Entries in North Korea (7)


Obama to Commemorate 60th Anniversary of Korean War Armistice

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama will commemorate the 60 year anniversary of the Korean War armistice Saturday, marking the end of hostilities on the peninsula.

Communist North Korea invaded South Korea with 135,000 troops on June 25, 1950, and three years later with more than 2.5 million dead, including more than more than 36,000 Americans who died in combat, the war ended.

Joined by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, Obama will lay a wreath at the memorial in Washington, D.C.

On Thursday, Obama issued a declaration making today National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day, noting that the conflict “defined a generation and decided the fate of a nation.”

“We remember ordinary men and women who showed extraordinary courage through 3 long years of war, fighting far from home to defend a country they never knew and a people they never met,” Obama said in his proclamation. “This anniversary marks the end of a war. But it also commemorates the beginning of a long and prosperous peace.”

It is often referred to as the “Forgotten War,” because fighting half a world away garnered little domestic attention at the time. But the remnants of the conflict are still felt today. North Korea and South Korea remain divided, and there is still no peace treaty between the two countries.

According to the Department of Veteran’s Affairs there are still 2 million living veterans of that war.

“No monument will ever be worthy of their service, and no memorial will fully heal the ache of their sacrifice,” Obama said in the proclamation. “But as a grateful nation, we must honor them — not just with words, but with deeds.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


White House Responds to Rodman's North Korea Comments

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Hours after former NBA star Dennis Rodman made headlines for comments regarding North Korea, the White House responded, saying that North Korea must be willing to "choose the path of peace."

After returning from an unprecedented visit to North Korea last week, former NBA star Dennis Rodman appeared on This Week with ABC's George Stephanopoulos Sunday morning.

During the interview, Rodman said of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, "He wants Obama to do one thing: Call him."

Later Sunday, the White House responded to ABC regarding Rodman's comments.

"The U.S. has direct channels of communication with the DPRK," said Caitlin Hayden, spokesman for the National Security Council.

"We have urged the North Korean leadership to heed President Obama's call to choose the path of peace and come into compliance with is international obligations," Hayden said, adding that "North Korea's actions, however, directly violate UN Security Council resolutions and threaten international peace and security."

Rodman was joined on the trip by members of the Harlem Globetrotters basketball team and a camera crew from the upcoming HBO series, Vice. During the trip, the Americans were welcomed with an itinerary including ice skating, dinner and drinks, and a basketball exhibition, during which Rodman sat courtside with the North Korean leader.

The White House response urged the North Korean dictator to focus on the well-being of North Korea's people who have been "starved, imprisoned and denied their human rights," instead of staged sporting events.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Dennis Rodman: Kim Jong Un Wants President Obama to ‘Call Him’

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- In his first interview since returning to the U.S. from an unprecedented visit to North Korea last week, former NBA star Dennis Rodman said he bears a message for President Obama from the country’s oppressive leader, Kim Jong Un.

“He wants Obama to do one thing: Call him,” Rodman told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on This Week. “He said, ‘If you can, Dennis – I don’t want [to] do war. I don’t want to do war.’ He said that to me.”

The athlete even offered Kim some diplomatic advice for potential future talks with President Obama.

“[Kim] loves basketball. And I said the same thing, I said, ‘Obama loves basketball.’ Let’s start there,” Rodman said.

Rodman’s comments come just days after the basketball star shocked the world with an unexpected trip to Pyongyang, North Korea, becoming the first known American to publicly meet with the mysterious Kim since he assumed command of the totalitarian nation after the death of his father, Kim Jong-Il in 2011.

The young leader has defied U.N. sanctions by continuing to develop North Korea’s nuclear arms and missile program, which he says is aimed at the U.S.

Kim is often regarded as one of the world’s most oppressive leaders, presiding over prison camps and allowing millions of his own people to starve.

In a bizarre display of basketball diplomacy, Rodman went on the record to offer highest praise for Kim Thursday, telling reporters, “I love him. He’s awesome.”

Sunday on This Week, Rodman didn’t apologize for those comments.

“No, I’m not apologiz[ing] for him,” Rodman said. “You know, he’s a good guy to me. Guess what? He’s my friend. I don’t condone what he does … [but] as a person to person – he’s my friend.”

Rodman traveled through Pyongyang with members of the Harlem Globetrotters basketball team and a camera crew from the upcoming HBO series, VICE. Kim warmly welcomed the Americans, with an itinerary that included ice skating, an aquarium visit and a long dinner and drinks.

During his visit, Rodman sat court side with Kim as they took in an exhibition basketball face-off with the Globetrotters and North Korean players. Kim, like his late father, is said to be a devoted basketball fan - especially for the 1990′s-era Chicago Bulls championship teams, which included Rodman. Rodman stood up to give a speech to the basketball crowd, at one point telling Kim, “You have a friend for life.”

Despite the unlikely pairing, Rodman said he has something in common with Kim and the North Korean people: a love of basketball.

“I’m not a politician. Kim Jung Un & North Korean people are basketball fans,” he tweeted. “I love everyone. Period. End of story.”

The U.S. State Department had no involvement in the visit, and officials say they have no plans to debrief Rodman after his meeting with one of the world’s most mysterious leaders. Col. Steve Ganyard, USMC (Ret.), a former deputy assistant secretary of state and ABC News consultant, told ABC’s Martha Raddatz the State Department’s decision is “ridiculous.”

“There is nobody at the CIA who can tell you more personally about Kim Jong Un than Dennis Rodman, and that in itself is scary,” Ganyard said.

Still, Rodman thinks there are more trips to North Korea in his future.

“I’m not like a diplomat,” Rodman told George  Stephanopoulos. “I’m [going to] go back, do one thing and find out more, what’s going on. Find out more.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


State Department Vague on Reports of US Detainee in North Korea

State Department photo(WASHINGTON) -- The State Department on Tuesday declined to confirm reports that a U.S. citizen has been detained in North Korea for more than a month.

“We obviously have no higher priority than the welfare of our citizens,” State Department Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said.  “We have no representation in Pyongyang.  The embassy of Sweden acts as our ‘protecting power’ for issues involving U.S. citizens in North Korea.”

A South Korean newspaper has reported that a U.S. tour operator entered North Korea at the port city of Rajin accompanied by five other tourists.  The group was on a five-day trip to the country when they were detained, accused of carrying a computer hard disk containing “sensitive information,” according to the reports.

A senior State Department official said that without a signed privacy waiver, the United States can’t comment on any case involving a U.S. citizen abroad, but would work through the Swedish “protecting power” in North Korea to gain access to the individual in a case such as this one.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Sarah Palin Defends Korea 'Slip-of-the-Tongue,' Blasts Media

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- In a Thanksgiving Day Facebook message addressed mockingly to 57 states -- a play on President Obama's slipup in May 2008 -- Sarah Palin blasted the media for blowing up her Korea "slip-of-the-tongue" and singling her out when it comes to gaffes.

Pointing to a list of gaffes made by Obama, Palin wrote: "If you can't remember hearing about them, that's because for the most part the media didn't consider them newsworthy. I have no complaint about that. Everybody makes the occasional verbal gaffe -- even news anchors.

"Obviously, I would have been even more impressed if the media showed some consistency on this issue," she continued. "Unfortunately, it seems they couldn't resist the temptation to turn a simple one word slip-of-the-tongue of mine into a major political headline."

The possible 2012 contender grabbed headlines when she said on Glenn Beck's radio show Wednesday that "We gotta stand with our North Korean allies."

Palin recently told ABC's Barbara Walters that she is seriously considering a run for the White House, and she believes she could beat President Obama in 2012.

While Palin remains a popular figure among Tea Partiers and conservatives, she has yet to gain widespread support, polls show, and many Americans still view her as a polarizing figure.

A Quinnipiac poll of primary voters released this week shows Palin leading her possible Republican challengers Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee by a slim margin. But when pitted against the president, Obama leads Palin by 48-40 percent, while Romney leads Obama by one percentage point.

In an ABC News/Washington Post poll conducted late October, two-thirds of Americans regarded Palin as unqualified to serve as president.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Obama Wants to Refocus on Economy, But International Events Linger

Photo Courtesy - The White House/ Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- As President Obama tries to shift the focus back to the economy and jobs after a blistering defeat in the mid-term elections, a spate of international events threaten to distract the country from his message.

It's not unusual for an administration to fall victim to unfolding events and crises.  But this is a time when anxiety among Americans is boiling over, as unemployment continues to hover at record levels, and the economy remains the foremost concern.  Unforeseen events in Korea, Afghanistan and elsewhere are hampering the White House's efforts to set its own agenda.

Concerns about war in Korea remain high after North Korea launched an artillery attack on a South Korean territory Tuesday.  North Korea also unveiled a more sophisticated nuclear plant last week, demonstrating to the world and the United States that it is not about to back down from its nuclear ambitions.

The U.S. also faced embarrassment in Afghanistan after reports emerged that Afghan and U.S. officials were engaged in talks with an imposter they assumed to be a key Taliban leader.

A new Department of Defense report this week painted a somber picture of the war in Afghanistan, and while there were gains in some areas, challenges continue to surpass the advances.  Additionally, officials in Pakistan and Afghanistan are warning of another WikiLeaks document dump that might reveal more unpleasant facts about U.S. policies in the region.

In the past, many international crises have given presidents a political lift.  John F. Kennedy's approval rating peaked in 1962 with the Cuban missile crisis, as did President Dwight Eisenhower's in Cold-War 1956.  But Obama hasn't had similar luck so far.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


While Honoring Veterans, Obama Condemns North Korea

Photo Courtesy - Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images(SEOUL, South Korea) -- While honoring U.S. troops on Veterans Day at a U.S. Army base in South Korea, President Obama condemned North Korea, saying that the path it is on will only lead to more isolation and less security.

“Today, the Korean peninsula provides the world’s clearest contrast between a society that is open and one that is closed; between a nation that is dynamic and growing, and a government that would rather starve its people than change,” Obama said at Yongsan Army Base in Seoul, South Korea.  “It’s a contrast so stark you can see it from space, as the brilliant lights of Seoul give way to utter darkness in the north.”

The president said this is no accident of history, but rather a direct result of the path of “confrontation and provocation” taken by North Korea, including, he said, its pursuit of nuclear weapons and its attack on the South Korean ship Cheonan last March.

“In the wake of this aggression, Pyongyang should not be mistaken: The United States will never waver in our commitment to the security of the Republic of Korea," Obama said.  "Along the with the rest of the world, we have made it clear that North Korea’s continued pursuit of nuclear weapons will only lead to more isolation and less security.”

The president said that there is another path available to North Koreans: to fulfill their international obligations and offer their people “greater security and greater respect.”

The president’s remarks came largely as part of a Veterans Day message to troops.

“We recall acts of uncommon bravery and selflessness," he said, "but we also remember that honoring those who’ve served is about more than the words we say on Veterans Day or Memorial Day; it’s about how we treat our veterans every single day of the year.”

The president also paid tribute to those who fought, both from the U.S. and Korea, in the Korean War.  This year marks the 60th anniversary of the beginning of the war.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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