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Kim Jong-Il committed to disarmament talks: Pyongyang

In Uncategorized on May 8, 2010 at 8:40 am

 Kim Jong-Il said North Korea remains committed to nuclear disarmament through dialogue, Pyongyang’s official media said Saturday, a year after quitting international talks on its atomic arsenal.

During a visit this week to Beijing, he also said ties with China will be unchanged by the “replacement of one generation by a new one,” amid reports he is paving the way for his son to take control of the isolated communist state.

In remarks that will be closely examined by the international community keen to usher Pyongyang back to the negotiating table, Kim “expressed the DPRK’s (North Korea’s) willingness to provide favorable conditions for the resumption of the six-party (disarmament) talks.”

He declared that the North “remains unchanged in its basic stand to preserve the aim of denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula, implement the joint statement adopted at the six-party talks and pursue a peaceful solution through dialogue.”

This TV grab from CCTV shows Chinese President Hu Jintao (right) shaking hands with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il during a meeting in Beijing, on May 5.

The comments, carried by the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), came with the first North Korean confirmation of a secretive five-day trip to China and echoed statements made by official Beijing media on Friday.

“Both sides decided to make joint efforts to attain the objective of denuclearizing the peninsula in accordance with the stand clarified in the September 19 Joint Statement,” KCNA said.

North Korea, which has tested two nuclear bombs, last year bolted from the six-nation talks, which group the two Koreas, China, Russia, Japan and the United States, under which it had agreed to give up its nuclear programme in return for badly needed aid and security guarantees.

The reclusive regime eventually said it would return to talks after pressure from China, its main ally. But the North later said it wanted to negotiate a permanent peace treaty with Washington before nuclear dialogue.

South Korean and US officials indicated that the resumption of talks should wait for the outcome of an investigation into the unexplained sinking of a South Korean warship near the border with North Korea in March, in which 46 sailors died.

In comments likely to stoke speculation that Kim is grooming his third son, Jong-Un, for succession, the reclusive leader — who himself inherited control of the nation from his father Kim Il-Sung — referred to the stable relationship between Pyongyang and Beijing.

“The long-standing DPRK (North Korea)-China friendship will remain unchanged despite the passage of time and the replacement of one generation by a new one as it stood tempest and test of history,” he said.

Hu, speaking at a state dinner hosted in Kim’s honour, said the traditional friendship is an asset that both countries have a historic responsibility to maintain and improve “along with the passage of time and convey it down through generations,” KCNA reported.

Professor Kim Yong-Hyun of South Korea’s Dongguk University said expressions of bilateral friendship lasting for generations were commonly used at summits between the two countries.

“However, it is noteworthy that this rhetoric was repeated at a time when the North is believed to be raising Jong-Un as an heir,” he told AFP.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if the North Koreans, during the visit, briefed the Chinese side on their plan for a possible succession by the son and Chinese people listened to them carefully.”

Succession speculation has intensified since Kim senior, 67, reportedly suffered a stroke in August 2008. He is widely thought to have chosen Jong-Un to inherit power.

Information is scant about Jong-Un, the second son of Kim Jong-Il‘s third wife Ko Yong-Hee. Some reports say Jong-Un, born in 1983, attended an international school in the Swiss city of Berne under a pseudonym.

Kenji Fujimoto, a former personal chef to Kim Jong-Il, has described the son as “a chip off the old block” who closely resembles his father physically and in terms of personality.

Source: SGGP

N.Korea’s Kim: committed to denuclearisation

In Uncategorized on May 7, 2010 at 4:38 am

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il told Chinese President Hu Jintao in talks this week in Beijing that he remained committed to ending his country’s nuclear drive, Chinese state media said Friday.

Kim also told Hu that his country would “work with China to create favourable conditions” for restarting six-nation talks hosted by Beijing on dismantling the Pyongyang’s nuclear programmes, Xinhua news agency said.

But the report gave no indication when those talks could resume.

The declaration by reclusive leader Kim comes after North Korea’s state media confirmed that he had visited China this week at the invitation of China’s President Hu Jintao.

The North Korean flag flies over its embassy in Beijing on May 6. Kim Jong-Il has told Chinese President Hu Jintao in talks this week in Beijing that he remained committed to ending his country’s nuclear drive, Chinese state media has said.

The Korean Central News Agency report described the visit as “unofficial” but made no mention of any meeting between Hu and Kim. South Korean media have said the two leaders met Wednesday in Beijing.

The agency confirmed that during his Monday-Friday trip the 68-year-old leader visited the northeastern port cities of Dalian and Tianjin but did not mention any visit to Beijing.

“Kim Jong-Il expressed satisfaction over the result of his visit and extended heartfelt thanks to the leading cadres of the Chinese party and government for their cordial hospitality,” it said.

China is North Korea‘s economic lifeline, supplying the bulk of its food and fuel needs. Kim had been expected to seek aid for his country’s faltering economy during the visit, but no mention was made of any agreements.

Source: SGGP

Reports: NKorea’s Kim to meet Chinese leaders

In Uncategorized on May 4, 2010 at 4:28 pm

Reclusive North Korean leader Kim Jong Il was expected to meet top Chinese officials Tuesday during a visit to his country’s main backer that comes amid growing tensions over the North’s suspected role in the sinking of a South Korean navy ship.

No official announcements have been made about Kim’s visit, his first journey abroad in years. North Korean media typically report on his journeys after he returns home, and China’s Foreign Ministry refused to confirm whether Kim was in the country.

Kim was seen by reporters in the port city Dalian in northeast China on Tuesday getting into a car and then was driven away in a 10-vehicle motorcade. It was not known where he was going.

The trip comes as China’s leadership has been trying — so far unsuccessfully — to persuade North Korea‘s absolute ruler to reform his country’s moribund economy and return to negotiations on ending its nuclear weapons program. Also hanging over the visit was speculation Kim’s hardline communist regime may have torpedoed the South Korean warship in March.

In this Jan. 17, 2006 file photo released by China’s Xinhua News Agency, Chinese President Hu Jintao, right, shakes hands with North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, left, at Beijing’s Great Hall of the People.

In Seoul on Tuesday, President Lee Myung-bak said the sinking of the Cheonan was not a “simple accident,” as officials inched closer to blaming North Korea for the incident, in which 46 sailors were killed.

Lee ordered a thorough review of South Korea‘s military readiness and called North Korea’s military “the most belligerent forces” while stopping short of directly naming the North as a suspect in the March 26 disaster.

However, he made it clear for the first time that he saw a North Korean link in the sinking, which followed an explosion in disputed waters near the Koreas’ maritime border.

If South Korea declares Pyongyang responsible for the sinking, it could look to China to back new United Nations sanctions aimed at punishing the North. China likely would be reluctant to support such measures, fearing they could spark unrest on its border.

Kim’s visit may help reassert traditional ties between the communist neighbors, who once termed their relationship as close as “lips and teeth.”

In Seoul, South Korea’s Foreign Ministry said it summoned Chinese Ambassador Zhang Xinsen Monday and asked Beijing to brief Seoul about Kim’s visit.

Separately, South Korean Unification Minister Hyun In-taek met with Zhang on Tuesday and called on Beijing to play a “responsible role” amid the North-South tensions, according to his spokesman Chun Hae-sung. Chun did not elaborate or say whether China was being asked to convey a specific message to Pyongyang.

Kim traveled to Dalian on Monday after a luxury 17-car train carrying him pulled into the Chinese border town of Dandong, according to South Korean and Japanese media reports.

After Kim left the five-star Furama Hotel on Tuesday, police briefly detained photographers and TV camera crews, including one from Associated Press Television News, at the scene and asked the camera crews and photographers to delete images and video.

By Tuesday afternoon, security at the hotel was significantly reduced, suggesting Kim may have left. From Monday, the hotel had barred all other guests and hung white sheets over lobby windows to block the view from outside.

Kim visited factories in an industrial zone, about 20 miles (30 kilometers) from Dalian, where Japanese and South Korean firms have operations, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency said, citing an unnamed source.

It also reported that Kim was headed to Jinzhou, where he would catch his train for Beijing. Kim is known to shun air travel.

Seoul’s mass-circulation Chosun Ilbo newspaper cited an unidentified diplomatic source in Beijing as saying Kim would meet top Chinese leaders, including President Hu Jintao, for talks in Beijing.

Kim’s visit comes at an awkward time for Beijing. The Chinese leadership has been trying to get Kim to agree to return to six-nation nuclear disarmament talks stalled now for a year, and believed that it had won the North Korean dictator’s assent last October.

Since then, however, prospects for negotiations have dimmed. Pyongyang has refused requests from the U.S. to resume the talks and withdrawn further into isolation.

Rumors of a Kim trip, the first since he traveled to China in 2006 and the only the fifth since he took over power from his father in 1994, have circulated for months.

China, which backed North Korea with troops during the 1950-53 Korean War, is North Korea’s last major ally and biggest provider of aid, and is widely seen as the country with the most clout with Pyongyang.

The timing of the visit comes as a U.N. conference opened this week to review the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and explore ways to strengthen its controls on the spread of nuclear materials. China, a nuclear power, is a backer of the treaty, but is expected to come under pressure to get North Korea to comply.

North Korea quit the disarmament-for-aid talks a year ago, and then conducted a nuclear test that drew tightened U.N. sanctions. The regime’s botched currency reform aimed at regaining control over the economy late last year is believed to have worsened its financial woes.

Kim is believed to be grooming his youngest son, Kim Jong Un, to succeed him as leader of the impoverished nation of 24 million.

Source: SGGP

NKorea’s Kim calls for stronger army amid tension

In World on January 17, 2010 at 3:57 pm

North Korean leader Kim Jong Il said his country must bolster its armed forces, state media reported Sunday, two days after his regime warned South Korea it was ready to attack if necessary.

In response to media reports that Seoul had recently modified its contingency plans to handle any turmoil in the isolated North, Kim’s all-powerful National Defense Commission threatened Friday to retaliate by “blow(ing) up the stronghold of the South Korean authorities.” The commission also warned it would break off all dialogue and negotiations with Seoul.

On Sunday, the North’s official Korean Central News Agency said Kim had inspected a joint army, navy and air force drill that demonstrated the country’s “merciless striking power” against anyone trying to infringe on its territory.

In this undated photo released by Korean Central News Agency via Korea News Service in Tokyo Saturday, Jan. 16, 2010, North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, wearing sunglasses, visits a pig farm under Unit 534 of the Korean People’s Army at undisclosed location in North Korea

Kim expressed his satisfaction with the drill and ordered the military to continue to develop its capabilities in order to become “invincible revolutionary armed forces,” according to the KCNA report.

The report did not say when or where the joint drill took place.

Kim routinely visits military units and inspects their training. The 1.2 million-member armed forces are the backbone of his authoritarian rule, and he often calls for a stronger military during the visits.

But the report of his latest inspection came just two days after his defense commission issued a rare statement that strongly rebuked Seoul for the contingency plan, which the North says is aimed at toppling Kim’s regime.

That warning came as a surprise since the North recently offered conciliatory gestures to the South, including a proposal Thursday to discuss resuming stalled joint tour programs.

Seoul expressed regret over the North’s threat, which it said was driven by unconfirmed media reports.

South Korea has also reportedly drawn up a military operations plan with the United States to cope with possible emergencies in North Korea, but South Korea’s Defense Ministry has consistently declined to comment about the existence of such a plan.

The two Koreas remain technically at war because their 1950-53 conflict ended in a truce, not a peace treaty, and North Korea occasionally threatens to destroy the South. Authorities in Seoul monitor those warnings carefully but usually take them in stride.

An official from South Korea’s Defense Ministry said there had been no suspicious activities by the North’s military in recent days.

Another South Korean government official downplayed the significance of the North’s latest joint drill, saying it appeared to be part of routine training.

Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity, citing department policy.

A test of the North’s intentions regarding negotiations with South Korea could come as early as this week, as the sides had earlier agreed to meet in North Korea on Tuesday to discuss economic cooperation. The Unification Ministry said South Korea has no plan to cancel the meeting.

Source: SGGP Bookmark & Share

Korean kim chi expert comes to Vietnam

In Vietnam Culture on November 14, 2009 at 10:35 am

Dr. Hangue Jeong, from the Korean Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, discussed how to make kim chi (pickled vegetables) at the Korean Food Festival in Hanoi November 13.

A kind of kim Chi

The food festival was held in Hanoi on November 13 and will run until 15.

Dr. Jeong said that Korea has nearly 200 kinds of kim chi, of which 50 are very popular in her country.

Korea has around 27 kim chi craftsmen and are considered a precious people by traditional food aficionados.

Dr. Jeong, whose major academic research is Korea’s traditional kim chi, will stay in Vietnam until November 15.

She said she will help visitors to make kim chi, as well as giving them a chance to enjoy kim chi.

The festival, part of a Vietnam-Korea cultural exchange program, aims to introduce Vietnamese consumers to more than 50 kinds of high-quality produce, like fruits, ginseng and kim chi.

Source: SGGP Bookmark & Share