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December 19, 2011

North Korean leader Kim Jong-il dead

North Korean leader Kim Jong-il dead – Wikinews, the free news source

North Korean leader Kim Jong-il dead

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Monday, December 19, 2011

Kim Jong-il on August 24, 2011 Image: Kremlin.ru.

The Supreme Leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-il, has died according to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). The cause of death was “advanced acute myocardial infarction, complicated by serious heart shock,” commonly known as a heart attack. Kim apparently died two days earlier on December 17 aboard a train. According to North Korean media, Kim was 69. However, other records from the former Soviet Union place his age at 70.

At the same time, Kim’s son, Kim Jong-un has been named as the “Great Successor” by North Korean state media. Citizens are being told they “must faithfully revere respectable comrade Kim Jong-un. At the leadership of comrade Kim Jong-un, we have to change sadness to strength and courage and overcome today’s difficulties,” according to KCNA.

According to Yonhap News Agency, South Korea’s military is on “emergency alert” following a meeting by South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS). According to a JCS official, “We’re keeping close tabs on the demilitarized zone (DMZ), Joint Security Area (JSA) and Northern Limit Line (NLL) for possibilities of North Korean provocations.”

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak also presided over a meeting. A statement from Lee’s office said, “The government will remain thoroughly prepared while keeping a close watch over the situation in North Korea. The government will also cooperate closely with the international community to maintain peace and safety on the Korean Peninsula.”



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November 25, 2010

Korean Peninsula on the \’brink of war\’: DPRK

Korean Peninsula on the ‘brink of war’: DPRK

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Thursday, November 25, 2010

South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak has put the South Korean military on its highest alert.
Image: Henrik Hansson Globaljuggler.

Tensions continue to rise between North Korea and South Korea following the shelling of South Korea’s Yeonpyeong Island by the North Korean Navy, and return fire by South Korean forces. Both sides have issued statements of increasingly hostile language, and South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak put the military on its highest alert.

On his website, the President warned North Korea that “indiscriminate attack on civilians can never be tolerated” and promised “enormous retaliation” if North Korea should attack again. The state-controlled North Korean Central News Agency issued its own statement, threatening more strikes if South Korean naval forces cross the maritime border by “even 0.001 millimetre”.

World leaders have been quick to condemn the North Korean shelling. United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon issued a statement in which he called the attacks “one of the gravest incidents since the end of the Korean War”, but expressing his hope that differences be resolved by non-military means. The United States, which currently has 28,500 troops stationed in South Korea, called on the North to end the shelling, and affirmed its policy of defense of South Korea. The Chinese foreign ministry also issued a statement, saying that the country had “taken note of relevant reports” and expressed its hope that both sides return stability to the region. South Korea’s defense minister Kim Tae-Young has resigned amid criticism of his handling of the situation. When asked about the shelling on the Glenn Beck Show, former U.S. Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin remarked that “Obviously, we gotta stand with our North Korean allies” — a gaffe quickly corrected by Beck.



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  • North Korean military fires artillery on populated South Korean island, November 23, 2010

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November 23, 2010

North Korean military fires artillery on populated South Korean island

North Korean military fires artillery on populated South Korean island

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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Map of Yeonpyeong (3.) and other islands on the northwest coast of South Korea.
Image: Amble.

The North Korean military has fired over 200 rounds of artillery shells at South Korea’s Yeonpyeong Island, injuring at least 14 soldiers and 4 civilians. There are reports of deaths, though the exact number is unclear. At least one S. Korean soldier is reported to be among those killed. Exact estimates on damage are currently unknown, but smoke plumes can be seen rising from the island, according the witnesses at the scene. The attack occurred just after 2:30 p.m. local time (5:30am UTC).

In response, South Korea has fired at least 80 rounds of artillery in retaliation, while President Lee Myung-Bak meets with the nation’s cabinet in a secure bunker to discuss the situation and their response to it. Fighter jets were scrambled to the scene while S. Korea was put on its highest peace-time military alert.

S. Korea had been taking part in annual military exercises off the island’s west coast when the attack occurred. Officials are investigating whether or not the attack was in protest to the exercises. Earlier in the day, N. Korea issued a statement denouncing the exercises.

At least 1,300 people live on the island. According to Sky News, some residents have begun to leave the island and are headed towards mainland S. Korea.


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  • “North and South Korea exchange fire” — Wikinews, January 27, 2010
  • Korean navies exchange fire” — Wikinews, November 10, 2009

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May 24, 2010

US and South Korea to conduct naval exercises in response to warship sinking

US and South Korea to conduct naval exercises in response to warship sinking

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Monday, May 24, 2010

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Following a report blaming North Korea for the sinking of a South Korean naval vessel in March, the United States and South Korea plan to hold joint naval exercises “in the near future.”

The exercises are planned to focus on anti-submarine patrols, as well as improving both country’s ability to detect shipments of nuclear material, which are currently banned. According to analysts, the patrols are not intended to serve to intimidate North Korea; rather, they are considered a gesture of support towards the South. The announcement marks the first response from the US military to the incident, although economic measures were announced earlier today.

Several hours before the announcement of military patrols, South Korean President Lee Myung-bak announced economic measures against North Korea in response to the attack. The measures, endorsed by the US government, include the following:

  • Ending trade between the two Koreas;
  • Preventing North Korean vessels from entering South Korean ports or waterways;
  • The resumption of a Cold War tactic known as “psychological warfare,” including propaganda broadcast at the border and the dropping of leaflets from balloons;
  • Requesting the intervention of the United Nations

The moves are considered the most aggressive steps South Korea could take short of war. In a statement, President Lee said that “[w]e have always tolerated North Korea’s brutality, time and again. But now things are different. North Korea will pay a price corresponding to its provocative acts. Trade and exchanges between South and North Korea will be suspended.”

The United States has not said what measures it will take in response to the incident beyond the announced naval patrols. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is to meet with President Lee on Wednesday, after which she will announce the US response.

Clinton did say, however, that “[t]he Republic of Korea can continue to count on the full support of the United States. Our support for South Korea’s defense is unequivocal.” She is currently in China, for talks between the US and Chinese governments.

North Korea has continually denied its involvement in the warship’s sinking, and the country’s military released a statement warning that “[i]f [South Korea] sets up new tools for psychological warfare such as loudspeakers and leaves slogans for psychological warfare intact, ignoring our demands, we will directly aim and open fire to destroy them.”

A North Korean military commander told the state newspaper that “[m]ore powerful physical strikes will be taken to eradicate the root of provocation if [South Korea] challenges to our fair response.”

A South Korean 1,200 tonne Pohang-class corvette of the Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN), the ROKS Cheonan, sank March 26, 2010 near the disputed maritime border with North Korea. Of the 104 aboard, 46 seamen went down. The multi-national Joint Civilian-Military Investigation Group (JIG) investigation determined that a shockwave and bubble effect from a non-contact underwater horning North Korean torpedo explosion caused the naval vessel to split apart and sink.

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April 18, 2010

North Korea denies involvement in sinking of South Korean warship

North Korea denies involvement in sinking of South Korean warship

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Sunday, April 18, 2010

North Korea
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File:ROKS Cheonan (PCC-772).jpg

An image of the ROKS Cheonan
Image: Republic of Korea Navy.
(Image missing from commons: image; log)

North Korea today denied any involvement in the sinking of a South Korean naval ship, the ROKS Cheonan on March 26.

In its first official statement on the disaster, in which 38 people were killed, North Korea denied any involvement in the incident. A North Korean military officer was quoted by the state-run news agency KCNA as saying that “The puppet military warmongers, right-wing conservative politicians and the group of other traitors in South Korea are now foolishly seeking to link the accident with the North at any cost.”

North Korea’s statement comes a day after South Korea blamed the sinking of the ship on an external explosion, which has served to increase speculation that North Korea was responsible for the incident. Although South Korean officials have not said specifically that North Korea is to blame, saying only that the possibility of North Korean involvement is being investigated, analysts and the media in South Korea have been speculating on a possible retaliation from South Korea, although a military response is not expected.

Earlier this week, the stern section of the ship was recovered from the site of the sinking, and investigators from several countries are examining the wreckage in an effort to determine the cause. Yesterday, a lead investigator said that “It was highly likely that it was an external, rather than internal, explosion” that caused the ship to sink.

Cquote1.svg It was highly likely that it was an external, rather than internal, explosion. Cquote2.svg

—A lead investigator

The controversy surrounding the sinking of the ship is likely to reflect poorly on the South Korean government, which has already been criticized as mounting a slow response to the wreck. Before the incident, South Korean President Lee Myung-bak had reportedly been trying to arrange a meeting between officials from the two Koreas, and if signs of North Korean involvement become evident, it could undermine Lee’s credibility in South Korea, as he would likely be seen as having left holes in South Korea’s defense.



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June 18, 2009

U.S. President Barack Obama calls North Korea a \”grave threat\”

U.S. President Barack Obama calls North Korea a “grave threat”

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Thursday, June 18, 2009

North Korea’s nuclear program
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US President Barack Obama

On Tuesday, United States President Barack Obama branded North Korea a “grave threat” to the world with regards to their nuclear weapons production.

President Obama’s speech, delivered alongside South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, comes after North Korea claimed they will take action if any nation blocks the passage of its ships. Officials at the Pentagon have said North Korean missiles could be capable of reaching the US within the next three years if they continue military expansion at the rate of the past year.

Obama said that the United States was “more than willing to engage in negotiations to get North Korea on a path of peaceful coexistence”.

President Lee asserted that the United States’s support of South Korea would “prevent anything from happening” to his country.



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June 30, 2008

South Korean police clamp down on protests against US beef

South Korean police clamp down on protests against US beef

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Protesters hold a candlelight vigil against U.S. beef imports on May 3.

Monday, June 30, 2008

South Korean authorities are refusing to allow more protests against the government’s decision to allow beef imports from the United States, after hundreds of people were injured in clashes with riot police overnight Saturday.

Around 300 police buses blocked protesters from entering the plaza in front of Seoul City Hall on Sunday, where a candlelight vigil was scheduled for that night. Any rally held after sunset without police permission is considered illegal. Nevertheless, the daily vigils have continued for weeks, with as many as 80,000 in attendance.

After the plaza was sealed off, a group of about 1,700 protesters gathered in nearby streets, chanting slogans that urged President Lee Myung-Bak to cancel his decision allowing U.S. beef imports. Around 70 people were detained by police for illegally occupying roads, South Korean news agency Yonhap reported, but no major clashes occurred.

Over 200 protesters and police officers were injured in Saturday’s protests. The demonstration turned violent when some protesters tried to drag away police buses used to prevent entry into Cheongwadae, the President’s house. Riot police responded by spraying water cannons and fire extinguishers at the protesters, who threw stones, water bottles and eggs at police.

Cquote1.svg The candle-lit vigils, which were initially peaceful, have mutated into violent protests organized by a small faction. Cquote2.svg

—Kim Kyung Han, Minister of Justice

Government officials said they would not tolerate violent, illegal demonstrations. “The candle-lit vigils, which were initially peaceful, have mutated into violent protests organized by a small faction,” said Justice Minister Kim Kyung Han. He vowed to “chase those who instigate violent protests” and “bring them to justice”. Kim warned that the government might begin using water laced with tear gas against protesters, even though tear gas has been banned since 1999.

In April, President Lee Myung-Bak agreed to resume the importing of U.S. beef, which was banned in 2003 after the United States discovered its first case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or mad cow disease. Lee has faced a major backlash from this decision, amid fears of the possible spread of this sometimes fatal disease. He was forced to publicly apologize, and all but one of his top advisers were fired.

Jang Dae-hyun, a spokesman for the protesters, suggested that the police should stop using harsh tactics against protesters, which he says would lead to less violence. “We’ve been supporting peaceful rallies, but the police crackdown is too harsh,” Jang said. One protester, Kim In-seok, stated, “We are just here to express our opinions. I can’t understand why this government tries to ban our rally.”

On Monday, police raided the offices of two civic groups that have led the rallies. Documents, computers, pickets, flags, and other materials relating to the demonstrations were confiscated, and the leader of the group AntiMadCow was arrested on charges of staging illegal rallies, Yonhap reported.



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June 24, 2005

OhmyNews citizen reporters meet in Seoul, Korea

OhmyNews citizen reporters meet in Seoul, Korea

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OhmyNews founder Oh Yeon Ho welcomed citizen reporters on Thursday.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Seoul — More than 300 “citizen reporters” hailing from countries as far apart as Chile and Norway are coming together at the OhmyNews International Citizen Reporters’ Forum from June 23 to June 26, 2005 in Seoul. OhmyNews is one of the most popular South Korean news websites, and it has played an important role in the election of reformist President Roh Moo-hyun. Unlike traditional news sources, OhmyNews allows any individual with an Internet connection to contribute stories. A professional staff of journalists vets incoming submissions and decides which stories are to be published.

The project is sponsoring the forum in order to promote its English edition, officially launched in May 2004. Citizen reporters writing in English exchange ideas and stories, and try to understand the inner workings of the Korean edition. The conference is sponsored by Korean corporations such as Samsung, SK Corporation, LG, Yuhan-Kimberly, and Asiana Airlines.

OhmyNews citizen reporters holding their national flags in a ceremony on Friday evening.

Conference events

Speakers include Ken Takeuchi, president of JanJan, Shintaro Tabata, head of news service at Japan’s Livedoor, Professor Clyde Bentley from the University of Missouri and MyMissourian.com, Professor Neil Thurman from City University London, Jeremy Iggers from the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and Erik Möller from Wikinews.

Conference participants were welcomed by OhmyNews founder and CEO Oh Yeon Ho on Thursday evening. On Friday, they toured briefly through Seoul’s technology sector, including a visit to the “Ubuiquitous Dream” exhibition and Samsung’s technology showroom. “Ubiquitous Dream” is meant to demonstrate Korea’s vision of ubiquitous computing, including Internet-enabled refrigerators, household robots and voice recognition. Afterwards, conference attendees visited the OhmyNews news room, including a studio used for producing streaming video.

OhmyNews news room. This is where paid staff writes stories and vets submissions from citizen reporters.

Visitors were given a chance to take a look at the Cheonggyecheon restoration site, an attempt to transform a riverbed into an avenue with parks and fountains. The restoration project manager gave an overview of the effort, and Seoul’s mayor Lee Myung Bak briefly highlighted his vision of Korean city development.

At the end of Friday’s events, speakers and citizen reporters alike met in the Grand Ballroom of the COEX Convention and Exhibition Center. Oh Yeon Ho gave a brief but passionate speech about his project: “We are from different countries and many of us have a different skin color, but we share one struggle: Every citizen is a journalist.” He stated that citizen journalism needs “sustainable business models” to survive. OhmyNews is funded by advertising and subscriptions. He also pointed out the need for different citizen journalism projects to collaborate, and announced the creation of a global alliance to this end.

After Oh’s speech, Chin Dae Je, South Korea’s Minister of Information and Communication, gave a presentation about ubiquitous computing and the future of the information and communications technology sector in Korea. Lastly, many different citizen reporters, including an 11-year-old from Utah, told their stories about how they joined the OhmyNews community and participated in group photos and a flag ceremony.

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See OhmyNews forum discusses experiences in citizen journalism, June 30, 2005
 

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