Saturday, June 13, 2009

North Korea's Response...

Here's an article that discusses North Korea's response to the newly imposed UN sanctions which ban all weapons exports and imports. The North has threatened to now "weaponize" both the uranium and plutonium vowing to never give up its bombs. It also threatened to acknowledge any US "blockade" as an "act of war" and will respond accordingly. We'll see.

Friday, June 12, 2009

UN Sanctions and a "Brilliant Comrade"...

Just found this article that talks about the UN sanctions now imposed upon North Korea. The article says that North Korea's weapons exports and financial dealings will have a higher level of scrutiny, and to top the cake off the UN has decided to allow searches of suspect cargo ships. This last sanction is probably the most controversial as North Korea has previously threatened to retaliate if any of their ships are searched. It will be interesting to see what happens. Hopefully, they respond rationally.

In the same article it talks about how Kim Jong Il's youngest son has been given the title "Brilliant Comrade" as a means to help prepare the people for his succession. Interesting title, huh?!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Click here for link

Just further proof of how incredible, and innovative, Korean cellular phones are. When I first began serving my mission in Korea, people already had phones that would flip open and then you would turn the screen-portion sideways and could surf the web, watch TV, etc. I thought it was amazing! To think I had been secretly proud of my palm-sized phone, that I had before my mission, that could *gasp* take 2 megapixel pictures! Even the buses had TVs in them--I realize this might not be such a novel thing now, but I was amazed back then. You might wonder: wouldn't that get annoying, listening to TV if you just wanted to sleep on the ride home from work? Not at all, because if you really want to listen, you would dial a phone number and listen to the TV via your phone, thus none who do not want to listen have to suffer! I love Koreans...

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

North Korean Holidays

I love holidays. I love the fact that we get Christmas Day, New Years Day, Memorial Day, etc. off in this country. I thought I would just take a look at the holidays in North Korea. I found this site that gives North and South Korean holidays. They get two days off for Kim Il Sung's birthday and also two days off to celebrate Kim Jong Il. They also celebrate "Victory Day" to mark the end of the Korean War. I find it funny they call it VICTORY day. Also, no Christmas for the North Koreans, sad.

South Korea snatches best airport title from Hong Kong

Here is the link to the article.
I found hard to believe, but I guess it's true! Crazy. Now I really want to check this airport out.
Most insane about this article? Zurich's airport emerged fourth in the airport top 10, followed by Munich and Japan's Kansai. Beating out Zurich? That is impressive.
Personally, I don't think airports always tend to give a true impression of the rest of country, but it certainly means something. Some poorer countries put a lot of money into their airports and train stations in hopes of attracting tourists. I'm not sure what the tourist numbers are like in S. Korea, but I imagine they didn't build-up their airport for the sake of tourism. It was sad not seeing the U.S. in the top 5. But that does make sense...our airports can be crazy. The best one I have ever been in the country is the John Wayne airport in Orange County. Simple and powerful. O'Hare was the most confusing and most unappealing for me.

UN Secretary General is Korean!

this might not come as a surprise to some of you, but the leader of the UN is a Korean. I have heard his name before but just realized that the bigshot is from none other than Choson. An accomplishment indeed. A milestone to S. Korea's progress in the last fifty years when at that time the UN was dictating the future of Korea without much Korean input. The question remains how much power the UN really has. Is it just a puppet of the US? Is Ban Ki-moon a figurehead that helps to feign diversity in the UN? Those questions can hold water when I read about how he is in Washington DC discussing the importance of public service while a crisis is ensuing in his home country. I am sure he would love to be involved in negotiations but will he be permitted? In the interest of this class and this post I think I am just going to leave the issue focused on the title. The General secretary of the UN is Korean! King Kojong would be proud. The Taewongun would be disgusted.

The Best Defense is a Good Offense...

Just read this article about how North Korea's threat of nuclear defense has recently been replaced by the threat of a "'merciless offensive' if provoked." Due to this increased threat a large South Korean company has said that it will be pulling out of the joint industrial complex at Kaesong, which seems like a clear indication that South Korea is starting to become a little unnerved by its northern neighbor. Hopefully whatever sanctions that the UN decides to place on North Korea for violating the nuclear proliferation treaty will not constitute a slight against "the country's dignity and sovereignty even a bit," or we have a real situation on our hands if the North's saber-rattling is to be taken seriously.