Recent exodus of North Korean officials won’t lead to regime collapse: experts

SEOUL, July 6 (Yonhap) — North Korea may continue to see its officials desert the communist country to settle abroad down the road, but the exodus is not likely to lead to the collapse of the regime, experts said Monday.

North Korea is believed to be coping with an increased number of defections by government officials as of late with frequent fears of purging and punishment haunting North Korean officials under leader Kim Jong-un.

About 10 North Korean military and party officials have reportedly fled the communist country recently in their pursuit of asylum in South Korea or in a third country.

Those defectors reportedly included a mid-ranking North Korean party official who sought asylum in the South with his family early this year while he was managing slush funds in Hong Kong for leader Kim.

Another high-ranking military official also reportedly has been staying in a country outside of South and North Korea since fleeing the communist country.

The recent outflow may continue in the future as more officials terrified of Kim’s “reign of terror” are likely to renounce their allegiance to the communist country, experts noted.

“For the time being, North Korean officials are likely to continue to flee the communist country or seek asylum, which would weaken the regime of the North’s leader Kim Jong-un,” said Chang Yong-seok, a researcher at the Institute for Peace and Unification Studies at Seoul National University.

Kim Yong-hyun, a professor of North Korean studies at Dongguk University, also noted, “Desertion by these people may take place intermittently in the process of solidifying the Kim Jong-un regime and securing the regime’s stability.”

Since taking power in late 2011 after his father Kim Jong-il’s sudden death, the junior Kim has resorted to unusually brutal means to solidify his power base.

In late 2013, Jang Song-thaek, the husband of Kim’s aunt and once the country’s second most powerful official, was executed on charges of treason, along with many other officials with close ties with Jang.

Former defense chief Hyon Yong-chol was also purged in late April apparently due to his disloyalty to Kim.

Still, experts stressed that the terror-driven exodus may not immediately lead to a collapse of the Kim regime although it is likely to resort to military provocations outside the country in order to quell potential political instability inside.

“If Kim’s reign of terror prolongs, his governing style could bring about an instability in the communist country,” said Jung Sang-don, a research fellow at the Korea Institute for Defense Analyses (KIDA). “Then, there is a possibility that North Korea could make provocations in a bid to tide over its internal problems.”

Yang Moo-jin, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies, also dismissed the view that a series of defections by officials meant instability in Kim’s regime, saying that there have been no signs of abnormal activities among the North Korean military power or other citizens.

sooyeon@yna.co.kr

pbr@yna.co.kr

(END)

Yonhap News

 

Lee Hee-ho to visit Korea DPR on Aug. 5-8

Kim Sung-jae, director of the Kim Dae-jung Peace Center and former culture minister, speaks in a meeting with reporters at the Customs, Immigration and Quarantine Office in Paju, Gyeonggi Province, on Monday. (Yonhap)

Lee Hee-ho, the widow of former President Kim Dae-jung, will take a direct flight over the West Sea to Pyongyang on Aug. 5 for a four-day visit, her aides said Monday after their talks with the North Korean side, raising expectations for her role to thaw frosty inter-Korean relations.

The 93-year-old widow of the former leader, noted for his efforts for cross-border reconciliation and cooperation, is to stay in the Baekhwawon Guesthouse in Pyongyang and visit a child care center, a children’s hospital, the Pyongyang Maternity Hospital and Mount Myohyang, they said.

Lee last visited the North in December 2011 to attend the funeral for former North Korean ruler Kim Jong-il.

“Kim Jong-un, the first chairman of the (North’s) National Defense Commission, has made a proposal for Lee to travel to the North by air in consideration of her health. Lee also agreed to that,” Kim Sung-jae, the director of the Kim Dae-jung Peace Center and former culture minister, told reporters as he returned to the South after his talks with North Korean officials in Gaeseong.

“Whether the North would send an airplane to the South or we will use a South Korean plane … this has yet to be determined, and we will have to further discuss it.”

Kim added that the two sides have not reached any decision over whether Lee will meet the North Korean leader during her stay in the communist state. She is thought to have met with Kim during her visit to the North in 2011.

Five officials, including Kim, and the five-member North Korean delegation, led by Maeng Kyong-il, vice chair of the Asia-Pacific Peace Committee, reached the agreement at a meeting in the North Korean border city.

The meeting followed the previous one held last Tuesday, during which Lee’s side reportedly delivered her wish to visit the North within the month for a four-day trip. Lee has expressed her hopes to deliver relief supplies along with knitted caps and scarves to young children.

Her planned visit has been drawing keen attention as it could help create much-needed momentum to improve the strained relations that have continued to deteriorate due to Pyongyang’s pursuit of nuclear arms and its provocative rhetoric and actions.

Lee’s visit has been sought since North Korean leader Kim offered a handwritten invitation to her last year. The invitation was delivered after she sent a wreath to Kim last December to mark the third anniversary of the death of his father, former North Korean leader Kim Jong-il.

Lee’s side initially proposed holding talks with Pyongyang in April to arrange her visit to the North. But the North rejected the talks amid cross-border tensions that escalated due in large part to Pyongyang’s angry response to the South Korea-U.S. military drills and other issues.

Inter-Korean tensions have shown no signs of abating.

On Monday, through the Rodong Sinmun, the daily of the North’s ruling Workers’ Party, the North threatened to strike South Korea should it set off what it calls “provocations.” It portrayed inter-Korean relations as “coming to a devastating end.”

“South Korea talks of a two-track policy mixing pressure and dialogue, and crazily calls for us to give up our nuclear program,” the daily said. “The gist of the South’s provocative move is a rivalry between the two systems, and its objective is to wage a war to invade the North.”

The establishment on June 23 of a U.N. field office in Seoul to monitor North Korea’s human rights abuses has been drawing the ire of Pyongyang, which has argued that the office is designed to overthrow its regime by politicizing the issue and meddling in domestic affairs.

Inter-Korean ties were further strained after Seoul imposed financial sanctions on June 26 on six Taiwanese individuals and entities and a Syrian institution over suspicions that they traded arms and gave support to the North.

By Song Sang-ho (sshluck@heraladcorp.com)

The Korea Herald

Coréia do Norte : TV TOTAL é acessado em um dos bastiões comunistas que censuram a internet

Bandeira da Coreia do Norte

Ontem , eu estava editando o post com os números de audiência do TV TOTAL e para a minha surpresa encontrei o seguinte quadro :

 234

 22

 8

 5

 2

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É isso , mesmo prezado(a)leitor(a) . Dois computadores da Coréia do Norte conseguiram acessar o blog . É notório que os cidadãos da Coréia do Norte não tem a mesma facilidade que nós brasileiros temos para acessar a internet . Apenas membros do Partido dos Trabalhadores da Coréia têm acesso à rede mundial de computadores . Internet para o povo da Coréia do Norte só através da Kwangmyong , um serviço que permite acesso apenas à sites  sobre política, economia, descobertas científicas e atividades culturais, além de fornecer acesso a troca de informações entre universidades, instituições de ensino norte-coreanos e agências governamentais. As páginas baixadas da Internet para a Kwangmyong possui maior parte de seu conteúdo sobre conhecimento científico. Aquele morador da Coréia do Norte que é pego acessando internet ILEGALMENTE pode ser fuzilado . Então , fica a pergunta : como o blog foi acessado na Coréia do Norte?

 

 

Korea DPR fires three short-range missiles

File:Flag of North Korea.svg

 

North Korea fired three KN-01 short-range missiles into the East Sea on Sunday, ratcheting up tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

Seoul’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said that the communist state fired three missiles between 4:21 p.m. and 4:47 p.m. from near Wonsan toward Mayangdo Island. The missiles traveled some 100 kilometers, it said.

The North test-fired the same type of missiles in February and May.

The provocative move came a day after the two Koreas planned to mark the June 15 inter-Korean declaration announced after a bilateral summit in 2000.

By Song Sang-ho (sshluck@heraldcorp.com)

 

The Korea Herald

Korea DPR plants landmines in DMZ apparently to prevent soldiers fleeing

North Korea has been planting anti-personnel mines alongside the inter-Korean border for the past couple of months to prevent North Korean soldiers from fleeing to South Korea, a South Korean official said Sunday.

“Under the order of leader Kim Jong-un, the military has gone all-out to prevent soldiers from going AWOL across the North Korea-China border,” the official said, adding the deployment of land mines near the inter-Korean border seems to serve a similar purpose.

Last October, the two Koreas exchanged fire after troops from the communist country drew near the border. No one was hurt.

A month later, a North Korean patrol approached the land border again, prompting warning shots from South Korean troops.

The two Koreas have remained technically at war since the 1950-53 Korean War, which ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty.

North Korean troops seem to have collected some military information near the western, middle and eastern fronts of the Military Demarcation Line for the past two months, the official told Yonhap News Agency on condition of anonymity, adding that South Korea has beefed up its defense against a possible southward intrusion.

North Korean soldiers, mostly in groups of up to 20, are also checking signposts marking the MDL and re-erecting any that have collapsed.

There are nearly 1,300 such signs lining the border, spaced out between 200-300 meters from one another. (Yonhap)

The Korea Herald

Park Geun-hye meets Zhang Dejiang on Korea DPR, bilateral ties

President Park Geun-hye met with China’s top legislator, Zhang Dejiang, on Thursday over ways to enhance bilateral ties and denuclearize North Korea, the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae said.

No details of their conversation were immediately available.

Presidential spokesman Min Kyung-wook said before the meeting that Park was expected to discuss with Zhang on how to deepen relations between the two neighbors as well as how to deal with North Korea’s nuclear program.

The meeting came as North Korea is apparently making progress in its nuclear and missile programs.

South Korea and the United States have asked China to pressure North Korea to give up its nuclear program. The North has vowed to develop its economy and nuclear arsenal in tandem.

China is believed to have significant leverage over North Korea, which has long been dependent on Chinese diplomatic support and economic aid.

Some, however, question China’s influence on North Korea.

Zhang, who ranks third in China’s ruling Communist Party hierarchy, also met with National Assembly speaker Chung Eui-hwa and Kim Moo-sung, head of the ruling Saenuri Party.

Zhang told Chung through an interpreter that he believes South Korea can contain the outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome. He also said he came to Seoul despite worries about the

virus, noting that he contained a similar respiratory virus that hit China more than a decade ago.

Zhang was the head of the southern province of Guangdong in 2002 when the first cases of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) hit the province before spreading to other areas.

His comments came as South Korea reported another death from MERS, bringing the total number of fatalities to 10 since May 20, when the country’s first outbreak of the virus was confirmed.

Chung expressed gratitude to Zhang for visiting South Korea first, instead of Pyongyang, a traditional ally of Beijing.

In a separate meeting with Kim, Zhang called for joint efforts by Seoul and Beijing to quickly ratify their free trade agreement. The deal is subject to parliamentary ratification in both capitals before taking effect.

China is South Korea’s largest trade partner. Trade volume between South Korea and China stood at $228.9 billion in 2013.

China fought on North Korea’s side against South Korea and the U.S.-led U.N. forces in the 1950-53 Korean War, but has been economically drawn to South Korea in recent decades. (Yonhap)

 

 

The Korea Herald