The Oryx Blog has a post listing ISIS’ armaments’ country of origins. There’s not much from North Korea, but ISIS did get their hands on some DPRK-made MANPADs! Now, it’s not something you see in feminine sanitation products commercial. MANPADs stand for “Man-portable air-defense systems”.
Last week, we linked to an article on Uganda and North Korea’s university relations. Now, 38North tackles their military relations, economic relations (in relations to the military), and what sort of murky elements lie within. Check it out, the link is in our shownotes.
Chinese are always asking “What exactly is behind North Korea’s economic reforms?”, what they are trying to ascertain is whether or not North Koreans are following the Chinese model. If so, it would be a big stroke to their ego. However, 張璉瑰, in a 20-minute interview with Phoenix Media, said that they are still publicly maintaining that China’s reforms goes against their country’s ideology. The purpose for introducing economic reforms is to solve specific issues. So economic reforms are only for its convenience. He then goes on to answer questions about the “political smarts” of Kim, Jong-un, saying, that if a political system is well-developed, its leaders do not need to have a lot of “smarts”. He then went on and talked about structures of the government, recent propoganda tactics of selectively showing information on the royal family, and why they do that.
… To give you some more detail, Gianluca Spezza of NKNews wrote an article describing how the North has been “failing” for so long at reforms. It’s because, it’s still afraid of actual economic and political reform. The only reform and information they truly bring in, is towards IT, medicine, and education (especially directed towards foreign language programs).
Hey, couple weeks ago, we mentioned that the World Food Program (WFP) was threatening to shut down its North Korean operations some time this month, well, that’s no longer the case. Things are still running, but for how long?
North Korea has been talking about something called Micro Hydro power. Instead of setting up a huge dam, you can set up something smallscale, and at your factory, if you have a lot of waste water, this setup can actually generate electricity.
Choson Exchange has set up training for North Koreans in Vietnam, and they provided some interesting insights for this scenario’s training. I’m not going to spoil the details, but you should check it out, the link is in our shownotes.
Are you a KwangMyong news junkie? I’m not, but the site has been upgraded. Get all your propoganda you want, it’s like 로동신문(RodongSinMun) for the Juche Second Century!
Robert Winstanley-Chesters looks at how the DPRK media is showing itself to the world and its own people. Huge difference in this administration compared to the one before. Give it a good look, the link is in our show notes.
장진성 of New Focus International, explains why 최룡해 (崔龍海/Choe, Ryong-Hae) is not the Number 2 man in North Korea. He also goes into what dynamics he’s working under, what are his affiliations, and how that effects his interactions with other elites.
…speaking of 최룡해,김정은(金正恩/Kim, Jong-Un) is sending him to Russia. For what? Who knows? But some see this as possibly greasing the wheels for his trip to Russia.
And as always, 김정은 is looking at something. This time: Floor tiles.
But this week, it’s a double-whammy, with another post from the Kim Jong-Un Looks at Things Tumblr blog, where he’s looking at Children’s Dishes. Check out both links in our shownotes.
Rob York of NKNews lets us know that because the contracting company handling asylum cases in Sweden couldn’t locate the places a 17-year-old North Korean asylum seeker had mentioned on a map. Thus faces deportation to China, where he escaped from, despite being a North Korean defector. The linguistics expert involved with the case, has said that the asylum seeker IS indeed from North Korea. His lawyers have said the reason why the contractors couldn’t find the locations he mentioned, was because they misspelled them. But last year, his case was denied, and if he is deported to China, he will most likely be subsequently returned to North Korea. Note, the company, Sprakab, also has a contract with the UK government in handling their asylum cases, and the UK supreme court slapped their hands for giving asylum seekers inappropriate advice. People say that war is God’s way of teaching Americans about Geography. Maybe someone should teach these contractors a lesson by declaring war on them for screwing over an asylum seeker?
After Jeffrey Fowler was released without much notice, why was Kenneth Bae and Matthew Miller later released on NOV8? Why not at the same time? And how the heck is Tony 남궁 involved with their releases? It’s more mysterious than the Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper visiting North Korea to handle the release of these two folks. As usual, there are many questions when it comes to North Korea.
…In contrast, the Canadian couple held for their religious-affiliated activities between the PRC-DPRK border, have not been released by China, despite Canada’s Prime Minister’s vocal objections.
The Woodrow Wilson Center has a presentation on how to deal with North Korea. So if you’re in the DC area on NOV21 next week, check it out. Directions to the location are on their website, the link is in our shownotes.
It’s good to know you have friends in good places. For North Korea, they not only have Russia to help them out with their economy, while China’s giving them the cold shoulder; at the UN, Cuba has been saying they don’t want to see Pyongyang go to the International Crimes Court (ICC) for humanitarian rights violations, despite the growing support for such an action. I wonder how it will be enforced. Are they going to assign Navy SeALs to the UN and extract the leadership? That would be a more epic movie than O-Dark-Thirty. Then of course, I think they’re more likely going to just try people in absentia.
So hey, do you like K-dramas? Well, have you ever read any K-dramas turned into fan-fictions? Neither have I, but reading up on North-South Korean relations is pretty much the same thing. The back and forth, “We’ll hold talks!” “No, we won’t hold talks!” “No! His last name is 김 too! He might be your brother!” Oh wait, scratch that last one out. That one only applies to Korean dramas. North-South relations would be more like, “Do you like balloons?” “No! I will shoot them down!” “We’ll hold military exercises!” “We’ll send troops right up against the border!” C’est La Vie en Corée.
Paul Park & Katharine Moon have written a very good article for the Brooking Institute, which reminds us that while in 북 朝鮮 (North Korea), we tie a lot of our interactions to nuclear issues and human rights. They remind us that in dealing with “西朝鮮” (West North-Korea aka China), America turned a blind eye to the many documented human rights violations. Now, Sino-American relations are economically intertwined, and despite political relations being strained, economic relations forces the two countries to work in a more constructive manner. What the article didn’t go into, was the continuing things that China has done to civil liberties like curb free speech, illegal search and seizure of property, and other such issues that Americans tend to hold dear, and how America has tended to cower away at such issues when it comes to dealing with China. So yes, economically, China’s quality of living is better materially, but they didn’t address the byproduct of these economic successes (increasing wealth gap, pollution, continual red tape preventing the people from accessing government services promised to them, etc…) and what that may mean for North Korea. Because North Korea is looking at China, to see how they can still manage information to their own people, but if America wants any sway in North Korea, can it overlook human rights issues as well? Will it have any influence?
If you’re fan of Inspector O novels, author James Church sometimes is kind enough to add tidbits of Inspector O-related stories which may provide the reader a nice hint at what exactly is going on with the country over at 38North. Highly recommend you read his latest post, the link is in our shownotes.
Used the new equipment and the new software. The new software needs some getting used to, but it doesn’t crash!