- Chosun Ilbo: Rodong Sinmun and KCNA ran reports saying that a rumour that LMB had died had spread through word of mouth in “Pyongyang and the whole country” causing people to clap and dance in the streets.
- NK authorities have reportedly reshuffled border guards in an attempt to reduce corruption as defectors continue to cross into China despite heightened controls.
- Daily NK: Authorities have been cracking down on NKorean Chinese cell phone use, entraping cell phone users by reducing signal jamming efforts in select areas in order to detect and catch callers, and having agents pose as brokers.
- RFA: The NK govt has launched a campaign to identify defectors, interrogating family members about relatives “missing” for long periods of time.
- Daily NK: NK authorities have significantly limited non-resident entry into Pyongyang ahead of KIS birthday celebrations and the upcoming Chosun Workers’ Party Delegates’ Conference.
- RFA: New portraits of KJU have reportedly not been well received by NK citizens.
- NK has reportedly established an investment insurance firm, a move meant to attract foreign investment.
- Students at the private Pyongyang University of Science and Technology have reportedly been allowed access to the Internet (although it is not the full internet).
- Interview with NKoreans visiting China: “When protests happening in South Chosun come on the TV, people point out how well they are dressed, the shoes they are wearing. People in South Chosun are like that, so why are we like this? The desire to survive leads people to wish for a war or anything, really.”
FOOD AID & FOOD SECURITY
- NK authorities have reportedly indicated that NK will not accept SK private agency food aid that includes monitoring requirements.
- Report on WFP supercereals in NK, “WFP’s nutritious food assistance makes it possible for the mothers and their children to smile.” The WFP released comments from Ju Hye-Sim, an aid recipient “The PDC ration is not enough to survive on… I am grateful to WFP for providing the food ration. Though wheat is not our staple food, I mixed it with rice and started to like it!”
- Marazuki Darusman and representatives from numerous nations spoke on NKHR at the UN HRC. Robert King made statements supporting the mandate of the SR while NK called on the council not to renew the mandate, eventually resulting in a scuffle between SK lawmakers and NK diplomats. The UN HRC plans to adopt a resolution on NKHR in April.
- Interview with NK refugee Kim Eun Jin on religious persecution experienced in NK.
- Reporters Without Borders has listed NK as one of the world’s most repressive online regimes.
- Daily NK reported that 41 NK refugees arrested in and around Shenyang in February have been repatriated to North Korea. AFP and Dong-a Ilbo reported that a total of 31 were returned.
- Choi Song Min of Daily NK predicted that the refugees and their families will be sent to political prison camps, in an analysis of defector punishments by category of offense.
- Ban Ki-moon stated that he, “shared the deep concern… about the dislocated people from the DPRK, and encouraged the concerned parties to do their utmost to find a mutually agreeable solution.”
- Hillary Clinton urged “all countries in the region to cooperate in the protection of North Korean refugees within their territories.”
- SK DUP supreme council lawmaker, Park Jie-won, requested that China recognize NK defectors as refugees, and suggested that SK change its hard-line stance on NK.
- SK’s Minister of Unification stated that, ”North Korea needs to feel primarily responsible for this and should refrain from punishing repatriated defectors.”
- Park Sun-young reported that 50 NK orphans defected from an orphanage in northern Yanggang Province, NK last month and are currently hiding in China.
- The SK Ministry of Unification reported that the number of NK defectors arriving in SK in Jan. 2012 was down 30% from the 2011 monthly average.
- Yonhap on difficulties faced by NK refugees in Japan.
INTERNATIONAL POLITICS & SECURITY
- IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano has said that he believes NK nuclear issues “impact on the world is larger” than that of Iran.
- Robert King, said of U.S./NK talks regarding details of the Leap Day Deal that they were “productive” and “positive,” and was reassured that aid would go where needed.
- NK chief nuclear negotiator, Ri Yong Ho, attending a conference hosted by Syracuse University,reiterated the NK stance that, “The basis for resolving the nuclear issue starts with the elimination of the U.S.’ hostile policy towards North Korea,” stating further that he expected NK to open up to the IAEA in the “near future.”
- SK FM Kim Sung-hwan and Hillary Clinton expressed U.S./SK solidarity concerning NK policy following meetings in Washington.
- SK’s Minister of Unification called the Leap Day Deal “a good signal” while emphasizing the need for SK/NK dialogue.
- SK and NK have engaged in increasingly vitriolic exchanges. David Matthew on recent NK rhetoric and rallies. This KCNA classic rants about LMB in every way possible including highlighting his nickname in SK “2MB”, ridiculing him for computer illiteracy, ending with “Lee is, indeed, a matchless fool, worst traitor, ultra-right fascist dictator, confrontation maniac and human scum who is fated to die before his time.”
- Barack Obama will visit the DMZ during his upcoming visit to Seoul.
- U.S. Adm. Robert F. Willard stated that NK is developing a road-mobile intercontinental ballistic missile system.
- The SK Ministry of National Defense distributed a guidebook on NK bioterrorism to all military units.
- SK DUP and UPP have agreed to a combined election platform including promises to implement agreements with NK made under previous liberal administrations.
ANALYSIS & OPINION
- Lankov on US-NK nuclear negotiations and why NK will never give up their nukes.
- Andrew S. Natsios on U.S. messages to NK: “If you want to eat, build more nuclear weapons… If you give up your nuclear weapons, the U.S. will hunt you down and kill you… If you get food aid from the US, you may do whatever you want with it.”
- Nick Miller with “China’s War Plans for Pyongyang”.
- Noland in Foreign Policy on the importance of asking “what do we know” and “how do we know it” when formulating policy on NK.
- Lankov on the jangmadang generation: “much less respectful of the state, less afraid to speak their minds, and make a living outside the state-controlled economy… less afraid of police spooks” who “spend their spare time watching South Korean movies or listening to foreign music.
- Song Sang-ho on SK students studying NK and peninsula reunification.
- A premier NK orchestra traveled to Paris for a joint performance with a French orchestra to be held later this month.
- NK journalists traveled to the U.S. to attend a photo exhibition coordinated with AP marking the birth of KIS.
- China’s People’s Daily Online does its bit to promote NK tourism. “North Korean receives less than 30,000 foreign tourists each year, of whom 95% come from China.”
- SK reportedly helped to vaccinate nearly 4m NK children against hepatitis B from 2010-2012.
- NK has reached the semi-finals of the AFC Challenge Cup.
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