NK NEWS BRIEF | June 13, 2012
Posted June 13, 2012 by Justin
- KJU delivered his second public speech, addressing 20,000 children during celebrations for the 66th anniversary of the Chosun Children’s Union. “Korea’s future depends on you… The Korea you are in charge of will be a country full of laughter and happiness, and also the strongest country in the world.” More from NK Leadership Watch.
- Families wanting their children to attend the Chosun Children’s Union celebrations reportedly paid bribes to gain spots and favor with the govt, while the children had to pass rigorous medical examinations to participate.
- NK has reportedly begun ramping up propaganda around KJU’s mother, Ko Yong Hui, following a line similar to that of venerating KJI’s mother who was referred to as the “Great Mother” of the nation. Further by Daily NK.
- NKNews reports on rumours of a new SEZ at Chongjin.
- NK reportedly stated that foreigners hoping to work at the Hwanggumphyong and Wihwado Economic Zone will not need visas to do so, seemingly as an effort to encourage economic investment.
- Kim Kyuk Shik, commander of the 2010 shelling of Yeonpyeong Island, has been demoted according to the recently released Ministry of Unification report, “2012 Information on Key North Korean Personnel.”
- Koryo Tours reported that the 2012 Arirang Mass Games may be the last, the spectacle being replaced by a “whole new performance” next year. Jimin Lee on the history, ideology, and impact of the Mass Games.
FOOD AID & FOOD SECURITY
- NK’s annual nationwide period of mass mobilization for farming is reportedly being extended for an additional month due to extreme drought and labor shortages in rural areas, an effort entitled the “70-day battle.”
- The UN presented its 2012 Overview Funding Document for NK in Pyongyang and Beijing, outlining the need for a total of 198m USD to address key humanitarian priorities.
- UN DPRK: Humanitarian Overview. 66% of the NK population is dependent upon the PDS and considered chronically food insecure. Maternal and child health continue to be major challenges.
- The head of Iran’s Red Crescent, Abolhasan Faghih, reportedly stated Iranian plans to purchase food items from China to be shipped to NK.
- Reuters on U.S. Committee for Human Rights in North Korea’s study, “Marked for Life: Songbun, North Korea’s Social Classification System.” “The grim reality of North Korea is that this system creates a form of slave labour for a third of North Korea’s population of 23 million citizens and loyalty-bound servants out of the remainder.” Of the common classifications, 28% of NKoreans are estimated to be “loyal,” 45% “wavering,” and 27% “hostile.” These categories are further divided into 51 categories. Further by RFA. Report available here (highly recommended).
- HRW: A delegation of the ICNK has traveled to Europe to urge European govts to support the establishment of a UN COI on NKHR abuses.
- South Korean DUP and UPP representatives expressed their objections to the NK Human Rights Act which has been stuck in the SK National Assembly, suggesting that the legislation would not be effective.
- The Committee for the Release of North Korean Human Rights Activist Kim Young Hwan plans to visit the Blue House to submit a petition for his release.
- The NK NSA is reportedly co-opting Joseonjok (ethnic Korean Chinese) who are active in the border region area to provide them with intelligence on SK NGOs and Christian groups. They can’t afford to pay these people so they are instead making a deal and turning a blind eye to their smuggling activities, effectively allowing those Joseonjok to increase their revenue in return for a stream of useful intel. It’s not a new arrangement, but it appears to have been stepped up, and groups in the area are accordingly acting with great caution. Risks and costs continue to go up.
- Kim Eunsun’s story, sharing about years of living on the streets of NK, NKorean child beggars, and living and escaping from China. Kim is author of an autobiography recently published in France and a participant in “Eje mannaro gamnida” (see next item).
- Eje mannaro gamnida (Now on my way to meet you) is a South Korean show where where female defectors talk about their experiences in South and North Korea and show off their talents. It is gaining interest and showing South Koreans a more human side of NK. Video here (Korean only).
INTERNATIONAL POLITICS & SECURITY
- The UNSC adopted a resolution extending the mandate of a panel of experts on NK tasked with gathering information and providing feedback on the implementation of NK sanctions.
- The NK air force has reportedly sharply increased sorties since mid-May, with some jets flying close to SK airspace.
- NK said that it has no immediate plans to carry out a third nuclear test, perhaps suggesting that the nation is feeling the strain of recent international pressure and is seeking engagement.
- The USG’s Victoria Noland referred to the statements as “a good thing,” but restated U.S. calls for NK to fulfill its obligations and refrain from provocative activity and rhetoric.
- In statements made before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, James P. Zumwalt, said of the U.S./SK alliance and of NK that, “The United States is prepared to engage constructively with North Korea, but its new leadership must understand that there will be no rewards for provocations and that engaging in provocative acts will only increase North Korea’s isolation and the hardships endured by its people.”
- Robert King encouraged NK to follow the path of currently reforming Myanmar, “I see Burma as a great example of where we’d like to see North Korea going.”
- Head of U.S. forces in SK, Gen. James Thurman, requested that the DoD deliver additional short-range anti-ballistic missiles and attack aircraft to SK to help address the NK threat.
- LMB stated that SK will respond “strongly and immediately in times of [NK] military provocation” and encouraged NK to “open up like Myanmar and join the international community.”
- The SK Unification Ministry announced plans to amend the Inter-Korean Exchange and Cooperation Act to remove legal barriers from the process of sending remittances to NK.
- Two NKoreans were arrested and sentenced to eight years in prison in Ukraine after allegedly attempting to steal classified intelligence regarding missile technology.
- SK’s Joongang Ilbo newspaper suffered a major cyber attack. Although the culprit is unknown, recent threats against media outlets have prompted an investigation into possible NK involvement.
ANALYSIS & OPINION
- Jin Zhe, chief secretary of the Korean Peninsula Research Centre at the Liaoning Academy of Social Science, arguing that NK is moving toward openness: “We’re even hearing about prominent North Korean figures saying that First Secretary Kim Jong-un ‘must accept any and every idea’ that the people accept and support… They‘re said to be very intent on developing the economy.”
- Kim Kyu-won on joint NK/SK venture, Ari Sports, which produces handmade soccer shoes.
- Shin Hyon-hee analyzing recent developments in NK, addressing the nationwide drought, the impact of defectors fleeing to China, and NK moves to “perk up foreign assistance and investment.”
- Mark P. Barry on the need of SK/NK unification to avoid NK “Finlandization.” “Some regard [China’s] investments in the DPRK as an effort to create compatible institutional structures that would facilitate integration with China’s northeast economy. A scenario of economic assimilation would mean Korean reunification would take place—if ever—under Chinese auspices and only if a united Korea’s foreign policy conformed to China’s.”
- Scott Bruce on Russia/NK relations, highlighting joint economic and military actions. “Russia-North Korean relations have remained cordial, in spite of Russian support for the UNSC measure criticizing North Korea’s recent satellite launch.”
- David Matthew on UK/NK relations. The UK “stresses the necessity of open lines of communication for critical engagement in relations” while accepting more NK refugees than any nation other than SK.
- Jeong Jae Sung on NK’s missing of a recent SK debt repayment deadline. “If North Korea is permitted to simply ignore rather than address the issue of repayment in the future, then getting back any of the Sunshine Policy era debt will grow remoter still.”
- Golfing in NK. “Last month, 15 foreigners and one North Korean competed over three rounds in the second Democratic People’s Republic of Korea Amateur Golf Open… The experience offered a rare glimpse into one of the world’s most reclusive countries.”
- The Guardian on NK’s Olympic goals, hopes of success in weightlifting, wrestling, and women’s football. Brian Myers, “It is not a huge problem for them if they are not capable of winning gold medals in various disciplines. If they get a few they will chalk that up to their unique moral strength and the athletes will thank the leader for inspiring them.”
- Recent pictures of everyday life from NK/China border region, Hyesan.
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