In light of the recent discovery of a spy ring in Korea, a JoongAng Ilbo editorial is calling for the Korean public to wake up:

It is shocking that an underground spy ring – code-named Wangjaesan – has engaged in espionage for the past 18 years after receiving a directive from North Korean leader Kim Il Sung in a meeting in Pyongyang in August 1993.

Members of the group even received medals of honor from the North as a token of appreciation for their service. We are dumbfounded at the grim reality that a group of resident espionage agents, including an official who handled government secrets, could work as North Korean spies on a mission to foment a socialist revolution in the South for nearly two decades. Among them are people who were officially acknowledged as democratic movement leaders. The spy ring’s membership also includes a secretary of Assembly speaker Lim Chae-jung who served during the Roh Moo-hyun administration.

The BBC had this to add:

The ringleader, known as Mr Kim, operated in South Korea under a codename, setting up what prosecutors described as “an anti-national organisation” to send information back to the North, prosecutors said in a statement.

Two other men are alleged to have been responsible for reporting from Seoul and from the area of Incheon just outside the capital, where South Korea’s main airport is based.

JoongAng’s editor was definitely preaching to the choir. The Hanky reports that a right wing Christian Party, “The anti-Communist, pro-U.S. Citizens’ Campaign for Setting Right Church and Country” has been formed:

New Puritan Spiritual Training Center Director Rev. Jeon Gwang-hun, who spearheaded the forum effort, predicted that the event would serve as a preliminary meeting for the launch of a new Protestant Christian party.

“There is a growing consensus that the church needs to address the serious situation of social collapse, since it cannot be left to politicians alone to handle,” Jeon said. “While the goal of this forum is the ten topic discussions, I expect it will ultimately lead to a debate over a Christian party.”

Jeon said that he would put himself forward if veteran figures such as Cho and Kim undertake preliminary efforts on behalf of those seeking to establish a Christian party “in order to save a country that faces crisis due to leftist North Korea puppets and anti-Christian forces.”

But why stop there?

According to a publicity poster that was distributed for the forum by the organization and features the faces of Cho, Kim, and Rev. Kim Sam-hwan, the event will see the gathering of pastors from 3,000 leading churches in South Korea and feature discussions on ten topics. They include “the repudiation of country by pro-North Korea leftists and Communist unification,” “the Korean sukuk law and abnormal propagation of Islam,” “human rights issues in North Korea.”

The topics also include laws regarding homosexuality, attacks on the church by Internet media, church corruption and secularization, the Korean Teachers’ and Education Workers’ Union (KTU, Jeon Gyo Jo), and distorted representations of Christianity in textbooks.


Apparently there are spies everywhere  – even on Jeju Island where the protests against the naval base construction continue.  Nicole Erwin reports in Truthout:

Conservative newspapers have called the Gangjeong protesters leftists and North Korea supporters, hinting at communism. During the August 5 pro-base rally – which had been secret until only one day before – former Jeju Junior College Korean history Professor Seok Pyo Hang said that the date was kept secret to prevent North Korean spies from intervening.

“Pyongyang may enjoy the crisis happening in our society. The people coming from the outside, mostly the foreigners like those in Hangin, are North Korean, not Gangjeong villagers, “said Seok.

Foreign press was asked to leave the assembly. Korean press was allowed to walk freely among the demonstrators, some of whose banners called base protesters “garbage.”


But not all spies are Koreans – even if they pretend to be –  nor are they all in Korea.  According to the Province (August 26, 2011):

A U.S. diplomat disguised himself as a Korean tourist to probe a tiger farm in China where he voiced alarm at conditions that included whippings of the animals, a leaked memo said.

An internal U.S. diplomatic cable, released by WikiLeaks, questioned the intentions behind the Xiongsen Mountain Village. The 2007 cable narrated how an unidentified officer at the U.S. consulate in Guangzhou overcame the suspicions of Xiongsen’s staff by convincing them that he was a Korean tourist.

“The staff stated that up to three tour groups of Koreans came a day, numbering more than 30 in each group. The Koreans were among the most enthusiastic purchasers of both the black bear bile and the tiger wine, according to store staff,” the cable said.


And, finally, Stephen Kim is back in the news. Politico reports:

A judge in Washington has rejected defense motions to dismiss charges against a former State Department analyst charged with leaking top-secret intelligence about North Korea to Fox News.

Stephen Kim, who worked for the Energy Department but was detailed to Foggy Bottom, was charged last August with violating the Espionage Act by disclosing to James Rosen of Fox News that the U.S. believed North Korea was about to conduct a nuclear test. Kim was also charged with lying to FBI agents by denying contact with Rosen.