North Korea has a policy of 선군, or “Military-First”, so we’re putting military-related stories first!
If you are still crying over the execution of 현영철(玄永哲/Hyon, Yong-Chol), fear not! North Korean media has confirmed that 박영식 has now taken his place as head of the 인민무력부 (人民武力部/Defense Ministry).
…38North takes another look at 현영철‘s “murder”, reminding us that unlike people who have actually been known to be executed, he hasn’t been wiped out from official records, and that South Korea’s 국가정보원 (國家情報院/National Intelligence Service/ or simply the 국정원/NIS) assessment may be “premature” as they put it.
Last week, there was news coverage on a chemical processing plant. Analysts believe it may be a dual-use facility which can also make biological weapons. The North Koreans are aware of this, and are saying the US President, and all members of Congress can come and visit the facility to check and see if they really are doing something they’re not supposed to.
A leaked e-mail from an Italian firm “Hacking Team”, that licensed its software to the South Korean NIS for use to spy on North Korea, is worried about what their role is in not just angering North Korea, but also from judicial implications that the program in question that their software was used in, hasn’t been approved by South Korean judges.
Earlier today, South Korea invited North Korea to send their Vice Minister for the Defense Ministry, to a security conference. This is the first time the South has requested the North’s presence at such an event.
“How’s the view from Room 39?” The economic performance sure looks different on the ground:
Joshua Stanton points out that the 한국개발연구원 (韓國開發硏究院/Korea Development Institute [KDI]) has essentially just encouraged South Korean businesses to break sanctions laws, by trying to open up an industrial park in China, where North Korean workers can be sent there, and contracted out. China, where labor conditions are questionable, and North Korea, which will take most of their workers’ pay to make sure they show their loyalty.
NK Today takes a look at the footage and reporting on 평양 (平壤/Pyongyang)‘s new airport terminal.
North Korea is building a powerplant from 백두산 (白頭山/Mt Paektu [White Head]) that will connect to 삼지연 (三池淵/SamJiYon). NK News believes it is probably in preparation for the 70th anniversary of the 조선로동당 (朝鮮勞動黨/ Korean Workers Party [KWP]). It’s most likely also going to supply power in the region for the Special International Tourist Zone in the 무봉 (Mubong) workers’ district
38North.org takes a look at the 봉화 chemical factory, that does a lot of the oil refinery for the entire country.
Despite the hootin’ and hollerin’ about a drought in North Korea being the “worst in 100 years”, it really wasn’t. Rainfall came in on Monday. So much for that. Regardless, the damage has already been done, and crops will still be affected.
New Focus International has an article on the types of trade that normal North Koreans rely upon, and what type of conditions, like state monitoring that they have to deal with.
Starting October, the provincial government of 遼寧(요녕/LiaoNing) and North Korea will be able to take full advantage of a Tax-Free Trade Zone in 丹東 (단동/DanDong).
The Tuxpan Port Authority is now in custody of the ship, the 무두봉. All of its crewmembers have been repatriated.
Yesterday, representatives from the North and South came together at the 개성공업지구 (開城工業地區/Kaesong Industrial Complex), to talk about the ongoing Wage issues. No agreements have been made thus far, but both agreed to meet up with each other in the future.
According to the 한국은행(韓國銀行/Bank of Korea), North Korea’s economic growth rate is slower than it was from the year prior. The agricultural and fishing industry, and manufacturing sectors fell slightly, while construction saw an increase from the year prior.
요! Here’s the 411 on North Korea’s propaganda and information flow!
North Korea got angry at a YTN anchor, in a piece on the 김일성화 (金日成花/Kimilsungia). They were probably happy, until she noted how there was an unusual obsession with 김일성 (金日成/Kim, Il-sung). THAT’s when they got angry, yelled that everyone in North Korea loves their eternal dead president from the heart, and called her a “foxy bitch”. For some who may think it’s more of a cat call, should continue to read, and the sexist, derogatory comments are abound in the North Korean statement.
Kent Boydston of the Peterson Institute showed us a South Korean video, which is supposedly being spread in North Korea, and might have the authorities worried. It was a doctored video with a voiceover of 김일성 yelling at his grandson 김정은 (金正恩/Kim, Jong-un). The most worrisome is the tone, which although praises 주체 (主體/Juche) ideology, and in a self-agrondizing tone praises his own ideology, while saying his grandson hasn’t even followed any of it, and even claims that 김정은‘s dad, 김정일(金正日/Kim, Jong-Il) couldn’t even tell him where 김정은 came from, and that he isn’t a true part of the 백두 bloodline. Censors are going to have a hard time scraping this one, when the videomakers were smart enough to use their own narrative against them.
Do you know where the Supreme Leader might be? [(PAWStamp) “A CLUE! A CLUE!”]
We bring you a link to the Kim Jong-Un Looks at Things Tumblr Blog, this time, looking at a tanning bed.
Now, we’ll get to North-South relations, reunification issues, life in North Korea, & refugee matters.
North Korea has some “recommended guidelines’ on what women should wear. Mostly, it’s to make sure they don’t look like they’re from the “decadent West”. However, some North Korean women just love their smuggled foreign fashion items, and can’t help but wear this stuff. According to one defector on New Focus International, the best way to not get caught, is to not half-ass it. If you’re gonna’ wear foreign items, be very “bold and outlandish” as they said. It’s the ones that go halfway, that look suspicious to authorities. If the authorities persist, you can try to pass yourself off as a Japanese citizen of Korean descent who returned to the country. However, that doesn’t work sometimes, and you’ll end up with punishment and self-criticism sessions.
There’s a roughly 60-day period known as the 삼복 (三伏/”Three Crawls”) a period in the traditional Korean calendar, a Luni-solar calendar, and marks the hottest period in summer. NK Today looks at the differences in food that’s eaten to try to beat the heat in both North and South Korea, and how each side spends this period differently.
Monday, July 13th, North Korea announced they would send representatives to discuss repatriating 5 fishermen who drifted to South Korea on July 4th. South Korea says 3 fishermen wished to defect to the South, while only 2 wished to return to the North. North Korea claims they are holding all fishermen out of their own will, and are requesting the return of the entire group. Along with the representatives will be the family members of the people who are still in South Korean custody.
South Korea asks North Korea to return 4 of its citizens being held in the North.
Also on Monday, the 통일부 (統一部/Unification Ministry) announced it will hold a peace conference in October, to discuss unification issues with Nobel Laureates.
A day before the announcement, the 통일부 said that reconnecting the two Koreas via rail would be a good start towards further reunification talks. This reconnection to North Korea, would mean it links South Korea to Russia and China as well, which means South Korea could also take part in the Chinese 一帶一路 (One Belt, One Road [OBOR]) initiative.
South Korea, now says that denuclearization isn’t a precondition for talks. Why wasn’t this the case sooner? Who knows, but they also urge the North to come to the table for “sincere” dialogue.
For years, cyclists and pedestrians of 평양 have had issues, where cyclists would go onto pedestrian walkways to avoid getting crashed by cars, but run into pedestrians. Now, that’s being solved, with bike lanes. Although, for those with wide carts to pull, carrying their goods to the 장마당 may have some issues fitting into these lanes.
NK News has an article about the “in-between” generation. A generation growing up under reliance upon semi-legal market economy, and information control. One of the unique things they are proposing is that the act of sharing illegal South Korean dramas is more important than watching and talking about the dramas. The fact that everybody is doing something taboo, underskirting authorities is somewhat more empowering than the discovery of new information itself.
In preparation for the 70th anniversary of the KWP, North Korea is planning on pardoning and releasing political prisoners.
A South Korean NGO “Corea Alliance” is under investigation for supposedly violating the National Security Laws. They had previously requested to expel all of USFK.
강미진 wrote an article for NK News discussing some of the things that are glossed over when they reach South Korea and stay at 하나원, the holding place for defectors, where they are taught classes on how to integrate into South Korea. The thing that is missing, is how to deal with the discrimination and some of the hardships.
Last year in August, China had sent back 29 captured North Korean refugees to North Korea, including a 1-year-old. Recently, the UN questioned some PRC representatives over the incident. It’s natural to act with disgust, but why does anyone expect a country that doesn’t respect the civil liberties of its own citizens for much, let alone such a nationalistic country, it would care less for the citizens of other nations.
This is our final segment. A hodgepodge of stories we didn’t know where to put, like this one:
在日本朝鮮人總聯合會 (재일본 조선인 총련합회/ざいにほんちょうせんじんそうれんごうかい/General Association of Korean Residents in Japan), sometimes shortened as “朝鮮総連”(조선총련/ちょうせんそうれん/Korean General Association) or simply just “總聯” (총련/Chongryon), has rallied against the Japanese government for not providing their schools with subsidies, like they do with other private educational organizations in the nation.
A US pastor detained in China for his activities in North Korea, will be on trial. Four of the original charges against him have been dropped, but the remaining charge of forging receipts remain.
A major building that had collapsed last year, has quickly seen a new building reconstructed, at the very same site, at a very quick speed.
Kangwon National University in South Korea has signed an MOU with Yanbian University in China and Kim Il Sung University, they plan on investigating the Sinwon-gun, South Hwanghae area for 10 years, observing the environment and investigating reforestation.
Started on July 4th, and ending yesterday on the 16th, the 56th International Mathematical Olympiad took place in Chiang Mai. America took first place with 185 points, followed closely by China with 181 points, and South Korea with 161 points, and close to them was North Korea, at 156 points, coming in fourth place.
Yesterday, 황준국 (Hwang Joon-kook), South Korea’s top nuclear envoy, announced he would be in China for a week, to meet with his PRC counterpart 武大偉 (무대위/Wu, Da-Wei), and also plans on meeting some scholars and attend academic events.