FOOD AID & FOOD SECURITY
- The recent drought in the western regions of NK continues to cause international concern. The story has been covered by CCTV and CBS. GIEWS report on food security, FAO report on the recent drought.
- NK state media has also acknowledged the drought. The Pyongyang Times reported on June 2 that “in most parts of the country, except Ryangang and Jagang Provinces, there has been no rainfall since April 26. [...] The water volume of the major irrigation reservoirs is 110 million cubic meters less than in the same period of last year. A KCNA article on June 19th warned that “rain is hardly expected for the western coastal area until June 26.”
- SK Foreign Ministry spokesman Cho Byung-jae cast doubt on the severity of the drought, saying “Our general assessment is that it is not so serious as to fall into a level of crisis [...] At present, no plan is in the offing with regard to government-level food assistance to North Korea.” More from Yonhap.
- Russia has sent 670 tons of wheat to NK according to the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations.
- Robert King’s recent comments that the US government is working to break the “information blockade,” this being “the key to positive change in North Korea,” is receiving national coverage through an article by the AP. LiNK blog post.
INTERNATIONAL POLITICS & SECURITY
- An official delegation from NK has been touring Vietnam this past week. Events included meeting with the Vietnamese Party Secretary and touring the countryside.
- NK state media lashed out at Clinton for not showing the appropriate amount of respect to Kim Jong-Un by referring to him as “young man”, reports the New York Times, China Daily, and the Hankyoreh.
- Elements of the Indian government are questioning the appointment of a stenographer as their new ambassador to Pyongyang. The stenographer was apparently chosen because no one in the Indian Foreign Service wanted to be posted to Pyongyang.
- Sources within the Japanese government are rumored to have confirmed that a Chinese company provided military trucks to NK in violation of UN sanctions. Meanwhile China’s MFA spokesman once again denied that China has broken any international agreement.
- Responding to rumors that the US asked Japan and SK to ignore Chinese cooperation with the NK missile program, State Department Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland commented that “what I can say on this is relatively limited, given intelligence issues involved. But I will say that we have raised our own concerns with China about allegations that Chinese entities have assisted the [NK] missile program. And we will continue to work with China and others in the international community to enforce the UN’s sanctions on North Korea’s ballistic and nuclear missile programs.” Full transcript here.
- A US aircraft carrier is scheduled to join US-ROK-Japan trilateral naval exercises on June 21-22 in Korean waters followed by a “routine carrier operation” on June 23-25. For more see articles by the Hankyoreh and Stars and Stripes. NK responded by denouncing the exercise as a violation of the 1953 armistice.
- The USG extended its sanctions on NK for another year. The Pyongyang Times reported that “the US slapped economic sanctions on the DPRK again by finding fault with its satellite launch for peaceful purposes.”
- Claims by the NK media that key Saenuri Party figures made pro-North statements on a trip to Pyongyang in 2002 continue to make the news. Kim Moon-soo asserted that he has never been to Pyongyang.
- SK president LMB has once again urged NK to learn from the reforms in Myanmar.
- A task force charged with formulating the policy of the United Progressive Party (UPP) issued report on June 18 which described the party’s position as “opposed to the human rights situation, hereditary transfer of power, and nuclear program in North Korea.” Some in SK view this as an important change in the party’s views on NK. Article in the Korea Times and an editorial in the Hankyoreh.
- South Korean firms have agreed to participate in joint ventures with Chinese businesses and government agencies worth 3.9 trillion KRW (3.4b USD) in Jilin province which borders NK.
ANALYSIS & OPINION
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