Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Something interesting from last week

So, many of you have probably seen this, since I think all of us follow the news, but I read this at work last week, and thought it was particularly interesting, and indicative of not only the problems of ROK-DPRK relations right now, but also demonstrates why China supports the DPRK regime.

"S Korea 'regrets' refugee mix-up"

One of the reasons I'm posting this though, is really to ask a question. Does anyone have an idea why the DPRK has kidnapped South Korean individuals before? Do they basically arrest them for trespassing? Or are they interrogated as enemy combatants in the old Cold War style? Do they really kidnap them? And do events like these strain Chinese-South Korean relations? (I would imagine they do). Does North Korea consider itself the rightful government of the whole peninsula, so South Koreans are really their citizens?


snowume said...

Erin, you threw a number of interesting questions. I vaguely know that the DPRK abducted S.Koreans and Japanese to train their spies.Yet, I am not sure it is correct or not. After reading your questions, I tried to find the answers. I could not find the answers yet though.

Rearding the last question, I do not want to answer right away based on my assumption. As far as I know, the SOuth Korean Government consider itself the rigtful government of the whole peninsula, too. I read Korean constituion and interpreted in this way. I copied articles from the official website of "The Constitution Court of Korea" http://www.ccourt.go.kr/home/main/xml/law_list.jsp#

Article 3
The territory of the Republic of Korea shall consist of the Korean peninsula and its adjacent islands.
Article 4
The Republic of Korea shall seek unification and shall formulate and carry out a policy of peaceful unification based on the principles of freedom and democracy.

snowume said...


I found answers for your question regarding DPRK's intention or reason to abduct S. Koreans. According to The NK Human Rights White Paper 2006 by KINU,[Only Korean]
(http://www.kinu.or.kr/kinu/sc/skin/kinu/data/file/data04/data/6035964664SE.PDF) the DPRK has denied abducting S.Koreans after Korean War. DPRK has kept arguing that those S. Koreans who have been considered abductees entered the country voluntarily. However, the source articulated that DPRK exploited some of those as trainers for their spies. Those south koreans trained them how to survive in the south successfully. Also, some others are believed to work for business with South Korea. a former flight attendant of KAL, who was abducted by DPRK, used to work for broadcasting.

as stated above, since DPRK never admitted abdcuting s. koreans, the information in the source is mainly from testimony of NK refugees or others.

Sayaka said...

It reminded me of a documentary film of Yokota Megumi, a Japanese abductee by North Korea.
The film covers more about Japanese politics rather than N Korea itself, but it includes an interesting interview of a (claimed) former N.K. spy.

Grace said...

I don't know if anyone remembers the Charles Jenkins (alleged deserter of the US Army for North Korea)affair back in fall 2004. I was working in Japan then and it was big headlines there as it also involved his Japanese wife whom he married in North Korea (abducted from Japan in 1978) and their two daughters. His wife, Sato san, was one of the few abductees that the DPRK admitted to. Listening to their accounts, Jenkins trained North Korean spies in English/American military customs, while his wife taught Japanese language and culture. If you're interested, these links talk more about their story:

(A rather interesting website!)


Sayaka said...

Ya, I remember sensational media reports of Jenkins's issue.

Sayaka said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Erin Robinson said...

Thanks, everyone! That certainly does answer some of my questions. I appreciate all the links. I vaguely remember the Jenkins story, but it's good to brush up on that.