Heartbreaking documentary on London's North Korean enclave

Little Pyongyang made the festival rounds and his been picked up by The Guardian. It tells the story of how one soldier made his way to Europe's largest community of North Korean nationals after escaping the brutal regime.

Joong-wha Choi, a former soldier in North Korea, lives today with his wife and children in a sleepy London suburb, home to Europe's biggest North Korean population. Despite enjoying the new found comforts of his British life, and being emancipated from the pressures of the North Korean state, he has a desire to return to the land that betrayed him, and feels like his true home. Joong-wha reflects on both why he left North Korea and the state of his day to day life over the course of several months, in a portrait of loss, longing, and the complexities of healing from trauma.

Here's a nice Q&A with the filmmakers

Little Pyongyang (YouTube / The Guardian) Read the rest

Revealed: North Korea's covert uranium enrichment site Kangson

Journalist Ankit Panda has a bombshell report over at the Diplomat today that identifies the location of Kangson, a covert North Korean uranium enrichment site situated just outside the capital city of Pyongyang. Read the rest

Watch North Korea's film on Kim Jong Un's Singapore trip with Trump

No, really. You gotta see this. Read the rest

North Korean escapee makes heartfelt plea to Trump to hold Kim Jong-un accountable for his atrocities

When Yeonmi Park was just 13 years old, after suffering inhumanely under the North Korean regime, she and her family escaped to China (and eventually to South Korea).

She is now 24 years old and has become a vocal advocate for human rights in the country she once fled from. In this New York Times video, this brave young defector describes the terrible conditions for people in her home country and asks Trump to hold its dictator Kim Jong-un accountable for these human rights violations.

You may remember Park from a few years ago when she told her story at the One Young World Summit 2014 in Dublin, Ireland:

If her story interests you, give her powerful and inspiring 2016 memoir, In Order To Live, A North Korean Girl’s Journey To Freedom, a read:

Park’s family was loving and close-knit, but life in North Korea was brutal, practically medieval. Park would regularly go without food and was made to believe that, Kim Jong Il, the country’s dictator, could read her mind. After her father was imprisoned and tortured by the regime for trading on the black-market, a risk he took in order to provide for his wife and two young daughters, Yeonmi and her family were branded as criminals and forced to the cruel margins of North Korean society. With thirteen-year-old Park suffering from a botched appendectomy and weighing a mere sixty pounds, she and her mother were smuggled across the border into China.

I wasn’t dreaming of freedom when I escaped from North Korea.

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The weird(er) US-North Korea summit that ended with 4.5 hours of silent staring

In 1969, United Nations Command negotiator and US Maj. Gen. James B. Kapp and North Korean Maj. Gen. Ri Choon-Sun sat across the table from one another for 11.5 hours without eating or using the restroom. The delegates were only permitted to leave the room if the person who called the meeting proposes a recess. Ri never did. In fact, the two men spent the last 4.5 hours of the meeting silently staring at one another. At 10:30pm, Ri stood up and walked out.

During the meeting, Knapp had asked Ri for North Korea to begin a four-step process to calm tensions in the region.

The infamous meeting was featured in Jeffrey Z Rubin and Bert R. Brown's book "The Social Psychology of Bargaining and Negotiation" which sounds like a rather useful read.

"A long, awkward silence" (Weird Universe) Read the rest

This is the "movie trailer" that Trump played for Kim Jong-Un

At yesterday's Trump-Kim summit, the White House played this fake movie trailer. I wish it began with "Imagine a world.." but the actual narration is almost as good:

“Destiny Pictures presents a story of opportunity, a new story, a new beginning, one of peace, two men, two leaders, one destiny."

Korean version below.

(Quartz)

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Trump: Singapore and DMZ possible sites for North Korea Summit with Kim Jong-Un

In a White House press briefing with Nigeria's president Muhammadu Buhari at his side, U.S. President Donald Trump said he believes a summit with North Korean president Kim Jong-Un will happen, and that Singapore and the Korean DMZ are possible sites for the historic summit. Read the rest

Kim Jong Un says North Korea no longer needs to do nuclear tests

Huge news from North Korea in advance of the North-South summit next week, and planned denuclearization talks with the U.S. President. Read the rest

Watch North Koreans watch K-pop

For the sake of the comity of nations, North Korea has opened its borders to bands from the south such as Red Velvet, seen here "belting out" one of their pop hits for the wildest audience they're ever likely to see.

Just imagine being the poor guy who has to clean up after this mayhem! Read the rest

Kim Jong Un and Xi Jinping secretly met in #Beijing for historic first visit

Kim Jong Un secretly met with China's Xi Jinping in Beijing, an historic first visit by North Korea's leader. Read the rest

Trump goes it alone on North Korea. What could go wrong, other than nuclear war?

In a detailed Washington Post piece at the end of a bizarre political week, David Nakamura writes, “The White House dumped its South Korean ambassador nominee, State's top North Korean expert resigned; the NSC's Asia director was on paternity leave for 2 weeks. One man swooped in to fill the vacuum: Trump.”

“In Trump’s decision on North Korea, the world glimpses a president who is his own diplomat, negotiator and strategist.

An excerpt from the story of how we arrived at this bizarre point of United States/North Korean diplomacy, without a single Dennis Rodman in sight:

Over the past six weeks, the Trump administration’s roster of Korean experts, already depleted, grew even thinner. The White House mysteriously dropped its choice for ambassador to Seoul. The State Department’s top North Korea specialist resigned. And the senior Asia director at the National Security Council was out the past two weeks on paternity leave.

But when a high-level South Korean delegation arrived at the White House on Thursday afternoon for two days of meetings over the North Korea threat, one person swooped in to fill the vacuum: President Trump.

In a stunning turn of events, Trump personally intervened into a security briefing intended for his top deputies, inviting the South Korean officials into the Oval Office where he agreed on the spot to a historic but exceedingly risky summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. He then orchestrated a dramatic public announcement on the driveway outside the West Wing broadcast live on cable networks.

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North Korea invites Trump to denuclearization talks. Breakthrough or power stunt?

South Korea's national security adviser today announced he told President Donald Trump that Kim Jong Un says he's committed to denuclearization, and that Trump agreed to make it happen by May, as North Korea has proposed. Read the rest

U.S. says North Korea killed Kim Jong Un's half-brother Kim Jong-Nam with chemical warfare agent VX

The U.S. State Department today announced the United States has determined that the North Korean government used chemical warfare agent VX to assassinate Kim Jong Un's half-brother. Read the rest

North Korea willing to 'denuclearize,' says South

North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, told envoys of South Korea today he is willing to negotiate with the United States to end his country’s nuclear weapons program. South Korean officials say the North Korean leader also agreed to halt all nuclear and missile tests during the proposed talks with Trump administration officials. Read the rest

North Korean rulers attempted to enter the west using Brazilian passports

Being a despot sucks. International sanctions keep you from being able to import Game of Thrones DVDs or yellow cake uranium. No one ever tells you that there's food on your face and the anguished cries from your nation's gulags keep you and the rest of your family from getting a good night's rest. When you're not busy threatening the world with nuclear annihilation and when even having your enemies torn apart by dogs doesn't make you smile, it's time to melt away and take a vacation – get outta yer secretive nation!

Oh, if you happen to be from North Korea, you'll likely want to do it with a Brazilian passport.

According to Reuters, the despotic family of North Korean strongman Kim Jong Il attempted to leave their humanitarian crisis of a nation to visit western countries using illegally obtained Brazilian passports. It was long rumored that the Kims had been using forged travel documents for years to venture into the west in search of rest, relaxation and all of the shit that we don't want them to have because they're a terrible family doing horrendous things to millions of people. But up until now, no one, at least outside of the intelligence community, had ever seen any proof of it. That all changed this week when security sources provided Reuters with a photocopy of passports with Kim Jong Un and Kim Jong Il's photos in them. Unsurprisingly, the Brazilian government doesn't have much to say on the matter. Read the rest

North Korea owes its nukes to the amazing, flexible CNC mill

Since the 1990s, North Korea has aggressively pursued development -- and importation -- of CNC mills, the ubiquitous makerspace staples that automatically machine complex forms out of blocks of metal, wood, plastic and other materials. Read the rest

University of Hawaii's creepy email subject line to students: "In the event of a nuclear attack"

University of Hawaii sent an email to their students yesterday that had a horrific subject line: "In the event of a nuclear attack." This is in reference to North Korea's Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM), which experts believe have the capability to reach Hawaii and Alaska.

The email itself was not much brighter. Part of it read: "In light of concerns about North Korea missile tests, state and federal agencies are providing information about nuclear threats and what to do in the unlikely event of a nuclear attack and radiation emergency." At least students could be comforted by the word "unlikely."

The email "also told students and faculty to be aware of emergency sirens and to follow instructions on 'sheltering in place,'" says CBS News.

According to CBS:

The email comes amid heightened tensions between North Korea and the U.S. On Monday, U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis said the army "must stand ready" in the face of continued provocations by the North Korean regime.

In July, Hawaii became the first state to announce a public campaign urging those living there to prepare for a nuclear attack...

Every time North Korea fires a missile, the regime gets one step closer to reaching the Hawaiian Islands...

Once launched, a nuclear missile from North Korea would take less than 20 minutes to hit Honolulu.

Image: Vreed Read the rest

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