A NKorean worker shows off a shoe supposedly designed by a Pyongyang shoe factory. However it is clearly a straight copy of an ASICS design | Photo: Yonhap via PIIE
KCNA reported that the regime convened a large meeting in PY attended by leaders of local police forces to discuss how to hunt down “dissidents”. KJU was reported as sending a message saying, “We must find all of the notorious dissidents, who are hiding a knife behind their backs and waiting for the right timing to trigger a riot, and flatten all of them mercilessly.” Kim also ordered enhanced security near giant statues of KIS and KJI astride horses that were unveiled in February.
Following this, in a letter to a rare meeting of judges and prosecutors, the first since 1982, KJU urged for efforts to “expose and foil in time moves of enemies, internal and external, for undermining the socialist system.” He also instructed that “the judicial and procuratorial institutions should bring about a drastic turn in carrying out their sacred mission of safeguarding the leader, policies, social system and the people… Through improving the judiciary and the prosecution, we can eradicate all crimes and illegal acts and stand the revolutionary order upright in order to push forward with a strong, prosperous nation… They should strictly deal with anti-state criminals who have bad backgrounds but don’t show it outwardly.”
Daily NK: Authorities are banning family visits to China in advance of the first anniversary of KJI’s death, so that citizens can play their part in preparations for the anniversary. NK has already made overall transit document approval procedures much stricter over the past year. New measures have been introduced to prevent citizens from just bribing their local NSA officer to secure a transit document.
Chosun Ilbo report that they have obtained a secret NKorean report with information on purges of key officials, including former finance minister Park Nam-gi who was executed by firing squad in 2010, accused of trying to “embrace the South Korean economic model.”
Purged former Chief of Army Ri Young-ho is reportedly in a sanitarium in N. Hamgyong Province, recovering from injuries sustained in a firefight during his removal from power earlier this year.
ECONOMY & FOOD SECURITY
Pyeonghwa Motors, a 12-year automobile joint venture in NK set up by the Unification Church will close its factory. The CEO of the company plans to start a new business in NK that will focus on distributing supplies for hotels.
NK reportedly created a rule to confiscate assets of SKorean firms operating in the KIC that fail to comply with controversial tax regulations that they unilaterally adopted in August. Following the revisions, NK unilaterally levied a total of 160,000 USD in taxes on nine of the 123 SKorean firms in the KIC.
A Daily NK source from Onsung County revealed that there is growing tension between some KPA units and the cooperative farms that surround them because soldiers are stealing rice at night with the intention of selling it to merchants. The source added that it happens every year but that a lot more than normal is being stolen currently.
The UNGA Third Committee passed a resolution condemning NK’s human rights abuses. The resolution was drafted by EU diplomats and co-sponsored by the US, ROK and others, and passed ‘by consensus’ without being forced to a vote, although NK, China, Syria, Iran and some other developing countries made clear they disagreed with the nature of the resolution. NKorean envoy Kim Song told the committee that the resolution represented “interference in our internal affairs” and was “an act of the state political terrorism.” The resolution will go to formal vote in the General Assembly next month.
INTERNATIONAL POLITICS & SECURITY
Following satellite images suggesting that Pyongyang has made preparations for a long-range rocket launch, the ROKG is working with its allies to prepare a coordinated response if needed. An analyst at KINU stated that NK’s move mimicked those it made in 2009 after President Obama took office and that NK could be sending a message to the next SKorean president to take an ‘appeasement’ approach.
Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary stated that Japan will make greater efforts to gather information and carry out analyses on a possible NKorean missile launch.
NK appears to have suspended its critical campaign against conservative party candidate Park Geun-hye, Yonhap reports, triggering speculation that PY may be eyeing an opportunity to mend ties with SK under a new administration.
A local Christian group called off its plan to light up Christmas towers at the DMZ in consideration of concerns among residents that it could provoke NK.
The ROK and PRC govts exchanged views on ways to “further develop the bilateral strategic cooperative partnership as well as the current situation on the Korean Peninsula and international issues”.
An NIS official told the Joongang Ilbo that in SK’s response to the Yeonpyeong Island attack in 20120, 10 NKorean soldiers were killed and around 20 were injured.
ANALYSIS & OPINION
Michael Green: “KJU is attempting to consolidate his power; pulling the illicit activities under his own direct control; promoting generals responsible for attacks on innocent civilians in the South; instructing his diplomats to assert that the North’s nuclear weapons status is irreversible; and teasing the Japanese as a preliminary step to talks with Seoul and eventually the United States, which NK still sees as the big prize and an easier target given troubles in the Middle East, discord among U.S. allies in Asia, and continued support for Pyongyang from Beijing. These are not the ingredients of a new diplomatic breakthrough with the North.”
Adrian Hong on C-SPAN: “There’s no illusion as to how bad the regime is. The illusion is in the sense that we can’t solve it, that we think that this is an inevitable crisis that cannot be fixed or that we have no right or ability to do anything about it. I think that North Korea is not just an issue for human rights. This place is almost this black hole for modern civilization.”
Larry Niksch: “ Denuclearization as a credible U.S. policy objective is dead. The test for the Obama Administration is whether it will formulate a new strategy toward NK to replace denuclearization and whether it could coordinate a new strategy with SK.”
Beauchamp-Mustafaga on the implications of China’s leadership change for their NK policy: “China will likely continue its support for Pyongyang through a combination of economic and political measures. These efforts include providing diplomatic cover at the United Nations, donating food aid to limit the number of refugees fleeing famine, and increasing investment to prop up the regime while securing more natural resources for China’s poor industrial northeast provinces.”
The People’s Daily, the official newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party, posted a 55-photo slideshow commemorating Kim Jong-un’s selection as “The Onion’s Sexiest Man Alive For 2012.” (The post sadly seems to have been deleted within 24 hours).