In the News – N. Korea denounces S. Korea’s attempt to expel pro-N.K. lawmakers


In the News – N. Korea denounces S. Korea’s attempt to expel pro-N.K. lawmakers

SEOUL, June 1 (Yonhap) — North Korea has condemned South Korea’s ruling Saenuri Party for seeking to strip two alleged pro-North Korean lawmakers of their parliamentary seats.

“The madcap smear campaign … is nothing but a ‘witch hunt’ of modern version and sordid fascist politically-motivated terrorism,” the North’s Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea said in an English-language statement carried late Thursday by the country’s official Korean Central News Agency.

The strongly worded statement came as calls grow in South Korea to expel Lee Seok-gi and Kim Jae-yeon, two lawmakers of the left-wing minor opposition Unified Progressive Party (UPP), from the National Assembly.

Rep. Kim Jae-yeon (L) walks past an anti-North Korea activist near the National Assembly on May 30, 2012. (Yonhap)

The public pressure was caused by widespread concern the lawmakers’ alleged pro-North Korea beliefs could pose a threat to national security, considering their track record.

Both lawmakers were convicted of engaging in pro-North Korean activities in the past and allegedly espoused North Korea’s guiding “juche” philosophy of self-reliance.

The two were also accused of being involved in UPP’s alleged rigged primary designed to select proportional representation candidates for the April parliamentary election.

Lee and Kim have so far refused to quit their seats, prompting the Saenuri Party to propose a joint motion with the main opposition Democratic United Party to strip them of their seats.

An ouster requires two-thirds approval from the 300-member National Assembly and the two main parties have 277 seats combined.

The North’s propaganda outlet also claimed the South Korean conservative party was resorting to intrigues to annihilate progressive forces and “create a situation favorable for the conservative forces’ stay in power before the ‘presidential election.'”

Park Geun-hye, former interim leader of the Saenuri Party and daughter of late President Park Chung-hee, has been leading opinion polls for the December presidential election. President Lee Myung-bak of the ruling party is set to end his single five-year term in February 2013 and is barred by law from seeking re-election.

“It is none other than such pro-U.S. lackeys, anti-reunification confrontation maniacs, fascists and chief culprits of scandals as the group of the ‘Saenuri Party’ that should be eliminated from” the National Assembly, the North’s statement said.


Original article can be found here.

In the News – Progressive party takes first step to expel four disgraced members


In the News – Progressive party takes first step to expel four disgraced members

SEOUL, May 25 (Yonhap) — The minor opposition Unified Progressive Party will refer two lawmakers-elect and two other candidates accused of being involved in an alleged rigged primary to an internal disciplinary committee, an official said Friday.

It is the first specific step by the left-wing party to expel the four who defied a second ultimatum to voluntarily resign by Friday noon.

The four include Lee Seok-gi and Kim Jae-yeon, the two lawmakers-elect, who were both convicted of engaging in pro-North Korean activities in the past.

The party made the move after the four again refused to resign, said Lee Jeong-mi, a spokeswoman of the party’s emergency committee tasked with reforming the party following the primary fraud.

The party has called for the resignation of all 14 people who participated in the primary to run for the April parliamentary elections as proportional representation candidates.

The other 10 have either tendered their resignations or expressed their intention to do so, according to the party.

It is not immediately clear how long the internal process will take before the party can expel the two lawmakers-elect. Lee and Kim would become independent lawmakers-elect if expelled from the party.

The looming expulsions could set the stage for an escalation of factional infighting over how to revive the UPP, which is torn apart over the primary fraud.

The five-month-old party is in a separate crisis over accusations some of its lawmakers-elect and rank-and-file party members embrace North Korea’s guiding “juche” philosophy of self-reliance.

Also Friday, Lee Sang-kyu, a UPP lawmaker-elect who won a directly contested seat in a southern Seoul district, said in an interview on the local MBC radio station that the North’s three-generation hereditary power succession should not be considered wrong, though it is problematic.

Lee also said he is opposed to North Korea’s nuclear weapons programs.

His remarks came amid public criticism over Lee’s recent refusal to answer questions during a live television program about North Korea’s human rights record, nuclear programs or the power succession.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un took over the country following the December death of his father, long-time leader Kim Jong-il. The late Kim similarly inherited power upon the 1994 death of his father, the country’s founder Kim Il-sung.


Original article can be found here.

In the News – Ruling party considering motion to oust pro-N.K. lawmakers-elect from parliament


In the News – Ruling party considering motion to oust pro-N.K. lawmakers-elect from parliament

SEOUL, May 24 (Yonhap) — South Korea’s ruling party is considering a motion to strip two opposition lawmakers-elect of their parliamentary seats amid conservatives’ growing concern their alleged pro-North Korea stances could pose a threat to national security.

The two, Lee Seok-gi and Kim Jae-yeon of the Unified Progressive Party (UPP), have been under a firestorm of criticism for refusing to give up their parliamentary seats despite findings the party’s primary voting to select proportional candidates was seriously rigged.

Rep. Shim Jae-chul (L) of the ruling Saenuri Party speaks during the party’s leadership meeting on May 24, 2012. (Yonhap)

Fueling conservative concern about them were revelations that they are key members of the party’s largest faction comprised mainly of former student activists who had followed and acted under North Korea’s former ruling ideology of “juche” or “self-reliance.”

Lee actually was arrested and convicted in the early 2000s of involvement in an underground party linked to Pyongyang, and concerns from conservatives are that their entry into parliament would allow them wide access to sensitive information on national security. Kim was also formerly convicted on charges of violating the anti-communist National Security Law.

These concerns have prompted talk of the ruling party pushing to oust them from parliament. Continue reading

In the News – Is N.Korea Abandoning Its Quest for Self-Reliance?


In the News – Is N.Korea Abandoning Its Quest for Self-Reliance?

A congress of North Korea’s ruling Workers Party on Wednesday revised regulations replacing many references to the “juche” or self-reliance ideology with “the principles of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il.” That suggests that the impoverished country is moving away from disastrous attempts to prosper in total isolation.

The official Rodong Sinmun daily on Thursday said the preface to the new party regulations states that its ultimate purpose is to spread Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il’s principles “to achieve full self-reliance.” The preface previously said the purpose was to spread the juche ideology.

Another segment in the regulations now states that it is a “juche-style revolutionary party based solely on the principles of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il.” It used to refer to it as a “juche-style revolutionary party based solely on the juche ideology.”

Ryu Dong-ryeol at the Police Science Institute said the aim is to combine Kim Il-sung’s juche ideology with Kim Jong-il’s songun or military-first doctrine.

There is speculation that the North could abandon the juche ideology altogether under new leader Kim Jong-un. But others disagree. “In North Korea, the juche ideology is everywhere like the air we breathe,” said Kim Young-soo of Sogang University. “Just because it’s mentioned less doesn’t mean it will disappear.”

Meanwhile, the new regulations changed the immediate goal from becoming “a powerful and prosperous nation” to “a powerful nation,” apparently lowering its sights since no great leap forward seems plausible.

Original article can be found here.

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