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Koreas unify… on FC Basel

Interesting little blog post at ESPN on Swiss side FC Basel’s Park Joo-Ho of South Korea and Pak Kwang-Ryong of North Korea:

Before the start of the second half, a pair of first-year Basel players sat beside one another on the bench, stretched out their legs, admired Marbella’s royal-blue sky and appeared to make small talk. No surprise there; they are teammates after all. But what no one appeared to notice — not that there were many people there besides a hundred or two maniacal Feyenoord supporters — was the geo-political gravitas of this potential photo-op. It is, quite literally, a photo that is not allowed to be taken: Park Joo-Ho of South Korea, Basel’s 25-year-old starting left back, sat beside Pak Kwang-Ryong of North Korea, the team’s 19-year-old substitute forward.

For Koreans on either side of the 38th parallel — the world’s most heavily fortified border — there can be severe consequences for fraternizing with the enemy. The armistice that ended the Korean War was signed on July 27, 1953, but a peace treaty was never put in place; technically, the two countries remain at war. In the Communist North, those suspected of mere contact with South Koreans are, according to the Human Rights Watch World Report 2012, subject to lengthy terms in “horrendous detention facilities or forced labor camps with chronic food and medicine shortages, harsh working conditions, and mistreatment by guards.” Though the democratic South has far more freedoms, its far-reaching National Security Law continues to stifle any exchange with, and interest in, North Korea. In short: A South Korean and a North Korean should not be shooting the breeze on a sunny afternoon in Spain.

It’s a fascinating post and well worth the read.

(HT to reader)

About the author: Just the administrator of this humble blog.

  • commander

    Interesting tale of two Park/Pak’s. By the way, if you try to guess which is the Nork based on a physical description, which would it be? One guy is about 5-11 or so tall defender and doesn’t speak English well. The other guy is 6-2 tall forward and speaks better English than the first guy. It turns out the latter guy is the Nork, a 19-year old at that. What are they feeding these kids up there?

  • eujin

    The tall one (the North Korean) also has a Facebook page
    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Kwang-Ryong-Pak/162778620465560

    Bad news for Basel last night though….I hope it wasn’t the first ever Champions League match broadcast live in the North.

  • cm

    I didn’t like the article at all. It made it sound as if South Korea’s national security law prevents South Korean Park to be friends or fraternize with Pak of North Korea, or any other North Koreans meat abroad for that matter. That’s not what that law is about, nor do the South Korean authorities would ever shadow their citizens around and coaching them how to deal with the North Koreans. That’s just complete BS. If the article is right, and if Park was being cautious with the reporters, it’s obvious he was just trying to protect his North Korean buddy from the unwanted attraction from displeased North Korean government caused by all the media attention.

  • http://askakorean.blogspot.com thekorean

    It made it sound as if South Korea’s national security law prevents South Korean Park to be friends or fraternize with Pak of North Korea, or any other North Koreans meat abroad for that matter. That’s not what that law is about, nor do the South Korean authorities would ever shadow their citizens around and coaching them how to deal with the North Koreans.

    Just how ignorant are you about the National Security Law? Simply re-tweeting a tweet that praises North Korea, clearly for the purpose of mocking that tweet, still exposes you to a criminal prosecution. Chatting with a North Korean national can obviously cause greater exposure, specifically under Art. 8 of the NSL: “국가의 존립·안전이나 자유민주적 기본질서를 위태롭게 한다는 정을 알면서 반국가단체의 구성원 또는 그 지령을 받은 자와 회합·통신 기타의 방법으로 연락을 한 자는 10년 이하의 징역에 처한다.”

  • cm

    thekorean, unless Pak the North Korean player is spreading North Korean propaganda, there’s nothing in that article that says you cannot talk to North Koreans in third countries. So is Pak propagandizing North Korean policies, praising North Korea, spreading propaganda against South Korea, or is against South Korea? I didn’t get that impression from the article, when it says Pak has been completely silent and very shy with publicity.
    I know you don’t like the NSL, but god sakes stop with your attempt to politicize this by using these guys.

  • http://askakorean.blogspot.com thekorean

    Pak is a citizen of North Korea, which is defined as a 반국가단체 in its entirety. Therefore, Pak is 반국가단체의 구성원. That is the established law under the NSL. Stop trying to whitewash what the NSL does.

  • cm

    Citizen of North Korea does not equal to 반국가단체. Stop with this nonsense.

  • http://askakorean.blogspot.com thekorean

    Korea’s Supreme Court says otherwise. Look up 2003도758 from the Supreme Court website. You think your interpretation of the NSL is better than the Supreme Court’s?

  • cm

    Those are your own internalized interpretations.

  • http://askakorean.blogspot.com thekorean

    No, it’s the interpretation of the Supreme Court. You know, that entity that has a final say on statutory interpretation in Korea. If you bothered to look up the actual opinion in the 8 minutes it took you to respond to my last comment, you would not be making a fool out of yourself right now.

  • cm

    I read the law. Nowhere does it say South Koreans can’t be friends with a North Korean in Switzerland.

  • cm

    2003도758 국가보안법위반(잠입, 탈출 등)
    판례 정리/대법 전합 일부 요지 2010/04/19 17:14
    2003도758 국가보안법위반(잠입, 탈출 등)

    1. 조국통일범민족연합 남측본부의 이적성 여부(긍정),
    2. 북한 방문증명서를 발급받아 북한을 방문한 경우 국가보안법상 탈출죄 성립 범위,
    3. 국가보안법상 동조죄의 성립 범위,
    4. 북한 방문증명서를 발급받아 북한을 방문하는 동안 이루어진 개별 행위의 국가보안법위반죄 성립 여부(긍정)

    1. 조국통일범민족연합 남측본부는 국가보안법 제7조 제3항, 제1항에서 규정하는 이른바 ‘이적단체’에 해당한다고 본 사례

    2. 통일부장관으로부터 북한 방문증명서를 발급받아 북한을 방문하여 그 방문증명서에 기재된 방문 목적을 행한 경우에는 원칙적으로 그 방문은 남북교류와 협력을 목적으로 하는 행위로서 정당하다고 보는 것이 옳다. 물론, 대한민국의 존립․안전이나 자유민주적 기본질서를 위태롭게 하는 행위를 할 명백한 의도를 가진 사람이 방문 목적을 속여 북한 방문증명서를 받은 다음 그 방문증명서에 기재된 방문 목적에 따른 행위는 전혀 하지 않고 다른 행위를 한 예외적인 경우에는, 북한 방문증명서에 기재된 방문 목적은 방문증명서를 받기 위한 외형상의 구실에 불과하여 방문증명서를 받았다는 이유만으로 그 북한 방문이 남북교류와 협력을 목적으로 하는 행위로서 정당하다고 볼 수는 없으므로, 그 북한 방문행위가 국가보안법이 정한 탈출죄의 구성요건을 충족하는 경우에는 그에 따른 죄책을 면할 수 없다 할 것이다.
    그러나 이러한 예외적인 경우를 함부로 인정하게 되면 남북교류와 협력을 촉진하려는 같은 법의 목적 내지 통일부장관이 북한 방문을 허용한 정책적 판단의 취지를 가볍게 부정하는 결과를 낳게 될 것이다. 따라서, 북한 방문자가 통일부장관이 허용한 방문 목적에 부합하는 행위를 실제로 하는 한편 그 방문 기회를 이용하여 법률상 허용될 수 없는 다른 행위를 하였다고 하더라도, 하나의 북한 방문행위에 대한 정당성 여부를 방문 목적별로 나누어서 따로 평가할 수는 없다. 그러므로 북한 방문자가 오로지 법률상 허용될 수 없는 다른 행위를 하기 위하여 북한을 방문한 것이고 밖으로 내세운 방문 목적은 단지 북한 방문증명서를 받아내기 위한 명목상의 구실에 불과한 것이었다고 볼 수 있는 경우가 아니라면 그 북한 방문행위 자체는 정당성이 인정된다고 볼 것이고, 그 다른 행위에 대하여 해당 처벌 조항에 따른 죄책을 묻는 것은 별론으로 하더라도 더 나아가 북한 방문행위 자체를 통일부 장관이 허용한 방문목적과 전혀 다른 행위를 한 위의 경우와 동일시하여 남북교류와 협력을 위한 행위로서의 정당성을 전면 부정하고 국가보안법상의 탈출행위로 처벌하여서는 아니 될 것이다.

    2. 국가보안법 제7조 제1항에 의하여 금지되는 동조 행위는 같은 조항에서 규정하고 있는 ‘반국가단체 등의 활동을 찬양․고무․선전’하는 것과 같이 평가될 정도로 적극적으로 자신이 반국가단체 등 활동에 호응 가세한다는 의사를 외부에 표시하는 정도에 이르러야 하고, 반국가단체 등의 활동을 찬양 고무 선전하는 취지가 일부 포함된 집회에 단순히 참석함에 그쳐 국가의 존립․안전이나 자유민주적 기본질서에 실질적 해악을 끼칠 명백한 위험성이 있다고 보기 어려운 경우에는 같은 조항에서 정한 동조죄를 범하였다고 단정하여서는 아니 된다.

    3. 통일부장관의 북한 방문증명서 발급은 북한 방문 자체를 허용한다는 것일 뿐 북한 방문 중에 이루어지는 구체적이고 개별적인 행위까지 모두 허용한다거나 정당성을 부여한다는 취지는 아니므로 북한 방문 중에 이루어진 반국가단체 구성원 등과의 회합 등 행위가 대한민국의 존립․안전이나 자유민주적 기본질서에 실질적 해악을 끼칠 명백한 위험성이 인정되는지 여부는 각 행위마다 별도로 판단되어야 한다. 따라서, 북한 방문증명서를 발급받아 북한을 방문하였다고 하더라도 그 기회에 이루어진 반국가단체 구성원 등과의 회합 행위 등이 남북교류와 협력을 목적으로 하는 행위로서 정당하다고 인정되는 범위 내에 있다고 볼 수 없고, 오히려 대한민국의 존립.안전이나 자유민주적 기본질서에 실질적 해악을 끼칠 명백한 위험성이 인정되는 경우에는 그로 인한 죄책을 면할 수 없다.

  • http://askakorean.blogspot.com thekorean

    I read the law. Nowhere does it say South Koreans can’t be friends with a North Korean in Switzerland.

    Thank god you are not a lawyer. You would have fucked up a lot of lives.

  • cm

    Thank god I’m not a lawyer. They’re all crooks who like to misinterpret the law as they fit, to fit their own agenda.

  • http://throughwhiteyseyes.blogspot.com whitey

    I hope Thekorean will take this friendly advice in the right spirit: Back off a little bit.

    You’re a good writer. Your posts are interesting. I love your pieces elsewhere on the top 50 Korean musical artists.

    So why have seemingly all of your recent posts here devolved into mudslinging and harsh language in the comments section? Enough with the bad words.

    You are a respected writer. Think about your good image next time.

  • http://throughwhiteyseyes.blogspot.com whitey

    I hope Thekorean will take this friendly advice in the right spirit: Back off a little bit.

    You’re a good writer. Your posts are interesting. I love your pieces elsewhere on the top 50 Korean musical artists.

    So why have seemingly all of your recent posts here devolved into mudslinging and harsh language in the comments section? Enough with the bad words.

    You are a respected writer. Think about your good image next time. Remember your readers: they come here to be entertained and enlightened.

  • http://askakorean.blogspot.com thekorean

    So why have seemingly all of your recent posts here devolved into mudslinging and harsh language in the comments section?

    You mean, other than the fact that this is MH and people are digging up years-old comments of mine just to spite me?

    But alright, I do take your friendly advice.

  • http://askakorean.blogspot.com thekorean

    Hit “submit” too early. I meant to add, thanks for the advice.

  • Iang nio

    #16, thank you for confirming what doesn’t seem to be just me picking up a snarly vibe to TK’s posts. Me thinks him being viewed as such an ‘excellent writer’ has gotten to his head (I wonder whether he still fits through the door when he gets to his high-rise Manhattan office in the morning much less if he leaves it in the evening when going back home). Too much brown-nosing by the blog-community is not good for anyone’s ego (somebody who refers to themselves in the third person spells ‘ego’ undoubtedly with a capital ‘E’).

    I used to enjoy his articles when I didn’t know any better but since returning from Korea I do not consider him a real Korean anymore – he’s American more than Korean with – I’m sure – a unmistakable loud American accent. Especially if he works in law that does NOT help to keep that lad from thinking that one can dish it out right left and centre (in the 3rd person, of course!) from his own office in Manhattan as he boasted some time ago on his blog.

    Too much is too much. He’s head’s become too big for his own good.

    Unpleasant, boring, vain and pretentious are the adjectives that come to mind when I see ‘TK’. I don’t read his post any longer.

  • Iang nio

    I wish there were an edit function here so as to correct my spelling/grammatical errors. Not being lazy, just noticing my own mistakes.

    Thank you.