North Korea Creates Chaos, South Korean President Impeached, and More


Mekayla Phan, Features Editor

What is up with Korea lately? From North Korean missile-launching to a mysterious video from Kim Jong-nam’s son to South Korea’s President scandal – if you haven’t heard about it, it’s time to get caught up!

North Korea’s Missile Launching and China’s Proposition

Last Monday (March 6), North Korea test-launched four missiles towards the Sea of Japan, defying UN resolutions and breaking off international sanctions.

President Trump, who was meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the time, announced full-support behind Japan as an ally. In response to North Korea’s actions, the United States sent out a missile defense system (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD) into South Korea.  However, China believes this system to be a spying device, and sees it as a threat to their military and government. This led to China trying to mediate the tensions, calling on North Korea to suspend their missile and nuclear testing in return for the US to back out military activity from the region. China’s minister Wang Yi  had suggested that US and South Korea cease conducting military exercises together, which has made North Korea more aggressive. However, the US dismissed China’s proposal as not “a viable deal”.

Along with friction between China and the new American president, China is taking it out on South Korea. China’s National Tourism Administration ordered travel agencies to stop all tours to South Korea, and warned the Chinese citizens to refrain booking tours there.

North Korea – Malaysia Ban

Meanwhile, after the assassination of Kim Jong-nam, the relationship between Malaysia and North Korea has become strained. Malaysia has not outright claimed it was North Korea’s doing, but there is high suspicion. Malaysian investigators are looking into Kim Jong-nam’s death, and demanding North Korea hand over three suspects thought to have been involved. North Korea has strongly denied all accusations and is trying to claim its right to the body.

(See SHS article for Kim Jong’s death incident:

North Korea, seeking a “fair settlement”, took great lengths in prohibiting Malaysians from leaving the country.  Malaysia responded the same – not allowing any North Korean in Malaysia to leave the country until their citizens in North Korea are returned safely.

Kim Jong-nam’s son?

A mysterious video surfaced from YouTube of a man claiming to be Kim Jong-nam’s son revealing that he is safe and with his family. The man is indeed identified as the son of the deceased Kim Jong-nam, Kim Han-sol. South’s Unification Ministry spokesman Jeong Joon-hee noted that “it’s clear to everyone that the person closely resembles Kim Han-sol.” In the short 39 second video, Kim Jong-nam addresses his father’s death, but it’s heavily censored.  He ends the video saying, “We hope this gets better soon.” (See clip:

The video was posted by a group named the Cheollma Civil Defense that rescues North Korean defectors and refugees. Nobody heard of the group, but activist Mr. Do says, “This video means that Kim Han-sol’s in safety and working with this group, whoever they are, to attack the North Korean government.”

During a 2012 interview with a Finnish TV YLE, Han-sol said he never met his uncle, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. And that he didn’t know that his uncle became a “dictator”. Han-sol was allegedly accepted to Oxford University, but cancelled his plans out of fear after his father’s assassination.

South Korea’s President Thrown Out

It’s the first time of the nation’s history that an elected South Korean president has been removed from office. The nation’s first female president and daughter of Cold War dictator Park Chung-he, Park  Geun-hye,  meets her downfall after being involved in a corruption scandal that made thousands of  outraged South Koreans take to street in protest. Background of the scandal:

After Park Geun-hye’s mother was assassinated by a North Korean spy in 1974, she became the stand-in first lady to her father at age 22. During this time she met with Choi Tae-min, a pseudo-Christian leader that founded a cult called The Church of Eternal Life, who claimed to have been visited by her late mother’s soul asking him to guide young Geun-hye. Mr. Choi then became a mentor to her, and Geun-hye befriended his daughter. After her father was assassinated in 1979 by his own intelligence agency because he was being too manipulated by Mr. Choi  (aka “Korean Rasputin”),  Geun-hye seemed to have followed a similar fate as her father. The daughter of Mr. Choi,  Choi Soon-si, is accused of abusing her connections with Geun-hye to force companies for millions of dollars to non-profit organizations she controlled. Companies such as Samsung, who are currently in trial for bribery and embezzlement. President Park allegedly was involved in collecting the money. There was also claims that Ms. Choi received government documents about North Korea ministerial candidates and used money from President Park’s wardrobe budget for her own.

The two women vaguely apologized, and Ms. Choi says she committed an “unpardonable crime”. President Park changed her speech on the issue over time, at first professionally speaking,”Regardless of what the reason may be, I am sorry that the scandal has caused national concern and I humbly apologize to the people” to deep confessions. “Sad thoughts trouble my sleep at night. I realize that whatever I do, it will be difficult to mend the hearts of the people, and then I feel a sense of shame.” After the verdict by the Constitutional Court Justices was announced, many people celebrated and Park’s supporters (mainly the elderly) rioted. A disturbance between Park’s supporters and the police emerged that killed several people.

President Park, now without presidential immunity, will face the charges of her crimes, and an election for a new president must be held within 60 days. The impeachment has added more stress to these worrisome times in Asia.