The KWP Central Committee held its plenary meeting in PY. The meeting emphasized that nuclear weapons are not a bargaining tools, and “a strategic new line” stressing simultaneous “economic construction and building nuclear armed forces”. “The self-reliant nuclear power industry should be developed and the work for developing light water reactor be dynamically promoted to actively contribute to easing the strain on the electricity problem of the country… The country’s economy should be shifted into knowledge-based economy and the foreign trade be made multilateral and diversified and investment be widely introduced. The economic guidance shall be fundamentally improved as required by the new situation and Korean-style advantageous economic management methods be completed by embodying the juche idea.”
Pak Pong-ju, a former PM and rumored relative proponent of economic reforms, has been re-appointed after being forced to step down in 2007. Optimism for reform has been boosted because of his appointment. Choi Bu-il was was appointed as NK’s new minister of security.
Daily NK source: “Life has been getting more difficult recently, so young women are taking to prostitution, including kids in their teens. There’s nothing else to do for fun in NK at night, so men satisfy their desires with prostitution and this draws more women into the trade.” The average price of a prostitute is 50 RMB (approx 8 USD), enough to buy 10 kg of rice; and fees are split up 50%-25%-25% between the women, pimps, and the owner of the prostitution site. Border guards with using bribe money from defectors and smugglers are typical customers.
New Focus Intl on the strict regulations for NKoreans around KIS and KJI statues.
NK has eased its military and civilian exercises, drills, and lectures.
N Korean defector: “We had to spend several nights in the field, march long distances at night, and even during rest, keep our boots on and sleep in short bursts. Nevertheless, we were happy because this was about the only time [during states of military tension] we received regular meals: 800 grams of daily rations. We called it a meal ‘above the bowl’ because normally, there was so little rice in our bowls that you could see to the bottom before you even started eating.”
NFI: Many N Koreans hide secret radios, illegal TVs, and S Korean shows in their houses, many feeling safe to break the rules in their own homes.
Wealthy NKoreans are buying dollars and yuan in preparation for the deflation of the NKW caused by increased tensions. NK citizen: “Talks of war are all over the place, on TV and on radio. We are terrified. In Pyongyang, anyone who thinks (North Korea) can beat the U.S. is considered a moron.”
FOOD SECURITY AND ECONOMY
NK tourism director to Chinese officials: “War will definitely not break out on the Korean Peninsula so don’t worry.” Air Koryo also expanded their weekly Pyongyang-Beijing flights from three to five times a week. There will also be expansions in economic ties between the China’s Jilin Province, and NK’s Onsung county.
NFI: NKoreans often rely on transformers to power their appliances due to frequent power outages and low voltage.
Yonhap: NK authorities ban entry of SK workers into the KIC. 858 South Korean workers, and 7 other foreigners remain onsite and are allowed to return home. Before this development, SKorean firms involved with the KIC called for an end to political arguments over the site.
NK state websites Naenara, KCNA, Air Koryo and Voice of Korea were brought down by hackers. Hackers also claim to have taken 15,000 Uriminzokkiri user records. “Enjoy these few records as a proof of our access to your systems…”
NK imported an unusually large amount of silver from China in January, possibly in relation to KJU’s birthday.
KCNA: “The DPRK State Space Development Bureau shall be set up. The bureau is a state central institution which guides and manages the supervision and control over the working out of a space development program and its implementation and space development work in a uniform way.”
The proposal to launch the BBC Korean language radio service has gained widespread support for many reasons. NKorean defector: “Just the act of listening to foreign radio stations is a crime which will get you sent to a correctional facility, but finding listeners in North Korea won’t be a problem. I believe that providing the impetus for people to learn about the outside world is very important. It was shocking for me to learn about the world outside when I started listening to foreign radio, because we had only ever been exposed to the regime’s information.”
Defector Seongmin Lee: “We can give [NKoreans] more information about outside the North Korea, so they could compare with outside world and recognize it which is true or false by themselves, if once happen this, even reclusive regime couldn’t avoid its country’s reform and consequently people in North could have a better life and the nuclear threat from North Korea could disappear. Actually this is what the reclusive regime the most worried about.”
Hawk: The new commission of inquiry will include three commissioners, three or more full time staff, possible additional investigators, and will be provided with the budget to undertake investigations. Operating independently from Council and the High Commissioner’s Office, they will make interim reports to the September session of the HRC and to the General Assembly later this year. The full report is scheduled to be presented to the HRC in March of 2014.
INTERNATIONAL POLITICS & SECURITY
KCNA: “Now that the revolutionary armed forces of the DPRK have entered into an actual military action, the inter-Korean relations have naturally entered the state of war.” Meanwhile NK missile launch sites have shown increased activity.
SK sets up policy of “active deterrence” that would allow for preemptive military strikes if NK showed signs of a missile strike. PGH: “The reason why the military exists is to protect the country and people from threats. If any provocations happen to our people and our country, it should respond powerfully in the early stage without any political consideration.”
NK atomic energy authority: “We have decided that all nuclear facilities at Yongbyon including the uranium enrichment plant, along with the 5MW graphite reactor that was halted and mothballed in accordance with the Six-Party Talks agreement of October 2007, will be re-equipped and restarted.” Reopening the facility will allow them to extract plutonium from spent fuel rods. Experts say that plutonium is better than uranium for warhead miniaturization, and estimate that reactivating the reactor could take anywhere from three months to a year.
Some in Japan worry about the risks of restarting the nuclear facility. “It is an old graphite reactor, and you’ve got to really think about the risks if you’re going to restart something as old as that.”
In response to cyber attacks on banks and news agencies, SK will expand cyber warfare forces and develop various deterrence scenarios in cooperation with the US.
Deng Yuwen, deputy editor of “Study Times” and author of the article that called the Chinese-NK relationships “outdated” has been suspended. “I was relieved of the position because of that article, and I’m suspended indefinitely. Although I’m still being paid by the company, I don’t know when I will be given another position.”
ANALYSIS & OPINION
KGS NightWatch: “Kim’s new line links nuclear weapons and economic progress by means of a now fledgling North Korean nuclear energy sector. It is significant that Kim mentioned economic construction ahead of building nuclear armed forces. What is new is that both will proceed simultaneously and will be self-sufficient [...] By directing simultaneous development, Kim is sidestepping the longstanding and highly divisive internal debate over national priorities: military improvement vs improvement in the people’s living standard.”
Jenny Jun: “A better framework to make sense of what’s happening in Beijing is to regard China’s North Korea policy as having evolved from a one-dimensional policy based on a “friendship sealed in blood,” to a multi-dimensional one that seeks diverse strategies—including punishments—to manage different types of risks surrounding the Korean peninsula.”
Expert on B-2 test run: “This is useful reminder to the South Koreans that the U.S. nuclear arm can reach out and touch North Korea from anywhere. We don’t need to be sitting there at Osan Air Base. This also reminds the Chinese that North Korean actions have consequences. It tells them that the U.S. is taking North Korean threats seriously but we’re not panicking.”
Interview of an unnamed American on the Dennis Rodman envoy: “[on strange moments during the visit] Once was when Kim Jong-un and Rodman came into the stadium for the basketball exhibition. The crowd applauded and cheered for over ten minutes. I thought it was a welcome cheer at first, but it went on for too long – it felt creepy by the end.”
NK News on more subtle propaganda, including a motocycle racing video game.
Air traffic control link remains active between NK and SK.
Common lies NKoreans tell each other.
The Onion: KJU comes out in support of gay marriage: “I’m not a monster.”
NK News Brief acronyms.
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