Tag Archives: Kim Jong-un

rodong sinmun

Kim Jong-un Reappears in Public for the First Time in 40 Days

by REERA YOO

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has made his first public appearance in about 40 days, giving a “field guidance” to a newly built residential district, according to state news agency KCNA on Tuesday.

KCNA reported that Kim visited the Wisong Scientists Residential District and the Natural Energy Institute of the State Academy, adding that the leader had a photo session with scientists. However, the news agency did not publish these photos or any videos of his visit. KCNA also did not specify when Kim made his visit, although it’s presumed that the visit occurred on Monday.

According to Reuters, there were also several pictures of Kim walking with a cane published on the front page of Tuesday’s edition of North Korean newspaper Rodong Sinmun.

However, U.S. National Security Council spokesman Patrick Ventrall said he could not confirm the KCNA report at this time.

“We have seen these breaking reports but have nothing for you on their authenticity at this time,” he said.

Kim has not been seen in public since his attendance at a musical concert with his wife on Sept. 3. His disappearance has spurred peculations and rumors ranging from gout to a military coup, despite the U.S. debunking rumors of a coup as “false.”

Earlier this month when senior officials of the North Korean delegation met with South Korean representatives, South Korean Unification Minister Ryoo Kihl-jae asked Kim Yang Gon, secretary of North Korea’s ruling Worker’s Party, about rumors of Kim Jong-un’s ill health. The secretary at the time responded that there were “no problems at all.”

Photo courtesy of Rodong Sinmun and BBC

South Korea: Anti-North Korea Protest in Paju

Kim Jong-Un Misses Another Major Event Amid Exchange of Gunfire at Land Border

Pictured above: South Korean activists prepare balloons for carrying propaganda leaflets that condemn North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. (Photo courtesy of Lee Young-Ho/Sipa USA and AP)

by FOSTER KLUG, Associated Press

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — For the first time in three years, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un didn’t appear at a celebration of the anniversary of the founding of the ruling Workers’ Party on Friday, further increasing speculation that something is amiss with the authoritarian leader who hasn’t been seen publicly in more than a month.

North Korea’s propaganda machine conveyed the no-show to the world in its typical murky and indirect fashion — a state media dispatch that excluded Kim’s name from a list of senior government, military and party officials who paid their respects at an event marking the party’s 69th anniversary.

Indications that Kim remains firmly in power were evident, however. His name appeared on a flower basket placed before statues of his father and grandfather, both of whom also ruled North Korea, and an earlier dispatch said the might of the party “is growing stronger under the seasoned guidance of Marshal Kim Jong Un.”

State media haven’t shown Kim, who is thought to be 31, performing his customary public duties since he attended a concert Sept. 3. He had been walking with a limp and was more overweight than usual in images that were broadcast before that. An official documentary from late last month described him as dealing with “discomfort,” which led to international speculation that he may be ill.

A group of South Korean activists, meanwhile, marked Friday’s anniversary by releasing anti-North Korean propaganda balloons across the border. North Korea responded later with machine-gun fire, and several of the bullets fell south of the border near a military base and a residential area, South Korean Defense Ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok said.

He said South Korea then fired 40 rounds from machine guns. North Korea then opened fire with rifles, which South Korean soldiers responded to in kind, he said. There were no reports of damage or injuries, but the exchange of fire was a reminder of the bitter rivals’ animosity despite recent glimmers of trust building.

Much of what happens in North Korea’s inner circles is hidden from the eyes of outsiders and even average North Koreans. This leaves media in South Korea and elsewhere to speculate, sometimes wildly, about what’s really happening. Some reports say Kim could have gout, diabetes or other ailments, with much of the speculation based on that single reference in the documentary and unidentified sources speaking to South Korean media.

South Korean officials are playing down the speculation.

In Seoul, Unification Ministry spokesman Lim Byeong Cheol told reporters Friday that Kim appears to be in charge of key affairs. Lim noted that a high-level North Korean delegation conveyed his greetings to South Korean President Park Geun-hye during a surprise visit to South Korea last week that had raised hopes for better ties between the countries. Lim said North Korea’s state media has continuously reported about Kim’s leadership.

North Korea has said nothing publicly about Kim’s absence. It is not his first break from the media spotlight — he wasn’t seen publicly for about three weeks in 2012, South Korean officials say — and a senior North Korean official on last week’s visit to the South told a South Korean official that Kim was fine.

Without the extended absence, Kim’s nonattendance Friday would not be all that unusual. Such anniversaries generally have more weight in landmark years. A high-profile celebration, for example, is expected for next year’s 70th anniversary of the ruling party.

Because North Korea has publicly acknowledging Kim’s “discomfort,” many analysts believe that he’s unlikely to be suffering from anything particularly serious. When his father, Kim Jong Il, suffered major health problems late in his life, state media said nothing. Kim Jong Il was believed to have suffered a stroke in 2008, and his death on Dec. 17, 2011, was not announced for two days.

But each day the younger Kim is absent only adds to the speculation. He missed a meeting of parliament late last month and a gathering this week marking his late father’s election as ruling party head. Kim also was not seen in North Korean media reports greeting the athletes who returned from the Asian Games in the South, although they received a lavish reception and heavy media coverage.

___

Associated Press writers Hyung-jin Kim in Seoul and Eric Talmadge in Tokyo contributed to this report.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

yonhap meeting sk and nk

South and North Korea Agree to Resume High-Level Talks

by REERA YOO

South Korean officials made a small breakthrough on Saturday when top-ranking officials of the North Korean delegation dropped in for a surprise visit to Incheon for the closing ceremony of the Asian Games, reported the New York Times.

The North Koreans were led by Hwang Pyong-so, the highest-ranking officer of the Korean People’s Army who is considered by outside analysts as North Korea’s second-most powerful man. Hwang and his delegation held talks over a closed-door lunch with South Korean Unification Minister Ryoo Kihl-jae and national security director Kim Kwan-jin.

During the meeting, both sides agreed to renew talks about cross-border issues and the reunion of families separated by the Korean War between the end of October and early November.

“While calling the upcoming talks a second round of dialogue, the North explained that it intended to hold more rounds of South-North talks in the future,” South Korea’s Ministry of Unification said in a statement.

This is the highest level delegation the two countries have had in five years. The last senior visit occurred in 2009 when senior Workers’ Party official Kim Ki-nam and spy chief Kim Yang Gon met with former South Korean President Kim Dae-jung, according to the Associated Press.

For the last few months, there’s been serious tensions between the two countries, especially after North Korea conducted test firings of about 100 projectiles this year. Since then, both sides have exchanged a steady stream of harsh criticisms between each other, with the North Korean state media calling South Korean President Park Geun-hye a prostitute.

Although there appears to be no major breakthroughs from the meeting due to time constraints, the weekend meeting was considered a “small but meaningful step” for inter-Korean relations, according to a senior official from the South’s Unification Ministry.

The surprise visit comes amid ongoing speculation about Kim Jong-un’s health as the North Korean leader has not been seen by the public since Sept. 3. Ryoo told local media on Sunday that he had asked Kim Yang Gon, who is now a secretary of North Korea’s ruling Worker’s Party, about rumors of Kim Jong-un’s ill health, and the secretary insisted that there was “no problem at all.”

However, no explanation was given for why Kim has disappeared from the public’s eye. In the meanwhile, there have been reports of the leader’s younger sister Kim Yo-jong acting as his regent in North Korea.

Photo courtesy of Yun Tae-hyun/Yonhap/Retuers

 

201403101001191764

Kim Jong-Un’s 27-Year-Old Sister In Charge Of North Korea

by STEVE HAN

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s younger sister Kim Yo-jong is reportedly in control of the hermit country in place of her brother whose illness has prevented him from making public appearances for almost a month, according to North Korea Intellectuals Solidarity (NKIS), a South Korea-based think tank.

Kim Yo-jong, the youngest daughter of late leader Kim Jong-il, was unveiled as a “senior official” in March as she was seen alongside her brother at the Supreme People’s Assembly. She had reportedly taken over the role of her aunt Kim Kyong-hui, the wife of Jang Song-thaek, a former senior government official who was executed in December for allegedly committing “anti-party acts.”

Although Hwang Byong-so, director of the General Political Bureau of the Korean People’s Army, was believed to have assumed the status as North Korea’s No. 2 man behind Kim Jong-un, NKIS reported that it is Kim Yo-jong who is the communist regime’s second-in-command while Hwang is a mere “shadow.”

On Sept. 6, Kim Yo-jung led a meeting for the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea, during which the North Korean regime has reportedly decided on four main topics. Those topics include:

1. Give special and extended medical treatment to Kim Jong-un until his health is fully restored.
2. All high level officials and party members must continue to follow Kim Jong-un’s previous orders.
3. The army should be on wartime-like alert while Kim Jong-un is out of commission.
4. Important government and other administrative matters must be reported to Kim Yo-jong.

Kim Jong-un last made his public appearance in early September when he was limping with visible discomfort in his right leg. North Korea’s state-run media reported that he is undergoing medical treatment from both domestic and foreign medical teams, but his prolonged absence is fueling rumors over his health issues.

While South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency reported that Kim Jong-un is suffering from gout, U.K.’s Daily Mirror bizarrely said that it’s in fact his addiction Swiss cheese that contributed to his deteriorating health. Recently, Free North Korea Radio reported that Kim is recovering from a successful ankle surgery.

f6cd46c5bf1182fda99b88a3673ade47_XL

North Korea Confirms Kim Jong-Un’s Deteriorating Health

by STEVE HAN

It’s no secret that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is overweight. Since taking power of the world’s most secretive regime in 2011, he seems to have gained even more weight. The 31-year-old cheese connoisseur and heavy smoker was last seen limping on North Korea’s state-run TV before disappearing from public view, fueling rumors that he was suffering from gout.

It has since been revealed that the North Korean leader is indeed ill, according to authorities in North Korea. In a rare display of openness from the hermit country, authorities revealed that Kim is suffering from an “uncomfortable physical condition.”

The specifics of Kim’s illness weren’t revealed, and the rumor that he is suffering from gout wasn’t confirmed. The state media only briefly commented that its leader didn’t appear at North Korea’s national legislature assembly due to his health conditions. Kim has not made a public appearance in over three weeks since he was seen limping in loose clothes last month alongside his wife Ri Sol-ju.

Although South Korean newspaper JoongAng Ilbo initially speculated that Kim’s limp was caused by a sports injury, national news wire service Yonhap News Agency reported that the dictator has more serious health problems, citing a source to suggest that he was suffering from gout, diabetes and high blood pressure—conditions often associated with obesity and drinking.

A North Korean medical team had reportedly visited Germany and Switzerland in recent weeks to consult experts about Kim’s health.

A One and a Two

‘A One and A Two': One Part Love Story, One Part Reflection on a Divided Korea

by HAEIN JUNG

When graduate film student Sungho Ahn came across a news article about a North Korean student studying in the U.S. a few years ago, the sheer thought of someone from the North being on an American campus took him aback. Of course, as someone pursuing his masters in film at USC, he then let his imagination take over. A series of questions danced around in his head: What if I met someone here, and she was North Korean? What if we fell in love? Could we find a way to be together, even though I am from South Korea and she is from the North?

Such questions eventually led to the making of A One And A Two, a short film he directed, starring Korean American actor Tim Jo and South Korean actress Hyunkyung Ryu.

A One and A Two, in the words of the director, is “one part love story, and the other, a reflection on the split between the two Koreas.” He added, ”I thought I could kill two birds with one stone.”

In the film, Jo (who starred in the former ABC sitcom The Neighbors) plays Sang-yup, a Korean American student at an American university, who meets and falls hard for fellow student Geum-song (played by Ryu of the Korean films The Servant, My Wife is a Gangster 2). But their blooming romance is put to the test once he finds out she’s from North Korea.

timjoTim Jo

Ahn believes his modern-day Romeo and Juliet-inspired tale takes a different approach than Hollywood or the South Korean film industry in how it treats North/South Korean subject matter. “In South Korea, they’re too political or in the spy genre,” Ahn said. “In America, they have always treated the country as evil or in a comedic way, and the [North Korean] people are commonly portrayed as poor, skinny and bedraggled.”

ryuHyunkyung Ryu

As a result, audiences may find the portrayal in A One and A Two quite surprising, as Ryu’s character, Geum-song, hails from an elite North Korean family that is wealthy and well-educated. Ahn said that while doing research for the film, he discovered that many children from elite North Korean families have studied abroad during their college years.

But the filmmaker, who formerly worked at a documentary film company in Korea before coming to the U.S., also noted that the research aspect proved the most challenging, as it was difficult gleaning first-hand accounts from North Korean students about their experiences studying abroad.

“I tried to meet North Korean students here, but they kept avoiding me. They were scared to talk about North Korea,” Ahn said. “There was a guy  [Yi Han-yong] from Kim Jong-il’s family who defected to the South. He decided to reveal his identity and went on television talking about his past. A few months later, he was mysteriously assassinated.”

According to Ahn, the film is meant to be more than just a simple love story. He hopes audience members will reflect on the deeper thematic message. “First, the focus should be on the couple and their sad love, but when the film is over, I would like the audience to look at the bigger picture and think about this divided country,” Ahn said. “Korea is the only country in the world to be still split into two. It’s devastating.

“When the film’s over, I want the audience to think about the two characters’ ending. About what happens to them, and what that means,” he added.

Jo said he appreciated the opportunity to star in the film because he finally had the chance to portray a character that reflected his real-life background as a Korean American. “As actors, oftentimes, we’re inserted into other people’s stories. We explore characters that are part of a larger story,” Jo said. “But if, and when, we’re given the opportunity to tell our own stories, to shine a light on the experiences of our culture, I’m so proud of that. I think we’re extremely qualified.”

The short is in post-production and is expected to be completed by late December 2014. It will be playing the festival circuit after that, with plans to expand it into a full-length feature film, said Ahn.

For more information on the film, including how to support the project with a donation, visit www.oneandtwofilm.com.

Photo of Tim Jo via Zimbio
Photo of Hyunkyung Ryu via Koreandrama

kim-jong-un-visits-lubricant-factory-imparting-field-guidance

Link Attack: Lubricant-loving Kim Jong-fun, the ‘100%’-Nervous Win of Miriam Lee Over Inbee Park & Kakao Terrorism Talk

What we’re reading right now. 

Leave it to Colbert Report host Stephen Colbert to make the most of this heavily circulated picture of North Korean leader Kim Jong-eun beaming from ear to ear while at a, ahem, lubricant factory. “Folks, it turns out beneath that sad expression, Kim Jong-eun might just be Kim Jong fun,” an ebullient Colbert says. “I have never seen him—or anyone, really—so transported by the pure joy of lube.” You can smile through the segment here.

Speaking of Colbert, a wag of the finger to Kim Won-jung, the South Korean ice hockey player who’s better known as figure skating champion Kim Yuna’s boyfriend. The 30-year-old who plays for the country’s military team Daemyung Sangmu as a way to serve out his mandatory military service, is apparently being stripped of his military “athletic status,” after he and three other hockey players were involved in a car accident while going AWOL to visit a massage parlor. The players will serve their remaining military service in their units, officials said.

In case you didn’t get the memo, apparently, it’s cool now to be Korean. Just ask Wall Street Journalist online columnist Jeff Yang, who made the case in this CNN piece.

Korea is apparently conquering the world in the kitchen, too, according to Serious Eats, which declared, “kimchi is the new miso.”

Did we mention Koreans are also good at golf? Over the weekend, Mirim Lee beat out Inbee Park to capture the Meijer LPGA classic title, earning her first LPGA Tour win. Lee admitted later she was “100 percent” nervous being in a playoff with Park, whom she called a “hero in Korea.” But that didn’t stop the 23-year-old LPGA rookie from sinking a birdie on the second hole of the playoff and sealing the win over her countrywoman.

LA Weekly recently scoured Los Angeles’ public and charter schools to find those “hidden gem” institutions that are getting students performing at high levels and aren’t necessarily located in exclusive, wealthy neighborhoods. Making its list of “6 Awesome LAUSD Schools in Affordable Neighborhoods” is Charles H. Kim Elementary School in Koreatown. The K-5 school, with a mostly Latino and Asian student body, offers Korean bilingual, Spanish/English dual language, and gifted classes, and has been named a California Distinguished School. Its namesake is a pioneering Korean American entrepreneur who started the prosperous Kim Brothers Company, which incidentally you can thank for the invention of the nectarine.

What’s worse than being pursued by a mosquito? How about being pursued by a guy with an Asian female fetish. Paula Yoo, who has had to swat away her share of both annoyances, says unfortunately “yellow fever” is thriving in the online dating world.

Kakao Talk and terrorism–what the #@*? Chinese authorities are making the link.

South Korea prepares for the big papal visit this week.

It’s amazing what you can do with Photoshop and lots of free time. Kotaku reminds us of this as it features some of the work done by the Korean language Facebook page called “We Do Phoshop,” which solicits Photoshop requests from readers, but doesn’t always deliver exactly what’s asked. Examples here.

 

 

 

hello-kitty-wristphone

Link Attack: LG’s Kid-Tracker, Daniel Henney’s Reality Show & North Korea’s Protest Of ‘The Interview’

What were reading right now.

South Korean electronics companies have found a new market: young kids. LG introduced the KizON, a device that lets parents keep track of where their child is and listen to what they are up to. Swell idea or the beginnings of a dystopian future?

Daniel Henney is part of a new travel reality series on South Korea’s Channel CGV. Maybe he’ll be coming to a town near you.

The third season of “Sullivan And Son” is underway on TBS. Here are some fun facts about its star Steve Byrne.

Where are the Asians in the Asian Republican Coalition? A liberal Korean writer wants to find out.

ESPN profiles the up and down career of Michelle Wie, who is off to a tough start at the British Open.

Though shows such as The O.C. may suggest otherwise, Orange County has the third-largest Asian American population in the nation.

After a disappointing World Cup campaign in Brazil, Hong Myung-bo quits as coach.

The North Korean government has filed a formal protest with the United Nations over The Interview, a film starring Seth Rogen and James Franco about a plot to kill Kim Jong-Un. Seth Rogen seems unfazed.

PHOTO: LG Electronics KizON Hello Kitty wristphone. Courtesy of LG Electronics.