Posts Tagged ‘ North Korea ’

To worry about North Korea’s latest threats… or not


Worry? Essentially, no.

While outsiders are perplexed as the sudden increase in outrageous threats from North Korea, people inside the country are not. In the last few years life has gotten a lot worse. Starvation deaths, suicides, crime and divorces (official and otherwise) are way up. The North Korean leadership has less and less to work with. Their armed forces has been falling apart for two decades and little else works up there.

Hence, I and most of South Korea would be very surprised if the North actually went ahead with an all-out attack. They know they’d be finished if they did.

Makes for an interesting 30 seconds of news back home, though.

(Via JM)

North Korea’s new economic reforms


A sliver of light, glimpsed ever so briefly, at the conclusion of a most long and dark tunnel? Perhaps.

The beginning of the end of North Korea’s debilitating socialist economic system?

News reports suggested that [North Korea] has sought to expand its implementation of the so-called June 28 measures, which some observers said are tantamount to the renouncement of the socialist system.

The measures give greater autonomy to state corporations, allowing them to choose their production items, prices, amounts and marketing methods, according to reports.

They also allow farmers to take in 30 percent of their harvest.

Imagine that. North Korean farmers will now be able to keep and sell 30% of the fruits of their labour. Easily mocked in our rich Capitalist society, but it’s a step forward, progress, from the old socialist system whereby farmers could only keep what was left over from the quota the state made them harvest.

And imagine that: companies being allowed to produce what they want and set a price.

Funny old world isn’t it? As rich, free Capitalist countries toy more and more with socialist this and socialist that, a down-trodden, poor-as-fuck, relatively isolated, under-the-boot socialist country toys with the idea of Capitalism.

Ha! North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un is essentially saying, “Over to you, people,” whilst Obama is saying to every hard worker, businessman and entrepreneur in America, “You didn’t build that!”

But with these latest North Korean economic reforms, I said it’s only a sliver of hope for a reason.

Yang Un-chul, of the Sejong Institute think tank:

“Even if they allow some autonomy to farmers and corporations, when they don’t have any personal property, such incentives would not work. Even though they take in some percentage of their harvest, this would, after all, be taken away by middle-level officers.”

Two days later and North Korea wheels out another rocket


Rolling Eyes OK, so it’s a missile not a rocket but you get the point.

North Korea rolled out what appeared to be a new ballistic missile, Sunday, as the impoverished state marked the 100th anniversary of the birth of its founder Kim Il-sung with a massive military parade.

The unveiling came after the North’s young and untested leader Kim Jong-un vowed to proceed with his late father Kim Jong-il’s “military-first” policy in his first public speech.

What’s that, another few hundred million dollars – just two days after the NK rocket of FAIL – that could have been spent on paved roads, electricity and food for the people?

That bizarre regime won’t stop unless it is stopped.

North Korea’s rocket of FAIL


Three attempts. Three fails. That’s North Korea’s record when it comes to rocket launches.

North Korea’s much hyped long-range rocket crashed into the sea about a minute after launch today, South Korean and other officials said, dealing a blow to the prestige of the reclusive and impoverished state.

Diddums. And the press bus took a wrong turn, too.

A cloud of brown dust swirled down deeply potholed streets, past concrete apartment buildings crumbling at the edges. Old people trudged along the sidewalk, some with handmade backpacks crafted from canvas bags. Two men in wheelchairs waited at a bus stop. There were stores with no lights, and side roads so battered they were more dirt than pavement.

“Perhaps this is an incorrect road?” mumbled one of the North Korean minders, well-dressed government officials who restrict reporters to meticulously staged presentations that inevitably centre on praise for the three generations of Kim family who have ruled this country since 1948.

The thing is, this time the minders didn’t even care when photographers started taking “forbidden” snaps.

Source (more pics here)

More pics

More pics

What a desolate sh*thole.

UPDATE

I’m told the photo of the blue building with the toddler in front of it; that’s a movie theatre. A bit different from a typical South Korean cinema.

When oh when are they going to give up this great comrade Kim crap? The place is pretty much in ruins, no one’s buying this wow-look-how-wonderful-communism-is BS, the people are starving and poor, yet there they are trying to launch a bloody rocket.

FFS

UPDATE II

Michael Ruffles of the SMH was there back in February.

In one furtive encounter in the hotel I was told ‘‘not everything is as it seems’’, and was left, after a mysterious conversation, with the impression that work was being done to bring about change within North Korea.

UPDATE III

They spent $815 million on that dud rocket. That’s a lot of rice and kimchi.

Another North Korean nuke test?


It could well be on the way as a follow-up to their satellite launch – itself regarded as really a test for any future ICBMs.

With new leader Kim Jong-un, son of the late Kim Jong-il, we were told the apple hadn’t landed far from the tree and this is proving true.

More here, including claims by the Opposition in Korea – a group akin to the Democrats in the US – crying foul the intelligence leak occurred just prior to the parliamentary elections to be held tomorrow.

Monday 5/3/12 open/twitter thread


Almost back to the regular schedule… tomorrow I’m told.

Anyway, a couple of stories that caught my eye last night on twitter:

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is acting pretty ballsy in front of his countrymen. Despite the tubby leader of the starving nation agreeing to stop its nuclear program – yeah, right :roll: – in return for US food aid (this time they’ve designed it in the form of not-so-tasty nutritional bars etc. kind of like the ones distributed to starving Africans in an effort to not have the aid – e.g. rice – merely go to the party elite), he recently strutted his stuff for the first time in the DMZ, specifically Panmunjon which is the Korean name for the JSA, you know, that bit where the North and South guards face off against each other every day. He was literally in range of “enemy” troops. All this, of course, isn’t really sticking it to the South. It’s just so that he doesn’t look like a total ass in front of his fellow Commies and potential usurpers for being a fatty who needs more food.

Also, readers may remember a post from a few months back entitled, “The seige of Wukan”. Basically, a bunch of Chinese villagers got sick and tired of their local officials stealing their farmland and pocketing the proceeds after selling it. So they kicked them out. Predictably, police and what not surrounded the village and a stand-off ensued. Well, good news. The villagers were granted fresh elections, and one of the new officials includes a leader of the protest. Nearby villages are starting to get the same idea, but hey, this is China, so don’t be expecting any precedents – despite what this guy says – or the folk in Beijing to be reading it on the front page. Still, it’s a start. Here’s some piccies.

Oh, and Putin is back in (as if he were ever out). Just don’t be a Russian billionaire and criticise the bloke; it might make him cry (you’ll get that after clicking the link).

Via JM, the Samsung Galaxy S III, a teacher’s new best friend, internet karma, Kumbahyah cancelled, wiki highjinks (language warning, but funny as).

Anything catch your eye today? Bob Carr’s predictable, cringe-worthy backflip on Libya? China’s latest hit TV show?

Let us know.

 

Kim Jong-un and the Eternal Struggle… for cake


The fat-ass really, really loves his cake.

Six more where that came from…

Inside the North Korean elite


A defector who used to work in the propaganda department tells it how it was.

After we met, Kim Jong-il asked his aides to take care of me and afterwards I received special treatment – the kind of benefits unavailable to normal citizens. Once you have met him in person, you can’t even be prosecuted in court without a special signing off.

For privileged, higher class, citizens there are three types of rations – a daily ration, a three day ration and a weekly ration. The state calculates everything a person needs in daily life, the amount of vitamins, calories, the kind of food you need to eat and so on. The daily ration is the highest, I received a weekly ration which was still very lavish.

The state calculates exactly what you need???

Yeck.

And, yes. Everyone is equal but some are more equal than others. Go socialism!

/sarc

Read on.

Radio interview here.

I have to agree


Now is a chance to turn over a new leaf with North Korea. Let’s engage them. Stop the sanctions. Expose them to the outside world.

Bombard them with freedom and information.

Gee, what could go wrong?


The Argentine government has effectively taken control of the press.

No matter. The Australian government would never consider moves to emulate a backwards Latin American regime.

Vice President Amadou Boudou said the law “will improve the quality of information and the plurality of opinions in Argentina.”

Read: the opposite.

In North Korea, the government controls the press outright, and they’re just doing swimmingly.

Further proof of just how useless the UN is


What’s pleasing, however, is that most UN member states boycotted the call for a minute’s silence for the dead despot, Kim Jong-il.

Stupidest headline ever


Kathleen Taylor asks:

Did Kim Jong-il brainwash the North Korean people?

About as quick on the uptake as Robert Manne.

This is a good thing… maybe


So the verdict seems to be that North Korea’s new ruler, Kim Jong-un, son of the dead and decaying (and he won’t be embalmed, either), Kim Jong-il, has managed – with the help of the established elite – to cement a firm grip on power.

To do that, he has to have control of the Party and the military insofar as holding two key posts.

Paik said the son would assume his father’s official titles – ruling party chief and chairman of the all-powerful National Defence Commission – and the timing of this was just a technicality.

Through the two positions, the late leader controlled both the party and the 1.19-million-strong armed forces in the country of “Songun” (a military-first policy).

If you’re interested, take a look at how the North Korean system is structured; it’s all very 1984.

Kim Jong-il was also one of four heads of the Politburo plus being head of the Secretariat – so really, there’s three key positions the Nork’s new leader has to fill (NDC, Politburo, Secretariat)… as well as maintaining hold over Office #39 which is basically a private slush fund for the Kim family (that the average Nork citizen wouldn’t have a clue about).

Anyway, where was I?

Ah, yes. A smooth transition means an unlikely chance of bombs being lopped on my head.

Also, the new boy was western edumacated as you all probably know so there’s a quiet hope the North might open up a bit, quit being so hostile and who knows, the Koreans might even start acting semi-normal towards each other.

The weird thing is, you can’t get any info out of a South Korean about their northern neighbour. Not even with my wife. Their feelings etc. They just shut down.

BTW, did you know communism is hip and down these days?

What? No teleprompter?


The announcement of Kim Jong-il’s death.

Via reader JM and Ed Driscoll.

When Lady Bingers gets home, I’ll hit her up for a translation.

Can’t promise she’ll be up to it.

Regardless. No teleprompter?

Nork newsreader 1. Obama 0

OK, jokes aside, two important links.

Growing up in a Nork gulag.

On that missile test which to me just said that they’re saying everything is in order.

Respected Comrade Kim Jong-Un


That’s how North Korea’s state-run media is now addressing the son and heir of the dead Kim Jong-il.

The North’s Central TV and the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) started addressing Kim Jong-Un as “Respected” or “Great” Comrade Kim Jong-Un as they called for unity around the new leadership.

“Standing at the vanguard of the Juche (self-reliance) revolution is Respected Comrade Kim Jong-Un,” the Central TV said.

It seems the succession of power is going relatively smoothly, but of course, time will tell.

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