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The purge that has filled N. Korean gulags and the nation-wide power base that triggered it

A number of officials in the Administration Department of the Workers’ Party linked to Jang Song-Thaek have either been executed or sent to gulags.

Special to WorldTribune.com By Lee Jong-Heon, East-Asia-Intel.com SEOUL — North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un is closing in on his goal of eliminating the network of his late uncle and associates by the April 15 birthday of his grandfather Kim Il-Sung, sources and media reports here said. The North’s once powerful Administration Department of the Workers’ Party headed [...]

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S. Korean president makes case for ‘roadmap’ to unification in Dresden, Germany

South Korean President Park Geun-Hye proposes "roadmap" to reunification on March 28 at the Dresden University of Technology.  /AP

Special to WorldTribune.com East-Asia-Intel.com South Korean President Park Geun-Hye said an ‘economic bonanza’ would result from the unification of North and South Korea. Park used her trip to the former East German city of Dresden to unveil a package of proposals calling for bolstering exchanges with North Korea to lay the groundwork for reunification of [...]

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N. Korea predicts war next year, tests upgraded weapons systems

North Korea’s state television broadcast footage of leader Kim Jong-Un delivering a speech to troops on April 1.

Special to WorldTribune.com By Lee Jong-Heon, East-Asia-Intel.com SEOUL — North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un reportedly told troops to prepare for war next year to occupy South Korea. The youthful leader told military commanders early this year that an “armed confrontation could take place on the Korean peninsula in 2015,” South Korea’s biggest newspaper Chosun Ilbo said, citing [...]

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Hwang emerging as key Kim aide for agency that runs all N. Koreans’ lives

Hwang Pyong-So, right, joins Kim Jong-Un as he walks through an assembly hall at KPA Unit #318. /KCNA

Special to WorldTribune.com By Lee Jong-Heon, East-Asia-Intel.com SEOUL — Hwang Pyong-So, an unknown until recently, has rapidly risen within the core of North Korea’s ruling elite. Hwang was recently named deputy head of the Organization and Guidance Department of the Workers’ Party, one of the most powerful posts in the country, according to Seoul’s Unification Ministry. The [...]

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In quest of the perfect insult: Fun and games for N. Korean linguists

South Korean President Park Geun-Hye and German Chancellor Angela Merke in Berlin on March 26. Parallels between German and Korean unification is not an amusing prospect for N. Korean propagandists. /Yonhap

Special to WorldTribune.com By Donald Kirk, East-Asia-Intel.com The people who write for the Korean Central News Agency in Pyongyang must be having fun. How else can you account for some of the great turns of phrase that show up in the English-language versions of their harangues? It wasn’t enough that the KCNA quoted an otherwise [...]

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N. Korea said to diversify crude oil import sources to relieve dependence on China

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Special to WorldTribune.com By Lee Jong-Heon, East-Asia-Intel.com SEOUL — North Korea attempted to diversify crude oil import sources in a bid to reduce its heavy reliance on Chinese oil, a source here said. The move has risked estranging relations between the two communist allies which have worsened since the rise of Pyongyang’s youthful leader Kim [...]

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Oliver Stone and anti-U.S. priest agree: Military base would be a curse on lovely Jeju island

Oliver Stone at Jeju International Airport on Aug. 2, 2013.

Special to WorldTribune.com By Donald Kirk, East-Asia-Intel.com JEJU ISLAND, South Korea – The protest against building a South Korean navy base off the shore of a pleasant village on the southern coast of this “island of peace” by now seems a little tiresome. No way will the hardy band led by priests and pastors stop [...]

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N. Korea failed to warn commercial airliners before firing dozens of missiles over Sea of Japan

North Korea fired 25 missiles off the east coast and in to the sea. Artillery sub-units were test-fired earlier in this photo released on March 14.  /KCNA

Special to WorldTribune.com East-Asia-Intel.com At least 25 short range missiles were fired on March 16 some 45 miles into the Sea of Japan from the North Korean coastal region. These firings were launched in three batches, South Korea’s defense minister said. Ten missiles were launched in the early evening. Eight more were fired around 8 [...]

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Younger sister makes political debut as third-generation Kim dynasty consolidates its power

Kim Jong-Un is seen with younger sister Kim Yo-Jong (circled).

Special to WorldTribune.com By Lee Jong-Heon, East-Asia-Intel.com The younger sister of North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-Un has been introduced to the public as a key Workers’ Party official in what amounts to her anointing as a new fixture in Pyongyang’s power structure. Kim Yo-Jong, 27, accompanied her elder brother to a polling station on March 9 when [...]

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Jang aides survive ‘re-education’, take his place to maintain crucial China business ties

North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un lifts a glass with China’s Wang Jiarui in August 2012 in Pyongyang.  /AP/KCNA

Special to WorldTribune.com By Lee Jong-Heon, East-Asia-Intel.com SEOUL — Kim Ki-Sok, son of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un’s chief of staff, and his associate Kim Chol-Jin have emerged as the country’s top officials for handling economic deals with China. They are assuming the role of Jang Song-Thaek who was executed for treason and corruption in December, sources [...]

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