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    North Korea Invites Burmese Journalists to Visit
    Thursday, July 17, 2014

    (Photo: Reuters)


  • #2
    North Korea : Rising Schooling Costs Sends Dropout Rate Soaring

    North Korean school children stand before the portraits of late North Korean leaders Kim Il-Sung (top L) and Kim Jong-Il (top R) at the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun mausoleum in Pyongyang, July 25, 2013.

    AFP Costs


    • #3
      Kim Jong Un (C) inspects a parachuting drill at an undisclosed location in North Korea in a photo released by the Korean Central News Agency on Aug. 28, 2014.
      AFP PHOTO/KCNA VIA KNS Respecting an image


      • #4
        North Korea is in the midst of a civil war.

        Former Top Official Says Kim Jong-un Is No Longer in Control of North Korea

        Rumors abound about the cause of his absence, including a report from South Korea's Chosun Ilbo that he recently underwent surgery after fracturing both of his ankles "during a grueling tour of military bases and factories in Cuban heels." The South Korean news agency Yonhap cited anonymous sources saying that Kim, a heavy smoker who has become markedly plump since assuming the role of dictator, is "suffering from gout, along with hyperuricemia, hyperlipidemia, obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure."

        Whatever the cause, Kim Jong-un's absence has sparked another round of speculation about the stability of the North Korean regime and what will happen to the country if the young dictator dies or becomes deposed. Rumors of a coup spread quickly earlier this week on Weibo, China's version of Twitter, followed quickly by a stern denial from China, the regime's chief ally. A US State Department spokeswoman told reporters Monday that the coup reports are unconfirmed.

        Jang, however, believes the coup actually happened in 2013, and says Kim Jong-un is only serving as a puppet leader with officials from the OGD pulling the strings. After going into exile, Jang became a senior research fellow at the Institute for National Security Strategy in Seoul, and authored a memoir, Dear Leader,reported on the "coup" in December and dissected the politics that were at play. According to the New Focus International report, the OGD has exercised virtual control over North Korea since its foundation by Kim Jong-il in the early 1990s. Other members of the government and the military became "honorary power holders and proxies," while "the men who exercised power on behalf of Kim Jong-il remained behind the scenes through the parallel OGD structure then as now." It described Kim Jong-un as "the avatar of the Kim family cult," and, "the legitimizing face of a state ruled by [the] OGD."

        Remco Breuker, a professor of Korean Studies at Leiden University in the Netherlands, which hosted the conference of elite North Korean exiles in September, says Jang isn't the only former senior regime official to suggest that the OGD is a shadow government that rules behind the scenes with Kim Jong-un as a figurehead.
        'The real power resides within that one department, the OGD, that was groomed to bureaucratic perfection by Kim Jong-il.'

        "The real power resides within that one department, the OGD, that was groomed to bureaucratic perfection by Kim Jong-il," Breucker told VICE News. "When he was alive, he was in practical sense heading the department. Kim Jong-un is not. It serves him, but it more serves the legacy of Kim Jong-il. Those don't always coincide."

        Jang predicts that the North Korean regime will collapse in the coming years due to divisions between older elites and a younger generation that is benefitting from the growth of private markets in North Korea. While the regime once maintained rigid control over the North Korean economy and food supply, today people trade goods and services in public markets that are still technically illegal but widely tolerated.

        Matthew Reichel, founder of Pyongyang Project, a group organizes study tours of North Korea for foreigners, has traveled extensively throughout the country, and recently returned from a month-long trip to Pyongyang, Chongjin, Hamhung, and other cities in the country's north. He says the markets are "thriving."

        "It's not anything particularly new, it's just something that's growing in size," Reichel told VICE News. "You can go into a market in Pyongyang or Chongjin or any city and get things you'd use every day, basically anything you'd find in the North Korean version of Walmart."

        Reichel said he observed people wearing fashions from South Korea and China, indicating they have access to forms of foreign media that were once banned. Some government officials view the new freedoms as a threat to their power, but cracking down is a risky move that could lead to total collapse of the economy and a repeat of the famine in the mid-'90s that led thousands of people to starve to death.

        "Because the public distribution system has utterly failed, they've lost so much control of the country," Reichel said. "When they can't control the economy, this is in essence a loss of control of the country. It's been that way since the end of the famine and that's not going to reverse itself."

        Others argue that the burgeoning market economy does not necessarily spell writing on the wall for the North Korean regime. Chad O'Carroll, director of NK News, a Seoul-based North Korea news source, said similar arrangements already exist in Iran, Zimbabwe, and other authoritarian dictatorships.

        "It gives them less control that it used to, that's certain," O'Carroll said. "But because that's happening it doesn't mean it's going to collapse. I don't necessarily buy this argument that it's going to lead to an imminent collapse."

        Jay Ulfelder, an independent political consultant who studies democratization, coups d'etat, and state collapse, said the conditions in North Korea don't seem ripe for the sort of popular uprising that typically forces totalitarian regimes to cede power. China's role in the situation is also key, Ulfelder said, because North Korea is so heavily dependent on them economically.

        "I get the impression that China is pretty committed to playing that role to sustain a friendly regime on its border as a buffer against South Korea and the US," Ulfelder said. "From their perspective, the loyalty and the stability are far more beneficial than any sort of minor gains that might accrue from having a somewhat wealthier or more liberalized North Korea."

        Ulfelder noted that it's in the self-interest of elite exiles to play up the possibility of regime collapse in North Korea, and pointed out that pundits have been saying for years that the country is on the verge of upheaval. He pointed to analysis he wrote in 2012 for Foreign Policy, which stated that, "Waiting for North Korea to crack open is like waiting for the Cubs to win the World Series, and no amount of wishing makes it so."

        The fact that the regime possesses nuclear weapons and has seemingly no regard for human life makes foreign military intervention highly unlikely. The United Nations in February released a report documenting widespread human rights abuses in the country's prison camps, and US Secretary of State John Kerry called for the "evil system" to be shut down. Breuker said the threat of being hauled before the International Court of Justice over prison camp atrocities frightens many of North Korea's ruling elites.

        nj pic.jpg
        A wall painting of a picture Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il.
        Photo via Flickr


        • #5
          Here Are All The Reasons People Think There's Something Big Happening In North Korea
          Jeremy Bender
          Armin Rosen contributed to this report.

          outlinedlong historybelonged in the same category of coup risk for the coming yearA station in the Pyongyang Metro
          locked down2. Kim Jong-Un Has Not Been Seen For Over A Month

          Kim Jong-Un, the supreme leader of North Korea, has not been seen in public since the start of September. North Korean state media has chalked his absence up to health concerns. A video in July and another video in September showed Kim walking with a limp.

          It is also thought that the leader might be suffering from gout, due to his preference for strong alcohol and fatty food.

          The rather heavyset Kim has also been spending an awful lot of time on his feet lately; one South Korean media report says that the Supreme Leader has been undergoing surgerysaid

          Kim, ostensibly because of health issues, failed to attendfailed to mentiondid not always attend the assemblies, and his absence alone does not necessarily hint at political turmoil.

          4. North Korean Officials Visited South Korea Unannouncedsurprise visit to South Korea on Saturday. The visit was the first such high-level talk between officials from the two countries in years. It might even have been .

          Yet Andrei Lankov, a North Korean scholar who teaches in Seoul, told5. There Are Rumours Of Increasing Dissent

          The South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo reported6. Kim Has Carried Out Frequent Purges

          Since taking control of the country, Kim is estimated to have purgedchangedsignal

          7. A Prominent Defector Says Kim Is A Figureheadasserted that North Korea has been in the midst of a political upheaval for a while now. According to Jang, the Organisation and Guidance Department, a group of elite officials created by Kim Jong-Il, has seized power and is using Kim Jong-Un as a figurehead.

          But the claim has no outside confirmation.

          Given that North Korea is essentially a black box, it is easy to jump to conclusions on the health and stability of the regime. Taken in total, these points seem to hint that something big is underway in the Hermit Kingdom. They could just as easily add up to nothing.

          An unnamed US official, speaking to Reuters, said


          • #6
            Two Koreas to resume formal high-level talks

            POSTED: 04 Oct 2014 16:57 UPDATED: 04 Oct 2014 17:56

            INCHEON, South Korea: North and South Korea agreed Saturday (Oct 4) to work on resuming a formal high-level dialogue that has effectively been suspended for seven months, the South's Unification Ministry said.

            The agreement came during a surprise visit to South Korea by three top-ranking North Korean officials, two of them close aides to paramount leader Kim Jong-un. "The two sides agreed to discuss details for the resumption of the high-level contact," the Unification Ministry said in a statement.

            Seoul has been urging the North to resume the talks for several months, but until now Pyongyang had spurned the request, partly in irritation over recent South Korea-US joint military drills. The ministry statement said the North Korean officials had expressed a "willingness" to restart the dialogue between late October and early November.

            The last high-level talks were held in Seoul in February and resulted in the North hosting a rare reunion for families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War. The talks had fuelled hopes of further constructive engagement, but those were dashed as the two rivals entered one of their regular periods of elevated military tension.

            The Unification Ministry statement also noted that President Park Geun-hye had wanted to meet the visiting North delegates on Saturday, but the tight schedule of their sudden visit did not allow for a trip to the presidential Blue House.

            Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.


            • #7
              ^^ Lovely propaganda on 'our' part yet again


              • #8
                Whatever it takes to get rid of the fat f*ck. I hope he dies


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Panama Hat View Post
                  ^^ Lovely propaganda on 'our' part yet again

                  Yes....our part.

                  An associating not to be admired.


                  • #10
                    Rather surprised that news of this nature is not censored in Thailand.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by socal View Post
                      Whatever it takes to get rid of the fat f*ck. I hope he dies
                      Yes, because the removal of leaders of countries, always works well, Libya and Iraq just two recent examples.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by sabang View Post
                        Rather surprised that news of this nature is not censored in Thailand.
                        Very true.


                        • #13
                          The North Korean culture of cult adoration and draconian penalties for criticism is strikingly similar to other nation around the world.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Wilson View Post
                            Yes, because the removal of leaders of countries, always works well, Libya and Iraq just two recent examples.
                            My god. How could one be so utterly clueless.... North Korea is not In the Middle East or Islamic.

                            And even with Iraq ect . Bottling it isn't the answer. Let **** play out. It's playing out in Iraq. Sure it ain't pretty but it's reality


                            • #15
                              Kim Jong-un missing: North Korean leader could have 'fled after attempted coup'
                              Heather Saul
                              Thursday 09 October 2014

                              Supreme leader has been missing from the public eye for over a month
                              The TelegraphSpeaking to i100heavily overweight leader could be suffering with gout.

                              Other reports emerging in South Korea suggested Kim is recovering from surgery after breaking both ankles. Even Swiss cheese


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