June 9, 2007 |
THERE'S not a lot to do when you're a closely watched visitor in North Korea except hit the karaoke at day's end, so we're at it again. From the sound of it, most North Korean karaoke falls into two categories. Soupy ballads about national glory, superior leadership, glorious workers. And hard-driving martial tunes urging citizens to think as one and pick up a bayonet. Rounding out the experience are video clips of goose-stepping soldiers and ozone-piercing missiles.
October 11, 2006 |
Kim Jong Il is neither insane nor stupid. From the CIA's psychological profilers to his many biographers, experts who have studied the North Korean leader believe that beneath the glaring eccentricities -- the bouffant hairdo and the oddball Mao suits -- there is a shrewd operator at work. Despite an image as a "nut with a nuke," as some bloggers have disparaged him, the 64-year-old Kim appears to have carefully orchestrated his country's path to nuclear sovereignty.
November 25, 2005 |
Most people receive a few gifts for their birthday. Maybe a dozen if it's a big one. But a thousand? Such outpourings for "Dear Leader" Kim Jong Il and his late father, "Great Leader" Kim Il Sung, are evidence of the love and respect they engender the world over, our omnipresent North Korean guides inform us. In fact, the elder Kim is so beloved that the gifts still pour in 11 years after his death.
October 30, 2005 |
WHEN it comes to paying tribute to the ruling Kim family in North Korea, size matters. Check out the towering bronze memorial to founding father Kim Il Sung on Mansu Hill overlooking the capital, Pyongyang -- a skyscraper of a statue. Or the Arch of Triumph built to commemorate Kim's return from exile. A replica of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, the North Korean version rises, crucially, 39 feet higher than the original.
December 26, 2003 |
They were bootblacks, hobos, acrobats -- 31 ex-cons and ruffians plucked out of prison or off the streets and offered one last chance for redemption: to sneak into North Korea and kill its president, Kim Il Sung. But nothing went according to plan. Their mission aborted, they ended up killing their trainers, fighting their way into the South Korean capital and blowing themselves up.
April 15, 1997 |
North Korea has appointed Vice Marshal Kim Il Chol as first vice defense minister, a post left vacant by the death of Kim Kwang Jin in February, a senior South Korean government official said. But the Stalinist state has yet to appoint a defense minister to succeed Choe Kwang, who also died in February, said Park Sung Hoon, a director general at the South's National Unification Ministry. Park said Kim Il Chol was one of four generals promoted to vice marshal Sunday.