Tag Archives: Kim Jong Un

‘Absolutely Earth-Shaking’: North and South Korea Reportedly in Talks to Officially End Korean War

“If this is confirmed, this is huge for the Korean Peninsula.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for CommonDreams. Published 4-17-2018

Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong-un are scheduled to meet this month. Photo: NK News

Technically, North and South Korea are still at war, and have been for more than six decades—but an “absolutely earth-shaking” new report on Tuesday indicates the conflict may soon be coming to an end.

Citing an anonymous South Korean diplomatic official, Munhwa Ilbo—a South Korean daily newspaper—reported that the neighboring countries are hashing out a statement that could officially bring the war to an end later this month, when North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in are set to meet in person for the first time. Continue reading

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Pence Wins Gold for Hypocrisy: Calls Trump Military Parade Chance to ‘Celebrate’ But North Korea’s a ‘Provocation’

A new poll finds that 89 percent of Americans are opposed to a potential U.S. military parade

By Julia Conley, staff writer for CommonDreams. Published 2-9-2018

Photo: Twitter

Vice President Mike Pence applauded the Trump administration’s plans for a potential military parade on Friday seconds before denouncing North Korea’s showing of its military might a day earlier.

With no apparent sense of irony, the vice president told reporters in Pyeongchang, South Korea that President Donald Trump’s possible parade would be an opportunity “to celebrate the men and women of the Armed Forces,” while the parade held by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was a “provocation.”

Watch: Continue reading

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Rising Concerns About Nuclear War as Trump Prepares to Loosen Constraints on Weapons

“We are flirting with unacceptably high risks that carry catastrophic consequences for the country and the world. No one can afford to not take Trump’s threats seriously.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for CommonDreams. Published 1-10-2018

Photo: YouTube

Advocates of nuclear disarmament are raising alarms about reports that the Trump administration is planning to loosen constraints on the U.S. nuclear weapons program, warning that the Pentagon’s forthcoming plan “makes nuclear war more likely.”

Jon Wolfsthal, an official who worked on arms control in the Obama administration and has reviewed what he believes is the final version of the Nuclear Posture Review (NPR), told the Guardian the Pentagon’s new review includes plans to develop more nuclear weapons and expand “the circumstances in which the U.S. might use its nuclear arsenal, to include a response to a non-nuclear attack that caused mass casualties, or was aimed at critical infrastructure or nuclear command and control sites.” Continue reading

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South Koreans Plan to Welcome ‘War Lunatic’ Trump With Mass Protest, Demands for Peace

“Who can possibly welcome a foreign leader who talks about the possibility of a war on their land?”

Written by Jessica Corbett, staff writer for CommonDreams. Published 11-1-2017.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in and U.S. President Donald Trump met at the United Nations General Assembly in October. (Photo: Shealah Craighead/White House)

A coalition of more than 200 South Korean civic groups have announced plans to protest U.S. President Donald Trump’s escalation of nuclear tensions with North Korea during his scheduled visit to Seoul next week.

The protests are expected to draw thousands, and will kick off with a “No Trump, No War People’s Rally” outside the U.S. Embassy in South Korea’s capitol city on Saturday, Nov. 4, ahead of Trump’s arrival on Nov. 7 for a two-day visit. The coalition has also planned a candlelight vigil at Gwanghwamun Square for Nov. 7 and a protest outside the National Assembly building, during Trump’s address to parliament on Nov. 8.

In a statement announcing details about the president’s trip to Asia, the White House said, “The President’s engagements will strengthen the international resolve to confront the North Korean threat and ensure the complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”

However, Trump’s preference for “fire and fury” over diplomacy, and his continued threats to “totally destroy North Korea,” have escalated nuclear tensions and raised alarm, at home and abroad—particularly among North Korean civilians and their neighbors to the south.

“Who can possibly welcome a foreign leader who talks about the possibility of a war on their land?” the civic groups said during a press briefing, according to the Seoul-based Korea Herald. “We should take the path of peace, not war. We cannot help but protect peace on our land and our livelihood for ourselves.”

The protesters plan to “call on the U.S. to stop threatening to start a war, putting pressure on the North, and forcing the South to buy American-made weapons,” the Korea Herald reports, noting:

They also want the withdrawal of the US Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense anti-missile system, which they say caters only to U.S. interests while widening the divide between South Korea and China. China, which believes the system’s radar could be used to spy on its territory, has taken what appear to be retaliatory actions against Korea, such as restrictions on Korean firms’ businesses in China.

They also want the abolishment of the Korea-U.S. bilateral trade deal, which the two countries have recently begun to renegotiate at Trump’s urging, saying the trade deal only benefits the U.S. and disadvantages Korea, especially local farmers.

North Korean newspaper and television reports, according to Deutsche Welle, have highlighted the planned protests against “war maniac Trump’s South Korea visit” and noted that the protesters have “denounced war lunatic Trump’s hysteria for a nuclear war against the DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, or North Korea].”

The president and First Lady Melania Trump will depart the U.S. on Friday, Nov. 3 and return Nov. 14. In addition to South Korea, they will travel to Japan, China, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Hawaii.

In an unusual move for a sitting U.S. president, Trump reportedly will not visit the Demilitarized Zone, or the DMZ, the border that separates North and South Korea. Last month, amid rising tensions, reports of a possible presidential visit to the DMZ sparked concern among the international community due to Trump’s tendency to lash out at Kim Jong-un.

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Warnings of ‘Nuclear Nightmare’ as Trump Escalates Tensions With World Powers

“We need to step up sustained diplomacy. Firing off a bunch of missiles does nothing to address the crisis. We need negotiation, not posturing.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-31-2017

“In response to North Korea’s second intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) test late last week, the U.S. on Sunday carried out what the Washington Post called a “show of force” by flying two B-1 bombers over the Korean Peninsula.” Photo: YouTube

As President Donald Trump foments tensions with world powers by behaving recklessly and pursuing aggressive action over diplomacy, developments in several major nations over the weekend sparked urgent concerns among peace groups, activists, and analysts that the world’s largest militaries are inching dangerously close to war.

In response to North Korea’s second intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) test late last week, the U.S. on Sunday carried out what the Washington Post called a “show of force” by flying two B-1 bombers over the Korean Peninsula. The Post noted that the move is “a sign that tensions are spiraling upward rapidly.”  Continue reading

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Amid Rising Tensions, General Warns US Still Technically at War with North Korea

By James Holbrooks. Punlished 7-5=2017 by The Anti-Media

Korean Peninsula — As Americans grilled burgers and watched fireworks in celebration of the Fourth of July on Tuesday, North Korea defiantly test-launched its first successful intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). Analysts say the missile flew higher and farther than any had before and could more than likely have reached Alaska and the Pacific Northwest.

Reporting on the launch on Wednesday, North Korea’s state-run media wrote that Kim Jong-un was “feasting his eyes” on the ICBM during the test and that “with a broad smile on his smile,” the leader encouraged his scientists to “frequently send big and small ‘gift packages’ to the Yankees.”

The same report suggested North Korea is already capable of attaching a large nuclear warhead to its ICBM, a claim analysts almost universally consider unfounded. In a separate article published Wednesday, Kim Jong-un also vowed he would never put his country’s nuclear weapons program on the negotiating table. Continue reading

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Where’s Waldo – DPRK Version

By HarryCane (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By HarryCane (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Today marks the anniversary of the founding of the Workers’ Party of Korea; the sole political party of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), more commonly referred to as North Korea. But, there’s something different about this year; nobody outside the North Korean government knows where the leader of the country is.

Like an international game of “Where’s Waldo?” (with added nuclear content), Kim Jong-un’s whereabouts have been the subject of much speculation. The last time he was seen in public was September 3, which is the longest he’s disappeared from public view since taking control of North Korea in December of 2011. He failed to appear at a recent session of the Supreme People’s Assembly, and he failed to make his annual post-midnight visit today to the Pyongyang mausoleum where his father and grandfather are interred.

The official version says that he’s suffering from an unnamed “uncomfortable physical condition.” There’s been multiple stories about what that condition is: one source said: “I understand that he is suffering from gout along with hyperuricemia, hyperlipidemia, obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure,” and that a North Korean medical team had traveled to Germany and Switzerland to consult with colleagues about his health.

Another source told the Daily Telegraph that Kim had fractured his ankles by wearing shoes with Cuban heels during a long tour of military bases and factories. The stress this put on his feet and ankles combined with him being grossly overweight led to the ankle fractures.

Of course, there’s also those who say that Kim isn’t in power any more. One of the more common coup rumors had Kim being replaced by Vice Marshal Jo Myong-rok. The big problem with that is that Jo was reported to have died four years ago. Another (and more likely, we think) rumor has Kim’s younger sister Kim Yo Jong running the country in Kim’s absence, which would still have the power firmly in the Kim family’s hands, and would more than likely revert to Kim Jong-un when and if he reappears.

That being said, there have been unusual events recently regarding North Korea and the outside world. Last week, three high-ranking North Korean officials arrived in a surprise visit to South Korea. The head of this group was Hwang Pyong So, chief of the General Political Bureau of the army and vice chairman of the National Defense Commission; the highest ranking official to have ever visited South Korea. This week, North Korea’s deputy U.N. ambassador Ri Tong Il acknowledged the existence of labor camps in his country, and said that the secretary of the Workers’ Party had visited the E.U. for negotiations. These events have to be taken with a healthy amount of skepticism though, as North and South Korea were back to exchanging fire over a border incursion by a North Korean boat on Monday.

The bottom line – nobody seems to be really sure what’s going on in the DPRK. This worries us; besides being a rogue nuclear power and supporter of terrorist groups, the North Korean government’s a big player in the illegal drug and arms trade. The last thing the world needs is for there to be someone even more unbalanced than Kim Jong-un in control.

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North of the 38th Parallel

A North Korean family mourns their murdered father. Author unknown [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

A North Korean family mourns their murdered father. Author unknown [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Kim Jong Un is making quite a name for himself as he steps onto the international stage as Supreme Leader of North Korea. So much so, in fact, that he is now the recipient of a letter from the U.N. Human Rights Council Commission of Inquiry.

After a year long investigation involving interviews, photographs and other clear evidence, the Commission released a 400-page report detailing crimes against humanity so horrific they are compared to the worst of Nazi Germany and the Russian gulag. “The gravity, scale and nature of these violations reveal a state that does not have any parallel in the contemporary world,” the report said.

The letter to Kim Jong Un was to inform him of their referral of the matter to the International Criminal Court (ICC). This was “to render accountable all those, including possibly yourself, who may be responsible for the crimes against humanity referred to in this letter and in the commission’s report.”

Confirmation of no less than four prison camps were identified. The camps have reportedly diminished in size, but further investigation found this to be due to starvation, torture and execution of the inmates held there. The report added: “The unspeakable atrocities that are being committed against inmates of the ‘kwanliso’ political prison camps resemble the horrors of camps that totalitarian states established during the 20th century.

Citizens of North Korea live a daily life of fear. Torture, rape, beatings, starvation and disappearances are everyday occurrences. In addition to being forced to drown their infants, citizens have also been “given forced abortions and forced to dig their own graves before being murdered with hammers by guards,” the report said. “The institutions and officials involved are not held accountable. Impunity reigns.”

The report also warned China that it may be “aiding and abetting crimes against humanity” with its policy of forcibly repatriating North Koreans who fled across its borders.

China has a vested interest in opening trade to gain access to rare earth minerals that are abundant within North Korea and that have largely not been utilized in the general world market. Rare earth minerals are used in the manufacturing of high-tech products such as cell phones and electronic devices.

North Korea said it “categorically and totally rejects the report,” which it claims was based on faked material.

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