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Do we really need more evidence that traveling to North Korea is a bad idea?

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  • Do we really need more evidence that traveling to North Korea is a bad idea?

    Ok, I think we have all the evidence we need that going to North Korea for any reason is a stupid one. Turns out North Korea is convinced everyone is a spy. Speak of, what company put this together. Was the tour of Somalia all booked up?

    (CNN) -- North Korea has confirmed to Swedish diplomats that it is holding an American citizen, the U.S. State Department said Friday.

    The State Department has declined to confirm the identity of the citizen, citing privacy issues. But the family of 85-year-old Merrill Newman of Palo Alto, California, has said he has been detained in North Korea since October 26.

    Washington does not have diplomatic relations with Pyongyang, and it has been working through Sweden -- the U.S. protecting power in North Korea -- to obtain information about the American.

    "We are working in close coordination with representatives of the Embassy of Sweden to resolve this issue, and they also have requested on a daily basis consular access," State Department spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki told reporters.

    The revelation came the same day that Newman's wife, Lee, pleaded for his release.

    "The family feels there has been some dreadful misunderstanding leading to his detention and asks that (North Korea) work to settle this issue quickly and to return this 85-year-old grandfather to his anxious, concerned family," she said in a statement.

    Newman, a Korean War veteran and retired financial consultant, was last seen aboard a flight from Pyongyang to Beijing. Just minutes before the plane was to depart, he was removed from the flight by North Korean authorities, the family has said.

    "He has been detained somewhere in North Korea since that time," Newman's wife said in the statement.

    According to the family, Newman and a traveling companion, Bill Hamrdla, had been on a 10-day organized private tour of North Korea.

    The family has said Newman suffers from a heart condition and only had enough medication for the trip.
    State Department: North Korea confirms detention of American - CNN.com

  • #2
    Re: Do we really need more evidence that traveling to North Korea is a bad idea?

    Even propaganda on top of... I'd say the conclusion is obvious. Stop visiting North Korea, for any reason.

    (CNN) -- An 85-year-old American man detained in North Korea has apologized for his actions, including for killing troops and civilians during the Korean War, North Korea's state-run news agency reported Saturday.

    KCNA released a statement it claimed was from Merrill Newman -- a Palo Alto, California man who, his family says, has been held in North Korea for more than 30 days.

    "After I killed so many civilians and (North Korean) soldiers and destroyed strategic objects in the DPRK during the Korean War, I committed indelible offensive acts against the DPRK government and Korean people," Newman said, according to the "apology" reported by KCNA.

    His statement ends: "If I go back to (the) USA, I will tell the true features of the DPRK and the life the Korean people are leading."

    In addition to this statement, KCNA ran a story alleging Newman came to North Korea with a tourist group in October and afterward "perpetrated acts of infringing upon the dignity and sovereignty of the DPRK and slandering its socialist system."
    Report: American held in North Korea issues 'apology' - CNN.com

    מה מכילות החדשות?


    • #3
      Re: Do we really need more evidence that traveling to North Korea is a bad idea?

      Geez. Foolish people go off to countries hostile to the US and then expect the US government to come and bail their asses out of trouble.

      Leave them their. They got their on their own, they have to get out of there on their own. Doesn't the State Department already warn them to no go there?

      מה מכילות החדשות?


      • #4
        Re: Do we really need more evidence that traveling to North Korea is a bad idea?

        Originally posted by eohrnberger View Post
        Geez. Foolish people go off to countries hostile to the US and then expect the US government to come and bail their asses out of trouble.

        Leave them their. They got their on their own, they have to get out of there on their own. Doesn't the State Department already warn them to no go there?
        Yes, they do...

        Korea, Democratic People's Republic of

        October 1, 2013

        The Department of State continues to warn U.S. citizens about travel to North Korea (Democratic People's Republic of Korea, or DPRK). Travel by U.S. citizens to North Korea is not routine, and U.S. citizens crossing into North Korea, even accidentally, have been subject to arbitrary arrest and long-term detention. Since January 2009, four U.S. citizens have been arrested for entering North Korea illegally, and two U.S. citizens who entered on valid DPRK visas were arrested inside North Korea on other charges. This replaces the Travel Warning issued for North Korea on March 14, 2013, and it reminds U.S. citizens about the serious risks involved in traveling to the DPRK.

        The Government of North Korea has not only imposed heavy fines on, but has also detained, arrested, and imprisoned persons who violated DPRK laws, such as entering the country illegally. Travelers to North Korea must enter the DPRK with a valid passport and valid DPRK visa. Foreign visitors to North Korea may be arrested, detained, or expelled for activities that would not be considered criminal outside North Korea, including involvement in unsanctioned religious and/or political activities (whether those activities took place inside or outside North Korea), unauthorized travel, or unauthorized interaction with the local population. North Korean security personnel may regard as espionage unauthorized or unescorted travel inside North Korea and unauthorized attempts to speak directly to North Korean citizens. North Korean authorities may fine or arrest travelers for exchanging currency with an unauthorized vendor, for taking unauthorized photographs, or for shopping at stores not designated for foreigners. It is a criminal act in North Korea to show disrespect to the country's former leaders, Kim Jong Il and Kim Il Sung, or to the current leader, Kim Jong Un.
        Korea, Democratic People's Republic of

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        • #5
          Re: Do we really need more evidence that traveling to North Korea is a bad idea?

          At least the motive becomes clearer now. Mr. Newman has apparently been involved in anti-communist partisan warfare during the Korea war, and been part of a unit that the North accuses of war crimes :

          North Korea parades detained US pensioner Merrill Newman as war criminal - Asia - World - The Independent

          מה מכילות החדשות?


          • #6
            Re: Do we really need more evidence that traveling to North Korea is a bad idea?

            Originally posted by Voland View Post
            At least the motive becomes clearer now. Mr. Newman has apparently been involved in anti-communist partisan warfare during the Korea war, and been part of a unit that the North accuses of war crimes :

            North Korea parades detained US pensioner Merrill Newman as war criminal - Asia - World - The Independent
            I would still argue this entire event is for show. North Korea is using this guy for attention on the international scene, because of his age and health it could cost him his life. Which makes a very strong argument to avoid visiting that nation knowing North Korea has such a propensity for this behavior.

            מה מכילות החדשות?


            • #7
              Re: Do we really need more evidence that traveling to North Korea is a bad idea?

              Originally posted by Sluggo View Post
              I would still argue this entire event is for show. North Korea is using this guy for attention on the international scene, because of his age and health it could cost him his life. Which makes a very strong argument to avoid visiting that nation knowing North Korea has such a propensity for this behavior.
              Well, a show element is obviously involved. And also a political message, since the incident will with certainty make a political opening towards the US impossible for some time ( which may be precisely what parts of North Koreas inner circle want to achieve). But still, if he did what he is said to have done during the Korea war or at least was a member of the unit in question indeed (without going into details, speculation and judgement this was of course a cruel time when ALL sides engaged in brutality) , that makes an even MUCH more powerful motive to only touch that country on a map, but not on reality.

              מה מכילות החדשות?


              • #8
                Re: Do we really need more evidence that traveling to North Korea is a bad idea?

                Sf columnist Michael Yaki made an interesting ovsevation on N Korea. He said that whenever N Korea wants to negotiate something they do this kind of stuff to get attention, and then of course we, or some other country, has send someone over to find out what they want and come to some sort of terms.

                I think what it is is just hostage taking. If they grab someone, and we do nothing, that person will rot over there. I say that west should tighten up the rack until they scream, and then leave it there for a while.

                מה מכילות החדשות?


                • #9
                  Re: Do we really need more evidence that traveling to North Korea is a bad idea?

                  Originally posted by jet57 View Post
                  Sf columnist Michael Yaki made an interesting ovsevation on N Korea. He said that whenever N Korea wants to negotiate something they do this kind of stuff to get attention, and then of course we, or some other country, has send someone over to find out what they want and come to some sort of terms.

                  I think what it is is just hostage taking. If they grab someone, and we do nothing, that person will rot over there. I say that west should tighten up the rack until they scream, and then leave it there for a while.

                  No, noone has to accept hostage taking. But if North Korea is proof of anything, than that even the most intrusive sanctions regime has its limits. The key to solving the problem lies in Bejing and in Washington and no solution will be in sight as long as the "Great Game" between US and China over the Pacific is unresolved. Since if chinese state and party leader Xi Jinping calls, Kim Jon Un will have little choice but to rush to Bejing, lick Xis toes and sign any deal that is handed to him. But the Chinese have to want it. As long as the US are offering nothing that is more useful to China than the occasional trump card Kim and the other proxy conflict over Taiwan remains unresolved as well things will stay as they are. In spite of all the tough talk.

                  מה מכילות החדשות?


                  • #10
                    Re: Do we really need more evidence that traveling to North Korea is a bad idea?

                    Originally posted by Voland View Post
                    No, noone has to accept hostage taking. But if North Korea is proof of anything, than that even the most intrusive sanctions regime has its limits. The key to solving the problem lies in Bejing and in Washington and no solution will be in sight as long as the "Great Game" between US and China over the Pacific is unresolved. Since if chinese state and party leader Xi Jinping calls, Kim Jon Un will have little choice but to rush to Bejing, lick Xis toes and sign any deal that is handed to him. But the Chinese have to want it. As long as the US are offering nothing that is more useful to China than the occasional trump card Kim and the other proxy conflict over Taiwan remains unresolved as well things will stay as they are. In spite of all the tough talk.
                    So... what do you want us to give China?

                    מה מכילות החדשות?


                    • #11
                      Re: Do we really need more evidence that traveling to North Korea is a bad idea?

                      Originally posted by Voland View Post
                      No, noone has to accept hostage taking. But if North Korea is proof of anything, than that even the most intrusive sanctions regime has its limits. The key to solving the problem lies in Bejing and in Washington and no solution will be in sight as long as the "Great Game" between US and China over the Pacific is unresolved. Since if chinese state and party leader Xi Jinping calls, Kim Jon Un will have little choice but to rush to Bejing, lick Xis toes and sign any deal that is handed to him. But the Chinese have to want it. As long as the US are offering nothing that is more useful to China than the occasional trump card Kim and the other proxy conflict over Taiwan remains unresolved as well things will stay as they are. In spite of all the tough talk.
                      I understand what you're saying. I would argue however that the US now has a duty to make sure that N Korea stays out of whatever goes between US and China. Sounds like N Korea is simply working as a goon for China anad we can't have that.

                      Could be that China wants us to pressure Japan maybe.

                      מה מכילות החדשות?


                      • #12
                        Re: Do we really need more evidence that traveling to North Korea is a bad idea?

                        Originally posted by jet57 View Post
                        I understand what you're saying. I would argue however that the US now has a duty to make sure that N Korea stays out of whatever goes between US and China. Sounds like N Korea is simply working as a goon for China anad we can't have that.

                        Could be that China wants us to pressure Japan maybe.

                        Yet that will not be the USs decision. NK is quite obviously a proxy conflict, Taiwan is another. And the greater stage for these proxy conflicts is the chinese/american wrestling over influence in eastern Asia. The Chinese could chase the Kim regime out tomorrow, if they wanted, yet they are actually useful. They keep huge amounts of US troops busy and away from the chinese border that cost the other side shitloads of money, they are a trump card that China can occasionally play ( if Pyongyang is thundering, Bejing appears as the mediator on stage, which ensures influence), they are a valuable strategic asset in a future grand bargain over the region ( that the Chinese have always been clear will have to involve the US role on Taiwan), and not least : China is concerned that a breakdown of the Kim regime will result in millions of refugees streaming across the border and into China, which they seek to avoid.
                        That means who wants to achieve any REAL progress on North Korea will have to achieve progress between China and the US. In the absence of that neither party in the US is likely to support steps on North Korea that will lead to confrontation with China. That means they will leave it at rethoric more or less. And Kim Jong Un can rest assured.

                        מה מכילות החדשות?


                        • #13
                          Re: Do we really need more evidence that traveling to North Korea is a bad idea?

                          North Korea's publicity stunt over?

                          (CNN) -- Merrill Newman -- the 85-year-old American detained by North Korean authorities earlier this fall -- returned Saturday to the United States, arriving at San Francisco International Airport.

                          "It's been a great homecoming," said Newman, who was wearing a blue sport coat and khakis. He thanked the U.S. and Swedish diplomats who had helped secure his release, then told reporters, "I'm tired ... ready to be with my family now. Thank you all for the support we got, very much appreciated."

                          With that, accompanied by his wife, Lee, and son, Jeff, he walked off.

                          Hours earlier, in the airport in Beijing, video showed him smiling as he walked past a cavalcade of reporters. He felt good, he said, and was looking forward to seeing his wife.

                          "I'm very glad to be on my way home," Newman said. "And I appreciate the tolerance the DPRK government has given to me to be on my way."

                          The communist country "deported" the veteran of the Korean War, North Korea's state news agency KCNA reported early Saturday. The move coincided with a visit by U.S. Vice President Joe Biden to South Korea, where he laid a wreath in honor of those who died in the war that pitted North against South.

                          A senior administration official said that Newman's release was the result of direct contact between Washington and Pyongyang. The official said the North Koreans had told the Obama administration in a telephone call that they were releasing Newman; no explanation was offered.
                          'Deported' from North Korea, American returns to the United States - CNN.com

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                          • #14
                            Re: Do we really need more evidence that traveling to North Korea is a bad idea?

                            They got the propaganda value out of him. After that he was just another mouth to feed.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Do we really need more evidence that traveling to North Korea is a bad idea?

                              Originally posted by Voland View Post
                              At least the motive becomes clearer now. Mr. Newman has apparently been involved in anti-communist partisan warfare during the Korea war, and been part of a unit that the North accuses of war crimes :

                              North Korea parades detained US pensioner Merrill Newman as war criminal - Asia - World - The Independent
                              Oh then its justified.

                              There is no telling what havoc an octogenarian can wreak while on Vacation.

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