In the News – 30 North Korean officials involved in South talks die ‘in traffic accidents’


In the News – 30 North Korean officials involved in South talks die ‘in traffic accidents’

In its annual study, Amnesty International claimed that in addition to the 30 who died in purges last year, a further 200 were rounded up in January this year by the State Security Agency as Pyongyang carried out the transfer of power from Kim Jong-il, who died of an apparent heart attack in December, and his 29-year-old son, Kim Jong-un.

Of those 200, Amnesty said, some were apparently executed and the remainder were sent to political prison camps. The gulag system presently contains an estimated 200,000 people in “horrific conditions,” the group said.

North Korea has a habit of executing bureaucrats who are perceived to have failed the regime, even though they are often merely carrying out the orders of higher-ranking officials or members of the ruling family.

In 2010, Pak Nam-gi, the former head of the finance department of the Workers’ Party, was reportedly executed by firing squad for the catastrophic attempt to reform the impoverished nation’s currency. The result was rampant inflation and food shortages became even more acute.

The 30 men executed for failing to improve Pyongyang’s ties with Seoul are considered scapegoats for the new low point in inter-Korean ties.

Their task would have been made immeasurably more difficult given North Korea’s insistence with pushing ahead with its development of nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missiles.

In spite of universal condemnation of its failed attempt to launch what Pyongyang claimed was a rocket to put a satellite into orbit in April, North Korea appears to be putting the finishing touches to a test detonation of a nuclear device.

Kim Min-seok, a spokesman for South Korea’s Ministry of Defence, said on Thursday that intelligence reports indicate the North has completed its technical preparations to carry out the long-awaited test and that it could go ahead at any time.

Satellite images of the Punggye-ri site and other data show that the tunnel that had been excavated for the test has been refilled, indicating that the nuclear device has been put in place.

There is speculation that the test may be timed to coincide with the Memorial Day national holiday in the United States, which falls in Monday.

“The North Korean regime is hell-bent on being a belligerent actor,” said Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, chair of the US House Foreign Affairs Committee, during a visit to Seoul with a congressional delegation. “And I think that on holidays or sad commemorations like Memorial Day weekend is when the leadership tries to provoke the democratic allies into action.”


Original article can be found here.

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