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Posts by Martyn Williams
A “hackathon” planned for August aims to harness the technical prowess of Silicon Valley in coming up with new ways to get information safely into North Korea.
“Hack North Korea” will take place in San Francisco and has been organized by The Human Rights Foundation, a New York-based group that earlier this year helped sent USB thumb drives loaded with Wikipedia across the inter-Korean border in balloons.
The event won’t be engaging in any computer hacking in the malicious sense. Rather, it will be hacking in the sense of coming up with new ways to “spark better ideas for getting information into the world’s most More >
The United States and several other nations have written to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) over North Korea’s failure to notify it of missile launches.
Over the past couple of weeks, short and medium-range missile have been fired by North Korea into the sea to the east of the country on a handful of occasions. Each launch took place without a standard warning to air and ship traffic.
“On July 8, the U.S. co-signed a letter to the president of ICAO expressing concern with the serious threat posed to international aviation posed by More >
A U.S. interceptor missile system designed to deter and defend against missiles from North Korea and other nations will take a step forward this week when the U.S. Missile Defense Agency kicks off work on environmental impact statements on four proposed sites.
On Wednesday, the MDA is expected to publish a notice informing residents in nearby neighborhoods of the start of a 60-day comment period that begins the process. The entire study is expected to take about two years and are intended to assess the environmental impact that the proposed missile defense bases will have to local land, water, air quality and other factors.
The sites are More >
The question of a BBC Korean-language service was back in the U.K. parliament last week when the House of Lords heard a motion to “take note of the role the BBC World Service and the British Council in promoting British values and interests worldwide.”
While the speeches in the House of Lords weren’t focused on Korea, a number spoke on the subject including Lord Eames, who was Archbishop of Armagh from 1986 until 2006. A year later in 2007, he led a delegation on a humanitarian visit to North Korea as one of the most senior members of the Anglican Church.
He related a conversation More >
The current issue of Foreign Trade has a profile of Taedonggang TV factory, which sits on the outskirts of Pyongyang and makes a number of TV sets carrying several North Korean brand names, according to the magazine.
“The factory has several workshops for magnetic substances, metal processing, plating of printed circuit, moulding and coiling and a branch factory for assembly of color TVs,” the magazine reports. “Its daily output is thousand of sets.”
The magazine said it produces TV sets with screens between 15- and 29-inches under the “Samilpho,” “Tabaksol” and “Osongsan” brands and with screens between 15- and 42-inches under the More >
Japanese Minister of Defense Itsunori Onodera and U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel sure are getting along well.
The two met with reporters at The Pentagon on Friday afternoon as part of Onodera’s current visit to the U.S. and spent the first five minutes of their 25-minute briefing talking about Onodera’s trip to Hagel’s home state of Nebraska and his alma-mater, the University of Nebraska. Hagel then spoke of a pair of waterproof headphones he had received from Onodera at a previous meeting (Sony, as Onodera later mentioned) and gave him a University of Nebraska tennis shirt.
Singaporean photographer Aram Pan, who previously provided several stunning panorama shots and a GoPro video of Pyongyang, has posted his latest two photographs and they’re big.
The images are wide-angle panorama shots with lots of detail.
The first appears to have been taken from the top of the Tower of the Juche Idea, looking west towards Kim Il Sung Square. On the right, the steps to the monuments on Mansudae Hill are visible while on the left the picture extends to Pyongyang Grand Theater. At 40,976 pixels by 7,249 pixels, it has about 150 times the detail of a high-definition TV picture.
The second, apparently More >
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry took the opportunity of a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping to push the Chinese government to do a little more to enforce sanctions against North Korea.
Speaking at a joint news conference after the meeting, Kerry said they discussed “the importance of enforcing UN Security Council resolutions that impose sanctions on North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs.”
Here’s the relevant video:
Later Thursday at the State Dept.’s daily briefing, spokeswoman Jen Psaki was asked if the discussion meant China has agreed to carry out enforcement of sanctions with a little more conviction More >
When the U.K.’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office released details of its North Korean program spending recently, some eyes were immediately drawn to the £287.33 the government paid for rights to show the BBC’s Sherlock at the Pyongyang Film Festival in 2012.
Never mind that it had been reported at the time, it got all the attention. But there’s more of interest in the report, which was issued in response to a freedom of information request.
In the last three years, the U.K. has hosted officials from the North Korean government on seven trips or events.
In 2011 and again in 2012, ten junior or middle-ranking government More >
The U.S. government said Wednesday that it is concerned about a fourth round of missile launched by North Korea, in part because the country didn’t notify shipping and aviation traffic of its plans.
Speaking at a scheduled news conference, State Dept. Spokesperson Jen Psaki told reporters the launches won’t bring security to the DPRK.
“We once again note with concern North Korea’s apparent failure to provide prior notification to merchant ships, fishing vessels, and passenger and cargo aircraft in the vicinity, despite international provisions to do so,” she said. “We once again urge North Korea to refrain from taking provocative actions, and More >