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29 October 2011 / SP

Weekly News Brief – 29 October 2011


  • The NK Govt reportedly has banned 200 of its citizens in Libya from returning home. They’ll hear about Gadhafi’s death anyway.
  • Rumourmill: KJU married?
  • Recommended: Daily NK’s ‘NK People Speak, 2011” available in pdf here. And Haggard blogs about it.
  • Daily NK: Its the Jangmadang, Stupid. “With the introduction of the market system to North Korea, as long as you have Yuan, Dollars etc, you can buy absolutely anything… while the market has been replacing the government’s role, the power of the government has been shrinking.”
  • ORNK: SK dramas entertain bored Pyongyang housewives. Boring propaganda on state television is driving demand for foreign media, and people are gathering to watch the dramas in groups.
  • Daily NK on the dark humour of NKoreans. As the male-dominated state socialist system flounders and women are active in the markets, women are referring to their ‘nam-pyeon’ (husband) as ‘bul-pyeon’ (inconvenience) and people who manage to get repaid money they are owed are called ‘war heroes’.
  • DongA Ilbo with two pieces on smuggling networks working inside NK.
  • NYT on NK’s economic strategy of seeking foreign cash while avoiding real reform.
  • 38 North – NK: An up and coming IT outsourcing destination.


  • The price of rice keeps on climbing.
  • UN’s Valerie Amos: “6 million NKoreans urgently need food aid but the world is not giving enough.”


  • Daily NK: NK NSA agents were involved in the sting operation that caught 20-35 refugees in Shenyang, China.
  • CS Monitor piece on Tim Peters, underground railroad activist.
  • LA Times on a defector sending warm socks into NK by balloon. He himself was motivated to defect after reading a SK leaflet he had found.
  • Hanawon opened a new prep school for NK refugees.



  • Nothing major happened in the US-NK talks for talks, but the Chinese, who are trying to do their bit, lauded it anyway.
  • The Obama administration is deliberately avoiding going to the Hill with its new NK point-men in order to reduce public debate and political costs, because engagement, while deemed necessary, is unlikely to bring any big political wins. The USG has also quietly dropped the policy language of ‘strategic patience’ and may now be going for something like ‘management strategy’.
  • The US will resume searching for MIA remains in NK.
  • The defense chiefs of the US and SK joined rhetorical forces in Seoul to deter NK from provocations.
  • LMB will meet with Medvedev in Russia next week.
  • SK and NK historians will meet to discuss jointly excavating an ancient palace in NK.
  • Russian NK expert Vorontsov: Russia, wanting to be more integrated into regional cooperation processes in East Asia, has moved decisively closer to NK.
  • Lewis, Hayes and Bruce on the slow motion SPT engagement.
  • Lankov suggests Sunshine Policy mk.2 aimed at the junior cadres.



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