Archive for the North wind campaign Category

South Korea deports Korean-American woman accused of supporting the North [World Socialist Website]

Posted in Anti-communism, DPR Korea, Encirclement of China, Japan, Kim Jong Un, North wind campaign, Obama, Pentagon, Pyongyang, south Korea, south Korean human rights hypocrisy, US foreign occupation, US imperialism, USA, USA 21st Century Cold War, Western nations' human rights distortions on January 17, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Ben McGrath
13 January 2015

South [sic] Korea deported Korean-American Shin Eun-mi on Saturday for supposedly making pro-North [sic] Korean comments. She arrived back in Los Angeles the same day, US time, and will be barred from returning to Korea for five years. Shin’s case is just the latest in Seoul’s attacks on democratic rights.

President Park Geun-hye’s government accused Shin of violating South Korea’s draconian National Security Act. Shin gave public talks around the country with Hwang Seon, the former deputy spokeswoman of the Democratic Labor Party (DLP), the forerunner of the Unified Progressive Party (UPP), which the government, via the Constitutional Court, forcibly disbanded in December. The government is considering issuing an arrest warrant for Hwang.

Shin said last Wednesday, as she appeared for questioning by prosecutors: “I can guarantee that I have done nothing that violates the National Security Act. I have made no pro-North Korea remarks in public. There are no such remarks in my book, either.” Shin was referring to her book, A Korean-American Ajumma Goes to North Korea, which detailed her trips to North Korea. “Ajumma” is a Korean word referring to a middle-aged or married woman. Shin visited the North six times from October 2011 and published the book in 2012.

Right-wing organizations filed a complaint against Shin and Hwang after a November 19 talk at Seoul’s Jogyesa Temple, claiming that the two women painted North Korea in a positive light. During the discussion, Shin said that in North Korea, “people seemed to be filled with expectation and hope about the young leader (Kim Jong-un).”

The complaints against the two women received more attention when a 17-year-old boy attacked Shin and Hwang with a homemade bomb at a lecture the women held in Iksan, North Jeolla Province, in December. No-one was seriously injured but two people received minor burns. The teenager, hailed as a hero by extreme-right groups, is currently awaiting trial.

The government’s claims that Shin undermined “national security” are farcical. Her book on North Korea was even selected as suggested reading by South Korea’s Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism. Shin said: “If I did (violate the National Security Act), why did the government select my book as a recommended one in the first place? I just gave lectures and filmed a documentary based on the book.”

Another comment by Shin points far more as to why she was targeted by the government. “Even though it is the 21st century, are we not seeing these pro-communist frame-ups, spy frame-ups?” she asked. “It is a ballad that I heard from when I attended kindergarten in the 60s.” Several UPP members were arrested last year and accused, on the basis of fabricated evidence, of plotting a rebellion in support of North Korea.

Seoul has whipped up these red scares not simply as a turn away from democracy. It is bound up with South Korea’s alignment with the United States and its “pivot to Asia,” which is aimed at economically undermining and militarily surrounding China. This includes ramping up tensions on the Korean Peninsula against China’s ally North Korea — and risking war with Pyongyang. The government fears that any anti-war sentiment could be used to oppose these growing war plans. Shin’s greatest crime, as far as the government is concerned, is that she presented North Koreans as human beings who have the same hopes and desires as average South Koreans…

Seoul deepened its military cooperation with the US over the past year. This included signing a trilateral intelligence sharing agreement with the US and Japan, expressing support for a Thermal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-ballistic missile system in South Korea and postponing the handover to Seoul of US operational control over the South Korean military. In the event of war, the United States will take command of the South’s military.

Seoul also backed the Obama administration’s claims that North Korea was responsible for hacking at Sony Pictures Entertainment and supported new US sanctions, calling them “appropriate.” The South Korean media presented Washington’s accusations as fact despite a lack of evidence.

US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki raised mild criticisms of South Korea over Shin’s deportation. While claiming at a daily press briefing on Friday that South Korea “has shown a consistent and longstanding commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights,” Psaki said the US is “concerned that the national security law, as interpreted and applied in some cases, limits freedom of expression and restricts access to the Internet.”

This “criticism” has nothing to do with a genuine concern for free speech. It is particularly hypocritical coming from a government that has been exposed as spying on and violating the democratic rights of its population and millions of others internationally on a daily basis. Instead, the US is using this issue to continue to pressure Seoul to work more closely with Japan in the US-directed war preparations against China.

Excerpted / edited by Zuo Shou

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South Korean court disbands opposition party [World Socialist Website]

Posted in DPR Korea, Lee Myung-bak, North wind campaign, south Korea, US foreign occupation, US imperialism, USA on January 4, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Ben McGrath

24 December 2014

South Korea’s Constitutional Court issued a ruling last Friday disbanding the small opposition Unified Progressive Party (UPP), citing government claims that the party supported North Korea. The court decision, instigated by President Park Geun-hye’s government, is an attack on basic democratic rights, aimed at silencing political criticism and opposition…

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DPRK denies exchange of fire in disputed western sea border [Xinhua]

Posted in Black propaganda, DPR Korea, North wind campaign, south Korea on May 23, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

PYONGYANG, May 23 (Xinhua) — The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) on Friday denied firing artillery shells toward a South Korea Navy ship on the previous day, rejecting Seoul’s claim that the two countries exchanged fire in the disputed western sea border.

“(The South) is fabricating and making a fuss that we fired artillery shells toward their warship in waters near the Yeonpyeong Island and that they fired back in response,” the Southwest Front Command of the Korean People’ s Army(KPA) said in a statement on Friday.

“The confirmed fact is that the puppet Navy warships, which crossed our sea security border and intruded deep into our side of the sea, clumsily fired (artillery shells) under the pretext of intercepting a peaceful Chinese fishing boats and fabricated as if we fired (first),” said the statement released by the official KCNA news agency.

On Thursday, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said that the DPRK has [sic] fired two artillery shells near a South Korean warship on patrol in the tensely-guarded western sea.

The shells [allegedly] fired from north of the Northern Limit Line (NLL), the de facto sea border between the two Koreas, fell in waters 14 km south of Yeonpyeong Island in the Yellow Sea at around 6 p.m, said the JCS…

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Edited by Zuo Shou

Oliver Stone joins Jeju residents’ battle against naval base [The Hankyoreh / 한겨레]

Posted in Australia, Cambodia, China, Encirclement of China, Hiroshima, Japan, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nagasaki, North wind campaign, Obama, Okinawa, Philippines, Protest action, south Korea, Taiwan, US foreign occupation, US imperialism, USA, USA 21st Century Cold War, Vietnam, World War II on August 10, 2013 by Zuo Shou / 左手

August 5, 2013

* Acclaimed director is touring Asia in criticism of the US government’s ‘pivot to Asia’ policy *

By Huh Ho-joon, Jeju correspondent

“Ever since the Second World War, the US has been building military alliances and setting up military bases overseas. A lot of those bases are in Japan and Korea. Jeju Island is less than 500 kilometers from Shanghai. It could end up on the front lines if a military conflict breaks out between the US and China.”

Internationally renowned filmmaker Oliver Stone said this about the naval base currently under construction on Jeju Island. The 67-year-old director, whose works on the Vietnam War include “Platoon” and “Born on the Fourth of July,” met with the Hankyoreh on Aug. 3 at the Peace Center in Gangjeong Village in Jeju.

Noting the US’s overseas military strategy, Stone said the issue with the Jeju base was “global, not regional.”

“The Obama administration has adopted a ‘pivot to Asia’ strategy as a way of containing China,” he said. “It’s similar to the way the Soviet Union was contained during the Cold War. And in its push to do this, Washington has built or is building military alliances not just with South Korea and Japan, but with the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, Cambodia, and Myanmar. It’s a foolish, paranoid strategy.”

In view of this strategy, the Jeju naval base may be a military extension of the US forces, who could eventually end up using it, Stone said.

The director said he came to Jeju after seeing documentaries by US directors on Gangjeong Village and the April 3 Uprising of 1948 and reading articles on the villagers battle against the construction.

“I wanted to see for myself,” he said. He arrived on the island on Aug. 2 for a three-day stay.

As soon as he arrived, he went to visit film critic Yang Yun-mo, who was arrested while campaigning against the base, as well as people involved in the Grand March for Life and Peace, an event organized to call for a halt to the construction. On Aug. 3, he went to see activists opposing the base in their battle against police at the construction site in Gangjeong – a visit that left him looking very troubled.

“They’re calling the people who oppose the base ‘pro-North Korea,’ but that’s a very simplistic expression and their methods are easy to attack,” Stone said. “But the residents and activists are very sincere about their home, their rights, and this beautiful island of Jeju.”

He also spoke on environmental concerns, noting the base was “destroying beautiful soft coral reefs and contaminating the water.”

“I’ve heard that Jeju water was some of the cleanest and best in the world,” he said. “What happens when it ends up getting polluted?”

“The Gangjeong residents and activists aren’t alone in their battle against the base. This is going beyond South Korea and turning into a worldwide issue,” he continued. “I don’t know how this battle is going to go, but the residents’ fight will not be forgotten.”

Following his trip to Jeju, Stone plans to head to the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, where atomic bombs were dropped during the Second World War. There, he plans to attend a conference opposing atomic and hydrogen bombs before traveling on to Okinawa, site of a large US military base.

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South Korean elections return right-wing government [World Socialist Website]

Posted in Bourgeois parliamentary democracy, DPR Korea, Fascism, IMF - International Monetary Fund, Lee Myung-bak, North wind campaign, Obama, Pyongyang, south Korea, US imperialism, USA on April 21, 2012 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Ben McGrath
21 April 2012

South Koreans went to the polls on April 11 to choose members for the 19th National Assembly. In an election in which the opposition Democratic Unity Party (DUP) was expected to ride the wave of discontent, the right-wing Saenuri Party retained its majority. The ruling party, formerly known as the Grand National Party, won 152 seats—only one less than at the previous general election.

The DUP picked up 46 new seats to bring its total to 127—well short of the predicted 148 seats. The small United Progressive Party (UPP), mainly trade union-based, picked up 8 seats to move its total to 13, while far-right Liberty Forward Party, led by former GNP figures, lost 13 seats to finish with 5.

The DUP leader Han Myeong-sook resigned immediately after the election.

South Korean media described the result as an unexpected “victory” for the Saenuri Party, especially for its leader Park Geun-hye, who will run in the presidential election later this year. Park is the daughter of former military dictator, Park Chung-hee. In reality, the ruling party retained its majority primarily because workers and youth did not see the Democrats as representing an alternative to the government of President Lee Myung-bak.

The election took place on the eve of North [sic] Korea’s failed attempt to launch a satellite. The Saenuri Party exploited the opportunity to stoke fears of a military confrontation. The Lee administration helped fuel the paranoia by threatening to shoot down the rocket and by producing an intelligence report of a possible North Korean nuclear weapon test.

Far from criticising the government’s warmongering and hard-line stance against North Korea, the Democrats remained largely silent on these issues. The DUP and UPP were not prepared to challenge the Obama administration, which has backed the Lee administration’s aggressive posturing, as part of its own confrontational stance throughout Asia toward China, North Korea’s ally.

After coming to power in 2007, Lee scrapped the “Sunshine Policy” of previous Democrat administrations, which sought to engage with Pyongyang to establish North Korea as a new cheap labour platform. Lee has used his confrontations with North Korea to divert attention from his deeply unpopular economic and social policies that have widened the gap between rich and poor.

The Saenuri Party campaign strategy, designed by its leader Park, rested largely on distancing the party from the Lee administration. She renamed the party and promised to take a more compromising stance toward North Korea, as well as to reform the social welfare system and boost employment. Park declared after the voting: “The NFP [Saenuri Party] has disappointed the people in many ways in the past four years and we believe that you’ve really given us our last chance. We promised new politics.”

The DUP and UPP, which ran joint candidates, attempted to portray themselves as defenders of the poor and working people. They campaigned on populist promises to create a welfare state and to rein in South Korea’s massive conglomerates.

The conservative character of the Democrats was underscored by the support of the Federation of Korean Trade Unions (FKTU)—the “yellow” state-run union grouping established by the Park dictatorship in the 1960s. At the beginning of the year, FKTU president Lee Yong-deuk declared that “all the democratic and progressive movements have joined forces with the DUP.”

The UPP, which characterises itself as “left-wing,” has connections to the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU), which was illegal under the military dictatorship and engaged in a series of militant strikes in the 1980s. Since being legalised under Democrat President Kim Dae-jung in the 1990s, the KCTU has played the key role in betraying strikes and protests against the pro-market restructuring of the past decade and a half.

The KCTU’s isolation of Ssangyong workers during the protracted occupation of the company’s auto plant in Pyeongtaek in 2009 allowed the Lee administration to use the police to crush the protest. More than 2,600 workers were laid off and 96 were jailed. Since the end of the occupation, the KCTU has collaborated even more closely with the government and state apparatus.

The disillusionment with the Democrats and the KCTU was reflected in the election turnout of 54.3 percent—still low, although higher than the previous election. Among young people, the proportion of voters was much lower. According to Maeil Economic Newspaper, the turn out for voters in their 20s was only 27 percent, down from 37 percent in 2004. For young women, the figure was just 8 percent.

Young people have been hit particularly hard by rising joblessness and the high cost of tuition produced by the policies of the Democrat administrations of Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun. Kim Dae-jung was responsible for implementing the restructuring demands of the International Monetary Fund following the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis.

Kim Dae-jung’s restructuring of the country’s conglomerates only allowed the larger ones to expand even further at the expense of the weaker ones. In league with the KCTU, his administration effectively destroyed the life-long employment system and opened the way for the wholesale use of low-paid, casual workers. Roh Moon-hyun continued these policies.

From 2001 to 2010, the top five chaebols have increased their sales as a proportion of the South Korean GDP from 59 percent to 70.4 percent. A survey conducted last year by WorkingVoice, an organisation dealing with casual workers, showed that nearly half of all workers were now in casual positions. They are paid about half of their full-time counterparts, while being denied access to basic benefits.

The official youth unemployment rate stands at around 8 percent. But if those who have given up looking for work are taken into consideration, the unemployment rate is estimated to be more than 20 percent, or more than one million people.

The Democrats’ electoral debacle is a product of widespread alienation, especially among workers and youth, from the entire political establishment. Rather than signalling positive support for the right-wing Saenuri Party, the election result points to growing political and social unrest.

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Editorial: S. Korean ruling government’s red-baiting offensive [The Hankyoreh / 한겨레]

Posted in DPR Korea, Kim Il Sung, Lee Myung-bak, North wind campaign, Protest action, south Korea, USA on November 21, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

Nov. 9, 2011

There are several reasons for the Lee Myung-bak administration’s loss of public support, but one significant factor is the use of the law to suppress public opinion and the abuse of state forces to constrain opponents of the government. Its ready use of red-baiting tactics, branding opponents pro-North Korea or anti-American, has long been the object of ridicule among younger generations. It seems, however, that, far from gathering its senses, Lee administration is now only seeking ways to distance itself even further from public sentiment.

In a letter sent to Grand National Party (GNP) lawmakers yesterday, Senior Secretary to the President for Political Affairs Kim Hyo-jae branded questions raised by the public regarding the South Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA) “anti-American” and “pro-North Korea.” Kim even incorporated Kim Il-sung and Park Chung-hee into his absurd argument about the KORUS FTA. This was a transparent attempt to push past a difficult situation by choosing to paint opponents in political colors rather than make sincere efforts to persuade the public.

According to this logic, KORUS FTA supporters including Kim can have little to say if others brand them “puppets of the U.S.” Aside from the letter’s absurd insinuations, the fact that the president’s senior secretary for political affairs, whose job it is to play the honest role of a bridge between the National Assembly and Cheong Wa Dae, sent a letter to all GNP lawmakers, preaching to them and issuing them battlefield-style orders, is incomparably insolent.

Even more deplorable is prosecutors’ plan to detain and investigate all those that protest against the KORUS FTA and spread “false rumors” about it. One document calling itself a “perfect breakdown of 12 poison pills in the KORUS FTA,” which prosecutors have cited as an example of “scaremongering” material, explains problems with the agreement using easy metaphors (for example, it describes ratchet clauses as creating a situation where “the Korean team can only move forward and cannot move backwards in order to defend”). It begs the question of whether prosecutors have lost their senses when they say they will punish people just for distributing such a document.

Prosecutors were already humiliated after blogger Park Dae-sung, alias “Minerva,” whom they detained on charges of spreading false information, was found innocent at trial. The Constitutional Court has even ruled that Clause 1 of Article 47 of the basic law on telecommunications, which prosecutors cited as grounds for punishing Minerva, was unconstitutional. How bad must things be for the GNP, at a party policy meeting, to unanimously brand prosecutors’ plan as “an anachronistic idea” and demand that they cease investigations?

The behavior of Kim Hyo-jae and prosecutors is clearly the result of their faithful following of the will of President Lee Myung-bak. Lee has effectively responded to the demands for reform that have recently burst forth from one part of the GNP with actions that go exactly in the opposite direction. It appears that appeals to the president for communication, reform and basic policy changes, too, merely fall on deaf ears.

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DPRK says to no longer deal with S.Korea’s Lee Myung-Bak, measures announced [Xinhua]

Posted in DPR Korea, Lee Myung-bak, North wind campaign, south Korea, south Korean human rights hypocrisy on May 31, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

PYONGYANG, May 30 (Xinhua) — The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) said Monday it would “never deal with” South Korean President Lee Myung-bak and his government, accusing Seoul of trumping up false accusations against the DPRK and undermining its reconciliation efforts.

According to a statement issued by the DPRK’s National Defence Commission, two more steps would be taken in this regard.

“The DPRK will launch a nationwide offensive to put an end to the moves of the Lee group to escalate the confrontation with the DPRK,” the statement said.

The Korean People’s Army would “cut off the north-south military communication in the area along the east coast” and “close the communication liaison office in Mt. Kumgang area,” the statement announced.

“As already warned by the DPRK, it will take a physical action without any notice any time against any target to cope with the anti-DPRK psychological warfare,” it added.

The statement said Lee’s government is piling up false accusations against the DPRK’s “revolution” and “socialist system,” “undermining its national reconciliation and unity” and “laying a hurdle in the way of peace and prosperity.”

It said South Korea is trying to stop the DPRK’s legitimate measures for self-defense and driving the inter-Korean relations to “uncontrollable catastrophe.”

Lee Myung-bak’s government has been smearing the DPRK’s efforts to achieve cooperation, peace and reunification through dialogue as “delaying tactics,” the statement said…

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