Weekly News Brief – 23 August 2011
- Daily NK and AsiaPress on the growth of private transit companies and free movement of labour between privately run coal mines.
- KJI on the market: ideological aversion mixed with pragmatic acceptance if the markets can be kept under control (2008). KJI’s sister Kim Kyung-hui on the same topic.
- NK opened an international trade show in N. Hamgyeong Province.
- IFRC: The floods have killed at least 57 and left over 24,720 homeless. One DPRK Red Cross volunteer gave up his life attempting to rescue two children. Breakdown of the flood damage and IFRC’s emergency appeal. The NK Red Cross has launched an international appeal for flood relief.
- RFA: SKorean music videos are so popular among young people in Pyongyang that a dance instructor has reportedly started offering clandestine dance classes teaching them k-pop dance moves.
- Daily NK: With a lack of popular support, the succession to KJU is marked by increased repression. For instance: The current border-region crackdown by a ‘storm trooper unit’ to root out smuggling, use of Chinese cell phones and defections has reportedly resulted in the exile of 50 families.
FOOD AID & FOOD SECURITY
- Daily NK: The price of rice is rising rapidly in the NK markets. This could be linked to a rise in the value of RMB, the floods affecting production, crackdowns on smugglers, and an expectation of shortages in the near future.
- The USG is to provide 900,000 USD worth of flood relief aid to to Kangwon and North and South Hwanghae provinces through US NGOs. The US still has no plans to provide food.
- Russia began delivering 50,000 tons of wheat to NK.
- JoongAng Ilbo: During his May trip to China, KJI secured free fertiliser and discounted food.
- NK has allowed video monitoring of food aid distribution by SKorean civic groups.
- WFP: July’s daily rations were 200g per person, an increase on 150g given in June. However a healthy adult requires 700g per day.
- 45m USD in food aid was sent to NK in the first 6 months of this year.
- Piece on Mr. Seok, a popular oriental medicine doctor who learnt his trade in the north.
- NK refugee and pianist Kim Cheol-woong performed together with other top Korean pianists at a peace concert.
- US State Dept 2010 Human Rights Report – DPRK.
- KINU: Over 60 public executions took place in 2010, partly to maintain control following the unpopular currency reform in late 2009.
- SK’s GNP has drafted a new NKHR bill which includes calls for humanitarian aid to NK.
- Several hundred citizens demonstrated against NK’s prison camps in Seoul. A larger demonstration supporting progressive causes such as free school lunches attempted to use the same space, creating a tense atmosphere.
INTERNATIONAL POLITICS & SECURITY
- KJI began a trip to Russia and is set to meet Medvedev on Tuesday. Russia is pushing for a gas pipeline and railway to be built from Russia to SK, via NK. The visit was confirmed by NK state media earlier than usual. The NK leadership is reaching out to Russia partly because they are wary of being too dependent on China. Russia and NK may also make steps to resume military collaboration.
- NKorean labourers in Russia – estimated 3,000 in Vladivostok mostly working on construction sites. Seven NKoreans were reportedly recently sent back to NK after watching SKorean DVDs.
- NK said it would begin auctioning off SKorean assets at the Mount Kumgang resort.
- SK’s FM indicated that LMB’s administration has softened its stance on resuming dialogue with NK.
- SK presidential hopeful Park Geun-hye wrote a piece in Foreign Affairs saying that SK should rebuild trust with NK while maintaining an unyielding stance on national security.
- NK threatened to bolster their nuclear deterrent in response to US-ROK joint military exercises.
- Biden: NK and Iran’s nuclear and missile development programmes are a threat to stability in the US and China.
- NK and the US agreed to resume searching for the remains of US soldiers in NK.
- Snyder’s six step formula for resuming the SPT.
- Daily NK is looking for volunteers to translate the words of NKoreans in China.
- NYT review of The Journals of Musan.
- Six NKorean professors are studying economics and other subjects at the University of British Columbia in Canada.
- SK police charged four people with smuggling over 1,000 pieces of NKorean art into China and SK. Some of the profit was thought to be going back to the NK Govt.
- Lankov on KIS’s life story: “KIS managed to out-Stalin Stalin”.