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게시물에서 찾기No fun, not at all! Here you'll find a selected collection of articles/reports about our, sometimes a kind of unfriendly, neighbours in the North. Please, don't wonder: I'll use all kind of sources, it includes also the reactionary media, such as ðÈàØìí.., if I'm thinking, that the reports/articles are credible. Of course some times it is only trash. But I think, that we are clever enough to check out what is credible or not.

391개의 게시물을 찾았습니다.

  1. 2005/01/21
    "북한": 재미있는 발달
    no chr.!

Here Some of the Most Stupid Ideas about...

...a possible future of the N.K. Problem

 

Strategy to 'Encircle North Korean Regime’ (2)

NK Regime Collpase, Half Way to the Korean Unification

By Shon Kwang Joo, Editor / Shin Ju Hyun, Reporter
[ 05.12.2005(Thu) 15:37 ]

(source:Daily NK, here you can read #1)


Hwang Jang Yop, the chairman of North Korea Democratization Committee (some call him the "creator of the Juche "ideologie"/주체주의 - just check it out in any searching machine, or try http://www.kimsoft.com/korea/nk-whang.htm), kept saying that China is holding the key to solve the North Korean nuclear issue and that the crucial point is how South Korea acts toward the issue. What is the strategy to change North Korea? See below to check out his latest opinions about the situation of Northeast Asia since North Korea’s declaration of nuclear weapon state (Feb. 10) and North Korea as an issue.

- By what kind of promise between the US and China can make an agreement to resignation of the Kim Jong Il regime?

What China is worried about is US presense reaching up to the Yalu River. The US should try to tell China that they have no intention to do that. The problem which the US faces right now, is making North Korea abandon its nuclear weapons. Therefore, what the US has to do is to take the position, that it wants the change of the Suryeong dictatorship. Once the dictatorship is dismantled, North Korea can open its door as China did. At this stage, the US should clearly its position known to China.


US declares not to involve in post Kim Jong Il North Korea

The US should send a signal to China that “the US does not want a pro-America government to be set up after the collapse of the Kim Jong Il regime.” What the US can say about North Korea’s new government is “reform and liberalization like Chinese style and then both nuclear and peace isseus in Korean peninsula shall be solved.”

If so, the US will not care even if post Kim Jong Il government enters into diplomatic relation with Japan and will see progress of the Korean peninsula peace pacts. It would be better for the US sending a message, “keep friendly relation with North Korea”, to China. The US should show China where they stand at the same time.

If China does not respond to teh US attitude and want to maintain its alliance with Kim Jong Il, the US should take a decisive step. The US must not treat China as a companion anymore. The US can support independence of Taiwan. The US has been supporting ‘One China Policy’ in order to keep a friendly relationship with China. There is no reason for the US supports it anymore. It has to express that it can support nuclear armament of Taiwan and Japan. For the trade partnership which China put all their efforts into, the US also has to express a possible sanction against China cooperating with the EU.

- Do you really think that the US can apply this kind of strategy and take an action?

What China needs right now is peace and high growth. They do not want to be affected by Kim Jong Il. A new North Korean government might be pro-Chinese government. It is the quickest way. The problem is whether the Bush administration can handle it or not. I personally think that there is a low possibility. Why do I think like that? It is because the US does not know that such a solution is the solution one for teh future development of the US and the world. The US still regards North Korean issue as a minor problem. That is why not many people in the US agree with this kind suggestion. The US would be against even the nuclear armament of Japan.


The South Korean government will play an important role to solve the North Korean issue

- In which case will the US not able to stabd against it?

If the South Korean governments supports it, everything will be ok. South Korea is the owner of the Korean peninsula. If teh South Korean government insists the US that we have to make China remain in on our side to make Kim Jong Il regime collapse peacefully, then there is nothing the US government can do. Who will be against it when the owner supports it? If the South Korean government insists it strongly and presents the solution for the problem of the Korean peninsula, there is nothing the US government can do, but follow us. Existence of the Kim Jong Il regime depends on China, and the South Korean government has the key to separate China from North Korea.

- In South Korea, people try to keep teh US distanced and embrace North Korea and China. What do you think about it?

The US government also made a mistake over it. They overlooked rising of anti-America sentiments in South Korea. They don’t take any actions to prevent growing pro-North Korea and anti-Americanism power. They are just discontented with the anti-America sentiments and they do not take any action to prevent this kind of sentiments. They should try to let people in South Korea know about necessity of the ROK-US alliance and the importance of democratic solidarity.


No need to worry about setting up of a pro-Chinese government

- Some people are worryed about setting up a pro-Chinese government in North Korea.

Some people are worried about it. They think if North Korea sides with China continuously, the unification will be impossible and China would keep controlling North Korea. However, there’s no reason to worry about it. China does not have a power to be greedy to take North Korean territory. There is nothing China can get in North Korea. People in North Korea would have to decide their destiny by themselves, so there is no need to worry about it.

- Is there any chance that Chinese army will be stationed in North Korea when something’s going on in North Korea?

People in China would not do that. There is no need for China to be stationed in Manchu. Standing by is enough for them. They will not cause any trouble. There are already many troubled areas, so they will not trouble themselves in such a way. There is no need to worry about it. What they do care, though, is for the US to enter into North Korea. We can say that they are not interested in taking North Koream territory.

- Do you mean if Kim Jong Il regime is dismantled, there is no problem of how the next government builds its diplomatic relations?

If Kim Jong Il regime is dismantled, the most important problem is solved. Root of the evil and unhappiness are from Kim Jong Il and the dictatorship. If the Kim Jong Il regime is dismantled, the effect will be enormous. Dramatic changes will be followed in North Korea. Capital and technology will flow into North Korea, and teh defectors can return back to North Korea and start a business. If so, there might be no problem politically and economically. People in North Korea will work hard to catch up with South Korea. Social atmosphere should be set up for North Korea to focus on economic development.


If Kim Jong Il regime is dismantled, it means a half unification

If Kim Jong Il regime is dismantled, we achieve a half unification. Kim Jong Il regime should be dismantled as soon as possible for teh unification. You can see how important it is, right? There is no need to discuss about whether the regime is to be pro-China or pro-America at this stage.

- Globalization means global democratization.

Nobody can stop globalization at this moment. Nobody can stop it whether it is good or bad. Globalization means changing living style based on a nation (state) to the one based on the world. It is a huge change, so it is not that easy as we think. What we have to think about is to decide on how we will make globalization.

Communism in the past suggested realization of globalization with the class theory, but it failed. Now it is time for making globalization with democracy. It is a historical trend.

- The Bush administration also emphasizes ‘spreading of freedom’.

The US should start it first. The US abolished racial discrimination for the first time and abolished class discrimination. The US is the advanced country of democracy and the strongest country in the world. It plays an important role. It should not be satisfied to be remained as a united states in its own country. All countries in the world should be united. There is no reason for the people in Africa and Asia stay behind of the Europeans. They also have sufficient individuality and ability. Globalization through democracy is necessary to improve their ability.

Global democratic unity among the nations should be built up. Western advanced countries should take the lead for this. Destiny of all races and countries should be taken care of by all of us. Then you will see how important the unification of two Koreas is.



Unified Korea will play an important role for the global democratization

- Why are democratization in North Korea and unified Korea important for global democratization?

North Korea wants to take an advantage by inducing conflict between the US-China, the US- Russia, and ROK-Japan. The Kim Jong Il dictatorship is the most villainous dictatorship in the world. South Korea, US, Japan and China should cut off the connection with the dictatorship. If the US-China, and ROK-Japan strengthen their solidarity, global democratization shall be progressed rapidly. The EU shall be participated in us and India should follow us. Imagine how powerful it is if we conduct global democratization. Surrounding countries including the US should know that the unified Korea is located in the important position for the global democratization.

- After collapsing of Kim Jong Il regime, what’s the first thing we have to do?

After ousting Kim Jong Il regime, making a reform and opening as China did is he first step. Opening and reform is important for not only peaceful Korean peninsula and nuclear problem but also global democratization. We should see North Korea issue as not Korean peninsula problem but global democratization problem.


Democracy is not completed by demonstration only

- President Roh makes attacks against all successive governments saying liquidation of the problems in the past. How do you evaluate all successive governments in democratic development way?

Democracy is not completed by demonstration only. If democracy is completed by demonstrations on the streets, all countries shall be the advanced democratic country. First of all, economy should be developed. All people in South Korea played an important role so far. All people like professors and labors contributed to development of democracy in South Korea. Religious people also contributed to development of democracy in South Korea. Just demonstration does not mean development of democracy. Democracy means development of politics, economy and culture all together. Democracy can’t be completed by system only. Democracy is the result of cooperation by all people.

- What kind of attitude do we need to solve current issues such as North Korea nuclear issue?

Some people insist that holding dialogues is the only way to deal with the communism country. Those who insists it do not know about communism. North Korea is a despotic country. ‘Pacifists’ beg peace to Kim Jong Il. They should not do that. For real peace, power of democracy should be strengthened and power of dictatorship should be weakened. If a country brings a war and develops nuclear, we have to let the country know that a hardhearted punishment from the world society shall be followed. It was impossible to end the Cold War without economic power, scientific technology and military power of the US. Violence such as nuclear weapon should be confronted decisively to maintain peace.

진보블로그 공감 버튼트위터로 리트윗하기페이스북에 공유하기딜리셔스에 북마크

Another Change in the N.K. Society

If this story is realy the truth, then sooner or later the

S. Korean government may get a huge problem^^!!!

Just let's see the future!!

 

Culture Shock


A flow of information from the outside world is changing the Hermit Kingdom.

By Christian Caryl and B. J. Lee
 
Source:

May 9 issue - On a warm spring day, a small boat is maneuvering down a narrow tributary of the Yalu River that marks the border between China and North Korea. The sightseers in the craft are in search of an unusual quarry. "Look, there they are," says the boat's Chinese owner. And sure enough, coming down the opposite bank are two young North Korean border guards in olive-drab uniforms, both bareheaded, one of them toting a Kalashnikov rifle. The prow touches the shore, and one of the passengers—a NEWSWEEK journalist—steps out briefly onto North Korean territory to shake hands with the two soldiers, who nod and offer greetings. The Northerners happily accept a gift of South Korean cigarettes and Chinese cash in return for allowing the brief foray into their country. But there's something else they'd like to have as well, they say: movies and TV shows from South Korea. Videotapes or DVDs? Either one, say the soldiers. "Comedies or action?" asks the visitor. "It doesn't matter," answers a soldier. "Just bring a lot."

 

Extraordinary as it may sound, such encounters are par for the course along China's 1,416-kilometer-long border with North Korea these days. The Hermit Kingdom, it's now clear, is no longer hermetic. (...)

 

North Korea, long one of the world's most isolated societies, has grown vulnerable to the flow of information from the outside world. North Koreans are watching Western movies on hidden video players and tuning in to Korean-language broadcasts from the South on illicit radios. In the border regions, mobile phones are ubiquitous, meaning that some defectors can keep in touch with their families back home. Much of this information is making clear to North Koreans that there is a vast prosperity gap between their society and the South's.

 

It's not known if the greater awareness yet poses a threat to North Korea's dictator, Kim Jong Il. But it's certainly giving more North Koreans reason to nurse discontent with their government. That, in turn, is spurring more and more of them to seek their luck abroad by defecting, which can only intensify the pressure on the Great Leader. Last year a record 1,850 Northerners arrived in the South. "The West often regards North Korea as an immobile society, a black box," says Andrei Lankov, a Russian-born expert on North Korea at Kookmin University in Seoul. "But it's clear that North Korea is changing. North Korean Stalinism is dying."

 

The changes are real. Just take the story of Lee So Young (not her real name), a 33-year-old mother of one who defected from North Korea five years ago. She's one of an estimated 200,000 North Koreans living illegally in the border area. She's hiding in the Chinese city of Yanji as she awaits a chance to reach a new home in South Korea. In her account, it's money, not ideology, that does the talking inside North Korea these days. That's what helped her to cross the border seven times in five years. "The border guards are completely corrupt," she says. "Even South Koreans can go in if they want. All you have to do is give them some money." Lee's tiny Chinese-made phone cost her $6, and in February she smuggled another one across the border to her mother. It costs a mere $1.20 per month to keep her mother's phone active, and Lee is about to send in a fresh prepaid card just to be on the safe side. "The number of the old phone I gave her is known. So now she'll have a new number."

 

North Korea's information revolution is rooted in economics—and in particular, its fast-rising trade with China. Last year trade volume between the two nations reached $1.4 billion—a jump of 40 percent over 2003. "People sell and buy things," as Lee puts it. "Now it's allowed. If you sold something before, they'd confiscate it." In the summer of 2002, Kim's government enacted a set of cautious economic reforms that have triggered an explosion of mercantilism. Those have in turn created a new merchant class—consisting largely of government officials—and fomented corruption. They've also generated a modest wealth for some while leaving most people mired in poverty. One of the most visible sign of the changes: markets filled with goods from China and even South Korea, brought in by the prosperous new class of border-crossing businesspeople. Even for Northerners who can't afford them, the high-priced imports—including refrigerators, clothes and vegetables—are inspiring yearnings for a better life.

 

The city of Dandong, China, which has a population of 700,000, has become the window on the outside world for North Korea. There, North Korea's main rail line and highway enter Chinese territory via a majestic bridge spanning the Yalu. It's a key destination for anyone in the North with a scheme to make money. Fifty to sixty North Korean trucks cross the border every morning, then return in the evening loaded with officially approved imports ranging from food to heavy machinery. Many of the truckers have built a little side business in car parts. At the loading depot in Dandong, local merchants happily fill the drivers' orders for spare car parts, which are delivered individually to each truck before it departs. The parts are then sold in North Korea for a big profit. At a waterfront restaurant in Dandong, three men from the North Korean national railway dine out on a meal of sashimi, clams and beef, along with copious amounts of booze. Estimated tab: $100. How can they afford it? "We take things back and forth," crows a boozy conductor. His job—making the monthly round trip from Pyongyang to Moscow—offers limitless opportunities for bringing goods (officially sanctioned and not) back into the North from its capitalist neighbors.

 

At the Gome Electronics Store in downtown Dandong, salespeople count North Koreans among their most faithful customers. "They're always wearing their little pins," says Shi Hui, a Gome salesgirl, referring to the obligatory badges featuring portraits of North Korean founding father Kim Il Sung. "They always come with their interpreters." One very popular item: video CD players that sell for less than $30. Some of Shi's customers buy four or five at a time. "They say they're going to resell them in the North," she says. Home stereos, TVs, and, yes, the obligatory mobile phones are also selling strongly—and at the same surreally low prices, thanks to Chinese overproduction.

 

Much of the border area is inhabited by ethnic Koreans with strong ties to the South. As a result, South Korean soap operas and movies, popular throughout Asia, can be purchased on every corner and are easily smuggled into the North. "They take the discs but they throw away the boxes," says Wang Dan, a saleswoman in a Dandong music store that regularly sells South Korean videodiscs to Northern customers. The resulting inflow of outside culture is impossible to stem—and one result has been the irrevocable destruction of Northern propaganda stereotypes about the South, which was always depicted as a wasteland of poverty, shantytowns and unemployment. Choi Ji Won (not her real name), 43, repeatedly crossed into China to work before defecting for good 10 months ago. "Whenever I was here, I watched South Korean TV," she says. "Then when I went back to the North, I told my relatives about it. They realized it's a great place to live, and now they want to go, too." According to recent visitors to the North, Pyongyang university students have taken to dyeing their hair chestnut in accordance with the latest college fads in Seoul.

 

In the old days, any North Koreans lucky enough to get a foreign-made radio had to register it with the local police. Authorities then fixed the tuners to a single frequency that supplied only Pyongyang-approved broadcasts. Now, though, radios are everywhere, and officials can be bribed to leave tuners unaltered. When South Korean broadcaster KBS surveyed defectors living in the South two years ago, 67 percent said that they had listened to South Korean radio when they were living in the North. Internet use in the North is still limited to a precious few. But the growing number of Northerners lucky enough to travel to China can easily pop into cheap Internet cafes to peruse South Korean web sites.

 

Kim Jong Il's policy of a limited opening is risky but necessary. Trade with China doesn't just help his moribund economy, but also boosts his ties with a powerful partner who offers a desperately needed diplomatic counterweight to the United States and Japan. (China welcomes the trade with the North as a way of promoting economic growth in its three northeastern provinces, which have long lagged behind more vibrant southern China.) But the potential threat to Kim's leadership is huge. "North Korea wants to keep the booming trade with China from undermining its stability," says Park Young Ho, an analyst at the Korea Institute for National Unification in Seoul. "But it's a very tough job. Trade and stability are two different things."

Kim's minions lately have been battling to stem the tide. At the end of 2003 the ruling Korean Workers' Party published a series of edicts pledging to "fight vigorously against moves to spread unusual recorded objects and publications" and "to carry on the fight against smuggling activities." Penalties for harboring information about the South, in particular, can include long terms in prison. The security services have formed mobile squads to nab people viewing illegal videos. "They cut off the power so that the disc stays in the machine and can't be hidden," says defector Lee.

 

There is an even more ominous trend: According to defectors interviewed by NEWSWEEK, Pyongyang is using public executions to discourage defections. Brokers involved in moving people across the border are often the targets. Two covertly recorded videotapes recently smuggled out of the North show three people being shot (in two separate incidents) in the city of Hoeryong on March 1 and March 2. Lee says the authorities stage the executions in marketplaces and force residents to watch. "You have to go. If you don't, they say you don't agree with the government's decision.

 

It's possible that Kim will succeed in tamping down the forces of discontent bound to be generated by knowledge of the outside world. But the odds are against it. "North Korea reminds me of the USSR in the 1970s," says analyst Lankov. "Officials are paying lip service to the ideology but what they actually do is very different." Like most experts on the North, he's reluctant to issue a expiration date for the North Korean regime. But, he adds, "the genie is out of the bottle—and Kim will have a hard time putting it back in." The dictator surely knows that himself.

 

With Hideko Takayama in Tokyo

진보블로그 공감 버튼트위터로 리트윗하기페이스북에 공유하기딜리셔스에 북마크

DPRK: Changes in the Society

North Korea: Market forces have female faces
By Andrei Lankov (source: Asia Times)

SEOUL - A defector from the North, a typical tough Korean auntie with trademark permed hair, smiled when asked about "men's  role" in North Korean families: "Well, in 1997-98 men became useless. They went to their jobs, but there was nothing to be done there, so they came back. Meanwhile their wives went to distant places to trade and kept families going."

Indeed, the sudden increase in the economic strength and status of women is one of manifold changes that have taken place North Korea over the past 10 or 15 years. The old Stalinist society is dead. It has died a slow but natural death over the past decade and, in spite of Pyongyang's frequent and loud protestation to the contrary, capitalism has been reborn in North Korea. The old socialist state-managed economy of steel mills and coal mines hardly functions at all, and the ongoing economic activity is largely private in nature.

But the new North Korean capitalism of dirty marketplaces, charcoal trucks and badly dressed vendors with huge sacks of merchandise on their backs demonstrates one surprising feature: it has a distinctly female face. Women are over-represented among the leaders of the growing post-Stalinist economy - a least on the lower level, among the market traders and small-time entrepreneurs.

This partially reflects a growth pattern of North Korean neo-capitalism. Unlike the restoration of capitalism in the former Soviet Union or China, the "post-socialist capitalism" of North Korea is not an affair planned and encouraged by people from the top tiers of the late communist hierarchy. Rather, it is capitalism from below, which grows in spite of government's attempts to reverse the process and turn the clock back.

Until around 1990, the markets and private trade of all kinds played a very moderate role in North Korean society. Most people were content with what they were officially allocated through the elaborate public distribution system, and did not want to look for more opportunities. The government also did its best to suppress the capitalist spirit. The rations were not too generous, but still sufficient for survival.

And then things began to fall apart. The collapse of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics brought a sudden end to the flow of the Soviet aid (which was, incidentally, happily accepted but never publicly admitted by the North Korean side). This triggered an implosion of the North Korean economy. In the early 1990s people discovered that the rations were not enough for survival, and thus something had to be done. In a matter of years acute shortages of food developed into a large-scale famine, and in 1994-96 the public distribution system ceased to function in most parts of the country.

But men still felt bound to their jobs by their obligations and rations (distributed through workplaces). Actually, rations were not forthcoming, but this did not matter. Being used to the stability of the previous decades, the North Koreans saw the situation as merely a temporary crisis that soon would be overcome somehow. No doubt, they reasoned, one day everything will go back to the "normal" (that is, Stalinist) state of affairs. So men believed that it would be wise to keep their jobs in order to resume their careers after eventual normalization of the situation. The ubiquitous "organizational life" also played its role: a North Korean adult is required to attend endless indoctrination sessions and meetings, and these requirements are more demanding for males than for females.

Women enjoyed more freedom. By the standard of the communist countries, North Korea has always had an unusually high percentage of housewives among its married women (for example, in the northern border city of Sinuiju, up to 70% of married women were estimated to be housewives in the 1980s). While in most other communist countries women were encouraged to continue work after marriage, in North Korea the government did not really mind when married women quit their jobs to become full-time housewives.

Thus when the economic crisis began, women were first to take up market activities of all kinds. This came very naturally. In some cases they began by selling those household items they could do without, or by selling homemade food. Eventually, this developed into larger businesses. While men continued to go to their plants (which by the mid-1990s had usually ceased to operate) women plunged into market activity. In North Korea such trade involved long journeys in open trucks, and nights spent on concrete floors or under the open skies; they often bribed predatory local officials. And, of course, women had the ability to move heavy material, since the vendor's back tends to be her major method of transportation.

This tendency was especially pronounced among low- and middle- income families. The elite received rations even through the famine years of 1996-99, so the women of North Korea's top 5% usually continued with their old lifestyle. Nonetheless, some of them began to use their ability to get goods cheaply. Quite often, the wives of high-level cadres were and still are involved in resale of merchandise that is first purchased from their husbands' factories at cheap official prices. It is remarkable that in the case of North Korea such activities are carried out not so much by the cadres themselves, but by their wives. Cadres had to be careful, since it was not clear what was the official approach to the new situation of nascent capitalism. Thus it was assumed that women would be safer in such undertakings since they did not, and still do not, quite belong to the official social hierarchy.

But for the cadres' wives, these market operations were a way to move from being affluent to being rich. The lesser folks had to do something just to stay alive.

Perhaps, had the state given its formal approval to nascent capitalism (as did the still formally "communist" state of China), the men would be far more active. But Pyongyang officialdom still seems to be uncertain what to do with the crumbling system, and it is afraid to give to unconditional approval to capitalism. Thus men are left behind and capitalism is left to women.

This led to a change in the gender roles inside families. On paper, communism appeared very feminist, but real life in the communist states was an altogether different matter, and among the communist countries North Korea was remarkable for the strength of its patriarchal stereotypes. Men, especially in the more conservative northeastern part of the country, seldom did anything at home, with all household chores being exclusively the female domain. But in the new situation, when men did not have much to do while their wives struggled to keep the family fed and clothed, many men changed their attitude that housework was something beneath their dignity (at least this is what recent research among the defectors seem to suggest). As one female defector put it, "When men went to outside jobs and earned something, they used to be very boastful. But now they cannot do it and they become sort of useless, like a streetlight in the middle of the day. So a man now tries to help his wife in her work as best as he can" to keep the family going.

Recently, when it is increasingly clear that the "old times" are not going to return, some men are bold enough to risk breaking their ties with official employment. But they often go to market not as businessmen in their own right but rather as aides to their wives who have amassed great experience over the past decade. Being newcomers, males are relegated to subordinate positions - at least temporarily. Or alternatively, they are involved in more dangerous and stressful kinds of activity, such as smuggling goods across the badly protected border with China. As one woman defector said: "Men usually do smuggling. Men are better in big things, you know".

Economic difficulties and change in money-earning patterns as well as new lifestyle and related opportunities in some cases led to family breakdowns. In South Korea the economic crisis of 1998 resulted in a mushrooming divorce rate. In the North, the nearly simultaneous Great Famine had the same impact, even if in many cases the divorce was not officially recognized.

Of course, we are talking about a great disaster here, and a large part of the estimated 600,000-900,000 people who perished in those years were women. Of the survivors, not all women became winners, bold entrepreneurs or successful managers: some were dragged into prostitution, which has made a powerful comeback recently, and many more had to survive on whatever meager food was available. But still, it seems that years of crisis changed the social roles in North Korean families. For many women, the social disaster became the time when they showed their strength, will and intelligence not just to survive, but also to succeed.


진보블로그 공감 버튼트위터로 리트윗하기페이스북에 공유하기딜리셔스에 북마크

Today’s Afternoon Entertainment

For todays 4.18 Link(Liberation in N. Korea) (Is there any?) and Ehwa Dream invited for the North Korea awareness day.

First checking the exhibition in students hall: just flattest propaganda, such as the famous-notoriously drawn picture about the butchered child (“Father, you want the lunch more spicy, or not?”, see the 2nd pic) or, also drawn by unknown “artists” about executions. The entire was added with a lot of religious trash.

Following in the building, which looks like a factory, a movie about some executions, recently smuggled out of the North. And than something about North Korean refugees in China – actually nothing new. The last was a Q&A with young female NK refugee, was a kind of interesting, because she reported convincingly about her experiences before she fled to China and later to Mongolia, now she is since five years in the South.

The final event: some kind of lecture by Ms. Kim (wow, what a surprise) from an anti-North group (“Democracy Network Against NK Gulag”) about how we can be happy to life in the South, how beautiful the democracy works and how nice the police (yeah the cops) is here (I know some people they see this complete different!!). Really terribly and even the young woman from the North felt annoyed.

After all: not a real nice afternoon performance, especially when I had to learn, that the “event” could be realized without any protest from student activists from Ehwa University. And actually the afternoon started for me really nice, but this is another story…

 





진보블로그 공감 버튼트위터로 리트윗하기페이스북에 공유하기딜리셔스에 북마크

Roh Opposes NK Regime Change

Tomorrows headliner in Korea Times (KT)

 

"Roh Opposes NK Regime Change


President Wants Reform in Pyongyang to Model After China, Vietnam"

 

Nowadays Roh is in Germany to visit there the political and economical “leadership”, a.k.a. the capitalist class and their means of power.

It seems that, at least, on the trip to there he went definitely stupid. First of all he can’t compare the DPRK with China and Vietnam. Vietnam already had its unification and China is a monster power country, in the near future THE main rival to the US imperialism.

In both countries red painted capitalist dictatorships are ruling, not dissimilarly the several dictatorships here in the past or the Guomindang (국민당/國民黨) period in Taiwan.

Both kinds of terror regimes had/have just one aim: fast industrial “development” (a.k.a. maximum profit for the capitalist class – its doesn’t matter if they are “national employed managers” or private capitalists), of course on the costs of the working class. Like in the past (and often still now) S. Korean (and Taiwanese) working class had just one right: to work like a donkey. No labor rights, no democratic rights, no human rights – just the right (or the DUTY) to work.

The same in today’s China and Vietnam: everything what smells after democracy, or other progressive ideas, is strictly prohibited by “law” (there not by a quasi fascist dictatorship such as in S. Korea and Taiwan was happen, instead by the ruling “communist” parties, the left underground opposition, some calls themselves the “real communist”, is threaten with death penalty).

But this is what Roh and the new S. Korean capitalists really want: one army of workers without any rights, their only right of existence should be the right to work to maximize the profits of the S. Korean capitalists by the smallest expenditures. If Kim Jong-il’s regime this is guaranteeing this (no workers rights, no trade unions, no human rights), than Roh will except his regime and will oppose all “regime changes” in the North. ``We are ready to help North Korea experience a market economy and pursue openness with the ongoing projects for the Kaesung Industrial Complex (KIC)…’’ Roh said, according to tomorrow’s KT. Naturally, because “even” migrant workers (migrant workers will be the first victims of this…) here are not willing to work for 50.000 won per month, North Korean workers get per month in KIC (and please remind that they will create workplaces there for around 500.000 NK workers).

 

“CONCLUSION”

 

Roh went not crazy or stupid – it’s just a very clever plan to get millions of cheap and (allegedly) defenseless slaves for the S. Korean capitalism.

BUT WE SHOULD FIGHT (not only in our interest) AGAINST THAT!!!

 

진보블로그 공감 버튼트위터로 리트윗하기페이스북에 공유하기딜리셔스에 북마크

DPRK: "To be rich is glorious"

NYT, March 28, 2005

North Korea Experiments, With China as Its Model

By HOWARD W. FRENCH


 

DANDONG, China - At night, the view from the upper floor of a hotel looking out across the Yalu River toward the North Korean city of Sinuiju seems one of utter desolation. Three naked bulbs twinkling feebly is all that can be seen along a several-miles arc of riverfront.

By day, though, the scene at the border in this bustling Chinese city could scarcely be more different. Trucks steadily lumber across the bridge linking the countries, ferrying North Korean raw materials into China and Chinese manufactured goods to market in North Korea.

Westerners have long taken the nighttime view as the truest reflection of North Korea, a country all but frozen in time, its leaders so obsessed with control that they do not countenance contact with the outside world. The view from China, though, in cities like this, where small groups of North Koreans can be found in the downtown shops and hotels, scouring the city for bargains, is of a country already well into an experiment, however uncertain, aimed at rebuilding its economy and even opening up, ever so gingerly, to the outside world.

North Koreans who have recently arrived in China, and Chinese businessmen who have extensive experience in North Korea, speak of significant changes in the economic life in a country with a reputation as one of the most closed and regimented.

They say the changes, which were officially started in 2002 and have gradually gained momentum, have undone many of the most basic tenets of North Korea's Communist system, where private commerce was banned, private property circumscribed, and an all-powerful state the universal employer and provider.

Now in ways that many Chinese say remind them of their own early economic reforms a quarter century ago, North Korean farmers are allowed to take over fallow land and plant it for their own profit, selling their products in markets.

"It seems they are learning from the Chinese model of the 1980's, giving land to farmers and not allowing people to depend on the central government for everything," said Yu Zhongde, a Chinese businessman whose company operates bus routes in North Korea. "The rate of change is speeding up, and the aspiration for wealth among the people is really growing."

In the cities, Mr. Yu and others say, the changes have been even more noticeable, with people being allowed to trade goods for profit in newly created public markets, including 38 in the capital, Pyongyang. These days, traders sell everything from clothing and bicycles to televisions and refrigerators, mostly imported from China.

Private automobile ownership is still not permitted, but people reported seeing signs advertising used cars for sale in Pyongyang, nonetheless. Here and there, others also report the opening of small restaurants and karaoke bars.

"The standard of living is improving, not just in Pyongyang, but throughout the country," said another Chinese businessman who has been a frequent visitor to the country since 1997. "Nowadays, if you have money you can buy whatever you want. The problem is that most people still don't have much money."

Similar comments about the recent availability of goods were repeated in numerous interviews with North Koreans who had illegally slipped across the porous border, taking a risk in hopes of earning some money in China and buying goods to carry back and sell.

The difference in the remarks of Chinese business people and the North Koreans is one of tone, with the North Koreans almost universally asserting that life has gotten tougher, not better, since the introduction of the economic changes.

"The government has no money, and everything has become much more expensive," said a woman from the northeastern city of Chongjin, who sneaked into China three months ago. "Many people steal things to survive."

People from the countryside said farmers had tended to do better than city residents under the economic changes. "You can find anything you want in the markets now, but the prices are too high for us to afford them," said one 50-year-old woman from a village in the Musan region, near the Chinese border. "Farming for ourselves, though, made us better off than people in the towns. At least we always had enough to eat."

Deok Ryong Yoon, an economist at the South Korean Institute for International Economic Policy, acknowledged the growing social disparity. "The market has become the main mechanism for the North Korean economy, and they are trying to use the market to rehabilitate their economy," he said. "The changes have increased net production in North Korea. They have more goods and seem to be benefiting from the reforms, but distribution is very unequal."

North Korean officials have used the state's propaganda machine to spread the new market-economy gospel, including quotes from the supreme leader, Kim Jong Il. They began with an article attributed to Mr. Kim published in the state press in 2001 under the headline "Gigantic Change," in which he called for making "constant efforts to renew the landscape to replace the one which was formed in the past, to meet the requirements of a new era."

More recent articles have gone further, praising some aspects of capitalism and extolling "those with money using money" as a new force for social regeneration. Many analysts say this most recent language also echoes important changes in China, including most famously the quote often attributed to Deng Xiaoping: "to be rich is glorious."

Chinese businessmen and foreign economists say North Korea's emergent capitalist class has two disparate components: the operators of a small, clandestine private economy who have survived since their emergence during the famines of the mid-1990's, when the state distribution system was failing, and a far larger group consisting of officials of all description, from petty and mid-level functionaries to members of the political elite and perhaps largest of all, the military.

"Pretty much everyone in business is an official of one kind or another," said one Chinese investor who is a frequent visitor to North Korea. "Ordinary people simply don't have the money, and if they had money, they'd be asked where they got it, and get in trouble."

The businessman said corruption, abuse of office and the seemingly arbitrary application of rules were the biggest weaknesses in the country's new policy drive. "Changes are declared," he said. "They are spoken, but it's not put into law, and this makes it very difficult for business."

Ordinary citizens say these uncertainties hit them hard, too. A hint of this notion, of a state that gives and can also take away, was included in a sarcastic but menacing commentary by North Korea after its rejection last month of new multinational talks about its nuclear program. Washington "can just have talks with peasant market merchants, whom the United States is said to like, or with the representatives of the North Korean defectors organizations the United States is said to have formed."

One city dweller told a story of how the government had engineered the introduction of new banknotes for the won, the currency, as part of the economic changes. With little explanation except a vague discussion of addressing social inequality, people were ordered to turn in their old won for new ones, the woman said.

"No matter how much of the old money you turned in, each family was given 4,500 new won," she said. "You didn't dare complain. If you did, you would be denounced as an enemy of the people."

진보블로그 공감 버튼트위터로 리트윗하기페이스북에 공유하기딜리셔스에 북마크

Chinese article says Dear Leader is only fat person in the DPRK

 

 

사용자 삽입 이미지

 

 

 

<China-NK relations, Economic policy>
by Michael Rank (source:
http://www.nkzone.org

There's a very interesting Chinese look at North Korea on a website specialising in the hermit kingdom, it compares NK with China during the Cultural Revolution or Great Leap Forward, paints a generally bleak picture of a starving country where there is much anti-Chinese resentment. It's anonymous and is written from a personal perspective, but it's on a well established website and seems to reflect a strand of official opinion.

It's roughly comparable with the highly critical article in the Chinese journal Strategy and Management (“S&M” to its fans) which was censored last summer, though a bit less official. S&M was closed down for publishing this article, incidentally, and its website has been wiped.

A short introduction by the “webmaster” quotes the U.N. as saying at least two million people died of starvation in the 90s as the country was arming itself with nuclear weapons, maintained the world's fifth biggest army, etc. “This is the Kim family's choice, not the choice of the North Korean people. The article says here are no fat people in North Korea but this is not right, Kim Jung-il's fat stomach which the webmaster has seen on television continues to make a deep impression on him.”

The article starts off in Dandong, where he notes few trains or cars or trucks cross the bridge into NK. “Clearly NK's closed policies have restricted border trade. But there are hardly any restrictions on tourists visiting NK from Dandong and local people can go on a four-day tour for 2,100 yuan ($250).” [When I visited Dandong in 1999 I was slightly surprised how many of the people I met had visited NK - Michael].

The author says he was hoping to visit NK to find out about everyday life there but was told tours were highly regimented and restricted official sites like Kim Il-sung's old home, the Juche tower, etc, and “there is no time for free activities, while there are also language problems and North Koreans are not willing to have contact with foreigners, so it is difficult to learn about NK on an ordinary tour.”

But he adds that if you establish a good relationship with your guide, they are likely to be more open, “and even be mildly critical of the authorities, which in NK amounts to subversion and can be severely punished.”

He adds that talking to Korean-Chinese on the border is also a good source of information as many of them have close ties with NK and have relatives there.

He says NK is still in the grip of hunger/famine and that (even) in Pyongyang the state ration has fallen to 100 grams a day [can this be right...?], while meat and eggs are considered luxuries, and people supplement state rations with leaves and bark. He says that even during the “years of hardship” (Great Leap Forward) in China people received 28 jin (14 kg) a month, or 467 grams a day, so NKs are much worse off than Chinese during that terrible time. [But the 28 jin a month was pretty notional, millions starved during the GLF - Michael].

He says Chinese tour groups are told to bring extra food because of the shortages, and not to give locals any of their extra food. Some tourists who gave some of their foods to some “as thin as sticks” children were fined and the children were punished by the police, their crime was insulting socialist NK's glorious reputation. But many tourists who have given children food without being found out, he adds.

All North Koreans are thin, he didn't see a single fat person, “the people you see on television are the same, apart from Kim Jung-il, of course.” And people on both sides of the Yalu say even Kim has got thinner.

Many people say the reason ordinary North Koreans aren't frank is they are afraid of being punished. The author says he travelled all over China before and after the Cultural Revolution, when things were much the same, so of course he understands this. “The only thing that the author found shocking is the surprising similarity between North Korea today and the Chinese interior before Deng [Xiaoping]'s reforms and opening up.”

“In fact fear of punishment is only a secondary reason for their not being frank, the basic reason is their fierce national pride. But fierce national pride is a common feature of all civilised countries,” is often manipulated, eg Japanese denial of atrocities in WW2. He says Chinese ethnic Koreans share this pride, he was told by young Koreans in a Korean restaurant in Dandong that the whole of northeast China is ours, in the Koguryo period there was no civilisation like ours. The author replied that the northeast was in fact formerly Manchuria, its original inhabitants were Manchus and Koreans have only been there 100 years at most, many came in the 1930s to flee the Japanese.

Many Korean-Chinese admire SK for its economic success but regard Kim Il-sung as a national hero and are unwilling to criticise NK publicly. But many don't want to go to NK because of its poverty, many who went to SK to work found themselves victims of discrimination, so they don't want to live there either. They told the author sincerely that China is our home. Many people take part in semi-official border trade, which is why there is less hunger near the border. A very few NKs cross the border to beg or steal food, he adds.

There used to be NK border trade in ginseng, timber, coal, scrap steel which were bartered for food, detergents, soft drinks but as the NK economic crisis has intensified few Chinese consumer goods have been imported. Forest resources are exhausted, hunger has reduced coal production...

People's freedom of movement has been restricted, just like during the Cultural Revolution, so people are unable to move around in search of food, many people are dying in mountainous areas, he says, but adds that because such areas are closed he did not see this for himself.

He quotes Chinese who have close contact with NK officials as saying most officials get the same rations as anyone else, this relative equality reduces discontent, in contrast to China where there is unrest because of great inequality of wealth. High NK officials live lives of luxury, but ordinary people aren't aware of this, so this has not affected stability.

Hunger is blamed on drought/floods, but on the Chinese side of the border crop yields are high, so it is clearly not just a matter of the weather. Chinese-Koreans who often cross the border to visit relatives blame the collective agriculture system and “eating from one big rice pot” [the slogan used to attack the Maoist system], this makes peasants are apathetic, not interested in saving crops when there is a disaster. The NK government says there is no need for reform, but has in practice relaxed its policies and allows some private plots. “If the NK government relaxes its policies further that will clearly help NK leave severe hunger behind.”

If NK adopts Chinese-style reform and opening policies, there should be no fundamental obstacle [to recovery]. In Dandong NK, SK and Chinese company managers talk business as well as getting together over karaoke, all the songs are South Korean. And in Beijing and Russia NK businessmen also negotiate deals and “take back to NK the buds of reforms and opening up.”

He also mentions an NK ship which is a floating casino moored at Dandong, which he dubs “Macau on the Yalu”. The owners of speedboats which take people towards the NK side of the river say they haven't been on board as you need to have thousands of yuan, but it comes under NK jurisdiction so you don't have to worry about the Chinese ban on gambling. However, the casino was recently closed and nobody is allowed on board, “but this shows that the degree of openness in NK can actually exceed China's”.

NK hostility to China - when the author went out on one of these speedboats they were pelted with stones from the NK side, those throwing the stones included soldiers, the stones were quite large and somebody could have been killed but nobody was hit. “Over the last few decades China had given NK vast amounts of food aid, so why are the NKs hostile to Chinese people?”

In recent years Chinese magazines have published long articles about the Korean war, including documents from ex-Soviet archives, saying Stalin and the NKs placed more importance on the Korean problem than on Taiwan, which worried the Chinese...

Later when China and the Soviet Union quarrelled over ideology and international leadership, NK often supported Moscow over Beijing, ordinary NK people became biassed against China because of media attacks.

NK became extremely unhappy when China established diplomatic relations with SK, so NK voted against Beijing [or abstained???] hosting the Olympics in 2000 [that doesn't sound right to me, can anyone confirm/comment - Michael], greatly upsetting large numbers of Chinese people.

Not only this, but NK has also quietly referred to Taiwan as the Republic of China and “honoured nation” in order to gain economic advantage [to refer to Taiwan as a “nation” is of course anathema to Beijing].

But he adds that China wants stability in the Korean peninsula to ensure its own economic stability, so it needs to cooperate with NK. “Therefore China's relations with NK will strengthen”.

He is scathing about the Juche ideology, which he says is similar to China's Great Leap Forward theories. “China's 'Great Leap Forward'” resulted in famine and NK's 'Juche idea' has had the same result.“ But he notes that NK remains wedded to Juche and they have attacked China for taking the capitalist road (a note adds that this has since largely ceased).

Although NK is a closed society most North Koreans are aware that living standards in China are much higher. They also tend to blame China but if China hadn't provided them with large scale food aid it would have nothing to eat, and the results would be unimaginable. ”But China which is itself not wealthy could not take care of NK's 24 million people and has no duty to do so. To basically end North Korea's hunger, North Korea must rely on itself“ is how the article ends.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

But much more better/interesting is this article from World Magazine (www.worldmag.com), March 5:

 

Room with a view


ASIA: An American businessman gets a bird's-eye look at what may be regime change underway in North Korea | by Priya Abraham

American businessman Roy Browning has a front-row seat for the unusual signs of change emerging from North Korea. Mr. Browning lives in a high-rise in Dandong on the Chinese side of the border with North Korea, overlooking the Yalu River that separates the two countries. He has been there for three years, but in recent months the usually well-sealed border has come unglued, admitting more North Koreans into China. Mr. Browning has talked with several businessmen and North Korean officials, accompanied by KGB-style secret police.

"Trade across the border with civilian officials has increased dramatically in the last few months, and our connections have also increased in frequency," he told WORLD on Feb. 21. "We have even been able to talk to some very senior officials with their secret police looking on. This is very strange and implies that things are loosening up but with a lot of apprehension."

Why the sudden activity? Mr. Browning hears from his sources that "the state is being increasingly controlled by the military and the higher ranking civilian officials due to the strain that a possible Bush invasion was causing," he said.

Those rumors intensified late last year after reports that portraits of Mr. Kim, which dominate Pyongyang's public buildings, had been removed. Insiders claimed the portraits and other Kim images were removed to be cleaned, or because their presence had drawn comparisons to Saddam Hussein. But South Korean officials took them seriously enough to dust off decades-old contingency plans for civil emergency in the event of a collapse to the north.

Any such retooling of Mr. Kim's likeness is significant in the country, which has built a cult of personality around the Kims. Great Leader Kim Il Sung remains president for life, even after his 1994 death. His son, Dear Leader Kim Jong Il, is supposed to command singular loyalty. The country's goals of reunifying with South Korea and defeating U.S. "imperialism" hinge on the presence of an all-powerful leader. One of the younger Kim's sayings is, "To expect victory in a revolution without a leader is as good as wishing for a flower where there is no sun."

But the persistence of the rumors are significant, given North Korea's announcement in February that it has nuclear weapons. Activists and observers used to probing the communist country's idiosyncrasies believe a dramatic change is slowly underway, one that is shifting power away from dictator Kim Jong Il and toward a cabal of military generals.

Mr. Browning first learned last November that portraits of Kim Jong Il had been taken down from public display across the country. Though official denials quickly followed, his sources are adamant the portraits were removed. He also noticed that North Koreans he met coming across the border were hiding their "Dear Leader" pins inside their coats instead of displaying them over their hearts as mandated.

From his 12th-floor apartment window, where the Oregon resident lives while overseeing a semiconductor equipment business he co-owns in the city, he further noticed more-than-usual cargo-truck convoys waiting to cross the border on the bridge leading to Dandong, the only land-link between the two nations. Before, there were about 10 to 15 trucks a week; now between 50 and 70 lined up each day.

As first reported by The Oregonian, Mr. Browning also has seen North Korean trucks driving within Dandong, identifiable by their number plates and exhaust fumes that smell like burning tires—literally, he said, because North Korea recycles tires for fuel. Then there are the businessmen he has met, buying rice, vegetables, and other food and even computers, while selling their own products. From all these signs, he speculates that momentous change is afoot.

"I believe that we will see a slow disintegration followed by a revolution, although the revolution may not even be visible to outsiders," he said. "It is difficult to see things happening even as close as we are because of the strict control the country has. If you can imagine Nazi Germany in 1939 and then make it much worse, you will then have the situation in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea."

 

While Mr. Browning is seeing physical changes unfold before his eyes, others are coming to similar conclusions watching other signs. Seoul-based Korean-American human-rights activist Douglas Shin has been tracking blips in North Korea's usually predictable propaganda. From subtle rewordings in the state press and from reports Mr. Shin receives from a high-ranking North Korean official, he believes a band of military generals has already sidelined Mr. Kim.

Most unusual, Mr. Shin said, is Kim Jong Il's virtual disappearance from the public eye. "This kind of thing on this scale has never happened before," Mr. Shin said. "Kim Jong Il has never spent more than five months away from outsiders' view." Yet even photos released of Mr. Kim with Chinese envoy Wang Jiarui in late February appear dated. The same entourage from Mr. Wang's North Korea visit last year is shown.

Mr. Shin said official news organs are increasingly highlighting subordinates more than Kim Jong Il. At a Feb. 2-3 meeting of the "General Onward March for the Songun Revolution," a pow-wow of the Communist Party leadership introduced 10 years ago by Mr. Kim to reinforce military-socialist indoctrination, the rhetoric shifted slightly away from praising Mr. Kim alone and toward the military leadership around him. An editorial in the country's state-run newspaper, the Rodong Shinmun, carried "very unfamiliar terminology," Mr. Shin said. "It said all the people have to protect and follow—usually Kim Jong Il—but this time also the head leadership. It was a plural concept with Kim Jong Il at the peak."

Mr. Shin is persuaded enough by such signs to believe the military generals are gradually consolidating their power. He speculates that they found themselves in a dilemma. On one side the United States was pressuring North Korea to disarm. On the other, Mr. Kim feared he would lose power if he did give up nuclear weapons. After all, his belligerent rule is necessary to project the urgency of defending North Korea against an impending U.S. invasion. The only solution, Mr. Shin believes, was to sideline Mr. Kim. North Korea's declaration that it has nuclear weapons could be, he said, the generals "bluffing for the last time."

Still, decoding secretive North Korea remains an intensely speculative parlor game. Tim Peters of Helping Hands Korea, a group assisting North Korean refugees, also hears growing chatter from his contacts about changes in Pyongyang. They confirm the increased border activity Mr. Browning has witnessed, but note that while approved forays into China have multiplied, a parallel clamp-down on refugees escaping North Korea has occurred on both sides of the border.

While Mr. Peters believes Mr. Kim is suffering challenges to his rule, he is not sure the bouffant-haired dictator has lost control just yet. "I don't think we should underestimate the staying power of this regime," he said. "Not because Kim Jong Il is so powerful, but because of the [indoctrination]. There's a joke that if any two people had a conversation that was even remotely critical of the government, they would both inform the authorities."

In the meantime, Mr. Browning has noticed another odd development across the Yalu. North Koreans seem to be re-occupying an abandoned village just outside of border-town Sinuiju. That is unusual because the village is too close to the river, he said. Anyone wanting to escape could swim across, or almost walk across, when the water level is low.

He said North Korean businessmen and regime officials are in evidence in Dandong at least once a week, compared to six months ago, when he only heard about one or two showing up. Asking about Mr. Kim's hold on power, now that rumors circulate, is a touchy subject. "They'll just clam up—they won't say a word," he said. "Something's going on, but it's difficult to find out." With North Korea suggesting last week it may be ready to resume six-party talks over its nuclear arsenal, knowing just who holds the levers of power will be crucial for the United States and its allies. —

진보블로그 공감 버튼트위터로 리트윗하기페이스북에 공유하기딜리셔스에 북마크

DPRK's stunted policy stunts children

By Aidan Foster-Carter (read more about the DPRK in Times Asia here: http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Korea.html

It's a cliche to complain how little we really know about North Korea. Hard facts, and especially figures, are indeed hard - as in hard to come by.

In some fields this is perfectly true. The military, obviously. Does North Korean leader Kim Jong-il have the bomb or bombs? How many? Where is he hiding them? All countries keep that kind of information secret.

But no other nation in the world fails to publish any regular statistics about its economy. This 40-year silence should temper hype about market reforms. Without numbers, neither local enterprises nor external donors or (they wish) investors can do more than gamble in the dark. They really do need to know. Providing accurate numbers is a basic prerequisite of being a modern state.

Yet North Korea possesses a Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), and it is not idle. No doubt the Dear Leader demands economic data - for his eyes only. But in some fields, the CBS does publish its work. One example was North Korea's 1993 census, its first ever.

More recently the CBS has worked with international aid agencies to collect information that the latter need in a key area: hunger and its human consequences. The latest fruits of such cooperation have just been published in the "DPRK 2004 Nutrition Assessment Survey", a joint product of the Central Bureau of Statistics and North Korea's Institute of Child Nutrition (ICN), with financial and technical help from United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the United Nations World Food Program (WFP). The two chief consultants were from Australia and Vietnam, so this was a regional Asian effort. It follows earlier surveys carried out at two-year intervals, in 1998, 2000 and 2002.

It was the WFP that released this report, at a press conference in Beijing on March 7. It is in fact dated November 2004; the survey itself was carried out in October. The delay wasn't explained. Perhaps the lag was attributable to translation time and to make sure it was fit for publication generally.

I'm often critical of North Korea, so all the more reason to give credit when it's due. This is an impressive, highly professional report comprising 104 pages, five chapters, 46 tables, 24 figures. The sample was 4,800 children, ages up to six, and 2,109 mothers of children under two, drawn evenly from seven of North Korea's nine provinces plus the capital, Pyongyang.

Having taught social science research methods in a former life, I get a kick out of reading about random and cluster sampling (sad, I know). Then I pinch myself. This is North Korea. An official document! All these numbers! And on a potentially very sensitive subject, too.

For what this survey measures, with grim precision, is what years of hunger have done to the bodies of small children - and I do mean small - and their mothers in North Korea.

To be technical, there are three main criteria:

  • Underweight (for age) is self-explanatory;
  • Stunting, low height for age, signals chronic malnutrition;
  • Wasting, worst of all, is low weight relative to height, indicating acute malnutrition. Each of these categories is sub-divided into mild and severe cases. For the mothers, a fourth measure was used: MUAC (mid-upper arm circumference). Less than 22.5 centimeters means they aren't eating enough.

    So how are Juche's (juche is the policy of self-reliance) children faring? The WFP's press release tried to look on the bright side. Since the last survey in 2002, the proportion of young children chronically malnourished (stunted) is down from 42% to 37%. Acute malnutrition (wasting) eased from 9% to 7%. But those underweight rose from 21% to 23% - though for children under the age of two, those most at risk, this fell from 25% to 21%. One in five children had diarrhea, and one in eight showed symptoms of acute respiratory infection. But mothers have made no progress: a third were anemic and malnourished, the same figure as two years ago. Vitamin A deficiency is common.

    Much depends on where people are living. Things are less bad in Pyongyang and in the southwestern Hwanghae farming region than in bleak northeasterly Hamgyong and Ryanggang provinces. Ryanggangites get to eat meat, fish or eggs just once every three weeks on average. Chagang in the far mid-north is bleaker still, but North Korea doesn't allow access to this area - probably because of military bases located there. Thus, no survey was conducted in Chagang, which means no food aid either; the WFP is strict about that - surveys first.

    Even at the national level, the few slight improvements offer scant comfort. The more than one-third (37%) of North Korean's under six who are stunted - and especially the one in eight (12%) who are severely stunted - will grow up stunted and stay that way. Even once Korea is reunified politically, they will stand out physically: dwarfed by their Southern peers.

    Seoul, meanwhile, has different - nay, opposite - child health issues. With uncanny timing, the very same day as the WFP released its survey on the North, education officials in the Southern capital reported that one in 10 schoolchildren in Seoul is overweight. Obesity rates are growing fast, too. As the old adage has it, the rich slim while the poor starve.

    Back in the North, the WFP doesn't appear to be leaving any time soon. Richard Ragan, head of the program's Pyongyang office - and an American, to boot - said he hopes the agency will shut up shop one day, once the government and the private sector can stand on their own feet.

    But for now, one anniversary a proud North Korea won't be celebrating, is that this year marks a whole decade since it first, reluctantly, asked the WFP and other agencies for help coping with flood and famine. While the worst of the famine has eased, food self-sufficiency - in a country so mountainous that this is a ludicrous goal anyway - looks as remote as ever.

    So still, in 2005, the WFP has extended the begging bowl for Kim Jong-il - whose own priorities evidently lie elsewhere. Ever prickly Pyongyang has bitten the kind hand trying to feed it, forbidding UN agencies to launch their usual formal consolidated aid appeal this year. Nonetheless the WFP is seeking $202 million with which to buy 504,000 tonnes of food, mainly grains.

    And no wonder. In January North Korea cut its Public Distribution System (PDS) rations to starvation level: 250 grams of cereal per person per day, the lowest in five years. Such cutbacks don't usually happen until March, when last year's crop typically runs out. This is all the more odd, since 2004's autumn harvest is thought to have been the best in years.

    Luckily, the WFP currently has enough stocks - as it did not, in the recent past - to feed all of its target group: a staggering 6.5 million North Koreans, or nearly one-third of the entire population. The main categories within this group are 2.7 million children from birth to the age of 10 and 2.15 million people in food or work programs. Other beneficiaries include 900,000 elderly, 300,000 pregnant women and nursing mothers, and 350,000 in low-income households. The latter are a new category: victims of the post-2002 reforms that have seen inequalities widen, even as the state retreats ever further from providing any help to the millions of citizens whom its disastrous past and half-baked present policies have starved and stunted.

    That's my take, not the WFP's. Diplomacy precludes any such critique from a UN body. Yet the raw data, the results - written indelibly on the bodies of innocent children, marked for life - are there for all to see. It's ironic, but the same regime that branded this suffering on its people is at least now registering and owning up to the outcome: collating and publishing these damning data, putting its name to the survey, and signing off on it. That's a start.

    Where his statisticians boldly go, will the Dear Leader follow? It's so simple. Ditch nukes; watch aid explode instead. Let the children eat, and grow. If not, what future is there?
  • 진보블로그 공감 버튼트위터로 리트윗하기페이스북에 공유하기딜리셔스에 북마크

    지난 일요일/탑골공원

    Everything what I think about that: no real contribution for the people communication, not really (or should I say: just a f.. action?)! Just hatred of all our neighbours.

    진보블로그 공감 버튼트위터로 리트윗하기페이스북에 공유하기딜리셔스에 북마크

    02.10 DPRK Foreign Ministry Statement (+한국어)

    The second-term Bush administration's attempt to antagonize and by all means isolate and crush our Republic has become completely clear. As we have declared many times, we have raised with the United States our rightful demand that it renounce its hostile policy aimed at overthrowing our system, make a policy switchover to one of DPRK-US peaceful coexistence, and have expressed the position that, if only that were to happen, the nuclear issue can be resolved completely. From this stand, we have sharply watched, with patience, the second-term Bush regime's policy formulation process. However, the second-term Bush administration turned down our just demand in the end and made it a policy through the president's inaugural speech, the State of the Union address, and remarks made during the secretary of state's congressional confirmation hearings that it will absolutely not coexist with us. Looking at high-ranking US administration figures' comments, which have clarified official US policy positions, we cannot find anywhere one single word on coexistence with us or on a policy switchover vis-a-vis the DPRK. Rather, they proclaimed as the ultimate goal the termination of tyranny, defined our country as an outpost of tyranny, too, and publicly made the outburst that it will not rule out the use of force if necessary. They then pledged to mold the world into one shape and form that only follows US-style values through the spread of US-style freedom and democracy. In conclusion, the second-term Bush administration's real intention is to not only follow the first term's policy of isolating and crushing the DPRK in its exact form but to further strengthen it. Like this, the United States is attempting to deceive the world's public opinion by proclaiming a new ideological confrontation aimed at overthrowing our system while, on the other hand, chanting prayers about a peaceful and diplomatic solution to the nuclear issue and the resumption of the six-party talks. This is indeed brigandish, farfetched logic and an example that vividly shows the US disposition as a master of stratagem and deception as well as its brazen two-sided position. We have hitherto clearly expressed the position that, as long as the United States does not pick fights with our system and does not interfere in our domestic affairs, we, too, will not promote anti-Americanism and treat it as a friendly nation and have made every effort possible to resolve the nuclear issue and improve DPRK-US relations. However, the United States mistook this as our weakness and defiled our highly dignified system, which our people chose, and dared to commit terrible acts of interference in domestic affairs. Under the condition where the United States is completely negating us while calling us a tyrannical regime -- as if turning down our demand that it withdraw its hostile policy, a fundamental impediment to the resolution of the nuclear issue, and antagonizing us were not enough -- the very reason for holding talks with the United States has vanished. Thus, we cannot participate in the six-party talks anymore. Is it not all too clear that it is contradictory and illogical to tell a partner to the talks to come out to the talks while negating it [the talks partner]? One can only go so far in looking down on its talks partner. Foolishly enough, the United States is now negating our government, which was elected by the people, and is saying that it stands on the side of the people. What we are saying is: If the United States really wants to have talks, it can just have talks with peasant market merchants, whom the United States is said to like, or with the representatives of the North Korean defectors organizations the United States is said to have formed. Japan, too, is servilely following the United States and is obstinately clinging to a hostile policy toward our Republic. Furthermore, how can we sit across from Japan in one place and hold talks with it when it is saying it will nullify the DPRK-Japan Pyongyang Declaration and will not normalize diplomatic relations while going so far as to fabricate the false remains issue over the abductions issue, which has already been settled completely? It is the trend of the times in the new century and mankind's ardent desire to transcend differences in ideology, theory, system, and religion and aspire for peace, coexistence, and prosperity. It is by no means fortuitous that the entire world is currently raising voices of curse and denunciation that the Bush administration, which is countering such a trend of the times, is indeed a group that perpetrates tyranny prompted by extreme misanthropy. We have shown all the magnanimity and tolerance we could during the last four years since the inauguration of the Bush administration. Now we cannot spend another four years like this, but there is no need to return to the starting point again and repeat [what we did] for the [next] four years, either. The DPRK Foreign Ministry declares the following to cope with the grave situation created by the US hostile policy toward the DPRK: First, we wanted the six-party talks, but we will inevitably suspend participation in the six-party talks for an indefinite period until it is recognized that the justification for participating in the talks has been made and that ample conditions and atmosphere have been created for us to expect results from the talks. The six-party talks process fell into a deadlock like it did now because of the US hostile policy toward the DPRK. Under the condition where the Bush administration went beyond its hostile policy this time and completely negated us while branding its partner to the talks as an outpost of tyranny, there is no justification whatsoever [for us] to attend the six-party talks again. Second, now that the United States has clearly disclosed the attempt to by all means eliminate our system by wielding a nuclear stick, we will take measures to increase the nuclear arsenal in order to defend the ideas, system, freedom, and democracy chosen by our people. It is the spirit of the DPRK, which follows military-first politics, to respond to goodwill with goodwill and force with force. We have already resolutely withdrawn from the NPT and have manufactured nuclear weapons for self-defense to cope with the Bush administration's policy of isolating and crushing the DPRK, which is becoming stronger. Our nuclear weapons will remain a self-defensive nuclear deterrent under any circumstances. Today's reality shows that only strong power can protect justice and defend the truth. As the United States' imprudent rash acts and hostile attempts become more blatant, we only feel great pride in having strengthened, in every way from early on, the single-hearted unity of the entire army and all the people and self-defensive national defense capability while holding high the military-first banner. There is no change in our principled stance of resolving the issue through dialogue and negotiations and in the ultimate goal of denuclearizing the Korean peninsula. Juche 94(2005), 10 February 2005, Pyeongyang Korean Version: 조선민주주의인민공화국 외무성성명 우리 공화국을 적대시하고 기어이 고립압살해 보려는 2기 부쉬행정부의 기도가 완전히 명백해졌다. 수차 언명해온바와 같이 우리는 미국에 《제도전복》을 노리는 적대시정책을 포기하고 조미평화공존에로 정책전환을 할데 대한 정당한 요구를 제기하고 그렇게만 된다?핵문제도 다 해결할수 있다는 립장을 표명한데 따라 2기 부쉬정권의 정책정립과정을 인내성을 가지고 예리하게 지켜보았다. 그러나 2기 부쉬행정부는 우리의 정당한 요구를 끝내 외면하고 대통령취임연설과 년두교서,국무장관의 국회인준청문회발언 등을 통해 우리와는 절대 공존하지 않겠다는것을 정책화하였다. 미국의 공식적인 정책립장을 밝힌 미행정부 고위인물들의 발언들을 보면 그 어디에서도 우리와의 공존이나 대조선정책전환에 대한 말은 일언반구도 찾아볼수 없다. 오히려 그들은 《폭압정치의 종식》을 최종목표로 선포하고 우리 나라도 《폭압정치의 전초기지》로 규정하였으며 필요하면 무력사용도 배제하지 않을것이라고 공공연히 폭언하였다. 그러면서 그들은 미국식 《자유와 민주주의의 확산》을 통해 세계를 오직 미국식가치관을 따르는 한 모양새로 만들어 놓겠다고 다짐하였다. 결국 2기 부쉬행정부의 본심은 1기때의 대조선고립압살정책을 그대로 답습할뿐더러 보다 강화하겠다는것이다. 미국은 이처럼 우리의 《제도전복》을 목표로 한 새로운 리념대결을 선포하고도 다른 한편으로는 핵문제의 《평화적이며 외교적인 해결책》과 《6자회담의 재개》에 대해 념불처럼 외우면서 세계여론을 기만하려 들고 있다. 이것이야말로 강도적인 억지론리이며 모략과 기만의 명수로서의 미국의 기질과 뻔뻔스러운 량면적립장을 그대로 보여주는 일단이다. 지금까지 우리는 미국이 우리 제도에 대해 시비질하지 않고 우리의 내정에 간섭하지 않는다면 우리도 반미를 하지 않고 우방으로 지낼것이라는 립장을 명백히 밝히고 핵문제의 해결과 조미관계 개선을 위해 할수 있는 모든 노력을 기울여왔다. 그러나 미국은 이것을 우리의 약점으로 오판하면서 우리 인민이 선택한 존엄높은 우리 제도에 대해 모독하고 무서운 내정간섭행위를 감행하였다. 미국이 핵문제해결의 근본장애인 적대시정책을 철회하라는 우리의 요구를 외면하고 우리를 적대시하다 못해 《폭압정권》이라고 하면서 전면부정해 나선 조건에서 미국과 회담할 명분조차 사라졌으므로 우리는 더는 6자회담에 참가할수 없게 되였다. 회담상대를 부정하면서 회담에 나오라는 말이 모순적이고 리치에 맞지 않는다는것은 너무도 명백하지 않는가.회담상대를 무시해도 분수가 있는 법이다. 미국은 지금 어리석게도 인민에 의해 선출된 우리 정부를 부정하고 인민의 편에 있다고 하는데 회담을 정 하고 싶다면 미국이 좋아한다고 하는 농민시장 장사군들이나 미국이 만들어 놓았다고 하는 《탈북자조직》대표들과나 하라는것이다. 일본도 미국에 추종하여 우리 공화국에 대한 적대시정책에 집요하게 매여달리고 있다. 더우기 이미 다 해결된 《랍치문제》를 걸고 가짜 유골문제까지 조작하면서 조일평양선언을 백지화하고 국교정상화를 하지 않겠다는 일본과 어떻게 한자리에 마주 앉아 회담할수 있겠는가. 사상과 리념,제도와 신앙의 차이를 초월하여 평화와 공존,번영을 지향하여 나가는것은 새 세기의 시대적흐름이며 인류의 념원이다. 지금 온 세계가 이러한 시대적흐름에 역행하는 부쉬행정부야말로 극도의 인간증오사상으로부터 《폭압정치》를 자행하는 집단이라고 저주와 비난의 목소리를 높이고 있는것이 결코 우연하지 않다. 우리는 부쉬행정부가 취임한 이래 지난 4년간 아량을 보일만큼 다 보였고 참을만큼 다 참아왔다. 이제 또다시 4년을 지금처럼 지낼수 없으며 그렇다고 다시 원점으로 되돌아가 4년동안 반복할 필요도 없다. 조선민주주의인민공화국 외무성은 미국의 대조선적대시정책으로 하여 조성된 엄중한 정세에 대처하여 다음과 같이 천명한다. 첫째,우리는 6자회담을 원했지만 회담참가명분이 마련되고 회담결과를 기대할수 있는 충분한 조건과 분위기가 조성되였다고 인정될때까지 불가피하게 6자회담참가를 무기한 중단할것이다. 6자회담과정이 지금과 같이 교착상태에 빠지게된것은 미국의 대조선적대시정책때문이다. 부쉬행정부가 이번에 적대시정책을 초과하여 회담상대방을 《폭정의 전초기지》로 락인하면서 우리를 전면부정한 조건에서 6자회담에 다시 나갈 그 어떤 명분도 없다. 둘째,미국이 핵몽둥이를 휘두르면서 우리 제도를 기어이 없애버리겠다는 기도를 명백히 드러낸 이상 우리 인민이 선택한 사상과 제도,자유와 민주주의를 지키기 위해 핵무기고를 늘이기 위한 대책을 취할것이다. 선의에는 선의로, 힘에는 힘으로 대응하는것이 선군정치를 따르고 있는 우리의 기질이다. 우리는 이미 부쉬행정부의 증대되는 대조선고립압살정책에 맞서 핵무기전파방지조약에서 단호히 탈퇴하였고 자위를 위해 핵무기를 만들었다. 우리의 핵무기는 어디까지나 자위적핵억제력으로 남아있을것이다. 오늘의 현실은 강력한 힘만이 정의를 지키고 진리를 고수할수 있다는것을 보여주고있다. 미국의 무분별한 망동과 적대적기도가 로골화될수록 우리는 일찌기 선군의 기치를 높이 들고 천만군민의 일심단결과 자위적국방력을 백방으로 강화해온데 대해 커다란 자부심을 느끼게 될뿐이다. 대화와 협상을 통하여 문제를 해결하려는 우리의 원칙적립장과 조선반도를 비핵화하려는 최종목표에는 변함이 없다. 주체94(2005) 2월 10일 평 양
    진보블로그 공감 버튼트위터로 리트윗하기페이스북에 공유하기딜리셔스에 북마크

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