kim jong il

Kim Jong-il Dies – Living History in South Korea


HBC Fest – A grainy and blurred photographic reflection

Yesterday was, of course, the HBC Fest. It was very colourful, especially if you consider the busfuls of cops that turned up to help us out with crowd control. It’s good to see that our taxes are eventually getting their money’s worth, especially when it comes to the 5-O. Anyway, I’m sure that the prominence of the cops has well advertised on the Korean blogosphere. This suits this post perfectly as I don’t intend on sharing any pictures of the cops – although I did see one great picture of some guy standing in and helping out the cops as crowd control which was hilarious… Anyway more about the cops later…

With Friends Like These…

In this Jan. 23 photo, North Korea's leader Kim Jong Il talks with Naguib Sawiris, executive chairman of Cairo-based Orascom Telecom, at an undisclosed place in North Korea. Kim held talks with the Egyptian telecoms magnate whose company set up and operates an advanced mobile phone network in the impoverished communist nation.…Is there any reason to keep any Egyptian government official in power? Beijing and Pyongyang have “lips and teeth”, but Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak and North Korea’s Kim Jong-il have ballistic missile sales, according to Don Kirk.

North Korea, the World’s Gold Standard for Evil

Progressives need a policy clue about North Korea that doesn’t start with tedious talk about negotiations. Meetings are on again – boring, been there, done it to death! This isn’t news, it’s a sleeping aid.

Refugees aren’t all that exciting, either. 31 North Koreans got near Yeonpyong Island, or else no one would have cared. How many South Koreans care about the refugees already in South Korea?

Summitry for Politics’ Sake

It’s hard not to yawn.

North and South Korea have agreed to hold preliminary military talks on 8 February, in an attempt to defuse heightened tensions on the peninsula.

South Korea’s President Lee Myung-bak urged the North to seize a “good chance” to improve relations.

The Koreas will discuss the two deadly attacks by Pyongyang against the South, which killed a total of 50 people, Seoul’s defence ministry said.

The talks may lead to a more senior meeting, possibly at ministerial level.

Again With the China Meme

Lee Byung-Chul argues that Beijing has a lot more to do with North Korea’s “peaceful” overtures to South Korea than previously thought.

One of the lessons of this episode is that despite professions of inability to control its client state, China appears now to have demonstrated unrivaled leverage on the North in terms of economic, political and military intervention. In addition to supplying substantial amounts of aid including 90 percent of the North’s oil at sharply lower “friendly prices,” China has co-opted and trained a pro-Chinese cadre of North Korean functionaries and elites in the hopes that they would become collaborators under the coming regime of Kim Jong-un, Kim Jong-il’s son and presumptive heir. So Beijing is no longer hiding its solid hold over the North.


...when even your best friend has had enough of your shit. This is actually good news for all parties involved.

Their days are numbered indeed.



My Korean Newspaper

It’s what I’ve always wanted – more North Korean propaganda. From Martyn Williams site:

North Korea’s Naenara website is back. The site went offline around early September when the dot-kp domain name space went down.

Naenara is run by Pyongyang’s Korea Computer Center and offers news, photos, shopping, tourism information and MP3 files from North Korea.

It’s running inside North Korea’s recently-activated domestic IP address space, but isn’t working perfectly. Some of the links point to dot-kp addresses, which are still not working. It’s worth keeping an eye on.

You can find it at

Seoul and Beijing in a Pyongyang Cage Match

The North Koreans might be choosing a successor this week, but it’s the Chinese and South Koreans who are fighting each other. Amid the consensus that Kim Jong-un will be the next “fat, ruthless” Kim family member to rule the DPRK, Gordon Chang asks what Beijing wants.

But Jong-Un’s future is by no means assured. China probably wants him out of the way so that there can be a collective leadership. Moreover, ambitious generals and even-more-dangerous colonels could be scheming. Finally, Jang Sung-Taek may not want to relinquish power when Kim Jong-Il has passed from the scene, either naturally or otherwise.

Don’t Count the KPA Out!

Andy Jackson highlights two contingencies the Brilliant Comrade, Kim Jong-un, needs to consider, the second of which involves sibling rivalry in the dim reaches of the Kim clan. But, I do have to point out a third prospect.

There are at least two points in the first few years after Kim Jong-il dies that could lead to instability.

The first is early on, before when various groups compete to be the power behind the throne. The various factions, including the military, party officials and members of the extended Kim clan attempt to flatter, cajol or force their way into the successor’s inner sanctum in a bid to become puppet masters to an isolated monarch. That would be especially tempting for female members of the Kim clan, more distant relatives or in-laws.

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