Tag Archives: North Korea

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SKorea Beats NKorea With Last Kick and Claims Asian Games Gold Medal


South Korean under-23 men’s soccer team scored a dramatic last-minute goal in the gold medal game of the Asian Games’ soccer tournament for a 1-0 win over North Korea, marking the craziest finish to a final of the quadrennial event that has been held since 1951.

The two Koreas remained scoreless in the 90-minute regulation and in the 30 minutes of extra time. On a corner kick during the added one-minute time before the potential penalty shoot-out, rightback Rim Chang-woo blasted a strong shot past several opposing players after forward Lee Yong-jae’s shot was blocked by an arm of Ri Yong-jik, one of North Korea’s many defenders who swarmed their goal to desperately stop what was bound to be the last kick of the game.


North Korea’s head coach Yun Jong-su and his coaching staff were livid as they argued to the referee that South Korea’s goal should be disallowed since Ri’s hand ball offense came before Rim’s game-winning shot and that a penalty kick must be given instead. However, referee Abdullah Dor Mohammad Balideh explained that he simply used the advantage clause, a unique rule in soccer which allows the referee to not to call an obvious foul if stopping the play causes greater harm to the team that would have been fouled.

After the game, South Korea’s head coach Lee Gwang-jong credited his players, whose compulsory two-year military service is now exempted with the win, for South Korea’s first Asian Games’ gold medal in men’s soccer in 28 years.

“We played a really fun game against North Korea,” Lee said. “The hard work for our first gold medal in 28 years was all done by the players. They really played hard for it.”

Yun, who led North Korea to its first Asian Games final in men’s soccer since 1978, praised his players for playing through fatigue for two games in just three days, both of which went to extra time. However, he contended that the loss is unjust due to “questionable” refereeing.

“I thank my players,” Yun said. “But I said this even before the game. In our previous game versus Iraq, one of our key players was sent off [and became ineligible to play in the final]. Today, the linesman raised the flag [just before South Korea’s goal] and confused our players. Refereeing has to be fair. It shouldn’t accommodate the home team. I ask you reporters whether today’s refereeing was fair.”

Going into the tournament, host team South Korea’s 20-man roster was considered as one of the weakest group of players it has fielded at the Asian Games. Son Heung-min, South Korean soccer’s star forward, was forced to pull out of the team after his German club Bayer Leverkusen insisted that it cannot afford to lose the 22-year-old for three weeks during the German Bundesliga season.

Yun Il-lok, one of the brightest young prospects in Korea’s domestic K-League, was expected to fill the void for Son, but he was also ruled out of the tournament after just two games with a torn knee ligament. Another star forward Kim Shin-wook was called up as one of the three overage players before he picked up an injury of his own in the second game and remained sidelined throughout the tournament until the last 12 minutes of the gold medal game.

Despite the absence of its key offensive players, South Korea clawed its way to winning the gold medal by playing stingy defense that didn’t concede a single goal in all seven of the team’s games.

But the real gem of the tournament for South Korea may just be the goalscorer Rim, whose menacing runs up and down the right wing gave the team’s lethargic offense a much needed spark. The 22-year-old lateral defender, who is currently playing in Korea’s second division team Daejon Citizen, opened the scoring for South Korea in this tournament by heading home the go-ahead goal in the first game against Malaysia and against North Korea. He notched the last goal that gave him and his team the gold medal.


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


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.


SKorea And NKorea To Square Off In Asian Games Soccer Final


South Korea edged out its rival Japan and weathered the storm against dark horse Thailand, reaching the men’s soccer finals at the Asian Games for the first time in 28 years.

Awaiting the South Koreans in the finals is their arch-rival: North Korea.


The two Koreas defeated Thailand and Iraq, respectively, to reach the finals for the first time in decades. Just hours after North Korea’s dramatic 1-0 win over Iraq in overtime, South Korea cruised to a comfortable 2-0 victory against Thailand to set up the “all Korea final,” which will take place at Incheon’s Munhak Stadium on Thursday.

The North Korean soccer team has served two devastating losses to South Korea in recent weeks. Its under-16 boys came from behind to beat South Korea 2-1 in the final match of the 2014 Under-16 Asian Championships. On Monday, its women’s national team also eliminated South Korea in the semifinals of the Asian Games.

South Korea is desperately relying on the recovery of its injured players for the upcoming 2014 Asian Games soccer final. The 6-foot-5 forward Kim Shin-wook sprained his ankle in the second game of the tournament and missed four straight games since then. Leftback Kim Jin-su, who plays professionally for Hoffenheim of Germany, also left the semifinal game in the second half, experiencing discomfort in his left.

Meanwhile, the challenge for North Korea is regaining fitness after the extra 30 minutes of overtime they faced in the semifinal against Iraq in just two days. Known for their tireless work ethic and speed on the attack, North Korea’s key player is forward Pak Kwang-ryong, who plays professionally for Swiss soccer’s powerhouse FC Basel.


North Korea Confirms Kim Jong-Un’s Deteriorating Health


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.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry testifies at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee while on Capitol Hill in Washington

John Kerry Urges NKorea To Shut Down Prison Camps


U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry demanded the North Korean government to close its prison camps that “bring shame” on the country on Tuesday, reported Reuters.

Kerry’s words came at an event in New York prior to the U.N. meetings to highlight human rights abuses in North Korea, which in recent years has arrested and imprisoned American tourists for alleged “hostile activities.” North Korea’s foreign minister Ri Su Yong will attend the U.N. meeting on behalf of his country.


“We say to the North Korean government, all of us here today, you should close those camps. You should shut this evil system down,” Kerry said. “We simply cannot be blind to these egregious affronts to human nature and we cannot accept it. Silence would be the greatest abuse of all.”

Furthermore, Kerry cited a U.N. panel report, which accuses North Korea of crimes against humanity for slaughtering political prisoners over the past five decades.

North Korea dismissed the panel’s report as lies.

Kerry added, “North Korea’s leadership may act as if it’s impervious to our concern, as if nothing we can say can penetrate its self imposed isolation, and yet on some level North Korea’s leaders do understand that their behavior brings shame on their country in the eyes of the world.”

North Korea is currently holding three American citizens — Jeffrey Fowle, Matthew Miller and Kenneth Bae — in its state prison.

Photo courtesy of Reuters




Lee Seung-Woo Held By NKorea, But Still Wins Tournament MVP And Scoring Title


There wasn’t much South Korean soccer prodigy Lee Seung-woo could’ve done. Three or more North Korean defenders surrounded the 16-year-old forward just about every time he got near the ball. Outnumbered upfront, he was kicked, pushed and harassed as North Korea scraped its way to an upset by beating South Korea 2-1 in the 2014 Asian Under-16 Championship final.

Despite the loss, South Korea still advances to next year’s FIFA Under-17 World Cup in Chile after its runners-up finish. Lee, who plays his club soccer at Spain’s renowned FC Barcelona, finished the tournament with both the Most Valuable Player and top scorer honors with five goals and four assists in five games.


“The important thing was to win,” said Lee, who joined Barcelona’s youth academy in 2011 after impressing its scouts at an international tournament in South Africa. “We lost, so I’m not happy about the MVP or the top scorer award. I was only able to play well because of the teachings from our coach and help from my teammates. I’m still young and have a lot to learn.”

Lee added, “Our next goal is to win the Under-17 World Cup next year. We have the ability to do it. We’ll do everything to win.”

South Korea had the lead at halftime after Choi Jae-young headed home Lee Sang-heon’s corner kick in the 33rd minute. Lee, spearheading South Korea’s attack, fought his way through traffic and created scoring chances on two occasions in the first half, but couldn’t beat North Korea’s goalkeeper Ri Chol-song. In the 15th minute, he dribbled past the North Korean defense from the left wing, but his shot was stopped by Ri. About three minutes later, he made a weaving run into the right side of the penalty area and drilled a strong shot that went straight to the shot stopper.

North Korea tied the game just four minutes into the second half when Han Kwang-song broke free of South Korea’s inattentive defending on a long ball into the box and scored an easy tap in. After 14 minutes, North Korea completed its comeback as Choe Song-hyok launched a strong shot into the top left corner near the right side of the box after South Korean wing-back Park Myeong-soo failed to clear the ball.

Before Choe’s game-winning goal for North Korea, Lee had a chance to put South Korea back on top as he made his trademark solo run into the attacking half and had only the goalkeeper to beat before Kim Wi-song grabbed him by the shoulder and brought him down. Lee pleaded to the referee for a red card, but the North Korean defender escaped with a yellow card.

The Asian U-16 Championships, which rarely gets much attention in South Korea, had become immensely popular this time around because of Lee’s impressive performances. Until the tournament, South Korean soccer fans had to settle for YouTube videos to see Lee displaying flashes of brilliance for Barcelona, but the teenager achieved something of a stardom by not only scoring goals, but by showcasing his ability to single-handedly dominate games with individual skills and an edgy demeanor.

When asked about what he thought of his nickname “Korean Lionel Messi” after the game, Lee answered, “It’s not up to me to determine if I play like Messi. To be called the ‘Little Messi’ or the ‘Korean Messi’ is an honor. But personally, I want to be the very first Lee Seung-woo.”

Yellow Sea Border

SKorea Fires Warning Shots at NKorea’s Patrol Boat


The South Korean navy fired warning shots after a North Korean patrol boat crossed the disputed Yellow Sea border on Friday, said the South’s military.

According to Reuters, the North Korean boat crossed the waters off Baengnyeong Island just after noon and retreated six minutes after the South fired six warning rounds.


The incident took place on the same day as the opening ceremony of the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, in which North Korea is competing.

This is not the first time there has been tension over the volatile sea border. In 2010, North Korea shelled Yeonpeong Island and killed four South Koreans, and earlier this year, the two sides exchanged hundreds of shells into each other’s waters.

Yonhap quoted an unidentified military official saying that the North Korean vessel crossed the border to tow an unmanned barge that had drifted into southern waters back to the North.

Earlier this week, South Korea recovered wreckage of a suspected North Korean drone found near the disputed maritime border. 

Photo via Deutsche Welle (DW) 



South Korea Koreas Te_Leff (1)

American Arrested While Swimming To North Korea


Many bizarre stories came out of North Korea in recent months. Up until now, the most notable one was the story of Matthew Miller, the 24-year-old American who got arrested in April for allegedly tearing up his tourist visa at the airport in Pyongyang.

However, the latest North Korea-related news may top it all off. A young American man, whose name isn’t yet identified, was caught by South Korean authorities while trying to swim across a river border into North Korea, a government source said Wednesday.


South Korea’s Marine sentries arrested the man, a U.S. citizen of Arabic descent in his late 20s or early 30s, at around 11:55 p.m. on Tuesday as he was swimming across the Han River, which borders with North Korea, reports Yonhap News Agency.

“I was trying to go to North Korea in order to meet with supreme leader Kim Jong-un,” the man reportedly said during the interrogation.

This case marks the second time an American citizen tried to swim into North Korea. In 1996, 26-year-old Evan C. Hunziker swam across the Yalu River, which borders North Korea and China, on a drunken dare. Hunziker was eventually freed after negotiations involving a special U.S. envoy, but he killed himself about a month after his release.

Photo courtesy of Associated Press and Fox News