Our Dear Leader's Land
SEOUL, South Korea -- The nation's young leader tours a new amusement park with his beautiful bride on his arm, smiling and waving to adoring crowds. An everyday image of domestic bliss in high places? In North Korea, it was a carefully choreographed appearance aimed at showing Kim Jong Un as a friendly, modern leader, no different from the heads of other countries. It also provided a sharp contrast to the intensely private face his father Kim Jong Il had portrayed during his 17 years in power. Kim Jong Un's marital status was confirmed almost as an afterthought by state TV in an understated report on Wednesday about the opening of the amusement park: "As a welcoming song resonated, dear respected Marshal Kim Jong Un, supreme commander of our party and people, appeared at the inauguration ceremony together with his wife, comrade Ri Sol Ju."
Woohae Cho for The International Herald Tribune South Korean Buddhist monk Venerable Pomnyun in his office at Peace Foundation in Seoul, South Korea on April 4. IN August 1996, the Venerable Pomnyun, a Buddhist monk from South Korea, was cruising down the Yalu River between China and when he saw a boy squatting alone at the North Korean edge of the water. The boy was in rags, his gaunt face covered in dirt. Pomnyun shouted to him, but the boy did not respond. Pomnyun’s Chinese companion explained that North Korean children were instructed never to beg from foreigners.
In early February, Iran launched its third successful commercial satellite in three years. The Barack Obama administration, the United Nations, and the news media barely acknowledged the accomplishment. North Korea, on the other hand, has created a furor each of the three times its satellites failed to reach orbit. Its latest effort, on Apr. 13, broke up within two minutes of launch. Pyongyang acknowledged the failure and went on with its celebrations of the 100th anniversary of the birth of the country’s founder, Kim Il Sung.
North Korea confirmed the failure of its rocket (or missile, depending on your interpretation) which launched at 7:39 this morning, local time. The United States, South Korea and Japan all reported that the rocket broke up shortly after launch. According to the North American Aerospace Defense Command, a North Korean Taepodong-2 missile launched at 18:39 EDT before following a trajectory over the Yellow Sea. NORAD reports that the missile's first stage landed in the sea 165 km (about 100 miles) west of the South Korean capital, Seoul. The rocket's other stages are all thought to have landed off shore, and no stage was the missile or its debris deemed a threat, NORAD said. In South Korea's assessment the rocket was reported to have disintegrated into 20 pieces.
In North Korea, the hunger games have been raging for quite some time. Image from Flickr via Tequila Partners By Claire Lambrecht What lies 25 miles north of Seoul is something of a mystery.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: Minister Yu, Russian government advisers believe Korea will reunite within the next 20 years. Do you share this belief? Yu: Of course we have that firm goal, but the point in time is unimportant.
Take Off Your Clothes,acrylic on hanji, 3.11 x 6.04, 2010 The North Korean painter Song Byeok began his career as an official propaganda artist, painting posters exalting the glory of Kim Jong Il. One day in 2000, everything changed for Song when he and his father attempted to cross a river into China to buy rice for their family. Song's father was swept away and drowned while he -- despite his connections with the regime -- was arrested and spent six months in a prison camp. A short time later, Song escaped the country and defected to South Korea, where he went on to attend university and study art.
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By Jack Kim and Jeremy Laurence SEOUL, March 16 (Reuters) - North Korea said on Friday it will launch a "working" satellite to mark the centenary of founder Kim Il-sung's birth next month, prompting immediate fears from Japan it would in fact be another long-range missile launch in breach of a U.N. resolution. In April 2009, a long-range missile test failed when its first stage fell into the Sea of Japan without orbiting a satellite, provoking outrage in Tokyo, which had threatened to shoot down any debris or rocket that threatened its territory. Another test failed in similar circumstances in 1998. Experts said the latest launch was clearly another long-range missile test, designed to pressure Washington into advancing stalled nuclear disarmament negotiations.