Global News Journal

The incredible shrinking Kim Jong-il

May 12, 2010

KOREA NORTH/KIMNorth Korean leader Kim Jong-il emerged from his reclusive life last week for a rare visit to China looking every bit the part of a man nearing 70 recovering from serious illness. Kim, who was widely suspected of suffering a stroke about two years ago, walked with a slight limp, had a thinning head of hair and shed the trademark paunch that once pressed snugly against his jumpsuits. The most telling pictures of his change can be seen in the posed shots he took with Chinese President Hu Jintao, born just 10 months after Kim in 1942, and looking much younger  today.  Pictures taken in October 2005 when Hu visited Pyongyang and from earlier this month when Kim was in Beijing show how much the North Korean leader has changed.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-il says bye-bye bouffant. Hello China?

March 15, 2010

NORTH KOREANorth Korean leader Kim Jong-il appears to have abandoned his trademark bouffant, relegating one of the world’s most noticeable hair styles to the scrap heap of history.

Interview with North Korea border crosser Robert Park

December 30, 2009

KOREA-NORTH/CROSSING

 (Photographs by Lee Jae-won)

North Korea said on Tuesday it had  detained a U.S. citizen who entered its territory, apparently confirming a report that an American activist crossed into the
state to raise awareness about Pyongyang’s human rights abuses.   Robert Park, 28, walked over the frozen Tumen river from
China and into the North last Friday, other activists said. The Korean-American told Reuters ahead of the crossing that it was his duty as a
Christian to make the journey and that he was carrying a letter calling on North Korean leader Kim Jong-il to step down.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-il likes to collect trains

November 10, 2009

While some people enjoy collecting model trains and building tiny stations along scaled down tracks, North Korean leader Kim Jong-il appears to have taken this passion to a new level. According to a report in South Korea’s largest daily newspaper, the Chosun Ilbo, Kim has six private trains and 20 stations around the country built just for him.

The “hostile racket” that comes with North Korea’s human rights season

November 5, 2009

Once a year, North Korea’s often vitriolic rhetoric machine fires up with special intensity to attack those who attack its human rights record. The exchanges usually come toward the end of the year when the U.N. General Assembly approves what has become an annual measure criticising North Korea for having one of the worst rights records in the world.

North Korea’s Great Leader knew his cabbage

October 13, 2009

One of the primary aims of North Korea’s propaganda machine is to show its founder Kim Il-sung and current leader Kim Jong-il as all-knowing, parent-like (and at times god-like) figures who devote themselves entirely to bettering the lives of every citizen of the state.

North Korea’s “Dear Leader” opens umbrella boom

August 14, 2009

Kim Jong-il may be at the forefront of a fashion trend that has just hit the streets of Pyongyang: Using oversized umbrellas as parasols.

from Tales from the Trail:

North Korea requests Clinton. So off he goes.

August 5, 2009

KOREA-NORTH/It turns out that it was North Korea which had suggested that former President Bill Clinton would be the best person to come and negotiate the release of two journalists who had been sentenced to 12 years of hard labor in the Stalinist state.
 
The U.S. government -- particularly Secretary of State Hillary Clinton -- had been working for months on trying to free the two journalists. The secretary of state reportedly proposed sending various people to Pyongyang, including Clinton's former vice president Al Gore, to lobby for the women's release.
 
But North Korea rejected Gore and other possible envoys like Senator John Kerry, Governor Bill Richardson and former ambassador to South Korea Donald Gregg. Pyongyang wanted President Clinton and passed that word along through the two detained journalists, Laura Ling and Euna Lee, who were making occasional phone calls to their families.
 
"In mid-July during one such phone call, Ms. Ling and Ms. Lee shared what the North Koreans had told them -- that they would be willing to grant them amnesty and release the two Americans if an envoy in the person of President Clinton would agree to come to Pyongyang and seek their release," a senior administration official said.

How Ill is Kim Jong-il?

July 15, 2009

Photo:A compilation by Reuters of pool photographs and images provided by North Korea’s KCNA news agency showing North Korean leader Kim Jong-il from 2004 to 2009. The photograph in the lower right was released this week by KCNA

What do we know about Kim Jong-il and North Korea?

By Sean Maguire
June 29, 2009

Former U.S. defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s attempts to be philosophical about ‘known unknowns’ and ‘unknown unknowns’ gave him a reputation for slipperiness and cant. The phrases uttered in 2002 to explain the military’s failure to improve security in Afghanistan have passed into folklore, alongside such gems as ’stuff happens,’ which was his explanation for the looting that followed the toppling of Saddam Hussein in Iraq in 2003.