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Posts by Martyn Williams
High-level purges in North Korea have been typically quiet affairs in the past. Rumors would circulate that someone had been removed from office, state media would be analyzed for mentions of the person’s name and confirmation would usually only come months or years later when they either reemerged or someone else appeared in a position they used to fill.
So the announcement through state media that Jang Song Thaek had been executed is quite stunning in its openness.
The Korean Central News Agency issued the following on December 13, 2013. The English version of the article was issued in two takes. The first take runs about half the length of the full story until the “(more)” below. The story was then updated with the second half.
So when the story originally ran, only the headline referred to Jang’s execution. Details and the speed at which it was performed did not appear until the update, which runs to some 2,749 words.
Here it is in full:
Traitor Jang Song Thaek Executed
Pyongyang, December 13 (KCNA) — Upon hearing the report on the enlarged More >
The reports vanished from the Korean-language portion of the site at around 5am Korean time on Monday (8pm GMT Sunday), said Frank Feinstein, a New Zealand-based researcher who runs the KCNA Watch service.
He said only the reports in which Jang was a central character were removed. Others that mentioned him in passing remained on the KCNA website. Feinstein was using his own index of KCNA articles as a reference to the original URLs.
“This More >
North Korea’s state media revealed in stunning detail on Monday the alleged infractions of Jang Song Thaek and showed still images of his being led from a Worker’s Party of Korea meeting by soldiers.
The reports, which are unprecedented for North Korea, came just less than a week after South Korea’s National Intelligence Service reported to lawmakers in Seoul that he had been removed from power.
Here’s how state TV made the announcement.
Still images of Jang being led away are shown around the 8:40 mark.
And here’s the same story in English, as broadcast on Voice of Korea. The news begins at the More >
The recordings, which are available in five languages, have been offered by London-based World Radio Network since July this year, but the company is shutting down its on-demand service on December 15.
The move is part of an effort by WRN to refocus its efforts on its core service aimed at radio stations. WRN carries programming from major international broadcasters such as Deutsche Welle, KBS World Radio, Radio Prague and Radio New Zealand and redistributes them to AM and FM stations around the world. The online service More >
The country became the 98th nation to join the International Maritime Satellite Organization (IMSO) when it acceded on October 15, according to a statement from the organization.
The IMSO is charged with overseeing public safety and security services on the Inmarsat series of satellites. Inmarsat operates a global network of satellites primarily aimed at the world’s oceans, which are areas where traditional satellite services don’t have great coverage.
Among the services under the remit of the IMSO is that of the Long Range Identification and Tracking (LRIT) More >
MND Radio, a shortwave radio station run by South Korea’s Ministry of National Defense, appears to have left the air.
The station was last heard broadcasting on October 31st. Since then, it hasn’t been detected by radio monitors in East Asia or further afield.
MND Radio first appeared in late 2011 and broadcast a handful a hour-long programs several times a day.
The station name, the organization behind it or any other details were ever announced on air, but details leaked through documents submitted to an international shortwave broadcasting coordination body.
Aside from the obvious similarity between More >
Enthusiasm appears to be waning for North Korea’s Samjiyon Android tablet.
Two of the tablets have appeared again on Ebay and were offered by the same vendor who sold one two weeks ago.
This time, it attracted fewer bids and sold for far less than the $546 winning bid of the first Samjiyon to appear on Ebay.
That was sold on November 17 by “firstname.lastname@example.org,” who was identified in an Ebay profile as a Canadian user. The tablet was being shipped from Yanji, China, which is close to the North Korean border.
The Ebay profile page for that email address user now redirects to user More >
Driving up South Korea’s “freedom highway” north of Seoul, just after the turn off for the National Defense University, observant travelers will notice a collection of transmitter masts off to the right of the highway.
At first glance, the site looks like it might belong to a major broadcaster like KBS, but the truth appears to be much more interesting.
Seeing inside the site is impossible from the highway, but a neighboring hill provides a good outlook, as shown below.
The site contains 16 transmitter masts, all but one of which are contained in a large field. A single mast sits in the middle More >
A Washington, D.C.-based journalist and blogger has managed to obtain details on web traffic to the Korean Central News Agency’s website thanks to poor security on a previous version of the site.
Writing on his blog, Dino Beslagic said he was able to access the site traffic data through a hidden interface page on the KCNA website. Rather than block off access with a firewall, the site allowed access to the page after simply acknowledged a pop-up window.
Access to the data enabled Beslagic to produce a graph of daily visitors and number of hits for the period from April 2011 to More >