NK NEWS BRIEF | August 8, 2012
Posted August 8, 2012 by Justin
South Korea defeated North Korea in Olympic table tennis last Friday. Above, competitors Ryu Seungmin and Kim Hyok-bong shake hands after a hard-fought match | Photo: Reuters/Grigory Dukor.
- A Daily NK source reports that KJU’s new public image has been ill received in many parts of the country.
- NYT: KJU said, in a speech to WPK officials and published in state media, “Not long ago, I told you that we must ensure that the people shout hurray for the Workers’ Party all the time and everywhere, not only during large rallies but also in far-flung islands and deep mountain valleys… They will do that when we make the country prosperous and people’s lives affluent.”
- PUST’s Park Chan-mo on teaching international finance, management and market economics to NK students.
- New data shows per capita electricity consumption in NK over time. From a peak of 1,247 kWh in 1990, consumption dropped to 712 kWh in 2000. It has increased slightly since then, reaching 819 kWh in 2008 (still less than 10% of the nearly 8,791 kWh consumed by the average SKorean in the same year).
- UN report on recent flood damage in NK. KCNA increased its estimates of the damage, now reporting 170 people have died, 400 missing, 212,200 displaced, and 160,000 acres of farmland have been destroyed. The WFP and DPRK Red Cross have responded to the situation. The WFP has begun to provide initial rations of 400 grams per day for 14 days, while the Red cross has distributed survival kits to 6,610 families.
- SK’s MOU report: The Kaesong Industrial Complex’s accumulative production output reached 1.7b USD as of May this year. Meanwhile, the ministry also announced that the minimum wage for NKorean workers in the KIC will rise by the standard annual 5%
- Japanese human rights NGO RENK claims that NK first lady Ri Sol-ju visited Japan in 2002 as a part of a 20 member NK delegation to an arts festival in Fukuoka.
- A recent broadcast of a Central Party meeting showed Vice Admiral Park Won Shik sitting in the seat normally reserved for Jung Myung Do, Commander of the Navy. Park won the Kim Jong-Il medal in February, while Jung had been promoted at the same time as the recently purged Lee Young-ho.
- Kenji Fujimoto, a former sushi chef for KJI’s family, returned from a trip to NK. He remarked that KJU greeted him warmly and expressed an interest in pursuing China-like economic reforms. KJU purportedly commented that “When I go to Europe or Japan, I see overflowing products and food, but when I return to the North, there is nothing”. NK and Japan will hold Red Cross talks this week.
- Kim Young-hwan, a NKHR activist recently released by the Chinese govt, claims that there is an underground democratic movement in NK.
- Breaking with tradition, NKorean broadcasts of the London Olympic Games has actually shown SKoreans athletes winning gold medals. However, coverage has been limited by the blackouts.
FOOD AID & FOOD SECURITY
- According to an ORNK source, military units near the 38th parallel are struggling to feed themselves.
- Another ORNK source claims that there has been an explosion of “gentlemen beggars”, well dressed residents of Pyongyang, who are scavenging for food especially outside large restaurants.
- A UNICEF spokesman said that access has been improved for their operations, and had even been eased before the current floods.
- UN GIEWS released its latest report on food security in NK.
- The WFP asserts that the PDS is giving out rations of only 300 grams per day. The agency recommends a minimum of 600 grams per day.
- Jerome Sauvage, the UNDP Resident Coordinator for NK, has told VOA that “the food situation will not get worse” due to the recent floods. He explained that “there has not been a real disaster such as the destruction of crops because the fields were not submerged in stagnant water for long”.
- Vietnam has pledged to give 5,000 tons of rice to NK following a visit by Kim Yong-nam, NK’s nominal head of state, to Hanoi.
- An ethnically Korean, Chinese-born man has been stuck at the SKorean embassy in Shanghai for over a year. The man claims that though born in China, he lived and became a citizen in NK prior to escaping back into China.
- New propaganda has emerged in NKorean provinces bordering China showing re-defectors testifying about the harsh life awaiting NKoreans in the South. This seems to be part of the regime’s latest campaign to discourage citizens from leaving the country.
- The Chosun Ilbo is reporting from two sources that Chinese govt “threatened not to release Kim [Young-hwan] unless Seoul promises to stop organized assistance for North Korean defectors, but the South Korean government declined”.
- The US Senate passed the reauthorization of the NKHR Bill.
- In meeting with a Chinese delegation, KJU asserted that “developing the economy and improving livelihoods, so that the Korean people lead happy and civilized lives, is the goal the Korean Workers’ Party is struggling towards”.
- Yonhap is reporting that NK Foreign Minister Pak Ui-chun “raised his voice at Yang [Jiechi, China’s foreign minister], calling on him to clarify the government’s position regarding [a] Global Times editorial. The meeting almost turned into a venue for quarrel”. The article in question objected to a clause the NKorean constitution proclaiming itself to be a nuclear armed state.
- It has been revealed that NKorean and US representatives met in Singapore from July 31st to August 2rd. Joel Wit, a former State Department official was revealed to be the American representative. A State Department Spokesman commented that there were some “Track II discussions that did not involve U.S. Government personnel”.
- NK’s Committee for Peaceful Reunification of Korea released a statement threatening to kill four high-profile defectors residing in SK, including lawmaker Cho Myung-chul.
- NK sent a letter to the US protesting protesting upcoming US-ROK joint military exercises. NK state media reported on KJU inspections of military units, two months after the last military inspection.
ANALYSIS & OPINION
- Petrov suggests that new revenue from mining could actually allow the country to become a “rich and prosperous state”.
- Yong Kwon argues that Pyongyang’s increasing prosperity is actually hurting the rest of the country. Combined with Petrov’s article (above), this would lead to a grim prospects for anyone not from Pyongyang.
- Nathan Beauchamp-Mustafaga on Chinese bureaucratic politics and its implications for NK. Spoiler: he concludes that “endemic bureaucratic inertia suggests that China’s current policy of support for the North will continue unchanged without an external event to force China’s Politburo Standing Committee to fundamentally reconsider their policy preferences and perceived interests”.
- Adam Cathcart on change and continuity in Korean War memorials in NK.
- Check out this trailer for Juche Strong, a new documentary that explores NKorean propaganda.
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