Dong-a Ilbo reported that thousands of fliers denouncing KJU, seemingly made within NK, have been found in Chongjin (North Hamgyeong Province), NK’s third largest city.
KCNA reported on revised and supplemented laws on foreign investment, a move seemingly designed to attract foreign resources into the country. In November 2011 the NK Academy of Social Sciences released an article outlining improvements to be made to SEZ tax investigation systems emphasizing the establishment of a tax system acceptable to foreign companies.
400 NK workers are expected to be added to the Kaesong Industrial Complex workforce, bringing the total to over 49,000.
NK media has reportedly referred to KJU as “Dear Father”, a title in line with similar designations used for KJI and KIS.
Daily NK reports on indications that purges and propaganda will be used to solidify KJU’s rule. The NK Central Party is reportedly taking steps to “destroy the forces” who are doubtful or critical of KJU, including increased propaganda and criticism sessions.
IFES: NK is expected to attempt to resume nationwide food distribution. This would mark the first such distribution in seven years, although the amount of rations to be provided is unclear.
Daily NK: Rations and coupons for government-run stores were reportedly distributed for the Lunar New Year by order of KJU. Recipients included “ordinary people,” but the rations varied in type between rice and corn and in amount by neighborhood, with some people reportedly getting 5 days worth, some 3 days, and some nothing.
The SK National Election Commission is reportedly reviewing plans to collaborate with Chinese police to prevent NK refugees from entering SK diplomatic missions in China during the upcoming overseas voting period. Officials are concerned that during this period NK refugees will pose as SK voters to gain access to the missions. An NEC official reportedly described such measures as “unavoidable” due to the wish to avoid diplomatic friction with China, but the plans have drawn criticism that they would be an abuse of power.
The SK Red Cross will expand its assistance to NK refugees in expectation of increased numbers of refugees in the future.
Canada reportedly accepted 83 NK refugees in 2011, double the number of 2010. It is unknown how many of these are ‘double-defectors’ that had previously resettled in SK.
Ha Tae-keung, longtime NKHR activist and president of ORNK, has declared his candidacy for the upcoming National Assembly elections, seeking to raise the profile of NKHR.
SK and U.S. troops will reportedly go ahead with scheduled fortnight-long Key Resolve joint-military exercises starting Feb. 27, citing a continued threats from NK. Last year’s exercises included 12,300 troops from the U.S. and 200,000 from SK and passed without incident.
The USG’s Kurt Campbell stated that NK must improve relations with SK before it can have better relations with the international community, also saying that “hope of diplomacy rests on the reality of a very strong deterrence and military commitment.” The DOD’s Michele Flournoy similarly said that “the ball is in their court” to take the steps necessary to restart the SPT, adding that “our top concern” is nuclear weapons moving in and out of the country. State Dept’s Jack Sullivan also said that “Our message to the leadership of NK… is to say we have a roadmap, a set of steps that you could take that over time would be as much in your interests as everybody else’s, and that in response to those steps, the international community would be prepared to take steps of its own.”
U.S. military personnel will travel to NK on March 1 to recover MIA remains from the Korean War, a move perceived as an easing of tensions.
ANALYSIS & OPINION
DailyNK on societal shifts in NK, changes to to the perceived importance of songbun and an unlikely triumvirate of the ‘well-off’’: Party cadres, fishermen, and ‘attractive widows’.
Bosworth said that he thinks it will be a “fairly quiet year” diplomatically, adding “I don’t think that the senior generals and that the senior party people are going to give Kim Jong-Un anything approaching the level of authority that Kim Jong-Il had… I think they need Kim Jong-Un as a figurehead.”