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Posts tagged ‘Kim Il-sung’

SKorea Readies for ‘Provocations’ From North After Execution.

SEOUL, South KoreaNorth Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s execution of his uncle and de facto deputy raises the risk of “reckless provocations” from the North, South Korean President Park Geun Hye said.

The purge of Jang Song Thaek, the highest-profile ousting since Kim took power two years ago, has prompted the South to heighten its combat preparedness along the border with North Korea, where thousands of troops face off across a no-man’s land.

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“Recent developments render future directions of North Korea’s political situation unclear,” Park told her aides Monday, according to a statement on the website of her office. South Korea is in “a situation where unexpected events like reckless provocations can’t be ruled out,” she said.

North Korea raised tensions in February by detonating its third nuclear device and has periodically carried out military operations that have fueled the risk of war. In March 2010, a South Korean warship sank in the Yellow Sea, killing 46 sailors in what the South called a North Korean torpedo attack. The North denies the charge. Later that year the north bombarded a front-line South Korean island, killing four people.

North Korea’s military is currently conducting annual winter drills and showing no unusual activities, South Korean Defense Ministry spokesman Kim Min Seok said at a briefing earlier Monday.


Jang was executed immediately after a military court convicted him of plotting a coup against his nephew Kim, the North’s official Korean Central News Agency said Dec. 13.

The son-in-law of North Korean founder Kim Il Sung, Jang was promoted to four-star general and vice chairman of the National Defense Commission months before Kim took over the North after his father, Kim Jong Il, died in December 2011.

“It really reminded me of a video that we saw of Saddam Hussein doing the same thing, having people plucked out of an audience, and people sitting there sweating and nobody daring to move or do anything,” Secretary of State John Kerry said Sunday on ABC’s This Week. “To have a nuclear weapon, potentially, in the hands of somebody like Kim Jong Un just becomes even more unacceptable.”

The purge comes two years after the death of Kim’s father, and memorial celebrations beginning at midnight will be closely scrutinized by analysts for clues as to who may replace Jang, Leonid Petrov, a Korean studies researcher at the Australian National University in Canberra, said in an email.

They will also be watching to see if Kim Jong Un’s sister, Kim Yo Jong, reappears after not being seen in public since last year.


“Blood is thicker than water, so it will be immediate family members who will be instrumental in helping the young emperor keep the cards closer to his chest,” Petrov said.

In a sign the purge hasn’t affected Kim’s aunt, Kim Kyong Hui, who married Jang in 1972, the Yonhap news agency reported on Dec. 14 that she was among a group of people who would organize a funeral for a senior party official that died recently.

One area to be affected by the purge will be North Korea’s ties with China, as Jang had served as the point person for relations with China and had negotiated deals to jointly build industrial zones along their borders.

© Copyright 2013 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.


NKorea: Kim Jong Un’s Uncle Executed, ‘Worse Than a Dog’.

North Korean state media say Kim Jong Un‘s uncle has been executed, calling the leader’s former mentor “worse than a dog.”

The announcement early Friday comes days after Pyongyang announced that Jang Song Thaek had been removed from all his posts because of allegations of corruption, drug use, gambling, womanizing and generally leading a “dissolute and depraved life.”

Jang was considered the second most powerful official in the North. He was seen as helping Kim Jong Un consolidate power after the death of his father, Kim Jong Il, two years ago. Jang was the latest and most significant in a series of personnel reshuffles that Kim has conducted in an apparent effort to bolster his power.

The execution of Jang comes after South Korean media reports that one of his aides has sought asylum in South Korea.

The unidentified aide, who managed funds for Jang, was being protected by South Korean officials in a secret location in China, cable news network YTN and the Kyunghyang Shinmun newspaper said, citing sources familiar with the matter.

Jang was removed from all his posts and expelled from the ruling Workers’ Party during a meeting of its politburo on Sunday, the North’s official KCNA news agency said. Kim Jong Un attended and “guided” the meeting, it said.

North Korean state television showed a still photograph of Jang being hauled away by uniformed guards from a large conference hall as it reported on the politburo meeting.

Kim’s uncle has also been airbrushed out of pictures and video footage and experts said his name was no longer searchable on the KCNA database.

“Jang and his followers committed criminal acts baffling imagination and they did tremendous harm to our party and revolution,” KCNA said, without saying if Jang had been detained or charged with any crime.

The report also did not refer to Jang’s aide, whose defection, if confirmed, would be the most serious for North Korea in 15 years.

The decision to remove Jang was widely reported in North Korea’s media including on the front page of the official Rodong Sinmun newspaper on Monday, in contrast to the dismissal of officials in the past which were almost never reported.

The Rodong Sinmun carried a picture of what it said was the politburo meeting. Jang and Kim Kyong Hui, Jang’s wife and aunt to the young leader, were among 17 politburo members. Neither could be seen in the photo.

But Kim’s aunt, the daughter of the North’s founding leader Kim Il Sung, was not in trouble, a source with close ties to Pyongyang told Reuters.

Last week a South Korean official said Jang was likely alive and in no immediate physical danger, as was his wife.

South Korea’s National Intelligence Service last week said it believed Jang had been relieved of his posts in November. It also said two of Jang’s close associates were executed recently for corruption.

Pyongyang is undergoing its biggest leadership upheaval since the death in 2011 of former leader Kim Jong Il, the younger Kim’s father.

Among Jang’s senior party and military posts, he was vice chairman of the country’s top military body, the National Defense Commission.

Jang had close ties to China and visited Beijing in 2012 on behalf of Kim. He was also head of the North Korean side of a joint project managing a special economic zone with Beijing.

In listing reasons why Jang was dismissed, KNCA said, “Jang pretended to uphold the party and leader but was engrossed in such factional acts (such) as dreaming different dreams and involving himself in double-dealing behind the scene.”

“Affected by the capitalist way of living, Jang committed irregularities and corruption and led a dissolute and depraved life.”

Information from The Associated Press and Reuters was used in this report.

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Newsmax Wires

Public Executions Highlight Religious Freedom Issues in North Korea.

North Korea
In North Korea, the practice of Christianity is illegal. (CBN News)

JoongAng Ilbo, a South Korean newspaper, says 80 North Koreans were executed by firing squad for watching smuggled foreign television broadcasts and possibly for owning Bibles.

Multiple newspapers published eyewitness reports that described everything from the circumstance of public execution before an audience of thousands to the manner in which it was carried out. Although the executions were reportedly carried out Nov. 3, the report highlights the ongoing struggles for freedom in that reclusive nation.

In North Korea, the practice of Christianity is illegal, even though Article 68 of the North Korean Constitution guarantees the freedom of religious practice. Owning a Bible is a crime, and any person caught with one is sent—along with three generations of his or her family—to prison. North Koreans are forced to embrace Juche ideology, a warped version of Christianity that mixes Marxism with worship of the late “Great Leader” Kim Il Sung and his family.

And yet, in spite of the risk, North Koreans are hungry for truth. Despite the persecution of all religions in North Korea, a covert church is growing. Converts cross secretly from China back into North Korea to plant clandestine congregations.

In an earlier interview with UPI, Todd Nettleton, a spokesman with the Voice of the Martyrs USA (VOM), acknowledged the difficulty in keeping track of who makes up the body of believers. However, he said, “To our knowledge, its members are either old people who had already been Christians before the Communist takeover and kept the faith, or very young ones who have been converted as refugees in China.”

Distribution of unapproved literature is a capital offense. Distribution via land couriers is highly dangerous, and the liability for those caught doing so often results in death or forced labor. It’s worse for those carrying Christian literature like tracts or Bibles.

“It’s not a country where you can really smuggle Bibles in, but it is a country where you can launch balloons,” Nettleton says. “Voice of the Martyrs has worked with our partners to actually attach not just a gospel tract, but a complete New Testament.”

Balloon launches take place in the countryside areas near the border between South Korea and North Korea, where the wind current is favorable. VOM partners have it down to a science, Nettleton explains. They coordinate weather patterns and calculate weight, wind speed and more to ensure balloons float in the right direction and land where intended inside North Korea.

“How much helium you put into the balloons is how far it will float into North Korea, and we have attached some GPS devices to some of those balloons so that we really can track where they go into North Korea,” he says.

Through multiple launch points, VOM can drop materials on areas that are largely unpenetrated by the gospel. That’s not to say the materials the balloons carry always arrive at their intended destination.

“We have heard stories from inside the country of military units being mobilized when we do a balloon launch,” Nettleton notes. “The soldiers are ordered to pick up the balloons, pick up everything attached to the balloons. Do not read any of it, do not keep it, but turn every piece of it back in to their commanding officers, where it can be destroyed.”

To the question of why anyone would risk harsh punishment to keep the material attached, he says, “Anything they get from the outside world is a curiosity to them; they want to read it, and they want to know what it says. But obviously, the security is very tight.”

During the most recent balloon launch, the launch party prepared packages containing lightweight Korean New Testaments and attached them to hydrogen-filled balloons.

“Our goal for 2013 is to get 48,000 New Testaments into North Korea on these balloons,” Nettleton says. “At our last launch, we lacked only 675 of reaching that goal. The last launch was able to get 3,600 into the air.”

As winter approaches, fewer days will provide weather conditions suitable for balloon launches. Discipleship takes over. How does that happen in a country where you can be shot for being a Christian? Through radio ministry, explains Nettleton.

“Some of that radio ministry is discipleship teaching, some of it is the stories of persecuted Christians, and some of it is just simply reading the Bible very slowly in a way for people to be able to write it down,” he says.

Given the challenges facing North Korean Christians, Nettleton pleads, “Pray for the delivery of God’s Word into North Korea. We know there is a church, but it is a severely persecuted church. So pray that God will sustain them, that He will encourage them, and pray that He’ll open doors for them to be a witness for Him.”

This article originally appeared on



Castro Praises NKorea for Cold War Arms Aid.

Image: Castro Praises NKorea for Cold War Arms Aid

HAVANA — Fidel Castro credited North Korea Wednesday with supplying Cuba with free weapons in the 1980s after the Soviet Union said it could no longer defend the island against a U.S. invasion.

Castro’s reminiscence in an article published Wednesday came as U.N. experts were scrutinizing a shipment of Cuban arms to North Korea to determine if they violated a U.N. ban.

Castro has dismissed the discovery of the undeclared arms aboard a North Korean freighter transiting the Panama Canal as an attempt to smear Cuba.

In an article marking his 87th birthday, Castro did not mention the case but praised North Korean leader Kim Il Sung for coming to Cuba’s aid near the end of the Cold War.

Castro said then Soviet leader Yuri Andropov had told him that Cuba would have to defend itself it were invaded by the United States.

“He told us that if were attacked by the United States we would have to fight alone,” he said.

“We asked him if they could supply us with weapons free of charge as they had in the past. He responded that they would.

“We then communicated to him: ‘Don’t worry. Send us the arms and we will take care of the invaders ourselves.”

Castro said North Korean leader Kim Il Sung, “a veteran and unimpeachable combatant, sent us 100,000 AK rifles and [ammunition] without charging a cent,” he said.

Andropov, a former KGB chief, was the Soviet leader from 1982 until his death 15 months later in 1984 as the Soviet Union entered into a period of crisis that ended with its collapse in 1989.

Kim Il Sung died in 1994. His grandson now rules the Stalinist state.

Castro stepped down as Cuba’s president in 2006, handing over the reins to his younger brother Raul after becoming ill.

“I was far from imagining that my life would extend for another seven years,” he said.

© AFP 2013

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China to Send Its North Korea Envoy to Washington for Talks.

BEIJING — China will send its special envoy on North Korea to the United States next week for talks on maintaining peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula, the foreign ministry said on Friday.

Wu Dawei will also discuss denuclearization of the region, ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a daily briefing. He will visit at the invitation of Glyn Davies, Washington’s special representative on North Korea, Hua said.

After weeks of threats of war by North Korea, Pyongyang said on Thursday it would return to negotiations subject to a list of conditions, including the lifting of U.N. sanctions. The United States said it was seeking “clear signals” that the North would halt its nuclear weapons activities.

China is North Korea’s main diplomatic and financial backer and fought alongside the North in the 1950-53 Korean War.

But in recent months China has begun to express impatience with Pyongyang and its 30-year-old leader, Kim Jong Un, grandson of state founder Kim Il Sung.

“The international community, including China, has to seriously reconsider what will be the more effective way to force North Korea not just to get back to negotiations, but force them to give up nuclear weapons,” Zhu Feng of the China Institute of Strategic Studies at Peking University told Reuters.

“China also has to review the policy of North Korea and make clear that Beijing‘s policy of denuclearization is not just rhetorically proclaimed but also can be very effectively pursued.”

© 2013 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

NKorea: Talks Possible With US Once Nuclear Deterrence in Place.

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea said talks with the United States are possible once it has sufficient nuclear weapons to deter an attack, setting a condition the Obama administration has ruled out after weeks of threats from Kim Jong Un’s regime.

“Genuine dialogue is possible only at the phase where the DPRK has acquired nuclear deterrent enough to defuse the U.S. threat of nuclear war unless the U.S. rolls back its hostile policy,” the state-run Korean Central News Agency Tuesday said, citing a Foreign Ministry spokesman. The country’s official name is the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

President Barack Obama said Tuesday the United States doesn’t think North Korea has the ability to launch a nuclear-armed missile, adding that he refuses to reward North Korea’s “provocative behavior.”

The United States expects additional provocations in “the next several weeks,” he said in a recorded interview broadcast Tuesday on NBC’s “Today” show.

Obama said it is difficult to predict what Kim, who inherited his position from his late father Kim Jong Il in December 2011 and is believed to be under 30, will do.

North Korea has repeatedly said the region is on the brink of war since testing an atomic bomb in February in defiance of increased United Nations sanctions, and has threatened to launch preemptive nuclear strikes on the United States and South Korea.

“Based on our current intelligence assessments, we do not think that they have that capacity,” Obama said, adding that the U.S. has repositioned missile defenses “to guard against any miscalculation on their part.”

Rejecting Request

The North Wednesday rejected a request by South Korean business owners to visit the jointly-run Gaeseong industrial complex north of the demilitarized zone, Unification Ministry spokesman Kim Hyung Suk said in Seoul.

The owners wanted to check the status of their assets there since operations were suspended last week, Kim said. The factory park has been shuttered since April 9 when the North withdrew its 53,000 laborers working for 123 South Korean companies.

Obama said he hopes that eventually Kim’s government will show a willingness to discuss issues diplomatically.

“You don’t get to bang your spoon on the table and somehow you get your way,” he said.

North Korea early Tuesday threatened to attack South Korea at any time in retaliation for a protest in Seoul where portraits of the North’s leaders were set on fire. The country is celebrating the April 15 birthday of state founder Kim Il Sung, the current leader’s grandfather.

No Mobilizing

While a missile or nuclear weapons test remains possible given the hostile rhetoric from the totalitarian state over the past several weeks, there are no signs North Korean forces are mobilizing, a U.S. Forces Korea official said Tuesday.

“North Korea right now seems to be weighing whether it’s more beneficial to restart talks with the U.S. or South Korea,” said Hahm Hyeong Pil, an analyst at the Korea Institute for Defense Analyses in Seoul. “If they want to appeal to the U.S., then the North will continue to escalate tensions with more threats and if it chooses the South, then it will not fire a missile.”

The recent rhetoric from the North has been conditional, and the possibility of an attack always hinged on what the United States or South Korea may do to avert one, the U.S. Forces Korea official told reporters Tuesday in Seoul, asking not to be named in line with military policy.

North Korea should look to its options for ending the cycle of escalated tensions, the official said.

Short-Range Fire

Should North Korea choose to launch a missile, it probably will be a short-range one that falls into the sea, the official said, adding that neither the United States nor South Korea will know about any launch until it is airborne.

Secretary of State John Kerry this week ended a trip to Seoul, Beijing, and Tokyo by calling for dialogue with Kim’s regime, while saying a nuclear-armed North Korea was unacceptable. South Korean President Park Geun Hye on April 11 offered to restart talks with North Korea.

© Copyright 2013 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.

N.Korea Issues New Military Threats on Founder’s Birthday.

North Korea made new threats of military action on Monday as the reclusive nation celebrated the anniversary of its founder’s birth, stoking tension on the peninsula with a new “ultimatum” to South Korea in the stand-off over its nuclear program.

The latest statement from Pyongyang followed threats of nuclear attacks on the United States, South Korea, and Japan, after new U.N. sanctions were imposed in response to the North’s latest nuclear test in February.

“Our retaliatory action will start without any notice from now,” North Korea’s state news agency KCNA said on Monday, noting actions would “start immediately.”

The statement was issued by KCNA after signs that Pyongyang may be presenting a less warlike stance on the “Day of the Sun,” the date the North’s founder Kim Il-Sung was born.

Although many Pyongyang watchers had expected a big military parade to showcase North Korea’s armed forces, the day was marked in Pyongyang with a festival of flowers named after Kim.

U.S. President Barack Obama and South Korean President Park Geun-hye will meet May 7 at the White House to discuss economic and security issues, including “countering the North Korean threat,” the White House said on Monday.

The United States has offered talks, but on the pre-condition that North Korea abandon its nuclear weapons ambitions. North Korea deems its nuclear arms a “treasured sword” and has vowed never to give them up.

Nevertheless, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, ending a trip to the region dominated by concern about North Korea, stressed his interest in a diplomatic solution.

“The United States remains open to authentic and credible negotiations on denuclearization, but the burden is on Pyongyang,” he said. “North Korea must take meaningful steps to show that it will honor commitments it has already made, and it has to observe laws and the norms of international behavior.”

On Sunday evening, Kerry appeared to open the door to talking without requiring the North to take denuclearization steps in advance. Beijing, he said, could be an intermediary.

But on Monday White House spokesman Jay Carney said North Korea would have to “commit itself in a verifiable way to denuclearization” first, which has long been the U.S. position.

“If North Korea shows that it’s serious about pursuing that path, then negotiations are the course through which that can be achieved,” Carney told reporters.

Earlier, Kerry said he believed China, the North’s sole economic and political benefactor, should put “some teeth” in efforts to persuade Pyongyang to alter its policies.

The Chinese Communist Party mouthpiece, the People’s Daily, warned on Monday that tensions could get out of control.

“It does not matter if it is intentional or accidental, even the smallest thing could cause the situation to change rapidly and perhaps get totally out of control,” the paper said.

South Korean and U.S. officials said last week North Korea appeared set to test-launch a medium-range missile as a show of strength linked to Monday’s anniversary of the birth of North Korean state founder Kim Il-Sung.

North Korea has conducted three nuclear tests but it was not believed to be near weapons capability.

South Korea said it remained on guard against any missile launch and it regretted the North’s rejection of an offer of talks made last week by President Park Geun-hye. It said the offer would remain on the table.

Missile launches and nuclear tests by North Korea are both banned under U.N. Security Council resolutions, which were expanded after its third nuclear test, in February.

President Barack Obama is under pressure from Republicans in Congress to respond forcefully should North Korea launch a missile.

“I maintain that the United States should treat any North Korean missile launch as a threat to our national security and our allies, and that we should shoot it down once it leaves North Korean airspace,” said Senator John McCain, a Republican from Arizona who is influential on defense issues.

The aim of the North’s aggressive acts, analysts say, is to bolster the leadership of Kim Jong-un, the 30-year-old grandson of the nation’s founder, or to force the United States to hold talks with the North.

The North has also been angry about annual military exercises between U.S. and South Korean forces, describing them as a “hostile” act. The United States dispatched B52 and B2 stealth bombers from their bases to take part.

Yoji Koda, a former commander in chief of the Japanese naval fleet, told Reuters he believed North Korea’s threats were part of a “calculated provocation”, not a prelude to an attack.

He said indications the United States was softening a forceful stance to the North had given its leader Kim Jong-un the opportunity to tone things down.

“This has enabled North Korea to declare victory and sheathe its swords,” he said.

Kim Il-Sung led his country from its founding in 1948 through the 1950-53 Korean War and until he died in 1994. His son, Kim Jong-il, then took over.

KCNA, the North’s news agency, reported that people were flocking to a statue of Kim Il-Sung, saying, “My father, our great leader”.

“This sincere expression comes from the bottom of their hearts,” it said.

Kim Jong-un, the third Kim to rule in Pyongyang, attended a midnight celebration of his father’s and grandfather’s rule with top officials, including his kingmaker uncle Jang Song-thaek.

North Korean defectors said army units were expected to contribute for the celebration of Kim’s birthday and in turn, the government, which has struggled to feed its people, had handed out extra rations of rice and corn.

“People are decorating streets for political events. It’s never like war time,” said Seo Jae-pyoung, a defector who lives in South Korea who spoke last week to an acquaintance in the North. “The government, which normally can’t distribute rice, has already given about one week or two week’s special rations.”

North Korea has repeatedly stressed that it fears the United States wants to invade it and has manipulated the United Nations to weaken it. During the weekend, the North rejected the overture by new South Korean President Park as a “cunning” ploy.

“We will expand in quantity our nuclear weapons capability, which is the treasure of a unified Korea … that we would never barter at any price,” Kim Yong-nam, North Korea’s titular head of state, told a gathering of officials and service personnel applauding the achievements of Kim Il-Sung.

© 2013 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

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