Bureau Chief Malaysia and Brunei, Kuala Lumpur
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Dec 13, 2012

For North Korea, next step is a nuclear test

SEOUL (Reuters) – North Korea rattled the world on Wednesday by putting a satellite into orbit using the kind of technology that appears to demonstrate it can develop a missile capable of hitting the United States.

Its next step will likely be a nuclear test, which would be the third conducted by the reclusive and unpredictable state. Its 2009 test came on May 25, a month after a rocket launch.

Dec 7, 2012

North Korean leader cracking down on dissent, South says

SEOUL (Reuters) – North Korea’s new young leader is using an imminent rocket launch to bolster his prestige internally and crack down on dissent amid signs the transition of power is not going as smoothly as planned, a top South Korean official said on Friday.

The isolated North is to launch a rocket carrying what it says is a satellite between December 10-22 in a move that has been condemned by the United States, South Korea and Japan as they believe it is designed to test technology for a long-range missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead.

Dec 1, 2012

N.Korea plans new rocket launch as leader asserts power

SEOUL, Dec 1 (Reuters) – North Korea is to carry out its
second rocket launch of 2012 as its youthful leader Kim Jong-un
flexes his muscles a year after his father’s death, in a move
that will likely heighten diplomatic tensions and draw criticism
from Washington.

North Korea’s state news agency announced the decision to
launch another space satellite on Saturday, just a day after Kim
met a senior delegation from China’s Communist Party in the
North Korean capital of Pyongyang.

Nov 25, 2012

“Shadow of Roh” neck and neck with dictator’s daughter before South Korea polls

SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korea’s December presidential election looks set to turn into a referendum on two of the country’s most polarizing leaders as the daughter of military dictator Park Chung-hee faces off against a former aide to ex-President Roh Moo-hyun.

Park’s authoritarian rule propelled South Korea from poverty to the cusp of developed-nation status and ended when he was assassinated in 1979. The left-wing Roh’s single five-year term closed in chaos as economic reforms failed and a policy of engagement with North Korea was wrecked as Pyongyang pushed ahead with a nuclear weapons program.

Nov 19, 2012

South Korean opposition far apart on presidential deal

SEOUL (Reuters) – With a week until a deadline to finalize nominations for South Korea’s December 19 presidential election, neither of two main opposition challengers appears willing to step aside, which will likely mean the conservatives retain the country’s most powerful office.

Moon Jae-in, who has been nominated by the main left-of-centre opposition party, has held talks with independent Ahn Cheol-soo over a joint platform that could lead to a single candidate, but the talks have been bedeviled by infighting and leaks, with neither side appearing willing to give way.

Nov 13, 2012

Secrecy cloaks South Korea’s civil nuclear program

SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korea’s government should resume publishing polls on nuclear safety after a loss of public confidence in the sector in the wake of Japan’s Fukushima disaster, an opposition South Korean lawmaker said on Tuesday.

The call came as South Korea, whose public is traditionally seen as pro-nuclear, investigated fake safety documents for parts used in nuclear plants led to two of the country’s 23 reactors being shut down last week and has raised the prospect of power shortages in the harsh Korean winter.

Oct 28, 2012

South Korea pension fund needs more contributions, new investments

SEOUL (Reuters) – The first payouts from South Korea’s state pension fund only started in 2008, but faced with the fastest ageing population among developed nations and one of the lowest birthrates, the country needs to deal with a looming funding crunch.

The world’s third-largest state fund by assets is generating more than $2 billion a month in new net funding as contributions outpace payments, but by 2034 that will end as South Koreans retire and the working age population falls.

Oct 19, 2012

North Korea threatens to fire on South if propaganda balloons launched

SEOUL (Reuters) – Impoverished North Korea threatened on Friday to open fire on South Korea if it allows activists to go ahead with plans to drop anti-North leaflets on its territory, its most strident warning against its long-time foe in months.

North Korea, which is still technically at war with the South after their 1950-53 conflict ended in merely a truce, often uses shrill rhetoric denouncing its rich, capitalist neighbor and threatening all-out war.

Jul 17, 2012

Young North Korea leader pushes out father’s allies as he tightens grip

SEOUL (Reuters) – North Korea’s young leader promoted a new army marshal after sacking his top general in what a South Korean official report said was a bid to impose authority on a military that has been the backbone of his family’s long rule over the isolated state.

But analysts said the moves, just seven months since rising to power, do not suggest any fundamental change by Kim Jong-un to the policies of his grandfather and father which have left North Korea constantly on the brink of famine and ostracized by the most of the world.

Jul 12, 2012

Rock chicks, show tunes and Minnie Mouse: Pyongyang swings to Kim’s new vibe

SEOUL (Reuters) – It might not be Lady Gaga’s pop music extravaganza rolling into town, but North Korea’s young dictator is taking unprecedented steps to breathe some fun into his repressive regime, helped by women rock stars in miniskirts and killer heels, and cultural icons from the usually reviled United States.

Kim Jong-un, the late-20s head of state who took over the family dynasty last December, gave the performance a thumbs up at the end. The gerontocrats who make up the ruling elite in the hermit nation also applauded enthusiastically, according to an hour and forty minutes of footage released on Thursday by North Korea’s state broadcaster KRT.

    • About David

      "I am currently Reuters Malaysia Bureau Chief and have been here since August 2008, tracking Malaysia from the return of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim to parliament and the government choosing a new Prime Minister Najib Razak. Prior to Malaysia, I worked as Bureau Chief in Hungary for four years in a tumultuous time that saw mass riots, a record budget deficit and shock election results. I have worked mainly on emerging market economies covering debt restructurings from countries as diverse as Argentina, Russia, Serbia and Iraq."
      Hometown:
      Liverpool
      Joined Reuters:
      20 odd years ago
      Languages:
      English, French
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