn, actors Lee Dong-wook and Cheong Jeong-myeong as well as many others have proven that military service could open doors to a new level of careers with a brand new image, and more male celebrities are willing to serve the military without fear.

South Korea making final preparations to launch a space rocket

At the Satellite Technology Research Center in Daejeon yesterday, researchers looked grim as they made final checks of the satellite that the Naro is supposed to lift into orbit. Each time they’ve prepared for past launches, their hopes have been dashed. The first attempt in August 2009 failed when the satellite didn’t separate from the second stage of the rocket and both plummeted back to earth. The second attempt in June 2010 failed when the rocket exploded two minutes and 17 seconds after liftoff for reasons that still have not been determined.
And a third attempt was aborted last month when a helium leak was found because of a broken rubber seal in the connector between the rocket and its launchpad. A new linking mechanism was sent by Russia, and the Korea Aerospace Research Institute said it has been successfully replaced. If Korea finally succeeds in putting the indigenously developed satellite at least 302 kilometers (187 miles) above earth and into orbit, it will become the 10th country in the “space club,” which includes neighbors Japan and China. A final launch rehearsal took place at the Naro Space Center in Goheung, South Jeolla, yesterday. The rocket was transported from its assembly complex to a launch pad at the center on Tuesday.
A final systems check was conducted in two separate stages with a launch simulation of the rocket’s Russian-built first-stage, which took around seven hours, and a launch simulation of the Korean-built second stage taking about five hours, according to the Korea Aerospace Research Center.
The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology said earlier that this will be the last attempt to launch a version of the Naro rocket into space. I really hope the launch succeeds.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

North Korean authorities claim that North Korea is a paradise on earth

If you look at photos from North Korea, North Korea looks like a paradise. Festivals are held frequently in Pyeongyang and various performances are held. They even used 2 billion dollars for the Day of the Sun. They even built a 50km long waterway all the way from Nampo to open a dolphin show in Pyeongyang. This is all for the priviledged class in Pyeongyang. 70~80% of North Korean children are suffering from malnutrition, and 500 thousand tons of food is in shortage. North Korea is only a paradise for the privileged few. 

Japan's stubborn and irrational claim on foreign territory

Diaoyudao is historically and legally Chinese territory, but the Japanese government is taking the issue to the International Court Of Justice. Japan is taking it to ICJ because there is nothing to lose because it wasn't theirs from the beginning. Japan basically stole the so-called Senkaku islands when World War II ended. The funny thing is the US 'allowed' Japan to do so. But who are we to tell Japan can have Chinese land? Seriously this isn't the first time. We basically took Palestinian land and gave it to Israel - but this is a different topic that I will not indulge any further. Anyways, Japan is not stopping with the Diaoyudao. They are taking the Dokdo issue to the ICJ. The present is no longer the time where imperialism prevails. Japan's facism ended along with the WWII. As a war criminal country and a defeated nation, they request to much. This is all because even if Japan loses any of the suits, they won't lose anything, but if they win, there's a big gain. Worth the risk? Probably so. But at what cost?

Monday, November 26, 2012

N Korea preparing for missile launch

US satellites have picked up signs that North Korea is preparing to launch a long-range missile, a Japanese newspaper reported today. North Korea moved missile parts from its military factory in Pyongyang to a launch pad in Tongchang-ri in the country’s far northwest early November. The US has already informed its counterparts in Japan and South Korea about the move.
The developments came after North Korea carried out a failed rocket launch in April in what the communist state said was an attempt to put a satellite into orbit from the same launch pad. Images of the shipment recently taken by US satellites were similar to one used in the April launch. Pyongyang is technically ready to launch a missile late November, but an immediate launch is unlikely ahead of South Korea’s presidential election next month.
North Korea has not announced any plans to launch a rocket. Immediate confirmation by the Japanese government was not available. In Seoul, a South Korean defence ministry spokesman said it could comment on any matter of intelligence, while a presidential Blue House spokeswoman said she had no information.

North Keeps on Pushing NLL Weak Spot

North Korea continued to attack a perceived weak spot in South Korean politics today, declaring that South Korea and the U.S. already recognize the illegality of the existing Northern Limit Line in the West Sea while strongly objecting to military training exercises going on in the area. The Chosun Central News Agency (KCNA) called the Hoguk exercises a dangerous and sinister plot. The attack on the Hoguk exercises comes after the U.S.-ROK Security Consultative Meeting (SCM) in Washington DC on the 25th, wherein South Korean Minister of National Defense and U.S. Defense Secretary agreed that the NLL is an effective method of preventing inter-Korean tension and declared that U.S.-ROK combined military exercises in the area should be enhanced. Conversely, North Korea called the exercises an ugly conspiracy to build danger in the West Sea around the NLL, a non-existent line that the imperialist American army placed in our sacred waters.
North Korea's rhetoric is a way for Pyeongyang to get the upper hand in any future NLL dialogue with South Korea, especially if a potentially weak left wing president is selected in December's South Korean election.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

U.N. Medal Presented to Dongmyeong Unit in Ceremony

UNIFIL Commander presented U.N. medal to all Dongmyeong troops in ceremony. Dongmyeong Unit, which is successfully carrying out its missions as part of U.N. peacekeeping operations in Lebanon’s Tyre region, was presented U.N. medal, the highest honor awarded to U.N. peacekeeping forces, in a ceremony held at its local post on June 24. Present at the ceremony hosted by the commander of the United Nations Interim Forces in Lebanon (UNIFIL), Claudio Graziano, an Italian Army Maj. Gen., were the Republic of Korea’s ambassador to Lebanon Park Chan-jin and some 500 hundred others, including local Lebanese officials from Dongmyeong Unit’s area of responsibility. After the medals were presented by the commander of the UNIFIL and other key leaders, a Taekwondo performance was offered by local children followed by a performance of traditional Arab dance, an exhibition of traditional farm music and Taekwondo by members of the Dongmyeong unit and a reception. As an award presented to U.N. forces deployed throughout the world to praise their successful execution of missions, the U.N. medal is only given to forces who successfully complete missions for at least 90 days or those who are killed in action. The first batch of Dongmyeong Unit had also received the U.N. medal on December 17, 2007, for successfully executing their missions.

North Korea may possibly be preparing for long-range missile test

North Korea, under heavy U.N. sanctions for its nuclear weapons program, could be preparing a long-range ballistic missile test. This comes just weeks before South Korea's December 19 presidential election in which how to handle North Korea is a major campaign issue. The isolated North has for years tried to influence major events in the South by waging propaganda or armed attacks. The US has detected moves that are seen as preparation by North Korea for a long-range missile launch, which could take place as early as this month. North Korea is believed to be developing a long-range ballistic missile with a range of up to 6,700 km aimed at hitting the continental United States but the last two rocket test launches failed.
Regional powers trying to stop North Korea's arms program believe North Korea is using rocket launches to perfect technology to build a missile arsenal capable of delivering a nuclear warhead to the United States. North Korea is under U.N. sanctions that ban trading in missile or nuclear technology that have driven its already dire economy deeper in trouble but cutting off what was once a lucrative source of hard cash.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Diplomacy trips equivalent of 19 trips around the world

President Lee Myung-bak returned home Thursday from a trip to Cmabodia and the United Arab Emirates where he laid the groundwork for regional free trade deals and ensured lucrative construction projects will go smoothly after he leaves office. Lee's government has praised Lee's export contract with UAE as an achievement in their resource diplomacy. President Lee Myung-bak made 49 trips to 94 countries during his term. He has made the most number of overseas trips among Korea's presidents. Former President Roh Moo-hyun made 27 trips to 55 countries, former President Kim Dae-jung made 23 trips to 37 countries, and former President Kim Young-sam made 14 trips to 28 countries. President Lee's trips are equivalent to circling the Earth 19 times. During his trips, he attended 170 summits including multilateral talks. 

Kim Jong-un purges opposing forces

Ever since Kim Jong-un came into power, Kim Jong-un has been inspecting North Korea's political party, government, and military officials trying to find anti-Kim Jon-un forces. Last time, he stated that he will cut off anybody who are disloyal to him. And he indeed put his words knto action. 15 military officers, including Hyun Young-cheol and Kim Young-cheol have been removed. Kim Jong-un is trying to reduce the influence of military in order to control it. But seriously, is it even possible to force somebody to become loyal to you...

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Hamburg stricker Heung Min Son has revealed that he is unlikely to renew his contract with HSV. The 20 year old has scored six goals in 12 appearances this season and has been tipped from greatness ever since he left Dongbuk High School in 2008. Hamburg has been in a slump for 3 games, but in the recent four matches, Son led his team to 3 victories and one tie. He stands 7th in the Bundesliga's top scorers. Son has attracted the attention of host of clubs from across Europe, including Premier League giants Arsenal and Liverpool. Son, the 20 year old, has great potential and is very young. At the moment, Monaco and Bundesliga outfits Bayern Munich and Borrusia Dortmund are all interested in Son. I hope to see the best of him in future seasons.

Obama's message for North Korea in visiting Myanmar

On Monday, President Obama visited a medium-sized Asian country known for its international isolation, brutal military dictatorship and flirtations with nuclear weapons - Myanmar. On his historic visit to Myanmar, Obama had a message for the North Korean leadership. He urged North Korea to let go of their nuclear weapons and choose the path of peace and progress. If North Korea does so, they'll find the extended had from the United States of America. This means relaxing sanctions and offering economic assistance to any country that was willing to unclench its fist. US has provided aids to North Korea over the past few years. However, in order to threaten the US for more aid, North Korea launched missiles and went through with nuclear tests. They even provoked against South Korea. This caused the US-North Korea relationship to deteriorate. Now, the US will no longer endure North Korea's irrational behavior. Whether North Korea will get international aid will be fully up to how North Korea changes. It's time that they take responsibility.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

North Korea focusing on development of Pyeongyang

North Korean authorities are focusing city developments in Pyeongyang and its border cities, such as Hyesan, Gangye, and Manpo. North Korea is also putting up streetlight and neon signs in Onseong province and Naseon economic zone. The reason for the development efforts are because Kim Jong-un wants to propagandize that North Korea has improved. It is all part of a plan to attract Chinese investors and tourists into the border regions, and to prevent defectors. Most of North Korea with the exception of the cities mentioned above are still underdeveloped. And its people are still in dire circumstances starving to death.

Korea pop princesses Girl's Generation

British newspaper The Guardian recently published a feature on Girl's Generation and predicted that the Korea pop princesses will follow in Psy's steps as the next K-pop act to hit it big in the international market. It seems certain that Girl's Generation, a nine-member Korean girl group who had racked up millions of sales throughout East Asia long before Psy made air horse-riding socially acceptable, are poised to release their first album recorded entirely in English. Tentatively due for release next year by Lady Gaga's label, Interscope, the album will mark the group's first serious effort to court English-speaking music fans. Not only are they good singers and performers, they all look stunning. I hope Girl's Generation's international activities become a success.

Monday, November 19, 2012

K-pop Monster Rookie Lee Hi dominates music charts

Lee Hi's debut song 1, 2, 3, 4, has dominated the weekly music charts for two weeks in a row. Since the single's release, Lee Hi came at #1 on Billboard's K-pop Hot 100 chart, displaying the massive success of her debut. Lee Hi was a runner up from Season 1 of K-Pop Star audition program and was signed to YG Entertainment after the show. Her soulful voice appeals to many listeners with different demographics. 1, 2, 3, 4 shows off Lee Hi's unique voice color and groovy vocals in a retro-soul genre. Congrats Lee Hi on your record-breaking debut! If you haven't listened to her song, I recommend that you do. Even the Billboard recommends her music video as a must see. 

The Sexiest Man Alive

Would you believe if Kim Jong-un, the Supreme Leader of North Korea, was picked as the sexiest man alive for 2012? On Wednesday (Nov. 14), The Onion announced Kim Jong-un as the sexiest man alive for the year 2012. Wit his devastatingly handsome, round face, his boyish charm, and his strong, strudy frame, this Pyongyang-bred heartthrob is every woman's dream come true. Blssed with an air of power that masks an unmistakable cute, cuddly side, Kim made the Onion's editorial board swoon with his impeccable fashion sense, chic short hairstyle, and that famous smile. The Onion then added that Ri Sol-ju is one lucky lady, that's for sure.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Senior defense officials and security advisers from home and abroad gathered in Seoul for a regional security forum aimed at discussing ways to curb weapons of mass destruction and handle North Korea's nuclear threat. The inaugural Seoul Defense Dialogue (SDD) brought vice minister-level and other senior defense officials from 15 Asia-Pacific countries, the European Union and two international organizations. The first Seoul Defense Dialogue comes under the spotlight because of growing territorial disputes in northeastern Asia, as well as the increasing North Korean military threat. The goal for attendees of the SDD is to develop action plans to deal with regional security issues. 

There is no future without self-reflection

Japan and Germany, two of the war criminal nations of WWII, are very different. Unlike Germany that apologized for their crimes to the international community and built their trust through honesty, Japan is denying to repent for their shameful test and rationalizing their distortion of the history.
Japan's Rising Sun Flag symbolizes Japan's imperialism that led to the massacre of 20 million people during the invasions by Imperial Japanese Army. The Japanese waved the flag and used the design in the athlete's uniforms at the Olympic games, which symbolizes world peace. This is the equivalent of Germans waving the Nazi Germany Flag during the Olympic games. This is an insult to human dignity.
Japan still covets for other country's territory. Japan will not be welcomed in the international community if it persists its efforts to distort the past, revive imperialism, and refuse to apologize for its past crimes.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

South Korea has reported the seizure of cargo from a Chinese freighter that can be used to produce ballistic missiles tha was made in North Korea and destined for Syria. The seizure of 445 graphite cylinders from the Shanghai-registered Xin Yan Tai in May at Busan was reported to the UN Security Council committee. This could be a violation of sanctions against the reclusive, nuclear-armed rogue state. The council imposed sanctions against North Korea after its first nuclear test in 2006 and stepped up the punitive measures after its second test in 2009 to try to derail the country's rogue nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs. Under the sanctions, the North is barred from importing or exporting nuclear and missile material and technology. As one of five veto-wielding permanent member, China, must handle behavior that violates relevant UN Security Council resolutions and China's laws and regulations strictly. North Korea continues actively to defy the measures in the UN sanctions resolution. 

It is surprising to see Seoul host its own Defense Dialogue. Korea went through a civil war in 1945, and still remain a separated nation. Senior defense officials and security advisors from home and abroad gathered in Seoul for a regional security forum aimed at discussing ways to curb weapons of mass destruction and handle North Korea's nuclear threat. The Seoul Defense Dialogue brought vice minister-level and other senior defense officials from 15 Asia-Pacific countries, the European Union and two international organizations. The first annual Seoul Defense Dialogue, kicked off on the 14th. Around 100 officials from 15 countries and civilian security experts will discuss common regional security challenges halting the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, countermeasures against cyber threats and detering North Korea's military threats. Although there are various multilateral defense dialogues in the region, the Seoul Defense Dialogue is the first for vice-ministerial level officials. From SDD, I hope to see Asia-Pacific countries must cooperate to maintain peace and stability in the region.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The US stance on Korea Japan land dispute

Recently, James Steinberg, former Deputy Secretary of State, criticized Japan's ICJ suit regarding Dokdo. Steinberg believe that the question of whether Japan should revert to formal mechanisms, namely the ICJ, is probably not the right way to go, precisely because any attempt definitely to resolve these things, even through neutral processes, is going to lead one or the other party unsatisfied. Steinberg's comment may represent Obama administration's stance on Dokdo because Steinberg is one of Obama's closest advisors. The territorial disagreements in East Asia doesn't need to be resolved at the sovereignty level, so long as the related parties recognize each other's joint exploration rights and ease tensions. I look forward to more updates on US's stance on East Asian territorial disputes.

There only midget soldiers in North Korea

So far, North Korean soldiers stationed near the border are reportedly selected from families known to be most loyal to the communist regime to try to prevent military defections that may embarrass North Korea. Moreover, in order to look stronger, soldiers who are at least 170cm tall are stationed. However, nowadays, soldiers who are tall enough and from a loyal family are very difficult to find. Due to the chronic food shortages, many soldiers are malnourished and very short. They now place just tall soldiers even if they are not from a loyal family. From this we can infer the gravity of the food shortage in North Korea.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Psy's Gangnam Style Awarded Best Video at MTV EMA

Psy joined global super stars like Muse, Alicia Keys and the Killers for the MTV Europe Music Awards. Millions of viewers from scores of countries around the world watched Psy perform his Gangnam Style song and his horse-riding dance for the audience before picking up the Best Video award at the MTV Europe Music Awards (EMA) held in Festhalle, in Frankfurt, Germany. It marks the first time a Korean performer has been awarded the Best Video Award from MTV. Heidi Klum referred to him as the undisputed King of Pop as she welcomed him onto the stage to perform Gangnam Style. The song has been viewed more than 700 million times on YouTube and received a record-breaking 4.9 million likes on Facebook since being released in mid-July. If this continues, Gangnam Style may become the most viewed video in the world. Psy, now a huge K-pop super star, will no doubt, receive continual attention from the world.