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13 June 2011 / SP

Weekly News Brief – 13 June 2011

NK INTERNAL

FOOD AID & FOOD SECURITY

REFUGEES

HUMAN RIGHTS

  • Unification Minister Hyun In-taek called on the SK National Assembly to pass the NKHR Law this month.

INTERNATIONAL POLITICS & SECURITY

  • Seemingly determined to further embarrass the LMB administration, NK has threatened to release secret voice recordings of secret N-S meetings where they claimed SK officials offered cash bribes. The SK Govt admitted offering cash but claimed it was compensation for relocating the talks from SE Asia to Beijing. SK repeated calls for dialogue with NK.
  • US Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell said that NK’s move to embarrass LMB concerned and surprised the Chinese leadership, who had called for improved N-S relations. The USG publicly backed SK’s approach. The US Congress will consider a bill reinforcing sanctions on NK and others.
  • KJI reportedly met with the head of the CCP’s organization department Li Yuanchao in Pyongyang. China’s Defence Minister claimed that China is doing more to pressure NK than it gets credit for.
  • SK’s Defence Minister said that NK had probably succeeded in miniaturising a nuclear device, meaning it could fit one on a warhead. Satellite imagery shows construction activity at Yongbyon over the last 2 years, which could represent development of NK’s uranium enrichment programme. Outgoing CIA chief Leon Panetta said NK’s military presents a ‘growing and direct threat’ to the US.
  • SK plans to deploy Apache helicopters to defend the SK islands in the disputed West Sea maritime border area. SK also warned of a harsh retaliation to any NKorean assault.
  • The US intercepted a NK ship that was suspected of carrying missile technology or small arms to Burma and, after a stand-off, forced it to return home.
  • The SK Govt rejected a request by nearly 100 civic activists to visit NK to attend a ceremony to mark the 2000 N-S summit.
  • SKorean business people that used to do business with NK are seeing Chinese competitors take over opportunities after the SK Govt implemented sanctions following the Cheonan ship attack. There used to be around 1000 SK businessmen in Dandong, but now most of them have left. Trade between NK and China nearly doubled in Q1 2011 compared to Q1 2010. A large increase in exports of NK mineral resources reduced China’s trade surplus.
  • China is still blocking the release of a UN report that details NK-Iran cooperation on missile technology in breach of UN sanctions.
  • NK’s PR to the UN reportedly privately backed Ban Ki-moon’s bid for a 2nd term as UN SG.

MISC.

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