NKorean soldiers ride an escalator past a model of their country’s Unha Rocket as they enter an exhibition in Pyongyang on Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013 | AP Photo/David Guttenfelder
- Daily NK sources report that new lectures hint that the NK regime may be preparing a heightened state of military mobilization in response to an expected UNSC resolution concerning the nuclear test. “They’ve been auditing units since the 25th to check on civilian military strength. The 15-strong Central Party team is checking on everything, from air defense shelters to the state of weapon stores and overall emergency draft status.”
- NK News: KJU’s field visits from Jan 2012-Jan 2013 have been more exclusively focused on PY and security/military sites than KJI’s field visits from Jan 2011-Dec 2012.
- Daily NK: Forced market shutdowns and celebration events regarding the most recent nuclear tests are causing complaints and social tensions. “Cadres from the Municipal Party Committee are pretty cynical, asking why it is that the authorities shouted about successful nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009 making us a nuclear-armed state, and yet they are doing the same thing again this time. They are wondering which claim is right.”
- NK Tech: NK is allowing foreigners to purchase mobile internet while inside the country. A USB modem and SIM card to access the Internet will cost 75 EUR and 150 EUR (100 and 200 USD) respectively. Data will cost between 150 EUR for 2GB to 400 EUR for 10GB, with an additional 10 EUR monthly charge for the SIM card. Using the service, the AP’s Jean H. Lee posted the first instagram photos from inside NK.
FOOD SECURITY & ECONOMY
- China will begin supplying electricity to the Rason economic zone in NK.
- Rampant inflation has caused the price of rice to rise 300-fold since the 2009 currency reform, which adversely affects poorer people who have less access to foreign currency.
- RFA: NK generals are paid US currency via a cash card system in order to maintain their loyalty. Four-star generals receive around 1,200 USD each month on their cards, three-star generals get 1,000 USD and two-star generals make 700 USD. These payments are on top of their monthly salaries.
- IFES: 70% of the merchandise on shelves in NK’s largest department store in PY are reportedly domestically made.
- The former manager of Sunam market who earned money from corruption involving market stalls has been executed. She was reported as saying in 2009, “The construction of a strong and prosperous state is a nonsensical dream. If the strong and prosperous state is constructed by 2012 I will eat my hat.”
- The size of Camp No. 25 has increased 72 percent, and perimeter guard posts, which numbered 20 in 2003, increased to 43 in 2010. The camp is believed to hold 5,000 prisoners.
- Shin Dong-hyuk and Kang Chol-hwan testified at the Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy. Shin: “People think the Holocaust is in the past, but it is still very much a reality. It is still going on in North Korea.”
INTERNATIONAL POLITICS & SECURITY
- New SKorean President Park Geun-hye: “Through the Korean Peninsula trust process I aim to lay the foundations for a happy era of unification where everyone can live an affluent and free life, able to achieve their dreams. I will work to build inter-Korean trust against a backdrop of firm deterrence.”
- KCNA: “The tragic consequences in those countries which abandoned halfway their nuclear programs… clearly prove that the DPRK was very far-sighted and just when it made the [nuclear] option.”
- Daily NK: NK accused SK’s “puppet government” of fabricating a video report in an attempt to drive a wedge in the Chinese-NK relationship.
- Former USG officials confirmed that US officials made two secret visits to NK in 2012 in a failed attempt to improve relations with the new leadership.
- Park Hyung-jung, KINU: “Among the many elements of South Korea and U.S. policy targeting North Korea, it is highly likely that they will strengthen those promoting internal discord. By taking measures that can improve the ability of the North Korean people to make contact with the outside, we need to demonstrate that we have the ability to aggravate North Korea’s internal political difﬁculties.”
- Hansen: Recent satellite imagery of the Tonghae rocket test facility may indicate that NK is preparing to launch a rocket three to four times the size of Unha upon completion of construction, possibly in 2016.
- US visas issued to NKoreans dropped 22% last year.
ANALYSIS & OPINION
- NFI: Defectors react to presidential inaugurations. “As I watched the South Korean presidents being sworn into office, I felt how the ‘ruler’ in South Korea was merely an individual in society who had been invested with a special responsibility, rather than someone inherently above the people. That moved me very much.”
- NK News on increased tourism in NK, and the ethical dilemmas of visiting the country.
- Susan Scholte, long time NK human rights advocate received the Order of Diplomatic Service Merit Sungnye Medal for her work. “I do believe the day is coming soon when North Korea will be free of the tyranny of the triple Kim dictatorships. There is no turning back the North Korean people whose desire for information and true knowledge continues to grow and their resolve to survive and provide for their families continues to make them rely on their own determination and NOT their failed leader.”
- Haggard: “We cannot rule out that Beijing will quietly ratchet up pressure on the North, and we should make the case that they should. But we cannot formulate our own policy toward North Korea based on the new Chinese leadership fundamentally altering the nature of its bilateral relationship with Pyongyang. It’s not going to happen.”
- Lankov: “There is no guarantee that a country that has been recklessly selling drugs all over the world will not also sell nuclear technology and materials to other countries. And since neighboring countries know this, they cannot just stand by and watch the North develop nuclear programs.”
- Korean-Canadian director Ann Shin follows the journey of two NK women as they attempt to defect to China in her new documentary, “The Defector: Escape from North Korea”. Included in the project is an interactive web experience.
- Youtube takes down another NK propaganda video for copyright infringement; the video used a song from “The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion”.
- New Focus International: Speed limits in NK vary based on one’s social class.
- Dennis Rodman is visiting NK with Vice media company for the purpose of, “running a basketball camp for children and playing pickup games with locals — and by competing alongside NKorea’s top athletes in a scrimmage they hope will be attended by leader KJU.”
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