Archive for September, 2010

Friday Fun: South Park in Pyongyang, mass games tours, and missing traffic girls

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

FIRST: A visitor to Pyongyang sent me these photos of a North Korean boy wearing a South Park shirt on Mansu Hill:

I trust that I do not need to explain why this is interesting.

SECOND: From Koryo Tours: The latest news from Pyongyang is that Arirang, the spectacular 100,000-strong mass gymnastic event has been extended until October 25th, marking the final performance of the 2010 season. If you haven’t yet seen tens of thousands of people moving in unison, 20,000 students forming a giant mosaic or the dancing eggs that makes Arirang unique, don’t miss our Last Chance Tour. Visitors can also see the massive monuments of Pyongyang, eat food “fit for royalty” in the ancient city of Kaesong and watch the North and South stare each other down at the DMZ. There’s no word yet on whether 2011 will have mass games at all – this just might be Arirang’s last dance. Don’t miss it!

If you are not able to see the Mass Games this year you should still see Centre Forward!

THIRD: has a couple of interesting recent updates from the DPRK.  The first claims that all of Pyongyang’s traffic ladies have been replaced by traffic lights.  Read the report here.  The second report covers a whole list of interesting observations.  Check out the report here.


Koryolink mobile phone update

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

…from the Korea IT Times:

Back in 2008, North Korean mobile operator Koryolink entered the mobile communications business to serve 126,000 subscribers, but demand far exceeded the company’s expectations. Therefore, Koryolink plans to secure enough mobile phone circuits so as to serve all the people who wish to use mobile communications services.

In addition, the Choson Sinbo, a newspaper based in Japan, reported that the number of North Korean mobile subscribers would break the 600,000 mark by the end of this year. That means just one year and four months after 3G mobile carrier Koryolink started its business in December of 2008, the number of mobile subscribers topped 120,000 as of April of this year. The mobile communications bureau of the Chosen Post said, “In 2009, base stations were put up throughout Pyongyang and communications networks have been complemented. And major highways leading to Pyongyang (e.g. Pyongyang-Hyangsan, Pyongyang-Nampo highways), major railways sections, and each province have been equipped with communications networks.

“In the future, more than half of the counties and towns will have networks with the rest scheduled to be equipped within this year” said the Chosen Post. North Korea is planning to expand mobile connectivity to the entire nation by 2012. Those who wish to use 3G services can go to mobile service centers called “Bongsaso”, pick up an application form and submit it with a payment (the price of the mobile phone plus a 50 euro subscription fee). The prices of terminals range from 110 euro to 240 euro and some mobile devices have built-in cameras. The basic mobile device is supplied by China’s Huawei Technologies.

In the future, the 3G mobile communications service will go beyond simple voice calls: Multimedia services such as TV phones and high-volume, high-speed communications will be made possible. The subscription fees, call charges and the prices of mobile phones will go down. On the hardware front, North Korea aims to develop and manufacture its own hand-held mobile phones, but at the moment, mobile phones will be imported from foreign nations, primarily from China. For now, a new production line is planned to be built by a joint venture company, which was formed by foreign capital and the Chosen Post, to assemble imported parts into finished goods.

North Korea said it would set up a nation-wide mobile communications system in order to modernize its communication system. Building an upgraded mobile communication system has been of great interest to North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, so this project is expected to gain momentum quickly. According to South Korean mobile carriers and South Korea’s Korea Communications Commission (KCC), only senior government figures are using mobile phones right now in the North. Yet the general public will soon get their hands on mobile devices.

As for the North Korean mobile communications industry, getting foreign investors can be a problem. But the real issue lies with North Korea’s poor electricity grids, which are so insufficient that anticipated high electricity demand from maintaining network facilities and charging mobile phones may not be met. Regardless, it is indeed very encouraging that the North offers 3G mobile communication services to the public. I believe that the commercialization of 3G mobile communication services would serve as a stepping stone to North Korea’s gradual reform and market opening, which are deemed to be inevitable in the end.

Read the full story below:
North Korea’s Mobile Communications Service
Korea IT Times
Choi Sung


ROK endorses US$7m Inter-Korean Cooperation Fund

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

According to Arirang News:

South Korea’s Unification Ministry on Wednesday finally endorsed the Inter-Korean Cooperation Fund worth 8 billion won, or roughly 7 million US dollars in an effort to help North Korea recover from the aftermath of summer floods.

The total cost of aid to be sent is about 12.2 million dollars with about 7 million donated by the Council for the Promotion of Inter-Korean Exchange and Cooperation, chaired by Unification Minister Hyun In-taek and the rest coming from Seoul’s agriculture ministry.

The money will buy 5-thousand tons of rice to be shipped on October 25th from Gunsan Port to the North Korean city of Sinuiju.

Other aid includes 10-thousand tons of cement, three million cases of cup noodles and medicine.

Read the full story here:
S. Korea Endorses US$7 Mil. Inter-Korean Cooperation Fund
Arirang News


DPRK newspaper stresses prudence of ‘Juche economy’

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

Institute for Far Eastern Studies (IFES)
NK Brief No. 10-09-28-1

While hopes had been raised following Kim Jong Il’s recent visit to China that the North may undergo some reform and opening, an editorial in the Rodong Sinmun, newspaper of the Workers’ Party of Korea, emphasizes the prudence of following the DPRK-style ‘Juche’ Economy’, and rejecting support from foreign powers. The article, which appeared on September 18, stressed the value of Juche as the tool for reviving the economy, and stated that there was no greater sin than passing on a “crippled economy” to the next generation. It emphasized the selfishness of living well only by the support of outside powers, as this provides no sustainable economy for future generations.

The paper went on to call on North Koreans to work together, stating that “there is no time like the present, when the principle of realizing Juche stands out in its universality,” and said that it is the current trend of economic development to “develop the resources of one”s own country, and to concentrate efforts on using [domestic] materials… If we actively develop our inexhaustible resources, we can live wealthily and raise the funds necessary for the construction of an economically strong state.” After stressing the implementation of Juche and self-reliance, the newspaper added, “If we rely on our own strengths and bring in foreign capital, we can avoid the serious crisis we are now facing, or we ultimately would not be able to choose this path.”

The newspaper also emphasized that the people of North Korea, “descendants of Comrade Kim Il Sung,” must not live selfishly, and “must not retreat even half a step on the road to Juche implementation,” urging that the current state of dependence on outside technology and resources cannot be tolerated. Kim Jong Il is quoted as saying that Juche must be firmly established in every realm of construction and development “today, tomorrow, and always” as the “revolutionary spirit of revival through one’s own efforts” is lifted high, and all problems must be resolved through one’s own strength. In particular, he is quoted as emphasizing “there can be not even a little flunkeyism and reliance on the outside,” and promising that the Workers’ Party will strive “to build an independent economy based on Juche philosophy.”

It is nothing new for North Korea to call for the establishment of a Juche-driven self-reliant economy, but it is noteworthy that the Rodong Sinmun would run such an article soon after Kim Jong Il’s trip to China and China economic development was so highly lauded. Kim said during his summit with Hu Jintao at the end of last month that China’s development was “spirited” everywhere and that China had “developed quickly after reform and opening.” The Rodong Sinmun editorial is likely a result of concerns that expectations for reform and dependence on outside forces might be growing within North Korea following Kim’s remarks about Chinese growth, and that this could complicate the effort to appoint Kim Jung Eun as successor.


Inter-Korean trade increases in 2010 despite tensions

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

According to Yonhap:

Trade between South and North Korea surged in the first half of the year despite high tensions over the communist nation’s alleged sinking of a South Korean warship in March, a trade organization said Wednesday.

South Korea’s exports to the North soared 63 percent on-year to US$430 million in the January-June period with North Korea’s exports to the South jumping 43 percent to $550 million, according to the Korea International Trade Association (KITA).

Read the full story here:
Inter-Korean trade jumps in H1 despite soured relations


Worker’s Party conference wrap-up

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

1. Below are some photos of the conference posted on including the first official pictures of Kim Jong-un:

2. As mentioned in the previous post, Kim Jong-il’s sister and son were named to the KPA and various KWP offices.

3. Hu Jintao endorses the conference outcome.  According to KCNA:

I, on behalf of the CPC Central Committee and on my own behalf, extend warm congratulations to you on the successful WPK Conference, your reelection as general secretary of the WPK and the election of its supreme leadership body.

The WPK headed by General Secretary Kim Jong Il has achieved great successes in the cause of building Korean-style socialism through self-reliance and strenuous efforts by leading all the Korean people for many years.

In recent years the Korean people have made a series of admirable achievements in economic development, improvement of the people’s standard of living and other fields to build a great prosperous and powerful nation.

China and the DPRK maintain deep and traditional friendship and close geographical relationship with wide-ranging common interests.

It is the steadfast policy of the Chinese party and government to consolidate and develop the Sino-DPRK friendly and cooperative relations.

We defend and promote the bilateral relationship, always holding fast to it in a strategic view under the long-term discernment no matter how the international situation may change.

We will strive together with the DPRK side to steadily put the bilateral relations on a new stage and provide greater happiness to the peoples of the two countries and make greater contribution to achieving lasting peace and common prosperity of the region.

I heartily wish you and the WPK continued and greater fresh successes in the work to build a thriving nation by leading the Korean people.

Hu Jintao repeated support a couple of days later.  According to the  AFP:

Chinese President Hu Jintao on Saturday pledged to strengthen ties with the new leadership in North Korea, during a visit to Beijing by a senior delegation from Pyongyang, state media reported.

Hu’s comments come after ailing North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il this week offered senior posts in the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) to his son Jong-Un and promoted him to the rank of general — signs that he is the heir apparent.

China is North Korea’s sole major ally and provides an economic lifeline to impoverished Pyongyang.

“We believe that the WPK, the DPRK government and people will see new achievements in their national construction under the new WPK leadership,” Hu said, according to China’s official Xinhua news agency.

Hu, who has welcomed Kim to China twice this year, said the Communist party would work with the WPK’s new leaders to “promote and expand cooperation” and “strengthen communication” on regional and international issues, Xinhua said.

The leader of the North Korean delegation, party politburo member Choe Thae Bok, said Kim’s decision to dispatch a high-level group of envoys so soon after the WPK conference “shows the importance the DPRK attaches to the consensus reached by leaders of the two countries,” the report added.

4. KCNA recounts the conference outcomes:

WPK Conference Held
Pyongyang, September 28 (KCNA) — The Conference of the Workers’ Party of Korea was held with success in Pyongyang on Sept. 28.

Kim Jong Il, general secretary of the WPK and chairman of the National Defence Commission of the DPRK, was present at the Conference.

Present there were delegates elected at the meeting of WPK delegates of the Korean People’s Army and provincial and political bureaus’ meetings of delegates of the WPK.

Officials of the party, armed forces and power organs, working people’s organizations, ministries and national institutions, servicepersons and officials in the fields of science, education, public health, culture and arts and media attended the Conference as observers.

All the participants observed a moment’s silence in memory of President Kim Il Sung who successfully accomplished the cause of founding the Juche-type revolutionary party for the first time in history and developed the WPK into a powerful ever-victorious staff of the revolution.

Kim Yong Nam made an opening address.

Choe Yong Rim worked as chairman at the Conference upon authorization by the consultative meeting of provincial delegates.

The Conference elected its Presidium.

The Presidium included Kim Jong Il and Kim Yong Nam, Choe Yong Rim, Kim Yong Chun, Jang Song Thaek, Ri Yong Ho, Kim Jong Gak, Jon Pyong Ho, Choe Thae Bok, Yang Hyong Sop, Hong Sok Hyong, Kim Kuk Thae, Kim Ki Nam, Paek Se Bong, U Tong Chuk and Ju Kyu Chang.

The Conference decided on the following agenda items.

1. On the reelection of the great leader Comrade Kim Jong Il as general secretary of the WPK
2. On the revision of the WPK rules
3. Election of the central leadership body of the WPK

The Conference discussed the first agenda item.

Kim Yong Nam delivered a speech proposing Kim Jong Il’s reelection as general secretary of the WPK.

He said in his speech that Kim Jong Il has devoted his all to the prosperity of the country and the nation and the victory of the revolutionary cause of Juche only for decades since he embarked upon the road of the revolution.

The half a century-long history of Kim Jong Il’s revolutionary activities was a history of heroic struggles in which he blazed the path with his ceaseless thinking and pursuit and extraordinary energy and a history of victories in which he made gigantic creation and innovations with his iron will and pluck, the speaker said, and continued:

The recent meeting of WPK delegates of the KPA and meetings of provincial and political bureaus elected Kim Jong Il as a delegate of the WPK Conference reflecting the unanimous will of the army and people of the DPRK to invariably hold Kim Jong Il in high esteem as general secretary of the WPK.

Having Kim Jong Il at the top post of the WPK, organizer and guide of all victories of the Korean people, is the greatest happiness and highest honor of all the party members, servicepersons and people.

Kim Yong Nam courteously proposed to the Conference the reelection of Kim Jong Il as general secretary of the WPK reflecting the unanimous will and wishes of all the party members, servicepersons and people of the country.

Then followed speeches by Chief of the KPA General Staff Ri Yong Ho who is a delegate of the KPA party organization, First Secretary of the C.C., the Kim Il Sung Socialist Youth League Ri Yong Chol who is a delegate of the Pyongyang City party organization, Chairman of the C.C., the General Federation of Trade Unions of Korea Hyon Sang Ju who is a delegate of the Jagang Provincial party organization, Chairman of the C.C., the Union of Agricultural Workers of Korea Ri Myong Gil who is a delegate of the North Phyongan Provincial party organization and President of Kim Il Sung University and concurrently Minister of Higher Education Song Ja Rip who is a delegate of the Pyongyang City party organization.

The speakers fully supported and approved in unison the proposal of the Conference on reelecting Kim Jong Il as general secretary of the WPK.

A resolution of the WPK Conference on reelecting Kim Jong Il as general secretary of the WPK was read out there.

The Conference discussed the second agenda item.

A resolution on the revision of the WPK rules was adopted.

The Conference discussed the third agenda item.

The Conference declared that Kim Il Sung, founder of the WPK and outstanding leader who led the party and the revolution to victories only, would be always held in esteem at the supreme leadership organ of the WPK reflecting the unanimous will and wishes of all the party members, servicepersons and people.

It also declared that Kim Jong Il, general secretary of the WPK, was reelected as member of the Presidium of the Political Bureau of the C.C., the WPK, member of the Political Bureau of the C.C., the WPK, member of the C.C., the WPK and chairman of the Central Military Commission of the WPK according to the WPK rules and the detailed regulations for the election of the supreme leadership body of the WPK.

The Conference elected the central leadership body of the WPK.

Then followed the election of members and alternate members of the C.C., the WPK.

Candidates for the members and alternate members of the C.C., the WPK were elected as members and alternate members of the C.C., the WPK.

The members of the Central Auditing Commission of the WPK were elected.

Candidates for the members of the Central Auditing Commission of the WPK were elected as members of the commission.

The Conference notified its participants of the decisions of the September 2010 Plenary Meeting of the C.C., the WPK.

The results of the election of the Presidium of the Political Bureau and the Political Bureau of the C.C., the WPK and the secretaries of the C.C., the WPK and organization of the Secretariat were made public there.

The results of organization of the Central Military Commission of the WPK were released.

The appointment of the department directors of the C.C., the WPK and the editor-in-chief of Rodong Sinmun, an organ of the C.C., the WPK, and the results of election of the Control Commission of the C.C., the WPK were made public.

The Conference notified its participants of the decisions made at the First Plenary Meeting of the Central Auditing Commission of the WPK.

Kim Yong Nam made a closing speech.

The Conference marked a significant occasion that demonstrated the revolutionary faith and will of all the party members, servicepersons and people to glorify the WPK as the glorious party of Kim Il Sung for all ages and accomplish the Songun revolutionary cause of Juche started on Mt. Paektu by invariably having Kim Jong Il, peerless political elder and illustrious Songun commander, at the top post of the party and the revolution.

5. According to  KCNA the WPK rules were changed, but I am unsure how.

6. Official Report on Plenum of WPK Central Committee:

The meeting discussed the following agenda items:

1. Election of the Presidium of the Political Bureau of the WPK Central Committee

2. Election of the Political Bureau of the WPK Central Committee

3. Election of Secretaries of the WPK Central Committee and on Organization of the Secretariat

4. On Organization of the WPK Central Military Commission

5. On Appointment of Department Directors of the WPK Central Committee and the Editor-in-Chief of Rodong Sinmun, an Organ of the WPK Central Committee

6. Election of the Control Commission of the WPK Central Committee

The meeting elected the Presidium of the Political Bureau of the WPK Central Committee and the Political Bureau of the WPK Central Committee.

It elected secretaries of the WPK Central Committee and organized the Secretariat.

It organized the WPK Central Military Commission.

It appointed department directors of the WPK Central Committee and the editor-in-chief of Rodong Sinmun, an organ of the WPK Central Committee.

It elected chairman, vice-chairmen and members of the Control Commission of the WPK Central Committee.

7. According to KCNA: The Presidium of the Political Bureau of the Workers’ Party of Korea Central Committee is made up of Kim Jong Il, Kim Yong Nam, Choe Yong Rim, Jo Myong Rok and Ri Yong Ho.

8. According to KCNAMembers of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea are Kim Jong Il, Kim Yong Nam, Choe Yong Rim, Jo Myong Rok, Ri Yong Ho, Kim Yong Chun, Jon Pyong Ho, Kim Kuk Thae, Kim Ki Nam, Choe Thae Bok, Yang Hyong Sop, Kang Sok Ju, Pyon Yong Rip, Ri Yong Mu, Ju Sang Song, Hong Sok Hyong and Kim Kyong Hui. Alternate members of the Political Bureau are Kim Yang Gon, Kim Yong Il, Pak To Chun, Choe Ryong Hae, Jang Song Thaek, Ju Kyu Chang, Ri Thae Nam, Kim Rak Hui, Thae Jong Su, Kim Phyong Hae, U Tong Chuk, Kim Jong Gak, Pak Jong Sun, Kim Chang Sop and Mun Kyong Dok.

9. According to KCNA: The Secretariat of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea is as follows: Kim Jong Il, general secretary of the Workers’ Party of Korea. Secretaries of the C.C., WPK Kim Ki Nam, Choe Thae Bok, Choe Ryong Hae, Mun Kyong Dok, Pak To Chun, Kim Yong Il, Kim Yang Gon, Kim Phyong Hae, Thae Jong Su and Hong Sok Hyong

10. According to KCNA: The Central Military Commission of the Workers’ Party of Korea is as follows: Chairman Kim Jong Il, Vice-Chairmen Kim Jong Un and Ri Yong Ho and Members Kim Yong Chun, Kim Jong Gak, Kim Myong Guk, Kim Kyong Ok, Kim Won Hong, Jong Myong Do, Ri Pyong Chol, Choe Pu Il, Kim Yong Chol, Yun Jong Rin, Ju Kyu Chang, Choe Sang Ryo, Choe Kyong Song, U Tong Chuk, Choe Ryong Hae and Jang Song Thaek.

11. According to KCNA: Department directors of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea:  Kim Ki Nam, Jang Song Thaek, Kim Yong Il, Kim Phyong Hae, Ri Yong Su, Ju Kyu Chang, Hong Sok Hyong, Kim Kyong Hui, Choe Hui Jong, O Il Jong, Kim Yang Gon, Kim Jong Im, Chae Hui Jong and Thae Jong Su.  Kim Ki Ryong was nominated to be editor-in-chief of Rodong Sinmun, an organ of the WPK Central Committee.

12. According to KCNAMembers and Alternate Members of WPK Central Committee:The following are members of the WPK Central Committee: Kim Jong Il, Kang Nung Su, Kang Tong Yun, Kang Sok Ju, Kang Phyo Yong, Kang Yang Mo, Ko Pyong Hyon, Kim Kuk Thae, Kim Kyong Hui, Kim Kyong Ok, Kim Ki Nam, Kim Ki Ryong, Kim Rak Hui, Kim Myong Guk, Kim Pyong Ryul, Kim Pyong Ho, Kim Song Dok, Kim Song Chol, Kim Jong Gak, Kim Jong Suk, Kim Jong Un, Kim Jong Im, Kim Chang Sop, Kim Chol Man, Kim Chun Sam, Kim Thae Bong, Kim Phyong Hae, Kim Hyong Ryong, Kim Hyong Sik, Kim Hi Thaek, Kim Yang Gon, Kim Yong Nam, Kim Yong Chun, Kim Yong Il, Kim Yong Chol, Kim Yong Jin, Kim In Sik, Kim Won Hong, Kwak Pom Gi, Ryang Man Gil, Ryo Chun Sok, Ro Tu Chol, Ro Pae Gwon, Ryu Yong Sop, Ri Ryong Nam, Ri Man Gon, Ri Myong Su, Ri Mu Yong, Ri Pyong Sam, Ri Pyong Chol, Ri Pong Dok, Ri Pong Juk, Ri Thae Nam, Ri Hyong Gun, Ri Hi Hon, Ri Yong Gil, Ri Yong Su, Ri Yong Ho, Ri Yong Mu, Ri Yong Hwan, Ri Yong Chol, Ri Ul Sol, Rim Kyong Man, Mun Kyong Dok, Pak Kwang Chol, Pak To Chun, Pak Myong Chol, Pak Su Gil, Pak Sung Won, Pak Jong Sun, Pak Jong Gun, Pak Jae Gyong, Pak Thae Dok, Pak Ui Chun, Pyon Yong Rip, Pyon In Son, Paek Se Bong, Song Ja Rip, Jang Pyong Gyu, Jang Song Thaek, Jang Chol, Jon Kil Su, Jon Ryong Guk, Jon Pyong Ho, Jon Jin Su, Jon Chang Bok, Jon Ha Chol, Jon Hui Jong, Jong Myong Do, Jong Ho Gyun, Jong In Guk, Jo Kyong Chol, Jo Myong Rok, Jo Pyong Ju, Ju Kyu Chang, Ju Sang Song, Ju Yong Sik, Cha Sung Su, Chae Hui Jong, Choe Kyong Song, Choe Ryong Hae, Choe Pu Il, Choe Sang Ryo, Choe Thae Bok, Choe Hui Jong, Choe Yong Dok, Choe Yong Rim, Thae Jong Su, Han Kwang Bok, Han Tong Gun, Hyon Chol Hae, Hyon Yong Chol, Hong Sok Hyong, Hong In Bom, An Jong Su, Yang Tong Hun, Yang Hyong Sop, O Kuk Ryol, O Kum Chol, O Su Yong, O Il Jong, U Tong Chuk, Yun Tong Hyon and Yun Jong RinThe alternate members are: Kang Ki Sop, Kang Kwan Ju, Kang Kwan Il, Kang Min Chol, Kang Hyong Bong, Ko Su Il, Kim Kyok Sik, Kim Kye Gwan, Kim Tong Un, Kim Tong Il, Kim Tong I, Kim Tong Il, Kim Myong Sik, Kim Pyong Hun, Kim Pong Ryong, Kim Chang Myong, Kim Chon Ho, Kim Chung Gol, Kim Thae Mun, Kim Hui Yong, Kim Yong Suk, Kim Yong Jae, Kim Yong Ho, Kim Yong Gwang, Kim U Ho, Kwon Hyok Bong, No Kwang Chol, Tong Jong Ho, Tong Yong Il, Ryom In Yun, Ro Kyong Jun, Ro Song Sil, Ryu Kyong, Ri Kuk Jun, Ri Ki Su, Ri Myong Gil, Ri Min Chol, Ri Sang Gun, Ri Song Gwon, Ri Su Yong, Ri Jong Sik, Ri Jae Il, Ri Je Son, Ri Chan Hwa, Ri Chang Han, Ri Chol, Ri Chun Il, Ri Thae Sop, Ri Thae Chol, Ri Hong Sop, Ri Hi Su, Ri Yong Ju, Ri Yong Ho, Ri Il Nam, Pak Ri Sun, Pak Pong Ju, Pak Chang Bom, Paek Kye Ryong, Paek Ryong Chon, So Tong Myong, Son Chong Nam, Song Kwang Chol, Sin Sung Hun, Jang Myong Hak, Jang Yong Gol, Jang Ho Chan, Jon Kyong Son, Jon Kwang Rok, Jon Song Ung, Jon Chang Rim, Jong Myong Hak, Jong Pong Phil, Jong Pong Gun, Jong Un Hak, Jo Song Hwan, Jo Jae Yong, Jo Yong Chol, Ji Jae Ryong, Cha Kyong Il, Cha Jin Sun, Cha Yong Myong, Choe Ki Ryong, Choe Kwan Jun, Choe Tae Il, Choe Pong Ho, Choe Chan Gon, Choe Chun Sik, Choe Hyon, Choe Yong Do, Choe Yong, Thae Hyong Chol, Han Chang Nam, Han Chang Sun, Han Hung Phyo, Ho Song Gil, Hyon Sang Ju, Hong Kwang Sun, Hong So Hon, Hong Sung Mu, Hwang Pyong So, Hwang Sun Hui, Hwang Hak Won, An Tong Chun, Yang In Guk and O Chol San.

13. According to KCNA: The plenum elected chairman, vice-chairmen and members of the Control Commission of the WPK Central Committee. Kim Kuk Thae was elected chairman, Jong Myong Hak first vice-chairman, Ri Tuk Nam vice-chairman and Cha Kwan Sok, Pak Tok Man, Cha Sun Gil and Kim Yong Son members of the commission.

14. According to KCNA: The First Plenary Meeting of the Central Auditing Commission of the Workers’ Party of Korea was held here on Sept. 28.  Present there were Kim Chang Su, Pak Myong Sun, Choe Pae Jin, Kim Chol, Sim Chol Ho, O Ryong Il, Kye Yong Sam, Ryu Hyon Sik, Ko Myong Hui, Pang Yong Uk, Jang Jong Ju, Ho Kwang Uk, Ji Tong Sik, Jong Pong Sok and Choe Kwon Su, members of the commission elected at the Conference of the WPK. The meeting elected chairman and vice-chairperson of the commission. Kim Chang Su was elected chairman and Pak Myong Sun vice-chairperson.

15. The Daily NK offers a summary of the conference.

16. Mike has a summary at NK Leadership Watch.

17. The Choson Ilbo reports that the conference was scaled down:

The extraordinary congress of the North Korean Workers Party which convened Tuesday was apparently held at a smaller venue than previously expected. The Mansudae Assembly Hall (The Supreme People’s Assembly building), where it took place, seats 1,000, whereas previous guesses had put it at the 6,000-seater April 25 Cultural Hall or the People’s Cultural Palace, which has 2,000 seats.

That suggests only 500 to 700 delegates attended the congress since a half of the seats at a party congress are normally filled with audience members. In comparison, some 1, 323 delegates attended the second party congress in October 1966.

A high-ranking North Korean defector who saw photos of the latest party congress said it is clear that the event was considerably scaled down, in sharp contrast to the past event that had been held in a festive mood involving some 6,000 people.

A senior source in North Korea also put the number of delegates at about 500, saying even some very senior officials had not been selected as delegates.

The North seems to have downscaled the event due to anxiety over the leadership succession and a volatile mood in the country including signs of public unrest as food rations in Pyongyang were suspended, the source added.

Many people who were unable to fit into the main conference hall reportedly watched the congress on video screens installed at the April 25 Cultural Hall and the People’s Cultural Palace.

18. Previous posts on the conference can be found here in chronological order: here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here,  here.


ROK estimates DPRK has 1 million tons of rice saved

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

According to Yonhap:

North Korea’s rice reserves may total 1.1 million tons, which could feed the country for 110 days, a government source said Tuesday.

The source, who declined to be identified, said the estimate is based on continuous monitoring of rice stockpiles by the intelligence agencies in South Korea and the United States.

He said that while the total amount can be determined, it is hard to say if the rice is being reserved for the military or for the general population.

“Due to the nature of modern warfare it is pointless to separate if rice reserve will be used by the military or the civilian population in emergency situations,” the official said. He also declined to say if Pyongyang maintained 300 storage areas as claimed by some independent organizations.

Related to the rice reserve that North Korea may possess, an official from the National Intelligence Service (NIS) claimed in a meeting of lawmakers earlier in the day that recent remarks by Rep. Kim Moo-sung, who said Pyongyang held 1 million tons in rice reserves for the military, was not groundless.

Kim is the floor leader of the ruling Grand National Party and made the remark to point out that the North had the means to alleviate food shortages on its own to a certain extent.

The NIS official added that rice aid to North Korea must be based on clear cut strategies reflecting overall circumstances.

The Lee Myung-bak administration put the breaks on helping North Korea after a South Korean tourist was shot dead in a mountain resort in July 2008. The sinking of a South Korea Navy ship March further cooled inter-Korean relations with Seoul, making clear that it will effectively cut most exchange programs with the North.

Before 2008, Seoul regularly shipped 300,000-400,000 tons of rice to the North along with substantial amounts of fertilizers.

Read the full story here:
N. Korea’s rice reserves may total 1.1 mln tons: source


Nicaragua to re-establish ties with DPRK

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

According to Deutsch Press Agentur:

Nicaragua on Tuesday announced plans to re- establish diplomatic relations with North Korea.

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega met Tuesday in Managua with Kim Hyong Jun, North Korean deputy foreign minister.

During the 1980s, when Ortega and his Sandinista Party ruled Nicaragua, his leftwing government was aligned with the Soviet Union and had formal ties with North Korea, which is still ruled by a Stalinist regime.

Ortega lost democratic elections in 1990 and spent decades in opposition until winning the presidency in 2006. Since regaining power, he has again groomed renewed relations with communist Cuba and with Russia and other former Soviet states.

Read the full story here:
Nicaragua plans to re-establish diplomatic ties with North Korea
Deutsch Press Agentur


U.N. audit finds ‘Lapses’ in DPRK food program

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

According to Fox News:

In an eerie replay of a scandal that enveloped the United Nations Development Program, an internal audit by the U.N.’s World Food Program shows significant “lapses,” “anomalies,” and unexplained variations last year in the way the relief agency reported its financial and commodity management in North Korea.

The holes in WFP’s humanitarian reporting raise questions of whether a U.N. agency has allowed money and supplies intended for starving North Koreans to end up in the hands of the country’s brutal communist rulers, who are under international sanctions aimed at halting their aggressive atomic weapons program.

According to WFP itself, in response to questions from Fox News, the confidential audit “highlighted a small number of inconsistencies in commodity accounting that have subsequently been addressed.” All the issues involved have since been “closed,” the agency added.

However, Fox News obtained a copy of a summary of projects undertaken by WFP’s internal watchdog Office of Internal Audit between July and September of last year, which lists the North Korean lapses first among its audit highlights. Among other things, it notes:

–“inconsistent data and unreliable information systems used for reporting [WFP] commodity movements, stock balances and food utilization” in North Korea;

–“lapses…in financial and commodity management processes.”

—“numerous anomalies…in information systems used for reporting commodity movements and food utilization in the CO [WFP local country office].”

See summary document here (PDF).

The full extent of the management lapses and their consequences cannot be determined without the unexpurgated audit report—and the WFP is not willing to make that public. The agency flatly turned down a request by Fox News for the document.

In fact, WFP has not even supplied a copy of the audit report to nations, including the U.S., that supervise its operations through a 36-member executive board. (The U.S. government gave about $1.76 billion to WFP in 2009, and has so far contributed $959 million this year.)

A Fox News query to the U.S. Mission to the U.N. in Geneva got confirmation that the U.S. government did not have the report, and that “WFP does not currently share its internal audit reports with the WFP Executive Board members.”

By now, however, it was supposed to. A policy that allowed the WFP’s executive director, Josette Sheeran, to give such audit reports to executive board members on demand was up for approval by the board at its last meeting in June. However, it was withdrawn from the board’s agenda; it is now up for consideration at the next Board meeting in November.

Even then, however, the wording of a draft version of the decision underlines that the sunlight provisions “will not be applied retroactively.”

The audit references to lapses in relief aid reporting practices are not the first indicator that the regime of ailing dictator Kim Jong Il might have the opportunity to exploit WFP resources in North Korea.

In June 2009, Fox News got an admission from the relief agency that its food supplies were carried from China to North Korea on vessels owned by the Kim regime. The potential transportation costs for those relief supplies appeared to be enormously high to outside shipping experts asked by Fox News to analyze the agency’s relief program documents. No mention of the regime’s role in transporting WFP goods appeared in the documents or on the agency’s website.

Click here to read an earlier Fox News article on this topic.

WFP has delivered more than $1 billion worth of food aid to North Korea since 2000, but the amount of donated money available for that effort has dwindled sharply as the Kim regime has exploded two nuclear bombs, threatened neighboring Japan and South Korea with war, and even sunk a South Korean warship on the high seas, according to the best forensic evidence available.

Its current plans call for spending about $91 million for food for about 2.2 million North Koreans this year.

The WFP audit reference to lapsed internal controls in North Korea, and the agency’s pooh-poohing of them, also bears a disturbing resemblance to the early stages of a battle over the role of the United Nations Development Program in North Korea, which led to the closure of UNDP’s North Korea office for two years, from 2007 to 2009. The WFP was later named as the U.N.’s lead agency in the country.

In 2006, a whistleblower named Artjon Shkurtaj revealed that UNDP procedures in North Korea had funneled millions of dollars in hard currency to the Kim regime, allowed North Korean government nominees to occupy sensitive UNDP positions in the local country office, kept thousands of U.S. dollars counterfeited by North Korea without informing U.S. authorities, and other transgressions.

All were flatly denied by the U.N. agency, though many of the accusations were later revealed to have been mentioned in internal audit reports — which UNDP refused to make public, on the same grounds currently used by WFP, that they were internal management tools. The existence of the audit criticisms were only made known through an external board of auditors’ investigation in 2007.

A further outside investigation revealed that UNDP’s transgressions were even worse than the auditors had suggested. Not only had UNDP routinely continued to hand over millions in hard currency to the Kim regime, use government nominated officials in sensitive positions, and transfer sensitive equipment with potential for terrorist use or for use in creating weapons of mass destruction, it had done so in violation of U.N. Security Council sanctions in force at the time, and also contravened its own basic financial rules and regulations.

Click here to read an earlier Fox News article on this topic.

In the midst of the furor over its North Korean activities, UNDP finally agreed to make future internal audit reports public—at least to governments on its executive board, and as long as they applied in writing. Since then, it has also amended its internal procedures and is now relaunching itself in North Korea. (To date, the U.N. has not paid recompense to Shkurtaj that was mandated by its own ethics officer in the wake of the UNDP scandal.)

Is the World Food Program following the unsettling trail blazed by UNDP in North Korea, before it mended its ways?

Without the full internal audits, it is hard to tell—but the stonewalling of those audits looks very familiar.

Read the full story here:
U.N. Audit Finds ‘Lapses’ in Managing Food Program Aid to N. Korea
Fox News
George Russell


Ship departing from DPRK intercepted in Greece

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

According to Kathimerini:

Authorities in Piraeus today were to continue their inspection of a German-flagged French-owned vessel that had been en route to Syria from North Korea with a cargo believed to comprise banned weapons.

Following a tip-off from another country, which was not identified, Greek authorities intercepted the vessel and ordered its mooring at the port of Piraeus so checks could be carried out. Coast guard officers, military experts and members of the National Intelligence Service (EYP) participated in the inspection, which did not result in the discovery of any weapons but did turn up a large quantity of what a government source yesterday described as “nonmilitary material that could have a dual use.” This material reportedly included pieces of metal and pipes that could be used in the construction of missile launchers.

The United Nations Security Council agreed in June last year to ban the export of all weapons from North Korea.

According to Reuters:

The expanded sanctions were aimed at cutting off its arms sales, a vital export estimated to earn it more than $1 billion a year.

North Korea’s biggest weapons sales come from ballistic missiles, with Iran and other Middle Eastern states as customers, according to U.S. government officials.

Read the full stories here:
Ship checked for weapons

Greece searches ship for North Korean arms – source