Possibly sensing South Korea’s disinterest, and because they haven’t stopped any of the leaflet ballooners flying anti-North Korea propaganda over the border, North Korea first threatened to “reconsider” the talks. On OCT28, South Korea faxed a message saying the two should continue talks on OCT30. However, a day before the talks were supposed to be held, North Korea replied and said it was exactly because the South didn’t stop the leaflet flyers, that talks were not to be held.
On OCT27, a DailyNK source said that soldiers of the ㄷㅍㄹㅋ 8th Corps, were told to go on leave for a couple of days, in groupings of 1 person in charge of 3 enlistees. What’s the purpose? To prepare for the harsh winter, and due to lack of supplies, these soldiers need to go back home on leave, and gather provisions. For instance, in order to chop a lot of logs for winter, they are being told to gather chainsaws, 200 shovels, 100 pickaxes, and 100kg (220lbs) of nails.
The ROK Ministry of Defense has refuted a claim by the retired 2-star General 한성주 about his claims that there are 84 tunnels from North Korea into 서울, in fact, they claim there are NONE in the capital city. This, despite tunnels in other cities across the country that have been found. Is this an indication that the capital city has enough infiltrated agents and doesn’t need tunnels?
I had my doubts about the rumors, but there is a satellite image of a test launcher for a submarine-Launched ballistic missile (SLBM) in the 新신浦포 (Sinpo) shipyard. However, 38North notes that it’ll be a long while before they can achieve anything successful.
China’s 瀋陽 (Shenyang), military district has conducted a rare large-scale military exercise, as part of its push towards modernizing its forces. It’s going from an Army-centered structure to a joint forces structure, just like other modern military nations like the US. This exercise concentrated on Army-Air Force joint operations, but the fact that the 瀋陽 (Shenyang), military district is conducting this, and for its size, it’s seen as a response to the US publicly acknowledging that North Korea has successfully miniaturized its nuclear warhead.
…South Korea and Chinese delegates held talks today regarding the North Korea nuclear issue. ROK Foreign Minister 황준국 met with PRC Foreign Minister, 武大衛.
Yesterday, on OCT30, 김정은 (Kim, Jong-un) went to inspect the Korean Peoples’ Air Force Unit 11017, and the 447th, and 458th units, which made Page 1 & 2 on the 勞로動동新신聞문. He even took a seat in the cockpit of one of the aircraft.
…James Pearson points out that not only 김정은 (Kim, Jong-un), but South Korean President 박근혜 also had a similar photo-op in the cockpit of a fighter jet. Dogfight of the century! In fact, I know someone already made a movie trailer out of this, you should check it out in our shownotes!
The Financial Action Task Force, consisting of 37 countries including the European Commission and Gulf Cooperation Council, have told member states to take a careful look at transactions involving North Korea and Iran, as both states are involved with terrorist funding.
朝鮮 Exchange, an organization teaching North Koreans business training, and MBA-style education, might be running into some trouble with North Korea’s ban on tourism due to Ebola fears. No one is allowed into the country, including those already outside, and no one is allowed to leave. 朝鮮 Exchange noted the irony, in that this is much more effective at isolating North Korea, and not sanctions.
…Phoenix TV’s program “Current Events Meeting”, asks is the border closure simply a matter of preventing ebola, or is there an underlying agenda? Several things to note, is that land-route trade was limited, but searoute and air trade is still running, albeit with “intensified measures” of safety. They also noted that winter time is also a low season for tourists, which is why blocking off tourism isn’t that big of a deal. Some of the panelists on the show argued that this is really targetted against China, and cross-border trade.
…And despite not having e-mail access as of OCT29 (reasons are unknown), the Swedish Embassy in 平평壤양 (Pyongyang) has put out a statement on travel to North Korea. Saying that due to restrictions placed, people who already bought their travel packages should check with their tourist companies.
…State media even had footage supposedly showing different areas where they were disenfecting. I wonder if the office buildings were those of ambassadors from West African nations, and if disinfecting the trains was because of the tourists. If that’s the case, that’s pretty racist.
…Nonetheless, James Pearson points out that a quarantine area has been set up at the 청천강 Hotel for foreigners in 安州.
Due to sanctions, conducting business in North Korea over the internet is really difficult. Preventing them from entering into the modern age. Thus, to get around this, the Korean Computer Center (KCC), a North Korea-government-run company, has an office in India, where apps are developed. You can find an app called “Nice Pigs” in iTunes, and a link to the android version is in our shownotes. NKNews also looked at the heart of the program, and found out it was programmed using java eclipse, Cocos2D, and an old iPhone SDK.
Coal Production has been slowing down, and everybody is told to conserve energy. Specifically, Steel Producing, Industrial Chemicals, & Light Manufacturing Industries were pointed out. Most likely due to less personelle heading to the coal mines, because more people are needed to deal with the drought situation. Ironically, North Korea is importing a lot more coal from China recently. To keep this down, maybe THAT’s why they’re targetting these industries.
A single factory, the Ala Mode Watchmaker’s factory in the 開개城성 (Kaesong) Industrial Complex, has received a notice, that within a month, all its workers will be recalled by the government. This is a response to the company, which has said it is difficult to continue operations at the factory (meaning it would most likely shut down).
20,000 phones have been hit with a malware by North Korea. Since most people in South Korea, use either Samsung or LG phones, what this means for security at-large for phones exported overseas, has yet to be seen. However for now, this looks to be a targetted incident.
What does China’s rival to the World Bank, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) mean for those who watch over North Korea? Well, China’s not as strict when it comes to lending money as the World Bank is. Usually money-lending by the World Bank is attached with many conditions to reform the borrowing countries’ banking system, and more importantly government reform. China doesn’t want to see that happening to its own nation, and would like to see that it doesn’t happen to others. So even though Sino-DPRK relations are rocky right now, it’ll pick up again, and you can expect more lending to North Korea in the future. Which means using economic incentives to entice North Korea to change and reform, as the US and South Koreans want to see, will be less effective. However, North Korea has had a long track record of defaulting on its various loans to other countries. As of yet, Russia has been the only country to forgive them for their loans, in exchange for concession ports in 羅津.
Marcus Noland points out how the 100,000-Homes Project was shelved. Then he points out other “take-backs” that the North Korea government has put out. Check it out, the link is in our shownotes.
Russia and the DPRK are looking to set up a visa-free regime, but it will probably take several years to implement. On top of that, on OCT22, Russian delegates visited the 開개城성 (Kaesong) Industrial Complex. Which means they are looking to internationalize the area. I wonder what South Korea has to say about that, since their government was a major investor in the project. Lots of tax-payers’ dollars are at stake.
Locals living along the border clash with leaflet ballooners, saying that they are putting everyone’s lives at risk, by aggravating the North. Some of the ballooners managed to release some balloons anyway.
Last week, we talked about the OPCON, or transfer of control over military affairs from the US to South Korea, which they decided to delay until 2020. North Korea decided to give them a bunch of crap for doing so.
萬만壽수台대 (Mansudae) Artists will hold an exhibition in London, NOV4-7. NKNews has an interesting interview with some of the artists, like how they were chosen, and what inspires them. At the very bottom of the article, if you want to check out the exhibition, the address and times are there. Check it out, the link is in our shownotes.
NK Econ Watch has some pictures sent from an anonymous person about a possible “film” (possibly an animated film?) about a superhero, with a stolen story plot from the James Bond “Goldfinger” movie. The Communist protagonist to this feature film, robs Ft Knox, essentially, the biggest safehouse for the entire world, and since it’s located in the US, essentially is the largest symbol of capitalism.
Are you in love with the beautiful 김여정? Who isn’t?! But the problem is, she just got married! NO!!!! Who’s the thief that stole away your long-lost love? Apparently, some guy from Office 39! In other words, despite being in a communist country, this guy probably has more money than you or I do in our bank accounts.
OCT21, North Korea Deputy Ambassador to the United Nations 장일훈, spoke at the Council of Foreign Relations, where an audience member asked “Who told you to go ahead and talk to us at the Council of Foreign Relations?” After avoiding the question, the person asked again, “Right now, who is your boss?”, where he replied “My boss is someone in a department responsible for American affairs. So I wouldn’t say any person.”, where the person then asked “It is not, then, Kim Jong-un?” For not having professed 김정은 (Kim, Jong-un) as his boss from the get-go, will 장 be recalled?
Last week, James Pearson let us know that 마원춘, the artchitect has been missing for a month. Now, he let us know, that 마원춘 has reappeared, while the Leader was checking out an orphanage, and called it a “pristine product of the Military-First era!”
Reconstruction efforts of the MAY1 Gymnasium have just been completed. It will feature a swimming pool, ping pong tables, mini-golf, recovery facilities, cultural welfare services (whatever that is), and service networks. Of importance to note, was that 崔龍海 was with 김정은 (Kim, Jong-un) at the opening. Some people in South Korean media have reported that this may be 黃炳瑞’s fallout, which means 崔龍海 has again gained the upperhand. This also might have been evidenced by making a big deal out of the 빨치산 fighters mentioned last week, commemorating their fight against Japan. Of which 崔龍海’s father, 崔獻 was a part of.
…However, that might be overreading things, as the 勞로動동新신聞문 reported that 김정은 (Kim, Jong-un) and his lovely wife 李雪主 were seen together, like “loving parents of a nation”. They emphasized selfless service, of course all these inspections are usually concluded with some sort of speech, or emphasis, on some sort of doctrine. With him, was the 勞動黨秘書 崔龍海, 內閣總理 박봉주, 黨秘書 김기남, 統一前線部長 김양건, 黨財政經理部長 한광상, 國防委員 設計局長 마원춘 and others accompanied them. BUT 軍總政治局長 황병서, 人民武力長 현영철, and the commanders of the unit’s military construction engineers welcomed them.
Some guy made a 2.5ft-tall replication of 김정은 (Kim, Jong-un)’s head, and will wear it for Halloween.
…Hey, is that not enough? Do you want the real 김정은 (Kim, Jong-un)? Well, do you like ball-pits? So does 김정은 (Kim, Jong-un)! He’s staring at them! Seriously, go check it out at the 김정은 (Kim, Jong-un) Looks at Things Tumblr blog. The link is in our shownotes.
11 Defectors have been arrested in China, and repatriation to North Korea has begun. The South Korean embassy is trying to figure out the details.
DailyNK reports that in North Korea, couples are opting for cool cell phones as gifts, instead of exchanging rings.
James Pearson has brought to our attention, a Deutsch World article with pictures of everyday life in North Korea.
…In the past, it was an economic burden in Korea to have a girl. The wedding dowry from the womans’ family, was such an issue, it brought families to bankruptcy. This isn’t such an issue in South Korea anymore, but in North Korea, there’s a new wedding dowry. Phones, TVs, and other modern accessories are now what people expect. You can read more about it at New Focus International.
신동혁, a famous defector who, unlike other defectors, was born from a prison. In his biography he states that his father was dragged away for execution. However, North Korea has released a propaganda video with a statement from his father. It turns out he’s still alive. The purpose of releasing this video, is to silence him about the prison conditions within the country, at the UN’s Commission of Inquiry (CoI).
…Stephen Haggard has listed out the various issues the UN CoI will nail North Korea with. Then, posts another article on how people have brought up North Korea’s ad-hominen attacks against Justice Kirby for being openly gay, and a whole bunch of other PR blunders.
…The UN actually sees signs of North Korea softening on certain issues with regards to human rights, and in some cases, under the U.N. Human Rights Council’s “universal period review” (UPR), they accepted nearly half of the recommendations that came up for review. How these changes will be implemented, and how they will be enforced and checked upon, have yet to be seen.
South Korea’s National Intelligence Service (NIS), has sentenced several agents, and even an official from the South Korean consulate in 瀋陽 (Shenyang),, China. For fabricating evidence that a defector, 유우성, was actually a spy for North Korea。One of those sentenced, was given 2.5years in prison.
On Wednesday, OCT29, the Unification Ministry approved 28 scholars from the 南North Korea Korea Joint Board for the 겨례 큰 사전 Compilation (A Joint commission to compile a dictionary of Korean words), to head to North Korea. Where they arrived in 平평壤양 (Pyongyang) the next day, and will return on NOV8. This is the first time the group will make such a trip in 5 years, as such communications were completely cut off since the 天安 sinking.
After two days of talks and returning from 平평壤양 (Pyongyang), the Japanese delegates told Prime Minister Abe what North Korea is intending to do with the investigation, and updated him on the investigation status. Nothing was released to the public, but the Prime Minister himself said that they indicated their “…stance to thoroughly deepen its investigation from a new angle, without sticking to the results of past probes,”
After the Asian Games, came the Para-olympic Asian games (OCT18-24), where North Korea sent in 25 participants. South Korea, in order to avoid the criticisms over the Cheerleaders incident, picked up the tab, totalling 98-million Won (Or Almost $93,000USD).
After comments by US authorities about North Korea’s capabilities to miniaturize nuclear warheads, the Chinese decided to put out a statement. Let’s see if North Korea actually listens.
A man named 서철 gave a speech at the 빨치산 commemeration. Tons of good stuff were said about KIS, because he was the guy that led the team in Manchuria in fighting against the Japanese during WWII. Notice there is a lack of mention of China, and its help in the effort against the Japanese. Further signs that Sino-DPRK relations are very cold. Also notice the emphasis on “Manchuria” instead of “China’s NorthEast”. Somewhat of an off-handed attempt at emphasizing how Manchuria, land of the Manchurians isn’t really Chinese. This is purely conjecture on my part, but I expect to see Sino-ㄷㄹㅍㅋ border disputes in our near future.
And ending this episode on a somewhat good note, James Fowle, the man fired from his job for being absent too long due to his detainment in North Korea prison, and was just released last week. Well, he got his old job back! YAY! Now he gets to pay back his $70,000 his family was given as a severance package… It’ll pay itself off once he actually retires.
Used the new equipment and the new software. The new software needs some getting used to, but it doesn’t crash!