Saturday, April 21, 2018

2 Koreas to end a 68-year War

An intelligence source revealed that an upcoming talk between Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in could result in the announcement of an end to the Korean War 68 years after the conflict began.

South Korea confirmed on Apr 18 that they are discussing a peace agreement which could formally end the war with the North (currently only the state of "ceasefire"). Chung Eui-yong, South Korea’s national security adviser, said that he discussed a potential treaty with John Bolton, his newly appointed American counterpart, in Washington.

Chung’s remarks come amid preparations for an April 27 meeting between Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong Un. The summit would be the 3rd inter-Korean conference since the division of the peninsula.

North Korean national news has declared to its nations as well as the world of Denuclearization.
Now that North Korea seems to have promised denuclearization, the next step is probably peace, democratization, and normalization of ties among the Asia-Pacific nations.

Friday, April 20, 2018

The direct hot line between Kim Jong Un and President Moon was set up.

The direct hot line between Kim Jong Un and President Moon was set up.
If the high ranks officials between South Korea and North Korea get closer to each other on the line,  the hostile military actions will disappear.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

People's hope for Reunification

  These days, some South Korean singers and taekwondo demonstrators performed in Pyongyang.
This is the first time since 2005 that South Korean artists performed in North Korea, and the first time for Kim Jong Un to such occasion.

  As North Korea looks forward to the summit with South Korea, local residents ignite hope of reunification. According to sources, many discussions regarding the summit are being made recently in workplaces and among families in Pyongyang. Many North Koreans dream about unification coming true after the joint summit, to the extent that "cannot sleep at night".

  Some North Korean students hope that reunification can lead to freedom from conscription (obligatory military service). One student even puts visiting South Korea as 1st priority after reunification, although mentioning this being a taboo in schools.

  The joint summit of 2 Koreas will be held in late April, at "Peace House" of southern Panmunjom. Kim Jong Un will become the 1st NK supreme leader to visit South Korea.

Peace House

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Kim Jong Un visits China for 1st time, meets Xi

  DPRK's supreme leader visits China and meets Xi JinPing, China's president.
It was the 34-year-old leader's 1st trip abroad. He travelled with wife Ri SolJu.
The meeting can be thought as to serve as a preparation for NK's coming summit with South Korea and USA.

  Discussions focused on global diplomatic relations and NK's nuclear weapon program.
China has been a major supporter for NK's nuclear program for decades, as an indirect 'weapon' toward the West. During Korean war 1950-53, China backed NK and lost hundreds of thousands of lives. Xi now claims that North Korea has "committed to denuclearization".
Kim also said that denuclearization can be realized "if USA and ROK respond" to their "efforts and goodwill".

  Recently, USA has had a new Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, and a new national secretary advisor, John Bolton. Both of them have conservative, tougher attitudes toward NK.

(Left: Pompeo; Right: Bolton)

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Living cost at Pyongyang in North Korea

What is like living in Pyongyang?

Something is very cheap. For example, 2 pounds of apples are just 1 dollar.

Monthly rent for 900 square feet is 3,640 Dollars?
It sounds like an expensive apartment.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Congratulations to Jinhye, Grace and Songhwa

Congratulations on ten years in the united states. glad you made it because you are making a difference.

Friday, March 16, 2018

"RimJinGang", a song depicting the tragedy of separation and hope for freedom

  Music is an essential element in the society.
At individual level, music can cheer us up, make us relax, console our sorrow or change our mood depending on the nature of music.
In societies, music is sometines used for solidifying nation's sentiments, intensifying patriotism, or can be a means for making peace. In either way, the power of music is undeniable.

 In 1957, a North Korean pop song called "RimJinGang" 림진강 was made.
Rim Jin (also "Im Jin") river crosses the border of 2 Koreas, flowing from North to South, and thus has become a symbol of freedom. Im Jin River was also the place where a battle occurred during Korean war.

You can listen to the song here:

Meaning of lyrics:

Imjin river's clear water Flows, flows down
All kinds of birds, freely Fly across, but
My hometown in the south Can't go, even if I want to
Flow of Imjin river, Do you flow, carrying my wish

In the fields across the river, Only the birds to leave cry
In the barren fields, Digging out the grassroots but
The fields, the sea of flowers Dancing like the waves
The flow of Imjin river Cannot be divided

임진강 맑은 물은 흘러흘러내리고
물새들 자유로이 넘나들며 날건만
내 고향 남쪽 땅 가고파도 못가니
임진강 흐름아 원한 싣고 흐르느냐

강건너 갈밭에선 갈새만 슬피울고
메마른 들판에선 풀뿌리를 캐건만
협동벌 이삭마다 물결우에 춤추니
림진강 흐름을 가르지는 못하리라

This song was later also adapted into Japanese:

Monday, March 12, 2018

Things to know about USA - DPRK talk in near future

  Recently, Kim Jong Un has agreed to attend a summit with USA, which can be held as early as May this year. The main topic is regarding denuclearization of North Korea and peace. Kim Jong Un has also agreed to stop missile development (ICBM) as well as releasing 3 American hostages. He even wishes to establish diplomatic relations with USA. NK has had talks with South Korea in early March.

  Kim Jong Un seems to agree with denuclearizing North Korea, which is a favorable news to hear, but we have to think that this may be another trap. It is not the 1st time for North Korea to agree upon denuclearization. In the past 25 years, NK has agreed to denuclearize several times, including once during Bill Clinton's governance when the late supreme leader Kim Jong Il turned away and broke his promise shortly after receiving generous aid from USA in return of the "promise". Aid from other countries, especially food and fuels, has been a major incentive for NK to change, but USA seems to have learned much from previous lessons. They claim to terminate NK regime if NK fails their promise once again this time (and thus the last time!).

  Another reason for Kim Jong Un to agree may be due to his agony. International sanctions seem to be effective, which has resulted in shortage of Kim Jong Un's treasury (national fund). The sanctions have decreased NK's exports and foreign exchange reserves in large amounts, resulting in its shortage of buying power and inability to purchase imports. NK has suffered from severe lack of resources and commodities recently. According to specialists, dollars possessed by Pyongyang will be used up by this October. What is worse is that recently NK also suffers from inflation, causing prices to rise.

  Thirdly, North Korea's main interest is to break ties between USA and South Korea. NK's agreement is conditional. They want US military to withdraw from South Korea. The recent talk between 2 Koreas has proposed a total denuclearization in entire Korean peninsula which requires South Korea's abandonment of US military's protection. North Korea also hopes South Korea terminate ties with USA, which is a tough decision for South Korea.

  Amid this, Japan has agreed to pay for inspection fees of NK's nuclear facilities, which is to examine and assure NK's authentic attitude. Japan's PM Abe has talked to Trump by phone and vows to keep pressuring NK regime until it totally abandons nuclear weapon programs. The place for meeting between NK and USA has yet decided, and some consider Japan a neutral and suitable place to talk. If NK is able to keep its promises, it is a big step forward for the world, but we also have to be cautious enough to consider the conditions and consequences thereafter.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

평양에 미국 대사관 설치

평양에 미국 대사관 설치

북한의 김정은 위원장이 평양에 미국 대사관 설치를 희망하고 있다.

미국 Trump 대통령도 찬성하지 않을까? 5월에 북한 김정은 위원장이 직접 만나서 정상회담 주제로 미국 대사관 설치가 협의되고 확정된다면, 미국인의 북한 관광, 신규 투자, 사업이 가능해 지지 않을까?

만약 정말 평양에 미국 대사관이 설치된다면, 북한과 미국과의 국교로 인해서 한반도에 평화의 시대가 정착할 수 있겠다.

History and functions of "Workers' Party of Korea"

  Have you ever wondered why the current ruling party of North Korea was named as "Workers' Party" (로동당) rather than "Communist Party" despite having strong Communist ideology and similar to Communist parties in other countries?

  Originally, "Communist Party of Korea" was formed during the era of Japanese rule in 1945. They merged with "New People's Party of Korea" (group consisted of Communists exiled in China, later known as "Yan'an faction") in 1946. In the same year, "Workers' Party of North Korea" established. Today's "Workers' Party of Korea" (WPK) was officially formed in 1949 when "Workers' Party of North Korea" and "Workers' Party of South Korea" were merged. Kim Il Sung, indoctrinated to be worshipped as the Sun to every North Korean, founded none of the parties above, but eventually became the de facto eternal leader of DPRK.

  The party's emblem is an adaptation of the Communist hammer and sickle, with a traditional Korean calligraphy brush. Each symbol is to represent industrial workers (hammer), peasants (sickle), and intellectuals (ink brush). WPK still controls the vast majority of politics and people lives, but it also consists different factions which each of them holds slightly different agendas and ideologies. Not all politicians in DPRK are Communists.

  Today WPK controls the world's 5th largest armed forces. Although the  Workers' Party is organized like other Communist parties, it is less institutionalized. In other words, it is loose and lacks formal political players and functions. The fundamental ideology supporting the party is "Juche" which can be translated as something like "Subjectivity". It is a mix of economic theories of Marx and Engels, social revolution and precedent of Lenin, Communism, Socialism, Collectivism and Nationalism with heavy interest in military. It is similar to the logic behind Chinese Communist Party which Mao attempted to establish "a Communism with Chinese flavor". In short, "Juche" can be understood as "Communism with Korean flavor".

  In North Korea, "Juche" is everything, from one's birth to death. It is perhaps graver than one's life.

A monument in Pyongyang commemorating the establishment of WPK constructed in 1995

Friday, March 9, 2018

미국 트럼프 대통령과 김정은 위원장이 5월에 만날 예정

북한 김정은 위원장이 미국 트럼프 대통령을 초청했고, 트럼프 대통령이 북한 비핵화를 전제로 만날 수 있다고 답변했다.

정말 반가운 소식이다.

북한에 있는 모든 핵무기를 폐기하면 북한과의 평화적인 대화도 가능하다. 김정은 위원장은 정권 유지를 보장받고 싶어한다. 무슨 뜻일까? 북한은 계속해서 정권을 유지하고 싶다는 뜻이다.

4월에 김정은 위원장과 문재인 대통령이 만나고, 5월에는 트럼프 대통령과 만난다. 한반도 통일은 아니지만 한반도에 평화가 자리잡을 수 있는 계기가 된다.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

North Korea's military ties with Middle East and Africa

  The impact and menace of DPRK's attitude is not limited to Asia-Pacific region.
Recently a new UN report has revealed that Egypt, previously 1 of the most glomorous ancient civilizations but now a 3rd world realm, assists North Korea selling its weapons to Middle Eastern and North African countries. In this sense, Egypt serves as a bridge between those regions and NK. Furthermore, NK's embassy in Cairo (Egypt's capital) has become a "salesroom" for weapons displayed in front of buyers. Weapons used in Egypt has been a major income for North Korea, and under sanctions, NK is urging to sell its newly developed weapons.

  In 2016, a North Korean cargo ship was found near Egypt, carrying 30 thousand rocket-propelled grenade which worth 26 million dollars. Egypt denied its military ties with DPRK or violation of international sanctions, but after USA's reduction of military aid toward Egypt, the country has been less active with North Korea. Egypt's current president is Abdel el-Sisi.

  More UN documents have recorded that NK negotiated with Sudan over missile transactions, and once even travelled to Syria. UN accuses DPRK of providing deadly chemical weapons to Syria.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

북한의 김정은 위원장 2018년 4월 말에 남한 "평화의 집"에서 문재인대통령 만날 예정

북한의 김정은 위원장이 남한을 방문한다. 판문점 아래에 있는 "평화의 집"에서 2018년 4월 말에 문재인대통령을 만나서 정상회담을 가질 예정이다.

정말 기쁜 소식이다.

한반도에 평화의 분위기가 조성될 것 같다.
북한이 핵무기를 포기한다면 북한과의 경제 교류도 가능해지지 않을까?

Monday, March 5, 2018

Taiwan's importance in East Asia

  "East Asia Peace Forum" was held on March 4th in Taipei, Taiwan.
Besides Taiwan, congresspersons (MPs) from many Asian nations including Korea, Japan and Philippines also participated.
The discussion was basically about Security, mainly China and North Korea's military threats.

  Taiwan is a democratic country now, but has a complicated history.
At the very beginning, the island was inhabited by aboriginal tribes. It was occupied by Netherlands a couple hundreds of years ago, and after that mass immigrants began to arrive from mainland China, resulting in its dominant Chinese culture today.
Like Korea, Taiwan was also occupied by Japan. It lasted for 50 years (1895 - end of WW2, 1945).
Japan left many infrastructure and technology, and the education style deeply influenced the people.
Today Taiwan still has good ties with Japan.

  Similar to Korea, Taiwan also suffers from the threat of Communism.
4 years after the liberation from Japan, in 1949, Chinese Nationalist regime (Kuomintang) led by Chiang Kai Shek was defeated by Chinese Communist Party led by Mao Ze Dong, and left from mainland to Taiwan. Chiang protected the island from Red power, but in a somehow authoritarian way, similar to the strategy of Korea's presidents SyngMan Rhee and Park Chung Hee. Taiwan shares much similarities with South Korea in terms of modern politics and economy.

Chiang Kai Shek (left) and SyngMan Rhee (right)

  Modern Taiwan has become one of Asia's most democratic nations, with people enjoying freedom of expression and participation in politics. Taiwan is located in the midst of many important players in Asia-Pacific region, and its location is very important for the geo-politics in this area. It faces between Communist power (mainland China, North Korea) and Democratic countries (Korea, Japan, USA, Philippines). Taiwan, also known as Republic of China (ROC), was originally an important member of UN. 5 countries who won WW2 became Permanent members of UN after the war, with big decision-making power, and Nationalist China was 1 of them. However, ROC was replaced by PRC (Communist China) during Nixon regime, creating a burden for USA's own future and the entire Asia-Pacific region.

  Since ROC's loss of decision-making power in world politics, PRC has never failed to meddle in the issue, continuously intervening Taiwan's participation in international matter by coercive means. China always prohibits Taiwan from participating in international, large-scale associations. Like North Korea, China also frequently use military threats to intimidate its opponents. The 2 Communist forces pose big threat to the current order and peace in Asia-Pacific. Observing this situation, it further requires strong collaboration among the region, as people always say "united we are strong".

Sunday, March 4, 2018

문재인 대통령 특사 북한 김정은 위원장과 미국 Trump 대통령 만남 중재

문재인 대통령 특사가 북한과 미국을 방문해서 북한의 김정은과 미국의 Trump 대통령이 서로 만날 수 있도록 설득한다.

아주 좋은 소식이다.

과연 김정은과 미국 Trump 대통령이 서로 만날 기회사 성공할 수 있을까?
만약 만남이 이루어진다면 한반도 통일로 한 걸음 더 가까이 갈 수 있지 않을까?

Saturday, March 3, 2018

남한과 북한간의 정상 회담을 위한 첫 걸음

문재인대통령 방북초청에 대한 답신으로 2명의 특사를 북한으로 파견한다. 국가정보원장과 청와대 국가안보실장이 북한을 곧 방문할 예정이다.

문재인대통령과 김정은 위원장이 서로 만나서 한반도 평화에 대한 좋은 대화 결과를 이끌어내면 좋겠다. 미국과 북한과의 대화까지 이어지면 얼마나 좋을까?

김정은 위원장님, 핵무기를 포기하고 북한 주민의 삶의 질 향상을 선택하세요!

Friday, March 2, 2018

Asianism by the time of WW2

  The concept of "Regionalism" is nothing new.
Regionalism in Asia, or Asianism, has existed around the time when European colonialism expanded the power towards East, around late 19C and early 20C.
At first, East Asian nations - Japan, Korea, China, were in solidarity to combat colonizers.
An Jung Geun 안중근, a Korean independence activist, stated that "if Japan, China and Korea join together and resist the Western forces, it will be possible to overcome the crisis.
Japan at that time was proactive in supporting China's peaceful revolution led by Sun Yat-sen to overthrow Qing dynasty. Famous Japanese figures such as Inukai Tsuyoshi and Miyazaki Toten were prominent supporters.

  However, as Japan grew more power after defeating Qing (Sino-Japanese war) in 1895 and gaining victory in Russo-Japanese war 1905, "Asianism" transformed into Japan as the captain of the region.
Okakura Tenshin, Japanese scholar, insisted that "Japan is the essence of the Asian values". Indeed, Japan underwent a dramatic evolution, from Samurai society into modernized lifestyle. They embraced science, profound academics, modern political structure and technology in early stages. Nevertheless, many important politicians, intellectuals and especially military in Japan lacked the understanding of Nationalism among Asian nations. Sadly, some decision makers took the idea of Asianism onto their own interests, conducting the idea without dialogues with other entities. Early 20C was an era that many ideologies emerged. There was Fascism, Communism, Capitalism (lead earlier by the West), Liberalism and Nationalism. Among these Japan tried to surmount them and integrate with its own agenda of Asianism.

(Picture: Japanese soldier in Russo-Japanese war against Russia)

  As Japan expanded its power, forming the "Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere", many nations including Korea (not yet separated until 1948) resisted Japanese military advancement. Each nation was filled with emotional anti-Japanese nationalism and patriotism, deeply connected with local ethnicity, culture and land. Japan as a unilateral actor sought both cooperative and confronting strategies toward the West, especially when USA started to gain power on the world stage. Ultimately, the cruel war ended, and Japan was defeated by 2 tragic atomic bombs (A-bombs).

  "Asianism" in the pre-World War 2 era can be roughly understood as the counter-act against Globalism led by Western power. It was a resistance against colonialism and invasion. In modern days, these types of military coercion is no more, and Asia may well seek peaceful ties with other regions such as EU or forming an additional identity as "Asian-Pacific" region together with North America and Oceania. Today Japan still plays an important role in Asia, mainly as generous donor of development. South Korea and Japan has maintained peaceful ties in recent decades and the 2 countries are important collaborators in many aspects. The original idea of Asianism has gradually been realized in a sense.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Lessons learned from PyeongChang Olympics

  Time flies. PyeongChang Olympics that lasted for 16 days has ended peacefully.
Wish all of you have enjoyed the wonderful moments.
  • The opening and closing ceremony was fantastic, with performances combined with tradition and modern, technology and arts. Korea was very successful organizing this game, with minimum cost and maximum performance. You can watch nice videos of performances, high tech and fireworks here:
Traditional performance opening:
Art show opening ceremony:
North Korean cheer leaders:
9 amazing High tech used:
Closing ceremony highlight:
Closing ceremony fireworks:

  • This is the biggest winter Olympics ever, with 102 gold medals issued.
  • Korea ranked 7th out of 92 countries, with 5 gold, 8 silver and 4 bronze medals (total 17), exceeding Japan and China in Asian. Korea ranked No. 1 among Asian nations! This is a big success for the country.
  • Top 5 countries in this Olympics:
  • 1. Norway (14 gold, 14 silver, 11 bronze)
  • 2. Germany (14, 10, 7)
  • 3. Canada (11, 8, 10)
  • 4. USA (9, 8, 6)
  • 5. Netherlands (8, 6, 6)
  • In the beginning of Olympics, hundreds of computers operating for it were hacked and Korea refused to name the origin of crime. Later found out it was Russian military behind the hack. Many people could have thought it since Russia was banned in the games due to previous doping cases. Russian athletes participated, but not in the name Russia, and Russian flags were prohibited to wave. 
  • This is the icon of PyeongChang Olympics. It's interesting they designed with Korean symbol ㅍ(p) and ㅊ(ch). PyeongChang is written as 평창.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Kim Jong Un wants to have a talk with the USA.

President Moon insisted the importance of talk between the USA and North Korea if North Korea really wants to solve the fundamental problems in Korea and have a talk between South Korea.

Delegates from North Korea said Kim Jong Un wants to have a talk about the peace in the Korean peninsula.

I hope North Korea stop hostile attitude toward the USA and have a talk in a peaceful way.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

평창동계올림픽을 계기로 앞으로 꾸준한 북한과의 대화를 통해서 한반도 평화적 분위기 조정 기대

평창동계올림픽을 계기로 앞으로 꾸준한 북한과의 대화를 통해서 한반도 평화적 분위기 조정 기대

북한은 정권 유지를 위해서 핵이 필요하다고 주정한다. 미국과 한국은 모두 한반도의 비핵화를 원한다. 이 관점의 차이를 어떻게 극복할 수 있을까?
문재인 대통령께서 북한의 김정은 위원장을 만나서 비핵화를 이끌어낼 수 있다면, 얼마나 좋을까?

북한이 비핵화를 한다면, 북한에 대한 인도주의적인 경제 지원도 가능하지 않을까?