By Emily Senger - Monday, May 13, 2013 - 0 Comments
‘Do me a solid and cut Kenneth Bae loose,’ Rodman urges ‘Kim’
Former basketball star Dennis Rodman appears poised to continue his self-appointed mission to improve the relationship between North Korea and the U.S. by, this time, vowing to free imprisoned American citizen Kenneth Bae.
Bae, a Christian of South Korean descent who acted as a tour guide, has been in North Korean custody since November. North Korea claims that Bae was using his tourism business as a front to perform missionary work in the country. Earlier this month, Bae was sentenced to 15 years of hard labour for a range of charges that include undermining the state and smuggling inflammatory literature into the state.
According to a report from celebrity gossip site TMZ.com, Rodman said — amid curse words directed at President Barack Obama — that he is going to North Korea on August 1 in order to get Bae back. Continue…
By macleans.ca - Wednesday, May 8, 2013 at 4:03 PM - 0 Comments
North Korea does something rational and getting through George W. Bush’s email may take 250 years
Stepping back from the brink
After months of bellicose and irrational behaviour, it appears the North Korean government has finally done something sane: pulling two long-range missiles it planned to test fire off their launching pads. The Kim Jong Un regime has also softened its tone, replacing daily threats of war with preconditions for resuming negotiations. Tensions remain high with U.S. and South Korean forces on standby, but it’s a start—and an indication that the combination of harsh sanctions and tough talk might finally be getting through to Pyongyang.
Search and rescued
The auditor general’s recent report identified big shortfalls in Canada’s search-and-rescue program: there are too few planes and helicopters, and they’re too old. So credit Defence Minister Peter MacKay for looking at a quick stopgap fix—pressing some of the nine ex-U.S. presidential helicopters that Canada bought for spare parts back into service. The move may prove cheaper and faster than the traditionally painful process of purchasing new search-and-rescue Cormorants. And anything that might save lives is worth a try.
By Emily Senger - Friday, April 26, 2013 at 11:34 AM - 0 Comments
South Korea is pulling its remaining factory workers from an industrial complex shared with…
South Korea is pulling its remaining factory workers from an industrial complex shared with North Korea, the country said Friday.
The remaining 175 workers at the Kaesong industrial complex were removed after North Korea already pulled all its 50,000 workers from the area in early April. The factory complex is in North Korea, in a border town between the two countries. About 120 South Korean companies are headquartered there. They were using mainly North Korean labour before escalating tensions between the two countries halted production.
“To protect our citizens, we have made an inevitable decision to bring all of them home,” Unification Minister Ryoo Kihl-jae told South Koreans in a nationally televised statement, reports The New York Times. Continue…
By Emily Senger - Friday, April 12, 2013 at 7:51 AM - 0 Comments
Secretary of State visits South Korea in a battle of brinkmanship
In battle of brinkmanship that has been, up until this point, marked mainly by North Korea trying to bring things to the brink again and again, the U.S. has stepped forward, with Secretary of State John Kerry announcing that North Korea will not be allowed to become a nuclear power.
“North Korea will not be accepted as a nuclear power,” Kerry said during a news conference with South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se. “The rhetoric that we are hearing is simply unacceptable.”
Kerry’s comments came as he was visiting South Korea amid escalating threats from North Korea. Among its actions in the past two months, North Korea has said it ended the treaty that stopped the Korean War, has restarted a shuttered nuclear reactor and it has threatened both South Korea and U.S. military bases in the South Pacific. Continue…
By Emily Senger - Wednesday, April 10, 2013 at 8:51 AM - 0 Comments
Possibility of a missile launch ‘very high,’ says foreign minister
While South Korea may have ignored warnings to evacuate foreigners from the country, it is taking the possibility of an imminent North Korean missile test very seriously and says that the possibility of a missile launch is “very high.”
CNN reports that the most recent U.S. intelligence shows “North Korea may test fire mobile ballistic missiles at any time.” There is also concern that North Korea will conduct the test without notifying air traffic and ships to stay away from the area where it is testing.
In response to this heightened threat, reports in a South Korean newspaper say the country has increased its surveillance of North Korea, which includes adding more intelligence officers to a joint operation between the U.S. and South Korean militaries. Continue…
By Emily Senger - Tuesday, April 9, 2013 at 8:57 AM - 0 Comments
But its business as usual in South Korea
Tuesday came with more tensions between North Korea and the rest of the world, as North Korea said any foreigners should evacuate South Korea in case a war breaks out between the two nations.
The warning came from a North Korea state news agency, which said that if war broke out “it will be an all-out war, a merciless, sacred, retaliatory war to be waged by (North Korea).”
Despite the warning, it was business as usual in South Korea, reports Reuters, where embassies did not issue directives to their nationals to leave the country. Maybe it’s because, as The Guardian reports, there does not appear to be any build up of troops along the North Korean border that would indicate an attack. Continue…
By Emily Senger - Monday, April 8, 2013 at 9:13 AM - 0 Comments
Attacks did little real damage, officials claim
A few days after hacking North Korean state websites, Anonymous is at it again and this time its target is Israel.
Over the weekend, the online hacking group claimed that it had gained access to Israeli websites and said that it would “wipe Israel off the map of the Internet.” The sites affected included the Israel Police, the Prime Minister’s Office, the Israel Securities Authority, the Immigrant Absorption Ministry, and the Central Bureau of Statistics. It also took credit for the country’s defence site being offline, reports CNET.
By The Associated Press - Friday, April 5, 2013 at 8:22 AM - 0 Comments
SEOUL, South Korea – Outsiders might hear the opening notes of a war in…
SEOUL, South Korea – Outsiders might hear the opening notes of a war in the deluge of threats and provocations from North Korea, but to South Koreans it is a familiar drumbeat.
Separated from the North by a heavily fortified border for decades, they have for the most part lived with tough talk from Pyongyang all their lives. In annual defence drills, war alarms ring in their ears.
Foreigners unused to North Korean rumblings have cancelled trips to the Korean Peninsula. But to get South Koreans’ attention, Pyongyang must compete with the economy, celebrity scandals, baseball games and cherry blossoms.
At a restaurant in downtown Seoul that sells kimchi stew and fried cutlets, owner Lee Chul-je said he wasn’t worried about the threats, as news about them poured from a TV in the corner.
By Emily Senger - Thursday, April 4, 2013 at 10:26 AM - 0 Comments
Picture of Kim Jong-Un with a pig nose appears on official account
Social media accounts belonging to the North Korean government were hacked Thursday, as the nation says that it has cleared its military to use nuclear weapons.
The group Anonymous is taking responsibility for the hacks, that come amid mounting tension between North Korea and the rest of the world.
The last official image posted to North Korea’s Flickr account is from April 2 and is of leader Kim Jong-Un presumably voting on something, surrounded by rows of other stern-faced government and military leaders. Continue…
By The Associated Press - Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 10:31 PM - 0 Comments
U.S. moves into position, seeks to defuse escalating situation
PAJU, South Korea – North Korea warned early Thursday that its military has been cleared to attack the U.S. using “smaller, lighter and diversified nuclear” weapons, while the U.S. said it was strengthening protection in the region and seeking to defuse the situation.
Despite the intense rhetoric, analysts do not expect a nuclear attack by North Korea, which knows the move could trigger a destructive, suicidal war that no one in the region wants. It’s not believed to have the ability to launch nuclear-tipped missiles, but its other nuclear capabilities aren’t fully known.
U.S. Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel said Washington was doing all it can to defuse the situation. The Pentagon also will deploy a missile defence system to the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam to strengthen regional protection against a possible attack.
By Emily Senger - Tuesday, April 2, 2013 at 7:53 AM - 0 Comments
Kim Jong Un says reactor will act as deterrent
North Korea is back with more threats. This time, the country says it is ready to restart a nuclear reactor that hasn’t been operational since 2007.
Don’t worry, though, state-owned KCNA news agency said the nuclear reactor will be used for electrical and military purposes, but will only be a deterrent against potential aggressive action from other nations, reports Reuters.
Leader Kim Jong Un emphasized the deterrence angle during a speech he made Sunday, which was published in full on Tuesday. “Our nuclear strength is a reliable war deterrent and a guarantee to protect our sovereignty,” he said. “It is on the basis of a strong nuclear strength that peace and prosperity can exist and so can the happiness of people’s lives.” Continue…
By Emily Senger - Monday, March 25, 2013 at 10:46 AM - 0 Comments
The United States and South Korea have signed an official military plan to defend…
The United States and South Korea have signed an official military plan to defend against a potential attack from North Korea.
The latest agreement will allow South Korea to call on the U.S. for assistance, should North Korea go through with any of its recent threats against its neighbouring nation, reports BBC News. “This allows both nations to jointly respond to the North’s local provocations, with the South taking the lead and the U.S. in support,” South Korean defence ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok said.
Further details of the plan were not released, reports The Associated Press.
The news comes amid another report from The Associated Press that says South Korea is training teams of “cyber warriors” to thwart hacker attacks. This is after a malware attack on the country last week, which shut down television networks and banks. Though some initially pointed the finger at North Korea, the exact source of last week’s attack remains under investigation. However, South Korea has blamed North Korea for six other cyber attacks since 2009.
Tensions between North Korea and the rest of the world have been mounting since the country carried out a third illegal nuclear test in February, leading the United Nations to place further sanctions on North Korea.
By Emily Senger - Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 7:51 AM - 0 Comments
North Korea is once again threatening violence, and this time it says it can…
North Korea is once again threatening violence, and this time it says it can target U.S. military bases in Japan and the island of Guam.
Threats from the nation, which has been increasing its uses of aggressive rhetoric for the past month, came after the U.S. flew B-52 bombers over the Korean peninsula. The flights are part of an ongoing joint training mission with South Korea. North Korea has objected to this joint operation and, in response, Kim Jong Un visited troops close to the border with South Korea and said he had ended the armistice with the neighbouring nation. Continue…
By Emily Senger - Wednesday, March 20, 2013 at 8:01 AM - 0 Comments
A series of cyber attacks Wednesday targeted major television stations, banks, government offices and…
A series of cyber attacks Wednesday targeted major television stations, banks, government offices and police in South Korea.
Servers were frozen and some banks reported that files were deleted, reports Reuters. “We sent down teams to all affected sites. We are now assessing the situation. This incident is pretty massive and will take a few days to collect evidence,” a police spokesperson said.
Banks were able to restore their service later Tuesday. But staff at the affected television stations — YTN, MBC and KBS — were still experiencing problems, though the were able to continue with broadcasts.
By Emily Senger - Wednesday, March 13, 2013 at 9:04 AM - 0 Comments
Former basketball star wants a ride in the popemobile, too
It wasn’t enough to meet Kim Jong Un, one of the most reviled leaders in the world. Now former basketball bad boy Dennis Rodman says he’s on his way to Rome to meet the next Pope.
Gossip site TMZ reported Tuesday that Rodman said his “people” were in touch with sources in The Vatican who were going to arrange a meeting with the new pontiff. “I want to be anywhere in the world that I’m needed … I want to spread a message of peace and love throughout the world,” Rodman told TMZ.
By Emily Senger - Tuesday, March 12, 2013 at 11:54 AM - 0 Comments
‘He’s my friend,’ Rodman says of North Korean dictator
Retired Chicago Bulls basketball player Dennis Rodman told a U.S. television station that he is planning a summer vacation in North Korea, just as leader Kim Jong Un says he is ready to blow up an island belonging to South Korea.
Rodman had cancelled most media appearances in the U.S. after his “basketball diplomacy” mission to North Korea in February — ABC host George Stephanopoulos asked him difficult questions during his first interview — but he made a publicity appearance in Fargo, North Dakota Monday, where local television station KXJB talked to the star.
In addition to divulging his plans for summer vacation, Rodman used the word “amazing” multiple times to describe his trip to North Korea and said that Kim wasn’t such a bad guy. “I mean, I don’t condone what he does, but he’s my friend,” Rodman told KXJB. “But I think that his grandfather and his father built this whole thing up because he has to do this. He don’t want to do anything. That’s what I know, this is just amazing, man…”
Rodman went on to say that Kim “doesn’t want to fight.” Continue…
By Emily Senger - Friday, March 8, 2013 at 9:24 AM - 0 Comments
Be ready ‘to annihilate the enemy’ Kim Jong-un tells troops
North Korea has dissolved the agreement that ended the Korean War in 1953, as it simultaneously ramps up its military presence along the border with South Korea.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un appeared before military troops positioned near the border and told them to that they should be ready “to annihilate the enemy,” reports The Telegraph.
This latest rallying cry comes after Kim threatened missile attacks on Washington the previous day, saying the American capital city would become a “sea of fire.”
The move towards brinkmanship is in response to a decision by the United Nations Security Council to impose further sanctions on North Korea after it conducted a third nuclear test in February. The UN resolution was unanimously approved by all 15 member countries siting on the council. The sanctions are financial and will also increase efforts to prevent North Korea from shipping banned goods into the country.
South Korea is standing up to the threats. South Korean military spokesperson Kim Min-seok said, in a statement: “If North Korea attacks South Korea with a nuclear weapon, Kim Jong-un’s regime will perish from earth. Although atomic bombs were used twice in the past to end World War II, if the nuclear bomb attacks a free and democratic society, such as the Republic of Korea, mankind would not forgive it.”
Images of Kim visiting cheering troops were broadcast on North Korean state television.
By Emily Senger - Tuesday, March 5, 2013 at 10:11 AM - 0 Comments
North Korea is threatening to pull out of the decades-old armistice that ended the…
North Korea is threatening to pull out of the decades-old armistice that ended the Korea War, should the United States and South Korea go ahead with a planned joint military training activity.
By macleans.ca - Monday, March 4, 2013 at 8:14 PM - 0 Comments
Dennis Rodman went to North Korea, had a blast, made a new friend, and…
Dennis Rodman went to North Korea, had a blast, made a new friend, and thought he’d come back a diplomatic hero. That is until he had to face some tough policy and human rights questions on ABC’s The Week with George Stephanopoulos.
Following the weekend’s bizarre, bungled interview, Rodman was a no-show for NBC, ESPN and CNN.
The one-time NBA star with the Detroit Pistons and Chicago Bulls is likely hurting from the White House scolding as well. In his ABC interview, Rodman encourages Obama to call North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. After all, the young ruler “loves basketball. And I said the same thing, I said, ‘Obama loves basketball.’ Let’s start there.”
White House press secretary Jay Carney denounced Rodman’s trip and gives a thanks-but-not-thanks response to Rodman’s communication brokering. The White House, Carney says, has its own “direct channels of communications” with Pyongyang.
Rodman’s not the only party the White House is blaming: “Instead of spending money on celebrity sporting events to entertain the elites of that country, the North Korean regime should focus on the well-being of its own people who have been starved, imprisoned, and denied their human rights.”
By Emily Senger - Thursday, February 28, 2013 at 7:19 PM - 0 Comments
‘Hello world from comms center in Pyongyang’
A reporter working for the Associated Press in Korea sent out what may have been the very first tweet from North Korea.
Jean H. Lee writes that she made history on Feb. 25 when she posted this experiment using her iPhone in downtown Pyongyang.
— Jean H. Lee (@newsjean) February 25, 2013
The Tweet was made over a 3G network, which was a joint project between North Korea and Egyptian contractors. Continue…
By Emily Senger - Tuesday, February 26, 2013 at 12:08 PM - 0 Comments
Former NBA player and basketball bad boy Dennis Rodman is in North Korea. Yes,…
Former NBA player and basketball bad boy Dennis Rodman is in North Korea. Yes, you read that correctly. The news came from Rodman himself, via Twitter.
It’s true, I’m in North Korea.Looking forward to sitting down with Kim Jung Un.I love the people of North Korea. #WORMinNorthKorea
— Dennis Rodman (@dennisrodman) February 26, 2013
By macleans.ca - Tuesday, February 19, 2013 at 7:00 PM - 0 Comments
South Korean and American troops prepare for a cold attack from the North Koreans
As North Korea ratchets up its bellicose threats, South Korean and American troops take part in joint military exercises near the border aimed at repulsing a winter invasion from the North.
By Emily Senger - Tuesday, February 12, 2013 at 8:33 AM - 0 Comments
Move viewed as test of Kim Jong-un’s power
North Korea has tested a nuclear weapon for the third time, in a move that is being met with international condemnation.
The test occurred Tuesday at 02:57 GMT, when seismic activity was detected by monitoring nations. Several hours later, broadcasters on North Korean state-run television confirmed that a nuclear test had, indeed, occurred.
“It was confirmed that the nuclear test, that was carried out at a high level in a safe and perfect manner using a miniaturized and lighter nuclear device with greater explosive force than previously, did not pose any negative impact on the surrounding ecological environment,” said the broadcaster.
By Emily Senger - Monday, February 4, 2013 at 10:04 AM - 0 Comments
It appears that North Korea could make good on recent threats to conduct further…
It appears that North Korea could make good on recent threats to conduct further nuclear tests, with the final target being the United States.
A report in South Korean Newspaper Cho Sun quotes an unnamed military source who says: “North Korea has virtually finished preparations for nuclear tests in two tunnels at the Punggye-ri nuclear test site in North Hamgyong Province.”
Last week, reports said that North Korea appeared to be attempting to camouflage the opening to these underground test sites, in a move similar to one employed when the country successfully launched a rocket in December.
Monday’s report in Cho Sun says that more North Korea nuclear tests appear “imminent.” The fear is that North Korea could eventually combine its nuclear technology with its rocket technology to create a small nuclear warhead.
By Emily Senger - Tuesday, January 29, 2013 at 8:32 AM - 0 Comments
Three gulags appear as grey blotches
North Korea used to be just a big, blank spot on Google Maps, with only the capital of Pyongyang labeled, but the mapping service is changing that with interactive coverage of one of the world’s most secretive countries.
On the North Korea map released yesterday, it’s all there: streets, parks, subway stops and even the country’s gulags, prison camps the size of large cities. (The gulags appear as three grey blotches on the map.)
According to the official Google Maps blog, the map was created by “a community of citizen cartographers” who worked together to plot points and then to double-check one another’s work. Google admits that the map isn’t perfect, but it sure is a lot better than it was before. Continue…