República Democrática Popular da Coreia

Coreia do Norte: ideologia, guerra e violência

Confira aqui o artigo do pesquisador do ISAPE Bruno Gomes Guimarães sobre o papel da guerra e da violência nas ideologias da Coreia do Norte publicado na revista Conjuntura Austral. Usando marcos teóricos de Malešević e Schmitt sobre a ideologização da violência, o trabalho analisa as ideologias norte-coreanas Songun e Ch’ongdae. Conclui-se que ambas lidam com inimizades nos extremos e estão conscientes de uma possibilidade de guerra envolvendo o país. No entanto, nota-se que elas são articuladas somente para fins defensivos e que servem para a mobilização de guerra constante na Coreia do Norte.

Imagem: Chosun.


Coreia do Norte dispara míssil de curto alcance, segundo Seul

A Coreia do Norte realizou um teste com um míssil de curto alcance nesta terça-feira (29/03), afirmaram militares da Coreia do Sul. Projétil teria sido disparado da cidade costeira de Wonsan e percorrido 200 quilômetros. O míssil teria caído em território norte-coreano, já que o objetivo era testar sua precisão.

Foto: Yonhap


Coreia do Sul propõe reaproximação com Coreia do Norte

O governo sul-coreano propôs novas consultações bilaterais para o início de 2015 aos norte-coreanos. Medida ocorre em meio a tensões entre Washington e Pyongyang a respeito de suposto ataque cibernético norte-coreano. Representante de Seul disse que conversas devem abordar temas como o reencontro de familiares separados pela Guerra da Coreia e eventos para lembrar o 70° aniversário da divisão da península coreana.

Mapa: Folha.

Mapa: Folha.

Sul-coreanos veem Coreia do Norte como parceiro cooperativo

Pesquisa de opinião encomendada por Seul mostra que cerca de 60% dos sul-coreanos veem que a Coreia do Norte é um parceiro cooperativo, isto é, um país com o qual a Coreia do Sul coopera e deveria cooperar mais. Apenas 13,3% do público acredita que Pyongyang seja hostil.

Mapa: Folha.

Mapa: Folha.


Coreia: apostando na reunificação

Apesar das recorrentes tensões entre as Coreias, investidores estão cada vez mais otimistas para com a reunificação do país.




Na Ásia, crescem os temores de um colapso da Coreia do Norte

Há sinais crescentes de que a China e a Coreia do Sul estão se preparando para um colapso do regime da Coreia do Norte. Seul aumentou a conscientização em torno da temática da reunificação e as benesses econômicas, enquanto que Pequim tem planos militares para receber refugiados do país vizinho.

Pyongyang. Foto: Thomaz Napoleão.

Pyongyang. Foto: Thomaz Napoleão.


China estabelece “linha vermelha” para a Coreia do Norte

A China declarou uma “linha vermelha” para a Coreia do Norte no último sábado (08/03), dizendo que não permitirá caos ou guerra na península coreana e que a paz só virá através da completa desnuclearização. Declaração veio pouco depois de mísseis lançados em teste pelos norte-coreanos quase ter atingido avião civil chinês.

Ministro Wang Yi. Foto: Reuters / Stringer.

Ministro Wang Yi. Foto: Reuters / Stringer.


Coreias terão primeira reunião de alto nível em 7 anos

Coreias do Norte e do Sul concordaram em realizar conversas de alto nível na próxima quarta-feira (12/02) em vilarejo da zona desmilitarizada de fronteira. Será a primeira reunião desse tipo desde 2007.

Local da reunião intercoreana. Mapa: AFP.

Local da reunião intercoreana. Mapa: AFP.


Execução de tio de ditador prenuncia nova limpeza política na Coreia do Norte

Coreia do Norte condena e executa, por traição, antigo homem de confiança e cunhado de Kim Jong-il, pai do atual líder do país. Caso expõe divisões no círculo de poder e dificuldades do jovem Kim Jong-un de contorná-las.

Fonte: Reuters.

Fonte: Reuters.


O que a execução de Jang Song Thaek diz sobre estabilidade norte-coreana?

A segunda pessoa mais poderosa da Coreia do Norte – Jang Song Thaek, tio de Kim Jong-un – foi executada dias após ter sido expulso do partido e do exército. Esse acontecimento abre margens para muitas especulações acerca da estabilidade do regime.

Fonte: AFP.

Fonte: AFP.

What does purge say about North Korea’s stability?

BBC – 12/12/2013

North Korea’s second most powerful figure has been executed, days after being purged from the country’s ruling elite. State media said Chang Song-thaek had pleaded guilty to challenging the leadership of Kim Jong-un and forming a rival faction within the Workers’ Party. He had already been stripped of all his official positions and expelled from the party, but what does his very public expulsion say about the stability of North Korea’s opaque political machine, asks the BBC’s Lucy Williamson.

Few countries choreograph their political drama quite like North Korea. And after surviving for months on scraps of news and hearsay about the regime, analysts of the country’s politics have been thrown a juicy steak.

Almost overnight, Chang Song-thaek morphed from uncle and mentor to North Korea’s young leader to “anti-revolutionary” criminal outcast. He was stripped of all official positions, edited out of official documentary footage, and his forcible removal from a party meeting, as well as his long list of alleged misdeeds and character faults, were broadcast on state media.

The detail of those charges alone startled many people; the report on North Korea’s state news agency ran to several pages.

“It’s unique,” an official at South Korea’s Unification Ministry said. “We haven’t seen this kind of official announcement in the past – the very detailed explanation seems like an attempt to provide legitimacy for its decision.”

‘John the Baptist’

Chief among Mr Chang’s charges: that he had challenged his country’s leadership, arrogated control of economic, judicial and security affairs to himself, and tried to form his own rival faction within the ruling Workers’ Party.

It is the biggest political shake-up since the death of the country’s former ruler Kim Jong-il two years ago. But North Korea’s political reporting of itself is rarely transparent, so what might this unusual glimpse through the looking glass actually mean?

Some analysts believe it could signal restlessness within the ruling elite. As news first surfaced of Mr Chang’s purge, Professor Victor Cha of Georgetown University warned that “there is a great deal more churn inside the North Korean system than is popularly depicted in the media, even though Kim appears in control”.

“If you have to take out the top people,” he says, “that’s usually a sign that things are quite dynamic, because if they were going well, you wouldn’t need to.”

South Korea’s online news site DailyNK, which has sources inside North Korea, believes Mr Chang’s removal highlights a rift over how to boost growth in the country, perhaps sparked by China’s successful economic reform process.

It quotes an unnamed source as saying that Chang Song-thaek “had been pushing for Chinese-style ‘reform and opening’, not a partial opening” as wanted by Kim Jong-un. “What started with conflict between the two,” the source says, “ended in Chang’s downfall.”

Others, though, believe there is little policy difference among the top levels of government.

Dr Paik Haksoon, of Seoul’s Sejong Institute, says that if divisions among Pyongyang’s elite were serious, the regime would not have publicised them in this way, nor resolved them as quickly. Instead, he says, Mr Chang’s expulsion is more a sign that the young Kim Jong-un has outgrown his tutor.

“Chang Song-thaek had finished his role as a bridge between the past and the future,” he said. “You can compare him to John the Baptist in the Bible – the man of the Old Testament who played a bridging role for the new era of Jesus Christ.”

But that role, in shepherding North Korea’s young leader through the transition of power, had unexpected consequences.

“The more people Chang attracted, the more powerful he became, and that was the challenge to Kim Jong-un,” says Dr Paik. “Chang Song-thaek was such a big figure in North Korean politics that his removal demanded a long and detailed explanation on why he had to be expelled.”

Even so, what is surprising, says Dr John Delury of Yonsei University, is the acknowledgement by North Korea that “there are members of the Party, and the Kim family – people at the highest levels of government – who are deeply corrupt and disloyal. This level of admission about someone who until a month ago was right next to the leader – it is startling. And also a warning to others.”

Read this way, Mr Chang’s removal is another sign of Kim Jong-un’s authority: the latest in a series of carefully calibrated moves to demonstrate his control, and his independence – from the former army chief, whom he purged last year; from China’s leaders, whom he snubbed soon after taking power; and now from his closest advisor and confidante.

And that authority is being demonstrated, not just to a domestic audience, but an international one as well.

‘Important barometer’

What is striking, says John Delury, is the speed with which North Korea got control of the story. “They very quickly went public with their version of what’s happened to Chang Song-thaek,” he said.

“In some ways, we can link this to new developments in North Korea’s relationship with the world: they have a Twitter account, they put out videos on YouTube, they’re much more integrated into the global conversation, and when they become the centre of that conversation, they pro-actively get their side of the story told.”

But even with such a rare level of official detail around Mr Chang’s removal from power, it is never easy to pin down the truth of what is actually going on.

“North Korea’s official announcements are a very important barometer for us,” an official at South Korea’s Unification Ministry said, “and there are certain keywords within them that we pay particular attention to. But we also have other channels – official and unofficial – that we try to gather information from.”

Other sources, though, can be equally problematic. “The study of North Korea tends to be dominated by political organisations, governments, intelligence organisations, think-tanks,” says John Delury. “And the North Korean sources themselves – whether government or defectors – tend to have very intense agendas.”

He says that as a result of this lack of clear information, experts “tend to come up with a framework – you sort of have to. You start to fit facts to your framework and it becomes very hard to let go of it, and then you start missing things.”

Haksoon Paik agrees that context is everything. And taking a stance – for example, by writing a newspaper column – is a risky business. “It could improve my image or destroy it!” he says. But in the end, “when there are conflicting interpretations, you have to use your judgement”.

And the long years of watching North Korea’s state media do gradually bestow a cumulative kind of insight, he says. One of the reasons Dr Paik believes Kim Jong-un is so firmly entrenched in his position is the experience of watching him on television, from the moment of his accession until now.

“At first he wasn’t very natural,” he says. “He was quite awkward sometimes. But as time passed by, he was clearly enjoying his status. I remember one occasion, a few months after he took power, when he was delivering some ‘on-the-spot guidance’, with Chang Song-thaek beside him. Kim Jong-un turned suddenly towards his uncle, and Chang stiffened immediately in response, just like soldiers do with their generals. It was such a natural reaction, and I was rather shocked.”

Rare moments like these are perhaps the closest we’ll come, at least for now, to observing directly the workings of the North Korean state. Glimpses through the curtain of North Korean propaganda; fingered lovingly like prayer-beads, year after year, by those watching from outside.


Na Coreia do Norte, tio de Kim Jong-un é executado

Corea do Norte anunciou hoje (12/12) que Jang Song Thaek, tio do líder supremo Kim Jong-un, foi julgado e imediatamente executado por planejar tomar o poder no país.

Kim Jong-un. Fonte: Wikimedia Commons.

Kim Jong-un. Fonte: Wikimedia Commons.

North Korea Executes Leader’s Uncle

The Diplomat – 13/12/2013 – por Zachary Keck e Ankit Panda

The uncle of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un was tried in a military tribunal on Thursday and summarily executed according to reports from Pyongyang’s state media.

An article appearing on the official Korean Central News Agency on Thursday announced that Jang Song Thaek, the uncle of current leader Kim Jong-Un, had been tried in a special military tribunal of the DPRK Ministry of State Security on Thursday. According to an English translation of the article provided by NK News, Jang was accused of being a traitor for all ages. More specifically, the state accused Jang of having:

“brought together undesirable forces and formed a faction as the boss of a modern day factional group for a long time and thus committed such hideous crime as attempting to overthrow the state by all sorts of intrigues and despicable methods with a wild ambition to grab the supreme power of our party and state.”

The article said all of these crimes had been proven against Jang and the accused had admitted to them. The court reportedly handed down a death sentence and Jang was summarily executed for the crimes. In characteristically bombastic language, the KCNA report said that “Every sentence of the decision served as sledge-hammer blow brought down by our angry service personnel and people on the head of Jang, an anti-party, counter-revolutionary factional element and despicable political careerist and trickster.”

It went on to detail how Kim Il-Sung, Kim Jong-Il and Kim Jong-Un had all placed enormous trust in Jang, who abused this trust by secretly plotting to seize power. Following Kim Jong-Il’s death in December 2012, Jang allegedly “began revealing his true colors, thinking that it was just the time for him to realize his wild ambition in the period of historic turn when the generation of the revolution was replaced.” To that end he allegedly sought to prevent Kim Jong-Un from consolidating his power over the DPRK in hopes that Jang himself might become the absolute leader of North Korea.

The report goes on to claim that when Jang’s plot failed and Kim Jong-Un successfully inherited power, Jang was “so arrogantly and insolently as [to be] unwillingly” to stand up “from his seat and [only] half-heartedly clapping, touching off towering resentment of our service personnel and people.”

Jang’s trial and execution comes just days after North Korea officially announced that Jang had been stripped of his titles and removed from his positions for secretly plotting to seize power from Kim Jong-Un.

As The Diplomat noted earlier today, with Jang’s purge and execution, “Kim Jong-Un effectively signals his unwillingness to tolerate any alternate locus of power.” The execution also underscores the seriousness of the defection of Jang’s fund manager who fled to South Korea with several important documents and other information about the internal state of the Kim regime. Additionally, Jang’s execution is sure to send a strong message to China which valued Jang as an important and pragmatic interlocutor. North Korea’s Ambassador to China, Ji Jae-Ryong, was a close associate of Jang’s and may soon be purged himself.

According to WantChinaTimes, based on reports by Seoul’s North Korea Strategy Information Service, Kim Jong-Un’s older brother (the second oldest current-generation Kim) arrested Jang Song-Thaek. Lee Yun-Keol of the aforementioned agency stated that ”in fact, even Vice Marshal Choe Ryong-hae would not dare to carry out the arrest. Kim Jong-un’s own second oldest brother Kim Jong-chul ordered the guards to complete the arrest in the end.” If true, the reports could indicate that Kim Jong-Un could be planning on expanding his older brother’s role in the North Korean regime. Kim Jong-Nam, the oldest Kim brother — who gained infamy by squandering his chances at the North Korean leadership by trying to sneak into Tokyo Disneyland with a fake passport — might also be a future candidate for a purge according to certain reports.


Ao derrubar tio, Kim Jong-un amplia seus poderes na Coreia do Norte

Com afastamento de mais um peso-pesado do círculo de poder em Pyongyang, Kim Jong-un fortalece lealdade dentro do Exército e do partido. Analistas especulam sobre possíveis reformas e um endurecimento do regime.

Fonte: Reuters / Kyodo.

Fonte: Reuters / Kyodo.

Ao derrubar tio, líder da Coreia do Norte amplia poderes

DW – 04/12/2013 – por Martin Fritz

Dois anos atrás, o então ditador da Coreia do Norte, Kim Jong-il, era sepultado. Na época, oito homens acompanhavam o veículo que transportava o caixão pela capital Pyongyang. À esquerda, caminhavam quatro representantes do Exército – instituição que, no país, tem prioridade absoluta. Na frente, seguia o chefe do Estado Maior, Ri Yong-ho, e atrás, o ministro da Defesa, Kim Yong-chun.

Ri Yong-ho foi destituído seis meses depois, diante de uma reunião do Politburo, devido a “problemas de saúde”. Teria morrido pouco depois em um tiroteio com forças de segurança – o rumor jamais foi confirmado. Já Kim Yong-chun perdeu o cargo de ministro da Defesa menos de quatro meses depois.

No lado direito do veículo, quatro representantes do partido e do Estado formavam uma fila. Bem na frente, estava Kim Jong-un, filho mais novo e sucessor do ditador. Atrás do hoje líder da Coreia do Norte, seu tio Jang Song Thaek, seguido pelo presidente da Assembleia Popular Suprema, Kim Yong-nam.

Se as informações do serviço de inteligência sul-coreano estiverem corretas, Jang Song Thaek teve recentemente que renunciar a seu cargo no Estado e no partido. Ele não é visto em público desde o início de novembro. Dois de seus colaboradores mais próximos teriam sido executados em público, acusados de corrupção e atividades antipartidárias. Por trás dos expurgos, estaria uma manobra política bem arquitetada.

Jang, um caso especial

Segundo informações sul-coreanas, Kim Jong-un substituiu quase metade dos mais importantes funcionários e dirigentes desde que assumiu o poder. A intenção é fazer com que sua nova equipe de gestão seja leal somente a ele, e não a seu pai morto. Kim Jong-il também assegurara seu poder da mesma forma, após a morte de seu pai, o fundador da Coreia do Norte, Kim Il-Sung. Mas a demissão de Jang Song Thaek parece ser um caso especial.

Com 67 anos, ele é casado há mais de 40 com a irmã mais nova de Kim Jong-il, Kim Kyong-hee. O casal havia governado a Coreia do Norte informalmente quando Kim Jong-il estava se recuperando de um acidente vascular cerebral, tendo sido, em seguida, imbuído da missão de garantir a transferência de poder ao filho mais novo do dirigente e protegê-lo de possíveis intrigas e tentativas de golpe.

Como vice-presidente da Comissão de Defesa Nacional, Jang era, depois do jovem Kim, o número dois na hierarquia do poder e responsável pelo relacionamento com a China, aliada mais importante da Coreia do Norte.

Ascensão de Choe Ryong-hae

Mas, no decorrer deste ano, Jang vinha aparecendo cada vez menos ao lado de Kim Jong-un, enquanto sua mulher, aparentemente, adoeceu e seguiu para tratamento no exterior. Enquanto isso, o novo governante passou a ser cada vez mais frequentemente acompanhado por Choe Ryong-hae, de 63 anos.

Ele foi alçado pelo jovem Kim ao cargo de diretor do escritório político do Exército do Povo e promovido a vice-marechal. Choe tem missão de aumentar a influência do partido dentro das Forças Armadas. Com isso, se tornou, dentro do partido, um oponente direto de Jang, que tinha laços estreitos com muitos militares.

Segundo informações do site Daily North Korea, Choe não contava com o respeito de todo o corpo de oficiais, porque era durante muito tempo apenas o presidente da Liga da Juventude Socialista. Mas, agora, a decisão parece ter sido tomada. “Aparentemente, Jang perdeu a luta de poder contra Choe”, disse o deputado sul-coreano Jung Chung-rae.

Fonte: Picture Alliance / AP.

Chong Ryong-hae. Fonte: Picture Alliance / AP.

O status elevado de Choe dentro da liderança do país é atribuído pelo pesquisador Cheong Seong-chang, do Instituto Sejong, de Seul, a seu parentesco com membros da resistência antijaponesa na Segunda Guerra Mundial.

Depois dos Kim, essas famílias formam a segunda linhagem de poder mais importante do regime. A grande amizade de sua família com a dos Kim possibilitou que Choi entrasse já com 36 anos no Comitê Central. Desde 2010, Choe é o único não membro da família Kim nos três mais importantes comitês do partido e do Exército, numa carreira que o levou a se tornar o braço direito do novo governante. Em maio, ele portou uma carta de Kim ao novo chefe de Estado chinês, Xi Jinping. Jang se tornava, ao mesmo tempo, obsoleto como “príncipe regente”.

Reformas econômicas

Analistas especulam sobre os próximos passos da política econômica da Coreia do Norte. O tio deposto de Kim era tido como um defensor de reformas econômicas. Em 2004, ele teria entrado em confronto com o então líder, Kim Jong-il, sendo colocado sob prisão domiciliar.

Mas o jovem Kim aparentemente também quer ousar fazer mudanças econômicas. Recentemente, os salários na indústria têxtil foram elevados drasticamente, na tentativa de aumentar a produtividade no setor, importante para a exportação. Kim parece também querer atrair mais capital estrangeiro, para ajudar na emancipação da poderosa China. Entretanto, uma abertura econômica real é considerada improvável.

Essa tese parece ser confirmada pelo planejamento da criação de 14 novas zonas especiais de desenvolvimento econômico. As reformas, assim, se manteriam limitadas regionalmente e ocorreriam sob o controle estrito do governo. Ao mesmo tempo, o regime isola seus cidadãos em relação ao exterior.

As fronteiras são vigiadas de forma muito mais severa do que antes, e há cada vez mais relatos de execuções públicas de cidadãos comuns, acusados de consumirem de novelas e filmes sul-coreanos​​. A intensificação da violência contra o povo pode ser indício de um reinado de terror de Kim – que se mostra cada vez mais um aluno exemplar de seu pai e seu avô.


O estado da marinha norte-coreana

Dois acidentes recentes envolvendo belonaves da Coreia do Norte durante exercício militares sugerem envelhecimento da frota do país, contudo o país ainda possui capacidades que não podem ser ignoradas.

Fonte: Reuters / KCNA.

Fonte: Reuters / KCNA.

Is North Korea’s Navy Finally Falling Apart?

The Diplomat – 15/11/2013 – por Stefan Soesanto

North Korea’s state news agency (KCNA) and South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo reported on November 4 that two North Korean ships sank only a few days apart in mid-October during military drills in the East Sea. With KCNA releasing several photos of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un visiting the newly erected gravestones for the approximately 15-30 perished sailors, the two naval accidents have become a political tool in Pyongyang’s domestic power games. While it is extremely rare for the state media to report on North Korean military accidents, the two separate incidents do beg the question: Is the DPRK’s navy finally falling apart?

Media reports have so far identified the two sunken ships as the 60-meter long, 375-ton Hainan-class Submarine Chaser No. 233, and an undisclosed 100 to 200-ton North Korean patrol boat.

The Hainan-class is a Chinese-built anti-submarine warfare vessel. Some 126 of these boats were assembled from the 1960s to the mid-1980s. According to IHS Jane’s, 26 of these vessels were fitted for export to countries like Bangladesh, Egypt, Myanmar, Pakistan and North Korea. Pyongyang received its Hainan delivery in three shipments during 1975 to 1978. While the Hainan was primarily conceptualized for coastal anti-submarine warfare, its operational range also includes scouting, mine-laying, and coastal rescue missions. Prior to the incident in October, the North Korean navy maintained six Hainan vessels, as reported in the IISS Military Balance 2013.

But although KCNA clearly named the Submarine Chaser No. 233 as the vessel that sank in the East Sea, the South Korean military classification of a Hainan-class does not seem to be correct. According to IHS Jane’s fleet list there is no North Korean Hainan-class with the designated Number 233, nor does it seem likely that a Chinese-built vessel would defy the DPRKs geopolitical challenge and end up operating off its distant East Coast. Whether South Korea’s military intelligence or outside naval experts will be able to clarify these discrepancies remains to be seen.

The second undisclosed 100 to 200-ton patrol boat falls into a wider range of categories of North Korean military vessels. Three possible patrol boat types would fit the media description. The 130-ton Chinese-built Shanghai II, which was transferred to North Korea from 1967-1975; the 150-ton Chong-Ju-class, which was put into service somewhere during the 1990s; and the 190-ton modified Russian-model SO-1, which was assembled starting in 1957, and became infamous as the main vessel involved in the capture of the USS Pueblo in 1968. From here, it is pure speculation which model would be more prone to malfunctions that could sink it. However, the best guess would be the SO-1, given its advanced age and the fact that this vessel-type is primarily deployed on North Korea’s East Coast.

Most of the DPRK’s 700-800 strong green-water fleet is on average 30 to 50 years of age and does not operate more than 50 miles offshore. With seas on both sides and no chance of exchanging vessels between its Eastern and Western fleet, Pyongyang is forced to allocate scarce resources in a long-term and strategic manner to guarantee the operational readiness of both fleets.

North Korean patrol boats have been mostly involved in skirmishes surrounding the Northern Limit Line (NLL), the still-disputed maritime border between the two Koreas in the West Sea. Conditions in the West are ideal for North Korea’s small, fast and agile patrol boats, given the rugged coastal line and shallow waters. Conditions in the East, however, are much more favorable for North Korea’s large submarine fleet, which on numerous occasions during the 1990s conducted regular infiltration operations into the South, such as the infamous 1996 Gangneung and 1998 Sokcho incidents.

From the limited media information available the most feasible explanation for the two naval accidents in the East Sea is a lack of strategic prioritization and funding from Pyongyang to properly maintain its underused patrol boats in the East. If Pyongyang has truly been pressed to make this military trade-off, it will reflect the naval strategies employed by other East Asian countries when it comes to choosing between naval assets covering territorial disputes and those responsible for military warfare. While the former – essentially patrol boats – focus on policing and constabulary, the latter are geared towards eliminating enemy combatants and conducting clandestine naval operations, which in North Korea’s case is the job of its submarine force. In short, patrol boats are not made to take the fight to the enemy, but merely to safeguard and protect coastal lines, which the territorial dispute makes more challenging off North Korea’s western coast, despite the easier waters.

But despite the two naval accidents in quick succession and a possible change in naval strategy to accommodate resource constraints, there is little evidence to suggest that the North Korean navy is in rapid decline. Surely it will lose more vessels if they are highly stressed in military exercises or forced into outright combat missions. North Korean patrol boats in particular are highly unsuitable for active frontline duty, and in most skirmishes with South Korean naval forces they have invariably ended up either on fire, highly damaged or at the bottom of the sea.

North Korean submarines are, however, an entirely different story, as evidenced by the sinking of the South Korean Cheonan corvette in early 2010. According to IHS Jane’s, the DPRK maintains around 40 mid-size Sang-O-class submarines built between 1995 and 2003, and some 20 large Romeo-class vessels which were built between 1976 and 1995. Additionally, Pyongyang has been churning out midget submarines of the Yono-class since the 1990s, and has some 20 outdated midget Yugo-submarines in reserve. All in all, the numbers for North Korea’s relatively modern submarine fleet vary between 70 and 90 vessels, making it the largest submarine fleet in the world.

But being the smallest branch within the vast North Korean armed forces (with 1.2 million personnel) naturally imposes its own budget constraints at a time when the upper echelons in Pyongyang are focusing on ballistic missile programs, nuclear enrichment, the expansion of the Special Forces, and enhancements to frontline artillery. But to discount North Korea’s navy due to the loss of two insignificant patrol boats would be the wrong lesson to take away here.

While the DPRK’s navy may well still be seaworthy, these latest two incidents could press Pyongyang to modernize its naval force at the expense of other programs. Especially when looking to the South, which is already determined to establish itself as a naval power with its three billion-dollar Aegis destroyers and plans to build three more, the two accidents and Kim Jong-Un’s subsequent visit to the graves of the fallen sailors may end up being the first step in an asymmetric challenge to South Korea’s naval ambitions.


Coréia do Norte encoraja investimento externo direto

DPRK encourages foreign investment: official

Xinhua – 23/03/2012

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) will further improve environment for foreign investment, an official said Friday.

It is a consistent policy of the DPRK to enhance economic cooperation with other countries while beefing up its self-reliant national economy, Yun Yong Sok, an official of the Committee for Investment and Joint Venture, told the official KCNA news agency.

The government amended a series of investment-related laws last year, such as the Law and Regulations on Foreign Investment, the Law on Hwanggumphyong and Wihwa Economic Zone, and the Law on Rason Economic and Trade zone, said Yun.

The development of the two economic zones has been on a healthy track as a result of active efforts by both China and the DPRK, he said.

The committee will further ensure the interests of foreign investors and encourage exchanges and cooperation with foreign governments, investors and businesses, said the official.

He said the nation’s economy is gaining momentum, with many industrial establishments and power stations being built across the country.  (mais…)

Coreia do Sul, em meio a crise política e econômica, contata vizinhos do Norte

Coreia do Sul, em meio a crise política e econômica, contata vizinhos do Norte

Correio do Brasil – 08/02/2012

Em um aparente gesto de cordialildade, a Coreia do Sul propôs à do Norte a abertura do diálogo sobre o controle de infestações em árvores na área de um conjunto de túmulos em território nortista considerada Patrimônio Mundial, informou nesta quarta-feira a agência sul-coreana de notícias Yonhap. Seul pediu que Pyongyang concedesse o acesso à aldeia de Panmunjom, na linha de fronteira intercoreana, e comparecesse ao diálogo antes do fim do mês sobre esse assunto e aguarda agora uma resposta do vizinho, revelou o Ministério da Unificação sul-coreano.

O conjunto de túmulos de Koguryo, situado nas cidades de Pyongyang e Nampo, é formado por 30 sepulturas individuais do último período do reino de Koguryo, que governou a metade norte da Península Coreana e o nordeste da China por mais de 700 anos, até 668 d.C. Em 2004, os túmulos passaram a ser considerados o primeiro Patrimônio Mundial da Coreia do Norte, ao receberem o reconhecimento da Unesco pelo valor histórico e estético. O ministro da Unificação sul-coreano, Yu Woo-ik, declarou que seu governo está disposto a prestar apoio ao Norte para otimizar o controle de infestações para evitar a deterioração dos antigos túmulos, que tem valor histórico para as duas Coreias.

Os analistas interpretam o gesto do governo do conservador Lee Myung-bak como uma tentativa de aliviar a tensão, que persiste desde os ataques de 2010 à embarcação Cheonan e à ilha sul-coreana de Yeonpyeong, que Seul atribui a Coreia do Norte. Na ação 50 sul-coreanos morreram, sendo dois civis. As semanas posteriores à morte do líder norte-coreano Kim Jong-il, que morreu em 17 de dezembro, marcaram a mais recente escalada de tensão, quando a Coreia do Norte criticou duramente o Sul por não enviar uma delegação de condolências e restringir ao máximo as visitas ao país comunista no período de luto. (mais…)

Estados Unidos, Coreia do Sul e Japão classificam novo governo norte-coreano como “estável”

Defense officials of S. Korea, U.S., Japan say DPRK leadership “stable”

Xinhua News – 30/01/2012

Defense officials of South Korea, the United States and Japan said they believe the new leadership in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) is “stable,” local media reported Tuesday.

The assessment was made at a two-day meeting among South Korean Deputy Defense Minister Lim Kwan-bin, Peter Lavoy, U.S. acting assistant secretary of defense for Asian and Pacific security affairs, and Masanori Nishi of Japan’s Defense Ministry, KBS news reported.

The closed-door talks, the first of its kind since the death of top DPRK leader Kim Jong Il last December, was held in the South Korean resort island of Jeju.

The three officials have reportedly discussed political and military developments in the DPRK after the country’s new leader Kim Jong Un took charge.

They also agreed to share information on Pyongyang ahead of major joint exercises by Seoul and Washington next month to deter possible provocation, said KBS news.  (mais…)

Think-Tank sul-coreano acredita na superioridade militar da Coreia do Norte

Foto: n.i.

North Korea military strategy superior, says think-tank

Reuters – 04/01/2012 – por Jeremy Laurence

North Korea’s military strategy is superior to the defensive posture of its affluent neighbor to the South, an independent think-tank said on Wednesday, giving Pyongyang the edge in the early days of any war on the divided peninsula.

The Seoul-based Korea Economic Research Institute said in a report that in 2011 North Korea operated a 1.02-million-strong army and a record number of tanks, warships and air defense artillery. Total military personnel strength is 1.2 million.

“The depressing reality is it would not be entirely wrong to say North Korea’s military strength is stronger,” the institute said.

“We need to remember that the North is far superior in terms of the number of troops, and especially the North’s military is structured in its formation and deployment with the purpose of an offensive war.”

South Korea’s armed forces number nearly 700,000, and they are backed by about 28,000 U.S. troops. (mais…)

Forças Armadas terão papel de destaque na liderança da Coreia do Norte

Foto por: REUTERS/Kyodo

 Exclusive: North Korea’s military to share power with Kim’s heir

Reuters / Benjamin Kang Lim – 21/12/2011

North Korea will shift to collective rule from a strongman dictatorship after last week’s death of Kim Jong-il, although his untested young son will be at the head of the ruling coterie, a source with close ties to Pyongyang and Beijing said.

The source added that the military, which is trying to develop a nuclear arsenal, has pledged allegiance to the untested Kim Jong-un, who takes over the family dynasty that has ruled North Korea since it was founded after World War Two.

The source declined to be identified but has correctly predicted events in the past, telling Reuters about the North’s first nuclear test in 2006 before it took place.

The comments are the first signal that North Korea is following a course that many analysts have anticipated — it will be governed by a group of people for the first time since it was founded in 1948. (mais…)

Morre líder norte-coreano Kim Jong-il, seu filho assume como Grande Sucessor

North Korea mourns dead leader, son hailed as “Great Successor”

Reuters – 19/12/2011 – por David Chance e Jack Kim

North Koreans poured into the streets on Monday to mourn the death of iron leader Kim Jong-il as state media hailed his untested son as the “Great Successor” of the reclusive state whose atomic weapons ambitions are a major threat to the region.

Earlier a tearful North Korean television announcer, dressed in black and her voice quavering, said the 69-year old ruler died on Saturday of “physical and mental over-work” on a train on his way to give field guidance — advice dispensed by the “Dear Leader” on trips to factories, farms and the military.

Security concerns over the hermit state, that in 2010 shelled civilians on a South Korean island and is blamed for the sinking of one of its warships earlier that year, were heightened after Seoul said the North had test-fired a short range missile prior to the announcement of Kim’s death.

It was the first known launch since June and in a bid to calm tensions, South Korea’s defense ministry said it might abandon plans to light Christmas trees on the border, something the North has warned could provoke retaliations. (mais…)

Coréia do Sul e Estados Unidos conduzirão exercícios submarinos conjuntos

S. Korea, U.S. agree to conduct joint submarine drills twice a year

Yonhap News – 09/12/2011

South Korea’s Navy said Friday it has agreed with the United States to stage submarine drills twice a year beginning next year to strengthen readiness against possible North Korean provocations.

The announcement comes amid lingering tensions on the Korean Peninsula over the North’s two deadly attacks on the South last year that killed a total of 50 people, mostly soldiers.

North Korea has recently threatened to turn South Korea’s presidential office into “a sea of fire” in anger over Seoul’s massive military maneuvers last month near the tense western sea border.

The show of force near Yeonpyeong Island was timed to mark the first anniversary of the North’s shelling of the South Korean border island that killed two Marines and two civilians. (mais…)