Tag Archives: Kim Jong-un

Kim & Obama 6

Barack Obama and Kim Jong-un Impersonators Take on Los Angeles

by JAMES S. KIM | @james_s_kim
jamesskim@iamkoream.com

President Obama was in Los Angeles yesterday, creating a traffic nightmare for commuters. News sources said he was making a guest appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live, then attending a fundraising dinner. They were wrong. Kind of.

Photographers Jamie Fullerton and John Chappie were able to capture two of perhaps the most convincing celebrity impersonators hitting the streets of Los Angeles, according to VICE. The photos, which depicted two people impersonating President Obama and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, quickly made their way up to the Reddit front page.

The two leaders seemed to have had a blast in L.A. Obama gave Kim some tips on his much maligned hairdo before visiting the Hollywood sign and Sony Pictures (no hard feelings over The Interview, perhaps?), then hitting up Venice Beach to shoot hoops (move over, Dennis Rodman) and skateboarding. And of course, a day out in SoCal wouldn’t be complete without a Double-Double from In-N-Out.

The cherry on top would have been Katy Perry blasting on the car stereo.

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Happy Friday the 13th, folks!

Images via Imgur

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N.Korea Encourages Citizens to Play Sports to “Strengthen National Defense”

by STEVE HAN | @steve_han
steve@iamkoream.com

Amid young leader Kim Jong-un’s incessant passion for basketball, North Korea is amping up efforts to ingrain sports into the daily lives of its citizens in the hermit kingdom.

A recent Yonhap News Agency report cited a North Korean official who said that the country is encouraging the citizens to play sports, such as basketball and soccer to “boost industrial output” and “strengthen national defense.” North Korea’s communist regime has even launched a new sports-exclusive government ministry, called the National Sports Guidance Committee, to promote sports among its people.

The ministry’s role is to set up to support the practice of playing sports at workplaces in various cities and counties within North Korea, according to Ri Chi-ung, vice director of the country’s Ministry of Physical Culture and Sports. Ri added that sports could help develop the impoverished country’s halting economy.

“People find themselves [to] do their work better amidst the sporting zeal,” Ri reportedly said. “And it gives full play to collectivism, and the love for their working places and home villages is going up remarkably.”

He added, “They feel more pleasant at their jobs and the spirit of helping and leading one another forward is prevailing in the factory. All this gives great energy to the effort to fulfill the national economic plan.”

North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un is known to have picked up his  love for basketball while he was studying in Switzerland during his teens. A fan of Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls in the mid-90s, he even held an exhibition basketball game in Pyongyang last year with former NBA star Dennis Rodman.

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Featured image via Quazoo.com: North Korea national under-20 soccer team

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Randall Park Pitches ‘Fresh Off the Boat’ to Everyone, Including Kim Jong-un

by JAMES S. KIM | @james_s_kim
jamesskim@iamkoream.com

If you haven’t watched ABC’s Fresh Off the Boat yet, Randall Park is here to tell you why it’s a show you would enjoy. Whether you’re a 25-year-old punk rock anarchist from Salt Lake City, a 57-year-old captain of a booze cruise in New Orleans or an old, cranky witch, there are plenty of reasons for anyone to love the sitcom.

That is, unless you’re Kim Jong-un, for obvious reasons.

Check out Park’s video from Entertainment Weekly below:

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[VIDEO] Randall Park Talks About Odd Jobs on ‘Jimmy Kimmel’

by REERA YOO | @reeraboo
reera@iamkoream.com

On Feb. 11, Fresh Off the Boat star Randall Park made his first-ever late-night talk show appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live. During the interview, Park revealed some of the odd jobs he had  on his road to becoming a full-time actor, including being featured in a KY Jelly commercial and designing “escort ads.”

The Korean American actor surprised Kimmel when he admitted that he once worked as a graphic designer for the back section of a weekly newspaper classifieds, which mainly consisted of ads for escort services: “massage parlors, prostitution ads, basically.”

“Somebody designs those?” Kimmel asked in disbelief.

Park added that the saddest part of the bizarre job was when pimps would come to the office with a stack of Polaroids to use in the ads.

“But then I’d look at the photos and be like, ‘You really should use a stock photo.’ Because some of these photos would have their kids in the background,” Park said, causing the audience to groan in mortification.

He also talked about portraying Kim Jong-un in the comedy The Interview and the terrible hair cut he had to get for the part.  You can watch that conversation below:

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You can read our December/January 2015 cover story on Randall Park here

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North Korea's leader Kim Jong-Il  speaks

Kim Jong-il Demanded $10 Billion for Summit with South Korea

by JAMES S. KIM | @james_s_kim
jamesskim@iamkoream.com

When former South Korean president Kim Dae-jung met with the late Kim Jong-il on North Korean soil in 2000, it was seen as a landmark event and a huge step towards possible reunification. Whatever optimism the meeting inspired, however, was quashed when it was revealed the South Korean administration secretly paid hundreds of millions of dollars to make the summit happen.

According to former South Korean president Lee Myung-bak, Pyongyang set even steeper demands for a summit when Lee began his own term, which ran from 2008-2013. In his memoir The Times of the President, which is set to be published next week, Lee writes that Pyongyang demanded $10 billion in cash and half a million tons of food as part of a deal for Lee to meet Kim Jong-il.

“The document looked like some sort of standardized ‘summit bill’ with its list of assistance we had to provide and the schedule written up,” Lee writes, according to excerpts obtained by Reuters.

The “conditions for a summit” included 400,000 tons of rice, 100,000 tons of corn and 300,000 tons of fertilizer. The $10 billion would go towards setting up a development bank.

Lee flat out refused. “We shouldn’t be haggling for a summit,” he wrote.

Lee’s predecessor, President Roh Moo-hyun, traveled to Pyongyang in 2007 and met with Kim Jong-il as a follow up to the 2000 summit. However, the conservative Lee brought a more hardline approach when dealing with North Korea, and he left office without ever meeting Kim Jong-il or Kim Jong-un. Along with pushing the North to abandon its nuclear weapons program, Lee refused a meeting because Kim Jong-il denied any North Korean involvement in the 2010 torpedo attack on the Cheonan naval vessel.

Current North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and South Korean president Park Geun-hye have both brought up the idea of a possible meeting this year, but they’re still working on it. On Friday, North Korea demanded that South Korea lift sanctions imposed by Lee’s government following the Cheonan sinking as a condition for getting talks started again.

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Photo courtesy of Time

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South Korean President Park Geun-Hye speaks during her New Year news conference at the presidential Blue House in Seoul

President Park Offers to Meet Kim Jong-un Without Pre-Conditions

by REERA YOO | @reeraboo
reera@iamkoream.com

South Korean President Park Geun-hye said on Monday that she is open to holding a summit meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un without any pre-conditions, reports Reuters.

“My position is that to ease the pain of division and to accomplish peaceful unification, I am willing to meet with anyone,” Park said in her televised New Year’s Day speech.

Park’s appeal comes after Kim announced that he was open to resuming high-level talks if South Korea was sincere about improved inter-Korean relations and proper conditions were met.

“If the atmosphere and environment is there, there is no reason not to hold a high-level summit [with South Korea],” Kim said in his address broadcasted by the state media.

However, North Korea has been sending mixed signals. 

South Korea has repeatedly proposed opening dialogue with Pyongyang ever since the North Korean senior delegates made their surprise visit to the Asian Games in Incheon last year.

Despite this, the reclusive country rejected the South Korean parliament’s call on Friday for the resumption of stalled talks on various issues, including the North’s human rights and reconciliation projects. Pyongyang has also recently ignored Seoul’s call for inter-Korean negotiations.

On Saturday, North Korea offered to temporarily halt nuclear tests if the U.S. suspended its annual military drills held jointly with South Korea, but Washington immediately rejected the proposal after calling it a veiled threat.

While Park has insisted that there are no pre-conditions to holding a summit meeting with Kim, she has emphasized that North Korea should show “sincerity” in its decision to resume talks by taking steps towards denuclearization.

“North Korea should stop hesitating anymore and accept calls for dialogue,”

Inter-Korean Family Reunions

Park also stressed arranging a reunion of families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War in time for Lunar New Year’s Day, which falls on Feb. 19 this year.

“The issue of family reunions is one that cannot be delayed anymore, given the age of those in the separated families,” Park said, according to Yonhap.

The last inter-Korean family reunion was held in February 2014 with 83 elderly South Koreans and 88 North Koreans in attendance, according to the New York Times. About 70,000 South Koreans, more than half of them aged 80 or older, are on the government’s waiting list for the chance to reunite with their families from the North. While South Korean participants are chosen through lottery, it is unclear how the North chooses their candidates for these rarely held reunions.

The Interview and U.S. Sanctions

Park admitted on Monday that she has yet to see the controversial Seth Rogen comedy The Interview, which depicts the fictional assassination of Kim Jong-un, reports the AFP.

The FBI formally accused North Korea of hacking Sony Pictures. Since then, the U.S. has imposed sanctions that target North Korea’s top government officials and its defense industry. Pyongyang has condemned these sanctions and repeatedly denied any responsibility for the cyberattack–though it called the crime a “righteous deed.”

According to Yonhap, Park described the U.S. sanctions as “appropriate” and argued that North Korea should stop provoking the international community.

Korean American Author Deported 

During her New Year’s speech, Park also defended her government’s decision to deport Korean American author, Shin Eun-mi, who was accused of making positive comments about North Korea in several lectures and online posts.

Shin was deported back to the States on Saturday after authorities claimed that she had violated South Korea’s National Security Law, which has often been criticize for being an infringement to freedom of speech.

Park, however, defended its use on Monday, saying that the law was necessary to “ensure security” as South Korea “remains in a standoff with the North.”

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Photo courtesy of Reuters/Jung Yeon-Je/Pool. 

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Netflix Says It Wants to Stream ‘The Interview’

by DAVID BAUDER, AP Television writer

PASADENA, Calif. (AP) — Netflix wants to make Sony’s The Interview available to its 53 million worldwide subscribers, the streaming service’s chief content officer said Wednesday.

Ted Sarandos of Netflix would not comment on efforts to make that possible, however. The movie starring Seth Rogen and James Franco is available on some other video services and in some independent theaters, after its wide release was canceled due to the Sony hacking scandal.

“People want to see the movie and we want to be able to deliver the movie,” Sarandos told reporters at the Winter TV Press Tour 2015 conference.

Sony declined to comment on the possibility of a Netflix airing, a spokesman said.

Rogen and Franco play journalists involved in a CIA plot to kill North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Before the movie could be released, the Sony studio’s computer system was hacked by unknown assailants linked to North Korea, leading the studio to ditch plans to release the movie widely on Christmas day.

Even without Netflix, Sony Pictures Entertainment said this week that The Interview has been rented or purchased online more than 4.3 million times, totaling over $31 million in consumer sales. Sony says that has made it the company’s top online film ever; it has made $5 million in theater box offices.

The Interview has been available through Google Play, YouTube Movies, Microsoft’s Xbox Video and various video-on-demand services.

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Photo courtesy of Wiki Commons

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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North Korea Calls Obama a ‘Monkey,’ Blames U.S. for Internet Outage

by HYUNG-JIN KIM, Associated Press

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea blamed its recent Internet outage on the United States on Saturday and hurled racially charged insults at President Barack Obama over the hacking row involving the movie “The Interview.”

North Korea’s powerful National Defense Commission, which is headed by country leader Kim Jong-un and is the nation’s top governing body, said Obama was behind the release of the comedy that depicts Kim’s assassination. The commission described the movie as illegal, dishonest and reactionary.

“Obama always goes reckless in words and deeds like a monkey in a tropical forest,” an unidentified spokesman at the commission’s Policy Department said in a statement carried by the country’s official Korean Central News Agency.

The White House’s National Security Council declined to comment Saturday.

North Korea has denied involvement in a crippling cyberattack on Sony Pictures but has expressed fury over the comedy. Sony Pictures initially called off the release of the film, citing threats of terror attacks against U.S. movie theaters. Obama criticized Sony’s decision, and the movie opened this past week.

It wasn’t the first time North Korea has used crude insults against Obama and other top U.S. and South Korean officials. Earlier this year, North Korea called U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry a wolf with a “hideous” lantern jaw and South Korean President Park Geun-hye a prostitute. In May, the North’s official news agency published a dispatch saying Obama has the “shape of a monkey.”

A State Department spokeswoman at the time called the North Korean dispatch “offensive and ridiculous and absurd.”

In the latest incident, the North Korean defense commission also blamed Washington for intermittent outages of North Korean websites this past week. The outages happened after Obama blamed the Sony hack on North Korea and promised to respond “in a place and time and manner that we choose.”

The U.S. government has declined to say whether it was behind the Internet shutdown in North Korea.

According to the North Korean commission’s spokesman, “the U.S., a big country, started disturbing the Internet operation of major media of the DPRK, not knowing shame like children playing tag.” DPRK refers to the North’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

The commission said the movie was the result of a hostile U.S. policy toward North Korea, and threatened the U.S. with unspecified consequences.

North Korea and the U.S. remain technically in a state of war because the 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty. The rivals also are locked in an international standoff over North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs and its alleged human rights abuses.

A United Nations commission accuses North Korea of a wide array of crimes against humanity, including murder, enslavement, torture, imprisonment and rape.

The U.S. stations about 28,500 troops in South Korea as deterrence against North Korean aggression.

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Associated Press writer Josh Lederman in Honolulu contributed to this story. Photo courtesy of The White House.

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