The Guardian: The KIS Socialist Youth League ‘fashion police’ control people’s personal styles but younger, foreign-influenced NKorean women are pushing the boundaries. Han: “The govt tells you that you must wear straight trousers, so people either like tight pairs or those with a flare.”
JoongAng Ilbo: Hwang Byong-so, first deputy director of the OGD and thought to be a close confidant of KJU, has been rapidly promoted to become one of NK’s six vice marshals. ROK official: Hwang’s appointment as a vice marshal could mean that NK is putting more emphasis on the ruling party than the military, whereby a party official is promoted as the second-highest military official. Meanwhile, Choe Ryong-hae has not made any recent public appearances.
Yonhap: KJU’s aunt Kim Kyong-hui has appeared again in a rerun of a documentary on NK state TV. She had previously been edited out of a different documentary.
Chosun Ilbo: PY’s propaganda has been hyping up KJU’s pistol marksmanship skills when he was three years old and his mastery of seven languages.
ECONOMY & FOOD SECURITY
Daily NK: Outside of PY, the NK authorities have ceased distributing regular food rations despite promises that distribution would return to normal. While last year saw provincial urban centers receive rations from the state’s wartime reserves, this year there has been very little distribution on offer.
Yonhap: A 42-member delegation of the Korean-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry toured SKorean factories in Kaesong on Tuesday, and about 40 SKorean business leaders from around the world also plan to visit Kaesong on Friday.
Yonhap: Russia and NK have signed an economic cooperation agreement following a visit to PY by Russia’s deputy PM.
KBS: The ROKG has authorised a SKorean NGO to provide 75 million KRW (72,500 USD) worth of medical supplies to a children’s hospital in PY.
Obama: “Of course, we’re also deeply concerned about the suffering of the North Korean people, and the United States and South Korea are working together to advance accountability for the serious human rights violations being committed by the North.”
Obama: “President Park and I agree that in light of what we expect to be further provocative actions from the North Koreans… that it’s important for us to look at additional ways to apply pressure on North Korea, further sanctions that have even more bite, as well as highlighting some of the human rights violations that make North Korea probably the worst human rights violator in the world.”
Yonhap: The ROKG is in discussion with the UN OHCHR over plans to open a field office for NKHR in Seoul.
Yonhap: SK’s main opposition party proposed a bill calling for the promotion of civil and political rights in NK in addition to the right to life. The proposal marks a shift from the NPAD’s previous stance, which has opposed legislation addressing NK’s human rights abuses out of concerns it could anger PY.
Rodong Shinmun announced the publication of a white paper on SK human rights. “The South says it has a ‘government’ and ‘law,’ but they are nothing more than puppets. They are merely a tool used by the Americans in their colonial rule. The people of South Chosun are deprived of everything thanks to America.” Evidence for the “severe suppression of people’s rights” included unemployment, suicide and the shutdown of civilian protests.
Daily NK: Following the SPA elections (essentially a census), a large number of families of individuals who have defected to SK have been internally exiled from Hyesan. The move comes after a period of intense surveillance along the Sino-NK border.
Daily NK: Authorities are threatening strict punishment for cross-border smugglers and remittance brokers amid the recent discovery of their leading role in leaking sensitive information to external actors.
INTERNATIONAL POLITICS & SECURITY
KCNA announced that PY has detained another American tourist that they identified as Miller Matthew Todd. He reportedly tore his tourist visa and shouted that “he would seek asylum” and “came to the DPRK after choosing it as a shelter.”
Obama in Tokyo: “Now, am I optimistic that there’s going to be a major strategic shift in North Korea’s attitudes any time soon? Probably not. But what I am confident about is, is that working with Japan, working with the Republic of Korea, and working with China and other interested parties in the region, that we can continue to apply more and more pressure on North Korea so that at some juncture they end up taking a different course.”
Yonhap: NK bashed PGH’s summit with Obama, calling PGH “an immature girl,” “a crafty prostitute,” America’s “dirty comfort woman” and more. KCNA: “Obama’s visit to SK showed that the US must be confronted not with words but only with power, and that our judgment and determination that there should be a final settlement through an all-out nuclear battle were completely correct.” The spokesman also claimed that there is no hope for the future of inter-Korean relations as long as Park remains in power, saying her remarks amounted to a declaration of war. Obama and PGH warned PY it could face strengthened sanctions if it detonated a fourth nuclear device.
Yonhap: KITA data showed NK’s grain imports from China decreased by over 50% in the first quarter compared to a year earlier. The drop could be “due to an increase in the country’s grain production last year.”
NK News: The Russian govt donated fire engines as Yury Trutnev arrived in PY for a three day visit. KCNA: The speakers at the ceremony expressed their belief that the fire engines signified the warm sincerity and friendship of the Russian people and would play a big role in ensuring the security of the Korean people.
Chosun Ilbo: New Chinese ambassador to Seoul: “A North Korean official told me that the South Korea-U.S. military exercises were conducted with the express goal of occupying Pyongyang… Of course such drills upset Pyongyang. I hope that Washington and Seoul will refrain from conducting them. Such drills shouldn’t target a third country.” He also denied that oil shipments from China to NK had been suspended to dissuade it from a fourth nuclear test.
Chosun Ilbo: The 39th Army, a major Chinese military unit that would be deployed to the Korean Peninsula in a war, carried out an emergency mobilization drill including tanks and helicopters near the NKorean border. Chinese MFA spokesman said recently: “China will never allow a war or chaos to occur on its doorstep.”
ANALYSIS & OPINION
Choson Exchange: “Chatting with zone administrators and policymakers, it does seem that there is value to the SEZ policy. Experimentation is clearly on people’s minds, perhaps more so than investments.”
The Guardian: List of YouTube channels featuring recent footage from NK.
NK News Brief acronyms.
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