- NK authorities are reportedly collecting 20,000 won per household from the citizenry “for the purpose of decorating streets and open spaces and to fund artistic performances.”
- NK authorities reportedly plan to supply school uniforms to all students in primary and secondary schools as well as universities by the 100th birthday of KIS.
- Tens of thousands gathered in Pyongyang at an event to mark the final day of the mourning period for KJI.
- KJU is to be a Workers’ Party delegate at the upcoming 4th Workers’ Party Delegates’ Conference.
- NK is to hold the Fifth Session of the 12th Supreme People’s Assembly on April 13.
- NK said that it “is willing to further improve its environment for foreign investment.” Vice department director of the DPRK Committee for Investment and Joint Venture, Yun Yong Sok: “The committee will pay deep attention to ensuring the interests of foreign investors, while invigorating the exchange and cooperation with governments, investors and businesses.”
- A Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs report has indicated that average NK life expectancy is now over a decade below that of SK, at 69.3 years; 65.6 for men and 72.7 for women. Maternal mortality has increased to 77.2 per 100,000, up from 54 in 1993. Further information on malnourished NK children here.
- NK reportedly recorded a trade surplus with the EU of 81.2m EUR in 2011, following a 23.3% rise in exports and a 40.3% decline in imports from 2010. Imports included machinery, transportation, manufactured and agricultural products, while exports consisted primarily of natural resources and minerals.
- Ri Yong Cheol, 1st Secretary of the Kim Il Sung Socialist Youth League, has been dismissed and replaced by Jeon Yong Nam.
FOOD AID & FOOD SECURITY
- Five major U.S. NGOs called on the U.S. and NK to “put politics aside and work together” following the recent NK rocket launch announcement.
- Twenty tons of rice have been donated to NK by humedica.
- Obama: “Improving human rights conditions is a top U.S. priority in our North Korea policy and it will have a significant impact on the prospect for closer U.S.-DPRK ties… The United States remains deeply concerned about the well-being of the North Korean people, the human rights situation in the DPRK and the plight of North Korean refugees. The United States has led efforts around the globe to call attention to the human rights situation in North Korea,” He added the U.S. had raised the human rights issues in its recent bilateral talks with North Korea.
- Chosun Ilbo: A SK official reported that in purging dissenters of KJU’s succession, NK authorities executed some by mortar fire.
- CNN: Song Ee Han’s story.
- WSJ: Shin Dong-hyuk’s story, and interview.
- Global Post: Ji Seong Ho’s story.
- CNN: Song Byeok, former NK propaganda artist.
- The UN HRC adopted a resolution condemning NK human rights violations and extending the term of SR Darusman at the 19th Regular Session. The resolution was proposed by 43 countries and was adopted without a vote, but was objected to in statements by NK, China, Russia, and Cuba.
- U.S. Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, introduced legislation to reauthorize the US North Korean Human Rights Act. Bill Summary & Status.
- China has reportedly set up a silent alarm system in every house in a town near the NK border in an effort to arrest NK refugees.
- China will reportedly allow NK refugees that had been stuck in SK diplomatic missions in China to travel on to SK, after the issue of NK refugees was raised during summit talks between Hu and LMB. Some of the refugees had reportedly been waiting for almost three years.
- A concert comprised of more than 60 civic groups was held in Seoul on behalf of NK refugees, with protesters gathering signatures to advocate against Chinese repatriation.
INTERNATIONAL POLITICS & SECURITY
- Obama made remarks at the DMZ calling the border “freedom’s frontier,” spoke at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies encouraging NK to “have the courage to pursue peace and give a better life to the people of North Korea,” and held talks with LMB, Hu Jintao, and Dimitry Medvedev, who all expressed concern over NK’s recently announced rocket launch.
- LMB reportedly found agreement in criticizing the NK rocket launch from Hu Jintao and Dmitry Medvedev (both of whom were said to have also discussed people focused NK issues with the SK leader), as well as from the Italian, Australian, Danish, Indian, NZ, and Thai PMs.
- SK warned of the NK launch: “We are studying measures such as tracking and shooting down [parts] of a North Korean missile in case they stray out of their normal trajectory.”
- The U.S. and SK are working on an agreement to expand SK missile technology. LMB: “North Korea has missiles and long range artillery… South Korea is in need of expanding its defense posture in case of any contingencies.”
- SK and Japanese nuclear envoys met and discussed possible steps to take in response to NK’s rocket launch.
- Japanese PM Noda criticized the NK launch while in Seoul, and the upper house of the Japanese Diet adopted a resolution condemning the launch.
- NK rejected international criticism of the upcoming launch saying, “We will never give up the launch of a satellite for peaceful purposes.” They also said that the purpose of its soon to be launched “satellite,” was for “the study of weather forecast[s] needed for agriculture and other economic fields.” NK reportedly moved the main body of a rocket to the launch site.
- The IAEA has begun formal discussions with NK following a govt invitation to enter the country for inspections.
ANALYSIS & OPINION
- Snyder with thoughts on “How to Stop North Korea’s Satellite Test.”
- Experiences of Chinese exchange students studying in NK, translated by Charles Kraus. “Of course they wouldn’t ask directly, but hinted pretty clearly to ‘give me the movies on your computer, all of them!’”
- Roberta Cohen with “Human Rights Progress in North Korea: Is It Possible?,” discussing benchmarks that would mark “the onset of possible change in North Korea’s policies.”
- Lankov on the effect of international sanctions on NK. China’s “role as a sanctions breaker” and the likelihood of revolution. “[O]ne should maybe thankful that Beijing’s decision makers are quietly sabotaging the international sanctions regime against the North. If such a regime were to be effectively enforced, its most likely result would merely be widespread starvation, but not regime collapse.”
- Lankov on the way SK educates its children on NK, and its effect on the politicisation of NK related issues.
- Moon Chung-in and John Delury suggest that Obama should send a high-level envoy to Pyongyang, saying that tough reactions to the rocket launch plays into the wrong hands and undercuts those in the regime who favour opening, reform and economic betterment.
- Japan cancelled its annual cherry blossom viewing event to “prepare for any contingencies” regarding the NK rocket launch.
- A 150-member chorus and orchestra from Atlanta, Georgia is to perform in the NK Spring Arts Festival.
- An Atlanta based nonprofit is reportedly planning to bring the NK National Symphony Orchestra to the U.S.
- Daily NK on rumored past KJU love interest, Hyun Song Wol.
- CNN on NK propaganda for sale. Shop.
- AP on NK viral video accordionists. Video.
- Construction of NK’s Korean History oriented Folklore Park is nearing completion. Video.
- NK 2012 calendar.
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