Open Sources, June 3, 2014

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MUST-READ: NK NEWS has obtained and analyzed recent satellite images of the site of that apartment collapse in Pyongyang. It’s too bad that there aren’t any images of the site from early May, so that they could draw some firmer conclusions, but it’s clear that either the regime (a) covered up the collapse for days (if not weeks) to protect it from unfavorable comparisons to the Sewol Ferry disaster, (b) hauled the debris away with no consideration of rescuing any survivors, or (c) some combination of both. NK News also calls into question the AP’s credulous acceptance of KCNA’s official version of the disaster.

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SOMEHOW, I GET THE IDEA that North Korea still isn’t ready to unclench its fist, despite the Obama Administration’s slowly-slowly approach to sanctions. (Hat tip to a reader.)

Obama target

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THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR covers the Foreign Affairs Committee’s approval of H.R. 1771. Also, Vladimir Putin’s press gives it a thumbs-down, citing some Spanish professor I’ve never heard of, which I take as an endorsement, because sanctions enforcement is to Russian governments what dash cams are to Russian drivers.

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THE U.N. HIGH COMMISSION FOR HUMAN RIGHTS will establish a permanent office in Seoul, to continue the work of the North Korea Commission of Inquiry.

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“South Korea rescued three North Koreans who were drifting at sea and two of them want to stay in the South, officials said Monday, which would likely produce an angry response from Pyongyang.” [AP]

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NORTH KOREA PERESTROIKA WATCH:

“In around May last year there were executions,” he went on to allege. “One was bringing the stuff in, and one was selling it. That is what they do if you watch South Chosun films.” And yet, “I recall that as recently as 2008-2010 everyone was crazy about [South Korean media]. Youngsters used to gather to watch South Chosun discs, or ones made in the Yanbian region of China.” [Daily NK]

That’s funny. Didn’t Ria Novosti say Kim Jong Un was ready to reform North Korea?

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AS THE WORLD FOOD PROGRAM CONSIDERS pulling out of North Korea, Kim Jong Un inspects a water slide.

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MORE IN ILLEGAL CHINESE FISHING in the Yellow Sea: according to the Joongang Ilbo, the South Korean Coast Guard is too preoccupied with the Sewol disaster to enforce its fishing rights. But those FTA negotiations with China seem to be going swimmingly, if you’ll pardon the pun.

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A NATO EXPERT charges that North Korea’s nuclear program is more dangerous than Iran’s. Yet anyone who is familiar with Iran and North Korea sanctions knows that the latter are a pale shadow of the former.