Open Sources, November 26, 2013

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U.N. UPDATE: “The United Nations unanimously adopted a resolution that denounces North Korea’s worsening human rights violations, including its brutal treatment of political prisoners in the communist country, Seoul’s foreign ministry said Wednesday.”

China, Russia, Cuba, Iran, and Venezuela did not participate, which I suppose is less bad than voting against or abstaining. The vote by the Third Committee is not a vote by the General Assembly or the Security Council, nor does it adopt the findings of the Commission of Inquiry (which have yet to be released). Rather, this is another non-binding, symbolic vote that is, nonetheless, part of a growing drumbeat from the U.N. on this issue.

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U.S. THREATENS MORE SANCTIONS: “‘Pyongyang’s attempts to engage in dialogue while keeping its program running are completely unacceptable,’ [Special Envoy Glyn] Davies told reporters after a meeting with his counterparts in Tokyo. ‘If we do not see signs of the North Koreans’ sincerity, if they do not act to demonstrate that they understand they must fulfill their obligations and give up their nuclear weapons, then there is more pressure that will be brought to bear on them,” he said.“

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KAESONG FAILWATCH:  According to Ju Chul-ki, Park’s senior secretary for foreign affairs and national security, no country “would ever invest in such a country facing sanctions.” That’s obviously true, but it’s also clearly inconsistent with prior statements of the Park Administration, which claims to be eagerly recruiting third-country investors for the Kaesong Industrial Park. I guess it’s just another inkblot in the Park Geun-Hye Rohrschach test.

South Korea is also complaining about North Korean restrictions that impede cross-border travel and communications. I’m sure potential investors read those complaints, too. Good.

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HELICOPTER CARRYING U.N. OBSERVERS finds North Korean drifting in the Yellow Sea. The man was returned home, in accordance with his wishes. Two others in the boat with him were already dead.

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CORRUPTION: “’Anybody can buy admission to Pyongyang Medical University for $10,000 and to the law or economics departments of Kim Il-sung University for between $5,000 and $10,000,’ said a South Korean government source. The opportunity to work overseas costs $3,000, plus an extra $1,000 if workers want their stay extended another year.”

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NORTH KOREAN WOMEN ARE TURNING TO PROSTITUTION in unprecedented numbers to survive this year, despite previous reports of a good harvest this year. So where did all the food go, and what happened to Kim Jong Un’s promises that prosperity would return to North Korea in 2012?

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FIFTH COLUMN WATCH:Park Chang-sin, a senior Catholic priest, claimed during a sermon on Friday that North Korea should open fire if South Korea and the United States continue to hold joint military exercises near the South’s western maritime border with the North, called the Northern Limit Line (NLL).”

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YES, NEXT QUESTION.

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MERRILL NEWMAN’S WIFE is pleading for the release of her husband, yet we still don’t even know why the North Koreans arrested him. A group of family members of Korean War veterans is also calling for Newman’s release. Yet again, I think State ought to impose a travel ban. Very little good comes of U.S. tourism to North Korea. On the other hand, it puts cash into Kim Jong Un’s pocket for God-only-knows what purpose, and the risk to the traveler is obviously significant.

5 Comments

  1. I just found the sourcing on the article for #6 a bit strange. Who is Howard Young, analyst extraordinaire of domestic North Korea? I couldn’t find the name. I did find Ha Tae Kyung’s English name, however, Young Howard. Is that him? Also, the “cafe” the article linked to doesn’t seem to exist anymore. While I agree with the basic idea of the article, I just found the sourcing strange.




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  2. Yes, same person. He is an acquaintance of mine — a former North Korean sympathizer who served prison time under the right wing regime, who later became disillusioned with North Korea over human rights issues. For several years, he ran a news service called Open News for North Korea that had a string of guerrilla correspondents in the North. That position provided him access to numerous contacts providing him information about current conditions in the North. He also broadcast to North Korea over medium wave.

    And there’s this: Recently, he was elected as a member of the South Korean National Assembly.




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  3. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, South African Navi Pillay, says North Korea is one of the world’s worst violators of human rights. This big story by John Heilprin is mostly about Syria, but it shows that Ms Pillay is aware of other countries, too.




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