PLEASE SIGN NOW – www.savemyfriend.org

If you haven’t done so already, please take a moment to sign this online petition to stop the repatriation of North Korean refugees in China. With enough international interest, we can make a difference.

Click to save lives: www.savemyfriend.org 

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In the News – 150,000 Sign Global Petition for N.Koreans in China

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In the News – 150,000 Sign Global Petition for N.Koreans in China

A child holds a picket sign against Chinas repatriation of North Korean defectors in front of the Chinese Embassy in Seoul on Monday.

A child holds a picket sign against Chinas repatriation of North Korean defectors in front of the Chinese Embassy in Seoul on Monday.

Some 153,000 people have signed a worldwide online petition to stop China repatriating a group of North Korean defectors who were arrested there. The petition started on a website called www.change.org on Feb. 12 and has now drawn signatures from people from 100 countries, including South Korea, the U.S., Japan, Taiwan, Russia and even China itself.

Anyone can launch an online petition drive at change.org or find one or take part in an existing signature drive. The website www.savemyfriend.org opens straight to the online petition.

Staff at savemyfriend.org said they confirmed that people from around 100 countries accessed the website and left their signatures. “We delivered the petition” then containing about 147,000 signatures, “to the Japanese and U.S. embassies in South Korea.”

“We initially targeted 200,000 signatures but now aim to draw 1 million three weeks from now and send them to the heads of each country and to the UN Human Rights Council.”

Original article can be found here

In the News – South Korea passes resolution on North Korea refugees

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In the News – South Korea passes resolution on North Korea refugees

South Korean rights activists perform role of mock Chinese police and North Korean refugee outside the Chinese embassy in Seoul on 21 February, 2012

South Korean rights activists perform role of mock Chinese police and North Korean refugee outside the Chinese embassy in Seoul on 21 February, 2012

South Korea’s parliament has passed a resolution demanding that China stops the repatriation of North Korean refugees.

The move follows a string of protests over the fate of some 30 North Koreans who are reportedly facing deportation from China and harsh repercussions.

The resolution was backed by 154 lawmakers on Tuesday. Continue reading

A North Korean Restaurant in the Least Likely of Places

Going to North Korea is no easy thing. It’s not somewhere that you can just hop on a plane and go to. Even with North Korea’s recent tourism ventures, not just anybody can go because it’s so pricey. It costs almost $2000 per person for a three night standard package and this doesn’t include all of the other expenses such as the plane ticket to China. But even if you could afford the trip to North Korea, they don’t just accept all tourists. They’re extremely selective and wouldn’t let me in, for instance, because of the work I do here in South Korea for human rights

However, there is a place that you could go to for the North Korean experience. But it’s not in North Korea. It’s in Cambodia, of all places.

Continue reading

In the News – China to Repatriate ‘Hundreds’ of N.Koreans

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In the News – China to Repatriate ‘Hundreds’ of N.Koreans

Hundreds of North Korean defectors were awaiting repatriation as of last Friday after being arrested in various parts of China, rights activists say.

“Some 220 defectors have been interrogated by regional security departments in China and are being held at about 10 detention centers near the North Korea-China border,” said Kim Hoe-tae of Solidarity for North Korean Human Rights. “They’ll be sent back to the North one by one.” Continue reading

COMING SOON – 2012 MOU Internship Applications

There has been a lot of interest in this year’s MOU internship and many have been asking when the applications will be available.

We are currently working on putting the final touches on this year’s program and the application should available in early to mid-March.

Thank you for all the interest and please continue to follow our blog for more information on the upcoming internship program and application.

The Death of Kim Jong-Il: Painting Perspective Part III

Having looked at various articles after the death of Kim Jong-Il, I started to reflect upon the Korean friends who identified with North Korea in Japan and the few North Korean people that I knew personally. Of course, their opinions could not be anymore diverse because of the different backgrounds they had come from or the different perspectives that they held. Also, the relationship that my Korean friends in Japan had to North Korea is very different from the students who had actually been born in North Korea and escaped while they were still so young.

While I researched the Korean minority in Japan last summer before my internship with the Ministry of Unification, I had the opportunity to interview a few people who had visited North Korea while they were high school students. Until North Korean education schools in Japan had started to request more government support from the Japanese government, the classrooms had featured pictures of the two Kim leaders as a regulation declared by North Korean administration who had in the past received visits from teachers who would report on the progress of the children’s education. Therefore, I had asked my interviewees about their thoughts on Kim Il-Sung and Kim Jong-Il.

Continue reading

In the News – Ruling party proposes citizenship certificates for N. Korean defectors

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In the News – Ruling party proposes citizenship certificates for N. Korean defectors

Rep. Park Sun-young stages a hunger strike in front of the Chinese Embassy in Seoul to urge Beijing not to repatriate North Korean defectors back to their communist homeland (Yonhap file photo)

By Kim Eun-jung
SEOUL, Feb. 23 (Yonhap) — The ruling party floated the idea Thursday of issuing certificates of South Korean citizenship to North Korean defectors detained in China as a way to save refugees facing repatriation to their communist homeland.

The latest move comes as calls mount for China not to repatriate dozens of defectors arrested earlier this month to North Korea, where it is feared they will face harsh persecution and even execution. Continue reading

In the News – U.S., North Korea Extend Discussions

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In the News – U.S., North Korea Extend Discussions

By BRIAN SPEGELE in Beijing and ALASTAIR GALE in Seoul

A senior U.S. envoy said Thursday that negotiations between the U.S. and North Korea had been extended to a second day, a potentially positive sign that talks were progressing between Washington and Pyongyang’s new regime.

Glyn T. Davies, Washington’s special representative for North Korean policy, offered few details of the first day of negotiations in Beijing. He said U.S. and North Korean officials would dine together on Thursday evening. Continue reading

Photoshop in North Korea (and other surprises)

I never thought that they would have Photoshop in North Korea. Even setting aside the name brand Adobe software, it never occurred to me that there might be digital image manipulation in a country stuck a few decades in the past.

But a great photo analysis from The New York Times Lens blog finds evidence that it’s there.

You may not have seen photos from Kim Jong-Il’s nation-blanketing funeral proceedings, though if you haven’t you should seek them out—they are often of a cinematic quality, citizens in the highest stages of grief, perfectly orchestrated snow falling everywhere all the time.

Like this:

Continue reading

In the News – China Rejects Pleas Not to Repatriate North Koreans

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In the News – China Rejects Pleas Not to Repatriate North Koreans

South Korean actor Cha In-pyo delivers a speech during a rally against the Chinese government's arrest of North Korean refugees, near the Chinese Embassy in Seoul, South Korea, Feb. 21, 2012.

China is rejecting South Korean pleas not to repatriate some 30 North Korean refugees who were recently arrested in Chinese territory.

Since last week, several dozen protesters outside of the Chinese Embassy in Seoul have called on Beijing not to repatriate around 30 North Korean detainees Chinese authorities recently arrested.  Continue reading

In the News – Four more N. Korean defectors detained in China: lawmaker

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In the News – Four more N. Korean defectors detained in China: lawmaker

SEOUL/BEIJING, Feb. 20 (Yonhap) — A South Korean lawmaker claimed Monday four more North Korean defectors had been detained by Chinese authorities in the central city of Zhengzhou while fleeing their impoverished homeland, raising the number of defectors believed to be in custody to 34.

Rep. Park Sun-young of the minor opposition Liberty Forward Party had earlier said five groups totaling 30 North Korean asylum seekers have been detained in China since earlier this month in a tightened crackdown on defectors near the border between the two nations. Continue reading

In the News – S. Korea to press N. Korea again to hold reunions of separated families

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In the News – S. Korea to press N. Korea again to hold reunions of separated families

SEOUL, Feb. 21 (Yonhap) — South Korea’s point man on North Korea said Tuesday he will urge Pyongyang to accept Seoul’s offer to resume reunions of family members separated for nearly six decades.

The move came three days after North Korea rejected South Korea’s recent proposal to hold Red Cross talks to help arrange reunions of separated families.

The North has called for South Korea’s apology for not paying official respect over the December death of its leader Kim Jong-il as a key condition for resuming stalled bilateral talks.

South Korea expressed sympathy to the people of North Korea over Kim’s death but did not send an official mourning delegation to Pyongyang. Seoul did approve condolence trips by private delegations.

“I will urge North Korea” again to accept the issue of reuniting separated family members, Unification Minister Yu Woo-ik told reporters, without providing a specific time frame for his planned offer. Continue reading

In the News – S. Korea to call on China to comply with refugee law for N. Korean defectors

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In the News – S. Korea to call on China to comply with refugee law for N. Korean defectors

SEOUL, Feb. 19 (Yonhap) — In what appears to be a policy shift to step up efforts to avoid repatriation of North Korean defectors detained in China to their communist homeland, South Korea said Sunday it will urge Beijing to comply with an international refugee law. Continue reading

In the News – SKorea conducts live-fire drills near disputed sea boundary despite NKorean threat to attack

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In the News – SKorea conducts live-fire drills near disputed sea boundary despite NKorean threat to attack

By Associated Press, Published: February 19

SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea on Monday conducted live-fire military drills from five islands near its disputed sea boundary with North Korea, despite Pyongyang’s threat to attack.

South Korea reported no immediate action by North Korea following the drills, which ended after about two hours. They took place in an area of the Yellow Sea that was the target of a North Korean artillery attack in 2010 that killed four South Koreans and raised fears of a wider conflict. Continue reading

In the News – Kim Jong-il’s eldest son’s allowance cut off

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In the News – Kim Jong-il’s eldest son’s allowance cut off

The extravagant eldest son of the late North Korean leader Kim Jong Il is facing cash flow problems because the Stalinist state has cut off his allowance, reports claimed Friday.

Well-known playboy and occasional critic of his father’s regime, Kim Jong-nam has been kicked out of luxury hotel in the Chinese gambling hub of Macau, according to a Russian newspaper. Continue reading

In the News – Demonstrators protest China’s arrests of North Korean defectors

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In the News – Demonstrators protest China’s arrests of North Korean defectors

REPORTING FROM SEOUL -– Angry demonstrators staged a rally Tuesday near the Chinese Embassy here to protest China’s arrests of dozens of North Korean defectors who face torture, imprisonment and even death if returned to their homeland. Continue reading

In the News – 29 N.Korean Defectors ‘Face Repatriation’

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In the News – 29 N.Korean Defectors ‘Face Repatriation’

Twenty-nine North Korean defectors were caught by Chinese police and are on the brink of being repatriated to North Korea. Seoul has asked Beijing to release them but there has been no reply.

According to their families in South Korea, 10 of the defectors were caught by Chinese police while trying to board a bus in Shenyang around last Wednesday evening. They were on their way to join their families in South Korea. About half were male and half female, and the group included teenagers, the relatives said. They requested emergency relief from the National Human Rights Commission though an activist group. Continue reading

The Death of Kim Jong-Il: Painting Perspective Part II

As a continuation of my previous article, I would like to look at one of many articles written by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) regarding the death of Kim Jong-Il. I have chosen to compare and contrast Fox News with the BBC because it is the largest broadcaster in the world and because of my own appreciation for its world news broadcasts.

The particular article that I will explore in this continuation directly addresses the question that so many people had asked me. The article is titled: “How Genuine are the Tears in North Korea.” As an introduction to the article, Tom Geoghegan writes, “The outpouring of grief in North Korea after the passing of Kim Jong-Il has been fervent and widespread. So are the people sincerely feeling this loss or are they behaving as they think they should?” Continue reading

An Inside Look at North Korea

North Korea is the most reclusive country in the world today. The government goes through painstaking measures to make sure that nobody knows what exactly is going on behind its doors. What’s worse is that they go through even more painstaking measures to make sure nobody inside knows what’s going on outside its borders. But every once in a while, you’re presented with an opportunity to step behind the curtains and see North Korea through the eyes of a North Korean. Actually, scratch that. The North Korean government would never allow that. But in the least, we’re sometimes able to see North Korea through the camera lens of a foreigner, whether it be tourists or news agencies. What we see through such pictures may not be exactly what North Korea really is, but at least we get an idea.

I was reading through the Washington Post a few weeks back and came across some photos of North Korea that I thought were stunning. These photos are the work of David Guttenfelder, the chief photographer for the Associated Press Asia, and I’d like to share them with you.

This is the Pyongyang Airport. I guess this would be the first thing you see of North Korea if you enter by plane. I read an article about Air Koryo, North Korea’s official airline, and it was ranked as the worst airline in the world. It is the only airline in the world that has been rated with 1 star, with the reason being a lack of safety. Continue reading