Young North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un has been terribly misunderstood. The man doesn’t want to start a war with the United States - he just wants president Obama to call him up so they can chat about basketball.
That’s the verdict of ex-NBA star Dennis Rodman, who just returned from a friendly visit to the authoritarian, communist country. Rodman and Kim Jong-Un are chums. Dennis thinks the dictator is an “awesome guy”.
Ok then. We’ve heard from Dennis; now let’s hear from you. What’s on your mind today?
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Never fear, comrades!
North Korea has permitted mobile internet for foreigners. All 30 of them. But natives aren’t allowed to use them.
It’s the weekend! What’s on your mind, Punchers?
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North Korea is up to its old tricks again, detonating a nuclear device which registered as a 4.9 magnitude “quake” on the Richter Scale.
Do you lie awake at night worrying about North Korea? Or are you more concerned by the complete collapse of western culture embodied by the South Korean song Gangnam Style?
What else is making your corn flakes taste like kim chi today?
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Sport and politics shouldn’t mix. But they do. And that is why the Socceroos, Australia’s national football team, shouldn’t play North Korea as planned on Wednesday night.
North Korea’s communist government has been brutalising its people for decades. Human Rights Watch reports that North Korea is virtually an open air prison where the people are forced to work for no remuneration of any sort, the state owns all property and freedom of expression is non-existent.
Dissenters are sent to forced labour camps called gwalliso where they are tortured and executed. The state controls food distribution and is currently in the process of starving its people with its “military first” policy.
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UPDATE: Well that was deflating. Apparently Kim Jong-un just officially named himself “supreme leader”. We thought that was already his title, but whatever. Anyway, keep the suggestions coming along. What SHOULD he have announced?
Quick! Get your comments in now! You only have 19 minutes left! Now just 18!
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is set to make a major announcement at midday, Pyongyang time, which is 1pm here on the Australian east coast.
The betting in The Punch office is that he’ll be banging on about something to do do with either:
a) his wife
b) bombs, possibly directed at South Korea
c) He is set to enter Eurovision
d) North Korea has won all of the gold medals at the London Olympics
e) North Korea has a new jersey sponsor (don’t laugh, AFL clubs make “special announcements” all the time to tell the enthralled media stuff like this)
f) all of the above
Now you’ve only got 16 minutes. What do YOU think is going in North Korea?
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Supreme Child God Leader Kim Jong-un has attended some of the band’s performances, so they must be great. Looking forward to seeing them on national breakfast TV shows sometime soon.
Welcome to Monday. What’s on your mind this morning?
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“Moving forward” has a different meaning in North Korea.
“Let us move forward to final victory,” Kim Jong-un, the son and successor of Kim Jong-il, urged North Koreans assembled at a military parade in Pyongang at the weekend.
Whatever that means. Jong-un’s speech came after the Obama Administration suspended a food aid agreement that would have helped alleviate the famine that grips the country - which they did in response to the hermit state’s (failed) missile launch last week. The aid would have come in exchange for North Korea halting its missile testing and uranium enrichment programs, and allowing international monitoring of nuclear sites.
One in three children is malnourished in North Korea, according to the World Food Program. This raises an interesting question. Should food be used as a foreign policy tool? Shouldn’t food be distributed to needy innocents regardless of what regime they live under?
What do you reckon? And what else is on your mind today?
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Until Siimon Reynolds came along when I was 11 years old and scared the living daylights out of everyone with his Grim Reaper AIDS advertisements, the biggest abstract bogey man I remember was nuclear war.
Those Russians, they had the bomb, and they were possibly going to use it. It didn’t help matters that in 1986 Chernobyl fulfilled the nuclear nightmare, conflating two separate issues into one terrifying specter.
It’s probably a good indication of how little I had to worry about being a child in the 80s in rural Australia that I remember “the bomb” being on my mind every now and again.
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The world’s breathing a deep sigh of relief after North Korean authorities organised a carefully controlled tour of a rocket launch site.
All those silly paranoid nations that were worried North Korea was preparing to test nuclear missiles will sleep easy now they’ve been told that it’s just a civilian mission to launch a satellite into space to play a couple of songs and monitor forests.
So now we know North Korea just wants to play a few tunes to honour late President Kim Il-Sung, what else is on your mind, Punchers?
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Earlier this week, we learned that North Korean dictator and supreme being Kim Jong-un is the “Genius of Geniuses”.
This life-changing knowledge flowed gently into our puny human brains through the magic of a video presumably produced by Kim Jong-un himself.
So far, no one - except a bunch of people in gulags - has disputed this. And why would you? Who wouldn’t want a leader who is the official Genius of Geniuses? A crazy person, that’s who.
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It’s a sad day in North Korea. In truly Orwellian scenes, North Koreans are playing the game of of “I am more sad than you” after the passing of their “Dear Leader”, who starved, terrorised and tortured his own populace for decades.
It’s easy to make fun of the teary scenes in Pyongyang and elsewhere. For example, you could point out that there appear to be extra points for banging the pavement with your palm. But to paraphrase what they say on the Virgin Blue flights, there is a serious side to today’s flight of fancy.
Show an inappropriate level of misery (i.e anything less than full breakdown) and you risk being nabbed by the thought police. It’s terrifying stuff. We here at The Punch are genuinely torn between our initial instincts to make fun of a nation’s crocodile tears, and our sympathy for those forced to cry.
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North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il is dead. This means both many people watching the famous Team America “I’m So Ronery” clip, and potentially enormous global implications. For all the news see news.com.au’s coverage here. The Punch spoke to Associate Professor Felix Patrikeeff, who is Head of the Discipline of Politics and Master of Kathleen Lumley College at the University of Adelaide, where he is currently teaching the Comparative Politics of Leadership and Intelligence Studies (he is also the President of the South Australian Branch of the Australian Institute of International Affairs).
What do you think will happen now?
One of two things will happen. One is that the new leadership under Kim Jong Il’s youngest son (Kim Jong Un) will take shape fairly slowly behind the scenes until such a time as he can actually take power in his own right.
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Well. Hasn’t it been a crap year to be a ruthless dictator or all-round Evil Dude? All the big names are gone.
Kim Jong Il: dead. Osama bin Laden: dead. Gaddafi: dead. Mubarak: gone. Syria’s Assad: embroiled in a civil war. Twenty-two of the top 30 Al-Qaeda leaders: dead. Yemen’s Saleh: got bombed. Than Shwe of Burma: out of office.
Even Mugabe is sharing power with a democrat. It’s been a terrible year of tyranny. Watch out Gurbanguly Berdymuhammedov.
It’s Tuesday, Punchers. What’s on your mind?
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The Korean War stopped for practical purposes in 1953, but technically, it never ended.
This is a matter of theory for most people around the world, but clearly for the North Korean leadership – and many of its brainwashed people – it’s a brutal reality.
This week’s shelling by North Korea of the South Korean island of Yeonpyeong was just the latest illustration of this attitude.
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Not since the Trotskyist student uprisings at the Sorbonne in May-June 1968 have the French bunged on such an entertaining stink - only this time it involves the national soccer team. You can watch a news reports below, but the short version is that the players are in mutiny over their hapless coach Raymkond Domenech and have effectively gone on strike by refusing to train.
The trigger for the showdown was the explusion fron the national team of striker Nicolas Anelka after his four-lettered spray against Domenech who, among other things, he called a “dirty son a whore.” If there was any justice in the world the entire French team would have been sent home and replaced with Ireland, who lost teir qualifier against the French courtesy of a shameless handball by Thierry Henry. The upshot of all the French team’s revolution is that South Africans are now fantasising that after last week’s 3-0 drubbing by Uruguay Bafana Bafana will now come out and flog the fraying French in tonight’s final first stage match.
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So we’re now almost a foot closer to New Zealand, which has prompted many jokes about Bondi being swamped and our Immigration Department having a lot of work taken off their hands.
I heard a Kiwi on the radio this morning hoping the airlines would drop their prices so he could go home and visit his family more often.
Apparently New Zealand’s been sneaking up on us, a few centimetres at a time, for years and last week made an almighty push during a 7.8 magnitude earthquake. Initially I was alarmed at the news, but now am beginning to think things could be worse.
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Conventional wisdom tells us that we should stand up to bullies. But what do you do when the bully is of questionable mental health with access to weapons grade plutonium?
(Warning: The video clip below contains strong language which some will find offensive)
On Friday June 12, the United Nations Security Council unanimously passed Resolution 1874, calling on all member States (nations) of the United Nations to expand sanctions placed on North Korea, sanctions that were first introduced in October 2006 following North Korea’s first nuclear test. The sanctions call for tougher inspections of cargo suspected to contain banned items relating to the North’s nuclear and ballistic missile activities. This is in response to the North’s most recent nuclear test in May.
North Korean reaction to the resolution was predictable. The Korean Central News Agency reported that any new sanctions imposed against them would be considered a declaration of war; the Foreign Ministry stated that North Korea would “weaponise all plutonium” in their possession and would begin uranium enrichment – the first stage in producing viable nuclear weaponry. The Ministry also stated that it considered any attempt at a blockade as an “act of war that will be met with a decisive military response”, and would “counter ‘sanctions’ with retaliation and ‘confrontation’ with all-out confrontation.”
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As the rest of the world watches North Korea and its leader Kim Jong-il with absolute amazement some of us believe we understand him at least a little bit.
I won’t say I ‘m close to him although he did once present me (through an intermediary) with a black lacquer vase (which I then declared on my pecuniary interests register as a gift from “the Dear Leader” as he is known ... and which no journalist in the NSW press gallery picked up as an issue).
At least I have as credentials for talking about North Korea the fact that I have been there twice.
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