Daily NK: NK authorities have ordered the formation of “Day of the Sun Gift Preparation Committees” to prepare gifts to the citizenry for the 100th birthday of KIS. Gifts are rumored to include a DVD player.
NK general Kim Kyok-sik, who is believed to have headed the 2010 attacks on Yeonpyeong Island, has been replaced.
Daily NK: The SK military response to NK shelling of Yeonpyeong Island in 2010 killed 10 NKoreans and injured 30. “After the Yeonpyeong Island shelling the North Korean military got scared of facing high-tech weapons and stopped wanting to fight the South Chosun military… The North Korean authorities boast every day that they want to go to war, but the soldier’s fighting spirit is extremely weak.”
Yonhap: NK almanac map incorporates a previously removed key farming county back into Pyongyang territory.
FOOD AID & FOOD SECURITY
UNICEF State of the World’s Children Report 2012: NK under-five mortality rate is 33/1000, ranking 73 out of 193 nations. Daily NK analysis.
The price of rice has continued to drop in 3 regions monitored by Daily NK, and is now below 3,000 NK won for the first time since October 2011.
The U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on China held a hearing (video) discussing the NK refugee repatriation issue, with activists and congressmen voicing their concerns. CECC chair Chris Smith: “It’s unclear whether or not the Obama Administration’s food aid to North Korea – some 240,000 metric tons per year – contains any conditions or links to the refugees. It should… The international community – especially the United Nations, the Obama Administration and the U.S. Congress – must insist that China at long last honor its treaty obligations, end its egregious practice of systematic refoulment, or be exposed as hypocrites.” Roberta Cohen statement here.
The USG’s Maria Otero pledged support for the renewal of the NK Special Rapporteur at the UN HRC and said “We share the Republic of Korea’s deep concerns regarding the treatment of refugees and asylum seekers from the D.P.R.K. in third countries.”
Rallies against the refugees’ repatriation have been held in L.A., Chicago, and Washington, D.C.
SK FM Kim Sung-hwan and LMB urged China to “swiftly” and “smoothly” resolve the defector issue in discussions with Chinese FM Yang Jiechi. Yang reiterated that China views NK defectors as economic migrants, but said he would relay the discussions to Hu Jintao.
Kim Sung-hwan is to visit the U.S. this week and meet with Ban Ki-moon to discuss defector issues.
SK progressives have spoken out, including likely presidential candidate Ahn Cheol-soo, who visited protests outside of the Chinese Embassy in Seoul, and Saenuri Party members who have been participating in a relay protest to support hunger-striking SK assemblywoman Park Sun-young, who fainted and was taken to the hospital for treatment after 11 days of protesting. Park Sun-young is planning to visit the UN HRC to discuss refugee issues.
U.S. spokesperson Victoria Nuland addressed U.S./NK statement discrepancies, clarifying that both uranium and plutonium facilities would be covered in the deal. She also revealed that while the US did not link the nuclear concessions and food aid, the NK side insisted on linking them, and also that NK coordinated with the USG to make sure both statements presented the nuclear concessions side by side with the developments on food aid, increasing the appearance of a quid pro quo deal.
DoS special Briefing: Aid will be 20,000 MT monthly for 12 months geared towards young children and pregnant women, distribution only after monitoring is “fully operational”.
Robert King and USAID’s Jon Brause are to meet with NK counterparts in Beijing on Mar. 7 to “discuss the modalities for nutritional assistance” regarding the U.S./NK deal.
The IAEA is waiting for an invitation from NK to begin operations and preparing to relaunch nuclear inspections.
NK has ramped up its aggressive rhetoric against SK, with KJU visiting Panmunjom for the first time since succeeding KJI, criticism of U.S./SK joint-military drills and LMB, a large military rally, and live-fire drills (video by AP). The increase in anti-SK aggression may be a sop to the military that was averse to the concessions made in the US-DPRK deal.
SK FM Kim Sung-hwan is to meet with Hillary Clinton this week for wide ranging discussions including on NK nuclear issues.
The U.S. has begun offloading equipment at Nampho to support a search for MIA remains from the Korean War.
ANALYSIS & OPINION
U.S./NK deal analyzed by TheEconomist. “America would probably be giving food to North Korea without this deal, as humanitarian relief. And even if the North eventually throws out the inspectors, they will still get their first glimpse of the North Korean programme since 2009… America is right to give [KJU] the chance.”
Aidan Foster-Carter on NK opening. Analyzing what “opening” means, comparing NK to other nations, and examining recent developments.
David Matthew on NK youths’ education and upbringing, “one of the North Korean government’s primary points of interest.”