Basketball in North Korea: Brunch with Luke Elie

CNN Luke Elie North Korea Basketball Video

Last month I introduced to you Luke Elie. You might have seen him in the news recently because he’s been quite a sensation since his trip to North Korea. He’s been extremely busy with all of the interview requests from big name news outlets like CNN, but I managed to bribe him into meeting me for brunch. Coming from experience, connections and food will go a long way.

When he asked me what I’d like to ask him in regards to his trip to North Korea, I told him that I had no interest in the politics of it. There is plenty of information out there on the politics of North Korea and its current state and I didn’t think that it would be necessary to add another redundant article to that list. What I was curious to hear about was his personal experience and interactions with the North Koreans he met while there.

I also didn’t want our meeting to be a stiff interview but instead wanted it to be just friends getting together to catch up… which will then result in an article. But let’s not linger on that. We met at Itaewon in Seoul, or the foreigners’ district, on a rainy morning and ate at a restaurant that specializes in brunch foods. We sat down and just started to talk. I told Luke what I had been up to since high school, which is when I last saw him, and he told me his story about how he ended up going to North Korea. I felt like it was a fair deal. Continue reading

In the News – North Korean official to organizers: No more flag mistakes

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In the News – North Korean official to organizers: No more flag mistakes

By Chris Clark, AP

The North Korean women’s soccer team sings the national anthem before the group G match between Colombia and North Korea.

Chang Ung expressed his disappointment Thursday after theSouth Korean flag was mistakenly displayed on the giant screen before the women’s soccer game between North Korea and Colombia in Glasgow, Scotland, on Wednesday night.

The North Koreans refused to take the field for about an hour before the match went ahead. London organizers apologized.

“This should not have happened,” Chang told The Associated Press. “I am really surprised how … the London Olympic team, the protocol people, didn’t invite someone from the team to check if it is your flag.”

Chang proposed that Olympic protocol officials meet with team leaders before each medal ceremony to check that the correct flags and anthems are being used.

“With 302 medal awarding ceremonies, if something bad happened, that’s damaging for the IOC,” he said. “Beforehand, the protocol people should invite the team leader or captain to come up.”

Asked whether he was satisfied with the apology from London organizers, Chang said: “They apologized to the national team, that’s enough.”

Earlier, speaking during the final session of the IOC general assembly, Chang said the flag incident wasn’t a big political issue but further mix-ups could have negative political consequences for the Olympic movement.

IOC President Jacques Rogge responded that organizers had moved to fix the problem.

“This was a most unfortunate incident,” Rogge said. “I can assure you the organizing committee has taken corrective action so that this will not happen in the future. There is no political connotation in that. It was just a simple human mistake.”

British Prime Minister David Cameron echoed Rogge.

“This was an honest mistake, honestly made. An apology has been made, and I’m sure every step will be taken to make sure these things don’t happen again,” he said during a visit to the Olympic Park. “We shouldn’t over-inflate this episode. It was unfortunate, it shouldn’t have happened, and I think we can leave it at that.”

FIFA President Sepp Blatter also downplayed the flag dispute.

“This is such a minor incident which has been settled in the meantime and presented now here also in the IOC,” Blatter said. “I think it is more important to go to sport. As the representative of North Korea said, it’s not a political issue. I am happy about that.”

Original Article 

In the News – Broadcasting official in North Korea for talks on providing Olympics TV and radio coverage

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In the News – Broadcasting official in North Korea for talks on providing Olympics TV and radio coverage

 

PYONGYANG, North Korea — The chief of Asia’s broadcasting union is visiting North Korea for talks on providing the country with TV and radio coverage of the London Olympics.

Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union President Kim In-kyu arrived Tuesday in Pyongyang for a three-day trip.

Kim is a South Korean national and also serves as head of South Korean public broadcaster KBS.

An ABU official said earlier this month that his agency is expected to provide North Korea’s state broadcaster with Olympic coverage for only a “nominal” fee. The official declined to be named citing the sensitivity of negotiations and didn’t elaborate.

Three South Korean television networks holding Olympic broadcasting rights for the Koreas have entrusted ABU to handle North Korean broadcasting issues.

The opening ceremony for the games is Friday.

Original Article 

In the News – S.Korea to talk Olympic TV broadcast with North

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In the News – S.Korea to talk Olympic TV broadcast with North

SEOUL — A South Korean official will visit North Korea this week to discuss the possible broadcast of the London Olympics there, Seoul’s unification ministry said on Monday.

Kim In-Kyu, president of the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU), will visit Pyongyang from Tuesday to Thursday for talks with the North’s radio and television broadcasting committee, said an official .

The ministry, which handles cross-border affairs, authorised Kim’s visit after Pyongyang invited him to discuss such broadcasts, said spokeswoman Park Soo-Jin.

Kim, who also runs the South’s state Korea Broadcasting System (KBS), will be the first South Korean civilian to pay an authorised visit to the communist state since the funeral of leader Kim Jong-Il in December.

KBS said in a statement that ABU plans to provide broadcasting rights for the Games to about 40 organisations in 30 countries, including the North.

In 2010 the impoverished North was able to air the football World Cup finals with the help of ABU and football’s international governing body FIFA.

North Korea has announced it will send 51 athletes to London to compete in 11 events including women’s football, weightlifting, table-tennis and wrestling.

South Korea’s private SBS station retains the right to air the Games for the entire Korean peninsula including North Korea until the Summer Olympics of 2024.

The company said it would broadcast the games in the South along with two public broadcasters KBS and MBC, and has mandated ABU to handle the rights in North Korea.

Original Article

 

U.S. Presidential Candidates on North Korea

The Korean peninsula is expected to enter a new phase as a result of leadership changes in 2012. South Korea will have a new president by the end of the year, and this is the first fiscal year for Kim Jong-un who assumed the supreme commandership of North Korea after his father’s sudden death in December 2011. In addition, the United States presidential election of 2012 will be held in November. Xi Jinping of China will succeed Hu Jintao as General Secretary and President. As six-party talks play a crucial role in determining the dynamics between South and North Koreas, all of these leadership changes should be taken into account when predicting the future of the peninsula. With the U.S. election being eight months ahead, now is the time to take a look at each candidate’s view on North Korea and how it can affect the South-North relationship in the future.

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.

In the News – U.N. chief expresses hopes for easing tensions on Korean Peninsula

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In the News – U.N. chief expresses hopes for easing tensions on Korean Peninsula

UNITED NATIONS, Dec. 30 (Yonhap) — U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Friday he hopes to see tensions on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia ease next year, saying 2012 will be a very important one for Koreans.

In a New Year’s message to the people of his native South Korea, Ban also said he will provide unsparing support as U.N. chief to help reduce tensions on the divided peninsula and in the region.

Ban said that the year 2012 will be “very important” for the Korean Peninsula, apparently referring to the leadership change in North Korea after the Dec. 17 death of Kim Jong-il. South Korea is also set to elect a new parliament and a new president next year.

Ban also praised South Korea’s economic development and democracy as an exemplary success case of realizing the ideals and goals the United Nations pursues.

He also called for South Koreans to make greater contributions to the international community.

(END)

Original article can be found here.

In the News – New North Korean Leader Faces Uphill Struggle

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In the News – New N.Korean Leader Faces Uphill Struggle

New North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will have a tough road ahead now that his father Kim Jong-il is buried and the real job begins. So far he has only had to follow protocol and look sad by his father’s coffin, but the impoverished country faces a host of problems, especially in its dealings with the international community.

Kim Jong-il elicited some grudging respect for the expert way he played the international community. His brinkmanship tactics involved threats and nuclear development, alternating with negotiations and concessions to extract aid. But Jong-un has no foreign-policy experience. “Only those who know where the brink is can play the brinkmanship game,” one diplomat said. “But Kim Jong-un probably has no idea where the brink is.”

North Koreans react during late leader Kim Jong-ils funeral procession in Pyongyang on Wednesday. /AP-Newsis

North Koreans react during late leader Kim Jong-ils funeral procession in Pyongyang on Wednesday. /AP-Newsis

The void left by Kim Jong-il’s death is even bigger in relations with China, which is North Korea’s sole lifeline. “The Chinese leadership has had difficulty with Kim Jong-il’s brinkmanship tactics,” a source in China said, but he was always able to extract more aid and investment because Beijing preferred the status quo and he tended to highlight the “blood ties” between the two countries, which count for a great deal in Confucian societies. Kim Jong-un, by contrast, will now have to deal with Chinese leaders who are three to four decades his seniors.

And North Korea urgently needs money to pay for celebrations of regime founder Kim Il-sung’s centenary if it is to keep an increasingly restive and starving population in line. “People have high hopes for what the party will give to them” on Kim Il-sung’s 100th birthday on April 15 next year, a source in North Korea said. “If the special rations are way below people’s expectations, there could be an outburst of pent-up discontent.”

The North Korean regime has been living on borrowed time with constant promises of a big party in 2012, when it had vowed to become a “powerful and prosperous nation.” Kim Jong-il tried to trade a halt in uranium enrichment for 240,000 tons of food assistance from the U.S. before his death.

“People’s dissatisfaction didn’t mean much under absolute rule,” a North Korean source said, “but things may change in the future. Kim Jong-un’s immediate priority will be begging for rice for next year’s promised feast.”

Original article can be found here.