Most people who read this blog will be familiar with the image of the two Koreas at nighttime by a NASA satellite
On January 30, 2014, an astronaut on the International Space Station used a Nikon D3S camera to capture a new image of the Korean peninsula at 10:16 pm — one that’s even more dramatic than the monochrome NASA satellite image of old.
As NASA says, “The darkened land appears as if it were a patch of water joining the Yellow Sea to the Sea of Japan. Its capital city, More >
The Congressional Research Service has published a new report on North Korea.
The report, “U.S. Relations, Nuclear Diplomacy, and Internal Situation,” is embedded below.
CRS works for the U.S. Congress and produces objective and impartial reports that are intended to provide policy makers in the House and Senate with analysis of current issues. The organization is a part of the Library of Congress.
It’s not often that a North Korean official faces a skeptical press corps and takes questions. Judging by Friday’s appearance at the United Nations by DPRK Ambassador Sin Son-ho, it’s even rarer that they provide answers to those questions.
Sin called a news conference at the U.N. in New York on Friday morning to announce North Korea’s proposal to lay steps towards “national reconciliation and unity” with South Korea.
His comments echoed those of North Korea’s National Defence Commission, which earlier in the day published the proposal through the state-run Korean Central News Agency.
A key demand is that the U.S. and South Korean More >
The verdict, which likely comes as no surprise to anyone that watches the country, was included in the New York-based group’s annual “World Report” on human rights in countries around the world.
“The government continues to impose totalitarian rule,” the report said.
Five pages are devoted to North Korea and sum up the government’s use of torture and executions, prison camps, restrictions on movement, refugees and labor rights.
On the issue of freedom of access to information, the report More >
For the second year in a row, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un appeared on state TV and radio on January 1 to deliver a new year address to his nation.
The direct address was something of a surprise when it happened last year as Kim’s father, Kim Jong Il, was rarely heard speaking on state media. For many years, he delivered his annual address through an editorial in the Rodong Sinmun newspaper.
This year’s speech comes at an interesting time, happening just weeks after Jang Song Thaek was arrested and executed for crimes against the state. Reports suggest a major purge More >
North Korean state media’s coverage of the arrest, trial and subsequent execution of Jang Song Thaek was “tantamount to mass intimidation,” Reporters Without Borders said on Thursday.
“Although only to be expected from one of the world’s worst dictatorships, such manipulation of news and information is disturbing,” the Paris-based group said in a statement.
“The extensive and indeed staged coverage of this execution coinciding with the hyped coverage of the second anniversary of Kim Jong-il’s death had the hallmarks of a intimidatory message to the entire Korean population and the international community.”
One of the things that made Jang’s arrest notable was the way it was More >
The reports, in English, are reproduced below.
The first report ran on December 9 and covered the meeting of the political bureau of the central committee of the Worker’s Party of Korea, at which Jang was accused of a series of crimes against the state and led away by soldiers.
The political bureau of the party center committee convened the enlarged meeting and discussed the issue about the anti-party, counter-revolutionary factionalist acts of Jang Song Thaek. At More >
The United Nations Human Rights agency said it is following with concern news coming out of Pyongyang that Jang Song Thaek was executed this week.
“This underscores the arbitrary nature of the system in the DPRK and the absence of transparency and due process which is required for the rule of law,” said Ravina Shamdasani, a spokeswoman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, in a briefing in Geneva.
In Washington, the U.S. State Department said the execution illustrated “the values of the regime, their low regard for human life, what’s probably one of the worst human rights records in the world.”
Here More >
Korean Central Television broadcast a 17-minute report on the special military tribunal of the DPRK Ministry of State Security. The trial concluded by sentencing Jang to death.
Here’s the clip:
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.