Tag Archives: Kim Jong-un

Dennis Rodman Heads to North Korea for Some More Basketball Diplomacy

Kim Jong-un and Dennis Rodman watch a basketball game in Pyongyang

Not even the recent purge/execution of Kim Jong-un’s uncle could put a damper on the blossoming friendship between the North Korean leader and the washed up basketball star.

Dennis Rodman arrived in North Korea for the third time on Thursday to train the national team and engage in some basketball diplomacy. The aging star and his documentary crew are scheduled to spend four days in the communist country helping to train a team of North Korean basketball players for a January exhibition in Pyongyang.

The January 8 exhibition is a very important one because it will celebrate the birthday of North Korean leader and Dennis Rodman bestie, Kim Jong-un. The match between North Korea and a group of ex-NBA players will certainly be an exciting one – the losing side gets purged. And a word of warning to the audience – you’d better clap until your hands are raw, because half-hearted clapping is grounds for execution in North Korea.

But Dennis Rodman doesn’t care. The ex-NBA player told reporters he doesn’t fear for his safety in North Korea.

“I mean, whatever his uncle has done, and whoever’s done anything in North Korea, I have no control over that. I mean, these things have been going on for years and years and years,” he told Reuters news agency.

“I’m just going over there to do a basketball game and have some fun,” he added.

While Rodman refused to talk politics with Kim Jong-un, including asking for American Kenneth Bae’s release, he reiterated his hope that basketball diplomacy would bring the feuding nations together.

“I hope this is going to engage American people, especially Obama, to just to try to talk to them,” he said.

The response from the U.S?

Dennis Rodman is not a representative of the US government in his trip to North Korea,” US State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said on Tuesday.

“We need to focus on what’s really important here when it comes to North Korea… the brutality of the North Korean regime he’s going to meet.”

Maybe the U.S. will luck out on this trip and Rodman will quietly disappear… like Kim Jong-un’s uncle.

Via: BBC News

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Current Event Cat of the Day: Uncle Jang the “Traitor” Gets Executed

Current Event Cat - Kim Jong Uncle

Things went from bad to worse for Kim Jong-un’s uncle, Jang Song Thaek. After being purged from the government for corruption and other Western-like behaviour last week, North Korea’s state news agency announced Thursday that the “traitor” was executed for the crime of trying to overthrow the state. Well that escalated quickly…

Uncle Jang, who is thought to have mentored his nephew during the leadership transition from Kim Jong-il to Kim Jong-un in 2011, was publically ousted from the Workers’ Party of Korea last weekend and shown on state TV being dragged away by guards. At first, officials accused him of “womanizing” and corruption, leading some North Korea observers to speculate that the real reason might have something to do with a personal feud between Jang and Kim Jong-un.

This week, North Korea announced that Uncle Jang was actually trying to overthrow Kim Jong-un’s government. The official statement released described how Jang had finally admitted to abusing his position of power to form a faction against the state and harbouring his own political ambitions. Most likely under extreme torture, but a confession is still a confession!

North Korea’s news agency KCNA released the weirdly worded statement regarding the new charges:

The accused is a traitor to the nation for all ages who perpetrated anti-party, counter-revolutionary factional acts in a bid to overthrow the leadership of our party and state and the socialist system.”

“Despicable human scum Jang, who was worse than a dog, perpetrated thrice-cursed acts of treachery in betrayal of such profound trust and warmest paternal love shown by the party and the leader for him.”

What? I wonder if this “official statement” sounds as ridiculous in Korean as it does in English…

Jang was also criticized for only “half-heartedly clapping” when Kim Jong-un became vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission before his father’s death. Apparently that didn’t sit well with Kim Jong-un and his resentment had been building ever since.  If that’s not cause for execution, I don’t know what is.

Via: BBC News

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Current Event Cat of the Day: A North Korea Purge

Kim Jong Purge

North Korea has officially confirmed the purge of Kim Jong-un’s influential uncle and mentor. Off to the gulags!

The removal of Jang Song-thaek, uncle of leader Kim Jong-un, is the biggest shake-up to hit Pyongyang since the death of leader Kim Jong-il in December 2011.

Kim Jong-un has purged hundreds of officials during his short time in power, but never of this magnitude. Jang Song-thaek was long considered the country’s number 2 power player, but apparently the power went to his head – or became too threatening to Kim Jong-un.

After a week of speculation, on Monday North Korea officially acknowledged the purge of Uncle Jang for alleged corruption, drug use, squandering money at casinos, womanizing and other “anti-state” acts.

“Mr. Jang seriously obstructed the nation’s economic affairs and the improvement of the standard of people’s living,” North Korea’s statement said.

Affected by the capitalist way of living, Jang committed irregularities and corruption and led a dissolute and depraved life.”

I guess his 2004 “re-education” didn’t quite sink in…

The confirmation that Pyongyang had “eliminated Jang and purged his group,” came just one month after two of his aides were executed for corruption. The amount of detail in the purge announcement and images broadcast on North Korean state TV of Jang being dragged away appear to be a warning to North Koreans against dissent.

South Korea appears less than pleased about the recent purge.

“North Korea is currently carrying out a reign of terror, undertaking a large-scale purge in order to strengthen Kim Jong-un’s power,” South Korean President Park Geun-hye said during a cabinet meeting.

“From now on, South-North Korea relations may become more unstable.”

More unstable?

Via: The National Post

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North Korea Totally Needs a Luxury Ski Resort… And Other News

North Korea luxury ski resort

Forget the crippling poverty, the widespread media censorship and the rampant human rights abuses – North Korea needs a luxury ski resort!

The question is, who in North Korea can afford to go to a luxury ski resort? Kim Jong-un and… well just Kim Jong-un I guess. Maybe he built it so he won’t be tempted to go to Japanese Disneyland and pull a Kim Jong-nam (Kim Jong-un’s infamous half brother who ruined his chances as North Korea’s leader by sneaking into the amusement park). Or perhaps the multimillion-dollar ski resort was built to stick it to South Korea who is hosting the 2018 Winter Olympics. Regardless of the reason, the project suffered a few set-backs (aside from the fact that only 0.02 percent of the population know how to ski) – Switzerland, Austria and France have all refused to sell ski lifts to North Korea because of ongoing sanctions on the sale of luxury goods to the communist state. North Korea called the refusal to sell ski lifts a “serious human rights abuse.” Huh. Washington Post

Dilma RousseffWho’s Brazil accusing of spying on them now? Canada! Brazil’s foreign affairs minister summoned Canada’s ambassador to the country (which is apparently a big diplomatic deal) to discuss Brazil’s spying allegations. Apparently Canada used phone and email metadata to map the communications of Brazil’s Mines and Energy Ministry. Nothing angers Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff more than spying. Rousseff called the alleged surveillance a clear case of industrial espionage. Your response Canada? No comment. CBC News

Smog SportsAthletes are always afraid they’re going to choke, but when they’re playing in China they are literally going to choke – ON SMOG! International athletes at the LPGA golf event and the China Open tennis championship in Beijing have been seen sporting surgical-style face masks – and not just to blend in with the locals. Pollution levels have gone from China’s normal hazardous to super hazardous, prompting athletes to complain about the air quality calling it “a disaster” and “a joke.” CNN

Jeans in IranOk Iran, we get it – you like pants. After Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave an interview saying, “I think if the Iranian people had freedom, they would wear jeans, listen to western music, and have free elections.” Iranians have been quick to prove him wrong – by showing off their pants. Iranians began tweeting pictures of themselves wearing blue jeans and mocking Netanyahu and his backwards impression of Iran. The jeans fiasco took away from Netanyahu’s message that Iran was a wolf in sheep’s clothing and is trying to pull the wool over the United States’ eyes regarding its nuke program. But if he can’t even see their jeans, how can he see their nuclear weapons? The Guardian

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Dennis Rodman to the Rescue – Again!

Dennis Rodman and His BFF

Dennis Rodman has asked Kim Jong-un to “do him a solid” and release American Kenneth Bae.

South Korean born Kenneth Bae was sentenced last week to 15 years of hard labour for taking pictures of starving children in North Korea. The American citizen was a tour operator who had been to the north several times before. North Korea believed he was using his tour company to bring Christian missionaries into the isolated country in an effort to topple Kim Jong-un.

Since former presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton have already done their parts to free detained Americans in North Korea, Dennis Rodman decided it was his turn to step in. And why not? He is BFFs with Kim Jong-un.

And what better way to reach out to a dictator of a country with severely limited Internet access than through Twitter. The former NBA star/current diplomat extraordinaire took to Twitter to ask the North Korean leader to release Bae.

Dennis Rodman Tweet

Rodman’s bestfriendship with the dictator began back in March when the basketball player paid a visit to North Korea. The two buds cemented their friendship while watching basketball and ignoring human rights.

No response yet from Kim Jong-un though. Perhaps Rodman should negotiate a trade: courtside Bulls tickets for the release of Bae. Bulls for Bae! It’s got a nice ring to it.

Via: Politico

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John Kerry Gives Stern Warning to Kim Jong-un

John Kerry Stern Warning

How scared should you be about the whole North Korea thing? Pretty f*cking scared according to some reports from the Defense Intelligence Agency, which suggest that North Korea has mastered the technology to mount a nuclear warhead on a missile.

But not to worry, US Secretary of State John Kerry has arrived in Seoul, South Korea with a stern warning for its evil neighbor to the north. Kerry reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to protecting itself and its allies and said that a missile launch by North Korea would be a “provocative act” and a “HUGE mistake”.

“I would say ahead of time that it is a huge mistake for him to choose to do that because it will further isolate his country and further isolate his people, who frankly are desperate for food, not missile launches.”

The North recently moved two Musudan ballistic missiles to its east coast, causing South Korea to raise its alert level to ‘vital’. North Korea’s Musudan missiles have a range of up to 2,500 miles, according to American officials, which means they have the potential to strike targets in South Korea, all of Japan and even Guam. Noooo!! Not Guam!!!

However, John Kerry didn’t seem to be too worried. He believes the greatest risk isn’t a deliberate attack but a conflict arising out out of a series of provocations and miscalculations by the young and inexperienced Kim Jong-un. Burn.

“Kim Jong-un needs to understand, as I think he probably does, what the outcome of the conflict would be.”

I don’t know a lot about Kim Jong-un (only his bff Dennis Rodman really does), but I get the feeling he’s not the type to react well to a stern talking to. He seems more of the irrational tantrum type. At least he doesn’t have nuclear weapons… oh sh*t..

Via: The New York Times

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North Korea Declares War on the Entire Planet

North Korea Declares War

No, that’s an April Fools’ joke. Kind of…  North Korea did say it was entering a ‘state of war’ with South Korea over the weekend. So I guess it’s only a half joke.

The Korean peninsula has been engaged in a cycle of escalating tensions ever since North Korea started testing out its long-range rockets back in December, a move condemned by the international community. Then came the nuclear tests, which brought on a fresh pile of UN sanctions. Then South Korea decided to engage in joint US military drills and the US flew B-2 nuclear-capable bombers over the Korean peninsula.

North Korea didn’t take it too well to say the least. In retaliation they scrapped the Korean War armistice, cyber-attacked South Korea’s broadcasters and banks, made numerous threats against South Korea and the US, cut off the military hotline between the two countries and most recently Kim Jong-un declared North Korea is entering a ‘state of war’ with South Korea.

South Korea’s new president Park Geun-hye promised a strong military response to any North Korean provocation after the ‘state of war’ announcement. President Park Geun-hye said that she took the series of threats from Pyongyang “very seriously”. The South Korean president is a conservative who originally advocated cautious engagement with North Korea during her campaign. Since taking office in February, she has been compelled to take a more hardline stance.

“I believe that we should make a strong and immediate retaliation without any other political considerations if (the North) stages any provocation against our people,” she said.

All eyes will be on Kim Jong-un to see if this latest threat is just another in a long line of rhetorical provocations or if he really is a crazy kid yelling out threats while clinging to his nuclear toys.

Via: The New York Times

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Stealth Bombers Over South Korea… and Other News.

Stealth Bombers

Kim Jong-un wets his pants as US stealth bombers fly over South Korea. The US has flown two B-2 stealth bombers over South Korea as part of a joint military drill to prove its forces could conduct “long-range, precision strikes quickly and at will”. This show of force will likely further enrage North Korea who has already threatened nuclear strikes against the US and South Korea. Washington and Seoul say the drills are routine and defensive but North Korea isn’t known for underreacting… National Post

Choc BunnyThe chocolate bunny legal battle is over. Bringing an end to more than a decade of court battles, Lindt loses the case over the Easter bunny trademark. The German court rejected Swiss chocolate maker Lindt’s plea to trademark their gold foil wrapped chocolate Easter bunny—with its distinct trademark red bow tie. Who won the case? Confiserie Riegelein, the German chocolate maker that Lindt said was producing similar bunnies. Peter Riegelein, head of the family-owned chocolate company, was thrilled with the decision. “The sitting gold-wrapped bunny has been a firm part of our offering for at least a half century.” Bunnies for everyone! Reuters

NelsonFormer South African President Nelson Mandela is back in the hospital and “responding positively” to treatment for the recurrence of a lung infection. This marks the third time in four months that Mandela, 94, South Africa’s first black president, has been hospitalized. Apparently Mandela has struggled with lung problems since he contracted tuberculosis during his 27 years in prison in the apartheid era. Still… 94 is pretty good. New York Times

Cyprus banksSavers rejoice as banks reopen in Cyprus! After a nearly two-week shutdown to hammer out the bailout package, banks reopened today in Cyrpus. The banks will place strict control on transactions, including a limit of withdrawals. Otherwise everyone would withdraw everything. Officials say the emergency rules imposed to prevent a bank run will be temporary, initially for seven days, but economists say they will be difficult to lift as long as the economy is in crisis. On a more positive note, at least they reached a bailout agreement with the EU this week. Which is likely to push Cyprus deeper into an economic slump, shrink the banking sector and cost thousands of jobs… Reuters

LanzaNew details have emerged from the Adam Lanza / Newtown shooting case. Police have revealed that it only took five minutes for Adam Lanza to kill 26 children and teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School, effectively ruining everybody’s Christmas. Literature distributed by the National Rifle Association (NRA) was discovered inside the home of Newtown shooter. One of the books removed from Lanza’s home is a spiral-bound volume titled, NRA Guide to the Basics of Pistol Shooting. Other items discovered in his home include a massive amount of ammunition, swords, and a bulletproof vest. Police say Lanza’s motive is still unclear and they hope to have a full report by June. NBC News

feetDoes Pope Francis have a foot fetish? Pope Francis is determined to be a humble pope and to prove it he will wash the feet of prisoners in a youth detention centre near Rome. The washing of feet on the Thursday before Easter is a Christian tradition commemorating Christ’s Last Supper. During the service, the Pope is supposed to wash and kiss the feet of 12 people to replicate the Bible’s account of Jesus Christ’s gesture of humility towards his 12 apostles on the night before he was crucified. Fine, but did he have to choose prisoners? BBC News

OScar POscar Pistorius, the blade runner charged with murdering his girlfriend, is now allowed to travel after he challenged his bail terms. A judge said the Olympic and Paralympic star would be allowed to leave South Africa to compete as long as he complies with certain conditions. Fun fact: Oscar’s borther Carl is also on trial for homicide. Their parents must be very proud. Globe and Mail

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The Odd Couple: Dennis Rodman and Kim Jong-Un are Besties

Dennis Rodman

In what could be one of the oddest pairings ever, Dennis Rodman, former NBA star and body modification aficionado, met with North Korean Supreme Leader (his words, not mine) Kim Jong-un and are now “friends”.

Dennis Rodman visited North Korea last week on a two-day trip alongside the Harlem Globetrotters and VICE magazine staffers, who filmed the trip for a HBO documentary. In post-Pyongyang interviews, Rodman had some interesting / bizarre things to say about his experience with Kim Jong-Un. No mention of human rights abuses though.

“I love him. He’s awesome,”

“You know, he’s a good guy to me. Guess what? He’s my friend.”

“What I saw in that country … I saw that people respect him and his family.”

Rodman also offered up his solution to the ongoing US-North Korea tensions:

“He wants Obama to do one thing: call him … “[Kim Jong-Un] loves basketball. And I said the same thing, I said: ‘Obama loves basketball.’ Let’s start there.”

But alas, not even Dennis Rodman’s hard-on for Kim Jong-Un could keep North Korea from hating on America. The country’s Army spokesman announced today that North Korea would cancel its 1953 ceasefire agreement with South Korea amid speculation that China is collaborating with the U.S. on a series of harsh resolutions to be circulated at the U.N. The agreement between China and the U.S. on the draft sanctions is seen as a sign that China, a longtime ally of North Korea, has grown increasingly unhappy with the regime’s behavior. Perhaps it was all that nuclear testing.

If only this could be settled on the basketball court….

Via: The Guardian

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Kim Jong-Un is Kim Jong-Done with American-led UN sanctions

Kim Jong-un

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (aka America’s sexiest man alive), has vowed “substantial and high-profile” retaliation against the new United States-led United Nations sanctions on his country.

Kim Jong-un appeared to be asserting his leadership by calling a meeting of top security and foreign affairs officials to discuss retaliation measures and give “specific tasks” to various officials. Although North Korea did not specify exactly what those measures might be, references to earlier statements in which the country declared its goal to launch more long-range rockets and conduct a third nuclear test in order to target the United States. Sounds suspicious…

A quick look at the tubby Asian makes it hard to take him seriously, but I suppose Kim Jong-un does have quite a few Kim Jong-guns. In fact, that’s what led to the sanctions in the first place. North Korea’s successful December 12 rocket launch is what prompted the UN to tighten sanctions against the country last week. The UN Security Council determined that the launching was a cover for testing intercontinental ballistic missile technology and a violation of its earlier resolutions banning North Korea from conducting such tests.

Of course Kim Jong-un (I’ve run out of Kim Jong-puns, oh wait there it is…) did not the news very well, rejecting the new resolutions much like he rejected the old ones. North Korea’s main party newspaper announced that the sanctions have left the country with no other option but a nuclear test. Apparently,

“A nuclear test is what the people demand”.

Well, they would probably demand an end to the crippling poverty and isolation that plagues their country if they were allowed to voice their opinions and weren’t inundated daily with propaganda, but close enough.

Via: The New York Times

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