North Korea has a policy of 선군, or “Military-First”, so we’re putting military-related stories first!
Michael Bassett raises some issues over the US’ alliance with Japan, and its acquiescence of regional security roles to its ally. He argues, is actually much more dangerous for the region, considering residual historical issues that haven’t been solved.
Amongst speculation and annoncements of a launch to get ready for the 조선로동당 (朝鮮勞動黨/ Korean Workers Party [KWP])‘s upcoming anniversary, 38North.org looks at North Korea’s other nuclear test facility at 풍계리 (豊溪里/PungGye-Ri) in 함경북도(咸鏡北道/North Hamkyung Province), and notes that there is no indication of any activity.
…If a launch were to occur however, the US says that it is ready to impose more sanctions.
A North Korean official from the 국가우주개발국 (國家宇宙開發局/National Aerospace Development Administration [aka “NADA”]) gave an interview with CNN reporters, saying that a launch was imminent. And that “multiple satellites” will be launched.
General MacArthur is famous for having made outlandish public statements after advancing into North Korea, that caused his removal while he was head of all Allied Forces in the Korean War. However, South Korean media outlet YTN dug up some recently unclassified documents, saying that rather than wanting to advance into North Korea, which brought in Chinese 中國人民志願軍(인민지원군/Peoples’ Volunteer Army), escalating the war, MacArthur had actually been willing to hand control back to the South Koreans.
“How’s the view from Room 39?” The economic performance sure looks different on the ground:
Chinese media is reporting that North Korea has rounded up over 100 Chinese, and have branded them as spies. This is to crackdown on illegal smuggling across the border. The estimation of Chinese in North Korea varies. North Korea says it’s anywhere from 5,000 to 8,000, while the Chinese Foreign Ministry says only 3,000 ethnic Chinese live in North Korea.
NK News cites the 통일부 (統一部/Unification Ministry), saying that continual oil supplies coming in from China can be seen by looking at images of traffic in North Korea’s capitol, 평양 (平壤/Pyongyang).
According to North Korean media, Pyongyang Ginseng is actually a hot sell at 평양 (平壤/Pyongyang)‘s new airport. My guess is Chinese businessmen, who find it’s getting more and more expensive to buy the ginseng grown in Wisconsin, are grabbing as much as they can.
Last month on August 5th, South Korea celebrated the groundbreaking ceremony in rebuilding the 경원선 (京元線/Seoul-Wonsan rail line), and even offered a chance for North Korean officials to attend, but on Monday, SEP 21st, the 통일부 came out to say that although the invitation was given, the North rejected over the continual issue of balloon leaflet flyers continuing to fly anti-North propoganda material.
After the recent floods in the 라진 (羅津/Rajin) region, NK News reports that temporary houses have been set up for the displaced.
The 한국전기공사협회 (韓國電器工事社會/Korea Electrical Contractors Association [KECA]), gathered together on Monday, SEP 21st, to discuss how to consolidate terminology between the North and South, and the possibility of providing electricity up North.
Do you know where the Supreme Leader might be? [(PAWStamp) “A CLUE! A CLUE!”]
After Premier 박봉주(朴奉珠 or 朴鳳柱/Pak, Pong-Ju) paved the way for 김정은 (金正恩/Kim, Jong-un), the Supreme Leader made a visit to the 라진 (羅津/Rajin) area to check up on flood damage.
North Korea’s Foreign Minister 리수용(李洙墉/Ri, Su-Yong) left for America on Monday, SEP21st. No, he’s not actually meeting with American officials, but heading to the UN Headquarters located in New York, where he will attend one of their major assemblies.
The Supreme Leader blessed his presence at the 신의주신발공장 9호직장 (SinUiJu Shoe Factor Number 9), on SEP 18th, and stepped out wearing one of the shoes made from the factory.
And of course, we end this section with a picture from the Kim, Jong-Un Looks At Things Tumblr blog, this time, looking at 황병서 (黃炳瑞/Hwang, Pyong-So)
Now, we’ll get to North-South relations, reunification issues, life in North Korea, & refugee matters.
Mr. Stephen Haggard takes a look at South Korean polls to see what they think of President 박근혜 (朴槿惠/Park, Geun-Hye)‘s Unification 대박(大博/”Bonanza”). And for the most part, it’s looking like it’s going downhill.
Reuters says that North Korea’s talks with South Korea, to have family reunions for the 이산가족(離散家族/Korean war-separated families), may be a long-range play to get a concession out of South Korea to re-open the 금강산 관광 지구 (金剛山 觀光 地區/Mount Kumgang Tourist Region).
Dr. Stephen Linton, founder of the Eugene Bell foundation, an organization dedicated to providing aid to those in need in North Korea, talks about his experience battling tuberculosis in the country, on the Korea Kontext podcast.
NK News reports that the re-education center for Camp 15 has been shut down.
They also mention how male North Korean refugees are having a tougher time finding a job in South Korea, compared to women refugees.
There have been some seminars in Indonesia on Human Rights abuses, and North Koreans from the local embassy have been barging in, causing a rucous.
North Korean 태권도 (跆拳道/TaeKwonDo) athletes were approved to visit South Korea, in another joint-Korean competition that will be held in 서울 (漢城한성/Seoul).
정몽규(鄭夢奎/Chung, Mong-kyu), just returned from his trip to North Korea on Monday, SEP 21st, where he hashed out plans with North Korean authorities on setting up a joint-Korean soccer match. No dates have been revealed.
Joseph DeTrani, former US representative to the 六方會談 (육자회담六者會談/Six-Party Talks), says that everybody should be working towards returning to those talks, as a way to solve the nuclear issue on the peninsula.
Sung Kim (김성용/金成龍) US Representative on North Korean policy, met with Vice Foreign Minister 조태용 (趙太庸/Cho Tae-yong), to discuss coordination between the US and South Korea on dealing with the North.
Earlier today, the 통일부 announced that it has hired a group of electricians who will leave for North Korea’s Mount Kumgang Tourist Region, to repair the facilities and electric supply to the area, to prepare for the family reunions next month.
This is our final segment. A hodgepodge of stories we didn’t know where to put, like this one:
China was not invited to North Korea’s celebrations for the 70th anniversary of its KWP. This, despite China having invited North Korea’s Supreme Leader to their 紀念中國人民抗日戰爭暨世界反法西斯戰爭勝利閱兵式, which only the communists can come up with a long name like that. Here in the West, we simply call it V-J Day. The Supreme Leader did not go to the event, and instead sent 최룡해 (崔龍海/Choe, Ryong-Hae) in his place. Although standing in front along with Chinese leaders, was South Korean President 박근혜, and not 최룡해.
The Brookings Institute looks back at a June 19 event, where future experts on the East Asian region, and in particular the Korean peninsula talked about their views.