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 >
South Korea’s Ministry of Unification will launch on Monday a new web portal focused on North Korea.
The North Korea Information Portal, or NK Info for short, is intended to provide South Koreans with up to date information on the DPRK, the Unification Ministry said.
Information on the site will be divided in several main sections: political, military, economic, social, cultural and education.
Within those sections, subsections will further organize the available data.
For example, within the political category there will be sections covering the main ideology of the DPRK, its political system, its power structure and significant figures and its efforts in diplomacy.
One of 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 >
Bitcoin has arrived in North Korea … sort of.
A tourist on a trip to Pyongyang used the Koryolink mobile Internet service to make what is supposedly the first transaction in the country using the virtual currency.
But it wasn’t a payment to anyone in the DPRK.
The US$100 payment (just under 104 milliBitcoins) was sent to Seans Outpost, a homeless outreach center in Florida that has been raising money via Bitcoin.
The user posted a picture to prove their presence in Pyongyang and explained they were part of the Koryo Tours trip to see Dennis Rodman’s basketball game.
“What better use case of Bitcoin More >
The U.S. government’s case against two Taiwanese businessmen accused of attempting to illegally exporting machinery to North Korea continues its slow path towards a trial.
Hsien Tai “Alex” Tsai, 67, and his son, Yueh Hsun “Gary” Tsai, 36, were arrested and charged in May last year. Alex Tsai was in Estonia at the time and subsequently extradited to the U.S.
The Federal Bureau of Investigations laid out in indictments a plan to obtain and export precision metal fabrication equipment from the U.S. with assistance of several companies in Taiwan. The machinery could be used in the production of weapons of mass destruction, according to the More >
Twenty balloons, each carrying several large bags of propaganda materials, were launched on Wednesday from Paju, close to the inter-Korean border, according to Human Rights Foundation, a New York-based NGO that focuses on closed societies.
“These balloons are an information lifeline to ordinary North Koreans, who have no means to learn about the world beyond the lies of their government,” said Thor Halvorssen, president of HRF in a statement.
The bags collectively contained around 500,000 leaflets, DVDs with South Korean TV More >
The European Alliance for Human Rights in North Korea (EAHRNK) says the BBC can’t prove whether a hypothetical Korean service would be jammed or not.
Jamming is the deliberate broadcasting of an interfering radio signal on the same channel as a targeted program so it becomes unlistenable.
Shortwave radio is one of the few ways that up-to-date information gets into North Korea and the government engages in aggressive jamming against most broadcasts.
The possibility of jamming and the inability More >
The app, iJuche, was developed and published in late 2013 and was highlighted on NorthKoreaTech earlier this week. That publicity was apparently enough to get it blocked.
“I just got a call from a person at Apple informing me that iJuche has been found to be in violation of South Korea’s “National Security Law” and has been removed from the South Korean App Store,” said Peter Curtis, the developer of the app.
Users in South Korea that have already downloaded a More >
The harsh, closed world of North Korea and the lengths the state goes to keep people under control reached primetime television in the U.S. on Tuesday evening. Frontline, the premiere news documentary program of the U.S. Public Broadcasting System (PBS) network, aired an edition focused on the DPRK called “Secret State of North Korea.”
For North Korea to get such primetime coverage is relatively rare in the U.S. The country typically only breaks onto American television screens when the North Korean government says something particularly provocative, and then its fodder for the non-stop news networks.
In its Tuesday evening documentary, Frontline did More >