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Thursday, July 26, 2012

South's Flag on Display for North Korea's Soccer Team in London

A very unpleasant incident has shaken the London Olympics, even before its official start. The organizers mistakenly displayed the South Korea’s flag on a screen instead of North Korea's before a women's soccer match, prompting the team to walk off the pitch.

The blatant mistake occurred during player introductions before the DPRK's match against Colombia. A North Korean player was displayed along with the South Korean flag when the teams were already on the pitch.

The match was delayed for more than an hour, as the North Korean side had gone into their dressing room. Only after organizers apologized for the error did the action resume.

“We were angry because our players were introduced as if they were from South Korea, which may affect us very greatly as you might know,” coach Sin Ui-gun said through an interpreter after having won the game 2-0.

“If this matter couldn't have been resolved, then I thought going on would be nonsense,” he added.

“We will apologize to the team and the National Olympic Committee and steps will be taken to ensure this does not happen again.” - was the official comment from the Organising Committee.

The North Korean players refused to speak to reporters after the game.

DPRK iPad Clone Achim to Hit Stores

Achim, or morning in English, will hit the stores all across the DPRK next week. Although it is speculated that the iPad clone is only assembled in North Korea from Chinese parts, nevertheless it is an important moment for the country's previously non-existent IT hardware industry.

It is reported that the tablet weights around 300 grams and has a battery life of five hours. It’s pre-loaded with a variety of teaching materials, dictionaries and scientific data.

The agency released a number of photographs of what looks as a quality control and packaging line for Achim.

It’s not clear which operating system the device may run, although industry experts speculate that it may be a version of the fabled Red Star OS, a North Korean build of Linux.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Kim Jong-Il's Japanese Chef Kenji Fujimoto Returns to North Korea

Kenji Fujimoto at Beijing Capital International Airport this Saturday.  (Kyodo)
Kenji Fuijimoto, the Japanese chef who worked for late North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il and his family was headed back to the DPRK on Saturday, Japan's Kyodo news agency reported.

The chef, going by the alias of Kenji Fujimoto, was invited by the new leader Kim Jong-un, Kyodo reported. He previously worked for the Kim family for 13 years and has written several books detailing the secretive lives of the ruling elite.

Speaking to reporters at Beijing Capital International Airport on Saturday, Fujimoto said, "I'm not sure when I will get to meet Kim Jong-un. I will be staying in North Korea for two to three weeks. "He said he was carrying a blue-fin tuna as a gift for Kim.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Thai Delegation Leaves Pyongyang for Bangkok

Pyongyang, July 20 (KCNA) -- The Thai foreign ministry delegation led by Deputy Permanent Secretary Nuttavudh Photisaro flew back Friday after visiting the DPRK.


DPRK Foreign Minister Pak Ui Chun Meets Thai Delegation

Pyongyang, July 20 (KCNA) -- Pak Ui Chun, foreign minister of the DPRK, had a friendly talk with the Thai Foreign Ministry delegation led by Deputy Permanent Secretary Nuttavudh Photisaro which paid a courtesy call on him at the Mansudae Assembly Hall Friday.


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Huaxi village in China the future model for Kim Jong-un's DPRK?

A new type of socialism may soon be embraced by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. He may just be about to cross the river by feeling the stones, just like Chinese economic reformer Deng Xiaoping did it in 1984. For the past six months, seven North Korean officials have been staying at the Longxi International Hotel, located in the 72-story skyscraper of Huaxi Village, in China’s Jiangsu Province.

The skyscraper hotel of the small village of Huaxi
It is alleged that the North Koreans are trying to learn the ways of Huaxi Village, known for being China’s richest village but one that is still dedicated to socialism. News from Pyongyang also suggests that Kim Jong-un (김정은) is getting a greater grip on North Korea’s military. After sacking his former mentor Ri Yong-ho and promoting a so far unknown military figure, many now speculate that he may be winding down his father’s “military-first” policy to start to reform the local economy. China has been pushing North Korea to take the path of a more economic openness and reform for years.

Kim’s father, late leader Kim Jong-il, resolutely ignored China's advice and stuck to the “military-first” policy to keep complete control of the hermetic nation. The North Koreans visiting Huaxi may be a sign of his son’s more open attitude toward economic experimentation and a greater willingness to follow Deng Xiaoping’s opening of the Chinese economy starting in the late 1970s. Huaxi Village will probably remain the richest village in China for some time to come, and also a model of mixing socialism and capitalism. All the residents are shareholders of the local conglomerate and earn dividends at the end of every year according to its profitability.

The 328-meter-high Longxi International Hotel was completed in October 2011 and cost 3 billion yuan (US$471 million). The five-star hotel has 800 rooms, including suites that go for 99,999 yuan per night. Officials from North Korea’s Foreign Ministry and the North Korean Embassy in Beijing have previously visited the village, according to one resident. He also added: "I’m not quite sure whether the women workers are from the ruling Workers’ Party, but they are mostly in their 20s."

The North Korean officials have been staying in the village for six months learning how to manage a modern-style hotel - according to locals. Interestingly, all of them are women. Just what hotel they will be managing back home is up to little speculation: the Ryugyong Hotel will soon be accepting guests, and it is about time the DPRK run something that is up to international standards in all aspects.

DPRK Friendship Delegation Leaves for China, Laos

Pyongyang, July 18 (KCNA) -- A friendship delegation of the General Bureau of the Diplomatic Corps Affairs led by General Director Mun Song Mo left here Wednesday to visit China and Laos.The foreign ministry delegation of Vietnam headed by Vice Minister Ho Xuan Son and the foreign ministry delegation of Iran led by Vice-Minister Seyed Abbas Araghchi left here for home on the same day.


Kim Jong-un Awarded Title of Marshal of DPRK

Kim Jong-un Awarded Title of Marshal of DPRK
Pyongyang, July 18 (KCNA) -- A decision was made to award the title of Marshal of the DPRK to Kim Jong Un, supreme commander of the Korean People's Army.
The decision was jointly issued on Tuesday by the Central Committee and the Central Military Commission of the Workers' Party of Korea, the National Defence Commission of the DPRK and the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly of the DPRK.


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Jong-un mentor Ri Yong-ho sacked by former protégé

Following the path of his late father, Kim Jong-un seems to know all too well how to do a little purging. Who else to start with than his former mentor.

Military chief Ri Yong-ho, 69, was today replaced by low-profile field commander, Hyon Yong-Chol, who is believed to be in his early 60s. This latest move by Jong-un should send a signal to anyone who was still questioning who was the real boss in the DPRK. The student has grown up and turned against his former protectors. What a drama.