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KMHPF
Feb 12, 2022
In KMH PF NEWS
Amid a series of civilian damage caused by landmines, it was argued that the Ministry of Defense-led mine removal work has limitations and that the government should establish a mine removal organization at the pan-government level and speed up mine removal in accordance with the UN International Mine Behavior Standard. The Peace Sharing Association argued at a "discussion of the actuality and countermeasures of landmine accidents" held at the National Assembly building and said management, recognition, monitoring (land release, environmental impact assessment, economic evaluation), investigation, removal, industrial safety and risk education are needed. The United Nations International Mine Action Standards (IMAS) is a guideline introduced by the World Mine Pollution Bureau to solve the problem of mines and explosives, and recommends solving the problem through pan-ministerial cooperation, international cooperation, and private cooperation. Accordingly, Rep. Seol proposed the "Basic Act on National Mine Response (Draft)" in July last year based on the international landmine behavior standard. Korea's mine areas are a total of 112.5Km2, including the DMZ, the civilian control line area, the southern part of the civilian control line, and the unidentified mine area, of which 80%, or 90.78Km2, are unidentified areas. There are 1,171 civilian mine victims, and 6,428 civilian victims, including explosives (non-ballistics, etc.) similar to mines. The number of mines buried is about 1.5 million in the front and 75,000 in the rear, and the Ministry of National Defense estimated that it would take about 489 years to remove the unidentified minefield.
Leave more than 1 Million Landmines in the Country content media
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KMHPF
Dec 11, 2021
In KMH PF NEWS
Mt. Geumgang and Haegeum River from the coastal path and observation deck along the sound of the waves Goseong County, which connects Mt. Geumgang with Mt. Seorak, is the site of the history of mt. Geumgang land sightseeing. The view of the Haegeum River and Mt. Kumgang from the Mt. Geumgang Observatory through the Geumgang Gate is an unspeakable impression for those who go on a trip to Dobo. [Total length 7.9Km (walk 2.7Km)] Linked destinations: DMZ Museum, Hwajinpo Maritime Museum, Lee Seung-man, Ha Hee LaBender Farm, HwajinPo Castle (Kim Il Sung Star), Cheongganjeong, Wanggok Village, Tsungpadae, Song ji-ho, Tianhakjeong/Moonampogu, Ayajin Beach, Gunbongsa  Goseong Unification Observatory: The Northernmost Unified Observatory in Korea opened in 1983 and has long been a popular security tourism destination. The last peak of Mt. Geumgang, The Old Sun Peak, is close together, and on a clear day you can see the highest peaks, Birobong and Jade Women's Peak. Goseong Unification Observatory Towards the sea, you can see the Haegeum River, also known as Mt. Geumgang of the Sea, beyond the iron wall. It is only 5 km away. Starting in 2019, the "Goseong Unification Observatory" has been new right next door. The Goseong Unification Observatory is 34 meters high and is 20 meters higher than the existing observatory. It opened on December 28, 2018, in an atmosphere of North-South reconciliation. With a cooler view of the northern lands, it is expected to serve as a base for reunification tourism on the Korean peninsula as the eastern starting point of the DMZ tourism belt. Underneath the observation deck are the East Sea and East Sea railways (East Sea north line), which are extensions of Route 7. The East Sea Road began construction in September 2002, temporarily opened in February 2003, and was completed 14.2 kilometers from Songhyun-ri in the south to Goseong in the north in October 2004. Since 2003, the road has been touring Mt. Geumgang overland. Unfortunately, in July 2008, the death of tourist Park Wang-ja led to a complete suspension of mt. Kumgang tourism, making it a path that no one on the East Sea Road can use. East Sea When the railway East Sea runs alongside the railway, it began construction in September 2002 and was completed in December 2005, just like the road. East Sea Railway runs for a total of 26 kilometers from Jejin Station to North Korea's Onjeong-ri Youth Station, home to the Mt. Geumgang Tourist Complex. In fact, however, the train East Sea Sun the railroad ran only once on May 17, 2007.  Coastal Observatory : The first step on the DMZ Peace Road Castle section is from passing through the railroad tracks towards the coast. There is a steep staircase directly towards the sea when you enter the railroad, and a small observation deck is installed under the stairs. It is the first of three observation decks and photo zones installed in the section. The observation deck overlooks the southern sea. Down this Observation deck, you’ll begin the 2.7Km WALK. On the right side of the walk, you can see the blue sea crossing between two layers of iron bars. Our long rails along the coast are managed by the scientific boundary system. It's hard to see soldiers working on the perimeter along the iron line. Thanks to the state-of-the-art 'light net'. In the past, barbed wire was punctured with sticks, and barbed wire was shaken to find signs of intrusion, but now there is an immediate alarm even if some of it is cut or slightly loaded or pressured. A surveillance camera near the railroad tracks identifies the location and immediately informs the situation room and command and control room. But it's the wildlife that's been unexpectedly threatening this smart ironclad. It's often a raccoon or a smaller animal when you see a loud beep East Sea So hang a bag or PET bottle at the bottom of the iron fence with the ingredients of the smell that the animal doesn't like. Sometimes, when an animal approaches, it automatically makes a sound of beasts. This is also to prevent such problems from prohibiting visitors from carrying food and sugary beverages.  Tongjeon Tunnel: From the observation deck, you will immediately find a railroad track and tunnel on the right. This tunnel is East Sea Seon railway passes by, called the whole tunnel. This railroad line is East Sea the Northern Line, which is set from Anyang, South Hamgyong Province to Yangyang, Gangwon Province, for the purpose of displacing resources during the Japanese period of strength. The original plan was to connect Yangyang directly to Busan, but after opening in 1937, the rest of the section was not completed, and the liberation, war, and division were established. Next to the Jinjin checkpoint where we met shortly before coming to the Unification Observatory is Jejin Station, the only south station on the East Sea railway (East SeaNorth Line), which was once tested from Jejin Station there to The Gamho Station in North Korea, but has since been blocked again. The train was moved to Mukho Port in June 2008 after staying at Jejin Station. However, in April 2018, president Moon Jae-in and Chairman Kim Jong Un agreed on the recovery of the East Sea line at the first Inter-Korean summit, and then they are working on measures to connect the North-South railway. Once this railroad will be re-operated, it will start in Busan and connect with the Trans-Siberian Railway (TSR) through North Korea's Wonsan, Najin and Russia's Hassan. <I dream of the train I want to be on, Jinjin Station> Jinjin Station succeeded the super-zone, which was abolished in 1950. Under the Armistice Agreement of 1953, the military demarcation line was drawn, and the Cho area- Hyunhyam-Yangyang Station became the effective ruling area of the Republic of Korea, but it was already super-completed, so we abolished all of these sections. In 2000, in accordance with the 6.15 North-South Joint Declaration, a north-south entry office was established in 2006. On the other hand, the North demolished the line immediately after the war, and in 1996, it restored the Geumgangsan Youth Station (formerly Foreign River Station) section of Anbhan Station and renamed the route the Mt. Kumgang Youth Line, which is about 17 miles (27 kilometers) south of Jinjin Station, but there is no track south of Jinjin Station. Jejin Station is truly an isolated station because even if there is a track to the north, it cannot be moved because it is blocked by the military demarcation line.  Southern Limit Line: Walk through the Mt. Geumgang story, 6.25 War Story, and you'll see a dark band of concrete jaws and blue bands. It's the southern limit line. This means entering the DMZ, which is governed by the UN Military Armistice Commission. THIS IS THE SOUTHERN LIMIT LINE, WHICH WAS ESTABLISHED 2 KILOMETERS SOUTH OF THE SOUTH, WITH THE MILITARY DEMARCATION LINE CREATED DURING THE ARMISTICE AGREEMENT AS THE BASELINE. 4KM UP FROM HERE. IN OTHER WORDS, UP TO 2 KM NORTH IS THE DEMILITARIZED ZONE. However, I know that each north and south have blocked the limit line with iron, but I am surprised that there are no iron or woodblocks here. For a smoother boundary, the iron line is raised up. There are some places where the southern limit line shown on the map differs from the actual iron book. It is the result of the North and the South approaching a little to make it easier to observe through the Cold War. A little further up the coast from the cover line, you'll encounter a railroad.  Excavator: Just above the southern limit line, at least 10 years have been left unattended. Next to it, there are all the poles. In 2003, while working on a coastal pole, I stepped on a landmine. At the time, there was an "unidentified mine zone" sign, but the accident happened in an instant due to the carelessness of the civilian driver. Luckily, the driver was unharmed, but it's a singular example of how terrifying the unidentified mine is. Since then, all construction has been suspended and the accident site at the time has been preserved. How many landmines are currently buried throughout the Korean Peninsula? According to data provided by the Joint Chiefs of Staff in 2016, it is estimated that a total of about 2 million shots were buried between North and South Korea. In the last decade, our military has removed about 62,000 landmines. In fact, it eliminates about 600 shots per year. The LandMine Removal Act (2013.1.2.) was proposed by Representative Song Young-geun in the 19th National Assembly. According to the National Defense Commission review report, removing landmines at the current rate would take about 469 years to remove all landmines on the Korean peninsula, and the budget would reach 1 trillion. In particular, the DMZ area, where most landmines are currently buried, has many basalt canyons, making landmine detection difficult.  Songdo Observatory: This is the second observatory and photo zone in the section. The small island in front of you is Songdo. It is a legend that the peaks over the island were the old peaks of North Korea, where nine fresh came down and put go. Songdo is not only pine, but there are small bamboo turrets, elms, soothes, and other plants. It's untouched, and the castle people say it's a place where abalone gets old and dies. In May and June, the flowers and flowers bloom, and the acacia, which is a colony on the mountain side, blooms and becomes spectacular. Songdo, a small island, is home to peaceful flora and fauna, but in the past 60s, north Korean troops conducted underwater penetration drills. Of course, we have a special device in our archipelago island to carry out inspection operations, and an ambush is installed in the middle of the island.  Geumgang Tongmun(Gate): The end point of the walkout. It's actually in front of the southern limit line. Here is a formal, unique passage into the DMZ. In particular, tongmun is the northernmost gate in Korea and is called the Kumgang Gate. When entering the DMZ, you must be with an armed guard, whether you have one or ten. It applies to all visitors other than demilitarized zone search and GP work purposes, and there are no exceptions for military personnel. And everyone who enters has strict procedures, such as wearing bulletproof hats and bulletproof vests, as well as identity checks. Mt. Geumgang overland tourism, separated family reunions, and north-south passages are all symbolic places to pass through. Here is a well-wisher of the origins of peace. The soaring 'Road to Peace' signs walked with the people in person, commemorating the "DMZ Path of Peace" initiated by President Moon Jae-in at the castle. We look forward to seeing this path from the castle to the strengthening of the DMZ, which is no longer a symbol of division, but a symbol of peace and win-win. On the left, you can see that the East Sea roads and railways that we saw on the Unification Observatory when we departed lead north to the north of tongmun.  Mt. Geumgang Observatory: Mt. Geumgang Observatory is 2 km north of the Goseong Unification Observatory, so you can see the Mt. Geumgang Jubong Ridge clearly with your naked eye. From 1953 to 1983, it was the front-line boundary post (GP) inside the DMZ. It is about 800 meters from the southern limit line and 1.2 km from the military demarcation line (M). It was renovated in May 1992 and remodeled as of December 2009. In 1993, the reunification observatory expanded the driveway, but civilians were banned from entering the country because they feared it would provoke the North after Kim il-sung's death in 1994. Beyond the highlands just in front of the left, you can clearly see the Mt. Geumgang Jubong ridge and the Three-Day Gun, the best of the Kanto Palgyong, and at the front, the railroad that connects north to the East Sea-line road, where the separated family reunion group moved to The Ongjeong-ri, seems close to hand. On the right side of the East Sea, you'll see a panoramic view of the Haegeum River called Mt. Geumgang of the Sea, the lake known as the <Sun and the Woodman> as the backdrop, Buddha rocks, sagong rocks, and the outer spine. If you look back and look south, you can enjoy the cool scenery by looking out to the Unification Observatory and Hwajinpo, where the path of peace departed.
Mt. Geumgang and Haegeum River from the coastal path and observation deck along the sound of the waves content media
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KMHPF
Nov 15, 2021
In KMH PF NEWS
‘"DMZ Peace Road" Gimpo Route Gyeonggi-do announced on the 14th that three themed routes, including Gimpo, Goyang, and Paju, will be opened from the 20th, "DMZ Peace Road," where visitors can experience the ecological and historical values of the DMZ. "DMG Peace Road" is Incheon to promote peace between the two Koreas and revitalize the border economy. It is a project to create courses using local ecological, historical, and security resources in 10 local governments along the border between Gyeonggi and Gangwon Demilitarized Zone. Gyeonggi-do Province will open a total of 87.2km of three routes, Gimpo, Goyang and Paju, excluding the Yeoncheon route, which is currently under maintenance. In line with the government's step-by-step daily recovery policy, the opening will be promoted to comfort residents tired of COVID-19 and help restore shrinking local tourism. The Gimpo section is a total of 47km, consisting of courses such as Siam-ri Iron Trail and Aegibong Peace Ecological Park. The Aegibong Peace Ecological Park Observatory, which opened on the 7th of last month, offers a view of Shenzhen Village and Songaksan Mountain in Gaepung-gun, North Korea. The Goyang section is a total of 29.5km course, passing through Haengjusanseong Historical Park, Haengju Ferry, Janghang Wetland Observatory, and Tongilchon Gunmaksa Temple. Various animals and plants can be observed in the Janghang Wetland search zone. The Paju section is a total of 10.7km and consists of courses such as Tongil Bridge, Dora Observatory, Tongmun, and demolition Zippy (GP, Surveillance Post). From the Dora Observatory, you can see Bukgaeseong Industrial Complex, Gijeong-dong Village, Songaksan Mountain, and downtown Kaesong. In this opening, Imjingak, The 1.4km walking section of the Unification Bridge was excluded to protect migratory birds. All theme routes to be opened this time are free. Those who wish to visit can make a reservation online through the official website of the Korea Tourism Organization's DMZ Peace Road (www.dmzwalk.com) or the walking tour information provision application Durunubi. For the safety of tourists, it is divided into walking sections and vehicle movement sections, and is only available to those who have completed vaccination and those who have tested negative for gene amplification (PCR) within three days of their visit. In addition, thorough quarantine will be carried out at all sites, including the provision of quarantine supplies, guidance on mandatory wearing of masks, and regular disinfection of driving vehicles. The DMG Peace Road consists of a total of 10 routes in the 526km section from Ganghwa-gun, Incheon to Goseong-gun, Gangwon-do. The government previously piloted Paju, Cheorwon, and Goseong theme routes in April 2019, but stopped operating in the aftermath of the African swine fever (ASF) in September of that year and the spread of COVID-19. Along with Gimpo, Goyang, and Paju routes, Ganghwa, Hwacheon, Yanggu, and Goseong routes will also open at the same time from the 20th of this month.
‘DMZ Peace Road’ 
It opens on November 20th at the same time content media
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KMHPF
Nov 03, 2021
In KMH PF NEWS
By Ben Wolfgang - The Washington Times A deep sense of shared identity between citizens of North and South Korea remains alive and well, and the potential for at least some reconciliation should be at the center of America’s diplomatic efforts, former top U.S. officials and regional experts said Tuesday. Speaking at The Washington Brief, a monthly forum hosted by The Washington Times Foundation, analysts said that the Biden administration must consider issues beyond just Pyongyang’s nuclear-weapons program when crafting its broader North Korea policy. The U.S. and its allies, they said, must weigh how the reestablishment of economic and other ties between Seoul and Pyongyang could create a far less hostile environment on the Korean Peninsula. “There is a Korean identity that is not totally dependent on what passport you carry. There’s a Korean pride, in a way, that transcends a more traditional nationalism,” said Kathleen Stephens, former U.S. ambassador to South Korea and now the president and CEO of the Korean Economic Institute of America. “Koreans have remained Korean … and I think that’s true in both North and South.” “There has to be some kind of … reconciliation. And I think the United States, the international community, have a certain obligation as we think about the challenges of North Korea to also pay attention to that issue of reconciliation,” she said. Indeed, while former President Donald Trump’s in-person meetings with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in 2018 garnered the greatest share of media attention, that same year also saw multiple meetings between Mr. Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in. Those conversations sparked hope that a new era could be on the horizon, potentially including a formal treaty to end the Korean War or other steps. “At least for a moment … there was a reminder that, ‘We speak the same language and we do share something that Koreans don’t share with anybody else.’ And I think that’s very powerful,” Ms. Stephens said. At the same time, there are apparent signs that the concept of reunification between North and South Korea is losing steam, at least among South Koreans. A recent poll conducted by the Seoul-based Institute for Peace and Unification Studies (IPUS) found that just 44% of South Koreans believe “reunification is necessary,” the lowest figure since the annual poll began in 2007. Some South Korean specialists attributed the drop to disappointment following the 2018 diplomatic outreach by Mr. Trump and Mr. Moon. When Mr. Trump’s efforts failed to produce a denuclearization deal with Pyongyang, and relations between North and South Korea returned to a stalemate, a segment of the South Korean population may have given up hope for reunification. “People’s expectations … were so high in 2018 that the disappointment that followed was huge — the negative aspects would have been strengthened from those disappointments,” Kim Bumsoo, head of the Center for Unification Studies at IPUS, told the website NKnews.com last month. Inside North Korea, analysts said, there’s also deep skepticism of reunification, with the chief fear being that North Korean leadership would essentially lose all authority and power in a newly unified country with the more prosperous South. Instead of pursuing that path, Mr. Kim instead seems to be seeking the benefits of closer ties with South Korea without any of the responsibilities or risks, according to Alexandre Mansourov, professor at Georgetown University’s Center for Security Studies. Mr. Kim “does want to have a better relationship so that on the one hand, whatever government they have in the South will recognize the legitimacy of the North Korean rule,” he said at Tuesday’s event. Mr. Kim, he added, wants to see the two nations’ “economies get increasingly harmonized” so he can take advantage of South Korea‘s successful economy for his own benefit. Even if support for reunification has dropped, regional experts say the South Korean people still want to see action taken to help citizens across the heavily armed border. “I do feel there’s a growing anxiety in [South Korea] about some of the economic problems in North Korea that could lead to mass starvation … and that’s where there is a certain Korean-ism,” said Christopher Hill, a former U.S. ambassador to South Korea who moderated Tuesday’s panel. “I don’t think Koreans in [South Korea] want to stand by and watch North Koreans starve.” (2021.11.02.)
‘Korean identity’: Growing North-South ties crucial in U.S.-led diplomacy, analysts say content media
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KMHPF
Nov 03, 2021
In KMH PF NEWS
“Squid Game” is now so big that even North Korea’s propaganda machine can’t resist weighing in with an opinion on the nine-part show that Netflix just announced has become the most-watched series launch in its history. While the dystopian series has gripped viewers around the world with its gruesome tale of economic despair and deadly childhood-inspired games, a North Korean state-run website says the production serves to highlight the “beastly” nature of “South Korean capitalist society where mankind is annihilated by extreme competition.” In a post published Tuesday, the website said “Squid Game” reflects an “unequal society where the strong exploit the weak.” In the series, hundreds of debt-ridden contestants, including a North Korean defector, enter the games in a bid to win a climbing, multimillion-dollar cash prize they hope will turn their lives around. The catch: If they lose a game, they die. The series has resonated deeply in South Korea and beyond, especially among those frustrated with income inequality, unemployment, and financial challenges. The director has said the production’s relatability has been a key to its success. The streaming giant confirmed Tuesday that the series, which director Hwang Dong-hyuk began writing a decade ago, has become the most-watched launch in Netflix’s history since it premiered in September. “Squid Game has officially reached 111 million fans — making it our biggest series launch ever!” Netflix tweeted. The show’s skyrocket to the top knocks period drama “Bridgerton,” which drew just over 80 million viewers, from the No. 1 spot. North and South Korea have remained technically at war after the Korean War ended in 1953 in an armistice but without a peace treaty. There have been other flash points over culture. In June, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un branded South Korea’s entertainment scene—including K-pop—“a vicious cancer.” He accused it of corrupting the “hairstyles, speeches and behaviors” of North Koreans, the New York Times reported. North Korea has also long been critical of its neighbor’s capitalist system, which it maintains compares poorly with what it touts as its own egalitarian socialist paradise. Life in the North, however, is marked by widespread poverty and food shortages, with isolated pockets of wealth for those connected to the ruling party. Life inside the totalitarian state has driven many to flee across the border for a better life. North Korean escapees relate how the secretive country has changed under the ‘Great Successor’ While the widespread popularity of “Squid Game” has triggered a wave of entertaining memes on social media and inspired an array of costumes for Halloween, its global success has not come without complications. In recent weeks, several countries have grappled with issues stemming from the show — including one woman in South Korea who was bombarded with calls and messages from strangers after her number was shown on a games invitation card handed to the series’ protagonist, Seong Gi-hun. “I’ve been unceasingly getting calls and texts 24/7 to the point where my daily life has become difficult,” she said. This week, British police were forced to reassure drivers that a sign on an English motorway that featured the same shapes shown in “Squid Game” was, in fact, harmless and not related to the series. “It’s just directions for diversion routes during the roadworks,” Thames Valley Police tweeted Monday. British schools have also issued warnings to parents regarding the show, reminding them that its themes of a violent, sexual, and adult nature are not appropriate for young students. (2021.10.25.)
Netflix hit ‘Squid Game’ is so big North Korea is using it to slam South Korean society
'Squid Game' is Netflix's biggest series launch content media
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KMHPF
Nov 03, 2021
In KMH PF NEWS
The staff of the Pyongyang Department Store No. 1 disinfect the store to help curb the spread of the coronavirus before it opens in Pyongyang, North Korea. The World Health Organization has started shipping COVID-19 medical supplies into North Korea, a possible sign that the North is easing one of the world's strictest pandemic border closures to receive outside help. WHO said in a weekly monitoring report that it has started the shipment of essential COVID-19 medical supplies through the Chinese port of Dalian for "strategic stockpiling and further dispatch" to North Korea. Edwin Salvador, WHO's representative to North Korea, said in an email to the Associated Press Thursday that some items, including emergency health kits and medicine, have reached the North Korean port of Nampo after North Korean authorities allowed the WHO and other U.N. agencies to send supplies that had been stuck in Dalian. "Consequently, we have been able to transport some of our items by ship to Nampo ... (including) emergency health kits, medicines and medical supplies that would support essential health services at primary health care centers," Salvador said. "We are informed that WHO items along with supplies sent by other U.N. agencies are currently still under quarantine at the seaport." Describing its anti-virus campaign was a matter of "national existence," North Korea had severely restricted cross-border traffic and trade for the past two years despite the strain on its already crippled economy. U.N. human rights investigators in August asked the North's government to clarify allegations that it ordered troops to shoot on sight any trespassers who cross its borders in violation of its pandemic closing. While North Korea has yet to report a single case of COVID-19, outside experts widely doubt it escaped the illness that had touched nearly every other place in the world. The North has told WHO it has tested 40,700 people for the coronavirus through Sept. 23 and that all the tests were negative. Those tested in the last week reported included 94 people with influenza-like illnesses or other symptoms and 573 health care workers, according to the WHO report. Experts say an epidemic in North Korea could be devastating, considering its poor health care system and chronic lack of medical supplies. But despite implementing severe border controls, North Korea hasn't shown the same kind of urgency for vaccines even as its mass immunization campaign continues to be delayed amid global shortages. Analysts say North Korea could be uneasy about international monitoring requirements that would be attached to the vaccines it receives from the outside world. There are also views that leader Kim Jong Un has domestic political motivations to tighten the country's self-imposed lockdown as he calls for unity and tries to solidify his grip on power while navigating perhaps his toughest moment after nearly a decade of rule. Salvador said the WHO is continuing to work with North Korean officials so that they complete the technical requirements for receiving vaccines through the U.N.-backed COVAX distribution program. He said the North has developed a national deployment plan to use as reference when it begins its vaccine rollout. The latest WHO report came weeks after Kim during a ruling party meeting ordered officials to wage a tougher anti-virus campaign in "our style" after he turned down some foreign COVID-19 vaccines offered via COVAX. UNICEF, which procures and delivers vaccines on behalf of the COVAX distribution program, said last month that North Korea proposed its allotment of about 3 million Sinovac shots be sent to severely affected countries instead. Some analysts say the North is angling to receive more effective jabs amid questions about the Sinovac vaccine's effectiveness. UNICEF said the North Korean health ministry said it will continue to communicate with COVAX over future vaccines. (AP)
The WHO has started shipping COVID-19 medical supplies to North Korea content media
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KMHPF
Feb 01, 2021
In NEWS IN BRIEF
January 23, 20218:01 AM ET Eight days before the Trump administration departed, it declassified a key document that it said "provided overarching strategic guidance" to its approach toward Asia, a region it dubbed the Indo-Pacific. The 10-page, lightly redacted report, in use across the government since 2018, seeks to explain the challenges the U.S. faces from a rising and more assertive China, spells out vital U.S. interests in the region, and lays out a plan for both mobilizing and helping key allies in achieving U.S. aims. The document states that the U.S. should maintain "diplomatic, military and economic preeminence" in the region while "preventing China from establishing new, illiberal spheres of influence." It also envisions a Korean Peninsula "free of nuclear, chemical, cyber and biological weapons" and expresses commitment to "accelerate India's rise" so that the two countries can "cooperate" to "preserve maritime security and counter Chinese influence." The paper elucidates the motivations behind some of the Trump administration's actions toward China in particular, but analysts say it is self-contradictory and ideological in its aims and assertions. Critics say that by publicly releasing the document, the Trump administration was trying to bind the incoming Biden administration to its policies, while confirming China's worst fears about U.S. intentions. President Biden is likely to keep some aspects of President Donald Trump's China policy; incoming administration officials have indicated they intend to continue to pressure China for its crackdown on Hong Kong's pro-democracy movement and support the Trump administration's declaration of genocide of Uighurs in the Xinjiang region. But the new administration is expected to lower the temperature and restart dialogue, especially on areas of common concern like climate change, while coordinating more closely with allies and partners. Quest for "primacy" The declassified document is "a blueprint for a Cold War 2.0," says Lyle Goldstein, research professor at the U.S. Naval War College. He calls the document's frank reaffirmation of the U.S. desire to maintain strategic primacy "an extreme position" because it simply doesn't square with reality. "That's not just true on the military side. I think the trend is probably even more manifest on the economic side," says Goldstein. China is the largest trade partner to most Asian countries (and to many others around the world, including the U.S.). It is expected to surpass the U.S. in sheer economic size by 2028, according to a recent study in the U.K. The U.S. desire to maintain primacy as the world's undisputed military and economic power is not just unrealistic, but it is also likely to lead to "zero-sum" thinking in which countering China's rise becomes the U.S.' biggest priority, says Michael D. Swaine, director of the East Asia program at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, a Washington, D.C., think tank. "I would say [the document is] probably solely about containing China," he says. He warns such an approach is likely to alienate allies and partners in Asia and beyond. While many may welcome a U.S. presence in the region as a counterbalance to China — and help in pushing back against China, say, in the South China Sea — they do not wish for a polarized, Cold War-like environment where every Chinese action and policy is treated by the U.S. as malign or threatening. "Our friends and allies are not supportive of this kind of approach," says Swaine. The Trump administration rolled out dozens of measures aimed at punishing China in the past year — for its policies in Hong Kong, its actions in the South China Sea and treatment of its Uighur minority — and Washington also imposed sanctions and prohibited and prevented U.S. companies and investors from doing business with or investing in many of China's high technology companies. "They are coercively trying to impede China's own development," says Susan Shirk, chair of the 21st Century China Center at the University of California, San Diego. "Now, I know this is the Chinese view of it, but it's hard to characterize these actions in any other way." A trap for Biden? China predictably slammed the document. A foreign ministry spokesperson said that "its content only serves to expose the malign intention of the United States to use its Indo-Pacific strategy to suppress and contain China and undermine regional peace and stability." Swaine worries the policy's declassification will empower hawkish elements in China's foreign policy establishment and provide them ammunition when advocating a tougher response to dealing with the United States. The timing of the declassification points to an effort to box in the Biden team and prevent it from taking U.S. policy too far off the confrontational path that the Trump administration set it on, analysts say. The Trump White House "recognize[d] that the Biden administration would like to adopt a different strategy toward China, one that would be more practical, and effective, and more in cooperation with allies," says Shirk. Any effort on the Biden team's part to improve relations (and China has indicated a strong desire to do so) would likely have the administration fending off charges of being soft on China. Besides, any such endeavor would involve an enormous amount of work, given the rancor and mutual distrust that currently prevails between the two countries. "I'm very pessimistic," says the Naval War College's Goldstein. "Getting back to normal would be very difficult, even if President Biden really wanted to do that." 2020.01.23 (NPR News)
What Trump's Declassified Asia Strategy May Mean For U.S.-China Relations Under Biden content media
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KMHPF
Jan 22, 2021
In NEWS IN BRIEF
‘The Unification of Hands’ series, co-produced by the Unification Education Institute and Open Books publishers, has been published in Series 2, Vol.6-10. - See North Korean News at a Glance - Daddy and Daughter Walks DMZ - What do you think of unification? - Ask about unification in history 100 years ago - Travel to Geumgangsan Mountain by painting So far, the view of North Korea has been changing since social dialogue, contrary to the stereotypes of North Korea, the view of North Korea, humanitarian aid, and the perception of reunification.
<Friendly Unification in Travel, Art, and History> 2021.1 content media
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KMHPF
Jan 22, 2021
In NEWS IN BRIEF
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is calling for beefing up his country's nuclear and military capabilities, but appears to be leaving open the possibility for negotiation with the U.S., just days before President-elect Joe Biden takes office. "We must do everything we can to increase nuclear war deterrence even further as we build the strongest military capability," Kim told delegates at the conclusion of an eight-day long congress of the ruling Workers Party in Pyongyang, state media reported on Wednesday. In a report to the congress last week, Kim referred to the U.S. as North Korea's principal enemy, and vowed to develop a raft of new nuclear and conventional weapons to counter the threat from Washington. But he also affirmed previous agreements with the Trump administration, which suggests that they could serve as the basis for future negotiations. In his report, Kim praised the 2018 Singapore summit with President Trump, which yielded "the joint declaration that assured the establishment of new [North Korea]-U.S. relations." That declaration called for denuclearization and a peace regime on the Korean peninsula, and a new, presumably less hostile, relationship between Pyongyang and Washington. Negotiations later broke down after an abortive second summit in Vietnam in 2019. Kim's remarks are "not exactly an olive branch, but it's not slamming the door, by any stretch of the imagination, either. So it's something in between," says John Delury, a historian at Yonsei University in Seoul. Kim's list of military technologies he plans to develop is a warning to Washington, but "also the starting point for diplomacy and negotiation," Delury contends. The congress also came up with some plans to strengthen the country's economy, with a developmental blueprint for the next five years. Kim kicked off the congress by bluntly admitting that his plans for the past five years had fallen flat. Besides prescribing building up heavy industries, including steel and chemicals, Kim called for sourcing more materials for light industrial goods domestically that North Korea used to have to import, a policy economists call "import substitution." "Most consumer goods are now produced within the country, whereas in the past, they depended a lot on Chinese-made goods," says Choi Eun-ju, a North Korea expert at the Sejong Institute, a think tank outside Seoul. "Now, the domestically produced goods are available in the markets, and North Korean consumers actually prefer them," she adds. While North Korea can't produce enough of the goods, Choi adds, they have helped the country to scrape by, while the border with China — the North's main trading partner — has been shut during the pandemic. Kim conceded that, in addition to external factors, such as the pandemic, international sanctions and natural disasters, the party had committed "serious mistakes" that contributed to the country's dire economic situation. This represents a break with the past, when the party attributed setbacks to factors beyond its control, says the Sejong Institute's Choi Eun-ju. "Kim admits that there are external factors, but he also addresses the internal reasons," she says. "Instead of accusing the North Korean people or laborers, he blames bureaucrats, including himself." (NPR 2021.01.13)
North Korea's Kim Talks Of New Weapons, But Leaves Door Open For Biden content media
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KMHPF
Jan 22, 2021
In NEWS IN BRIEF
Hundreds of destitute families moved to a town bordering North Korea after the war. Six decades later, their dream of owning the land they helped cultivate may finally come true. Along the border with North Korea is a town where the sad legacy of war is perhaps best understood by looking at the crops in the field. Standing on a wind-swept plot on a hillside, Han Gi-taek, 69, peered over the land and recalled the hard labor, cold nights and stray land mines that made it difficult for his family to cultivate the ground beneath his feet. First they did it with their bare hands and shovels, he said. In more recent years, it has been done using tractors, with the piles of rocks that ring the field bearing witness to the family’s decades of labor. Mr. Han arrived in this mountain basin on the eastern border with North Korea in 1956, when military trucks unloaded 160 families as new settlers of the war-torn territory. The families, mostly from Korean War refugee camps, were told by the government in the South that they would be allowed to keep the land if they cultivated it for 10 years. “We were landless peasants who lost everything during the war,” Mr. Han said. “We came here with a dream of owning our own land.” When the first families arrived, they saw nothing but wilderness. The nearest bus stop was seven miles away. The winding dirt road to this former battleground was studded with checkpoints where armed sentries stopped anyone traveling without a military-issued pass. A dusk-to-sunrise curfew was enforced, and the families had to live in tents for months before the army built them wood-and-mud huts. “The military ruled everything here,” Mr. Han said. Now this five-mile-wide basin, ​better known by its wartime nickname, “Punch Bowl​,” grows ginseng, apples and radish greens that are shipped to cities across South Korea. The military passes and checkpoints are long gone. This year, the South Korean government will finally deliver on its promise to the settlers, more than six decades after it began to repopulate Haean’s ravaged landscape after the war. The holdup was caused by a thorny legal issue. After Korea was liberated from Japanese colonial rule at the end of World War II, ​the United States and the Soviet Union divided it into two halves. Haean fell to North Korea. During the Korean War​, American-led United Nations forces waged some of their fiercest battles in hills surrounding Haean. Thousands of United States, South and North Korean troops died in the area. When ​guns fell silent in a truce in 1953, Haean was in South Korea’s hands. (NYT, 2021.01.12)
The Korean War Emptied the Town. Those Who Rebuilt It May Now Be Rewarded content media
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KMHPF
Jan 22, 2021
In NEWS IN BRIEF
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un staked out a hardline position just days ahead of President-elect Joe Biden taking office, calling the United States his country's "biggest enemy," and vowing to advance his country's nuclear arsenal. "Our external political activities must focus on controlling and subjugating the United States, our archenemy and the biggest stumbling block to the development of our revolution," Kim said, according to the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). "No matter who takes power in the United States, its true nature and its policy toward our country will never change," he added. Kim made the remarks Friday at the ruling Workers Party 8th congress in Pyongyang. Analysts have been parsing reports of the congress for signs of new policies, and this is the first indication of Kim's position towards a new U.S. administration. President-elect Joe Biden has promised "principled diplomacy" with North Korea, implying a break with President Donald Trump's high-stakes summits with Kim Jong Un. He has also indicated he will work more closely with U.S. allies South Korea and Japan. At the congress, Kim called for the improvement of the country's nuclear arsenal to include solid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missiles that can be launched from land and sea, and accurately hit targets at a range of up to 9,320 miles, putting the U.S. mainland in reach. He also ordered the development of miniaturized nuclear weapons, tactical nukes, military surveillance satellites and hypersonic aircraft. Kim reaffirmed that North Korea would not use its nuclear arsenal in a preemptive strike. Following the collapse of his second summit with Trump in Vietnam in February 2019, Kim appeared to give up hope of reaching a denuclearization deal with the U.S., and resolved to continue building up nuclear and conventional weapons while diplomacy remained stalemated. Last year, Kim pledged to unveil a new strategic weapon, and in October, North Korea revealed what appeared to be a new and upgraded intercontinental ballistic missile, bigger than one already thought to be capable of hitting the continental U.S. While Kim has said he no longer feels bound by his self-imposed moratorium on testing strategic weapons, including nuclear devices and intercontinental ballistic missiles, Pyongyang has not tested either since the last intercontinental ballistic missile launch in 2017. The tests triggered stringent U.N. sanctions. North Korea did continue last year, though, to test shorter range ballistic missiles capable of hitting targets in South Korea, including bases where the U.S. has some 28,500 troops. President Trump appeared unperturbed by the tests, as they were not capable of hitting the U.S. mainland. Kim began the party conference this week, the last since 2016, by bluntly admitting that his last five-year economic plan had ended in failure, due to both external factors — such as international sanctions and the coronavirus — but also due to internal reasons, such as government mismanagement of the economy. The KCNA report said the congress blamed officials for botching implementation of the party's economic plans and "failing to actively introduce reality-friendly and people-friendly methods" in the ruling party's work. The report also touted Kim's summitry with Trump as a diplomatic achievement. Over the past five years, it claimed, the ruling party's work effected "a dramatic change in the balance of power" between Pyongyang and Washington, "demonstrating the dignity and prestige of our state." (NPR 2021.01.09)
Kim Jong Un Calls U.S. North Korea's 'Biggest Enemy,' Vows To Advance Nuclear Arsenal content media
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KMHPF
Jun 24, 2020
In NEWS IN BRIEF
The North’s leadership says it will now treat the South as an “enemy,” the latest sign of chilling relations between the two Koreas. <The North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, during a Politburo meeting on Sunday. Credit, AP> North Korea said on Tuesday that it would cut off all communication lines with South Korea, including military hotlines, as it vowed to reverse a recent détente on the Korean Peninsula and start treating the South as an “enemy.” North Korea made the decision when its top officials in charge of relations with the South, including Kim Yo-jong, the sister of the supreme leader, Kim Jong-un, met on Monday, the North’s official Korean Central News Agency said. The officials “stressed that the work toward the South should thoroughly turn into one against the enemy,” the North Korean news agency reported on Tuesday. “We have reached a conclusion that there is no need to sit face to face with the South Korean authorities, and there is no issue to discuss with them, as they have only aroused our dismay.” Shortly after its announcement, North Korea refused to pick up the phone on Tuesday morning when the South made its routine daily call on the military hotlines between the two countries, officials in Seoul said. The North’s tone on Tuesday was a sharp reversal from two years ago, when a rare inter-Korean rapprochement culminated in South Korea’s president, Moon Jae-in, visiting Pyongyang, becoming the first South Korean leader to address a large North Korean crowd. Inter-Korean relations have rapidly deteriorated since Kim Jong-un’s second summit meeting with President Trump, held in Vietnam in February of last year, ended without agreement on dismantling North Korea’s nuclear weapons program or easing United Nations sanctions on the country. North Korea’s economic isolation has subsequently deepened with the global coronavirus outbreak. Since Mr. Kim’s diplomacy with Mr. Trump collapsed, North Korea has stepped up pressure on the South to ignore Washington’s pressure and improve inter-Korean economic ties even before the North denuclearized. It demanded the reopening of the joint tourism venture at its Diamond Mountain resort complex and of a joint industrial park in Kaesong, both of which had served as key sources of cash until they were shut down in disputes between the two Koreas. When the South refused to restart the ventures, calling on the North to first move toward denuclearization, North Korea turned increasingly harsh toward Mr. Moon’s government. <Kim Jong-un and President Moon Jae-in of South Korea meeting in the Demilitarized Zone in 2018. Credit, Korea Summit Press Pool> Last Thursday, Ms. Kim, a senior adviser to her brother, warned that North Korea would begin scrapping inter-Korean agreements​ to ease tensions​ unless South Korea stopped the release of anti-Kim leaflets by defectors from the North. When Mr. Kim and ​Mr. Moon met in April of 2018 and again in September that year, they ​signed agreements to improve relations and cease all hostile acts along the border​, including cross-border propaganda, ​like leaflets and loudspeaker broadcasts​. As part of such efforts, the two Koreas​ also ​installed​ a hotline linking the offices of Mr. Kim and Mr. Moon and​ ​set up a liaison office ​in ​Kaesong​, just north of the border in North Korea. But anti-North activists in the South, mainly defectors from the North, have continued to send leaflets by balloon. North Korea has long bristled at these leaflets, which typically depict Mr. Kim as a cretinous dictator toying with nuclear weapons. On Tuesday, North Korea said that it had decided to “cut off all the communication and liaison lines” between the two Koreas, including the hotlines between their leaders’ offices and their militaries. The​ North said its​ move was only the start of what ​it called “phased plans for the work against the enemy.” South Korea has long emphasized the importance of those hotlines to avert unintended armed clashes between the ​two militaries ​at ​times of rising tensions on the peninsula. The two Koreas have run a telephone hotline at the so-called truce village of Panmunjom and later at the inter-Korean liaison office. Duty officers from both sides man their telephones. But when bilateral relations soured in the past, one of the first things North Korea often did was to cut off the line​ — only to reopen it later​​. South Korea has criticized the North Korean defectors for raising tensions by releasing the leaflets​​. Last week, it said it was discussing a new law to ban such leaflets. In recent days,​ ​when defectors​ approached the border zone to release plastic bottles filled with rice afloat on a river, hoping that they will reach North Koreans, angry ​South Korean ​villagers blocked the roads​. They accused the defectors of raising tensions and polluting the river.
North Korea Cuts Off All Communications Lines to      South Korea content media
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KMHPF
May 06, 2020
In NEWS IN BRIEF
In its candid examination of domestic conflict and female ambition, “Friend” unsettles expectations of North Korean life. Credit...Toby de Silva/Redux It may be surprising, though it shouldn’t be, to learn that North Korea has novelists and literary critics, fiction prizes and best sellers. Some books have been republished in South Korea, but English translations remain scarce and geared largely toward dissident memoirs. “The Accusation,” an absorbing story collection by a man writing under the name Bandi (or “Firefly”), was published in English in 2017, but it never had a life inside North Korea: The stories were critical of the regime and had to be smuggled out of the country to be read. What is North Korean literature, as read by North Koreans? One of the few English translations of a novel from Pyongyang — “Friend,” by Paek Nam-nyong, originally published in 1988 — offers a beguiling introduction to the everyday, with none of the rockets and military parades that the words “North Korea” often bring to mind. As recent coverage of the health and whereabouts of the nation’s leader, Kim Jong-un, reminds us, fiction may offer more durable truths than speculative news. The “friend” of the title is Jeong Jin-wu, a small-town judge unlike any magistrate in the West. As a trusted organ of the state, he isn’t limited to courtroom protocol; he assumes the intimate duties of social worker, counselor, wingman and private eye, reaching ever further into his litigants’ affairs. One day, a young woman named Chae Sun-hee, a well-known singer in a provincial performing arts troupe, enters Jeong’s courtroom to file for a divorce. “I’ve been living a loveless life,” she says, when questioned by the judge. She explains that her husband, Lee Seok-chun, is a longtime factory worker who’s neither cruel nor unfaithful but “insensitive and speechless” and lacking drive. She worries that his indolence will drag down her musical career and impair the advancement of their 7-year-old son, Ho-nam. The judge is skeptical. Divorce would be a tragedy for the boy, he thinks. And the separation of a family, onto which so much of North Korean life is inscribed, “was more than a legal matter; it was a societal problem.” Over 16 short chapters, Jeong takes a microscope to Chae’s and Lee’s lives to gauge the prudence and necessity of a divorce. The judge’s interventions feel creepy at times, even by the standards of the world of the book. He questions the couple at length, learning every detail of their courtship, from meet-cute through collapse. Jeong finds Ho-nam outside the family’s home one rainy day after school, when Chae and Lee are running late, and brings the boy to his own apartment for a bath and dinner. He visits the couple’s places of work and interviews their supervisors, who apologize for not having done more to prevent their comrades’ marital discord. “This was someone else’s family problem,” Paek writes, but the judge and bosses “handled it as if it were their own.” Meanwhile, Jeong tries to make sense of his own unsteady marriage to Eun-ok, an agricultural scientist who’s constantly on the road. In her absence, “he considered his life no different from that of a widower.” In its candid examination of domestic conflict and female ambition, the book unsettles expectations of North Korean life. The women, Chae and Eun-ok, are so committed to their careers that they violate traditional wifely norms. Their husbands feel resentful but know they shouldn’t. As Jeong learns more about Chae and Lee’s marriage, he becomes more intent on saving it, and, in the tradition of socialist self-criticism, doing better by his own wife. “Friend” is, at times, didactic and propagandistic, but for every unctuous sentence, there’s another that points to blemishes behind North Korea’s facade. Paek’s characters acknowledge the scarcity of electricity, corruption among government officials and a societal need for “becoming intellectualized in scientific technology and the arts.” The translation, by the scholar Immanuel Kim, can feel stilted, but usefully so, connoting the formality of the North Korean vernacular. Many aspects of “Friend” are autobiographical. Paek, who was born in 1949, just a year after the founding of North and South Korea, lived the contrasts of poverty and comfort, of cultural center and periphery, that are at play throughout the novel. When he was a toddler, during the Korean War, an American bomb killed his father; his mother, a laborer at a wood factory who introduced him to Korean fairy tales and Aesop’s fables, died of a terminal illness when he was 11. Like his character Lee, Paek operated a lathe in a rural steel factory for a decade after high school. It was there that he met and married a fellow laborer, raised three children and read Charlotte Brontë, Dostoyevsky, Hugo and Melville. He joined a provincial writers’ union (in North Korea, most working artists belong to state-run guilds) whose office was two floors above a divorce court. Paek befriended the judge and began to sit in on proceedings. “I witnessed arguments that can cut through steel,” he told Kim, the translator, in a 2015 interview. Paek eventually attended Kim Il Sung University, the nation’s most prestigious college, and became a member of the elite April 15 Literary Production Unit, which creates fiction based on the heroics of North Korea’s ruling family. Though Paek has expressed thanks that “Dear General Kim Jong Il identified my potential,” he writes more than hagiography. His books “Servicemen,” “After 60 Years” and “Life” have earned critical and popular favor for their mingling of socialist themes and tender psychological portraits. It’s “Friend,” though, that made Paek a star — a dramatic series based on the novel aired on North Korean television — and carried his work abroad. In 1992, the book was published in South Korea, where it sold well and introduced many readers to the possibility of ordinary life in the North. It was published in French in 2011 and adapted for the theater in Seoul, late last year, by an organization devoted to North-South exchange. The interest in Paek’s work across the Demilitarized Zone suggests the possibility of a pan-Korean literature — the reality of an earlier generation of writers, before national division. The director of the theater production in Seoul, Lee Hae-seong, told a reporter: “I thought the language used in North Korea would be totally different, but as I read this novel, I found only a few unfamiliar words. The Korean was very much alive.” (NYT, 2020.05.05)
A Novel From North Korea Offers Glimpses of the Everyday content media
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KMHPF
May 06, 2020
In NEWS IN BRIEF
North and South Korean troops exchanged fire along their tense border on Sunday, the South's military said, blaming North Korean soldiers for targeting a guard post. Ahn Young-joon/AP North and South Korean forces briefly traded gunfire along the country's heavily-patrolled border on Sunday morning, according to the South's military. The government-funded Yonhap News Agency reports that South Korean soldiers heard gunshots around 7:41 a.m. local time and found four bullet holes on a guard post located inside the Demilitarized Zone. The soldiers fired back — a total of 20 rounds — and broadcast warnings in accordance with military protocols, according to the country's Joint Chiefs of Staff. No casualties were reported on the South Korean side and the act did not appear to be an "intentional provocation," the Yonhap goes on to say, citing a military official. No damage or deaths have been reported by North Korea. The officer quoted by Yonhap also says the incident occurred in foggy conditions at a time when North Korean soldiers typically rotate shifts. The source adds that no unusual military movements had been detected ahead of the gunshots. Prior to Sunday's morning exchange, no skirmishes have been reported at the shared border the since 2017 when North Korean soldiers fired on one of their own during a daring defection attempt. Both countries subsequently signed a deal to ease tensions between the two countries in 2018, but South Korean officials say the exchange violates that agreement and urged their neighbor to abide the accord. This brief incident also happens after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attended the opening of a fertilizer plant on Friday — his first reported public appearance in weeks. Kim's apparent absence from the spotlight generated international speculation over his health. (NPR, 2020.05.03)
North And South Korean Forces Briefly Trade Gunfire Along Border content media
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KMHPF
Apr 17, 2020
In NEWS IN BRIEF
As diplomats call on countries to work together, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has blamed China for the "Wuhan virus," increased sanctions on Iran and accused North Korea of building weapons. Wuhan virus. Today Pompeo didn't use that language at a news conference. He seemed to be pushing back at the criticism, pointing out that the U.S. remains the largest donor to U.N. agencies dealing with the pandemic. And he said U.S. sanctions don't affect the trade in medical and humanitarian supplies. MIKE POMPEO: We've worked to try and get assistance into North Korea. We've made offers of assistance to Iran. You'll recall when we first began, we worked diligently in Venezuela to get humanitarian assistance to the Venezuelan people as well. KELEMEN: Today he offered to lift sanctions on Venezuela but only if President Nicolas Maduro agrees to cede power to a transitional government. As for North Korea and Iran, Pompeo accuses them of continuing to build bombs and missiles POMPEO: We care more often about the people in those countries than their own leaders do. That's sad. That's a reflection of those regimes, too often. It's the reason, in fact, that we're working to help those people raise up in their countries; so that they can get a better outcome for themselves. KELEMEN: Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy was among those who wrote to Pompeo recently, urging him to adjust all U.S. sanctions. He argues that America's national security and its standing in the world suffer when sanctions result in innocent people dying. CHRIS MURPHY: From a moral standpoint, first and foremost, I think it's an imperative for us to adjust our sanctions. I hope the administration listens. KELEMEN: Murphy told the World Affairs Council of Connecticut today that the U.S. should be leading the global response to the coronavirus and preparing for future health crises. Aaron David Miller of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace says that's what the Bush and Obama administrations did to fight AIDS and Ebola. Miller says these days, there's a, quote, "Grand Canyon-sized gap" in U.S. leadership. AARON DAVID MILLER: It would seem to me, having worked for a half a dozen secretaries of state, that none of them and, certainly, none of their predecessors would have responded to this in a way that appears to be as leaderless and as risk-averse as the Trump administration. KELEMEN: Speaking via Skype, Miller argues that Secretary Pompeo should be out in front, coordinating with partners rather than blaming China for the spread of the virus here or trying to squeeze the Iranian regime. MILLER: It's evident to me that you have a secretary of state who is overly partisan, overideological (ph), overly politicized and taking cues from the America-first president that he's serving. KELEMEN: Americans were on Pompeo's mind today. He touted his department's unprecedented effort to bring home U.S. citizens who were stranded overseas. U.S. diplomats have helped more than 25,000 make it home so far as countries close borders, cancel flights and impose quarantines. (2020.03.31 NPR News)
Pompeo Still Holds A Tough Stance Toward Iran, North Korea, Venezuela During Epidemic content media
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KMHPF
Mar 31, 2020
In NEWS IN BRIEF
In this photo provided by the North Korean government, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspects military exercise at an undisclosed location in North Korea on Saturday, March 21, 2020. Independent journalists were not given access to cover the event depicted in this image distributed by the North Korean government. The content of this image is as provided and cannot be independently verified. Korean language watermark on image as provided by source reads: “KCNA” which is the abbreviation for Korean Central News Agency. (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP) (Associated Press) SEOUL, South Korea — President Donald Trump sent a personal letter to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, seeking to maintain good relations and offering cooperation in fighting the coronavirus pandemic, Kim’s sister said Sunday. The latest correspondence came as Kim observed the firing of tactical guided weapons over the weekend, drawing criticism from South Korea, as nuclear talks remain deadlocked. In a statement carried by the North’s official Korean Central News Agency, or KCNA, Kim’s sister and senior ruling party official, Kim Yo Jong, praised Trump for sending the letter at a time when “big difficulties and challenges lie ahead in the way of developing ties” between the countries. In the letter, she said Trump explained his plan to “propel the relations between the two countries ... and expressed his intent to render cooperation in the anti-epidemic work,” an apparent reference to the global coronavirus outbreak. She said her brother expressed his gratitude for Trump’s letter. North Korea has repeatedly said there hasn’t been a single case of the coronavirus on its soil. Some foreign experts question that claim and say an outbreak in the North could cause a humanitarian disaster because of its poor medical infrastructure. Last month, the State Department expressed concerns about North Korea’s vulnerability to a potential coronavirus outbreak and said it was ready to support efforts by aid organizations to contain the spread of the illness in the North. A senior Trump administration official said Sunday that Trump sent a letter to Kim that the official said was consistent with Trump’s efforts to engage global leaders during the pandemic. The official said Trump looks forward to continued communications with the North Korean leader. Kim Yo Jong said Trump’s letter is “a good example showing the special and firm personal relations” between the North Korean and U.S. leaders. But she said it’s not a good idea to “make hasty conclusion or be optimistic about” the prospect for bilateral relations. “In my personal opinion, I think that the bilateral relations and dialogue for them would be thinkable only when the equilibrium is kept dynamically and morally and justice ensured between the two countries,” she said. “Even at this moment we are working hard to develop and defend ourselves on our own under the cruel environment which the U.S. is keen to ‘provide.’” Earlier, Trump sent birthday greetings to Kim Jong Un, who was believed to have turned 36 on Jan. 8. Senior North Korean official Kim Kye Gwan said at the time that the birthday message won’t lead his country to return to talks unless the U.S. accepts its demands. Kim and Trump have met three times and exchanged letters and envoys on many occasions since 2018, when they launched talks on the fate of Kim’s advancing nuclear arsenal. The two leaders have avoided harsh language against each other, and Trump once said he and Kim “fell in love.” (WP, 2020.03.22)
N. Korea says Trump’s letter offers anti-virus cooperation content media
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KMHPF
Mar 24, 2020
In NEWS IN BRIEF
The North, which says it is waging an all-out campaign against the coronavirus, expressed “sincere gratitude” for the president’s letter. A factory worker making disinfectants in Pyongyang, North Korea. (AP) President Trump has sent a letter to North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, expressing his willingness to help the North battle the coronavirus, North Korea said on Sunday. “I would like to extend sincere gratitude to the U.S. president for sending his invariable faith to the Chairman,” said Kim Yo-jong, the North Korean leader’s sister and policy aide, in a statement carried by the North’s state-run Korean​ Central​ News Agency. Ms. Kim lauded Mr. Trump’s decision to write the letter as “a good judgment and proper action.” In the letter, Mr. Trump “wished the family of the Chairman and our people well-being,” Ms. Kim said, referring to her brother by one of his official titles. According to Ms. Kim, Mr. Trump also explained his plan to move relations between the two countries forward and “expressed his intent to render cooperation in the anti-epidemic work, saying that he was impressed by the efforts made by the Chairman to defend his people from the serious threat of the epidemic.” The White House confirmed that Mr. Trump had sent Mr. Kim a letter but did not comment on its specifics. Mr. Trump and Mr. Kim have repeatedly touted their unusual relationship. They exchanged a number of personal letters before and after their first summit in Singapore in 2018, and at one point Mr. Trump said he and Mr. Kim had fallen “in love.” But relations between Pyongyang and Washington ​have cooled since the leaders’ second summit meeting, held in Vietnam in February of last year, collapsed over differences regarding how quickly North Korea should dismantle its nuclear weapons program and when Washington should ease sanctions. Since then, Mr. Kim has repeatedly said that North Korea was no longer interested in diplomacy with the United States unless it changed what he called its hostile policy, including sanctions. He also warned that the North no longer felt bound by its self-imposed moratorium on testing nuclear weapons and long-range ballistic missiles​. On Saturday, Mr. Kim attended the testing of two short-range ballistic missiles by ​his military. Ms. Kim said on Sunday that her brother had “mentioned his special personal relations with President Trump again and appreciated the personal letter.” But she said good personal relations between the two leaders were not enough to improve their countries’ ties. “We try to hope for the day when the relations between the two countries would be as good as the ones between the two top leaders, but it has to be left to time and be watched whether it can actually happen,” she said. “However, we will never lose or waste time for nothing, but will keep changing ourselves to be more powerful for that time just as how we made ourselves for the past two years.” A senior Trump administration official, who insisted on anonymity, said the president’s letter was consistent with his efforts to engage world leaders during the coronavirus pandemic. The official said Mr. Trump looked forward to continued communications with Mr. Kim. North Korea is highly vulnerable to epidemics because of the decrepit state of its public health system and the international sanctions imposed over its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs, which make it hard to ship aid there. Officially, the North has reported no coronavirus cases, ​although it says it is waging an all-out campaign against the virus. ​Outside health experts fear that the isolated country might be hiding an outbreak. (NYT, 2020.03.21)
Trump Writes to Kim Jong-un Offering Help in Virus Fight, North Korea Says
 content media
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KMHPF
Mar 24, 2020
In NEWS IN BRIEF
Workers in Pyongyang produce masks for protection against the new coronavirus. Experts say North Korea's track record of fighting epidemics does not bode well for its handling of the coronavirus outbreak. Coronavirus Update: Diamond Princess Passengers Leave Ship As Expert Slams Quarantine As China's neighbors battle the spread of the coronavirus, one nation in particular is arousing international concern: North Korea. While the country publicly insists it is completely free of the virus, and a World Health Organization official has said there are "no indications" so far of COVID-19 infection there, experts question how long that may be the case. "Not one novel coronavirus patient has emerged," North Korea's flagship Rodong Sinmun newspaper recently quoted Song In Bom, an official with an emergency health committee, as saying. Song credited his country's prompt response and establishment of a quarantine system for the lack of cases. The Wide-Ranging Ways In Which The Coronavirus Is Hurting Global Business South Korea's Unification Ministry, which is in charge of inter-Korean relations, said Monday that Pyongyang had reported to the World Health Organization that it had tested 141 suspected cases of coronavirus and all came up negative. But South Korean media, relying on anonymous sources, have reported cases of COVID-19 in North Korea, some of them fatal. Those reports have not been independently confirmed. In a statement last week, State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said, "The United States is deeply concerned about the vulnerability of the North Korean people to a coronavirus outbreak." As of Thursday, the death toll from COVID-19 exceeds 2,100. More than 100 cases have been confirmed in South Korea. Pyongyang says it has mobilized quickly to fight for its "national survival." It has closed its border and cut transport links with neighboring China, extended its quarantine period from 15 to 30 days, and restricted the activities of foreign diplomatic and international organization staff in Pyongyang. What's A 'Super-Spreading Event'? And Has It Happened With COVID-19? Observers believe fears of the virus may also have led North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to reduce his public appearances and scale back or cancel military parades and exercises. He was not seen in public between Jan. 25 and Feb. 16. Reports suggest that closing the border with China, North Korea's main trading partner, has caused economic activity to slump and prices to soar. Freedom of movement within the country is restricted even in ordinary circumstances, which could slow spread of the disease. And North Korea's system "makes it very easy for doctors to organize," says Dr. John Linton, head of the International Health Care Center at Severance Hospital in Seoul. If medics bring an X-ray machine to a village, for example, "the doctor will blow a whistle and everyone will line up," he says. Linton, a descendant of American missionaries, was born and raised in South Korea and has visited many of North Korea's provincial and county-level hospitals, where he helped build operating rooms and fight tuberculosis. "If you build an operating room and you put the equipment in the hands of the North Korean doctors, they do very well," he says. "The problem with North Korea is they do not have supplies, and they do not have equipment." Some hospitals, he says, don't even have running water. Hands are washed in basins of still water and disinfectants. He says he has seen "disposable gloves being used twice ... beer bottles functioning as IV containers." Why Is North Korea Freaked Out About The Threat Of Ebola? Despite Pyongyang's claim that North Korea has no cases, Linton says North Koreans have reached out to him through back channels to ask for supplies. "Through private sources, they're asking for disposable gowns, gloves and hazmat suits, which are undoubtedly lacking," he says. "So something is going on, otherwise they wouldn't be asking for this." Linton wants to deliver supplies, but international sanctions against North Korea complicate things. He warns that if COVID-19 becomes a pandemic and spreads there, "it's not just their health issue. It's our health issue." North Korea's track record of fighting epidemics does not bode well for its handling of the coronavirus outbreak, other experts warn. Other communicable diseases are widespread in the country, which has one of the world's highest rates of tuberculosis and an estimated 15% of the population is infected with Hepatitis B. "Past epidemics that originated in China have always spread to North Korea, and vice versa," says Choi Jung-hoon, a North Korean neurologist who defected to South Korea in 2012. During the 2003 SARS epidemic and other disease outbreaks, he says, cases in North Korea often went unreported or underreported. "Given past examples, North Korea's official announcement that it has no patients cannot be trusted," says Choi, now a research professor at Korea University's Public Policy Research Institute in Seoul. Choi recalls working to contain an outbreak of scarlet fever in 2006 and 2007. His job was to look for infected passengers aboard North Korean trains. "On the train, there were all kinds of people, North Koreans of every class, who needed to get somewhere," he says. "Male and female, young and old, everyone." Choi roamed the aisles, scanning for travelers with rashes or signs of fever. "During the four months that I was on the trains, I think I found over 500 suspected patients," he says. The only problem was that the patients he found had measles — not scarlet fever. North Korea is unable to identify many diseases, Choi says, let alone contain them. "North Korea has no capability or will to run quarantine facilities and isolate patients," he says, in the event of a coronavirus outbreak. He also questions North Korea's claims to have sealed its porous border with China. He notes that smugglers go back and forth across rivers separating the two countries. "I believe that they still travel across the border to make a living," he says, "and I'm pretty sure that they have carried the virus from China." Choi says his job of identifying those with scarlet fever put him at risk of becoming infected himself. But he had little choice. And besides, infection was hardly the only risk. "After work, we doctors would sit around and drink and talk about the day. We would get drunk, but even then, we were careful not to comment on our political system." Doing so could land them in a labor camp. In other words, criticizing North Korea's handling of an epidemic can sometimes be more hazardous than the disease itself.
North Korea Claims Zero Coronavirus Cases, But Experts Are Skeptical content media
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Mar 24, 2020
In NEWS IN BRIEF
The unification ministry on Wednesday brushed aside calls to reopen a shuttered inter-Korean industrial complex in North Korea for anti-coronavirus mask production, citing challenges such as the need for workers from the two sides to stay in close contact. A growing number of people are asking for operations to resume at the factory park in the North's border city of Kaesong, as the South has been struggling to address mask shortages in the wake of the massive outbreak of COVID-19 cases. "The government is maintaining its position that the Kaesong complex must reopen. However, there are realistic challenges we need to review in order to restart the complex," Yoh Sang-key, the unification ministry's spokesperson, said in a press briefing. "First, it is a burden to reopen the Kaesong Industrial Complex now at a time when the two Koreas are taking preventive measures, as workers from the North and South will have to meet and stay in close contact with one another," he said. Yoh also cited other possible problems, including the time necessary to check factory facilities before they restart work and the issue of bringing filters or fabrics into the complex at a time when they are in short supply in South Korea. South Korea has stepped up efforts to expand the local production of protective masks from the current 10 million to 14 million units daily. It also placed an export ban on masks. Launched in 2004, the Kaesong Industrial Complex was born on the back of a peace mood created after the first-ever inter-Korean summit between South Korean President Kim Dae-jung and North Korean leader Kim Jong-il in 2000. It was hailed as a symbol of inter-Korean economic cooperation and a successful cross-border project that combined South Korean capital and technology with cheap labor from North Korea. In 2016, Seoul closed the Kaesong Industrial Complex in retaliation for the North's fourth nuclear test. Efforts to resume operations there have made little progress amid a protracted stalemate in denuclearization talks. (Yonhap)
Reopening Kaesong Complex to produce masks unlikely at this point: unification ministry content media
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Oct 17, 2019
In NEWS IN BRIEF
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