Thursday, September 27, 2012

I recently heard that rations have ceased even for North Korea's State Security Department and Ministry of People's Security. So far, priority of rations were given to these institutions, but now it has stopped.; This implies that food shortage in North Korea is more grave than expected. Last year, harvest was not good and flood and typhoon damages devastated the already bad situation. This will lead to these powerful institutions to act irrationally. The breakdown of the rationing system is a sign that North Korea is near its collapse. The collapse of North Korean regime is only a matter of time.

Japan's ultranationalism fever

Recently, ultranationalism fever is spreading in Japan. Japan is ignoring values a member of international community must adhere to, and is only putting nationalistic sentiments as their priority. And at the center of this nationalism are Japanese politicians. The politicians are claiming that Dokdo, a land Korea has effective control over, is their territory, and have nationalized Senkaku islands, a territory disputed with China. This resulted in criticism both among international community and domestic citizens. In order to overcome this criticism, Japanese politicians are using nationalistic sentiments. Moreover, they are trying to gain popularity through this nationalistic propagandas for the upcoming elections. Currently, diplomatic issues between the three East Asian countries, Korea, China, and Japan is deteriorating. China, especially, is on the verge of military actions if Japan's provocations of nationalizing really the Senkaku islands takes real effect. I am worried that Asia might be going backwards and heading for a situation similar to that of 20 years before the Cold War.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Japanese novel Silence is a novel about Jesuit missionary sent to 17th century Japan, who endured persecution in the time of Hidden Christians. It depicts Japanese samurai beheading people who refuse to step on the portrait of Jesus. A video showing Japanese extreme rightist demonstrators trampling on Korea's national flag Taeguekki. The video shows people taking turns to step on a version of the Korean flag in which the black lines around the red-andblue central circle are depicted as cockroaches. A man who is not shown in the video urges people to step on the flag saying the flag is fake Pepsi logo. This is no different from the outrageous acts shown in the novel Silence. Japanese anti-Korea protest, though mainly led by a few ultra-rightist groups, are going way too far. Although this is not true, it almost seems that it is in the blood of Japan to insult and destroys the values important to others. If they feel that their country is valuable, they should admit the values of other nations.
The international community takes insults to national flags seriously. If Japan indeed has a will to sustain peace and stability in Asia, it is obligated to enforce legal actions on its people that disturb peace. Even though there is a legal provision such as this, they insulted Korean national flag. I wonder how Japan will handle this issue, if they are even planning to do so.

North Korea, sells gold for cash

North Korea is selling gold for cash. They are in emergency. In the past year, North Korea exported more than 2 tons of gold to China, and got 1 billion dollars. North Korea is not only producing gold, but taking gold from the people to export gold. I doubt that this gold will be used for good. The gold will be used for nuclear development, war preparation, and idolization of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-un. It will be wasted on Kim Jong-un's luxury and propaganda. There is a saying that selling Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il statue can provide for all of North Korea.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Psy's Gangnam Style is set to take over the UK after storming into the charts. Overnight sensation Psy became the first Korean to have a UK singles hit when he went straight in at number 3. On 23rd, Official Charts Company predicted that Gangnam Style could possibly hit Number 1 on UK Singles chart.
Last week, it came in 11th on the Billboard Singles, and it is number 1 in iTunes charts of more than 30 countries including Belgium, Denmark and Netherlands. It is also number 1 on world wide iTunes chart. 'Gangnam Style' music video has a hit of over 2.5 billion hits on Youtube, and is recorded on the Guiness World Record as the most liked video in the world. The world is mesmerized by Gangnam Style. K-pop sensation is spreading through Korean wave stars. It's amazing.

I am in trade related business, and have been going back and forth from Japan for a couple of years. There I talked with many Japanese. When the subject of Dokdo is spurred, every Japanese I talked with replied that Dokdo is Korean territory. The press makes it sound that most of the Japanese believe that Dokdo is Japanese territory, but this is not true. The only people that think Dokdo is Japanese territory are those that are extreme rightists. Countless Japanese have admitted that Dokdo is Korean territory. In 1903, Japanese marine expert, Kuzuu Yoshihisa's book about Korean marine territory, he claims that Dokdo is an Korean island that can be seen at the top of Ulleung island. Few Japanese people are creating a mess in international community by lying and making outrageous comments. I hope this stops.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Tried Kimchi with Rice

I recently read an article from Washington Post, 'Kimchi : Korea's affordable health care' where it reveals the health effects of Kimchi, one of the world's 5 healthy food. In Japan, Kimchi is already popular in normal households. I had the opportunity to eat Kimchi a couple of times when I went to a Korean restaurant. It wasn't as spicy as I expected, and although it was kind of sour, vinegarish tasting, it was pretty good. It had the unique neat taste of Korean food. Kimchi is abundant in lactic acid, and dietary fibers, which helps anti-aging, digestion, strengthens immune systems, and cleans out the toxic waste within the body. With all this health benefits with the taste... Why don't you give it a try!

Greedy Japan

In 1884, Japan arbitrarily included Daoyu islands into their territory. In 1904, they did the same thing with Dokdo. At the moment, Japan invaded neighboring countries and walked a path of imperialism by expanding their territory. Their inclusion of Daoyu islands and Dokdo is therefore, illegal. Daoyu islands are shown as part of Fujian province in a Chinese map dating back to 1865. In the case of Dokdo, not only ancient Korean maps, but also in Japanese literature recorded Dokdo as Korean territory. Even though there is objective evidence and records, Japan remains firm of their scheme to usurp territory. As a war criminal nation that took part in World War II, Japan refuses to repent, but instead tries to reenact their shameful past of imperialism. If Japan continues their efforts to be ignorant, the international community must raise the danger level on Japan's rash actions.

Salt Shortage in North Korea

Salt is essential for the survival of human and animal life. Men have used salt as food preservatives, for cooking, and at funeral offerings. Salt is essential for all living creatures in small quantities. Salt regulates the water content of the body, and is used for electrical signaling in the nervous system. Because of its importance to survival, salt has often been considered a valuable commodity during human history. However, as salt consumption has increased, many modern nations have consumed too much salt leading to health risks, such as high blood pressures. There is, however, an exception to this. North Korea is suffering from salt shortages. Due to typhoon damages, North Korea's salt production has dropped, leaving many North Koreans, including even the soldiers, in dire need of salt. A year ago, I heard that North Korean soldiers ate salt as snack because they had nothing other to eat. Now, they don't even have salt to eat. When soldiers were unable to get access to salt in military, they are leaving their posts and returning to their home to find salt. North Korea is suffering not only from food shortages, but also from salt shortages. I wonder how they will fight if a war breaks out.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Korean students create 'Dokdo Style' to sweep off Japan's territorial ambitions

'Dokdo Style' UCC, a parody of Korea wave star, Psy's 'Gangnam Style' is gaining internet sensation. The video clip created by highschool students to promote 'Love Dokdo, our territory week' event held by one of Korea's regional office of education. The video clip shows Korea's will to protect Dokdo from Japan's territorial ambitions, and is becoming a sensation online.

Erasing Ri Sol-ju's past

In North Korea, everything related to the leaders of North Korea is idolized. Starting from birth to his ability, and relationships, etc. are all subject to worship. And Kim Jong-un's wife, Ri Sol-ju, is no exception. According to a new report in NK News, Ri's past as a member of the Unhasu Orchestra appears to be a matter of controversy. North Korean authorities have been keen to destroy her musical legacy. In July there was a voluntary destruction of CDs and tapes from her musical career. However, the purge didn't go far enough, and special government teams have been formed to force the destruction of the tapes and CDs. North Korean authorities are even restricting the market so the tapes and CDs are not distributed throughout the country. The move is apparently to help bolster Kim Jong-un's image as a elder statesman. Kim Jong-un's mother, Koh Young-hee was also a dancer in an art troupe, which is hardly the very image of a national treasure that is being aimed for. Ri Sol-ju's appeaance is highly effective in highlighting Kim Jong-un's mature side. Moreover it emphasizes the image that the authorities have been pursuing. But how can somebody completely erase the past. Ri Sol-ju was, still is, and will be an ex-troupe dancer. North Korean authorities are simply wasting time and resources in a futile manner.

Have you used Korea's Galaxy Note?

I am currently using both Apple and Samsung products because the products of the two rival companies are different in quality and price. But some end-users prefer product from one company over the other. I saw on the news a couple days ago that American Airlines designated Samsung's Galaxy Note as the phablet for flight attendants. Choosing Galaxy Note over the iPad is an unprecedented event. Merely few weeks ago, Samsung has lost a suit against Apple, but American Airlines move to deploy the Galaxy Note as its official work phablet is meaningful. Quality, price, and service transcends borders making Korean products as competitive as domestic products. I look forward to the products produced between the two rivaling companies.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

K-Pop Cover Dance Festival

The 2012 K-pop Cover Dance Festival will travel around various countries and cities to begin their round 2 auditions to choose to finalists starting Sept 22. More than 1800 video applications were received from more than 70 countries. From this we can see that K-pop's popularity around the globe is increasing. Recently, I have seen a documentary about K-pop, where youths around the globe are mesmerized with K-pop dances and songs, and people taking interest in Korean food. K-pop is inducing people from different cultures and backgrounds to not only learn about Korea's culture as well, but also to share their culture with others.

Starving North Korean soldiers

You probably have heard of the gravity of food shortages in North Korea, and that all the aid flows into the hands of military. Well this too is wrong my friends. I recently found out that even the men in the military who are supposed be well-fed to protect their people, are experiencing malnutrition, and food shortages are rampant among all troops. According to North Korean sources, North Korean soldiers are suffering from malnutrition, and military hospitals are filled with these patients. Even in dire situations regarding food shortages, North Korea has always put the military as their first priority, which prevented food shortages among soldiers. But now, the story is different. The nutritional condition has deteriorated to the extent that almost all soldiers are starving. If North Korea ever goes in war, I wonder how long these soldiers will last in combat. It'd be better for Kim Jong-un to fight the opponent than to send these malnutritioned soldiers.

On the way back home from shopping at Tokyo Shin-Okubo, an angry mob of rightists were demonstrating holding the rising sun flag high up in the air. The large demonstration of rightists who are upset about the territorial dispute regarding Dokdo and the comfort women issue, consisted of more than 100 people, many of who waved the militaristic rising-sun flag. Things got nastier after the march ended, when the marchers broke off into smaller groups and confronted the shopkeepers with even more hostile remarks, such as 'Kill Korea,' 'Fuck Korea.' However, these acts are unscrupulous of the Japanese because I couldn't find any sign of repentance nor self-reflection. Their violent and agressive acts do nothing but degrade Japan's image. As long as Japan has no statute against hate crimes, this kind of ethnic and racial discrimination will remain out of control. Half a century has passed since the end of the last world war, but the issue of territorial disputes is being used as a new pretext to abet what are long-term trends. 

Monday, September 17, 2012

North Korea's refusal to claim bodies that go against common sense

In the central area of the Korean peninsula, where South and North Korea stand face to face, a North Korean soldier's corpse swept to the South due to flood damages, but North Korea refuses to claim the body. North Korean authorities's refusal to claim their soldier's body cannot be understood with common sense. This is very contradictory to what the US have done for the past 50 years. The US government have negotiated with North Korea to recover the bodies of the war heroes MIAs, and KIAs. North Korea's refusal implies that the North Korean authorities do not care for the lives of its people. North Korean people are merely tools and means of maintaining their current regime. In a country like North Korea, there is no human rights or dignity. Only human rights violation prevail.

Can no longer tolerate Japan's terror on human rights!

At the moment, past imperialistic Japanese military comfort women issue is the hot potato in East Asia. The Japanese government and few extreme rightist politicians are denying, ignoring and neglecting the Japanese military sex slaves issue, an issue that the whole world recognizes as Japan's fault. Even after half a century, Japan still refuses to self-reflect on the damages done to victim nations. As a human being living on this planet, Japan's ignorance angers me. Moreover, last June, a extreme rightist Japanese installed and filmed a stake that defiles comfort women memorial statue that reminds humankind of the pain Korean comfort women through. In response, comfort women victims and civil groups sued and the Korean government summoned the Japanese responsible for the act, but the person responsible responded back by threatening to install a stake again. His irrational actions anger me. The Japanese government must not tolerate this terror act on humanity and human rights. If they pardon this terrorist act, Japan will be admitting that they are not a developed country they claim to be.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Kim Jong-un beefs up amusement facilities

North Korea has shown recent movements to beef up amusement parks in areas other than Pyeongyang. This movement is for the social welfare benefit of the North Korean people. However, this is very hypocritical of North Korea because they have ignored the fundamental problem of solving the flood damages.
According to Korean sources, 300 died and 600 were injured or missing, and 87,280 houses have been damaged and 298,050 people were left homeless since mid-June to late-August. What use is an amusement park when people have nowhere to live?
To propagandize his achievements, Kim Jong-un builds amusement parks even when people are suffering from flood damages.

Do you know the definition of Gangnam Style?

Times chose Gangnam Style as the Wednesday word and provided the definition of the word. Gangnam Style is a manner associated with lavish lifestyles in Seoul's Gangnam district, a word increasingly popular since South Korea rapper Psy released the music video, Gangnams Style. Recently, Gangnam Style reached 1.5 billion views, and ranked 1st on iTunes Charts. Psy's cheekiness mesmerized the world. If I ever get a chance to go to Korea, I would like to visit Gangnam.

Commemorating General MacArthur's Inchon Landing...

On the 15th, in commemoration of the anniversary of the Inchon Landing, the Korean military re-enacted the battle. The re-enactment off the shore of Inchon featured an array of South Korean land, sea, and air equipment. The re-enactment gave me an idea how fierce the battle was.
The Inchon Landing, led by General Douglas MacArthur, cut off North Korean forces from their supply lines, which had extended deep into the southern part of the Korean peninsula. Soon after, allied forces liberated Seoul and pushed the North Korean forces back, and marked a turning point in the Korea war. The war vets of Korea, US, and UN all expressed gratitude for the re-enactment ceremony.
I believe that the Korean war was the stepping stone and the beginning of the good relationship between Korea and our country. I hope this relationship continues.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

President Lee Myung-bak have forged a partnership deal with of rare earth materials-rich country, Greenland. The two countries signed a deal that will aid the exploitation of rare earths as well as other strategic metals. They have signed a ground for developing cooperation of one of the future's most essential resources, rare earth materials.
many people do not know about the value of rare earth materials, but rare earth materials are very crucial for economic development. For example, when there are military and diplomatic conflicts between China and Japan, China always uses an earth material export ban card to have an advantage over Japan. Rare earth elements are necessary resources used in LCD, LED Smartphones, and is a resource that is needed in producing environmentally friendly products, such as hybrid automobiles. In other words, if a country does not have access to rare earth materials, the country will not be able to advance economically and technologically in the future.
Therefore, Korea built the first stepping stone in creating a base for rare earth material supply. If both countries, Greenland and Korea, cooperate and trade efficiently, I believe both can benefit from this deal. I hope this is a deal that will bring economic stability to both countries.

Random News

Comfort women issue reflects that Japanese politicians lack historical awareness. All evidence and witnesses prove that Japanese imperial military forced women into sexual slavery, but mayor of Osaka, Hashimoto, denies the fact that women were 'coerced' into sexual slavery. Although a few Japanese civil groups are criticizing Hashimoto's claims, but Hashimoto refuses to listen to the voices and goes further stating that the Kono conversation needs to be reversed. I wonder who will correct and fix-up Hashimoto's messed up historical facts.

The Japanese government started running ads reiterating its territorial claim over Dokdo. If Dokdo really were Japanese territory, they wouldn't need to have an ad targeting its own people to educate them that Dokdo is theirs. Just by perpetually insisting that Dokdo is theirs something doesn't make the territory theirs. When will Japan realize this?

As North Korea increasingly launch explicit cyber attacks on South Korea, Korea and the US are pushing to hold regular joint exercises and train professionals to guard against growing threats of cyber attacks from North Korea. North Korea's cyber capability is already believed to be one of the greatest in the world. Therefore, it is crucial that South Korea reinforce its cyber warfare capabilities to deter North Korea's future threats and provocations in cyberspace.

The popularity of K-pop is at its pinnacle. Because of K-pop fever in Poland, Korea's traditional music, Taekwondo, Hanbok, K-food, and other Korea culture is being introduced. Now, Korean wave fever is not limited to K-pop, but all of Korean culture.

North Korea rejected South Korea's offer of food and medical supplies to help flood victims. This is because South Korea proposed providing 10,000 tons of flour, 3 million packages of ramen noodles.
North Korea responded by expressing dissatisfaction with the assistance offered and claimed that type of support is not needed. What they needed was heavy equipment, cement, and rice. North Korea criticized South Korea and the ROK National Red Cross for behaving condescendingly for providing such useless items.
In the past, North Korea has been accused of using aids for flood victims from provided by South Korea for military purposes. If North Korea are given rice and cement, it is very likely that they will misuse the resources for military purpose.
Who in the right minds would provide aid to North Korea if they use it for military purposes? The international community's request for transparency of the use of the aids are just and North Korea must adhere to these requests.
North Korea should not be offended for the fact they are being doubted by the international community because it was they that caused the suspicion in the first place.
North Korea's refusal and criticism towards South Korea's 'useless' aids is absurd. I strongly believe that they are not in the position to be picky. If North Korea indeed did care about its people they would have accepted the aid regardless of all strings attached. This is all probably because North Korea aims to misuse the aids for a different purpose. Hint - military purposes...

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

North Korea has extended its annual Arirang Show

North Korea has extended its annual Arirang Show dance and gymnastics performance till the end of this month. The show features tens of thousands of young gymnasts performing synchronized acrobatics, dance routines, and flip-card masaic animations, in what is known as the world's largest gymnastics show by the Guiness Book records.
According to North Korean defectors who participated in the Arirang Show testified that the Ariang Show is used as an important ideological character to praise the North Korean regime, and that many are mistreated for months to prepare for the performance. Many participants including young children are beaten and assaulted on scene for many months. Because the preparation is so rigid and requires people to perfect their roles, people urinate on the practice scene.
North Korea reported that the performance of Arirang Show, a show that brings in foreign currency at the cost of the people's pain, would end on September 9th. So I was relieved that it would end. However, North Korea suddenly extended the show by another 18 days.
How much do the North Korean people have to suffer and pay for the lust and greed of Kim Jong-un family? Probably, the only way to end the suffering is to get put an end to the tyrant regime.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Random News

The Japanese government started running ads stating its territorial claim over Dokdo. This occurred only after two days when Japanese Prime Minister Noda and South Korean president shook hands at the Russian APEC summit to improve ties and to maintain future-oriented cooperation and development between the two countries. After all, it seems like Japan's gesture of truce was a preparation for backstabbing.

North Korea has accepted a South Korean aid offer, raising hopes for an improvement in relations between the two countries. But don't be fooled. Although the flood damage in North Korea may be devastating, North Korea took the offer to create an advantageous position in receiving aid from the international society by creating a false gesture of improvement in the relationship between the two Koreas.

North Korean government made a blistering and extremely rare attack on Chinese corporations that had accused North Korea of corruption and fraud in the investment. The Chinese corporation described North Korea as not having the conditions for foreigners to invest and that the Chinese government is condoning North Korea's investment frauds. It seems that increasing the China-NK relationship is breaking apart. I wonder how long China will look after North Korea if this continues.

Korean film Pieta Receives Leone d'Oro

A Korean film is at the pinnacle of the film world. South Korea's Kim Ki-Duk's Pieta was awarded the Leone d'Oro, one of the world's most prestigious awards in the film world.
In 2004, Director Kim Ki-Duk received Best Director awards at two different festivals, for two different films. At the Berlin International Film Festival, he was awarded for Samaritan Girl, and at the Venice Film Festival he won for 3-Iron. And in 2011, At the Cannes International Film Festival, he received Un Certain Regard prize for Arirang. He is the first Korean director to receive awards from world's three major film festivals, Venice, Cannes, and Berlin.
Pieta is a film that depicts the mysterious relationship between a brtual man who works for loan sharks and a middle-aged woman who claims that she is his mother.
Korean wave is spreading from K-Pop to the international film scene. It almost feels like modern art culture shifted to Korea, a small Asian country.

Monday, September 10, 2012

In response to Japanese government's announcements of going ahead with the purchase of Senkaku islands, China prompted a strong response, announcing the definition of the baseline of its territorial waters, which includes the disputed islands. If Japan wants to exercise sovereignty over Senkaku, a territory Japan has effective control, Japan should lose their hypocrisy and leave Korea's Dokdo alone.

North Korean Female Soldiers Sexually Abused!

One of the many serious human rights violation committed in North Korea is the sexual abuse of female soldiers. Many women who are unable to enter university after graduation from middle school or highschool enlist in the military because the career prospects as a soldier is better than working as a laborer at collective farms.
Many female soldiers are often lured by their male superiors and political leaders by the offer of a position in the Labor Party. In North Korea, abandoning the opportunity to join the Labor Party is basically giving up the opportunity to become successful.
Consequently, North Korean female soldiers endure and put up with the sexual abuse and continue their military life for the hope of joining the Labor Party. If they resist the sexual abuse, they are forced out of the army, and sent back to their home town. As long as the existing North Korean regime subsists, sexual abuse on female soldiers in North Korea will continue.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Since going live, Gangnam Style by K-pop musician Psy has garnered numerous hits on Youtube, and the world's appetite for the song and its music video has shown no sign of waning. Across the Internet, viewers have found endless ways to riff on the song, posting everything from reaction videos to elaborate parodies of the original video. Wall Stree Journal even wrote an article about 5 Must-See 'Gangnam Style' Response Videos.
One the five must-see videos are Pyongyang Style. This video pairs the music of Gangnam Style with a visual mashup of footage from a North Korean military parade along with where Kim Jong-il waves his hand.
Although North Korea is showing signs of change and economic reforms, this is all to stabilize the Kim Jong-un regime by ease the dissatisfaction of the North Korean people. However, North Korea's reform methods are different from the ones implemented by Socialist countries, mainly the Eastern European countries. The economic reform by North Korea is very distinct that it is sometimes referred to as 'Pyongyang Style' reform, so I believe that it is a bit too early to jump to conclusions and claim that North Korea indeed is changing.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

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.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Japan’s territorial troubles

Tensions have flared again over the Takeshima/Dokdo islands between Japan and Korea and continue to simmer over the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands with China.
The recent spat with Korea was sparked by Korean President Lee Myung-bak’s bizarre trip to the islands a week or so ago.
In taking the territorial issue right up to Tokyo at the end of his presidency, Lee has taken a leaf out of the book of Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, who was the first Russian president to set foot on the Kuril Islands (or the northern territories, as Japan calls these islands in dispute with Russia). Lee’s visit has jeopardised a bilateral summit planned at APEC in Vladivostok and bolstered Japan’s determination to take the dispute to the International Court of Justice.
Japan’s dispute over the Senkakus with China has been simmering below boiling point since the confrontation over a Chinese fishing boat’s ramming a Japanese coast guard vessel in September 2010. Japan’s arrest of the Chinese fishing captain and ramping the incident up to a diplomatic stoush over territory, rather than dealing with it as a low-key fisheries matter, were bad missteps in managing the incident, and they continue to play into Japanese politics and diplomacy in unhelpful ways.
Now firebrand Tokyo Governor, Shintaro Ishihara, has declared his intention to use Tokyo Metropolitan Government funds to purchase three islands of the five-island Senkaku chain from their private landowner to protect them from China, predictably provoking outrage from China and Taiwan. Donors in Japan have contributed over ¥1.3 billion (US$16 million) to a fund for Tokyo to purchase the islands, essentially forcing the central government’s hand and pushing it to assert its authority. Last week, 14 Chinese activists landed on the islands and were arrested by the Japanese authorities. It was the first successful landing in eight years and their arrest represents another Japanese exercise of sovereign administration over the islands. Meanwhile, two Japanese cabinet ministers visited Yasukuni shrine on the anniversary of the end of the war (15 August) throwing fuel on the fire.
Japan has recalled its ambassadors from both Beijing and Seoul over these territorial disputes, albeit for different reasons: from Beijing briefly for consultations on diplomatic niceties and from Seoul until further notice in protest about the Lee visit.
This week’s lead essays, by Kee-seok Kim on the Korea–Japan dispute and by Hitoshi Tanaka on the Japan–China dispute, set the disputes in the context of domestic and regional political affairs. Each offers cautionary advice to their own countrymen.
Kim argues that Lee’s stunt was motivated by an attempt to boost the government’s flagging approval rating. Lee is a lame duck, embroiled in corruption scandals involving his brother. He timed the visit to coincide with the culmination of two weeks of patriotism, after Korean athletes did remarkably well at the London Olympic Games and five days before Liberation Day (at the end of the Pacific War), which celebrates Korea’s emancipation from Japanese colonial rule. The timing was calculated to maximise the popularity of the event, and it seems to have worked. A government poll suggests that, with popular approval of the visit exceeding 80 per cent among Korean people, he may have succeeded. The foreign-policy establishment apparently knew nothing of the visit and are desperately trying to continue business as usual.
The upshot, as Kim points out, is that Lee has given Japan a free kick in putting pressure on Korea. There is no question that, while Japan claims the disputed territory, Korea effectively controls it. This offence against diplomatic decency in the conduct of Korea’s relations with Japan will certainly mean that the next Korean government will face great pressure to yield concessions of one kind or another to restore its bruised relations with Tokyo.
Tanaka warns that the Senkaku/Diaoyu contretemps has broader ramifications for regional relations were it to get out of hand. Beyond the sovereignty of the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands themselves, politicisation of the issue has potentially involved the US–Japan alliance, Japan–China relations, and China’s overall engagement with the region. ‘The defence of the Senkaku Islands’, he argues, ‘is a critical issue for the US–Japan alliance. Irrespective of historical and legal intricacies, the Senkaku Islands are clearly covered under the US–Japan Security Treaty. After World War II, the US took control of Okinawa, including the Senkaku Islands. The Senkakus were mapped out and included as one of the US administered territories that were returned to Japan as part of the reversion of Okinawa in 1972′. The 2010 Japanese coast guard incident resulted in US declarations that the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands were within the jurisdiction of the US–Japan alliance. Unlike the case of Takeshima/Dokdo, Japan has effective control of the Senkaku Islands. ‘The plan to nationalise the islands — instead of allowing them to be purchased by the Tokyo government — is consistent with Japan’s established policy of maintaining control of the Senkakus in a low-key manner’, Tanaka says.
But, he concludes, the Japanese government has a good way to go to dampen nationalistic antagonism with China by providing a full explanation of its intentions on Senkaku policy, including, presumably, how it welcomes cooperation with China in the management and development of the region.
For Japan, these two disputes, despite their different configurations, are joined at the hip. Both were incorporated into the Japanese empire by cabinet decisions in 1905 and 1895 respectively, and neither was decisively stripped from Japanese sovereignty at the San Francisco treaty conference of 1951, which legalised the post-war territorial settlement in the Far East. And the conflicting claims are not likely to be resolved by legal process any time soon. As Kim and Tanaka suggest, the crucial objective is to preserve a modus operandi that does not disturb the broader peace.

Japan AGAIN....

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 is restoring the use of the Rising Sun Flag, a symbolism of invasions by Imperial Japanese Army. This is basically the equivalent of Germans using the Nazi Germany Flag. This is proof that Japan still craves the desire for the failed Japanese imperialism. It's almost as if Japan is reenact the past invasions anytime soon. We can see Japan's fascism from their arguments that Korea's Dokdo is Japanese territory.
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 and refuse to apologize for its past crimes.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Black Eagles Becomes Top Star at International Debut

Do you know the Korean Air Force Aerobatic Team, Black Eagles that received the Boeing Trophy for best display at the Waddington International Air Show?
Their display was acclaimed by international air show specialists and manias because they were awarded the Boeing Trophy at their international debut.
During the Waddington Air Show, held June 30th to July 1st, the Black Eagles won the 2012 Best Overall Flying Demonstration award, and during the world's largest airshow, RIAT, held July 7-8th, the team won The King Hussein Memorial Sword and The As the Crows Flies Trophy. And in July 9~15th at the Farnborough air show, one of the world's three renowned air show, Black Eagles was acclaimed for their amazing performance.
Black Eagles's excellent performance was shuttled by T-50B, South Korea's first indigenous supersonic aircraft, which brought Korea's munition industry into the attention of the world.
Korea is known in the international defense industry to have competence not only in air crafts, but also in tanks, high-speed boats, etc. I am looking forward to the Black Eagle's next performance.

Monday, September 3, 2012

EDITORIAL: Japan should look at big picture on ‘comfort women’ issue

Japan-South Korea relations are souring again over the issue of “comfort women,” who were forced to provide sex to Japanese soldiers before and during World War II.
What opened up the discord was South Korean President Lee Myung-bak’s comment that he landed on one of the disputed Takeshima islets on Aug. 10 because the Japanese government had made no progress on the comfort women issue despite Seoul’s demand for compensation.
The islets in the Sea of Japan, controlled by South Korea, are claimed by Japan.
In response, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda told a Diet committee this month that the government could not confirm the existence of documents that showed that the women were taken by force. South Koreans took his remarks as a distortion of history, and protests are spreading across South Korea.
We wonder if it was appropriate for Lee, as president, to incite nationalism by bringing up disagreements on the question of history.
But Japanese politicians are also at fault in the way they have dealt with the issue.
In particular, we cannot ignore comments by some politicians, including Jin Matsubara, chairman of the National Public Safety Commission, and former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, calling for a re-examination of the 1993 statement released by then Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono on the comfort women issue.
Based on various documents and testimonies, the government admitted in the Kono statement that the Japanese military was broadly involved in the establishment of comfort stations and management of comfort women. The statement offered an apology and reflection of the Japanese government.
It is an irrefutable fact that many women were deprived of their physical and mental freedom and had their honor and dignity violated.
Matsubara and others cited the absence of documents pointing to coercion in their calls for the re-examination of the Kono statement. We believe their argument is tantamount to failing to see the trunk for the branches.
There is also something we want the South Korean people to understand.
In response to the Kono statement, the Japanese government took the initiative to set up the Asian Women’s Fund jointly with the private sector in 1995. The fund, collecting contributions from the public, offered compensation to the victims with a letter of apology signed by successive prime ministers.
It is extremely regrettable that many South Koreans are unaware of these acts.
Yet some Japanese politicians have been repeatedly making comments as if to deny the Japanese government’s stance. Under such circumstances, Japanese prime ministers’ apologies, no matter how sincere, are viewed with skepticism.
Five years ago, Abe, as prime minister, stated that there was no “coercion in the narrow sense,” that authorities did not take away women by force like an abductor.
Later, U.S. Congress and the European Parliament adopted resolutions demanding the Japanese government apologize for the comfort women issue, describing it as “one of the largest cases of human trafficking in the 20th century.”
It was a warning by international society against Japanese politicians who are still unable to squarely face the mistakes Japan made in the past.
Can the politicians demanding the re-examination of the Kono statement repeat their comments in South Korea, Europe and the United States?
Noda should avoid making comments that cause misunderstanding and once again make clear to audiences both at home and abroad his determination to follow the Kono statement.
-- The Asahi Shimbun, Aug. 31

It's relieving that there are people who are conscientious and smart enough to admit what's wrong in Japan...

Kim Jong-un's wife, Ri Sol-ju's frequent appearance reflects Kim Jong-un's young age complex. It's only been 2 to 3 years Kim Jong-un appeared in the official public. So, his young age, in his mid to late 20s, and incompetence as a leader of nation would not be desirable for the North Korean people.
By bringing in Ri Sol-ju into the public scenery, Kim Jong-un is emphasizing that he is a perfectly capable adult who has a wife. In addition, he is using Ri Sol-ju's unprecedented actions to emphasize Kim Jong-un's an open minded leadership.
However, this phenomena is an action that was extensively calculated, so you should not be fooled by the appearances. Kim Jong-un visited military troops to stimulate his soldiers for the preparation of war. Just like his predecessors, he is a dictator uninterested in stabilizing the livelihoods of the public, but only interested in unification under communism.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Why Won’t the Koreans Take Up Japan´s Offer to Bring the Dokdo Issue before the ICJ?

Found this interesting webpage about Dokdo… Enjoy!
Really, why hasn´t the Republic of Korea taken up Japan´s offer to take the Dokdo dispute before the International Court of Justice (ICJ)?   After all, it seems only natural that if the Koreans believe that they have a legitimate claim to Dokdo, they should be more than willing to submit to arbitration by an authoritative and objective international organization such as the ICJ. 
A few things to keep in mind about the ICJ:   A territorial dispute can only be brought to the ICJ if both countries involved in the dispute agree to settle it there.   Korea sees no reason to take the sovereignty of Dokdo before the ICJ, so the Japanese cannot have their day in court.   Also, as the rulings from the ICJ do not have any legal force, neither country has to heed the judgement of the Court.   Therefore, if either Japan or Korea (or both) do not like the decision handed down by the ICJ, they could simply ignore it.   Taking a dispute to the ICJ is akin to a “gentleman´s agreement”, and there is no guarantee that either the Korean or Japanese government would follow an ICJ ruling that was not in their favor.   As responsive as these two governments are to public opinion in their respective countries on this issue, it is really hard to believe that either government would respect a ruling on the sovereignty of Dokdo that would go against popular national opinion.   So much for the ICJ… 
Even if an ICJ ruling over Dokdo could be respected and accepted by the public and governments of both countries, there are serious mitigating circumstances that would make the Koreans rethink the wisdom of taking the issue to the ICJ.   If past decisions of the ICJ are taken into account, it seems the ICJ does not take into consideration the concept of imperialist aggression, nor does it weigh judgements heavily on historical background.   Two cases brought before the ICJ are instructive: 
The Minquiers and Ecrehos Case (1953) between The U.K. and France has been pointed out as similar to the dispute over Dokdo.   The Miniquiers and Ecrehos are uninhabited reefs off the coast of northern France.   Britain and France agreed in the 13th century that these reefs would belong to France.   The French did not take any administrative action to formally incorporate the islands, assuming that they were naturally French territory.   Later in the 1800s, Britain saw the fishing value of the islands and began to use them and to take administrative action to recognize them as British territory.   When the two nations took the issue to the ICJ, the Court took into account the administrative steps that Britain had taken and their detailed instances of “effective occupation” since the 19th century.   The French had the claim of historical legitimacy, but the ICJ ruled in favor of the U.K. because France´s failure to lodge a protest was decided to be an abandonment of its territorial rights.   Likewise in the case of Dokdo, the ICJ might rule that Korea was negligent in keeping its rights to the islets, following the precedent of the Minquiers and Ecrehos Case.   This is especially true if the Court cannot take into consideration the concept of imperialist aggression (i.e. the fact that the Japanese Empire took over the foreign affairs of Korea in 1906, thereby not allowing an effective Korean protest to the Japanese takeover of Dokdo).
The other case that may help us understand why Korea won´t go before the ICJ is that of the Preah Vihear Temple Case (1962) between Thailand and Cambodia.   Thailand and French Indochina agreed to a demarcation of their common border, and the Preah Vihear Temple was to be on the Thai side of the border as stipulated by treaty.   However, when the Thai King commissioned the French military to make a map to be attached to the treaty, the temple was shown on the Cambodian side of the border.   The Thais considered the error a minor one and did not correct it, thinking that as the treaty clearly mentioned that the temple would be in Thai territory, the error would not be problematic.   When brought before the ICJ, the case was decided in favor of Cambodia, since the Thais had not requested correction of the map and had themselves distributed copies of the map.   Again, the ICJ´s view was that the country that did not speak up to correct something that they did not agree with was the one to be punished.   This is particularly troubling since the Court put more importance on a map and not the treaty the two states had signed.   One can also see how the ICJ again did not take into consideration the actions of an imperialist power.
Such precedents would not bode well for the Koreans if they decided to take the Dokdo issue before the ICJ.   If Japan were in Korea´s position, if the shoe were on the other foot, nobody would expect that Japan would be willing to go to the ICJ considering the nature of that court.   The Japanese Foreign Ministry is well aware of the nature of the court and of Japan´s potential advantage before the ICJ.   The Koreans rightfully will not take the ICJ into consideration; instead they state that Dokdo is actually NOT a disputed island, since they are not the ones arguing over its sovereignty.   The situation is just that of Japan wanting something that is not theirs. 

The Korean government rejected Japan's proposal to take the question of sovereignty over Dokdo to the International Court of Justice. Japan threatened to take the issue without Korea's consent, but the ICJ needs the consent of both parties in anyp dispute to spring into action.
Although in 1965 the two countries signed normalization of their relations to resolve territorial row in accordance with a bilateral diplomatic note on settling disputes between the two countries, Japan's claims that Dokdo is a disputed territory has been excluded from the normalization documents. Therefore, there is no need to consent to the Japan's request to take the issue to the ICJ. Moreover, Dokdo is clearly Korea's sovereign territory, a fact that precludes the existence of any dispute over the islands. If both countries do not consent, the suit will not be proceeded. Therefore, Japan's action to take the issue to the ICJ by itself is simply hilarious.
Korea at the moment has a firm stance in the territorial dispute between the two countries. First, Korea has effective control over Dokdo, and there is no historical reason Japan should say that Dokdo is their territory. Therefore, Korea did not and felt no need to outwardly state that Dokdo is their territory. Simply stated, a person on the street wearing a Rolex watch wouldn't shout out to everybody that the watch indeed belongs to him because others would think that the watch implicitly belongs to that person. Just by shouting that, he would instead arouse suspicion. This is the case for Dokdo. Since Dokdo is Korean territory with 100% certainty, there is no need to turn it into a disputed territory. It is all Japan's trickery to turn Dokdo into a disputed territory so that they can have a shot at stealing something that does not belong to them.