Don’t even think about Kim Jong-un! You do not want to force the hand of America. Just because you can get away with that in your own country doesn’t mean that you will be able to force us to violate our first amendment, which I’m guessing you know nothing about. I agree with everything The Young Turks had to say about this. Your threats only show us how pathetic you really are.
Greg Larson recounts his recent visit to North Korea.
Each year, a limited number of tourists are allowed to visit North Korea, the most isolated nation on earth. All tours are highly scripted and follow a similar pattern. Tourists are only allowed to visit a limited number of preapproved sites. Most days you are confined to the bus; government minders accompany tour groups everywhere and dictate everything, corralling you through tightly circumscribed itineraries. Our tour was coordinated by a travel agency in Beijing. Leading up to the trip, the agency sent our group, composed of fifteen students, informational PDFs that read like inverted Miranda rights. “Foreign visitors to North Korea may be arrested, detained, or expelled for activities that would not be considered criminal in any other country.” Prohibitions included straying from the group, practicing religion, and interaction with the local population. There are designated tourist hotels, where North Koreans are not permitted to stay—in Wonsan, the Songdowon Hotel is on a foggy, abandoned pier jutting out into the Sea of Japan. In Pyongyang, the Yanggakdo Hotel is marooned on an island in the middle of a river, with a checkpoint restricting North Korean citizens from entering. The hotel mostly serves Chinese tourists and businesspeople. When we were there, only a few of the forty-seven floors were in operation; if you pressed the other buttons on the elevator, the doors would open to pitch-black hallways, some with wires hanging from the ceiling, others with no carpet.
Hard to tell if this is real or South Korean propaganda. I’m leaning real, and if I lived in South Korea I’d be getting nervous living next to this lunatic.
A North Korean official has been executed with a flame-thrower, South Korean media has reported, amid a crackdown on loyalists of Kim Jong-un’s purged uncle.
As many as 11 senior party officials with close ties to Jang Song-taek have apparently recently been executed or sent to political prison camps.
Mr Jang was publicly purged in December and executed after being found guilty of corruption and activities that ran counter to the policies of the Workers’ Party of Korea. The regime has shut down the department within the Workers’ Party that Mr Jang previously headed.
O Sang-hon, a deputy minister at the Ministry of Public Security was “executed by flame-thrower,” a source told South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo newspaper.
Male university students in North Korea are now required to get the same haircut as their leader Kim Jong-un, it is reported.
The state-sanctioned guideline was introduced in the capital Pyongyang about two weeks ago, Radio Free Asia reports. It is now being rolled out across the country - although some people have expressed reservations about getting the look.
“Our leader’s haircut is very particular, if you will,” one source tells Radio Free Asia. “It doesn’t always go with everyone since everyone has different face and head shapes.” Meanwhile, a North Korean now living in China says the look is actually unpopular at home because people think it resembles Chinese smugglers. “Until the mid-2000s, we called it the ‘Chinese smuggler haircut’,” the Korea Times reports.
“Our leader’s haircut is very particular …” That’s a polite way of saying it sucks.
North Korea said on Tuesday that it will put all its nuclear facilities — including its operational uranium-enrichment program and its reactors mothballed or under construction — to use in expanding its nuclear weapons arsenal, sharply raising the stakes in the escalating standoff with the United States and its allies.
The announcement by the North’s General Department of Atomic Energy came two days after the country’s leader, Kim Jong-un, said his nuclear weapons were not a bargaining chip and called for expanding his country’s nuclear arsenal both in “quality and quantity” during a meeting of the Central Committee of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea.
The decision will affect the role of the North’s uranium-enrichment plant in the North’s main nuclear complex in Yongbyon, north of Pyongyang, a spokesman for the nuclear department told the Korean Central News Agency. This marked the first time North Korea said that it would use the facility to make nuclear weapons. Since first unveiling it to a visiting U.S. scholar in 2010, North Korea had insisted that it was running the plant to make reactor fuel to generate electricity, though Washington suggested its purpose was to make bombs.
Not known for its sense of humor, the Chinese Communist Party’s official mouthpiece apparently fell for a parody by The Onion, the satirical newspaper and Web site, when it reported Tuesday in some online editions of People’s Daily that Kim Jong-un, the young, chubby North Korean ruler, had been named the “Sexiest Man Alive for 2012.”
Or did it?
He offered respects to grandfather Kim Il-sung and late father Kim Jong-il.
Mr Kim praised the “military first” doctrine and said the time his nation could be threatened was “forever over”.
There was also a huge military parade in the main square which unveiled what appeared to be a large new missile - two days after a failed rocket launch.
The launch was condemned by the international community, amid concern that it was a covert test of long-range missile technology.
The death of Kim Jong-il and subsequent dynastic transfer of power in North Korea caused a spasm of hope in the policy community that the secretive and totalitarian nation might embark on economic and political reforms. As the new leader, Kim Jong-un, was exposed to Western affluence while receiving his education in Switzerland—so the wishful thinking goes—surely he would realize the benefits of opening up his country. In fact, the young and inexperienced scion of the Kim dynasty derives his legitimacy solely from his family heritage. He has every reason to perpetuate the oppressive system built by his grandfather and buttressed by his father. In fact, how much Kim Jong-un’s ideas and beliefs matter will remain questionable, at least over the short term. It is reasonable to assume that the untested leader will be guided by guardians or perhaps regents. This means that he may not be the one calling the shots, at least for the time being. The opaqueness of the power structure, meanwhile, has important implications for the outside world. The consolidation of power is likely to be still in progress, and it would take months—possibly even longer—for outside observers to learn how policies are determined. With Kim Jong-il, the world at least knew with whom it was dealing. Under Kim Jong-un, we may not even enjoy that advantage for some time to come.
There is little that is known about Kim Jong-un, apart from the fact that he is the third son of Kim Jong-il, is in his late twenties, and spent some time at a school in Switzerland. His youth and exposure to the Western world have prompted hope in some quarters that he would be more open to reforms aimed at reviving the country’s dysfunctional economy. History has shown, however, that foreign exposure does not always lead to liberal policies. Cambodia’s Pol Pot, who was responsible for the murder of approximately twenty percent of his country’s population, was educated partly in France. Liberian dictator Charles Taylor holds a university degree from the United States—and is accused of war crimes and human rights abuses.
Kim Jong-un was chosen over at least two older members of the family. One is Kim Jong-nam, a half brother who reportedly fell out of favor after being detained in Japan for trying to enter the country on a forged passport in 2001. The other is Kim Jong-chol, a full brother. According to a book by a former Japanese chef of the late Kim Jong-il, the North Korean leader complained about his second-oldest son, saying that he is “like a girl.” Kim Jong-un had long been his father’s favorite, according to the same source, who was the North Korean dictator’s chef for thirteen years until leaving the country in 2001. (The Hermit Kingdom is so thoroughly closed to Western eyes that even such anecdotal information is treasured by outside observers.)
Twitter may serve many valid purposes, but also means that unsubstantiated rumors can get thrown around with the greatest of ease. For example, Chinese bloggers are Twittering that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was assassinated in Beijing today.
They’re claiming that this was part of a coup or assassination by outside forces - nothing is quite clear and nothing is substantiated by anything more than unnamed individuals.
Official Internet Rule: Any (Chinese) Twitter post that begins with “according to reliable source” is almost certainly fake. But this hasn’t stopped Chinese netizens from speculating that the killing was a military coup, and posting blurry pictures purporting to show an unusual number of vehicles parked at the North Korean embassy. ChinaSMACK staff writer Joe Xu suggests reports of large number of cars at the embassy may have sparked the rumor. “Rumors like this pop up every other week,” he writes on Twitter.
With the way that North Korea and China both operate, these rumors get a life of their own because the regimes are quite insular and don’t let on who controls what and want to control the flow of information. The lack of information means that rumors can blossom on the drop of a hat and can gain credence by speculation.
No evidence. No facts. Just twitterings.
Heck, does anyone even know if Jong-un was supposed to be in China when this allegedly occurred? It seems that facts get thrown out the window and speculation and the North Korean version of Kremlinology takes over (making policy decisions on the basis of photos and what they do and don’t show - such as figuring out who is or isn’t in favor by leaders by where they stand/sit in photos).
What this does show is that there are a whole lot of people who wouldn’t mind seeing the North Korean regime fail, and an assassination (or attempted assassination) in North Korea’s benefactor’s capital would be a huge blow to China as well.
Kim’s body will be displayed at Pyongyang’s Kumsusan Memorial Palace, where his father and North Korea founder Kim Il-sung’s embalmed body has been lying since his death in 1994.
The body of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il lies in state during his funeral at the Kumsusan Memorial Palace in Pyongyang.
Kim Jong-il’s son and successor, Kim Jong-un, has been solidifying power since his father died of a heart attack on Dec 17.
The official Korean Central News Agency said on Thursday that North Korea will also erect a statue of Kim Jong-il, set up portraits of a smiling Kim and build “towers to his immortality” across the country.
Kim died on December 17 of a heart attack at age 69 after 17 years in charge of the impoverished but nuclear-armed nation. His son Kim Jong-un has taken over the leadership.
The ruling communist party, describing the late Kim as its “eternal leader”, announced that his body would lie in state at the Kumsusan Memorial Palace.
Kim’s corpse was on display at the palace before an elaborate funeral on December 28. The embalmed body of his father, founding President Kim Il-sung, is on view to favoured visitors at the building.
The party, in a report carried by the official news agency, announced plans for a statue to Kim Jong-il. It also said smiling portraits “and towers to his immortality” would be built nationwide.
His birthday on February 16, “the greatest auspicious holiday of the nation”, would be named the Day of the Shining Star, according to the decision made by the political bureau of the party’s central committee.
The late Kims were the subject of a massive personality cult that bestowed near-godlike status on them. Kim Il-sung, whose birthday on April 15 is known as the Day of the Sun, was declared eternal president after his death in 1994.
The North is now burnishing the image of Jong-un, who is aged in his late 20s.