North Korea has a policy of 선군, or “Military-First”, so we’re putting military-related stories first!
As of Monday evening, North Koreans sent their Special Infiltration Forces via submarines and other landing craft, to show that they were serious.
Tuesday morning August 25th, the two Koreas reached an agreement, and North Korea expressed its “regret” over the landmines that killed 2 South Korean soldiers, stopping short of actually apologizing. This “regret” is enough for the South Korean government to spin it as an “apology” and move on with joint Korean issues. Both agreed to hold reunion events for divided families of the Korean War on 추석 (秋夕/Chuseok), and formalize more meetings for the aging families. They also agreed to further prevent such actions, by holding more dialogue, and more civilian exchange opportunities. Previously, North Korea said that such meetings couldn’t happen because of hostilities, but have given in despite what they now call a “semi-state of war”. The other issue North Korea was worried about: The Loudspeakers, will also be shut down.
…in response to the heightened tensions, South Korean media coverage over servicemembers extending, or re-signing new contracts amidst a North Korean threat, have sprouted up.
Normally, 박근혜 (朴槿惠/Park, Geun-Hye) said that this helped put pressure on the North.
…Despite the media coverage, Chinese officials deny the rush of troops, and says that troops along the border are always at a state readiness, and nothing was rushed or out of the ordinary.
Mr. 張璉瑰 (Zhang, Lian-Gui) explains the history behind the agreement in 2004 to stop the loudspeaker broadcasts, and how things have changed since then.
…Chinese media also claims that the US may use this issue as an excuse to increase the number of troops on the peninsula.
Mr. Adam Cathcart and Chris Green remind us that the hostilities ended just in time for the 선군절 (“Songun Holiday”).
On Sunday, August 23rd, a South Korean soldier was wounded by another landmine off the South side of the 비무장지대 (非武裝地帶/DeMilitarized Zone [DMZ]). This time, South Korea admits this is one of their own mines that they had planted, and is an accident, unlike the previous incident killing two soldiers.
“How’s the view from Room 39?” The economic performance sure looks different on the ground:
라진 (羅津 — Rajin) has been hit with a flood. 11,000 families have been evacuated, stranding thousands, and killing 40 people, yesterday, Wednesday August 26th.
Owners of two merchant vessels haven’t paid their mortgages. As such, two North Korean merchant ships flying under Tuvalu flags have been held in South Africa, and auctioned off. One of those ships is the MV Ma Sik Ryong
Tuesday, August 25th, Chinese media reiterated that North Korea and China would have a joint 自由貿易區(자유무역구/Free Trade Zone) at 國門灣 (국문만/GuomenWan), which is in 丹東 (단동/DanDong)
A North Korean delegation will be going to the Eastern Economic Forum, from September 3rd to the 5th.
Some people are speculating that South Korea may negotiate with North Korea over the sanctions it had imposed after the 2010 sinking of the South Korean ship, the Cheonan.
Due to the multiple sanctions against the company heavily related to North Korea, Ocean Maritime Management (OMM), has seen their ships making more and more trips to Russian ports, since Russia has also been sanctioned by the West recently, and is looking for anyone to trade with.
요! Here’s the 411 on North Korea’s propaganda and information flow!
North Korea Tech looks at North Korean state media on the coverage in heightened tensions on the peninsula. Supposedly coal yields increased “spurred by rage”, and there were another 1-million volunteers for their army. Nevermind the conscription of their males and females. The Associated Press, which has a bureau in 평양 (平壤/Pyongyang), has noted that there no special preparations, or change in daily activity amongst regular citizens.
Before the deal was brokered, after North Korean media said South Korean President 박근혜 (朴槿惠/Park, Geun-Hye) should be “buried as soon as possible”, they continued to call her a “confrontational maniac”.
황병서 (黃炳瑞/Hwang, Pyong-So) was quoted by North Korean media, that the recent tensions and threats of war have managed to teach South Korea a lesson from “cooking up stories” that North Korea is heightening tensions.
Now, in this section, we normally concentrate on North Korean propoganda, and things related to the way North Korean media shapes its message, or controls the message. Considering the recent events over South Korea’s loudspeakers however, the South Korean government is asking journalists not to call their campaigns propoganda. To their credit, what they broadcast is more than just slogans and mottos purporting how wonderful the south is. Actually, it’s filled with useful information like weather reports, news of current events, and South Korean K-pop. Aside from the last bit, everything else they broadcast is very much practical to the everyday lives of North Koreans. However, when something as minute as South Korean weather reports can be much more accurate than North Korean weather reports, people start asking questions. That’s where North Korea is afraid.
In 2014, there were reports that the log cabin that is supposedly 김정일(金正日/Kim, Jong-Il)‘s birthplace was in flames, and destroyed. However, NK News says that’s not the case. So either they had rebuilt everything in “천리마 speed”, or it wasn’t ever burnt at all.
Do you know where the Supreme Leader might be? [(PAWStamp) “A CLUE! A CLUE!”]
I’ll tell you where the Supreme Leader WON’T be: China. Despite inviting all allied nations, and other nations to attend its V-J Day ceremonies, it was hoping to include military parades for all allied nations. Most declined the military parades, but initially 安倍 晋三 (あべ しんぞう/Abe Shinzo) and 박근혜 would attend the post-parade dinners, but then Shinzo later declined to visit at all.
…In the Supreme Leader’s place though, 최룡해 (崔龍海/Choe, Ryong-hae) will be observing the military parade.
And, we end this section with a link from the Kim, Jong-Un Looks At Things Tumblr blog. This time, looking at AND smelling soap.
Now, we’ll get to North-South relations, reunification issues, life in North Korea, & refugee matters.
Despite heightened tensions, civilian exchanges between the North and South continued onward throughout the period. Including the excavations at 만월대(滿月臺/ManWolDae “Full Moon Terrace”).
Jack Kim of Reuters notes that while the meetings between the two Koreas during this state of heighten tensions are definitely a far cry from summitt meetings to achieve a joint Korean initiative, it might as will be as good as one. Because, the result of these talks actually achieved some of those goals. The two leaders of the countries might not have been talking directly with each other, but they might as will have been.
A group of New York artists are trying to invite North Korean artists to an exhibition on peace, they’re planning in the states. They’re requesting donations from people, and need help getting the North Koreans invited to the exhibition.
손광주 was sworn in as the new president of the Hana-Won Foundation, the receiving station and indoctrination center for North Korean refugees on integrating into South Korean society.
This is our final segment. A hodgepodge of stories we didn’t know where to put, like this one:
The National Committee on North Korea (NCNK) has come out with a summary of a workshop they had on covering the different tactics in dealing with North Korea over the years. What can simply be summed up with the word: gaggle-cluster.