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From Arraignment to Entertainment, Koreas on Display at the UN and in Spy Case

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis

UNITED NATIONS, July 19 -- The Koreas beat at the UN becomes more interesting by the day. Thursday a Mr. Park Il-woo was arrested by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, charged with spying on North Korea for South Korea without properly registering with the U.S. Attorney General as an agent of a foreign power. Click here for that story.

            UN sources say that Park Il-woo was quite close with the highest members of the North Korean mission to the UN. While these ties can be portrayed as a mere cover in order to spy on North Korea, the deeper theory has it that Park Il-woo because a double agent, reporting to the North Korean mission on many things South Korean. That would explain the intervention of the U.S. FBI (which would not, presumably, have much of a problem with someone spying on North Korea for a U.S. ally like South Korea).

            Meanwhile, also on Thursday, Japan's Deputy Permanent Representative Shinyo briefed correspondents on North Korea's letter to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, demanding UN action on Japan's closure of General Association of Korean Residents in Japan, a/k/a Chongryon. Click here for a DPA story, and here for one by Xinhua, whose offices a North Korean diplomat visits during the time frame. Ban Ki-moon has yet to comment on his views and actions on North  Korean Ambassador Pak Gil Yon's letter.

Team Ban in Lebanon per UN Photo

            In yet another event on Thursday, an exhibition of Korean crafts opened in the UN Visitors' lobby, with talks by the Secretary-General's wife, the South Korean Ambassador and UN Under Secretary General for Public Information Kiyo Akasaka. Mr. Akasaka praised the fan dance, and later there was a demonstration of wood carving and of drumming. South Korea's Ambassador spoke of ships and cars and flat-screen TVs, saying that his country is in the top five in producing all of these.

From arraignment to entertainment, this is an ongoing Korean beat.

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