NK NEWS BRIEF | August 1, 2012
Posted August 1, 2012 by Justin
Recent flooding has caused serious human and material damage in North Korea. | Photo: EPA
- RFA reports that last October the NK govt moved to disable key functions in new cell phones, including video camera, memory card, and bluetooth capabilities. This would not affect cheaper Chinese phones sold on the black market and then registered to the official koryolink network through corrupt officials.
- Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU) is providing NK with live coverage of London Olympic Games.
- NK state TV confirmed that the mystery woman is indeed KJU’s wife, Ri Sol-ju. US State Department Spokeswoman Nuland joked that, “ I don’t think we were invited to the wedding”, but wished the ‘newlyweds’ well. NIS officials reportedly told lawmakers that Ri Sol-ju studied singing in China, was part of NK’s cheering squad at the Asian Athletics Championships in Incheon, SK, in 2005, and married KJU in 2009.
- Comrade Kim Goes Flying, the first fictional film with an entirely NK cast co-produced with Western partners and shot inside NK, is to premiere at the 2012 Pyongyang International Film Festival. The film was produced with the help of Nicholas Bonner (Koryo Tours) and Belgian filmmaker Anja Daelemans.
- KCNA is reporting that a new tablet PC is becoming increasingly popular in NK. The report stated that the tablet was called “‘Achim’ (morning) and provides ‘teaching materials, references, dictionaries and scientific data.’” The tablet is almost certainly made in China.
- KCNA rejected assertions being made in the western media that NK is reforming. Geoffrey K. See, founder of the Choson Exchange, comments on this development.
- Park Chan-mo, Chancellor of the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST), has stated that he is eager to hire SKorean professors. PUST is one of the premier Universities in NK, and is largely funded by outside groups.
- SKorean sources are reporting that Ri Young-ho’s purge may be linked to unilaterally moving troops near Pyongyang. In addition, it seems that hundreds of thousands of US dollars were found during a raid on his home.
FOOD AID & FOOD SECURITY
- The planned 6.28 agricultural reforms seems to be causing some to hoard food resulting in a spike in food prices. NKIS reports that news of reform measures is also prompting citizens with fresh memories of the 2009 currency reform to increase conversions of NK won to RMB as a precaution.
- Recent flooding in NK has caused serious damage. NYT: KCNA reports 88 dead, 63,000 homeless, and 74,700 acres of farmland destroyed. UN officials will visit and report on some of the areas hit hardest by the floods.
- The number of NKoreans visiting China is increasing significantly in a multi-year trend. In 2011, 152,000 NKoreans entered China, of which 114,000 were businessmen and laborers. Overall, that is 36,000 more than in 2010 and 46,000 more than in 2009.
- The NK govt has sent propaganda pamphlets across the DMZ for the first time in 12 years.
- Kyodo News is reporting, from an unnamed source, that Iran and NK have pledged to work together on future nuclear and high altitude missile projects during an April meeting in Pyongyang.
- Institute of Far East Studies: the Joint Venture and Investment Committee of NK (JVIC) published information, such as minimum wages and tax rates, for foreign companies and investors looking to do business in NK.
- A SKorean private committee has announced that it plans to file a suit against KJU in the ICC.
- NYT: Activist Kim Young-hwan said that the NK regime was involved in his detention in China and that he was tortured by Chinese officials. The Chinese govt denied this.
- SK and NK authorities have allowed a trip by a delegation of SKorean Hyundai Asan officials to pay respects to late Hyundai Group Chairman Chung, whose ashes are scattered at the Mount Kumgang resort.
ANALYSIS & OPINION
- The Atlantic on the demise of the Chongyron, the famous pro-NK group based in Japan.
- International Crisis Group on KJU’s succession and instability in NK. Full report.
- Benjamin Young on smoking and gender in NK.
- 38 North interviews Dr. Yoo Ho-Yeol, Director and Professor of North Korean Studies at Korea University. The video is divided into four parts: KJU’s first months, the economy under KJU, SK’s presidential race and possible consequences for NK, and the nuclear issue.
- Aidan Foster-Carter laments the western media’s focus on tittle-tattle and trivia, instead of focusing on the more important questions of economic reform and human rights issues.
- Blaine Harden also warns against being manipulated by KJU’s new PR style.
- It has been an action packed week for NK at the 2012 Olympics. London organizers accidently used SKorean flags in an introduction for the NKorean women’s soccer team. Meanwhile, NK has won gold medals in weightlifting and judo. NK beat SK in table tennis (individuals), while losing to the United States in women’s soccer. Finally, check out this interesting AP article on their attitude towards the press and interaction with other athletes.
- Ashley Madison, a website that connects individuals looking for affairs, has used the recent news of KJU’s marriage as inspiration for one of their new billboards.
- Check out this video of KJU and Ri Sol-ju touring the Rungna People’s Pleasure Ground, an amusement park in Pyongyang.
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