Archive for the ‘Domestic publication’ Category

Books for life in the DPRK

Sunday, August 26th, 2012

Below is the cover of the book 생횔총화 or Everyday Self Criticism. North Koreans are supposed to write what they did wrong each day to present at their Saturday self-criticism sessions.

Below is the cover of the book 경애하는김정은동지말씀 or Words of the respected comrade Kim Jong-Eun. This is not a book by Kim Jong-un but rather a diary for writing down his words of wisdom.  Every North Korean is supposed to have one of these books. The small ones sell for 3000 Won (3 RMB) and the big ones sell for 5000 Won (5 RMB) at the Rason market.

I am behind on blog posts, but more on Rason trade fair and other events will be added this week.

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Pyongyang’s internal announcements on economic policy

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

Before you start reading below, I want to let readers know about a DPRK-specific term: “3rd broadcast”. The “3rd broadcast” is a fixed-wire audio transmission that goes directly into the homes of residents in Pyongyang apartment buildings. In these homes, a speaker is mounted to the wall which broadcasts the information much like a radio would–except the signals are coming from a cable, not radio waves.  Because the signal it is not broadcast over radio, it is difficult to know what is being told to the captive audience of Pyongyang residents. This broadcast equipment was featured in the film A State of Mind where the narrator commented “it can be turned down, but it cannot be turned off”.

According to the Daily NK:

North Korea has begun to focus on promoting the appropriateness of the ‘6.28 Policy’, North Korea’s first attempt at economic change since Kim Jong Eun came to power. This is being done via the 3rd Broadcast, and the reports are even utilizing the controversial term “economic reform.”

“They have been talking on the 3rd Broadcast since the beginning of last week about how ‘respected comrade Kim Jong Eun has selected economic reform measures so as to bring our economy up to world class status and greatly improve the people’s lives’,” a source from Chongjin revealed to Daily NK today.

The source explained the 3rd Broadcast content as “sketching out the nature of the reform policy and saying that we must accept and pursue Kim Jong Eun’s economic policy plan.”

However, given a history of disappointment, the North Korean people remain skeptical about the policy, the source said.

“Given the barrage of economic reform propaganda we get every single morning, it does seem as though something will happen, but right now it is nothing more than a political sermon; people say that they can only know when actual policies emerge,” the source said.

However, he went on, “It is clearly a change compared to the decades when people couldn’t even speak a word about reform and opening”.

Daily NK previously reported on the presentation of the ‘6.28 Policy’ in citizens’ meetings and that Kim Jong Suk County in Yangkang Province is one of three areas being used to test elements of the policy in advance of full rollout in October.

Previous posts on the 6.28 policy here.

Read the full story here:
3rd Broadcast Promoting Economic Change
Daily NK
Choi Song Min
2012-7-23

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North Korean academic publications abroad

Friday, May 25th, 2012

The Hanguk Ilbo reported on a Korean VOA story about North Korean publications abroad. A friend was kind enough to translate this article for me:

Voice of America (VOA) reported on the 25th that Thompson Reuters, a rating agency of scientific findings, announced NK has published 187 papers in reputable science journals between 2000 and 2012.

Reviewing the publication history, from 2000 to 2006 NK scientists annually published articles abroad totaling in the single digits–except in 2004. However, Reuters reports that since 2007 that the annual average has increased to 28 publications per year.

Of the publications in these foreign journals, 77.5% (or 145) of the publications were joint-research with foreign researchers. Of these joint-research projects, 61.4% (or 89) publications were with the Chinese. This is followed by Germans (27 publications), Australians (9 publications), South Korean (8 publications), American (7 publications) and Japan (5 publications).

The reporting agency claims that the reason why so few NK research was published in international academic journals is that NK lack the appropriate English (communication or writing; it’s not specific) skills.

Thompson Reuters is currently aggregating publications listed with internationally renown and respected academic journals.

In contrast, in 2010 alone, SK scientists have published approximately 40,000 papers in academic journals and American scientists have published approximately 33,000 papers.

The original Korean story can be found here:
2000년 이후 12년간 北국제논문 187건뿐
Hanguk Ilbo
2012-5-25

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Potent portraits in North Korea

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

Pictured above (Google Earth) : Ichon, alleged home of the patriotic North Korean mentioned in the story.

Andrei Lankov wites in the Asia Times:

In August 2007, North Korea suffered severe flooding. Kang Hyong-kwon, a factory worker from the city of Ich’on, was trying to make his way to safety through a dangerous stream. While leaving his flooded house, he took the two most precious things in his life – his five-year-old daughter and portraits of Leaders Generalissimo Kim Il-sung and Marshal Kim Jong-il (or so was reported in the North Korean media a few days later).

Read the rest below:

(more…)

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DPRK undergoing 2012 calendar recall

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

 

Pictured above (Google Earth): (L) Kumsong Youth Publishers (금성청년출판사), (R) Pyongyang General Printing Factory (평양종합인쇄공장). According to the Daily NK article below, both factories print calendars in the DPRK.

UPDATE 1 (2012-3-23): The Daily NK updates us on the DPRK’s 2012 calendars:

The slogan on the cover of the calendar has been edited from “The Great Leader President Kim Il-sung will always be with us” to “The Great President Kim Il-sung and the Great Leader Kim Jong-il Will always be with us”

The new calendar marks February 16th (Kim Jong-il’s official birthday) as “The Day of the Shining Star”. This same day is also celebrated as the day Kim Jong-il received the title “generalissimo”.

“The Day of the Sun” (April 15th–Kim Il-sung’s birthday) was always there, however, revised text about other dates has been added.

The May picture comes from the DPRK film Petition. The June image comes from The Blessed Land.

 

July – October calendar pages

December 17th 2012 commemorates “Juche 100”. December 17th is the day Kim Jong Il passed away.

ORIGINAL POST (2012-1-10): According to the Daily NK:

North Korea has recalled all 2012 calendars because they do not specify the date of Kim Jong Il’s death (December 17th), and is producing new ones.

A Shinuiju source confirmed for Daily NK on the 5th, “Pyongyang Combined [General] Printing and other printers are creating new calendars marking Kim Jong Il’s death.”

“An order was handed down through Party organs, enterprises and people’s units calling for the return of those calendars which had been distributed. Calendars stored by traders who were planning to go and distribute them outside of North Korea are also being recalled,” the source added.

However, most of those calendars which have already been exported, such as the one obtained by Daily NK [see picture here], will continue to circulate.

The absence of the date of death is not the only problem with the new calendar. There are also problematic messages such as ‘We hope for great leader comrade Kim Jong Il’s good health.’ As such, the new calendar will reportedly both include Kim Jong Il’s official date of death and the latest slogan, ‘Great leader comrade Kim Jong Il is with us forever.’

Official North Korean calendars are designed and published by a number of publishing houses including Keumsung Youth Publishing House and Agricultural Publishing Company on the authority of the Party Propaganda and Agitation Department. They are still distributed to all Party organs, enterprises and military bases, although due to economic and production limitations the paper quality has dropped in recent years, and even this measure has not been enough to stop distribution to households breaking down.

On this, one defector from North Hamkyung Province commented, “There are 28 households in a people’s unit, but only 10 calendars were given to us once.”

Other than the official calendar published for distribution, each of the authorized publishers produces a higher quality 7-page calendar for sale in places like the jangmadang. Some high-quality scroll calendars are also produced by People’s Army Publishing House, People’s Safety Ministry, and National Security Agency etc.

An additional point of interest for the reproduced calendars is whether Kim Jong Eun’s birthday (January 8th) will be made prominent. January 8th, 2012 is a Sunday and as such would typically be marked in red anyway, but usually to emphasize special days the numbers are printed in a bigger font.

Read the full story here:
North Korea in Mass Calendar Recall
Daily NK
Park Jun Hyeong
2012-01-10

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KCTV changes evening news format

Monday, March 12th, 2012

This weekend the DPRK changed the appearance and style of its evening news broadcast:

You can see the first news broadcast in this style on Youtube here.

Up until 2006 (I believe) the North Korean news broadcasters presented  in front of a plain blue screen:

In 2006 KCTV adopted a news format which placed the anchor persons in front of a background panel which was distinct and consistent for separate news items:

 

 

Martyn Williams offers some additional information here.

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Joint exhibition by the AP and KCNA

Saturday, March 10th, 2012

UPDATE (2012-3-15): Ironically, we have coverage of the photo exhibit from the Associated Press:

“Daily life is really what I try to focus on when I’m there. … It’s unscripted, it’s candid,” said AP Chief Asia Photographer David Guttenfelder, who took some of the photographs in the show, and who has made who has made many reporting trips to North Korea since 2010.

“For people to see their own life in other people’s lives, I think it has a lot of power to break down barriers.”

“Windows on North Korea: Photographs From the DPRK,” is a joint exhibition by The Associated Press and the state-run Korean Central News Agency, and features a mix of archival and contemporary images.

The show was timed to open before the 100th anniversary of the birth of the nation’s founder, Kim Il Sung, on April 15, and comes two months after the AP expanded its operations in Pyongyang to include writers and photojournalists. The AP became the first international news organization to have a full-time presence in the secretive communist country when it opened a video bureau in 2006.

The photographs “give us rare views of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, a nation of great interest to the world, though little known,” said Kathleen Carroll, executive editor of the AP.

North Korea and the United States have never had formal diplomatic relations, and the two nations have experienced tensions over the years, particularly over Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions. North Korea has tested two atomic devices in the past six years.

Tensions had recently eased somewhat. Late last month, the United States and North Korea announced an agreement that calls for Pyongyang to freeze its nuclear activities in exchange for food aid. But a surprise announcement by the North Koreans on Friday that they plan to blast a satellite into space on the back of a long-range rocket could jeopardize that agreement.

The exhibit’s organizers said they hoped the show would help foster better understanding between the two countries.

“My expectation is that this will be the first step in some peaceful reconciliation, and in a few years there will be trade, cultural exchange and tourists from each country coming to (the) other,” said Donald Rubin, who co-founded The 8th Floor gallery hosting the exhibit.

Images on display included a 1953 KCNA photograph showing residents helping to rebuild Pyongyang’s central district after the Korean War, AP photos documenting visits by such prominent foreigners as Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Madeleine Albright, as well as everyday scenes ranging from sunbathers at the beach to shoppers inside a modern department store.

“It is our hope that this exhibition would give exhibition-goers visual understanding of the people, customs, culture and history of the DPRK, thereby helping to deepen mutual understanding and improve the bilateral relations,” Kim Chang Gwang, KCNA’s senior vice president, said in an address at the show’s opening.

“In this exhibit, we are offered two perspectives of the DPRK — as viewed by her native daughters and sons from KCNA and by AP journalists visiting to chronicle news and daily life there. We can appreciate the different styles and techniques and points of view,” Carroll said. “These photographs also show us that different people can find common ground.”

The show also includes images taken by KCNA journalists who participated in a joint workshop in October led by AP instructors. It runs from March 15 to April 13 at The 8th Floor gallery, which was established to promote cultural and philanthropic initiatives.

The AP, an independent news cooperative founded in New York and owned by its U.S. newspaper membership, has operations in more than 100 countries and employs nearly 2,500 journalists across the world in 300 locations.

ORIGINAL POST (2012-3-10): According to Yonhap:

A group of North Korean journalists left for the United States Saturday to attend a photo exhibition set to open next week, marking the centenary of the birth of the North’s late founding leader, Kim Il-sung, the country’s media said.

The North’s delegation, led by Kim Chang-gwang, vice director of the Korean Central News Agency, will attend the opening ceremony of the photo exhibition scheduled for March 15, the news agency said in a report.

The photo exhibition, to be jointly organized with The Associated Press, is scheduled to run until April 13, two days before the late leader’s 100th birthday, the American news agency said in its Web site.

The photo exhibition is part of joint programs being pushed by the KCNA to promote its nascent relations with the U.S. news agency. The AP opened a bureau in Pyongyang in January, the first international news agency with a full-time presence in the reclusive country to dispatch texts, photos and video.

The KCNA said the New York exhibition will showcase photos archived by two news agencies, including the North’s late founding leader and his deceased son Kim Jong-il who died of heart failure in December last year, as well as people and life in the communist state.

Additional information:

1. Here is the coverage of the KCNA delegation’s departure from Pyongyang reported by KCNA.

2. Here is the web page of the exhibit.

3. Extensive comments and additional information at OFK.

4. Foreign Policy writes about the conditions under which the aP operated in the DPRK.

5. How the AP selected its North Korea reporter

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DPRK takes steps to reduce access to foreign media

Monday, February 13th, 2012

According to the Daily NK:

A new unit was formed in mid-January to deal with the amount of ‘illegal’ media circulating in North Korea.

“Unit 114 has been formed following a January 14th order handed down by General Kim calling for a concentrated crackdown on suspicious songs, recorded materials and impure published media,” a source from Yangkang Province told Daily NK on the 12th.

The source went on, “The unit has been organized by the Propaganda Department of the central Party, but the interesting thing is that it also contains people from the National Security Agency.” Interesting, the source noted, because such units, also a very regular feature of the Kim Jong Il era, are commonly made up of people dispatched by the central Party. Indeed, there is already Unit 109 similarly charged with dealing with inflows of outside media.

In addition, the format of the unit’s activities is in marked contrast to some of the past, the source said. “These inspections have not been announced in people’s unit meetings and, since the inspectors are circulating undercover in the jangmadang, people are much more frightened,” she explained. “Someone who was caught selling CDs in the area in front of the jangmadang here told me that the investigation was done by an NSA agent and someone from the central Party Propaganda Department.”

According to the source, the trader in question was selling copies of a recently released North Korean film, ‘Brotherly Love’, when he came under suspicion. Even though it is a North Korean film which portrays Chinese troops in the Korean War and the lives of North Koreans at the time, the trader nevertheless got in trouble because the film was copied rather than being an original.

“The trader made and signed a written statement saying ‘I will not sell copied films again’ and so was let go, but as he was leaving he was asked by an NSA agent to report people possessing or selling South Chosun films and songs or American films. He got really shocked by the experience, and is now at home resting up,” the source said.

“A lot of traders who used to make a living selling CDs are now in hiding. The investigation is harsh, so people with experience selling South Korean CDs in the past are hiding to avoid getting caught.”

Read the full story here:
More Pressure on Illicit Media
Daily NK
Lee Seok Young
2012-2-13

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Developing the DPRK through agriculture

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

38 North
Randall Ireson
2012-2-8

READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE

Despite continuing food shortages in the DPRK, the 2012 New Year’s Joint Editorial and other statements related to the succession of Kim Jong Un suggest there will be no new approaches to revitalizing North Korean agriculture. The editorial labeled the food problem “a burning issue in building a thriving country,” but allocated fewer than 150 words (of 5500) to that issue, only exhorting the masses to increase yields, implement crop rotations, and increase production of farm machinery and farm inputs.

Yet agriculture could lead a revival of the DPRK economy if appropriate policy changes were implemented. The technical means of improving farm production in the DPRK have been known for years. And if farms could use income earned from increased production to purchase improved machinery and other supplies needed for modern agriculture, a virtuous circle of investment in the farms plus support to small industry could lead to the modernization of both sectors. Government investment combined with some international assistance could stimulate sustainable increases in productivity and better incomes for workers on the farms and in related industries.

A few recent projects point the way to a sustainable and highly productive agricultural sector. But without changes in the institutions and infrastructure that support agriculture, there is no hope for any substantial improvement in food security. The leadership succession offers an opportunity to continue and augment some necessary changes begun under Kim Jong Il, though not if consolidation of the new leadership is founded on a reflexive insistence on ideological orthodoxy.

Fifteen years of international aid programs to the agriculture sector have brought a very good understanding of the difficulties faced by DPRK farms as well as the means to overcome them. There are no technical obstacles to greatly increased farm productivity. Nothing exceptional is required-only the widespread application of commonplace good farming practices. A few examples will suffice:

*applying lime to the fields to offset acid soils would increase yields by 20-40%;
*rotating cereal crops (especially maize and wheat) with legumes such as soy or green manure crops would increase yields by around 10%;
*using better seeding equipment would increase yields by around 10% because of better germination and appropriate spacing between each plant;
*using the methods of SRI (system of rice intensification) in paddy fields can increase rice yields by over 20% with no other inputs; and
*conservation agriculture (low tillage farming) would reduce soil erosion, save fuel, and improve soil quality.

These practices are neither difficult nor complex, and many farms in the DPRK already know of and are beginning to adopt these methods. Yet most of these practices are still isolated exceptions because despite their clear benefit, farms lack the support infrastructure and economic resources to implement them fully. The DPRK has largely completed its demographic transition from a rural to an urban society, thus surplus rural labor is not available to offset the loss of industrial support to agriculture. Farms need machinery and fuel as well as the other inputs of modern farming. Use of lime depends on fuel to haul the crushed limestone from quarries. Lack of tractor power makes land preparation slow and difficult, thus impeding the use of off-season green manures or of double cropping. Farms mostly do not have modern seeders for maize, soybean, or wheat. Seed placement by hand is neither uniform nor at a regular depth, causing crowded plants and uneven germination. Use of SRI is impeded by the lack of inexpensive plastic trays that ease handling of the very young rice seedlings…

READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE

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DPRK economic publication calls for more advertising

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

According to Yonhap:

A North Korean economic quarterly has stressed the importance of commercials to help promote the country’s exports, which rely heavily on China.

“We should promote our economic prowess abroad and decisively increase exports of products by taking advantage of commercials in foreign trade,” North Korean quarterly magazine, Economic Research, reported in its October edition, a copy of which was obtained by Yonhap News Agency.

The publication, which mostly deals with the North’s economic policies, said exports should contribute to achieving the country’s stated goal of ushering in a prosperous nation by this year.

The year 2012 has political significance to North Korea as it marks the centennial of the birth of the country’s founder Kim Il-sung, grandfather of current leader Kim Jong-un.

The quarterly also called for high quality commercials to penetrate capitalist markets and increase exports of its products.

The North’s move came more than two years after an earlier short-lived experiment with commercial advertising.

In July 2009, the North’s television aired commercials that showed young women in traditional clothes serving frothy mugs of Taedonggang beer, billed as the “Pride of Pyongyang.”

Other products, including ginseng and quail, soon appeared in television advertisements, fueling speculation the isolated country may start to embrace a capitalist mode of life.

However, the commercials disappeared a month later when then-leader Kim Jong-il sacked his television point man in anger over what he described as aping China’s early reforms.

China has repeatedly pressed the North to follow in its footsteps in embracing reform similar to that which lifted millions of Chinese out of poverty and helped Beijing’s rise to become the world’s second-largest economy.

Additional Information:

1. Here is a link to the infamous Taedonggang Beer Commercial and a longer ten-minute infomercial. Here is the ginseng advert. Here is the quail advert. Yonhap reported that Kim Jong-il was unhappy with these ads.

2. The only commercial billboards that appear in Pyongyang are those for the Phyonghwa Motors vehicles produced domestically by a joint venture deal with the Unification Church.  See one of these billboards here.

3. There is apparently a Korea Advertising Company.

Read the full story here:
N. Korea calls for high quality commercials to boost exports
Yonhap
2012-2-3

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An affiliate of 38 North