Archive for June, 2010

Chongryon headquarters on block after ruling

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

According to the Daily NK:

Japan’s Supreme Court has ruled that Chongryon headquarters are a legitimate Chongryon asset which may be seized and auctioned as part of proceedings to recover loans made by a defunct credit union to the organization, Japanese broadcaster NHK reported on Tuesday.

A collection agency recently took over a number of bonds issued by the bankrupt Joeun Credit Union, which loaned around $700 million to Chongryon, the organization of North Koreans in Japan. The agency then announced its intention to pursue collection by putting Chongryon headquarters land and buildings in the Chiyoda district of Tokyo up for auction.

However, since the land and buildings are registered under a separate firm, Chosun Central Hall Management Association, the collection agency was required to file a lawsuit to get the necessary recognition of its right to seizure.

The court initially dismissed the collection agency’s claim on the grounds that the assets are held by a separate entity, but accepted, “It is possible to seize (the assets) if they can be shown to be actual Chongryon assets.”

Therefore, the collection agency filed a separate lawsuit to ask for recognition of the Chongryon headquarters estate and buildings as such an asset, and the Supreme Court has now ruled in its favor.

If the judgment is allowed to stand, the collection agency will be able to legally seize the estate and buildings of the Chongryon headquarters, adding to the organizations mounting woes.

Read the full story here:
Chongryon HQ on Block after Ruling
Daily NK
Yang Jung A


CNC – Juche’s industry power

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

For those of you who have recently visited the DPRK or who spend too much time perusing or reading KCNA, you are undoubtedly aware of the DPRK’s recent emphasis on something called “CNC”.  I had no idea what CNC was, so I began collecting as much information as I could find on the net and I have posted it below.

Here is the Wikipedia page for CNC.  For those of you in China, here is what it says:

Numerical control (NC) refers to the automation of machine tools that are operated by abstractly programmed commands encoded on a storage medium, as opposed to manually controlled via handwheels or levers, or mechanically automated via cams alone. The first NC machines were built in the 1940s and ’50s, based on existing tools that were modified with motors that moved the controls to follow points fed into the system on paper tape. These early servomechanisms were rapidly augmented with analog and digital computers, creating the modern computed numerically controlled (CNC) machine tools that have revolutionized the design process.

In modern CNC systems, end-to-end component design is highly automated using CAD/CAM programs. The programs produce a computer file that is interpreted to extract the commands needed to operate a particular machine via a post processor, and then loaded into the CNC machines for production. Since any particular component might require the use of a number of different tools—drills, saws, etc.—modern machines often combine multiple tools into a single “cell”. In other cases, a number of different machines are used with an external controller and human or robotic operators that move the component from machine to machine. In either case, the complex series of steps needed to produce any part is highly automated and produces a part that closely matches the original CAD design.

That description is not nearly as helpful as this video on CNC: Click here (Might not work for readers in China).

The Asia Times ran a story which included a short history of CNC in the DPRK:

The name of the game is CNC – Computer Numerical Control – machine tools that have revolutionized the design process and said to be developed in the DPRK and already exported, for example, to China. Top exponents are the Korea Ryonha Machine Tool Corporation and the Taean Heavy Machine Complex. CNC billboards are all over Pyongyang. Inevitably CNC has its own dedicated patriotic song (no music video yet). Here are the lyrics, as translated by Andray Abrahamian, a doctoral candidate at the University of Ulsan in South Korea:

If you set your heart on anything
We follow the program making the Songun era machine technology’s pride
Our style CNC technology


CNC – Juche industry’s power!
CNC – an example of self-strength and reliance!
Following the General’s leading path
Breakthrough the cutting edge

Arirang! Arirang! The people’s pride is high
Let’s build a science-technology great power
Happiness rolls over us like a wave

So the narrative of building a “socialist paradise” is now being supplanted by the narrative of developing and producing state-of-the-art technology to, as the Pyongyang Times indelibly put it, “improve the people’s living standard on the word level”. This is how the DPRK is mobilizing its people to “open the gate to a thriving nation in 2012”. South Korea, watch out.

By way of luck, I managed to obtain a copy of the DPRK’s CNC song. You can download the MP3 by right clicking here.

UPDATE: A reader did find this DPRK karaoke version of the CNC song complete with lyrics (in Korean).  Watch it here.

UPDATE 2: A reader also sends in this acoustic version of the CNC song (YouTube).

If you are itching to know what the DPRK’s CNC machines look like, here is one display at the Three Revolutions Museum in Pyongyang:

cnc1-thumb.jpg cnc2-thumb.jpg cnc3-thumb.jpg

Click images for larger versions

And here is some CNC propaganda that has appeared around Pyongyang:

cnc-prop-1.jpg cnc-prop-2.jpg cnc-prop-3.jpg cnc-prop-4.jpg

Click images for larger versions

UPDATE: here is an additional photo taken by an anonymous tourist:



UPDATE: Here are some CNC postage stamps:



UPDATE: And CNC made part of the 2010 Mass Games (You Tube at the 1:25 mark). See a photo here.

KCNA has published plenty of news stories about CNC.  You can see them here courtesy of the Stalin Search Engine. CNC was first first mentioned on January 15, 2002 (KCNA) .  One phrase that is frequently mentioned is that thanks to innovations like CNC the DPRK is “Pushing back the frontiers of science”.  Indeed North Korean economic policy seems hell-bent to do just that.  Hopefully we will soon see them change their policies to “push back the frontiers of ignorance”.

CNC machines are produced by the Ryonha Machine [Tool] Factory (KCNA) and they have been widely promoted in the official media (here, here, here, here, and here for example).  It appears also that the Ryonha Machine Tool Factory has partnered up (with someone) to form a JV company which focuses on international trade, the Ryonha Machinery Joint Venture Corporation. Here is a PDF flyer of their products taken from the KFA web page, and some of the items they are selling can be seen here and here.

They Ryonha Machine Joint Venture Company, however, seems to have a history that might scare away many potential customers.  According to the US Treasury Department:

The U.S. Department of the Treasury today designated eight North Korean entities pursuant to Executive Order 13382, an authority aimed at freezing the assets of proliferators of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and their delivery vehicles.  Today’s action prohibits all transactions between the designated entities and any U.S. person and freezes any assets the entities may have under U.S. jurisdiction.

“Proliferators of WMD often rely on front companies to mask their illicit activities and cover their tracks,” said Stuart Levey, the Treasury’s Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence (TFI).  “Today’s action turns a spotlight on eight firms involved in WMD proliferation out of North Korea.  We will continue to expose and designate these dangerous actors.”

Today’s action builds on President Bush’s issuance of E.O. 13382 on June 29, 2005.  The Order carried with it an annex that designated eight entities – operating in North Korea, Iran, and Syria – for their support of WMD proliferation.  The President at that time also authorized the Secretaries of Treasury and State to designate additional entities and individuals proliferating WMD and the missiles that carry them.

Korea Mining Development Corporation (KOMID), which was designated in the annex of E.O. 13382, is the parent company of two of the Pyongyang-based entities designated today, Hesong Trading Corporation and Tosong Technology Trading Corporation.  These direct associations meet the criteria for designation because the entities are owned or controlled by, or act or purport to act for or on behalf of KOMID.

Korea Ryonbong General Corporation, also named in the annex, is the parent company of the remaining six Pyongyang-based entities designated today.  These entities include Korea Complex Equipment Import Corporation, Korea International Chemical Joint Venture Company, Korea Kwangsong Trading Corporation, Korea Pugang Trading Corporation, Korea Ryongwang Trading Corporation, and Korea Ryonha Machinery Joint Venture Corporation.

As subsidiaries of KOMID and Korea Ryonbong General Corporation, many of these entities have engaged in proliferation-related transactions.

I have been unable to locate the Ryonha Machine Tool Factory on Google Earth. If anyone has any pointers, please let me know.

Here is a list of factories the DPRK claims to be using CNC technology:

Amnokgang Daily Necessities Factory (KCNA)
Amnokgang Gauge and Instrument General Factory (KCNA)
Cholima Steel Complex (KCNA, Naenara)
Chonma Electrical Machine Plant (KCNA)
Feb 8 Vinalon Complex (KCNA)
Hamhung Wood Processing (KCNA)
Huichon Machine Tool Plant (KCNA)
Kangdong Weak Current Apparatus Factory (KCNA)
Kanggye General Tractor Plant (KCNA) (Underground)
Kanggye Knitted Goods Factory (KCNA)
Kanggye Wine Factory (KCNA)
KimChaek Iron and Steel Complex (KCNA)
Kusong Machine Tool Factory (KCNA)
Kwanmobong Machine Building Plant (KCNA)
October 10 Factory (KCNA)
Pukjung Machine Complex (KCNA)
Pyongyang Cornstarch Factory (KCNA)
Rakwon Machine Complex (KCNA)
Ryongsong Machine Complex (KCNA)
Sinuiju Spinning Machine Factory (KCNA)
Suphung Bearing Factory (KCNA)
Sungri Motor complex (KCNA)
Taean Heavy Machine Complex (KCNA)
Taedonggang Brewery (KCNA)
Tahungsan Machine Plant (KCNA)
Unsan Machine Tool Factory (KCNA)

I know the locations of many of these factories but not all.  If anyone has any information on their coordinates, please let me know.


Kim Jong Il, the reformer?

Monday, June 28th, 2010

Bradley Martin, author of Under the Loving Care of the Fatherly Leader, writes in the Global Post:

Now that food shortages reportedly have forced North Korea to reverse its crackdown on capitalist-style markets, more systematic reforms for its collapsed economy may not be far behind.

The markets policy reversal came May 26 in directives issued by the cabinet and the ruling Workers’ Party to subordinate organizations, according to a report by the Seoul-based newsletter North Korea Today, which gets its information from officials and ordinary citizens inside the North. “The government cannot take any immediate measures” to relieve a food shortage that is “worse than expected,” the newsletter quoted one of the directives as saying in explanation for the policy change.

The same authorities only late last year decreed a sudden currency revaluation that crippled the “anti-socialist” markets, where stallholders had been trading for individual profit, by confiscating the traders’ wealth. The new decrees bless and deregulate what’s left of the markets, which have shrunk and in some cases closed completely in the interim, in the hope that market trading will keep people from starving. And the directives instruct managers of state-run enterprises to pursue lucrative deals — especially in foreign trade — that could help feed their employees.

This could all turn out to be the big event that finally pushes the very reluctant leadership into a multi-year campaign of serious reforms of the sort that began decades ago in Vietnam and China, according to Felix Abt, a Swiss involved in North Korean joint ventures in pharmaceutical manufacturing and computer software.

“Given an industrial stock and an infrastructure beyond repair, and the impossible task of maintaining a huge army, economic reforms appear unavoidable in the very near future,” Abt, a former president of Pyongyang’s European Business Association, wrote in an email exchange.

“It looks intriguing and it reminds me of Vietnam’s history of reforms,” said Abt, who did business for years in Vietnam before going to Pyongyang and recently has moved back to Vietnam while maintaining his involvement in North Korea.

“The Vietnamese economic situation looked dire at the beginning of the 1980s,” he explained. “Nguyen Van Linh, party secretary in Ho Chi Minh City, favored moderate economic reforms. He tried too early, lost his job and left the political bureau in 1982.

“Le Duan, secretary general of the Communist Party, was categorically against any economic reforms. He died in 1986, the year of the five-year party congress which brought Nguyen Van Linh back and elected him as his successor. The new party secretary general immediately launched the Doi Moi policy — ‘reforms.’”

Abt ventured the lesson that triggering reforms “takes something big like the death of a leading politician” in Vietnam — or, in North Korea, a “ruinous” currency revaluation.

Not every foreigner who has had firsthand economic dealings with North Korea is convinced the recent events constitute that trigger. Some worry that U.S.-led sanctions could nip any flowering of capitalism in the bud.

“The problem is still U.S. Treasury’s attitude,” said one such foreigner, who asked not to be identified further. Treasury Department officials began working several years ago to take North Korea “out of the international banking system,” discouraging trade, he noted.

Some U.S.-sponsored sanctions subsequently were eased in an effort to persuade Kim Jong Il to negotiate away his nuclear weapons capability, but after those talks went nowhere — and especially after North Korea allegedly torpedoed a South Korean warship earlier this year — enthusiasm for compromise cooled. Recent reports say Washington is moving toward aggressively strangling cash flow into the country.

There is also the argument that Kim believes he cannot afford to reform the economy because it would let in information and influences that would undermine his family’s rule by letting his isolated subjects learn that the rival South Korean system works much better.

According to Abt, one answer to both concerns could be China, which “will provide all the support necessary to the DPRK party and government to enable economic reforms without regime change.” He used the abbreviation of Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the country’s official name. “The DPRK may expect support from other quarters, for example, the European Union, too,” he said.

“I think the dilemma of the leadership — economic upsurge versus the inflow of ‘subversive’ system-destabilizing information and ideas, particularly regarding the South — can be overcome with the necessary Chinese support,” Abt said. “Though the division of Korea can only be compared with that of Germany before 1990, China’s division — capitalist Hong Kong, capitalist Taiwan — was a sort of challenge to Deng Xiaoping and successors, too, but they learnt to manage that quite well.”

Read the full the story here:
Analysis: Kim Jong Il, the reformer?
Global Post
Bradley Martin


WPK (KWP) conference scheduled for September

Monday, June 28th, 2010

According to KCNA:

WPK Conference to Be Convened
Pyongyang, June 26 (KCNA) — The Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea on June 23 released a decision on convening a conference of the WPK.

The decision says:

All the Party members, servicepersons and people are now waging a dynamic general offensive full of conviction of certain victory and optimism to glorify this year marking the 65th anniversary of the WPK as a year of great changes to be specially recorded in the history of the country with the great pride and self-confidence of holding General Secretary Kim Jong Il in high esteem at the highest posts of the WPK and the revolution.

The WPK founded by President Kim Il Sung and led by Kim Jong Il has steered the sacred Korean revolution to one victory after another in its annals for more than six decades, building a socialist power, independent in politics, self-supporting in economy and self-reliant in national defence, on this land and ushering in a new era of prosperity.

We are now faced with the sacred revolutionary tasks to develop the WPK, organizer and guide of all victories of the Korean people, into an eternal glorious party of Kim Il Sung and further increase its militant function and role to glorify the country as a great prosperous and powerful socialist nation.

The Political Bureau of the WPK Central Committee decides to convene early in September, Juche 99 (2010) a conference of the WPK for electing its highest leading body reflecting the new requirements of the WPK and the developing revolution in which decisive changes are taking place in the efforts to accomplish the revolutionary cause of Juche, the cause of building a prosperous and powerful socialist nation.

According to the New York Times:

The impending shuffle in the party leadership follows personnel changes in the military and the powerful National Defense Commission in the past year. The North’s rubber-stamp Parliament met this month to replace several cabinet members and appointed Mr. Kim’s brother-in-law, Jang Song-taek, to the No. 2 post at the defense commission. Mr. Jang is seen as a potential caretaker for Mr. Kim’s son.

According to the Choson Ilbo:

Key members of the North Korean Workers Party meet in September for the first time in 44 years, the North’s official Korean Central News Agency said Saturday. The meeting was called by the Politburo and has raised expectations that leader Kim Jong-il’s son Jong-un will be officially named as his father’s successor.

According to party regulations, leading members are to meet between regular party meetings, which are held every five years to decide on key policies, but the last time that happened was in 1980, when it appointed Kim Jong-il, then the heir apparent, as member of the standing committee of the Politburo, supreme member of the party and also its military committee, officially anointing him as successor to Kim Il-sung.

North Korean Leadership Watch has more.


Bank of Korea reports 0.9% drop for DPRK economy

Thursday, June 24th, 2010

UPDATE: The Bank of Korea has published a report in EnglishYou may download it here (PDF).  This has also been added to my “DPRK Economic Statistics” page where you can find Bank of Korea data from previous years as well as all sorts of other data sources. (hat tip to a respected reader)

ORIGINAL POST: According to the Assocaited Press:

North Korea’s state-controlled economy, already just a fraction of its southern rival, shrank last year as a severe winter decimated crops and shortages of raw materials and electricity hindered manufacturing.

South Korea’s central bank in a report released Thursday estimated that North Korea’s economy contracted 0.9 percent — the third time in the past four years the impoverished economy has gotten smaller. It grew 3.1 percent in 2008.

The bank said the North’s economy faced “many difficulties” amid strengthened sanctions and reduced assistance. North Korea is under heavy international sanctions related to its nuclear and missile programs.

The size of the North’s economy was estimated at 28.6 trillion South Korean won ($24.2 billion), or just 2.7 percent that of the South’s.

The Bank of Korea has published estimates of North Korea’s economic performance since 1991. Gauging the extent of activity, however, is difficult as the secretive country does not publish economic statistics.

Despite its troubles, the North has set an objective of achieving the status of a “powerful and prosperous nation” in 2012, the 100th anniversary of the birth of the country’s founder, Kim Il Sung, father of leader Kim Jong Il.

The two Koreas, which fought the 1950-53 Korean War, have taken divergent economic paths. The capitalist South embraces the free market and has grown to be world’s 15th-largest economy.

North Korea’s largely top-down, command-style economy has lagged far behind. The collapse of the Soviet Union, a key source of trade, and a series of natural disasters combined with economic mismanagement in the 1990s led the country to experiment in recent years with limited market reforms and to seek more foreign investment, mostly from China and South Korea.

But tensions over the country’s missile and nuclear programs, the shooting death of a South Korean tourist and the sinking of a South Korean warship that Seoul has blamed on Pyongyang have caused trade and joint economic projects with the South to wither.

A currency reform last year was seen by experts as a botched attempt to cool inflation. The move reportedly sparked anger among citizens stuck with piles of worthless bills.

“The negative economic growth in 2009 was mainly attributable to decreased agricultural production due to damage from particularly severe cold weather and sluggish manufacturing production owing to a lack of raw materials and electricity,” the Bank of Korea said.

North Korea, with its weak infrastructure, is highly dependent on the whims of Mother Nature. Good weather can boost agriculture output as it did in 2008 and contribute to growth. Bad weather, however, in the form of heavy rains and flooding, can prove disastrous.

The country has faced a chronic food shortage since natural disasters and mismanagement devastated the economy in the mid-1990s.

Agriculture, forestry and fisheries contracted 1 percent in 2009 primarily because of the cold weather, the BOK said. Mining output declined 0.9 percent, while manufacturing shrank 3 percent. Heavy industry output declined 3.5 percent.

On the positive side, construction increased 0.8 percent led by housing and civil engineering, according to the BOK.

I have only been able to locate the report in Korean.  You can download a PDF of it here. I have added it to my DPRK Economic Statistics page.

The Bank of Korea web page is not very user friendly and I have no idea how to link directly to the report.  However, if you would like to download your own verision from there, look for this link on the main page: 2009년 북한 경제성장률 추정결과-보도자료.  This will take you to the report.

Read the full story here:
Bank of Korea: NKorean economy shrank in 2009
Associated Press


North Koreans hoarding Yuan

Thursday, June 24th, 2010

According to Radio Free Asia:

North Koreans who can afford to save their money are ignoring a new currency brought in by the ruling Workers’ Party in the isolated Stalinist state in favor of the more trusted renminbi yuan from China.

“Our [North Korean] money is now called ‘the commoners’ currency,’ used only as a means of exchange when goods are purchased, but not as a means of saving,” a resident of Chungjin city in the northern province of Hamgyeong said.

“North Koreans [still] hold their savings in Chinese money,” the resident said.

On the country’s black markets—the chief source of essential goods for many under a planned economy in which products are scarce and often monopolized by the country’s elite—any buyer offering to pay in yuan can expect a large discount, residents say.

“Nowadays even children look for Chinese money, knowing that a hefty discount may be available if Chinese money is used in an exchange,” another source said, speaking during a visit to relatives in the northeastern Chinese city of Dandong, which borders North Korea.

The renminbi—known in North Korea simply as “B”—is strongly preferred to the local currency, as it can buy anything, the second source added.

Purported crackdown

North Korean authorities including the state security department claim to be cracking down on the use of the yuan for transactions, he said.

“But because high-ranking officials are the first to hold their savings in Chinese money, the implementation of such crackdowns is half-hearted at best, and mostly ineffective,” the source said.

“North Korean officials won’t even touch the domestic currency.”

Other sources said they fully expect the North Korean currency to collapse once enough yuan are in circulation to fuel the country’s black markets.

“It is obvious that the North Korean currency will collapse once more money enters circulation,” a third North Korean said.

That source, who like the others spoke on condition of anonymity, said the apparent stability in the North Korean currency is an illusion caused by the fact that not enough money is in circulation for it to devalue domestically.

The tight money supply partly results from nonpayment of salaries by the government, the country’s only official employer.

“In Sinuiju, only 25 percent of the people have received their salaries,” the third source said.

“Workers and those employed at manufacturing facilities received the appropriate pay only during the month after the currency reform was implemented, and then started missing paychecks,” the third source said.

Devaluation crisis

The South Korea-based Web site “Daily NK,” which publishes North Korean news, said North Koreans who use domestic currency, rather than Chinese yuan or U.S. dollars, have to pay about 10 percent more for their purchases in open markets.

North Korea issued its revalued won last December, dropping two zeroes off the old won.

At the time, the North Korean central bank put strict limits on the amount of old money that could be exchanged for the new won.

At the old rate, U.S. $1 was equal to 135 North Korean won.

The move sent shockwaves through North Korea, with reports of citizens rushing to black-market moneychangers to cash in their won for more stable U.S. dollars and Chinese yuan.

North Korean citizens were threatened with “merciless punishment” for defiance of the new currency rules and were told they had only a week to exchange a maximum of 100,000 won (U.S. $690 at the official rate, but less than U.S. $40 according to black market rates) per person of the old currency for new bills.

NGOs in Seoul reported that in response to widespread anger, those limits were raised to 150,000 won in cash and 500,000 won in bank notes.

A leading expert on the North Korean economy has said that the economic system is split between the concerns and needs of ordinary North Koreans and the country’s political elite, which runs a “royal palace economy.”

Kim Kwang Jin, visiting researcher with the U.S. Committee for Human Rights in North Korea, said the scale of Kim Jong Il’s “royal palace economy” is in the hundreds of millions of dollars a year, while the much less significant “people’s economy” doesn’t exceed a few million dollars a year.

Read the full story here:
North Koreans Shun New Won
Radio Free Asia
Sung Hwi Moon


DPRK remains off US list of terror sponsors

Thursday, June 24th, 2010

UPDATE: According to the State Department web page:

Philip J. Crowley
Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Public Affairs
Washington, DC

Question Taken at the June 23, 2010 Daily Press Briefing
June 28, 2010

Question: Has a determination been made whether to put North Korea back on the list of State Sponsored Terrorism? Was the Cheonan incident a factor?

Answer: The standards for designating a country as a state sponsor and rescinding the designation are set out in the three separate statutes: Section 620A of the Foreign Assistance Act (22 USC 2371), Section 40 of the Arms Export Control Act (22 USC 278), and Section 6(j) of the Export Administration Act (50 USC app 2405(j)). All three statutes provide for the Secretary of State the authority to designate countries the governments of which “repeatedly provide support for acts of international terrorism.” Therefore, the Secretary of State must determine that the government of North Korea has repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism. The United States will follow the provisions of the law as the facts warrant, and if information exists which indicates that North Korea has repeatedly provided support for acts of terrorism, the Department will take immediate action. As a general matter, a state military attack on a military target would not be considered an act of international terrorism.

PRN: 2010/867

ORIGINAL POST: According to Daily Yomuri (Japan):

U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration has decided not to relist North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism, U.S. sources said Tuesday.

Since South Korea concluded last month that one of its patrol ships was sunk by North Korea in March, some U.S. lawmakers have stepped up calls to reinstate North Korea as a state sponsoring terrorism.

U.S. State Department spokesman Philip Crowley also admitted government officials were considering putting North Korea back on the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism. But the administration refrained from doing so, as given the current circumstances, it was judged difficult to meet the conditions needed for relisting, the sources said. The administration also wants to avoid provoking Pyongyang to the extent it conducts a third nuclear test.

State sponsors of terrorism, as defined by the U.S. State Department, are “countries determined to have repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism.” To be considered for the list, it must be proved that the country in question had decisive influence on terrorist groups as they obtained funds, weapons, materials and secure areas for conducting operations.

U.S. officials examined North Korea’s suspected involvement in supplying weapons to radical Palestinian Islamic group Hamas, but had yet to obtain evidence necessary for relisting North Korea, the sources said.

Read the full sotry here:
U.S. spares N. Korea ‘terror sponsor’ status
Daily Yomuri
Keiichi Honma


RoK to send malaria meds to DPRK

Thursday, June 24th, 2010

According ot the Daily NK:

South Korea has granted permission for an aid shipment of anti-malarial medication, the seventh shipment of aid to North Korea since the Cheonan sinking.

An Ministry of Unification said today, “We have decided to allow a shipment of anti-malarial medication worth $335,000, which was requested by the Korean Sharing Movement.”

Korean Sharing Movement is a well-known aid organization targetting North Korea.

The Korean Sharing Movement says it plans to send malaria diagnosis kits, mosquito nets and vaccines for pregnant women among other things to Jangpung, Geumcheon, Tosan and Kaesong, which are areas of North Korea adjacent to Gyeonggi Province, the province which surrounds Seoul.

Funding for the project has been provided by the government of Gyeonggi Province.

Most previous, post-Cheonan shipments have been aid for infants and children. Earlier this month, two aid consignments of infant-related aid were sent.

The Unification Ministry in Seoul, upon granting permission for the previous shipments, explained, “While South Korea will hold off on inter-Korean business projects on principle, we will continue providing purely humanitarian aid for the weak, such as infants and children.”

Including today’s shipment, the total cost of aid sent since punitive measures against North Korea were announced on May 24 has been approximately $603,000.

The current shipment of anti-malarial medication is being sent, the Ministry of Unification explained today, because malaria has the potential to spread into South Korea during the summer months.

Read the full story here:
Rok to send malaria medication to DPRK
Daily NK
Chris Green


Number of North Korean wokers at Kaesong continue to increase

Thursday, June 24th, 2010

According to the Choson Ilbo:

According to a report by the Ministry of Unification submitted to the National Assembly, there are about 120 companies operating at the complex employing over 44,000 North Koreans.

The number of workers continues to grow from 42,000 in January to 43,000 in April to 44,000 this month, the report said.

Read the full story here:
Number of N.Korean Workers at Kaesong Increases Despite Inter-Korean Tensions
Choson Ilbo


DPRK treatment of war veterans

Thursday, June 24th, 2010

According to the Daily NK:

North Korea designates three days between June 25 and 27 as “days of struggle against imperialism and the U.S.” and holds several events including meetings between Korean War veterans and younger generations, screenings of war movies, showing war-related propaganda, special lectures by aged veterans and so on.

Meanwhile, the authorities categorize Korean War veterans into two groups.

The first group consists of those who have earned the title “Hero of the Republic,” recipients of the first and second grade “Hardworking Medal” or first grade “Flag Medal”.

They receive 800g of rice per day and 120 won per month.

In the second group, there are recipients of the second and third grade “Flag Medal” and “Military Meritorious Service Medal.” They are given 600g of grain and 60 won.

They are special seats for wounded soldiers on trains, buses and in other public places. Campaigns to help veterans’ families are common.

However, the veteran-friendly atmosphere has also been much reduced since the late 1990s.

To aged veterans and families of fallen soldiers, the authorities used to present home appliances such as Daedonggang televisions, clothes, traditional clothes for women and such like, calling them “gifts from the General.” But the scale and quality of such gifts has been trimmed a lot in recent years, now amounting to little more than ginseng liquor and a few roots of ginseng or another traditional supplement. However, they still receive these gifts.

And, at least for a veteran living in Pyongyang, the authorities serve a bowl of cold noodles in Okryukwan, a famous restaurant, every anniversary of victory in the Korean War. In rural areas, veterans have stopped waiting for help and have taken to cultivating mountainous fields to make ends meet.

Read the ful story here:
The Lives of North Korean Veterans
Daily NK
Min Cho Hee