This past July 27th marked the 59th anniversary of the signing of the armistice that officially put the Korean War on hold. It was a silent holiday that went nearly unnoticed by the world. However, for those soldiers who lived through the Korean War, this was an important day, no matter what side they fought on, and many gathered to remember and to celebrate.
In North Korea, this day was celebrated with war veterans visiting Panmunjom to pledge their unchanging loyalty to North Korea’s young leader, Kim Jong Un. Fireworks were also fired to celebrate the day. The commemorations are meant to kindle patriotism and loyalty in North Koreans, and especially the young, by showcasing veterans who fought for their country, said Kim Yeon-su of Korea National Defense University in Seoul. Ahead of the anniversary, North Korea’s Foreign Ministry reiterated its long-standing demand that the United States sign a peace treaty with North Korea to replace the armistice. However, the United States continues to stand by its claim that normal ties will only come after North Korea abandons its pursuit of nuclear weapons and takes other steps towards change. Continue reading →
My Google Alerts has been emailing notifications to my blackberry nonstop with news on Kim Jong Un’s lavish birthday celebrations and more importantly, President Hu Jintao visiting President Barack Obama in Washington next Wednesday, January 19, 2011. Hu’s visit bears much significance on the U.S. – China relationship. Foreign policy experts have their fingers crossed hoping that this visit will appease the hostility between the two after conflicting interests in a number of issues including: exchange-rate policy, Internet censorship-Google, human rights, environment concerns, and North Korea’s deadly attacks on Yeonpyeong, South Korea. With grave economic issues and Chinese militaristic growth hovering over the discussion table will enough time be allotted to resolve stances regarding how to deal with the unruly North Korea?
Nuclear stability concerns will most definitely be raised as China prioritizes softening U.S. & South Korean response to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. But what about the thousands of defectors who lead perilous lives fearing repatriotization? Will the rampant poverty rates and unimaginable human rights violations in North Korea even be mentioned during this rendezvous?