S. Korea begins loudspeaker broadcasts to inform N. Koreans of Kim Jong-nam’s murder

South Korea’s military began loudspeaker broadcasts over the weekend to inform ordinary North Koreans of the murder of the communist state’s leader Kim Jong-un’s half brother, military officials said Wednesday.

The move aims to underscore the brutality of the dictatorial ruler in Pyongyang, whom Seoul believes masterminded the assassination of Kim Jong-nam at an airport in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur on Feb. 13.


“We have made broadcasts through 34 loudspeakers along the inter-Korean border to inform North Korean soldiers and civilians that their leader Kim Jong-un was behind the killing of his elder half brother Kim Jong-nam,” a military official told Yonhap News Agency.

Kim Jong-nam, the eldest son of the late North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, was allegedly assassinated by two women under directions from North Korean agents. He had spoken out publicly against his family’s dynastic control of the reclusive North.

The propaganda broadcasts using loudspeakers installed near the heavily fortified border have been Seoul’s crucial means of psychological warfare.

Past broadcasts highlighted the South’s economic achievements and the benefits of liberal democracy, and brought attention to the importance of human rights — a reason why Pyongyang called them a “threat” to its communist system. (Yonhap)




Former Minjoo Adviser Calls Election Outcome People’s Judgment over Monopoly of Power


A former senior adviser to the main opposition Minjoo Party of Korea, Sohn Hak-kyu, says the outcome of last week’s general elections clearly revealed the DNA of the pro-democracy civil uprising of April 19th, 1960.

Sohn made the remark to reporters after visiting the April 19th National Cemetery in northern Seoul on Tuesday to mark the 56th anniversary of the April 19th Revolution.

Sohn said that the elections had demonstrated the people’s judgment over forces that engage in the monopoly of power. The former adviser said that the April uprising is the DNA of the Korean people’s spirit and such DNA naturally emerges when power is monopolized. He said that is what had occurred during the May 18th Democratization Movement and the June Democratic Uprising.

Sohn also said that youths are angry and their votes stirred what he called an “election revolution” in last week’s parliamentary polls. He then urged the lawmakers of the 20th National Assembly to be clearly aware that all power comes from the people and that they must serve the people.

Main Opposition Defeats Ruling Party in General Elections



The main opposition Minjoo Party of Korea(MPK) defeated the ruling Saenuri Party in yesterday’s nationwide parliamentary elections, marking the first time in 16 years that the opposition has held a legislative majority.

With 99-point-nine percent of the votes counted as of 6 a.m. Thursday, the main opposition secured 123 legislative seats. The governing party won 122. The minor opposition People’s Party and the Justice Party won 38 and six seats, respectively.

The National Election Commission(NEC) reported that the MPK won in 110 of the 253 voting districts. The commission added that the Saenuri won 105, while the People’s Party won 25 and the Justice Party won in two districts. Independents won in eleven districts.

Of the 47 proportional representation seats, the Saenuri won 17. The MPK and the People’s Party won 13 seats each. The Justice Party earned four.

EXIT POLL: Ruling Saenuri Fails to Secure Parliament Majority



Anchor: South Korea’s 20th general elections have come to a close, with exit poll results showing that the ruling party has failed to garner a majority of the parliament, for the first time in 16 years. The minor opposition People’s Party appears to have emerged as a powerful alternative party as it was anticipated to have won up to over 40 seats.
Our Kim Bum-soo reports.

Report: Exit poll results show that the ruling Saenuri Party has won around 121 to 143 seats at the general elections, failing to garner a majority of the 300-member parliament.

Key South Korean broadcasters, including KBS, MBC and SBS, and the Korean Broadcasters Association released the results of their poll at 6 p.m. Wednesday as voting for the general elections wrapped up.

In the analysis of the result by KBS, the main opposition Minjoo Party of Korea is predicted to have won around 101 to 123 seats.

The minor opposition People’s Party is forecast to have gained around 34 to 41 seats. Cochairman Ahn Cheol-soo is predicted to have won his district of Nowon in Seoul as well, garnering over 50 percent of voter support.

In the highly contested Jongno district in Seoul, former main opposition party chief Rep. Chung Sye-kyun is predicted to have secured about 51 percent of votes against former Seoul mayor Oh Se-hoon of the Saenuri Party, who received about 42-point-4 percent of voter support.

In the traditional ruling party stronghold of Daegu’s Suseong district, main opposition party candidate Kim Boo-kyum gained about 62 percent of the votes, while former Gyeonggi Provincial Governor Kim Moon-soo got only about 38 percent.

The Justice Party, meanwhile, was forecast to have secured about five to six seats.

Commissioned by the broadcasters and the association, pollsters TNS Korea, Korea Research Center and Research & Research conducted the survey at all 253 electoral districts on a total of around 850-thousand voters immediately after they cast their ballots.

The survey has a 95 percent confidence level with a margin of error of plus or minus two-point-two to six-point-nine percentage points.

KBS, MBC and SBS came up with different predictions on the same survey results as they used different analysis methods.

MBC predicted that the ruling party to have gained between 118 and 136 seats against the Minjoo Party securing around 107 to 128 seats. SBS forecast the ruling party to have won somewhere between 123 to 147 seats while the Minjoo Party securing between 97 and 120 seats.

For the 2012 general elections, KBS’ exit poll analysis demonstrated a 93 percent accuracy, correctly predicting winners from 229 out of 246 districts.
Kim Bum-soo, KBS World Radio News.

Survey: 66.6% of S. Koreans Intend to Vote in General Elections


In a recent survey, 66-point-six percent of South Koreans said that they will definitely vote in the April 13 general elections, an increase of eight-and-a-half percentage points from the previous general elections.

According to the survey commissioned by the National Election Commission(NEC), the rate was highest in Gwangju and Jeolla Province at 70-point-six percent, followed by Incheon and Gyeonggi Province at 69-point-five percent, and Busan, Ulsan and South Gyeongsang Province at 66-point-six percent.

Thirty three-point-three percent of the respondents said that they will consider the competency of candidates when voting, while 28 percent said they will focus on policies or election pledges. Nineteen percent said that they will elect candidates based on party affiliation.

Among the respondents who said that they will not vote, 49 percent felt things would not change, while 20 percent said that they are not interested in politics.

The telephone survey was conducted last Monday and Tuesday by Research and Research on 15-hundred voters over the age of 19.

The poll had a 95 percent confidence level with a margin of error of plus or minus two-point-five percentage points.

New party gaining support in S.Korea’s election


New party gaining support in S.Korea’s election

South Korea’s general election on Wednesday could determine the success or failure of President Park Geun-hye’s remaining 2 years in office. Opinion polls suggest her ruling Saenuri Party is losing support while a newly formed minority group is gaining momentum.

Voters are turning away from the Saenuri Party because of a division between the party’s members.

Low public support has forced the party to downgrade its target from winning 180 seats to 135. This is less than a majority in the 300-member parliament.

In contrast, the People’s Party is gaining momentum.
The final pre-election survey released on Wednesday suggests their support rate stands at 16.8 percent…up 6 points in the past 4 weeks.

The party is a splinter from the main opposition group and headed by high-profile politician Ahn Cheol-soo.

The software mogul is showing his willingness to run for the next presidential election in December 2017.

Parties Continue to Canvass on Final Weekend Before General Elections

Write : 2016-04-09 14:06:42 Update : 2016-04-09 14:13:55

Rival parties are continuing full-fledged efforts to promote themselves and their candidates as the general election day nears.

Ruling Saenuri Party Chairman Kim Moo-sung visited the eastern Gangwon Province for the first time during the official campaign period. He told the voters that not voting for Saenuri would only help the opposition party.

Main opposition Minjoo Party of Korea Chairman Kim Chong-in is campaigning at the Daejeon, Chungcheong area, before returning to the Seoul metropolitan area.

Minor opposition People’s Party Co-Chairman Ahn Cheol-soo is canvassing in Seoul, criticizing Saenuri and the Minjoo Party for showing harmful consequences of those with vested rights.


First Day of Early Voting Ends with 5.4% Turnout


The first day of early voting for the April 13th general elections ended Friday evening with a total of two-million two-hundred ninety-six thousand three hundred eighty-seven votes or five-point-45 percent of total eligible voters.

Turnout was the highest in South Jeolla Province at nine-point-34 percent and the lowest in the port city Busan at four-point-four percent.

Officials set up three-thousand-511 polling booths across the country for the early voting period that will run through Saturday. During the two-day period, eligible voters can cast their ballots between 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. at any polling station and must bring a valid ID.

Booths have been set up at Seoul Station, Yongsan Station and Incheon International Airport to increase voter turnout. The National Election Commission is providing taxis for the disabled among other transportation services to also increase the turnout rate.

Early voting was first adopted in South Korea in a by-election in 2013.

Early Voting for General Elections Kicks Off



Early voting for the April 13th general elections started on Friday morning.

Officials set up three-thousand-511 polling booths across the country for the early voting period that will run through Saturday. During the two-day period, eligible voters can cast their ballots between 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. at any polling station and must bring a valid ID.

Booths have been set up at Seoul Station, Yongsan Station and Incheon International Airport to increase voter turnout. The National Election Commission is providing taxis for the disabled among other transportation services to also raise the turnout rate.

Early voting was first adopted in South Korea in a by-election in 2013.

As of 9 a.m. Friday, some 278-thousand people cast their ballots, accounting for zero-point-66 percent of some 40-million voters.

Swing Voters to Decide the Outcome of April 13 Elections



Rival parties are making every effort to win the support of swing voters with nine days remaining until the April 13 general elections.

The undecided voters are expected to determine the results of the elections as candidates from the ruling and opposition parties are neck-and-neck in many constituencies.

The ruling Saenuri Party claims that if the opposition party gains a majority, it would cause serious confusion for the country during the remaining term of President Park Geun-hye.

The main opposition Minjoo Party of Korea is calling for support to punish the ruling party, while the minor opposition People’s Party is trying to win the support of voters disgusted by old politics.

In a Gallup Korea survey on Friday, 25 percent of the respondents said that they did not support any party.

The ratio of undecided voters reached 43 percent among people between the ages of 19 and 29.

The survey had a 95 percent confidence level with a margin of error of plus or minus three-point-one percentage points.

Overseas Voting for General Elections to Wrap Up Monday



Polling stations for the April 13th general elections that opened early for South Koreans living abroad will close on Monday.

Overseas voting for the 20th general elections is proceeding in 198 polling stations in 113 countries. A total of some 154-thousand-200 South Koreans residing abroad are registered to vote.

The National Election Commission(NEC) reminded registered overseas voters who have yet to cast their ballots to exercise their rights by Monday, adding that they can do so at any of the polling stations as long as they can provide valid identification.

Overseas voting for the parliamentary polls kicked off in New Zealand on March 30th. It is the third time overseas voting has been carried out for a major election, following the 19th general elections and the 18th presidential election in 2012.

New absentee voting for S.Korea’s general election


South Korea is introducing a new absentee voting system for the general election to be held on April 13th.

The new system will allow those who are away from their voting districts on the election date to cast their ballots for the candidates of their choice. They will no longer have to preregister as legitimate voters.

They are only required to show their IDs at any of the approximate 3,500 polling stations to be set up across the country.

The advance voting will be held on April 8th and 9th. This will be the first nationwide parliamentary election to be held under the new system.

South Korea’s election committee expects it to help boost voter turnout.

Survey: 34% of Respondents Plan to Pick Saenuri Party Candidate


A new poll revealed that about a third of some one-thousand people surveyed plan to vote for a candidate of the ruling Saenuri Party at the upcoming general elections.

Polling agency Gallup Korea carried out the survey on one-thousand-two adults across the nation between Tuesday and Thursday.

Twenty-one percent of the respondents selected the main opposition Minjoo Party of Korea, while eight percent chose the People’s Party and three percent checked off the Justice Party.

The polling agency was quick to stress, however, that there is a big possibility that the figures will change as the number of candidates that each party has running in electoral districts is different and as some regions could witness unified opposition candidates.

The survey had a 95 percent confidence level with a margin of error of plus or minus three-point-one percentage points.

General election campaigns kick off in S.Korea



Campaigns for South Korea’s parliamentary elections kicked off nationwide on Thursday.

All 300 seats in parliament are up for grabs in the quadrennial election to be held on April 13th. Lawmakers will be selected either through direct elections or proportional representation.

In central Seoul, one of the most contested constituencies, candidates of the ruling and opposition parties delivered speeches or shook hands with voters on the first day of their campaigns.

Opinion polls show that the ruling Saenuri Party is likely to win a majority in the race. But its support rate has declined after a scandal over the party’s selection process for candidates surfaced.

Legislators in the governing party who are close to President Park Geun-hye obtained the party’s endorsement while others not close to her did not.

Attention is focused on whether the party can maintain a majority in the national legislature and whether it can boost its standing.

The results may affect Park’s management of her government with less than 2 years of her term remaining.

The results are also expected to influence the presidential election scheduled for December next year.

Japan, S Korea, China leaders agree to mend strained ties


SEOUL, South Korea —

The biggest result of the first meeting of South Korean, Chinese and Japanese leaders in more than three years? More meetings.

But for three Northeast Asian economic and diplomatic heavyweights who spend a huge amount of time bickering over history and territory, the agreement for more dialogue at Sunday’s rare summit was a significant step forward. The long-running spat between Seoul and Tokyo, crucial U.S. allies, has been especially worrying for Washington as it looks to counter China’s rise and North Korea’s pursuit of nuclear bombs.

High-level contact between Tokyo and its two Asian neighbors nose-dived after hawkish Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe took office in late 2012. Beijing and Seoul see Abe as whitewashing Japan’s wartime atrocities.

A joint statement issued after the meeting said the sides agreed to try to resolve history-related issues and improve ties by “facing history squarely and advancing toward the future.”

The countries also pledged to hold a leaders’ summit every year and push to deepen their economic cooperation by accelerating free trade negotiations among themselves. They also reaffirmed a resolve to resume stalled international negotiations on North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.

South Korean President Park Geun-hye said at a joint news conference with Abe and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang that the resumption of cooperation among the countries was “historically important.”

“I think we took a big step toward peace and prosperity in Northeast Asia,” Park said. The leaders did not take questions at the news conference.

Starting his speech with a friendly “Hello” in Korean, Abe said he exchanged opinions on how to achieve regional prosperity with Park and Li in a “considerably candid manner.” He said Japan would host a leaders’ summit next year.

“Due to the reason that everyone knows, a trilateral cooperation has been hampered over the past three years,” Li said through an interpreter. “We don’t want to see difficulties flaring again in trilateral cooperation and summit talks, and ups and downs occurring in bilateral and trilateral ties.”

Despite protests from Seoul and Beijing, Abe hasn’t yielded on his nationalism. Even so, the three countries, closely linked economically, are pushing to find a way to improve ties.

On Saturday, Park and Li met separately and agreed to work toward ratifying by the end of the year a bilateral free trade agreement that their legislatures have yet to approve.

Park is to meet Abe on Monday in what will be her first formal one-on-one meeting with him since her inauguration in early 2013. Chinese President Xi Jinping met with Abe last November on the sidelines of a regional conference that Beijing hosted, and they’ve met twice since.

North Korea was on the agenda at Sunday’s three-way meeting. Pyongyang’s nuclear bomb and missile programs have long posed a serious security worry for Seoul and Tokyo. China is North Korea’s only major ally and biggest aid benefactor, but has shown signs that it’s increasingly fed up with the North’s repeated provocations.

Park told Li that she wants China to continue to play a constructive role on North Korea issues, while Li called for more patience to continue efforts to achieve a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula, according to Park’s office.

The joint statement Sunday said the three leaders would push to resume “meaningful” North Korean nuclear disarmament talks at an early date and reaffirmed their opposition to the development of nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula.

South Korea, China, Japan and North Korea are all part of now-dormant international negotiations on ending Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions. The other two members of the so-called six-party talks are the United States and Russia.

Despite widespread discontent in Seoul with Abe, Park has faced calls at home to improve ties with Tokyo, and Washington has pushed its two Asian allies to heal their rift.

South Korea and Japan together host about 80,000 U.S. troops, the core of America’s military presence in the Asia-Pacific. Washington wants to solidify its alliance with the two countries to better deal with a rising China and a North Korean threat.

Japan, China, S Korea start meeting of farm ministers



Japan, China and South Korea started a two-day meeting of farm ministers Saturday in Tokyo, the first such talks in over three years, to discuss cooperation in agriculture.

Chinese vice farm minister Chen Xiaohua and South Korean minister Lee Dong Phil are meeting with Japanese Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi in the first such gathering since April 2012 amid disputes over history and territory between Japan and its two neighbors.

On Sunday, the three parties are expected to release a joint statement that will include an agreement on cooperation in ensuring food safety and preventing diseases such as bird flu.

Their talks on Sunday will also focus on promoting stalled negotiations on a trilateral free-trade agreement in the farm sector.

Apart from the statement, the ministers are expected to issue memorandums to elaborate on concrete steps to keep animal diseases from spreading.

On the sidelines of the meeting, Japan plans to hold bilateral sessions with the two countries to urge them to lift bans imposed on imports of Japanese agricultural and marine products after the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant in 2011.


Japan, S Korea finance ministers resume talks



Japan and South Korea on Saturday held the first dialogue of their financial chiefs in two and a half years, agreeing to improve economic ties despite diplomatic frictions between the two Asian countries.

Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso and his South Korean counterpart Choi Kyung-Hwan held a one-day meeting in Tokyo, the first since November 2012 and since conservative Prime Minister Shinzo Abe took office in December that year.

“We agreed to continue pushing for bilateral and multilateral cooperation,” Aso told reporters afterwards.

In a joint statement, the ministers said that during the meeting they agreed on the importance of addressing the enormous demand for infrastructure investment in Asia. Aso said they also discussed the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).

South Korea is among initial members of the Beijing-backed institution, but Japan and the United States were the biggest standouts earlier this year when Beijing began courting members.

The dialogue came after a 14-year-old currency swap accord between Japan and South Korea was not renewed in February when it expired, amid soured bilateral ties.

Relations between the two main US military allies in Asia are currently at their lowest ebb for years, dogged by issues related to Japan’s 1910-45 colonial rule over the Korean peninsula and a long-running territorial row.

Choi was quoted by Jiji Press as saying: “Although there are various problems, we want to gain a chance to solve them… on the principle of separating economics from politics.”

The two ministers agreed to hold another dialogue next year in South Korea, saying in the statement that they would continue to enhance communications at various levels and functions.

Japan’s indifference to ‘Gangnam Style’ riles S Korea

maybe the song sucks. being number 2 on the U.S billboard is proof of that



While South Korean rapper Psy’s “Gangnam Style” has taken the world by storm, it has largely fallen flat in Japan—an anomaly viewed with grave suspicion by some in the singer’s home country.

Korean K-pop music is huge in Japan, but for one reason or another Japanese music fans have remained relatively immune to the seductive powers of Psy and his horse-riding dance.

In South Korea, there has been speculation that a bitter territorial dispute over contested islands may have caused Japanese fans to shun the song.

While the number has topped the UK charts and currently sits at number two on the U.S. Billboard ranking, it has only scraped into the top 30 of the Japanese iTunes chart.

To make matters worse, various Japanese music blogs have suggested that the video’s success on YouTube—530 million views and counting—was down to South Koreans using automated viewing programs known as “bots.”

Some even started playfully referring to the song as “F5 Style”—a reference to the keyboard key used to refresh the window of an Internet browser.

On Monday, the Korean Wave Research Institute (KWRI)—a non-profit body established in 2010 to “aggressively” promote Korean popular culture around the globe—hit back.

Denouncing the “conspiracy theories” of YouTube chart manipulation, KWRI president Han Koo-Hyun said the “outrageous” Japanese argument was “tantamount to doubting a world record in an Olympics marathon.”

Skepticism about the song’s worldwide popularity on YouTube “should be viewed as a primary school kid’s jealousy and envy”, Han said in a press release.

Not content with defending the success of “Gangnam Style,” Han launched a vitriolic attack on the only Japanese entry in YouTube’s chart of the 30 all-time, most-viewed videos.

Currently ranked 29th with more than 237 million views, the video shows a young Japanese woman engaging in the popular Internet meme activity of dropping some mentos candy in a bottle of diet coke so that it sprays soda everywhere.

Mocking what he described as the “most grotesque and preposterous content” on the entire chart, Han said it was “another lowly example showing the video-related preference of the Japanese.”

Several reasons have been suggested for “Gangnam Style’s” lack of success in Japan, including the fact that Psy didn’t follow the path chosen by most K-pop stars of releasing a Japanese-language version.