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- The opinions expressed on this blog are those of the author's (or the author(s) of the original articles), and do not reflect, in any shape, way, or form, the official policy or position of the author's employer (current or former) or any other organization.

- Information contained on this blog is entirely derived from unclassified open source information, and is based exclusively on the content and behavior of selected media.

- Please note that some of the postings will provide only information with no comments or analysis while other postings will have comments and/or analysis.

Monday, March 22, 2010

N. Korea Threatened Currency Violators with Death Penalty (Kyodo World Service)

Tokyo - North Korea banned the use of foreign currencies after the government revalued the won last December, threatening to impose the death penalty on violators, a Japanese journalist who specializes in North Korean affairs said Monday.

Jiro Ishimaru, founder and editor of Rimjin-gang, a magazine featuring reports and photographs by North Koreans living in the country, released a photo showing a North Korean government announcement on the ban dated Dec. 28.

The photo, taken in early January on the outskirts of Pyongyang by a contributor to the magazine, shows the notice was issued by the Ministry of People's Security on Dec. 28.

The notice announces a ban on the circulation of all foreign currencies as of Jan. 1 and urges members of the public who witness the illegal use of foreign currencies ''to immediately report to legal authorities.'' Ishimaru said the notice was apparently posted throughout the country but he believes the measure was relaxed by mid-February.

North Korea revalued the won last December and imposed restrictions on the quantity of old bills that could be converted into new ones. Under the revaluation, 1 new won is equivalent to 100 old won.

Yonhap News Agency says Nails of Kim Jong-il Abnormally White…'Proof of Kidney Malfunction'

On 9 March 2010, South Korea's semiofficial news agency Yonhap carried on its website (in Korean) an article analyzing the color change of Kim Jong-il's hands and nails based on photos of him taken before and after April 2009. The article also claimed that the color change is an indication that Kim Jong-il is suffering from serious kidney malfunctions which require dialysis.

Yonhap claims that since April 2009, Kim Jong-il's nails have started to look "opaque and white," unlike the color of a healthy person's nails. To support this claim, it compared Kim Jong-il's photo (photo No 1) of his inspection of a Korean People's Army unit in August 2008 against photos (photo No 2-8) taken after April 2009.

Yonhap claims that his nails were relatively "clear and flesh-tonned" in the photos of his military inspection in August 2008 (as can be seen in photo No 1) and those taken in November 2008 after he recovered from a stroke. However, his nails looked opaque and white in the photo at the SPA rostrum in April 2009 (photo No 2). The report claims that this was also observed in his photos taken during his inspection of an Air Force unit in May 2009 (photo No 3), talks with former US President Clinton in August 2009 (photo No 4), his visit to Kim Il Sung University in December 2009 (photo No 5), and the meeting with Wang Jiarui in February 2010 (photo No 8).

Yonhap cited South Korean kidney doctors' opinions on the color change. They said that "if you develop uremia due to kidney malfunctions, your skin gets easily tanned, and you are highly likely to develop anemia." They pointed out that this appears to be why "the back of Chairman Kim's hand is unusually dark, while the nails are white." Some of them claimed that if Kim Jong-il has been given a dialysis, chances are high for Kim Jong-il to be given a peritoneal dialysis, rather than a hemodialysis, since the former gives less stress on the heart and can be carried out while patients are sleeping or on the move.

The report cited comments from aa South Korean Government official who refused to confirm the abnormality with regard to the color change of Kim's hands and nails and also the rumor of Kim's suffering from kidney malfunctions, by saying that "all we can say is that given Chairman Kim Jong-il's health status, he currently has no difficulty in ruling North Korea."

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

North Korean Linux-based OS

North Korea has its own "Internet" – a national information network independent from the US-based Internet regulator – it apparently also has its own operating system (OS), named Red Star, reportedly developed by order of Kim Jong-il.

A Russian student Mikhail, who studies at the Kim Il-Sung University and writes a blog [written in Russian] from the Russian embassy in Pyongyang, has recently purchased the Red Star OS and tested it. RT.com, with permission from Mikhail, provided some photos and screen shots of the OS and provided an opportunity to take a glimpse at IT life of North Korea.

Curtis Melvin has very kindly posted the article on his blog North Korean Economy Watch. Here's the link: http://www.nkeconwatch.com/2010/03/01/dprks-linux-os-red-star/

Monday, March 1, 2010

Same tune and not so different verse

The Korean People’s Army (KPA) General Staff issued North Korea’s first response to the annual ROK-US combined exercise, Key Resolve, on February 25 via North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency (in English) and Korean Central Broadcasting Station (in Korean). The overall tone of this year’s initial denouncement of the ROK-US combined exercise is consistent with those of the past years. Additionally, mentioning of the need for “nuclear deterrent” was also found to be consistent with past years’ statements.

KPA General Staff Denounces Key Resolve 2010:

  • Ignoring our repeated warnings, the enemies finally announced that they would stage the Key Resolve and Foal Eagle joing military exercises, which are northward aggression war exercises, from 8 March. (KPA General Staff carried on Korean Central Broadcasting Station [KCBS], 25 February 2010)

  • The enemies describe [the joint military exercises] as annual exercises and defense, but [the exercises] are pilot operations and nuclear war exercises aimed at a surprise, preemptive attack on our Republic to all intents and purposes. (KPA General Staff carried on KCBS, 25 February 2010)

  • If the US imperialists and South Korean puppet warmongers carry out the aggressive joint military exercises despite our repeated warnings, we will respond to them with our powerful military counteraction, and if necessary, we will mercilessly beat to a muddy place the stronghold of aggression by mobilizing all the offensive and defensive means, including nuclear deterrent. (KPA General Staff carried on KCBS, 25 February 2010)

ROK-US Combined Military Exercises are “an act of provocation and northward aggression”:

  • Currently, the US imperialists have drafted an adventurous plan of preemptive nuclear attack of northward aggression and war scenarios according to various circumstances, such as "Operations Plan 5027-04" and "Operations 5030. … These exercises are no different, even a bit, from the existing joint military exercises aiming at northward aggression in terms of scale and aggressive character, although the titles have been changed… (Rodong Sinmun , 13 March 2008)

  • The staging of the "Key Resolve" and "Foal Eagle" joint military exercises, as an extremely adventurous and extremely dangerous provocation by those who are dreaming of provoking a nuclear war, is a serious military threat to, and a de facto declaration of war on, our Republic. We can never tolerate the war provocation maneuvers that the belligerent group of Lee Myung-bak is committing for northward aggression in conspiracy with the outside forces. (Rodong Sinmun, 11 March 2009)

  • The enemies describe [the joint military exercises] as annual exercises and defense, but [the exercises] are pilot operations and nuclear war exercises aimed at a surprise, preemptive attack on our Republic to all intents and purposes. (KPA General Staff carried on KCBS, 25 February 2010)

Nuclear deterrent needed to defend against “the US and the ROK Aggression”:

  • The United States plans to hold reception, staging, onward movement and integration (rsoi) exercises and foal eagle maneuvers with south Korea from March 22. … They are still rendering the situation around the Korean peninsula extremely strained, while intensifying the moves to isolate and stifle the DPRK. The Korean people, who consider independence to be their life and soul, are keeping a close eye on the U.S. moves, while further strengthening the self-defense nuclear deterrent to cope with them. (Korean Central News Agency [KCNA], 14 March 2004)

  • At a time when the situation on the Korean peninsula is rushing toward a phase of explosion because of the US hostile policy against the DPRK, on 14 [March], aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk crawled into Pusan Port and a number of naval vessels, including cruisers and destroyers, crawled into South Korean ports. These [naval vessels] are reported to participate in the upcoming RSOI and Foal Eagle joint military exercise that will be staged starting from 19 [March]. … The persistent and adventurous US policy to crush the DPRK compel us to head toward strengthening the nuclear deterrent forces. (Rodong Sinmun, 17 March 2005)

  • Intentionally straining the situation on the Korean peninsula with the excuse of the nuclear issue, the United States has carried out one war exercise after another, such as the "Foal Eagle" and the "Ulchi Focus Lens." … While ceaselessly upgrading war exercises, the United States is frantically preparing a war of aggression. Our army and people have achieved single-hearted unity, which is stronger than a nuclear weapon, under the great military-first leadership of the respected and beloved General Kim Jong-il and consolidated the self-defensive nuclear deterrent that can overwhelm the United States' "policy of strength." (Uriminjokkkiri, 25 June 2006)

  • In the midst of this confrontation madness, the Lee Myung-bak gang began the first "task" of the regime by playing up to the US warmongers and launching the aggressive "Key Resolve" and "Foal Eagle" joint military exercises, which target their fellow countrymen. … The resolution and will of our army and people, who seek to rescue the fate of the nation and protect the foundation of [our] lives through the nuclear deterrent of justice, are fully charged. Besides South Korean society, those inside the gang are also quite troubled with unease and fear over the risk of the new war that the Lee Myung-bak gang is bringing along now. (Rodong Sinmun, 09 April 2008)

  • Our Republic has enough ability and modern military and technological means capable of weakening their "military and technological edge." We trust our own military strength and are proud and confident about them as a matter of fact. An international lesson of the 21st century and our Republic's historic experience say that when [we] have powerful self-defensive national defense capability at our disposal, [we] do not fear any international cordon sanitaire by the united imperialist force or any kind of war. The US warmongers' frantic commotion of nuclear war exercises is pushing us toward reinforcing [our] war deterrent even further. (Rodong Sinmun, 10 March 2009)

  • If the US imperialists and South Korean puppet warmongers carry out the aggressive joint military exercises despite our repeated warnings, we will respond to them with our powerful military counteraction, and if necessary, we will mercilessly beat to a muddy place the stronghold of aggression by mobilizing all the offensive and defensive means, including nuclear deterrent. (KPA General Staff carried on KCBS, 25 February 2010)

Continued “US and ROK Aggression” will be met with “Merciless Counterattack”:

  • Dialogue and confrontation, and peace and war can never go together. If the enemies dare to ignite a war without discretion, the DPRK will give decisive punishment to the aggressors with merciless counterattack. (KCNA, 05 March 2008)

  • There is no limit to the retaliatory measure of the KPA and no one can predict or evade it. If the warmongers dare launch a war of aggression defying our repeated warnings, our revolutionary armed forces will counter it with resolute and merciless just war for reunification. (KCNA, 08 March 2009)

  • If the US imperialists and South Korean puppet warmongers carry out the aggressive joint military exercises despite our repeated warnings, we will respond to them with our powerful military counteraction, and if necessary, we will mercilessly beat to a muddy place the stronghold of aggression by mobilizing all the offensive and defensive means, including nuclear deterrent. (KPA General Staff carried on KCBS, 25 February 2010)

The North Korean media has reported on, and denounced, all major ROK-US combined military exercises since the mid-70’s and this year has not been an exception. On February 25, the KPA General Staff issued its denouncement of the planned Key Resolve ROK-US combined military exercise (additional denouncements have followed since). The overall tone of this year’s denouncement has been consistent with those of the past years - “an act of provocation and northward aggression.”

This year’s KPA General Staff statement also said, “…we will mercilessly beat to a muddy place the stronghold of aggression by mobilizing all the offensive and defensive means, including nuclear deterrent.” Use of the term “nuclear deterrent” and the context the term was used in this year’s statement were also found to be consistent with past North Korean denouncements of the ROK-US combined military exercises.